InEar ProPhile 8 Measurements and Review (Stream of Consciousness)

Discussion in 'IEM Measurements' started by purr1n, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Well, I wouldn't say that the sound doesn't appeal. Some folks are likely running devices with higher source impedances that that would certainly shape the PP8's response in a more positive way. Also, a lot of people still like the UERM sound. This is like an UERM with less veil and phat bass (a good thing).

    As far as FIBAE: LOL! It's nothing so special that it deserves an acronym; but I do think Custom Art should be appauded for considering this approach. They marketed it extremely poorly though by telling the consumer how it helps for a consistent sound that isn't affected by source impedance.

    It's tradeoffs. One school of thought is that adding more parts to the crossover results in less transparent sound. And then there are engineering decisions, like how flat do we want to make the impedance curve, very flat, or just reasonably "good enough" flat. These decisions could impact the drivers used, how they are wired up, how big the shells need to be, etc?

    Then there is the other side of the problem. Portable playback device and phone manufacturers aren't shooting for a standard of near zero ohm source impedance. Probably reasons behind this because a resistor after the outputs helps the devices survive the inevitable short circuits caused by consumers.
     
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  2. TomHP

    TomHP Almost "Made"

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    @Marvey did you play with the Spinfit tips that come in the package? I found the slightly deeper insertion with size that fits me best (pink sleeve) took the edge of the mids slightly.

    YMMV
     
  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Currently at @brencho’s place. Reporting back on my brief first encounter with PP8:

    - Please note that my Andro has even more subdued upper mid than regular Andro. Mine would probably be a downward slope even in measurement, I feel.

    - Vocal shrillness is obvious to me on ZX2, not parrotting @Marvey here. Those who know me know I’m basically like @Hands but with a bit more tolerance for treble nastiness. PP8 doesn’t pass my “blanket for the heart” test. It’s a bit too thin sounding. “Lacking warmth” is also a right description for them, I guess.

    - I don’t dare to listen to cymbals on them. Even on Andro, cymbals sound a bit shimmery to me. I get the feeling PP8 could be somewhat harsh and shrill.

    - PP8 sounds like the soundstage has nice width and height (somewhat more so than my Andro, which is good), but depth is seriously lacking. It sounds more... intimate per se. Andro places things further and closer accordingly. Bass is the most immediate difference to me. PP8 sounds like I’m sitting in front of a subwoofer while Andro sounds like a small van coming at me at >60mph. Just short of the “truck coming at you” feel of the Abyss.

    - Female vocals do get a nice boost on PP8. Male vocals are infinitely better on Andro, though.

    - Foam tips hurt my ears still, so not really an option for me. Silicone tips too bassy though, or at least they make bass stand out a bit more? Andro is still nice and faster-sounding with the same sillicone tips.

    - Okay, on second listening, it sounds like Andro is actually more sparkly/shimmery. PP8 really is just shoutier. And I finally heard some cymbals, which ain’t all that bad but the “tail-end” sounds like it’s not ringing out as much? Maybe I’m too used to Andro.

    - PP8 is more doable on iPhone 6 Plus. ZX2 makes PP8 sound like HD600 on the shoutiest amp in existence + the shrillest DAC in existence to me. Not pleasant at all. But ZX2 beats iPhone 6 Plus by a significant margin in air, details, rawness, dynamics, bass, etc... whatever to me. While PP8 has the right-ish tonality on iPhone 6+, it was at best equal to Andro on iPhone 6+, and still “far behind” to me when the combo is compared against ZX2 + Andro.

    Conclusion: I need to wait for my turn with PP8 and probably try to find the right tips + pairing combo with it. Andro + ZX2 I feel is almost cheating because it’s such a good fit for my taste already. Also my Andro is purposefully modded to my taste, too.

    But I can hear where PP8 can probably be “toned” to be more like what I want, and then maybe it’ll be competitive with Andro on the right setup. We’ll see.
     
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  4. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    @Bill-P Assume you had both switches OFF?

    My first listen was out of iDSD, iEMatch High (I measured 4 ohm), so that may have made a difference to my impression. But my 2nd listen out of ZX2 was equally pleasurable.

    Andro stage is both wider and deeper than PP8 for me.
    Are you talking about texture/realism? Or punchiness/impact? I used silicone tips and PP8 bass was slightly shelved up compared to Andro. Bass quality was halfway between Andro and W900. Andro might have a bit better extension.

    PS. What is your “blanket for the heart” test?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  5. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, both switches are off. I gotta note further that my ZX2's configuration is currently set to the "bright" one (DSEE HX on but Sound Adjustments forced shutdown <- not "disabled").

    I didn't have time to switch to either stock or the other config (disabling Sound Adjustments altogether), and I know all 3 settings sound different enough, so there's that.

    And I was talking about pure punchiness/impact. Andro to me sounds both "fuller" and "faster." Like... the note is phat, it hits and then retreats to "nothingness" faster, whereas PP8 sounded like it lingered a bit longer whenever a bass note hit, and the bass note didn't sound "phat" or anything, but kinda hollowed out, if that makes any sense. It wasn't bad by any means, but I'm secretly a warm-head (I guess that'll be a "term" now?), so...

    And that's what I meant by "blanket for the heart", too. Like... something gotta have warmth/weight/heft to it to pass this test.
     
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  6. MuZo2

    MuZo2 Friend

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    Thing is InEars created a shell design for 2BA Stagedriver SD2 which fits perfectly.
    For PP8 they kept same design and scaled it up to fit 8 drivers + crossover + switches, resulting in larger shell which doesnot fit very well and people wont get correct insertion depth with the tips they would use mostly on other IEMs.
    It took me 3 days to find the right tips.
    Whats missing is measurement with different insertion depth( different size ear tips)
     
  7. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Not sure if this is the right thread (never really followed the PP8), but I just heard these at the Hifi Tage Darmstadt show. It's most likely too late to post PP8 impressions now anyway as there are probably a dozen people that still care about the PP8 worldwide. I also heard the CA range (mainly Andromda S, Solaris, Vega and Equinox) FWIW. I might post my thoughts in the other threads as well.

    I mainly went there to listen to speakers, so I only brought my Galaxy S8 as a source, but as it turned out all the speaker rooms except maybe the two or three that used a power conditioner sounded like shit, so I spent way too much time listening to the newest FOTM mid-fi IEMs in the 1-2k€ range and headphones in the 2-5k€ range. (Seriously, the power must've been awful at the Darmstadtium. Most rooms were almost unlistenable to me, despite them actually being pretty good acoustically. This effect also got worse in the evening when they turned on their CCFL lights which is why I assume it has to do with the power.)
    Tbh I don't care for new IEMs all that much. My RE272 (with just the slightest bit of additional front damping with a special material) they fit my preferences almost perfectly: Clean and clear sounding with good extension on both ends, slightly midrange-foward tonality, very good resolution, excellent high SPL capabilities and they sound pretty good straight out of my phone. I can almost never be bothered to take an extra device with me, so it's very important that they can sound good with a mediocre source. I think my S8 (Snapdragon variant) has an OI of around 2 ohm? Not entirely sure. And supposedly the PP8 sounds bad with the S8, so ymmv.

    Impressions here:
    I didn't like the PP8 at all. @Negura told me to try them without the filter in the sound bore, but the rep wouldn't allow it. It had the switches set to what's supposedly neutral, but it's possible it would've been a good idea to use the treble switch. The three main things that made the PP8 disappointing to me were:
    1. Weird upper midrange
    2. Treble peak
    3. Total lack of air.
    What annoyed me the most about the midrange was that the overall level of the upper mids was actually close to correct, it was just that they were too uneven. 2kHz seemed even slightly laid back to me, but 3kHz was very forward. This gave everything a very artificial timbre. Vocals are a joke. Natural instruments all sound off. I could understand if someone told me the RE272 has a weird midrange timbre, but the PP8 is much, much worse. Apple Earbuds have a more correct sounding DF midrange tuning. The PP8 sounds like it tries to sound DF, but then steps back a little to not offend too much and in the process it sounds neither like a correct DF tuning, nor a neutral tuning. My brain can get used to a DF tuning after a long time, but it didn't get used to the PP8.
    I also thought the PP8 had pretty high distortion, probably 3rd order, in the midrange. I haven't looked at the measurements, but I'm used to 3rd order BA distortion in the bass from my UERM. In this case it seemed like the distortion continued in the midrange. It really didn't handle high volume levels well at all. I also thought the upper midrange/lower treble transition region (3-6kHz) was too forward.

    The treble was almost as bad as the midrange. There seemed to be a peak in the sibilance region, but instead of keeping extending like the UERM (which at least goes to 16kHz) it seemed to fall off a cliff at 12kHz. Treble energy usually got lost entirely, but once in a while the painful sibilance reminds you that it's there. Maybe it'd sound better with the treble switch on.

    The bass also seemed very muddy. It's weird how the lower midrange has a bit of a dip and then it seems to return back to neutral or slightly above neutral for the bass region. This makes the bass very disjointed from the rest of the range and probably also hurts the bass quality subjectively by making the distortion more obvious than it is on the UERM or Andromeda. I did think the PP8 bass is much less tight and much less controlled than either of them though. Extension also didn't seem the best.

    Aside from the glaringly obvious tonal issues I also found the staging too small, the resolution to be lacking even compared to much cheaper IEMs and there seemed to be a haze over the whole range that hurt the dynamics and made it sound too overdamped. It's highly likely this would go away without the nozzle filter, at least according to what negura told me.

    Edit: I forgot, but the cable is also supposed to add to that. I also just used the stock tips FWIW. It's possible you could tone down the sibilance with the right tips.

    Overall Serious rating: 3/10 - it could be worse, but I'd unironically rather listen to my modded RE400.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  8. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    @Serious

    As a PP8 owner, I'd agree on point three. The IEM could do A LOT better in regards to air.

    The point on it trying to settle between neutral and DF is also something I agree with. I kind of like that, but maybe I'm just used to it now.
     
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  9. La Cenric

    La Cenric Friend

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    I found the 2-5k emphasis of the PP8 to match up with my own definition of neutral. I can never get used to DF but I can put on the PP8 and instantly have a sense of "flatness".

    That said, still not a big fan of the PP8 on a personal taste level since it sounded a little dead and had classic BA bass syndrome.
     
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  10. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    What tips are you guys using with the PP8? I have tried the often recommended spinfits with my SD-2's but they really screwed up the sound for me. Stock tips fares much better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  11. Negura

    Negura Friend

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    Could be the fit. I am not sure which ones are the stock tips as I got this pair used with an assortment of tips. Silicone ones like in the website picture? Yeah I did not like those at all. I'm using Spinfits (pushed down as much as possible) or Comply foams.

    Pretty neutral and smooooth sounding IEMs to me, except for like 2dB of sub-bass boost, slowly tapering off into midrange. 0 sibilance with whatever source/amp I tried so far. The only things I did not like with them stock is a slight fuzziness/blunting on attacks and lacking some air and treble spark. If anything the treble was slightly subdued, but quite close to neutral otherwise.

    Both air/spark and transient focus were helped by removing filters. Replacing stock cable with a silver cable further improved air/crispness/resolution. I'd prefer them to be even more articulated sounding, and a little bit less sub-bassy, but they are my relax relatively neutrally tuned flagships. And one of the few almost worth the asking price imo.

    Off average portable devices the stage is average size with good depth. However out of THX789/MSB they are quite incredible in terms of staging, 3D and transparency. And in technicalities and overall transparency (get out of the way) they are better than say my modded HD650 or LCD2C.They scale so much with better gear. I did not expect that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    concha gain.png

    PART 1 OF 2. CONTINUED IN NEXT POST. Things are more complex, but for the sake of simplicity, I've decided to focus on the concha, because the upper mids / lower highs seem one major area of disagreement with the PP8.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    concha gain.png

    Why does this not happen with headphones as much? IEMs completely bypass concha. Headphones do not. The concha is responsible for maybe 40% the overall gain of the ear, and MOST of the gain centered around 5kHz (2kHz to 8kHz range).

    @k.e., the one lectured to by the IEM master, should have known this already.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  14. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    I like the black silicones for the Stagedivers pushed down as far as they can go. I have tried many tips. Second best for my ears are the Final tips. Your impressions again sparked my interest in these.
     
  15. Negura

    Negura Friend

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    I just tried the silicone tips with a couple of slightly sibilant songs: Pink Martini - Lilly and Katie Melua - Piece by Piece. Yes silicones definitely sound more sibilant than the other 2 tips I mentioned. Nowhere near say stock HD800 bad though. And treble more uneven. There's a reason I never used these tips.

    Going back to Comply T foam, these are super smooth. Sibilance is actually slightly subdued compared to what it should be.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It's not sibilance - at least it wasn't for me or @brencho if I remember correctly. It was upper mids and to a lesser extent, lower mid depression, which is more difficult or not impossible to tame with tips. Sub-bass was muted. Maybe deep insertion, but these IEMs are physically too big to do this for most people.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  17. Negura

    Negura Friend

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    Serious complained about sibilance and so did others in previous posts. This is absolutely not there with the foam tips for me.

    I just compared and the lower midrange is a bit more present on HD650 and a bit less present on HE-6 with stock velours, than on Prophile 8 with Comply foams. From this point of view I can live with either of these 3 perfectly fine.

    Maybe I have a lucky fit with the PP8.

    Regarding deep fit I tried Spinfit double flanges but comfort is awful after 15 minutes.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I totally believe you. This is why different people may have different experiences with IEMs:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ream-of-consciousness.5192/page-3#post-231805

    There have already been studies where German weirdos / mad-scientists stuck microphones inside peoples' ears and they found significant differences in ear gain / head-torso-penis transfer function blah blah.

    Indeed. They were made for you (and @Vansen, @La Cenric, @k.e., and others).
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  19. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    It's very possible that with deeper insertion or foam tips the sibilance would be gone. Note that I'd also rate the Andromeda, UERM, Vega, Equinox, Solaris (impressions later) and many more as more sibilant than I can tolerate for long term high volume level listening. The UERM and Andro probably the least of the bunch. But I have a feeling if we continue this discussion once more it will end with me and ultrabike calling eachother names again.
    The RE272 is sort of magical for me in that the treble sounds impossibly smooth for an IEM - probably too smooth for others. It seems to present sibilance more like my speakers which not even full size headphones can do.
    The B2 with super deep insertion and no eartips (lol) was also fine. The B2 with regular insertion and stock eartips is a torture device.
     
  20. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Having read about many peoples recommendation for deep insertion with these, I really tried to get a good, comfortable fit that way. Deep insertion simply was not possible for my earshape. I have a much better result with getting the body flush with my ears' concha,pulling the IEM back so that the little "fin" hooks into the fold, this way it sits flush and secure, while providing good isolation. I probably get a rather shallow fit as the stem is not very long, yet I do get a very smooth and even treble region, with no unnatural sibilance. The SD2- does role off a bit early and I would assume the PP8 does better in this regard...Have to get a pair of the PP8's from Thomann to test.
     

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