shotgunshane’s IEM (custom and universal) recommendations, favorites and classics

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. james444

    james444 Friend

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    To be fair, slightly or very v-shaped is partly in the eye of the beholder, since it depends on the volume level you're listening at. I do in fact agree with the rest of his description ("More bass than treble, more treble than mids. But with good clarity, they don't really overpower each other").

    My post on Head-Fi wasn't to say it's a downright bad IEM, or not worth it. It's just not better in my book than any of the three other graphene DDs I own. That thread is just another example of the typical HF hype train I've grown tired of a long time ago.
     
  2. matique

    matique Rando

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    Yeah i generally try to steer clear of hype trains but I still fall in them regularly, especially if they're easily audition-ed and i can ascertain whether the hype has some semblance of worthiness (Andromeda, Mojo, Empire Zeus, Noble X). I heard good things about the IT01 and bought it at a good deal (SGD$109 ~ USD$83).

    The IT01 has definitely sparked an interest of mine to search for other graphene DD iems, and I will most certainly look into your recommended favourites, esp the BW-ES1. For $12 and a couple of mods, it's worth a try. If I like the sound i might even do a mmcx mod to replace those fragile looking wires.
     
  3. Gleb Lev

    Gleb Lev Rando

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    Only bass and some low mids response depends on volume. So if iem has v-shaped sig by default you wont be able to make it flatter by changing the volume. There would be hump somewhere at low highs anyway.

    Fiio F5 which is slightly v-shaped (definitely less than it01) wont become flat
    [​IMG]

    For me preferring 15 or 30 usd iem over a 100 usd iem is the definition of subjective "not worth".
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  4. james444

    james444 Friend

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    Not trying to argue with you, but from my subjective experience, some IEMs that have noticeably distant mids at high volume, may turn out having sufficient mids presence for low volume listening at nighttime. Ymmv... not really worth arguing over, since we both agree that the IT01's signature is too v-shaped for our tastes.
     
  5. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    So I think I'm going to do something I haven't done before. I'm going to remove something form the list and replace it with something different. After spending some time with the upcoming Massdrop x NuForce EDC3, and comparing it to the Audio Technica LS200, I think I'm gong to replace the LS200 on the list with the EDC3. Yep, gonna do it.

    Here are my thoughts on the EDC3 with comparisons to the LS200 and Brainwavz B400:


    Massdrop x NuForce EDC3

    The overall signature of the EDC3 is a warmish take on a neutral signature. Bass has good extension and texture with a slight warm tilt. Vocals and guitars get a bump in the upper midrange for an engaging and upfront presentation. Lower treble is relaxed and takes a back seat to the midrange and bass. It has a slight rebound in middle treble, which produces a slightly plasticky, Westone like timbre. Aside from the similarity in treble timbre, the EDC3 is less warm, less bassy and more neutral than say the Westone 3 and 4 variants. While not the last word in resolution or imaging, the EDC3 is quite competent and plays much bigger than it’s price. The EDC3 epitomizes a do nothing wrong signature. Add in that it’s a triple driver and it’s quite amazing you can get all this, with very comfortable, ergonomic shells for just $99. Unlike the dynamic driver EDC, which I don’t like at all, the all armature based EDC3 gets a whole-hearted recommendation. Don’t expect to be bowled over or amazed in shock and awe, it won’t do that. But if you want something you can listen to without fatigue, set it and forget it, the EDC3 could be for you.

    vs Audio-Technica ATH-LS200 (msrp $249)

    The EDC3 is noticeably bigger sounding (both wider and deeper), more upfront and richer. Rock guitars are fuller but retain similar bite and crunch. The LS200 sounds a bit more neutral (doesn’t have the vocal range bump of the EDC3) and sounds leaner and much less visceral. Treble presence on the LS200 is every so slightly more present but not as articulate. EDC3 bass texture is more obvious and seems to dig deeper. Overall the EDC3 is just more engaging and musical, while not straying to much further from neutral than the LS200. Even with a thicker, richer note, the EDC3 sounds more transparent than the LS200, particularly through the midrange, which I suspect is due to lower distortion.

    vs Brainwwavz B400 (msrp from $189)

    Next to the EDC3, the B400 sounds just a little V shaped. It’s bass is a little stronger, it’s treble a little stronger and vocals are not quite as upfront. This is all relative, as the B400 doesn’t come across as V shaped on it’s own and the EDC3 is definitely forward in the upper mids. The B400 sounds a little more visceral, a little more exciting, a little more musical, a little more of this, a little more of that. A little bit is indeed just a little bit. The B400 is noticeably more layered and exacting in its imaging. It sounds more spacious, albeit a bit warmer overall. It’s definitely the next step up, if you don’t mind straying just a little further from neutral than the EDC3. If the B400 is a bit out of your price range, the EDC3 is the next best thing. Two excellent bargains.
     
  6. Eric_C

    Eric_C Friend

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    @james444 I tried the A&D D6 in a store the other day, was underwhelmed. It sounded polite and balanced, but lacking enough bass or some...I dunno, x-factor to sound engaging. Curious what @shotgunshane thinks when he gets round to trying it.
     
  7. james444

    james444 Friend

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    I'm also curious what @shotgunshane thinks... though I suspect he might rather have issues with treble than bass.

    To begin with, not everybody likes a neutral bass. However, here's another point to consider: if you try IEMs in a store, ambient noise will likely have an impact on bass perception. To elaborate a bit, here are two IEMs from my most recent modding project (special thx @stratocaster for the measurements!):

    Octone (red):
    [​IMG]

    Evos (green):
    [​IMG]

    Now here's the thing, both are excellent IEMs imo, albeit with different sound signatures. And while I clearly prefer the more neutral Octone in quiet surroundings, I reach for the more downsloping Evos each time I leave the house.

    The explanation for that is ambient noise, and the fact that IEMs don't isolate in the same way for high and low frequencies. Here's a typical DD IEM isolation graph:

    [​IMG]

    To counteract this imbalance, you'll need a slight boost in the low frequencies whenever ambient noise is involved. Or to put it another way, if you audition neutral IEMs in the presence of ambient noise, you'll likely miss some bass, fullness and excitement.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  8. Eric_C

    Eric_C Friend

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    It was a very quiet store, near closing time when I auditioned the D6. So I'd chalk my impressions of the bass up to preference more than anything else.
     
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  9. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    @james444 what tips are you using with the D6? I like the midrange clarity and bass balance with the rest of the spectrum but treble is indeed a little tizzy for me.

    Stock tips and MH1 tips are my best fit so far but would like to tame the fizziness a bit better. My go to dual flanges down work with this barrel shape.

    If I can tame the slight tizziness, this would be a budget no brainer.
     
  10. james444

    james444 Friend

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    ^ Try spiral dots, if you have some at hand... these give me the best balance.

     
  11. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    @shotgunshane the locals are going ga-ga over the new range of empire ears hybrid esp the lowest cost one, Bravado. I havent had the chance to try them out yet but the consensus suggests that it's high vfm and "tastefully" tuned, have you heard them yet?
     
  12. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    No I haven’t heard anything in the two new lineups. The description of the ESR (studio reference) caught me eye but that’s in the all armature lineup.
     
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  13. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    @james444 I have some spiral dots but was thinking I’d want much smaller bore? I’ll give it a try and also try a tea bag mod as well.

    Just received an email from Massdrop; they are dropping UE 18+ universals for a pretty big discount.
     
  14. joeexp

    joeexp Almost "Made"

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    Ultimate Ears 18+ Pro Universal Fit IEMs
    $1,199.99
     
  15. james444

    james444 Friend

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    The spiral dots are soft silicone and warm the signature a bit. It's probably partly due to masking, but they damp the treble pretty well imo.

    If you happen to have micropore tape, try this instead of the teabag mod. IME it works better than damping the entire nozzle:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Almost "Made"

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    @shotgunshane for those that use iems directly from a phone, HTC10, LG6, Huwaei P9, would the brainwavz b400 suffer from any drawbacks? I am trying to decide between those and the nuforce (edc3).

    Thanks in advance.
     
  17. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    How much OI do those phones have? I just quickly used a 15 ohm resistor and I felt like it might have made the B400 little leaner/brighter sounding but this wasn't extended listening. As long as we are talking 5 ohms or less, I'll think you'll be ok.

    Keep in mind the EDC3 is the more neutral of the two for sure; the B400 brings more fun but tastefully done.
     
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  18. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Zero Audio Carbo-i arrived. WTF is going on with this treble? So disappointed and the flat cable is so 6 years ago when the Sony MH1 pretty much killed any idea of its usefulness. Bass and midrange is pretty good. Too bad the treble absolutely ruins it.
     
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  19. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Almost "Made"

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    I am trying to figure out since yesterday. I can't understand why those things aren't disclosed on the specs.
     
  20. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    Even if they disclose the number, it's not useful for BA's with their wild 'n randy swings. Most will never provide a impedance graph since it'll just confuse your typical head-fi'er user.
     
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