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Vision Ears and Rhines Custom Monitors (formerly Compact Monitors)

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  1. Ultrazino
    I got along pretty well with the Ultimate Ears silicone tips on the demos from Compact Monitors. I really do not like the multi-flanges.

    I'm a little concerned about how ear tips affect the sound so it's really hard to tell how the finished custom is supposed to sound.
  2. lee730
    I think there is more to it than just that though. Well at least members in the past have mentioned the universals varying by some degree if not a lot from the CIEM versions. Now whether or not this all stems from fit or quality control is debatable...
  3. tranhieu
    In most cases there will be a lot more bass and less highs with the custom due to lower treble resonance, provided the same set of components and crossover go into the demo. I would expect most companies will re-tune the demoes so that the sound will resemble their customized counterpart as much as possible. 
  4. rudi0504

    Congrats Michael

    What do you mean with tricky ?
  5. rudi0504

    I have not so much Ciem Lee
    I have a lot universal iems :D
  6. lee730
  7. Mimouille
    well it is a bit hard to get a good fit.
  8. lieberstanley
    Got the chance to compare the JH16 Pro (Freqphase ver.) with the Stage 4. I have a pair of JH16 Pro demo at hand and have been listening for the past 2 days.

    The initial impression of the comparison between the 2 is that: they are indeed typical presentation of different aesthetics toward music (or sound). I would say (if not so appropriate...) it's just like to compare a Porsche 911 with a Chevrolet Corvette.

    They are both great cars that give you not only speed but also the joy of driving. Most importantly, they approach the concept of driving in they own way.

    The same applies to the Stage 4 and the JH 16 Pro.

    I will share more if my time allows. But what I can say now is that: compared with the JH16 Pro, the Stage 4's performance well justifies its price.

  9. hilosxdd

    How about the Stage 3 vs the JH16 Pro FP ? Do you have the chance to audition it ? :D would really love to hear a comparison between these 3 :)
  10. lieberstanley

    Hi, Hilosxdd,

    Actually, I do have listened to the three, yet not side by side for the Stage 3 and the JH16 Pro. And the listening time for the Stage 3 is not extensive, though. Most of my time were devoting into the PK between the Miracle and the Stage 4. Nonetheless, I can still recall some sound traits of the Stage 3, and I still have the JH16 Pro at hand (I am listening to it as I am typing this reply, to be precise).


    As I have mentioned in my first post in this thread, I compared the Stage 3 to a good pair of well-designed shelve speakers. (which sale the best compared with the floor stand ones in the Audiophile's community) It's very neutral in its essence, a bit dark in the treble, properly scaled mids, and modest, yet well controlled lower bottom. Details and details. You can never go wrong with the Stage 3. A lot of web impressions saying its a safe choice. I concur that. However, it is conservative in its both ends, compared with the Stage 4. And the soundstage is more compact but still of a good spacious feeling. Overall, the Stage 3 and 4 remind me of the experiences of liestening tomthe music in the Grosser Saal of Musikverein, Wien. The sound signature of the Stage series is natural, none-threatening, and musical. On the other hand, with some mismatch sources (like the IPC), they might not sound exiting, or even a bit "plain".

    JH 16 Pro (with Freqphase) is totally of different type. The sound signature is dramatic and dynamic, not close to neutral in my opinion. It is more like a good pair of floor stand speakers. The highs are execiting and sometimes a bit harsh. The lows are of good amount but not flooding. A little swell in the sub-bass. It goes deep compared with the Stage 3, but not as deep as the Stage 4. The mids is definitely its selling point--the contour of the voices is well defined and outlined, floating beyond the accompanies. The soundstage is on par with the Stage 3, but the separation is better, I reckon. However, one thing worth noticing is that the Stage 3's intrusment texture is rendered more realistically. The JH 16 Pro is somewhat artificial in this specific aspect.

    I would compare the sound quality of the Stage 3 as the RAW photo files out of an APSC camera, and the JH16 Pro as photos having applied the "drama" filter. The RAWs can be sometimes plain but they contain the most of the details. On the other hand, the post processed drama effect can catch attention at the first glance, yet the transition from different layers can be a little "unnatural".

    Lastly, despite the above comments,I have to say, the JH16 Pro gives me equivalent fun as the Stage 4 has been giving me. The approaches are different but they all are capable of delivering the joy of music. It all depends on whether you are a RAW guy or a drama guy. : )

    I don't know if this would help.

    I have to emphasize again this is my own perspective. Discussions are welcomed. The source is mainly AK120. The files are AIFF and some DSD and 24/192s. The RSA intruder was added into the matrix just for some change. Surprisingly, the JH16 Pro doesn't respond well to the Intruder.
    Ultrazino likes this.
  11. hilosxdd
    Wow, thanks for the impressions ! :) have you heard the JH13 Pro FP ?

    How do they fare/line-up against each other ? Are the stage 3's bass , more punchy and deep than the JH13's ?

    Thank you once again :)
  12. lieberstanley
    I don't have a chance to audition the JH13 Pro FP. Maybe I can arrange that together with the Stage 3 in the near future.

    But before that, there must be someone here who has done the 2. I am curious as well.
  13. Mimouille
    First series of impressions. I managed to grab an hour of listening today. I am using my 901 with balanced card but are iems are cables single ended so far. I am listening only to FLAC in redbook quality in this first session. I am comparing Stage 2, 3, 4, 1Plus2 and SE5. Please be understanding, I am far from being a pro, I just say what I feel.
    First test song: The Kills - No Wow

    Stage 2: overall very cohesive and musical sounding. A bit on the bassy side. Quite narrow soundstage (compared to the others). Separation is quite good, but less well defined than the others. Clearly less bass body (a bit thin even though it is boosted) and less sub bass extension. Still, I took a lot of pleasure in this tune, the iem was on the fun side, a bit fatiguing with the bass.
    Stage 3: slightly less mid bass and better sub bass extension / echo. Same width of soundstage. More details and clarity, mostly due to a better balance accross frequencies. Less fatiguing but some will find also less fun than the Stage 2.
    Stage 4: more or less the same level of bass punch as the stage 2 but with more better quality and control and better sub bass extention. Overal more body to the music. No bass bleeding into the mids, better separation than Stage 2 and slightly wider soundstage (still more depth than width though). Overall, better technical proficiency then the 2 others, but still very fun.
    1Plus2: The 1plus2 is less sensitive so I turn the volume up a notch. The 1plus2 shines on such tracks that are congested on other iems. The overall presentation is more spacious and airy, but a bit thinner than stage 4. Same level of bass as stage 4 but a bit tighter. A bit harsher in the mids than stage 4. Overall very transparent sound.
    SE5: Less mid bass than stage 4 or 1plus2 but at the same level of quality. Wins over the other on naturalness, note weight and note texture. A bit more intimate sounding but with excellent imaging. Not the top on all aspects but maybe my favorite on this track
    Second test song: Grizzli Bear - Sleeping Ute

    Stage 2: Still very musical and engaging, more width demonstrated, but lacks depth and a bit thin sounding overal (compared to the others). Fairing ok on separation on a very complex track but the difference with others shows clearly here.
    Stage 3: Once again less bass than stage 2, clearly better separation, more depth and better overall balance. Overall great technical performance on this track with nice transparence, but could be a bit more engaging...maybe because I compare with the note weight of SE5
    Stage 4: excellent separation and layering. More bass than stage 3 but not excessive. Best texture of cymbals of all the 5 on this track (not far above SE5). Great performer on this kind of complex rock track
    1Plus2: Further from stage than the others, so different kind of emotion. Larger stage and better clarity than the other, more transparence. Prefer the texture of cymbals on stage 4. Great technical performance, slightly less engaging than Stage 4.
    SE5: more intimate sound but same level of separation and impaging vs. stage 4 and 1plus2. The fact that it is the only custom here gives it advantage in my book. More surface of contact gives a better overal feeling of the sound.
    Third test song - New Look - Nap on the Bow:

    Stage 2: for such modern, simple and well mastered music, the differences in technical performance are not so visible and the Stage 2 performs very well with nice clean bass and very clear mids. The sound is still a bit thin though
    Stage 3: bass has more weight and texture. Overall difference vs. Stage 2 is not so clear here. There is a bit more space and the soundstage has better definition. The mids are just as excellent.
    Stage 4: Once again, a bit better than stage 2 with the same kind of signature, but difference are slight here.
    1Plus2: Tighter bass and more distant, less engaging mids. The added airiness is not really needed here. Overall still an impeccable technical performance as usual.
    SE5: More centered and intimate presentation. Very smooth sounding. The most emotional closely followed by Stage 4.
    Fourth test song - Musica Nuda - Vado Giu (24 bit):

    Stage 2: excellent mids once again. The texture of the cello is very good but a bit overbearing, and hides the violins a bit. They would deserve to be a bit more vibrant. As usual, more towards cohesive sound than great separation.
    Stage 3: Female vocals just as excellent. More control in the cello which articulates better with the violins. More balanced sound with just as much emotion.
    Stage 4: Ultra detailed, cello a bit strong but does not cover the viollins like with Stage 2 thanks to better separation. Not sure they overperform the stage 3 on such music, but they are better to listen to at low volume
    1Plus2: Supreme details above all others, maybe too much ? Clarity to die for, violins could be smoother vs. stage 4.
    SE5: Once again, advantage of the customs. More immersion into the music. The cello is more controlled, like with stage 3. The most natural sounding of all.
    Fifth test song - Wild Nothings - No Future No Past

    Stage 2: The piano lacks a bit in note weight, the bass has nice texture but lacks control, is a bit bloated.  Soundstage is a bit vague. Keep in mind that this is all vs. higher performers. The sound is still great overall. The dynamics and punch are awesome, the sound is very vibrant with nice depth. Even if the bass is the bit much, the mids stay well separated. When the tracks become more complex, the stage 2 holds its own.  Cymbals have very nice texture.
    Stage 3: Less bass, tighter bass, but with just as much dynamics and punch. Mids are very slightly recessed, but the overall balance is better than stage 2. Overall, the feeling is almost perfect, apart from a slight lack in depth.
    Stage 4:  Once again more bass than Stage 3 but with more control than stage 2. Overall a great separation of instruments and layers. There is more depth than Stage 3 but a bit less bass would be better. Placement in the soundstage is very precise.
    1Plus2: Presentation is more distant. Bass is less present than on stage 4 but more than on stage 3. Highs really stand out giving an impression of more detailed sound. The transparency as well as the echo from the subbass are very impressive.
    SE5: more tamed bass than stage 4 which is good. Typical SE5 texture and note weight. Lack of width here is a bit suffocating but still ok since separation and depth are excellent
    Sixtth and final est song - Buena Vista Social Club - Chan Chan (Wav HD):

    Stage 2: very musical, fluid and engaging on this track, very natural. Not ultra separated between instruments but still not overlap, and a nice feeling of coherency. Mids are a bit drowned in instruments sometimes but the feeling of the music is clearly there. Highs are smooth, bass lacks a bit of definition.
    Stage 3: Less warm than stage 2, more balance between frequencies but a bit thinner and less engaging. More transparent but less emotional. Highs are more vibrant and sparkly. Because there is less thickness, instrument placement is better defined.
    Stage 4: great balance between the engaging aspect of stage 2 and technicallity of stage 3: best of both worlds and thus best of the 3
    1Plus2: the technical proficiency of the 1Plus2 really shines on such tracks. Some may dislike the slight distance in staging but otherwise, it sounds incredible in every department: details, transparency, separation, placement...
    SE5: incredible performer here too, as much as the 1plus2, but less airy, more natural. The most musical of all.
    After doing this track by track on all 5 iems, I decided to stop there and focus on Stage 3 and Stage 4 afterwards as they are the ones I might consider purchasing. I will not switch cables as I initially wanted as the cables seem stuck and I do not want to damage the sockets.
    Here is my first summary:
    Stage 2: very good balance between technicality and musicality. A bit on the bassy side, more fluid sounding than analytical. Very enjoyable iem. I would have to try the custom version to see if it is worth the price tag, but overall I really liked the sound.
    Stage 3: this is the more balanced / neutral sounding of the line up to my ears. It remains very musical so it might be the best all rounder to me at this stage. Will not be as fun or engaging as Stage 2 or 4 on some tracks, but is a great performer overall.
    Stage 4: A great technical performer with great musicality. It stays a bit below 1Plus2 and SE5 on some tracks, but I have the feeling it will be at the same level as these two in custom version, but with its own presentation.
    Own last thing: I have to repeat that beyond the sound, the build quality is better than anything I have tried except Fitear (and maybe SE5, but silicone is different).
    Link to these impressions added to first post.
  14. hilosxdd
    Seems like the Stage 2 overall performs better than Stage 3 ? :xf_eek:
  15. Mimouille
    Oh crap...then my review is not clear at all. Stage 2 is bassier and perform less well technically than Stage 3. But still good.
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