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

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

  1. joeexp

    joeexp Almost "Made"

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    Please delete
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  2. Royalty

    Royalty Rando

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    So I went ahead and got the Oxygens and BGVP DM7. Supose to have both next week and we'll see what I like better.

    Looking at the Fiio M9 as a player right now as well. Considering that or M11 but not 100% sure yet.
     
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  3. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Quick Review: Zero Audio Zirco Pezzo

    TL;DR: After minor modding, a worthy successor to the "legendary" Tenores.

    [​IMG]

    Specs:
    • Reduced resonance zirconia housing
    • Gold Plated 3.5 mm Stereo Plug [Straight Type]
    • Cord OFC 1.2m
    • Mass 5.2g (excluding cord)
    • Output sound pressure level 101 dB / 1 mW
    • Playback frequency band 8 Hz to 70,000 Hz
    • Maximum input 150mW
    • Impedance 16 Ω
    • Accessories Silicone Earpieces: S, M, L
    • Carrying bag
    Price: ~ $50. They're a bit hard to get though, rarely on Ebay and no international shipping from Amazon Japan.

    As a long-standing fan of Zero Audio's Tenores, I had to try these out. Housing size is about as small as the Tenores', but the tapered shape (reminiscent of Final's FI-BA-SS) makes them even easier to fit and comfier to wear for me.

    Stock tuning (grey = raw, red = DF-compensated)
    [​IMG]

    There's a slight and steady rise in amplitude from upper bass down to sub bass, which is pretty much perfect for outdoor use. In quiet surroundings, they sound a little bassy, but not to the point where it would harm the mids or make me want to apply a front-vent mod. Overall, bass is pretty well-controlled for a DD and quite snappy.

    Mids are impressively linear, with realistic detail and timbre. Tuning from upper mids to lower treble is a tad restrained and sounds nicely free of sibilance. Treble picks up a lot of emphasis around 10kHz, which makes them sound super-detailed. However, this comes at the cost of some "zing" and rather thin cymbals, which I consider the only major flaw in stock tuning.

    Treble extension is very good, with lots of air, which makes them sound very open. Soundstage is larger than I expected from such small and rather deep-fitting IEMs, and imaging is pretty accurate.


    Modding suggestion
    : the 10kHz spike can easily be mitigated with a strip of 3M micropore tape across the nozzle.

    (red = stock, orange = 60%, magenta = 70%, blue = 80%, green = 90% micropore covering of nozzle)
    [​IMG]


    Personally, I think these sound best with a micropore strip that covers about 80% of the nozzle (ymmv).

    Modded tuning (grey = raw, blue = DF-compensated)
    [​IMG]

    As of now, the Zirco Pezzo are my #1 budget recommendation to anyone willing to tinker with micropore tape.
     
  4. KowalskiFUT

    KowalskiFUT Rando

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    Got today my new B400. Bought it as an upgrade from EDC3. And I have to say it is quite better. Soundstage is much wider, taller, and especially deeper. Separation and imaging are much, much better. EDC3 has very nice neutral tuning, but its technicalities are quite average. I would even dare to say that in terms of technicalities, B400 is on the level of Massdrop Plus. Plus wins on transparency and clarity, but IMO isnt better in separation, imaging and layering. Another great buy based on Shotgunshanes list. Previously bought JH Angie, Massdrop Plus, and EDC3 based on SGSs recommendations and was very satisfied with all of them.
     
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  5. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I would also give the nod to the Plus in overall resolution, but yeah, the B400 layering and separation is surprisingly very good.

    I agree on EDC3. Fairly neutral tuning with a do nothing really wrong signature but just doesn’t excel at any technicalities.
     
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  6. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Is it modded? Cause the original ones just didn't sound right to me.
     
  7. haywood

    haywood Almost "Made"

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    The design, manufacturing and price of the b400 seems like it could lead to more variance if they’re not careful and it’s probably easier and cheaper to replace faulty sets that someone complains about than it is to make sure they’re all good.

    I should add that while I prefer dynamic drivers my b400 don’t sound bad, they just don’t have the timbre/texture that good dynamics do.
     
  8. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Tried the new Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 true wireless IEMs.

    [​IMG]

    On the plus side, these are small, almost as tiny as the Earin M-2. Moreover, the charging case is also small, making them easily pocketable / portable. Despite their diminutive size, the earpieces are said to last up to 9 hours from a single charge, which is impressive.

    On the minus side, all 4 included pairs of tips are rather small too. So, if your usual tip size is "large", you'll probably need L-sized third-party tips to achieve a seal. Problem is, many of these tips don't fit on the nozzle and / or into the charging case. The only ones I've found to fit both are these:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/6-Sennheis...Headset-Earphones-Gel-Tips-Large/220874421343

    Bluetooth range and reliability is top notch. Supported codecs are aptX, AAC and SBC.

    Soundwise, the Melomania 1 remind me of what has been marketed as "British speaker sound" decades ago. Warm and somewhat (lower) mid-centric, unobtrusive and non-fatiguing, with clearly laid-back upper mids / lower treble range. Highs extension and high treble presence, however, are both very good, making these a rare case of IEMs that sound dark-ish and airy at the same time. Detail resolution is pretty decent overall and prevents the Melomania 1 from sounding muddy.

    Frequency Response (grey = raw, blue = DF-compensated):
    [​IMG]

    IMHO, this kind of sound signature works well for rather low-volume listening in quiet to moderately noisy surroundings, but not so much for commuting. On top of that, isolation is just average with the Melomania 1.

    Bottom line: recommended for home / office listening, if you like warm / non-fatiguing / forgiving sound that still offers decent detail. Not recommended for commuting in noisy environment or high volume listening in general.
     
  9. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    James - Thanks for the review! Have you also tested their capabilities for making calls? Any idea if there are microphones in each side and whether you can use only one at a time? The only reason I still carry my silly AirPods around is I can use them for calls and when one side gets low on battery I just switch to the other side, even mid-call. The audio quality of the AirPods is crap, but their functionality for calls is top notch. Would love to find a set that has both good audio quality and good functionality for making calls. Cheers
     
  10. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Sorry, I haven't tested calls. The closest I've read that might constitute an answer to your question is this:

    "I can confirm there is a primary/secondary earbud setup, but it works a little different from most. The primary headphone will always be the first one you pull out of the case. Both headphones show up in the bluetooth settings on your device but it will only show an actual connection to one of them. The good news is that phone calls go to both headphones. If you have both in your ears and take one out and put it in the case, one of two things will happen. If your primary headphone is still in your ear, it will keep playing but will make a gentle beep a couple times to let you know the other is in the case. If you put the primary in the case, then the secondary will disconnect and then connect directly to your device, becoming the primary. You then have to hit play again on your device or use the button on the headphone to start playback again."

    Source: https://www.amazon.com/ask/questions/Tx21X7J3NZZ9LO9/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza
     
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  11. joeexp

    joeexp Almost "Made"

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  12. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    That will very much depend on the size / shape of your ears and how deep you can insert them.

    https://fscl01.fonpit.de/userfiles/...ge-audio-true-wireless-headphones-12-w782.jpg
    https://theawesomer.com/photos/2019...ia_1_wireless_earphones_in-ear_monitors_2.jpg
    https://i2.wp.com/stadt-bremerhaven...19/06/Camb-Audio-MELOMANIA1-7.jpg?w=880&ssl=1

    Out of the true wireless IEMs I've tried, only the Earin M-2 have been smaller and deeper fitting.
     
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  13. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Wish I could try these. I want something without wires for the gym and the small footprint and, more importantly, small tips, could make them perfect for my small ear canals.
     
  14. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    If you're based in Europe, you could order them from Amazon and return them if they don't fit.

    As an alternative, you could opt for the TRN BT20 or BT20S true wireless earhooks, if you already own a set of wired gym IEMs with MMCX or 2-pin connectors.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  15. Augmentin

    Augmentin Friend

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    I second @james444 's recommendation of the Melomania; the size is small and the sound is admirable ---- probably the best sounding TWS I've heard this far. The B&O E8 2.0 by comparison sounds strident.
     
  16. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Any cheap cable recommendations for the MD Plus? The stock cable is not secure. I tried the Yinyoo cable but it doesn't fit because it's not recessed enough.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  17. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I use the Brevity cable from Null Audio but mine doesn’t look like the one pictured on the Null site now. Perhaps they have changed it since I received on back when the Plus first came out.
     
  18. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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  19. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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  20. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Here's a FR-comparison between the Melomania (blue) and my slightly modded JBL Free X (orange):

    [​IMG]

    I prefer the Free X when I'm out and about, and for listening at higher volume in general (the Melomania gets a tad boomy at higher volume). Also, isolation while commuting is slightly better with the Free X for me than with the Melomania.

    But for low to mid volume indoor listening, the Melomania offers a very pleasant and relaxing, yet still detailed sound.

    Edit: Apart from sound and isolation, the Melomania has a lot of advantages over the Free X: smaller size, better battery life, better Bluetooth range and stability, smaller charging case (I hate the bulky Halloween-style JBL case).
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019

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