HIFI WALKER A1 (modded)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by james444, Jul 29, 2018.

  1. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Awesome, I admire your persistence! Will try to replicate and measure this on the weekend...

    Didn't measure it, but from the looks of it, the stock mesh doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

    Maybe your transpore tape doesn't achieve enough damping? AFAIR, transpore is thinner than micropore tape.
    You could try the button mod @Soups suggested, possibly with two layers of transpore tape.
     
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  2. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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  3. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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    Yes, it was the difference in the two transpore tapes...the one I got from biodegraded fixed the issue.

    As to the different meshes. biodegraded once measured the difference of the red nylon stock and silver metal mesh on my Knowledge Zenith EDR2. Not much of a difference found.
     
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  4. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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    The @james444 mod works equally well with the $15 Boarseman CX98. I covered the whole nozzle with 3M transpore tape but since my transpore tape is a bit thin (compared to the one I got from @Biodegraded), I put the micropore cross on top of it while making sure the vocals didn't get shouty.

    The timbre was a bit darker in the Boarseman CX98 and the voices a bit richer. The A1 is overall still a bit smoother.

    As to the poke: quite frankly, I am not sure whether the poke made a difference as I don't have a second pair for A/B-ing. But it didn't do any damage either.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  5. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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  6. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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    There is a browser plugin called "buyee" that works on several Japanese sites; it acts as a middleman. They purchase it for you in Asia and ship it to you - at a cost. A stateside buddy tried this - and wanted to get above the $25 free domestic shipping limit. So he ordered SIX A1s for himself (not being aware of the size of the box). The deal fell through when the amazon Japan price had suddenly doubled. :p
     
  7. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Excellent write-up as usual @james444! These are so inexpensive I am contemplating these to replace my SE215 (also good excuse to try some modding) How is the comfort, isolation and SQ compared to the SE215? I am bit worried that the fit might be problematic as the nozzles seems pretty wide.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  8. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    I haven't heard the SE215, but going by measurements the modded HW A1 will be significantly less warm and closer to neutral. As for comfort and isolation, Shure IEMs are usually among the best, so I'd assume that you'll find the HW A1 a little less comfy and isolating in comparison (though certainly not bad).

    I hope that someone with narrow ear canals can chime in regarding nozzle width and fit, since my canals are pretty wide and I usually don't have issues in that regard.
     
  9. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    I will let you know when I get them. Bought them from amazon.fr for 27 € shipped.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  10. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Comparing to the Shure E2c, the ancestor of the SE215; same driver, different enclosure, and from the descriptions I've read, similar sound signature (for which, see below). E2c has wider nozzles than the SE215, but very narrow apertures.

    I have med-fit ear canals and small to medium concha-bowls. I haven't found anything as comfortable as the Westone UMPro 20 (narrow-nozzle things of similar enclosure size and style to the SE215), but I don't find the wide-nozzle bullet-style A1s un-comfortable given decent tips. The Shures, given their sitting-in-the-bowl configuration and lack of vents, will isolate better than the A1s.

    'Final' A1 version below is my slightly bass-enhanced, pierced-but-taped-front-vent version as described above. Hmm, maybe if I open the E2c's apertures a bit I'd rescue some treble...

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Finally got around to try the gauze-mod with 4mm wide strips at lengths between 24mm and 26mm.

    Results: measurements on the miniDSP EARS show peakier treble than for the micropore-modded A1. However, that doesn't invalidate your subjective findings. IMHO, it just demonstrates how important subjective listening tests are. There are so many variables at play with IEMs, that individual results may deviate substantially from measurements on a rig.

    Based on these graphs, I wouldn't recommend the gauze mod as first measure. But for those who're not content with the results they're getting from micropore, it may still be worth a try.

    (green = micropore, red + orange + blue = gauze variants)

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    Nice work, James! Thanks for having a go at this. Really enjoying these at work. Reger's orchestral works shine with the A1.

    Subjectively, I hear mine as being between the green and blue variants (micropore vs. 26mm). I think that peak is real because I heard it with my 15mm experiment, but it's tamed to my satisfaction (with my earholes and all that). If anyone else feels compelled to try this, I would start at 24 or 25mm and tune it by ear. The appropriate length will depend on the thickness of the gauze, etc. I suspect mine is a little fluffier than James'.

    I agree with your assessment 100%. The tape mod should be the first option, and the gauze mod should be a backup in case you're not happy. It saved this iem for me and they're getting a lot of use~
     
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  13. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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    Thanks again @james444 for yet another great modding suggestion and learning experience (after the Blitzwolf BW-ES1 which @Biodegraded modded for me). I have been using the HW A1 for over a week now and prefer its coherent sound over many hybrids. It is still growing on me. What makes the BWs also special is their nifty case and their flexible cable.

    Both iems have a special place in my collection (and in my ears).
     
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  14. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Yes, I agree the BW cable is more flexible. But I'm pretty sure the A1 cable is more durable. Plus, it becomes a bit more flexible with prolonged use.

    You have a point regarding the BW case. Actually, I forgot to mention this about the A1. Truth is, I have a dozen or so, Chi-Fi cases lying around here, so I didn't even notice that the A1 don't come with a case. :p
     
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  15. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    First off, thank you @james444 for bringing these to my attention.


    I had some reservations in the beginning if the wide nozzles will create fit issues for me as I have normal to small ear holes and a lot of the "normal" bullet type earpiece just never stay sealed properly. I have always prefered negative profile earpieces like the Shure/Westone and Stagedivers.

    Happy to report that these are surpringly easy to get a good fit and proper seal. They also seem to stay in my ears pretty well. I would not use these for physical activities, but for general purpose use work just fine.
    Currently using them with RHA silicontips which are probably the same size as the stock tips, yet the RHA tips feels more comfortable - a stiffer stem and softer silcon.
    I also ordered the James444 recommended geltips to see how that will affect the sound.
    This could open up the midrange and treble more while still lowering the overall bass level.

    The earpieces themselves seems very solid made.
    Cable is stiff, but does not tangle easily and seems to have adequote strain relief on all critical points.
    Out of the box they sound like the James444 measured. Big boomin bass, even big treble spike.
    I only listened like that for a while to get a feel for what the mods does.
    First I did the micopore strips and that smoothed out the treble quite a bit, perhaps even to much so, so I redid it again with some smaller pieces.
    Swopping over to the RHA tips provide a smoother less sibilant top end and cleaned up the big bass a bit.

    I then decide to do the bassvent mod first as the bass is most likely affecting my perception of the higher frequencies.
    First time I did it and tested it I had some channel imbalance which probably meant that one of the bassholes probably did not succeed.
    Redoing it however caused a big loss of bass, so I have to apply the tape-mod. After the tape mod I "tuned" the bass by going starting off with a very small hole and enlarging it systamtically. Too little and it clouds the lower midrange. Too much and you loose all subbass.

    For the 27€ I paid, these do sound excellent! As gifts for my kids I think these will be hard to beat. I am impressed how good sound you can get with a little help from fellow SBAF members. These are quite a bit more hifi sounding than my SE215LT especially in the treble, where it sounds cleaner and more extended. It lacks the note weight, refined details and openess of my Stagedivers SD-2, but it has more impactfull bass. These do improve with better sources.
    It sounds good out of phone, but a proper amps tightens up the lower end nicely.

    Overall, these do very little wrong after mods. These have become my office IEMs of choice for answering calls, listening music, ect.
     
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  16. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    I was a bit worried, but glad to hear you get a good fit. And thanks for taking the time to post detailed impressions! :)
     
  17. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    A quick update to my previous post about the bigger tips that James444 recommended. Unfortunately these are to big and does not provide a secure fit.
    Luckily the Stage Divers ear tips gives a good secure fit even if the hole diameter is not optimal. Would be nice to see how the diameter affects frequency response.
     
  18. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    Hmm, these tips come in three different sizes (S, M, L).
     
  19. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    I only took M size. Will get some S size too for comparison.
     
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  20. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    @Poleepkwa : JVC Spiral Dots go well on these too. They come in 4 sizes, MS (11 mm), M (12), ML (13) & L (14). Measure your best-fit Stage Diver tips to see which corresponds.

    If the Stage Divers have a smaller bore, they, like the stock tips, will restrict the treble somewhat. The JVCs have a wider bore.

    Edit: 5 sizes, add S - presumably 10mm?
     
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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018

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