IEM general discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. assassin10000

    assassin10000 Rando

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    Sounds like a UV curing acrylic (or other polymer) is put inside a silicone cover. Neat idea but the housings do look weird.

    I'd rather have a separate 'fit' kit and differently shaped housings. The ear pieces and the UV led with a wired trigger/button. Place the earpiece in the ear and press a button for X seconds, then swap tips and repeat on the other side. Plus this would remove extra one time use stuff from the TWS. They could even sell replacement tips.
     
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  2. Brause

    Brause Almost "Made"

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    How To Build A Surprise Reputation And How to Destroy It Quickly - And An Example Of The Limitations Of Frequency Graphing

    Chinese nobody Blon surprised the crowd with their BL-03 model last year, a cheap single DD that convinced many by their natural timbre. Even james444 got one. Downside was not the best technicalities, an awkward fit, and subpar accessories.

    Drunken by their success, the company rushed a similarly priced model, the Blon BL-05, in short order...and to many reviewers. Unfortunately (for Blon), the high priests of gear found the BL-05 somewhat unbalanced and unworthy - and rightly so. They are not great.

    Blon then rushed another model, the Blon BL-05s...very similar name, very similar graph, same housings, and polarizing colour, however better driver and better tuning...and they avoided most of their previous reviewers. Strangely enough, these BL-05s sound great: homogenous, compact, great timbre, nothing overcooked. All three (!) reviewers approved of them.

    IMO:
    Pros — Swift driver; cohesive, warm, organic sound; good staging; small earpieces with excellent ergonomics; value.

    Cons — Retro shape and squeaky green colour not for everyone; cable and eartips a write-off.

    Blon, attempting damage control for their previous failure, had released these practically under the radar...which constituted another screwup. It also did not help them that they kept the same useless cable and eartips. So here an example, how not to do it. A good product bound to failure.

    BUT: the graphs of the poor sounding Blon BL-05 and good sounding BL-05s are so similar that they do not convey the differences...which is obvious as graphs indicate sonic quantities but no sonic qualities (technicalities...).

    Lesson learnt!?!

     
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  3. 7seven

    7seven Acquaintance

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    So what's up with all these BA drivers in IEMs?
    Most of the info on them basically says aside from the size they are worse (more and predominantly odd order thd) , and a lot of people dont seem to think they sound good, yet they are still prevalent.
    With the small size you can use mulitple drivers for lower ''distortion'' etc. but why bother when full range dynamic drivers are already good... I could only imagine if 1 BA sounds like shit, combining 3+ with a crossover is only going to sound worse.
     
  4. musiclvr

    musiclvr Rando

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    Good question actually. I feel like the DD based iem's have come a long way as far as tuning is concerned but so have BA based iems. It has been my experience that it does take multiple ba's in a a iem to present with a more pronounced sound signature for a given brand. I'm just glad that there are these choices though as I look for different qualities from each platform. I love the impact and slam that a dynamic driver can provide but I also love the speed and precision that a Balanced Armature can surprise you with.
     
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  5. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I am getting twisted into a pretzel trying to decide between a new FH7 used Andro 2020 ($250+), maybe adding used Ara (+$400) to the mix. I tried FH7 and had to send it back as one of the filters was damaged. I liked it out of the box, but they seem to be a bit too bulky even for my huge ears. My current IEMs are ER4SR and Vegas. I am trying to land somewhere in the middle, resolution and instrument separation are my priorities.
    Started also looking at Final Audio B3, interesting but do not see much interest here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  6. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Wow, never seen an IEM with an impedance profile like this before: Vision Ears Elysium, a hybrid having 1 BA for bass, 1 DD for mids & 2 electrostatics for highs. Impedance (tan curve) is below 20 Ohms above 1 kHz, but rises with decreasing frequency to 228 Ohms at 20 Hz! :eek::eek::eek:

    [​IMG]

    The other curves show the effect of amplifier output Z on these phones' frequency response. The red and orange curves at the top are my tube coupler measurements from the 'Direct' (< 1 Ohm) and 'iEMatch' (3-4 Ohms) outputs of my Ifi Nano BL, equalized at 3 kHz. The red line at 80 dB is a flat reference, and the other curves are:

    Orange: effect of 3.5 Ohms output Z (iEMatch, Valhalla 2 lo gain) on reference
    Green: 14 Ohms output Z (Valhalla 2 hi gain)
    Blue: 26 Ohms output Z (Loxjie P20 balanced, SW 51 lo Z)
    Purple: 54 Ohms output Z (SW 51 hi Z).

    Probably best not to plug these into yer tube amp. :D
     
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  7. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    I was fortunate to receive a Vision Ears Elysium/VE8 tour package yesterday afternoon (from @Biodegraded above, actually). The Elysium is Vision Ears’ flagship hybrid and contains arbuably the most unique driver configuration I am aware of— Sonion electrostats for the highs, a DD for the midrange and, perhaps most interstingly, a single BA for the lows.

    Up until somewhat recently I was too entrenched in the basshead tendencies of my audiophile youth to seriously consider an IEM with a single BA for the bass. Still, I have always been curious to hear it and am grateful that these IEM tour programs exist as it’s one of the few ways to try new gear without blind-buying in this depressing age of Covid.

    I tried the VE8 first and it was basically exactly as I remembered from when I owned one earlier this year—something of a thicker, darker Andromeda. It sits in the upper echelons of my personal favourites alongside the Campfire Andromeda 2020, which I consider to be something of a spiritual sibling to the VE8 in that both IEMs specialize in what I have come to realize is the most important quality of an IEM to me-- emotional engagement ie., the ability of an IEM to draw me in, to stir my heart, to make me feel something when I listen to my music. It is this quality which to me elevates IEMs like the Andromeda and the VE8 above some of their flashier or more technical peers.

    While I loved the VE8 the Elysium is decidedly another level to my ears. The bass (or comparative lack thereof) was a bit jarring at first but once I forgot about trying to break things into pieces and isolate and compare and instead focused on the signature as a unity I found myself immersed in a blissful and beautiful world of sound from the Elysium. At first I was quite thrown off by what appears to be an almost homeopathic amount of bass—and I know of at least one other SBAFer who did not get on that well with this IEM on account of this. However I found that, listening to the Elysium, the comparative lack of bass emphasis frees up my attention to fully engage with the midrange of the music, which is really its heart and soul. This is where the Elysium’s choice of a DD for the mids really comes into play as it helps create a really rich, naturally textured and alluring mid-range. Instruments and voices feel at times to almost break the 4th wall and convince you they are right there with you—and it is on account of this mid-range voodoo that after a short time I don’t even notice the lack of bass anymore and find myself totally captivated with what I’m hearing. I've thrown a wide variety of my music at the Elysium-- including a lot of EDM and drum and bass-- and while often a different or more nuanced presentation than what I am used to the Ely brings enough of its charm to the fore that I find myself more often than not feeling as though I’m hearing old favorites for the first time again, or in a way I’ve never heard before.

    The greatest strength of the Elysium, to my ears, is that it lays bare the essence of what your are listening to...but not through raw detail and resolution, which can come off as sterile. Instead the Elysium forces you to forsake a some of the spectacle and theatrics of a more robust bass response and instead, through a deft focus on a wonderfully alluring and textured mid-range, facilitates an intimacy with whatever it is you are listening to. Here we have an IEM that sees its role, not to draw attention to itself but to get out of the way, and let you connect directly with your music. This connection, above all, is what I am ultimately seeking from the listening experience. The Elysium is the first IEM I've heard that is a comprehensive upgrade to the Campfire Andromeda in terms of emotional engagement. It's shot right to the top of my "want" list and the only reason I haven't ordered one already is that I haven't yet figured out which one of my vital organs I can do without.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
  8. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Much appreciated @Rockwell for the comparison of the VEs with the Campfires - having not heard those (or any other TOTL IEMs) myself I have no context for evaluating the VEs.

    Going to nitpick you on the Elysium bass though - using the same tips on both the VE8s and Elysiums, I found the difference to be mostly down in the sub-bass, with levels in the rest of the bass range being pretty close between the two. This might vary with different concha shapes/sizes, as both models are pretty chunky.

    Sub-bass aside, which for me isn't a deal-breaker as I don't listen to EDM etc., I too preferred the Elysium over the VE8 for its beautiful midrange timbre. Relatively, the VE8s gave me a bit of honkiness there; that's not what relative FR measurements of the two would indicate but it's what I heard. It also seemed to me the integration between the 3 driver types was excellent, with none of the weird disconnects in dynamics or transient character that hybrids sometimes suffer from.

    But yes, the price. If only one of your vital organs would get you an Elysium, you must be young and in exceptional health. ;)
     
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  9. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    Last year I made it out to VE in Cologne to check out the company and, more specifically, the Elysium. Marcel was incredibly welcoming and sat down with me to talk about their product designs. I would also rate the Elysium as one of the most technically accomplished CIEMs on the market, and certainly the most coherent and well-thought out of the 3-driver type hybrids (Jomo Trinity, Khan, AAW Canary, etc.). Not that there is no coherence issue, the lower-mid transition echos the JH Audio Lola in that you can kind of make out when the the BA ends and the DD starts. The estat tweeters are seamlessly integrated, though.

    I haven't really been a fan of the house sound of VE through the VE6, VE8 and Erlkonig. All three are too thick and dense for my personal taste. Great midrange but I think to some, me included, you could argue that it gets a little overwhelming even with the tuning option with the most treble. The Elysium handles the midrange with a little more grace. It's more laid back and airy and not tremendously unlike the Tia Fourte, although the Fourte uses the midrange dip to play with psychoacoustics and drive the sense of staging in a way that has proven to be polarizing. The Elysium is simply very good.

    There are also none of the tonality issues with treble that plague some of the other IEMs with estat drivers. Now, the bass is...adequate. I've heard worse bass from more BA drivers. Extension is decent although difficult to evaluate on universals of CIEMs. It is possible that in CIEM form the bass quality will improve drastically, but these probably aren't for the person who likes a lot of energy below 200hz. IEM design at the highest end is still a choice of compromise, and I don't see this as a dealbreaker, but it is something to be aware of.

    They are also power hungry IEMs that will work best out of a portable amp. I got a huge jump in quality going from the SP1000 to the Mass Kobo 404's XLR which outputs about 7.5 VRMS p-p at 32 ohms, which was much more significant than the other triple hybrids.

    Marcel offered me a small discount for publishing a review in Chinese. The only reason I didn't take it up on him is that Keita Suyama wrote to me the week after the Cologne trip asking if I wanted to order the Fitear Titan, which he had started offering to customers outside of Japan with ear molds on file. The Titan is a sonically less impressive IEM than the Elysium, but the signature was something I enjoyed personally - and yes, the point is that it's sibilant - and I really liked the idea of rounding out the collection with something that cannot be reshelled (or be crushed by a truck, for that matter).

    Oh, and the signature faceplate with the blue ripples looks really good in pictures but feels tacky in person especially because the demo had some rough seam lines in the inlay that you can very clearly see at arm's length. If I had gone forward with the order I would probably have opted for clear or solid blue faceplates.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  10. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Great pics! That picture of the Ely is stunning.

    There is a similar situation with the Campfire Solaris, ie., a polarizing 4k dip that (among other things I think) seems to have something to do with the staging effect.

    I agree that the bass on the Elysium is exactly adequate and nothing more...it seems to be perfectly well extended and surprisingly dense for a single BA. I am still trying to wrap my head around it as the whole presentation is so unlike anything I have yet heard or sought after before. When I first started looking for IEMs I was fixated on big bass response. It wasn't until I got to know the Campfire Solaris and Andromeda that I really started to appreciate balanced sound signatures that aren't built around big bass. Two of the most persistent criticisms of those IEMs is "weak bass" (it's not weak-- it just doesn't steal the show) but it's a consequence of the reigned in bass that gives brings the focus more to the midrange, which is the emotional centre of the music. It seems to me that the Elysium took this sort of tuning philosophy to its logical conclusion, namely in providing a single BA for the bass and using the DD for the mids. It is for this reason that I feel the Elysium is something of an heir apparent to the Andromeda and a great rec for someone who loves Andro and is looking for the next level in terms of emotional engagement while still providing the same sort holographic stage and superb imaging.
     
  11. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    Worth mentioning is that VE is one of the two brands that I know of that do semi-solid pours of CIEMs which in my experience is a major plus for sub-bass quantity and texture. Although it does make me wonder how much the Elysium will tighten up in CIEM form when you have the bottom half of the shell filled with acrylic.

    DD mids aren't a new idea, the issue is with coherence which is really obvious on the JH Lola. VE did get it about 85% smooth though and especially the important treble transition. I don't really know where that happens on the Elysium because there is exactly nothing weird about the treble (unlike the Sonion sheen on the Trinity and Khan).

    But there is also the practical difficulties of designing a sealed DD driver. I don't know what VE is doing specifically but it seems to be some sort of spin on a system like the Air 2 (https://fitear.jp/music/product/fitearair2.html) which uses a passive and active DD driver in a single chamber to handle the pressure compensation. In Fitear's case, the drivers are identical and one absorbs the volumetric change of the chamber caused by the other.

    And yes, my guess is that anyone who's a fan of the Andromeda will like these too. It is of course a lot of money for a pair of IEMs.
     
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  12. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    It is. I'm really happy they're available as a universal now as it means one day I'll have a chance at picking one up on the used market at a semi-reasonable price.
     
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  13. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    What are some popular Bluetooth amps that doesn't sound like bright shit and works great with most IEMs?
     
  14. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Qudelix 5K
    FiiO BTR5
    FiiO BTR3K
     
  15. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Do you still have the WM1A? That should have Bluetooth receiver capabilities.
     
  16. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Oh I do, I just don't want to bring it outdoors all the time. Also, I been curious about this market segment.
     
  17. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    my vote is for es100.
    I recently compared EarStudio ES100 mk2 with BTR5 and mk2 with my mk1.
    The balanced out from es1000 is very good, i am not tempted to upgrade to anything
     
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  18. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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  19. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    Frankly if you're running things through APTX/AAC anyways, get a pair of BT receiver adapters for IEMs (Fostex TM2) and call it a day. No wires needed.
     
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  20. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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