Letshouer S12 ortho iem Impressions and Discussion

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by rhythmdevils, Feb 28, 2022.

  1. lithiumnk

    lithiumnk Acquaintance

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    Thanks for this mod. I’ve tried 50% micropore tape. It has tamed the upper mids & lower/mid treble. Bass is more tighter & lower mids don’t sound thin. I listen to lot of poorly recorded regional music on m11plus AKM DAP. I don’t like pairing of stock s12 & THX amp on my DAP. This mod definitely helps. Cheers
     
  2. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    So - few hours with them - shouty, too much sparkle, too thick/bloomy mid-bass that over shadows the sub-bass unless the track is sub focused.

    I don't know if these would displace my other two planar in-ears. LCD-i4 and Drop Planamic. Not saying either are outright better in every way - but the S12 Pro doesn't seem to bring anything to the table.

    With EQ the S12 Pro does sound better, but whatever.

    The build and fit are great. Cable is nice, but tangly. It has that light stick to it and a braid that gets caught up in itself.

    They are a good side-sleeper headphone. I did a back and forth comparison with the Moon Drop Blessing 2. They are close in technicality, but B2 gets the win for tonality and presentation.
     
  3. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    it's well worth doing the tape mod over the stock version:
     
  4. joeexp

    joeexp Don't ship this man FD-X1 ever

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    Tape Mod is required. just cover half the nozzle and you are good to go.
     
  5. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Tape mod for both the S12 and S12 Pro? Thank you for the tip - I hope for some magic. I'm at the point of too many headphones - redundancy. I like to keep stuff with its own character. These just seem - meh. Same sort of impression for the underwater headphones that RD suggested. I think his preferences lean towards tonality first and character of the headphone second.

    I was hoping for more from a planar in the bass. It isn't flat the way I would like.
     
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  6. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    Anybody pair these with a hip dac ? Kind of portable curious again with s12 pro on the way. I would imagine with qudelix 5k micropore tape mod will definitely be needed. Will try stock first and with my other headphone amps as well.
     
  7. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I prefer the stock sound to the mess left by the tape residue.
     
  8. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    OK - covered half the nozzle with 3M Micropore. I'm still a little mixed on mid-bass / bass overshadowing the rest of the show. Timbre is relatively natural overall, I just might have a really bassy pair. I'm used to open planar presentation I think. The Supermoon didn't really wow me either. Honestly, I think I am looking at them from the wrong viewpoint and expectations.

    Listening at low volume with the piety, it is a chill, but punchy experience without too much treble spice. Just enough information everywhere to not strain to hear the microdynamics.

    Kinda fostex/denon bass. Interesting overall, still learning these.
     
  9. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I wanted to give an ortho IEM a try and these seemed to fit the bill. My favorite DD IEM is still the Hifiman RE-272 and my favorite BA IEM is still the UERM, so those were the contendors for this comparison:

    High End IEMs.jpg

    Stock I didn't like them at all. Way too U-shaped. More or less unlistenable to me. With the micropore tape I still found the treble peaky, but it was in a better balance. It also tamed the upper midrange, so that part wasn't too bad. However the bass still overshadowed everything and I still couldn't really listen to them.

    So I knew I had to try some more extensive mods. First, I opened the vent quite a bit to lower the bass until it was neutral. This works, but you absolutely need to measure to get good channel matching. The subbass also doesn't suffer much from it, it mainly just shelves the whole lower mid to bass region down.
    As for the upper mid and treble, I settled on a micropore type cylinder with the sticky part on the outside around which I wrapped some carded sheep's wool, filled with unicorn tail in the center portion. This filter was stuck in the nozzle and I replaced the stock metal nozzle filter with one from the RE-262/272 series. Along with some long foam tips this made it sound smoother than any other combination I found.

    With those mods I thought they were quite enjoyable to listen to and I compared them against the RE-272 and UERM on the Ragnarok XLR output. In my setup that results in some audible noise, the vast majority of which comes from the Gungnir MB. With inputs shorted there was almost no noise in low- and mid-gain.

    SOUND COMPARISON STARTS HERE:

    Letshuoer S12 (modded)
    • I find it very neutral with these mods in place, maybe more so than the other two. The bass doesn't extend as nicely as it does on the other two, but you get actual treble extension in return. I found it a bit disappointing since I expected to hear some of that full-size slammin' ortho bass. That's just not the case.
    • The mods help, but I still find the timbre somewhat off. Steely? It's somewhat gritty sounding. I think it has to do with the driver grille, which is rather coarse. The RE-272 driver uses a fine mesh, I think. It could also be related to the enclosure.
    • I think it's the least resolving of the three, but it still manages to sound quite involving. This is pretty tough competition in that regard. The damping doesn't seem to hurt how resolving it sounds.
    • Macrodynamics are good, likely the most convincing of the three. It's not a BA with its fast attacks and ultra quick decay, but it sounds faster than a large DD IEM, while keeping the dynamics that a small DD doesn't seem to have.
    • However it takes quite the amp for it to wake up like that. So using the Ragnarok XLR out on mid-gain isn't really fair here. From my Moondrop DAWN 4.4mm it's not as impressive. It's both the least efficient and least sensitive IEM in this comparison and I think it shows.
    • The stage is a similar size as the RE-272, but imaging a bit diffused. Should be a bit better without foam tips, but the treble peak was too much for me otherwise.
    • Isolation is pretty good
    Hifiman RE-272
    Still my favorite DD IEM, even above IE800 and CF Vega, for example
    However I'm an idiot. Only while doing this comparison I realized there is supposed to be a nozzle filter. Mine came without one. It is actually pretty dang neutral with a well tuned filter...
    Nozzle filter foam replaced with angel hair hollow cylinder, tiny bit of Kapok underneath the stock filter, milky clear medium length original double flange tips
    • Of course there's still a tiny bit of shout and it lacks body. Has very good bass extension, though. Treble extension isn't as good, but it doesn't sound too rolled off. Just a little soft.
    • Treble is ever so slightly laid back. Nothing major
    • Very clear, surprisingly textured despite the slightly rounded presentation
    • Bass is quite textured, but midbass lacks impact.
    • Very resolving, although the UERM does beat it by a hair. Still the most resolving DD IEM I've heard.
    • Imaging is precise, stage is also quite large.
    • Sounds fast but not BA-fast, but it has a purity of sound. Simple microdriver in a closed enclosure. It's not for everyone, but I prefer it to the larger DD IEMs. In fact it's my favorite DD IEM I've heard.
    • There's a sweetness to the sound, which is especially welcome with the treble. It sounds the most cohesive and has the most realistic timbre. I would also describe it as the most refined sounding, for lack of a better word.
    • Isolation is the worst of the three, but far from bad
    Did I mention this is still my favorite DD IEM? Heck, overall it might be my favorite IEM. Its faults are much more forgiveable than the UERM.

    UERM
    Kapok roll around micropore tape cylinder in the treble nozzle
    • Yeah, it's good
    • I think the staging is the largest, though you'll sometimes read the stage isn't that large. For me the staging on my CIEMs was significantly larger than on the universals and not even the additional Kapok changes things.
    • Imaging is also the best. It's quite HD800-like in that sense.
    • Treble is quite good this way and the lack of extension doesn't make a big difference most of the time. 15-16kHz is when it stops.
    • It's a BA IEM, still the most resolving IEM I've heard. Including the SB-7, although it might be that the FR masks detail less.
    • Neutral, but a slight upper mid dip. Nothing too annoying, but the modded S12 is likely closer to neutral to me.
    • It is rather clean sounding, but not that clear to me. Or in other words: decay is clean, but distortion is an issue.
    • I know the upper treble driver (8kHz+) is connected in inverted polarity. This was probably necessary to get a decent FR, but even with mods the treble just never sounds quite natural.
    I also tried them on the Moondrop DAWN 4.4. It didn't change the order of my preference, but it put the S12 closer to the other two.


    Overall the S12 is my least favorite of the three. But that doesn't mean it sounds bad in comparison, far from it. Between the UERM and the RE-272 it's closer than you'd think. The purity of sound, the timbre, clarity and that simple DD driver sound really work for me. I still prefer the UERM overall or at least it's the "better" IEM, but it's closer than you'd think.

    I attached some measurements I took, but keep in mind that my IEM coupler is currently being worked on, so don't compare to my other IEM measurements, either prior or after. You'll especially see that the other UERM measurement I posted recently looks quite different. Well, I think this one is more accurate.
     

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