Audeze SINE Impressions and Discussions

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    Yeah I'm really pissed that they did not inlude a carrying case.

    Anyway SQ is more important than accessories and they are MUCH better than the PM-3.
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I really love the PM-3, I'm sad I didn't give these a listen at Canjam for comparison (the PM-3 was what I brought to Canjam to demo sources with). I'll have to see if any shops in my area will have demo units I can try.
     
  3. dented42ford

    dented42ford Rando

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    Hey all - first post, so be kind...

    I just purchased a pair of Sines yesterday, and spent today wandering around Madrid listening to them. These are my first impressions, which are subject to change over time! My buddy is a member here, and he encouraged me to share...

    • I'm an audio engineer with a technical background, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Detail and transient response are far more important to me than most. These are just first impressions, so I won't go into too much comparative detail.
    • I'm going to use the Sennheiser HD25 as a comparison, as it is what I think of as the "standard" sealed on-ear. I am also quite familiar with them.
    • Sine punches hard, almost as hard as HD25's, which are my gold standard for transient response.
    • I acclimated to the upper-mid recess fast, and once I did the detail became far more noticeable. On par with HD800, in practice - not quite the microscope effect of the IE800 or other HQ in-ears, but close. Very pleasing tonality overall - I am used to analytical reproduction, which these are not. The Sine is more of a "typical" Hi-Fi sort of signature, which most aficionados would likely prefer.
    • Soundstage is smallish, but still bigger than HD25. Not an issue for me, but if you obsess over wideness, could be off putting. Just the name of the game with closed-back on-ears, though! It is on par with most IEM's, but not quite on the level of IE800's.
    • Comfort is very good. Takes a bit of getting used to, but better than most on-ears. Ears get warm, but not unpleasantly so. Once you get used to the shape of the pads, getting a good seal is pretty easy. I had no problem accommodating my sunglasses while walking briskly, something I find difficult with most other mid-sized cans - the HD25's can be torture in that regard.
    • On the same note, they won't fall off easily, though their clamp force isn't too high. It is about on par with well-worn-in ATH-M50's, but no where near the vice grip of HD25's.
    • Have a nice weight - not so light as to feel as though they aren't there (the 25's, again), but not heavy to the point of being noticeably so.
    • Isolation is good enough to use without issues on the subway - which is my usual standard for good iso!
    • Yes, you can still hear stuff going on around you. I wouldn't try using these as DJ cans, for instance - though that being said, they would probably do an ok job at it, as many DJ cans don't actually have that great of isolation...
    • One other thing about the Sines - they have A LOT of low-end information. They aren’t muddy, but it can be a tad difficult to make out the difference between the Kick and Bass, especially on downtuned stuff (Nirvana, QotSA). This is a normal thing on ALL headphones - and most studio monitors, for that matter - but is worth mentioning.
    • I only mention it because the Sines are much clearer than most in that range - almost as clear as IEM’s - but not perfect.
    • That's about it for first impressions - I will do a full review when I feel I know them a bit better, and if I remember to!
    As far as gear goes, I was using my iPhone 6+ and a Chord Mojo via USB. Swapped back and forth a bit, and impressions remained similar - no, the iPhone didn't sound as good without the Chord, but the overall tonality was close enough to make the same comments. In other words, they are easy to drive and you won't be hurting too bad if you are using the stock amp!

    Music was an assortment of rock and electronic, in an assortment of formats (mostly ALAC, some Apple Music, some 320 MP3, some raw WAV). Spent about 4 hours wandering, so there was a fair amount of it - stuff that sounded notably excellent was Infected Mushroom, Queens of the Stone Age, and some of my own orchestral work. Stuff that was a bit "off" (not bad, just unexpected) was mostly Americana - for instance, The Old 97's Drag It Up (in ALAC) didn't really sound great - the downtuned, fuzzy lead guitar sounded a bit muddy, taking away from the excellent vocal presentation...

    Let me know if you want more info - I'll try to contribute more as my impressions evolve!
     
  4. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    HD25 has notoriously small soundstage. That was the biggest irritation for me, among those fugly looks. After HD25s I bought 1st gen Momentums, and they aren't nearly as "closed-in". With the HD25 the music plays right in-your-face. Interesting to see if the Sines have a soundstage closer to the Momentums.
     
  5. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    100% agreed based on my experience with Amperiors, Momentums, and Momentum 2's. The 2's are the best in this respect IMO probably due to the angled pads.

    Thanks for the great impressions @dented42ford ! I'm getting quite interested in the Sine to compliment my UERMs for my portable setup. I'm a bit hesitant to adopt early before there's more input regarding product variation and to see if Audeze is going to start pulling any silent revision BS.
     
  6. GettingBuckets

    GettingBuckets Almost "Made"

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    I'm pretty content with my M2 for portable use, but my upgradeitis is making me consider looking at these. Like I said before, I really REALLY wish they weren't on-ears. I can't stand getting a good and comfortable seal with them. Someone needs to petition to Audeze to make them over ear and I will be super happy and willing to lop off a limb to buy them.
     
  7. dented42ford

    dented42ford Rando

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    Ok, further impressions on 2nd day of wandering. Same conditions as the first day - iPhone 6+, Chord Mojo, Sines. I also had a realization how ridiculous I must seem to the average person - an American wandering around Madrid with an iPhone, an external DAC/Amp, Planar Magnetic headphones, Levi 501's, an old Threadless t-shirt, a Burberry rain jacket, and Vibram FiveFinger shoes (Lontras, if anyone cares - hey, I like them!), listening to a random assortment of music many people have never heard of...

    (I guess I dress like a hipster, whatever that means)

    In any case, after the difficulties I encountered with The Old 97's yesterday, I decided to load up my phone with stuff of a "similar nature" to see how the combo handled it. It was hit or miss:

    • I think I've found the Sine's Achilles' Heel - things that have a whole lot of dense detail in the lower mid and upper bass range.
    • The most strikingly "off" sounding album I listened to was Dinosaur Jr's Hand It Over. One of my reference tracks has always been "I'm Insane", not because I really like the song - it isn't one of Mascis' stronger efforts - but because it is just so dense. The Sines reproduced the density with far too much intensity - while it was possible to pick out all the details of the song - the many layers of guitars, the spastic drums, the horn and string parts over super-fuzzy guitars, and most importantly the bass - it was by no means pleasant while doing so!
    • The detail was there, but it was just overwhelming - overly dense. The same thing happened with Devin Townsend (not a huge fan, just looking for difficult material); Z2's "Midnight Sun" was almost overwhelming, and not in the way that it is supposed to be.
    • Another album which I didn't listen much past the first couple tracks was Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream. "Cherub Rock" in particular has the same issue that "I'm Insane" does - the guitars just don't sound right, even if all the info is there.
    • It wasn't all bad news, though - things that were sparser and less dense in the 300-1200hz range benefited greatly from the same effect that made the dense stuff fatiguing to me.
    • Wilco's A Ghost is Born sounded amazing, for instance. That's my favorite Wilco album (not their "best", but MY favorite), and though it is easily as dense as Dinosaur Jr in places - "Handshake Drugs", for instance - the density felt engaging, rather than fatiguing.
    • Amusingly, the same seemed to be the case with Prog Metal - Dream Theater (Images and Words, Metropolis Pt.2) sounded awesome as well, even in their most spastic moments (though nothing could make me hate LaBrie less). Same with more upper-mid-focused stuff like NOFX (So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes) and Jets to Brazil (Orange Rhyming Dictionary, one of my favorite albums ever) - both sounded "right", if that makes sense.
    • Drums in general sound great with this rig - and that is quite the trick. They even sounded very good on the dense stuff, excepting the DTP album (which has a crapy drum sound in the first place).
    • It should be said that the stupid-dense stuff sounds that way on most systems - the Sines handled the material with aplomb, bringing out all the details, they just didn't sound particularly pleasant doing it!
    • My theory is that it is the lack of an upper-mid emphasis to define the instruments - Mascis and Corgan's fuzzy, dense guitars in particular - leaves the sines with all "meat" and no "bones", if that makes sense. Basically they are the anti-Grado, and the material I found that they struggled with is exactly the same material that Grados can sound awesome on, in spite of their [obvious] flaws!
    • I wouldn't let this particular niggle of mine dissuade you from trying them - I have played guitar for over 20 years, and fuzzy, dense stuff is kinda my thing. I'm really picky with that sort of material, and someone else might not even notice the issue - it wasn't as though it were muddy, after all, merely overwhelming. Remember, I'm not an "audiophile" per se, so the same thing I find "overwhelming" someone else might find "engaging"! After all, I have a penchant for things most enthusiasts would call "painfully bright", mainly because I value transient detail so highly.
    I'll report back again in a couple of days.
     
  8. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Thanks for the impressions! (Although we could do without the whole first paragraph to be honest.)
     
  9. burnspbesq

    burnspbesq Friend

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    As of 15 minutes ago, the Audeze Store website is saying that Sines are backordered 2-3 weeks, regardless of which cable you want.
     
  10. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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  11. dented42ford

    dented42ford Rando

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    If you want to call that a "review" - it didn't say anything of substance. Typical of Wired - mention that "there are many other headphones that sound as good or better for the same $450 base price" without giving any actual comparisons...

    (Not normally so negative, just really annoyed at such a non-review)
     
  12. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    This reviewer doesn't seem to have an understanding of the different types of headphones and their relative purposes.

    I've used my HD650s and t50rp mods while going to the grocery store, gas station, co-op...even once to the gym, which went about as well as you'd expect. Maybe Michael Calore has the same deficient level of social pragmatics I do? After all, that really seems to be what he's advocating for...if you buy the Sine for their "unique technology" and not the fact that they're a fucking portable supra-aural headphone and it's the small form factor to sound quality ratio that makes these worth consideration. He doesn't make reference to the PM-3 - its closest portable planar competitor. He doesn't note the price points (or even the existance) of CIEMs or the high-end in-ear market, which really define the portable high-end market's pricing structure.

    There are times when I just wondered whether or not he just read another review and aped the content. Then added a bunch of verbiage where he pops a squat on audiophiles because "har har that's funny."
     
  13. Bobcat

    Bobcat Friend

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    Well, mine is supposed to arrive today (traditional cable) from Amazon.

    Rob
     
  14. Deders

    Deders Rando

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    Hi, I'm a guitarist myself and have had some experience with engineering, so having your level of input is very useful for me.

    Am seriously considering these headphones as they seem like a perfect fit for my needs. We seem to have similar tastes in music (bands might be a bit different), was wondering if you you give me a bit of insight as for what to expect.

    I realise that personal tastes in audio equipment is comparatively subjective, usually based on what someone is used to listening with. And in your case your line of work demands that you use equipment that can pick out more details than headphones designed for consumers, but your impression of Siamese Dream caught my attention as this is an album I will be listening to, along with a few other bands that have centralised/doubled/thickened guitars around the same frequency space, instead of say Appetite for Destruction where each instrument seemed to have it's own space in the mix, different sounding guitars panned left and right, Duffs melodic bass (with that almost chiming top end) ringing through, and Axl in ranges I'm pretty sure that band had to take it in turns kicking him in the balls to maintain.

    I've just had a very quick listen to the beginnings of a couple of songs on both the standard and 24bit versions of Siamese Dream through my upper mid range Hi-fi and the bass does seem more lost in the mix than when listening to it on my MP3 player with Sony IEM's. this isn't a phenomena I'd noticed before, and I'm not sure whether to thank you genuinely, or sarcastically.

    The 24 bit remaster on the other hand somehow does seem to let the bass ring through a bit, just enough to hear it better defined between the Guitars and Bass. This is even more prominent on my MP3/IEM's but I can't remember if I encoded them from the original mix or from the 24/96 remaster (Same Lame VBR v0 codec for both). I thought both were on there for comparisons, but can presently only find one.

    I'm probably worrying about nothing really, and was going to ask you a lot more questions. I seemed to have resolved most of them myself whilst writing this. I guess I'm just so used to the IEM's that I was expecting the same kind of clarity or better from these kind of headphones (intended for use with my Hi-Fi/Receiver).

    As expectations can often lead to disappointment, at least I now know what to expect, It won't be such a shock to me now you have said it's common for most speakers/headphones that weren't intended for sound engineers.

    You might want to try the 24 bit Re-issue though, I do kind of sense that somehow, whether its through eq-ing at the remastering studio, there are definite slight differences you'd only notice through A/B-ing them. For instance some of the swirly guitar sounds at the beginning of Quiet are more prominent. Say if they were using 3 tracks, one for each kind of sounds, one of the "swirls" sounds more prominent compared to the others, compared to the original mix. It may just happen that the particular frequencies the guitar was producing, lined up with a change in EQ. Not sure how the overall 24bit version was treated, or whether it was the original mix sent to the remastering studio all those years ago, before any EQ was applied.

    Could give the orig mix a bit of a listen every now and then and see if burn-in (don't worry about pink noise, just as you play music through them) clears this up at all over time? As some have mentioned this pair does seem to benefit from a bit of burn in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  15. numbercube

    numbercube Acquaintance

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  16. dented42ford

    dented42ford Rando

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    Deders, honestly, I think you're overthinking it a bit. Siamese Dream is one of those albums whose production style is so "over-the-top" that it will always be problematic for playback systems - even in mastering rooms it sounds a bit weird! For one thing, there aren't two or three layers of guitars on "Quiet" and "Cherub Rock" - there are seven or more! The bass is subdued because it is both distorted and intentionally brought behind the fuzzy mess of Big Muff that is the rhythm guitars...

    I guess my point is that Siamese Dream is going to be tricky, no matter the reproduction method. The Sines just seem to have a particular problem in reproducing the mayhem, probably because they are so flat in the mid band! The same quality that gives them such depth and realism on more evenly built tracks - like Wilco or most EDM (as odd as that might seem) - is what makes the fuzzy 90's stuff a tad busy. I noted the same issue with some Pavement tracks, for instance - on "A Date with IKEA" the Rickenbacker comes through with amazing clarity, but the bass can be a bit indistinct. Through my Genelecs at home or the HE-400i, for instance, the bass is much clearer (such as it is) - yet also lacking the depth and punch that the Sines offer...

    The 24-bit re-issue of SD is a completely different master to the original CD I was listening to (well, ALACs ripped off the original, bought in 1995 or thereabouts). The mix is the same, but the master is far more energetic and quite a bit "flatter" - the original release is notoriously "scooped", which is what Corgan wanted!

    All that said, I think you'd enjoy the Sines for what they are, even if that sort of music is not their forte - honestly, their reproduction of other things can be so "exciting" that a bit of weakness to thick grunginess can be forgiven!

    Oh, and sorry to make you notice the issues - that is one of my favorite albums, too, and it has amazing textures, but there are also serious technical issues in execution. Along with My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, it is one of those albums that makes me wish I knew less about sound!

    Those measurements seem about "right", except it looks like the pair they got have a pretty noticeable driver mismatch. My pair doesn't seem to have that issue. Some of the "weirdness" in both the transient/SW response and [electrical] impedance curves can probably be chocked up to acoustical impedance issues - big driver, small enclosure. The attenuation also [anecdotally] seems much better than the -11db they are listing - perhaps their seals were a bit off? That could also explain the big ringing in impulse response...
     
  17. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Those measurements are actually pretty damn good.
     
  18. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    Yeah - measurements pretty accurately reflect how they sound too. They sound very good. Excellent impact, great bass extension, extremely clean and clear sounding. I had to coin flip on whether or not I was going to sell my pair or go to the optometrist and get contact lenses.

    If they make different pads, I'll have to try them again later.
     
  19. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    It's possible that the spike in impendance between 2-3k is related to the "LC" Tyll said he saw in cups...
     
  20. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    You mean MY Audez'e Sine:p

    Seriously, I wear glasses but my frame is very thin. Does it matter? I had no problem with my Momentums on ear.
     

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