IEM general discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I’ve been comparing the Senn ie600 and the original Campfire Vega using the iBasso DX320, which is the most resolving and technically capable DAP I’ve ever heard. Most of the music is from a micro SD card, although there’s been a little streaming from Roon, Qobuz, and Apple Music.

    Both IEMs are using the Campfire Audio black foam tips. I ordered new pairs direct from CFA so I could compare them both with fresh tips. The Vega sound best to me with the smallest tips and the most shallow insertion possible that still gives a solid seal. The ie600 sounded best with the deepest insertion I could get.

    The ie600 comes with two stock cables, a 3.5mm SE and a 4.4mm pentaconn balanced. The stock cables are quite nice. I hear some slight microphonics with them only when there is no music playing, but never once it’s plugged in. The cable is lightweight and seems to be tangle-proof. The ear hooks are bendable so you can adjust them, and frankly I’m a fan of these cables to the point where if one broke I’d just buy another stock one. The sleeve for the MMCX connectors on the Senn cable are pulled back in comparison to most MMCX cables because they need to accommodate the extra depth of the connector on the IEMs themselves. This means that only cables designed to work with the latest ie-series IEMs can fit them, and if using the Senn cable with other MMCX IEMs, there will be a bit of the connector exposed to the open air, which shouldn’t affect performance but don’t try and jam the connector all the way down.

    For the Vega I ordered a Linsoul Kinera Ace cable from Amazon, mostly because it seemed flexible, had modular terminations, and was under $50.

    Both IEMs are tiny, although the ie600 with its 3D printed metal body feels lighter and less substantial than Vega body. They easily fit into my ears and I can listen to either for hours, but the combo of the more shallow insertion and heavier shell of the Vega did result in some irritation if worn for very long periods.

    While both are single DDs, and provide excellent timbre, the two presentations could hardly be more different. The Vega is thick, full bodied, and constantly dynamic. It has an elevated midbass that propels the sound forward. Drums and electric bass have exceptional slam and drive. Male vocals and instruments like electric guitars are rich and inviting. The treble is solid but not the star of the show. The reason I have to go for a shallow insertion with the Vegas is because they become bassy to the point of drowning out the mids with a deep insertion. Even with the most shallow insertion that still gets a seal, the bass of the Vegas is so prominent that it can obscure fine details in the mix.

    As I mentioned in my previous post, tip selection with the ie600 is absolutely crucial. The stock silicone tips can’t seal for shit and the stock foams put such an emphasis on the high end that they overpower the presentation. That’s why I’m using the Campfire tips, as they tame that eager treble while bringing the rest of the FR into focus.

    Using the Campfire tips, the ie600s blossom. With a sub bass emphasis instead of mid bass, the low end is taut and well defined. The mids have a clarity that I have rarely heard in a dynamic driver, and the highs are still well extended with notable sparkle. The extended highs and overall clarity combine to present a soundstage that is nearly panoramic, although not with significant depth.

    With a highly resolving DAP like the 320, the amount of detail, texture, and sheer resolution can feel overwhelming. The ie600s truly feel like a DD version of Andromeda, able to dissect the mix so each individual element is plain to hear. I’ve heard details in songs I’ve listened to for decades that I’ve never noticed before with the ie600/320 combo. All of this is with DD timbre that sounds natural and authentic to the tonality of each instrument.

    If there are any nitpicks, the head stage could use more depth, the sub bass emphasis means that at times while the bass lacks the impact one expects (although when the sub bass wakes up the rumble does feel visceral), especially in comparison to Vega, and the presentation feels at times like it lacks macrodynamics, again especially in comparison to the Vega. The Vegas however, despite also being resolving and fast for a DD, absolutely obscure finer details because of its mid bass emphasis and their headstage is claustrophobic in comparison to the ie600.

    If you had a gun to my head, I’d be forced to go with the ie600. It is simply one of the best IEMs I’ve ever heard, even with the criticisms I listed above. For all their attempts to recreate the HD800 in an IEM by goosing the treble, Sennheiser finally managed to create an IEM that retains the best qualities of the 800–highly resolving, wide soundstage, comfortable to wear for hours—with a balanced FR and the result is often intoxicating.

    The Vegas are “fun” IEMs, more colored, less detail and soundstage, but with bass impact that will rattle your teeth and macrodynamic swings that are simply thrilling. It’s not an IEM I could recommend as a main driver but with used prices in the low $300 range, certainly are worthy of consideration as an alternate.

    I highly recommend the ie600. With the Campfire Audio foam tips, their performance is so impressive that I’d take them over many full size headphones within the same price range.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2023
  2. udin

    udin Acquaintance

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    Very insightful comparison, thanks for taking the time to write this up. I also have the IE200 and the Vega 2020. I haven't done an extensive comparison like yours but threw some CA foam tips on the Senns to try it out and thought they worked for them as well. I also had trouble with the Senn silicone tips and getting a good seal, so it is nice to know there are other options beyond just the Senn foams. Seems like the 600's are very well regarded, would love to hear them and compare to the 200's.
     
  3. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! I’ve heard the 200s are mini 600s so I’m not surprised the CFA foams work well with those too. Do you feel they adjusted the FR or just allowed for a better seal?
     
  4. udin

    udin Acquaintance

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    I thought the CA foams were comparable in sound to the Senn foams, with maybe a slight lift in treble response, but nothing that was a game changer. That lift could be due to the filter in the Senns, and they seemed to be just a little smoother overall in their presentation. At least to my ears, the differences are not huge, and my back and forth comparison was pretty brief and limited to one album (Terje Rypdal, Miroslav Vitous, and Jack DeJohnette). Either way, I am able to get a good seal with the Senn foams and will probably stick with them for the time being, but I have a lot of CA foams around and the Senn tips aren't exactly inexpensive to replace.
     
  5. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    So... what's your best guess: I recently purchased a pair of multi-armature iems from the headfi. When I get a good seal and tap on it, which I do to make sure I have seal, I get a weird, ringing... Hmm... I think. SO I put it upside down in the other ear, get a good seal and tap... same ringing sound. The other side does not have has this sound. My gut impulse is that I've got a driver out. Anyone else concur?
     
  6. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Don't know about the ringing in particular, but I'd sweep the audible spectrum with a mono tone generator and check whether the tone stays centered. If one side is considerably louder than the other at certain frequencies, you might have got a driver out. In that case, re-check with a different pair of IEMs to make sure it's not your ears that have an imbalance in that range.

    https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/
     
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  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    A long term update on the IE 600s. I almost sold these a few times, mostly just out of that itch to keep trying other things, but I’m really glad I’ve held on to them. The real key to unlocking their full potential was switching to IE Pro tips, which have the same design as the IE 600 stock tips but the material is thicker and seals far better. With these tips, the 600s are pretty close to perfectly balanced.

    They sound huge, with a bigger soundstage and more air and space between instruments than many over ears. It kind of blows my mind how big they sound when the housing is maybe the smallest I’ve ever experienced for an IEM.

    Detail retrieval and resolution are top notch, I’ve heard the 900s are more resolving but frankly I’m not even curious to see because the 600s resolve as well as I could ever want. The detail combined with the exceptional separation really does bring to mind the OG Andromeda in how I can shift my focus from instrument to instrument as I please. And like the Andromeda, the 600 has great top end sparkle.

    I’ve also come to appreciate the sub bass emphasis of these. No, it doesn’t slam like some IEMs/headphones but the definition and texture of the upper bass is glorious, and the sub bass does provide a foundation so it doesn’t sound anemic.

    I’ve been pairing these with a Hiby RS2 and the combo is pure magic. The qualities of the DD driver are complemented and enhanced by the R2R presentation of the DAP and I find myself craving sessions with it, sometimes even when I’m at my desk and have my full system available to me.
     
  8. Riotvan

    Riotvan Snoofer in the Woofer

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    You're not helping me you know I already have my eyes on these... How's isolation btw compared to BA sets without vent? Read it's actually good depending on tips?
    Speaking of which are those the foam or silicone pro tips?
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The IE Pro tips are silicone.

    Isolation is about average I guess. My sense of it is skewed because when I want isolation I use AirPod pro 2 with foam tips and noise cancellation on.
     
  10. Riotvan

    Riotvan Snoofer in the Woofer

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    Thanks, I might just buy both versions though should I ever go for the ie600. Though I really need to slow the f**k down, so much to be gained by tweaking what you have now. Spent €100 just on tips in a week.
     
  11. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I've been wanting to try those tip. They are testing out custom moulds in Germany. My current tips Sedna EarFit - the dark ones not the clear one. They are still sharp right at that specific spot in the mid->upper treble area.

    I still love the ie600. I feel like I've got a pretty rounded collection of IEM's and the IE 600 is up high there in my list for DD IEM's. I agree that the resolution is 'enough' - they are an enjoyable headphone.
     
  12. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I'm so curious to hear how those Sennheiser custom tips turn out! There are a few third party providers that can make custom tips on request, but it would be cool to get them straight from Sennheiser. And for the IE 600 I'd seriously consider it, although the IE Pro tips work well.
     
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  13. Riotvan

    Riotvan Snoofer in the Woofer

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    One of the recent Darko podcast episodes was about the ie series with their product manager. Their acquisition by Sonova allowed them easy access all over Germany for these imprints, you get them for free over there with a new IE900 while separately it costs about €150. They are looking to expand to the rest of Europe. Maybe you folks in other parts of the world will get access too.
     
  14. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Sennheiser understands that when you buy a premium product, you're buying a whole experience. Something HFM could really learn.
     
  15. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Did anyone try the Blessing 3 or the Dunu SA6 MKii? I know the Blessing 2 got a little more love here than the Dusk. Curious about the Blessing 3. Everyone seems to love the MKii but not sure how recessed the mids are...
     
  16. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I’ve had the Senn IE600 for six months now, and it still delights and surprises me. It is far and away the best and most consistent IEM I’ve ever owned, after switching the tips to IE Pro tips.

    It has remarkable levels of microdetail and resolution, but doesn’t shove it in your face. And the DD timbre makes everything I throw at it sound correct in a way BA has never been able to match.

    Honestly at even at full price I think these are worth it as they have Andromeda level technicalities with DD drivers, but if you can find a used pair around $400-$450 you should not hesitate.
     
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  17. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I really like the ie200s as well.
     
  18. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    please tell!
     
  19. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    @Merrick should I go with my same stock eartips size as the IE PRO tips? I'm surprised to see I'm a small, guess I have small earholes!
     
  20. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    @Merrick Also curious if you tried the Final Aude E-Type? I love those tips and just read that they fit on the IE200. I imagine they do on the IE600 as well.
     

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