What is it about echo in IEMs? (I wanna know)
Jan 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22


Headphoneus Supremus
Aug 25, 2004

Originally Posted by shigzeo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am a big dynamic earphone fan, but even with such prejudices, the IE8 fail. They are well made and come in a great over-engineered box, but their largest failing isn't the mid-bass hump (turn up the bass knob to fix a lot of it); it is the midrange echo which hits particularly hard in fast bassy music. The housing's cheap plastic is too soft and creates what I hate: a horrid echo.

I wanted to love this earphone, but found too little to perfectly respect. The SM2 I do believe is one of the truly special universal ba phones out there. Is it the best? That is subjective, but it is a wonderful earphone which I put ahead of the IE8 in ever way, when driven from a good amp.

When not driven from an amp, the SM2 does not sound as stellar and I would prefer the echoey sound of the IE8. It comes down to the fact that compared to balanced armature earphones, the IE8 is a rather easy to drive earphone. It can sound good from a budget source while BA earphones don't begin to show what they can do without good amping.

Though I don't like the IE8 much at all, I realise that it is a quality product. It is easily worth its 250$, but I would in no way spend the American price.

Found this quote in another thread and didn't want to go off topic, so here are two questions about echo in IEMs:

1. Echo (or chamber echo) in IEMs is rarely mentioned here, almost exclusively by shigzeo. Nobody ever asks specifically about it, so I reckon other head-fiers hear it too. Well I tried, but so far I failed. Can anyone clarify for me how to identify echo in IEMs?

2. Echo is mentioned in conjunction with too soft (cheap, plastic) housing. From my understanding of the term (reflection of an acoustic wave) I don't understand why hard (metal) housing should be better. I thought avoiding echo is about absorbing energy, therefore e.g. in a recording studio soft material is used to line walls and ceiling. Where am I thinking wrong?

Thanks, and wish you all a happy new year!
Jan 1, 2010 at 9:55 AM Post #2 of 22
It seems to be a problem with some cans, but it's not really talked about in the scaled down IEMs. I've used the IE8 myself, and I've never noticed any echo with them. It might be volume dependent or maybe specific to a certain production run or build of the specific IEM in question.

Another aspect I've come across more is vibration of the earphones. This is a bigger issue I come across. This is where the bass can be felt vibrating the earphone itself, and this unwantingly brings your attention to the earphone directly rather then the music. I've experienced this a bit with various earphones, and it is many times unavoidable, especially with dynamic drivers that have a bit of diaphragm mass moving back and forth. The IE8 wasn't really bad at all about this though.
Jan 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM Post #3 of 22
mvw2,you don't like tactile feedback from iems??one of the best things I like about the fx500 is the reverbation or vibration and movement of the driver during bass notes,it is literally a pleasure for me!the ie8 can do that but not much.shigzeo please tell us what you mean by echoe,you said it many times before but I didn't understand what you mean in every single time!
Jan 1, 2010 at 6:19 PM Post #5 of 22
Having owned E3, SLC3, SE210, SE310, SF3 Studio, SF5 Pro, and TF10 Pro I can say that I didn't notice any odd echo. I did notice that I can hear reverb used in recording much better but that is not echo in the IEM. Maybe that's what is being referred to?
Jan 1, 2010 at 6:30 PM Post #6 of 22
no he cant be refering to reverbations because shigzeo said in one of his posts that the fx500 wooden housing doesnt make any echoes unlike the cheap housing of the ie8,and yet the fx500 has far far greater reverbation.shigzeo should chime in now to explain what he means for us
Jan 1, 2010 at 7:11 PM Post #11 of 22
More of the Japanese dynamic manufacturers are concerned with the "echo" or unwanted resonance. Resonance or vibration would be the more correct term instead of echo.

AT CKM55 with Brass stabilizer...
Google Translate More AT earphones are using it and others metals to reduce resonance; CKS70 needs it but a new model might have it in the future. The CKM70 uses stainless steel housing and costs quite a bit more. One is the more consumer bassy sound while one is more AT house sounding. One is more worried about resonance while the other is not.

Victor FX700...ƒXƒeƒŒƒIƒ~ƒjƒwƒbƒhƒzƒ“@HA-FX700@ƒXƒyƒVƒƒƒ‹ƒTƒCƒg ƒrƒNƒ^[. Notice the entire thing is now pretty much encapsulated in brass now. Wood is nice and can add character and texture but resonance is an issue.

They still mostly use plastic sound tubes which don't help. FAD(Final Audio) and some others have total metal designs including the sound tube. I find that thick stemmed tight fitting tips can help resonance through the tube as they reduce vibration.

Intoflatlines mention armature phones which are encapsulated so resonance is not an audible issue as the sound is usually directly coupled to the sound tube so the housing is not involved.
Jan 1, 2010 at 9:56 PM Post #14 of 22
Wow, I have never been directly quoted in an intro thread before. Yes, I am very acutely aware of plastic echoes. That, indeed, was the reason I sold my beloved Atrio M5, and to a lesser extent, the C700 which had overly excited treble echoes. While the word 'echo' can be used in a variety of meanings, I am quite literally talking about the splashy horrid 'thud' which catches most of my trance music off guard with earphones with soft plastic housings.

The same thing happens with the DT700 - and I sold it twice because of this. The FX500 doesn't have this problem; neither does the Mingo WM-2 and several others, but as I said, I am acutely aware and annoyed by this 'echo', 'thud', soft splash. It hasn't anything to do with stage, or bass volume. The Maximo which has a goodly amount of bass, doesn't suffer this.

The driver too, may be thicker. I am glad Victor are working to reduce/eliminate this effect and there are other companies, too, who are very serious about it. One is Final Audio which I will try to introduce a little later.
Jan 1, 2010 at 10:09 PM Post #15 of 22
i still dont get it shigzeo,is it that obvious?i listen to alot of trance,house and techno and i dont get what you mean,is there a track i can try that shows this echoe clearly? when i listen sometime to my ie8 and then the fx500 using the same track to compare,i can get some echo as you say as if the ie8 has nothing to block the sound,it traveles for a few milli seconds in space while with the fx500 there is no echoeing at all,it get blocked

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