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

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

  1. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I figured this place could use some added IEM content, so here it goes...

    I’ve had the pleasure of hearing (owning, borrowing and auditioning) hundreds of in-ears and thought I’d share my top recommendations/favorites across all sound signatures and technologies. List will be updated as I continue to explore the rapidly growing portable market. All MSRP’s are approximate.

    To see a comprehensive list of all in-ears I've heard, follow this link to google docs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13oa1VMMKY0UjYbRuY0zsIEqGKp2R29O8tCYCKPzf82E/edit?usp=sharing

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    Current Recommendations and Favorites
    In-Ears in demand and worth the price of admission.


    Campfire Audio
    Ara
    – MSRP $1299. 7 armature universal. Neutral signature. Superb bass texture and natural timbre for armatures. Crossover-less design with xcellent clarity and transparency. Slightly hard lower treble that can be mitigated with deeper fit that the longish nozzle make easier to acquire.
    Andromeda 2020 – MSRP $1099. 5 armature universal. A darker version of the OG Andromeda with improved clarity, resolution and separation, but missing the OG treble sparkle. The most technical Andromeda to date.
    Solaris 2020 – MSRP $1499. Hybrid universal. A brighter version of the OG Solaris with greater clarity and more filled in upper mid/lower treble. 8k treble peak is a somewhat metallic sounding. 20% smaller housings that feel much more comfortable.
    Solaris LE – MSRP $1499. Hybrid universal. Campfire put the 2020 drivers in the OG shell with a nice black faceplate with flower design. Result is something that sounds awfully close to the OG but had better looks. If you can fit the larger shell, it's a clear step up from the 2020 in SQ.

    Drop
    Noble X
    – MSRP $250. Dual armature universal. Downward sloping signature. Reminiscent of the NAD HP50. Visceral bass, slight bump in upper mids and smooth treble. Recommend wide bore, large tips with shallow fit.
    Plus– MSRP $299. Triple armature universal. Diffuse field neutral signature with an approximate 7 db deep bass boost. Similar tuning approach to Sony MH1 but much better implemented. One of the most ergonomic shells on the market. Extreme clarity, excellent distortion guitar crunch. Masters what the Ety XR failed to achieve. One of the best bang for buck iems on the market.
    RE00 – MSRP $39.99. Dynamic driver universal. Neutral, slightly midcentric signature. Lean and airy with solid bass extension and forward midrange. Reminiscent of the Hifiman legends. Can be modded for even smoother treble response.

    Dunu
    SA6
    – MSRP $549. Six armature universal. Neutral with bass boost. Excellent tonal balance. Insane value. Only sonic complaint is slight armature timbre in treble. Super short nozzles, so longer tips recommended.
    Zen– MSRP $699. Single dynamic driver universal. Tiny and comfortable housings. Exciting W shaped signature. Might be the updated some FDX1 owners are looking for.

    Etymotic
    ER2XR
    – MSRP $119. Dynamic driver universal. Diffuse field tuning with an added sub bass boost, resulting in a more musical, less tool-like, presentation. Second bend fit required and can be annoying/itchy. Now with a removable, pliable cable.
    Also worth considering: ER2SR - MSRP $119. The more referenced tuned of the ER2 series.
    ER4SR – MSRP $299. Single armature universal. The replacement for the venerable ER4S. The new series is more sensitive and requires less power to drive to full performance. Tuning is very similar to ER4S, however it seems to lack the transparency of the previous generation.
    ER4XR – MSRP $299. The bassier, more musical of the ER4 series.

    Final Audio
    E1000
    – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver universal. Warm and smooth signature. Male vocal and acoustic instrument specialist. Natural tone and timbre. Lacking macro dynamics and attack; a hair on the euphonic side.

    Gaudio
    Nair
    – MSRP $849. Triple armature universal. In a word- neutral. Tonally a leaner ProPhile 8 without any hotness in upper mid/lower treble. Technical performance on the UERM level. Superior build to most IEMs on the market. The most comfortable universal come custom housing on the market. Nothing really to complain about; perhaps wish for a few more drivers for better separation, layering and note weight.

    InEar
    ProPhile-8
    – MSRP $1399. 8 armature universal. Neutral Reference. Reminds me of the Etymotic ER4XR but clearer, more transparent and much more resolving. Comes with 2 switches: Bass switch that tastefully elevates bass evenly across the spectrum about 3 db's; Treble switch that supposedly elevates lower to middle treble by 2 db's (very subtle change). Biggest criticism is it’s lacking presence in the top octave.

    Jerry Harvey Audio
    Angie
    – MSRP $1399. 8 armature universal. Midcentric take on a neutral signature. Variable bass with mid bass focus; fantastic midrange with intimate and evocative vocals; laid back treble. Lacking reference level treble extension.
    Also worth considering: Layla - MSRP $2725. JH Audio's attempt at a warmish, neutral reference.

    JVC
    HA-FD01
    – MSRP $399. Dynamic driver. Universal. Needs to be imported from places like Accessory Jack. Universal. Requires simple and reversible mod found HERE. Pre-mod: bloated and harsh. Post mod: U shaped signature leans slightly more fun than neutral. Slightly hazy bass but fantastic timbre and naturalness.
    HA-FDX1– MSRP $280. Dynamic driver. JVC copied the FD01 mods and put them into production for a Drop exclusive. Bass is tighter than FD01 and shells have been smoothed for this model.
    Also worth considering: HA-FW1500 - $550. Woody that seems to be based off the FD01. Requires front vent mod to remove excess warmth and stuffiness.

    Moondrop
    Illumination
    MSRP $799. Dynamic driver universal. An Etymotic inspired single dynamic. A must try for lovers of the ER4XR. With the right tips, frequency response is buttery smooth and natural. Slightly lacking in resolution for the money. While very comfortable to wear, the gold shells are a bit gaudy. A diffuse-field neutral reference.
    Blessing 2 – MSRP $319. Hybrid of one dynamic and 4 armatures. Neutral and natural, yet bit dry. Very slight bass boost centered on deep bass. Tonally accurate with a slightly sharp peak between 8-9k and slightly over damped bass.
    Starfield – MSRP $109. Dynamic driver universal. A warm and smooth take on neutral. Pleasant and satisfying, do-no-wrong signature. A highly musical approach to a neutralish tuning.
    Aria– MSRP $79. Dynamic driver universal. A cheaper version of the Starfield. Imaging is maybe a little hazier but staging is a little wider. While slightly less solid sounding in bass, treble seems a little more livelier. A new budget benchmark.

    Periodic Audio
    Be Beryllium
    – MSRP $299. Dynamic driver universal. Requires simple and reversible mods. Stock signature is much too bassy with slightly uneven treble. After mods, the signature is slightly warm and smooth with excellent timbre and tonality. Bass speed is very good for a dynamic driver. Fixed cable and housings are cheap feeling for a $299 product.
    Also worth considering: Mg Magnesium - MSRP $99. Dynamic driver universal. Also requires modding.

    Sony
    IER-M7
    – MSRP $499. Quad armature universal. Stage monitor sound done right. Downward sloping sig that levels out instead of rebounding in treble. Treble is shelved down but with very good extension, timbre and evenness. Pleasant and easy to listen to. Hazy down low and intimate. Begs to be turned up to sound it's best. Excellent fit and build.
    IER-M9 – MSRP $999. 5 armature universal. Slight upgrade to the M7. Slightly better frequency response balance and slightly better resolution. Otherwise all M7 caviats and praises apply.

    Soranik
    Bastille Audiophile
    – MSRP $1299. Hybrid with 4 full range armatures and 1 dynamic. Tubeless/crossover-less. The more neutral of the two Bastille tunings and more neutral than Solaris OG. Among the best IEMs in staging (just behind Solaris OG).
    Bastille Signature – MSRP $1299. Same setup as Audiophile. Tuning is a very slightly neutral V. Nearly as big in staging as Audiophile, losing out in stage height; Less upfront sounding as well. Superb treble- just the right brightness and sparkle with zero fatigue. While the Audiophile is the better neutral reference of the two, the Signature has the X factor with it's well executed treble.

    Tanchjim
    Oxygen
    – MSRP $269. Dynamic driver universal. Tuned to the newer Harman target for IEMs. Slightly warm, neutral tuning. Fast, natural bass; forward and clear vocals; an extended but easy going top end. Very shallow fit-dual flange tips recommended.

    Zero Audio
    Tenore
    – MSRP $35. Micro dynamic driver universal. Warm, fairly neutral but downward sloping signature. Treble is virtually free from peaks and extends to 18k +; bass gives gentle rise to sub bass; inviting vocals. Build quality is inconsistent.

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    True Wireless (TWS)
    Cables? Where we’re going we don’t need cables.


    Beats
    Powerbeats Pro
    – MSRP $249.95. Dynamic driver. Harman-like tuning; reminiscent of Moondrop Kanas Pro and Tanchjim Oxygen type signature but slightly richer sounding. Large vents for minimal isolation. Excellent bass extension; clear and transparent mids; slightly plasticky treble timbre. Perfect exercise companion.

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    Legends and Classics
    In-Ears that will live on in fond memories and prized collections


    AKG
    K3003/i
    – MSRP $1299. Hybrid universal. Not the first hybrid and no longer the best but THE hybrid that started the craze. Moderate V shaped signature. Moderate deep bass boost with slow, lingering decay; engaging upper midrange; super sparkly treble with fantastic timbre. Non-removable cable with minimal strain relief. Treble may be too bright for some.

    Audio-Technica
    ATH-CK10
    – MSRP $350 (discontinued; occasionally available from Japan importers). Dual armature universal. A portable audio classic. Neutral to analytical frequency response. Blazing fast bass; crisp and transparent midrange; super sparkly treble with very good timbre. Deep fit required. Super tiny housings.

    Aurisonics
    ASG 1 Plus
    – MSRP $499 (discontinued; used only). Hybrid universal. Slight V shaped response that is extremely fun and engaging but doesn’t stray too far from a more neutral signature like the Rockets. Satisfyingly powerful deep bass and effortlessly engaging and very sparkly treble.
    Rockets – MSRP $250 (discontinued; used only). Dynamic micro driver universal. Neutral frequency response. Bass is neutral and linear with roll off under 50 Hz; intimate and engaging midrange; very slightly shelved down but linear treble with excellent extension. Tiny shells with micro driver and Kevlar cable.

    Campfire Audio
    Andromeda
    – MSRP $1099. The OG Andromeda. 5 armature universal. Downward sloping signature with a rebound in treble for plenty of sparkle. Just slightly north of neutral. Excellent transients and leading edges of notes. Just lovely treble sparkle and shimmer. Super shallow fit due to squat nozzles. Large, industrial housings.
    Solaris – MSRP $1499. The OG Solaris. Hybrid universal. Neutral with an upper mid/lower treble dip. Dip gives very slight hallow effect and affects treble timbre. Otherwise bass and mids are evenly balanced and natural sounding. Vocals are very forward and layered. Class leading separation and sense of space; superb staging and excellent micro dynamics and resolution. Large, industrial housings. Some early reports of unit variation.

    Etymotic
    ER-4S
    – MSRP $299. Single armature universal. A portable audio classic. Diffuse field tuned neutral reference. Perhaps the best in-ear treble I’ve heard. Can be slightly hot in the upper midrange (2-4k). Noticeable bass roll off under 60 Hz. Second bend fit required and can be annoying/itchy. Microphonics are unbearable without shirt clip.

    Final Audio
    FI-BA-SS
    – MSRP $999. Single armature universal. Perhaps my favorite tuned single balanced armature. Somewhat V shaped and super transparent signature. Often described as RAW sounding. Plentiful bass with Final Audio’s BAM technology; transparent and crisp midrange; edgy and raw treble that either performs magically or disastrously. Art deco design.

    FitEar
    F111
    – MSRP $500. Single armature universal. The FitEar single balanced armature homage to the ER-4S. Slightly warm take on neutral. Full mid bass with mild sub roll off; fuller lower mids but still good upper mid presence for great male and female vocals; slightly laid back treble. Horn design nozzle for help with treble extension. Easy shallow fit. Hard to obtain due to Japanese market manufacturer limitations.
    Also worth considering: TG334 - Quad armature universal. Tuning has possible changed over the years. Known for FitEar's midrange. Somewhat slow, lingering bass.

    Hifiman
    RE-262
    – discontinued; impossible to find. Dynamic driver universal. The mids Hifiman was known for. Dynamic driver.

    Ortofon
    E-Q8
    – MSRP $389. Single armature (moving iron) universal. Neutral leaning signature with focus on upper midrange. Very well extended bass for a single balanced armature. Midrange made to showcase distortion rock guitars. Could use a bit more treble sparkle; treble rolls off early.

    Sony
    MDR-EX1000
    – MSRP $399 (discontinued in USA). The KING of dynamic drivers. Universal. A Sony classic. Very mild V shape take on a neutral signature. Fabulous bass; the best I’ve heard in an in-ear. Transparent mids and slightly analytical treble with a controversial 7k spike. Odd, yet comfortable perpendicular fit to ear.
    Also worth considering: MDR-7550 - MSRP $299. Stage version of the EX1000. Slightly toned down treble for a warmer overall tuning.
    MH1/C – MSRP $79 (but can be found for less than half). Dynamic driver universal. Warmish to neutral signature with prodigious sub bass boost. Similar to Quadbeat 3 but more sub bass; slightly warmer mids and slightly easier going treble. Worst flat cable known to man but there are many out there to re-cable them.
    MH755 – MSRP $7.95. Yup, Seven dollars and 95 cents. Dynamic driver universal. Exaggerated Harman type frequency response with large sub bass boost, very clear upper mids and slightly easier going treble. Less warmth than MH1/C. Once again Sony makes a budget gem and then screws us over with a J cable.

    Ultimate Ears
    UERM
    – MSRP (discontinued; used only). Triple armature custom. My personal neutral reference. Bass is mid bass focused with roll off under 50 Hz. One of the most resolving midranges I’ve heard. Sparkly and slightly analytical treble with upper mid treble focus; extension to 16k +; Open and airy presentation.

    Vsonic
    GR07 Classic
    – MSRP $99. Dynamic driver universal. A portable audio classic. A fairly neutral but warm signature. Often considered a baby EX1000 with slightly more agreeable treble.
    Also worth considering: GR07 mkII

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    Retirees
    Once great In-Ears that have been lost to age and the winds of change


    AAW
    W900
    – MSRP $2100. Hybrid. Custom/Universal. Easy going, polite all rounder. Bass and lower midrange enhanced with shelved down treble. Superb dynamic texture and decay with tame, yet very even and extended treble. Zero treble spikes. Fun done right. May be a hair dark and bassy for those looking for a more neutral signature.

    AKG
    N20
    – MSRP $119. Dynamic driver universal. U shaped response. Moderate deep bass boost; full upper mid presence; sparkly but moderate treble.

    Brainwavz
    B400
    MSRP $189.50. Quad armature universal. 3D printed shells of so, so quality. Sightly warm and sweet signature that is moderately lower midrange centric. Impressive imaging and layering. Easy to listen to with slightly shelved down treble. Not too far of the neutral reservation but certainly thicker and richer than more neutral leaning sets. Huge bang for buck value.

    Campfire Audio
    Orion
    – MSRP $349. Single armature universal. Mid-centric, somewhat neutralish signature with middle/upper mid bump. Great Campfire Audio family treble. Large housings for single armature.

    Drop
    EDC3
    – MSRP $99. Triple armature universal. Slightly warmish take on a neutral signature. The upper midrange gets a bump for upfront and very engaging vocals and guitars. Lower treble is laid back and treble timbre slightly plasticky. A true 'do nothing wrong' signature and wonderful bargain.

    Empire Ears
    Spartan
    – MSRP $749. Quad armature. Custom and Universal. Slight U shaped response. Bass is deep bass focused; clear and engaging midrange; sparkly but relatively easy going treble.
    Zeus (R) – MSRP $2099. 14 armature. Custom and Universal. Well balanced signature. Excellent treble clarity, resolution and sparkle; full midrange and bass with deep bass tilt. Exceptional at layering and imaging.
    Also worth considering: Cerberus

    FLC Technology
    FLC8S
    – MSRP $359. Hybrid universal. Comes with 10 tuning filters (3 sub bass, 3 bass, 4 mids/treble) to adapt to most preferences. Recommended setup: clear sub bass, clear bass, gold mids/treble for most neutral signature.

    Fostex
    TE-02n
    – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver universal. A modder’s gem. Stock signature is neutral leaning analytical. Modifications can bring it to an even more neutral signature. Great timbre and bass speed. Plastic but durable housings.

    iBasso
    IT03
    – MSRP $259. Hybrid universal. Bass forward signature that can sound like a minor V sig or downward slopping sig depending upon source. Balance of midrange tilting upper mid versus lower mid. Slightly plasticky treble timbre. Loads of fun. Concha housing protrusion can be physically fatiguing for some ears.

    Lime Ears
    Aether
    – MSRP $1250. Multi-armature. Custom. Downward sloping signature that’s somewhat similar to Andromeda but more V shaped in comparison. Aether has very slightly more bass emphasis, particularly in sub/deep bass. Excellent bass texture. Overall note thickness is slightly warmer and thicker than Andromeda. Treble is not quite as prominent as but still maintains plenty of sparkle; slightly accentuates sibilance.

    Mee Audio
    Pinnacle P1
    – MSRP $199. Dynamic driver universal. Downward sloping response. Warm with mild bass boost; Treble has mild lower peak, then middle to upper treble focused; thin treble note in comparison to bass. Better than average head stage. Midcentury modern design.

    Moondrop
    Crescent
    – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver universal. Harman target neutral with mild mid bass boost. Good rumble, hits hard when called for; clear and sparkly. Could use a bit more refinement overall. Not much to complain about.

    Noble
    Savanna
    – MSRP $499. Quad armature universal. Slightly midcentric take on a neutral signature. Very good balance across the spectrum with just a bit of warmth through midrange. New Savannah tuning was peak free in treble, unlike previous Noble 4.
    K10U – MSRP $1650. 10 armature universal. Midcentric signature. Full, plentiful bass with deep bass focus; lush and engaging mids with excellent vocal; easy going treble with decent sparkle and good extension.

    Oriveti
    Primacy
    – MSRP $299. Hybrid universal. Downward sloping response. Warm with mild bass boost; smooth treble. Very comfortable housings.

    Ostry
    KC06
    – MSRP $49. Dynamic driver universal. Midcentric signature. Plentiful bass boost peaks in mid bass but has good extension; lush, inviting midrange with excellent vocals; sparkly, slightly peaky treble.

    Perfect Seal
    PS4
    – MSRP $450. Quad armature custom. Balanced but fun presentation. Mild bass and treble boost. Engaging clarity, sparkle and rumble.
    AR6 – MSRP $950. 6 armature custom. Available in acrylic or silicone (silicone is more expensive). Neutral frequency response with slight upper mid focus. Excellent bass extension and holographic presentation.
    Also worth considering: PS6

    SoundMagic
    E10
    – MSRP $39. Dynamic driver universal. Bass first signature. Bass boost peaks in mid bass but has good extension; full, engaging midrange; smooth treble with some sparkle. Metal housings and springy, stiff cable.

    Ultimate Ears
    UE18+
    – MSRP $1500. Multi-armature. Custom. Balanced stage monitor signature. Very slight upper mid veil but otherwise natural and resolving. Much better treble presence than UERR. Pleasing and easy to listen to.
    Also worth considering: UERR, UE4

    Unique Melody
    Maestro
    – MSRP $1449. Multi-armature. Custom and Universal. UM’s North American take on a neutral signature. Slightly fuller bass and lower mids over Miracle, with more refined, less peaky treble.
    Martian – MSRP $700. Hybrid universal only. Slightly bulky but ergonomic and comfortable shells. Midcentric signature: Mild deep bass boost, clear and engaging midrange, laid back but crisp treble.

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    In Retrospect
    In-Ears that just missed the list probably should have made it


    Audiosense
    DT200
    Dual armature universal. Sounds like a slightly bassier, warmer LS200 (see below). The added upper bass warmth and sub bass boost is slight but made for a thicker note than the LS200, while becoming a bit too sleepy and boring. Otherwise a very impressive in-ear for the money.

    Audio-Technica
    ATH-LS200
    – Dual armature universal. The LS200 was originally on the list and was bumped off, due to small, in-head presentation. Good introduction to neutralish tuned in-ears.
    Also worth considering: ATH-IM02

    Dunu
    Luna
    – Dynamic driver. I really would like to add this to the list, as it has probably my favorite bass since the Sony EX1000 but then the upper mid/lower treble elevation is a deal killer. And this thing is $1700. Fix the upper mid/lower treble elevation and get the price under $1500 and we can talk. The tiny round housing with fantastic fit and market leading cables. So close.

    Hidition
    Viento-R
    – Multi-armature. Missed due to compressed dynamics; Otherwise very versatile with neutralish tuning and well implemented switches to tailor the sound to preference.

    Dynamic Motion
    DM200H
    – Missed due to excessive brightness. One of the first coaxial in-ears made. Coherent and exciting but a bit too bright. If I'm not mistaken, Dynamic Motion is no longer in business.









     
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  2. mulolomu

    mulolomu Rando

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    Nice and helpful thread...
    Thank you for making this list @shotgunshane

    Have you tried or heard fitear TG334 or Ocharaku Kaede?
     
  3. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    Excellent write up SGS, truly wonderful!

    A few takes:

    - JH Angie. This is a conditional outstanding to me. It requires absolutely close-to-zero output impedance from the amp. And it's power hungry. Maybe it's less hungry than UERM, but more juice should be better. At its finest, guitar performance of Angie is outlandish good. Also the bass dials need to sit at roughly 10-11 o'clock position, or there may be bass intrusion into mids.

    - Noble K10U gets my nay. I see why people fall in love with it, but all I can say is it is a nice try to emulate an analogue sound. This is my pick of trying-to-be-fun-but failed.

    - Mee P1 has sibilance reports. It may be a highly fit-dependent IEM.
     
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  4. manatworks

    manatworks Friend

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    Ahhh, RE-262 , my gateway drug, still got one somewhere in my stash. I still think that its one of nicer iem offerings from Hifiman, too bad its not that portable-friendly so it ended up in the box most of the time.
     
  5. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I knew I was forgetting something. I added TG334 as others worth consideration under FitEar. When I was into bassier signatures I really liked the TG334. Perhaps some of the best male vocals and really incredible depth. Treble was a little steely though and eventually I craved more upper mid presence and faster bass.

    The only Ocharaku I've heard is the Flat 4. It was just ok. I little too bright at times.

    I thought Angie pretty decent on the iPhone 5S with it's 2.2 OI. Anything more than that took too much treble away. I think I kept bass somewhere around that same setting as you.


    I don't mind the higher impedance but I didn't care of the modular cable. The connectors were quite heavy and flopped around. I really hope Hifiman brings this one back revamped.
     
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  6. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    AWESOME THREAD! Major thanks for posting this :)

    Now we just need to get you some of Mike Kubota's epic stuff like the Oriolus to try out!!!
     
  7. GettingBuckets

    GettingBuckets Facebook Friend

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    For some reason, I can't really get used to the sound of BA IEMs. Any other recommendations for dynamic ones? I heard the Cardas A8 sort of sounds like a 650 (ie warm and smooth).
     
  8. mulolomu

    mulolomu Rando

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    @shotgunshane

    Kaede is also Flat-4 lineup and is the TOTL model, Kuro is the mid end model, and SUI for the entry level model...

    Did you forget which type do you listen to?

    But yes, overall sound signature from all ocharaku flat-4 lineup are towards to uppermid and treble "centric"
     
  9. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I have an Oriolus loaner at the moment. It's nice but a little too CHILL and laid back for me personally. That PW stock cable is pretty epic though. I've never seen such a pliable and flexible cable of that large a gauge.

    Ah, thanks for correcting me. It was the Sui I heard. I had forgot how the naming scheme went.
     
  10. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    In addition a few thoughts:

    RHA MA750(i) DD, MSRP $119 for the non-"i" version
    Awesomesauce modern portaphile sound. Dynamic driver done right on budget. Slightly bass-heavy neutral-dark sounding with very correct timbre. Built like a Panzer.

    Also when Angie was running from Sony ZX1, I felt muddy, under-powered sub-bass. It's un-bad, but it needs close-to-zero O.I. to really shine.

    SGS, what's your take on AT IM04? I'm very curious about this one.
     
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  11. recarcar

    recarcar Friend

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    I owned the Kaede II and now have the Akazakura. The Kaede II excelled in terms of instrument texture and timbre but unfortunately had a really low-fi frequency response IMO. It had a huge peak in the upper treble and was generally uneven with regards to FR across the board. It's a shame because what it did well, it did incredibly well.

    The Akazakura is a much more even phone. It still retains much of the strengths of the Kaede II, while providing better tonal balance and and a more even FR. It does give up some of the magic the Kaede II has in terms of instrument timbre and texture, though. It's the least treble tipped of the line, but still on the brighter side.

    I think the Flat-4 line is a classic case of over engineering. The driver used in those earphones clearly has a crazy amount of potential, and shows off some of the more impressive attributes of dynamic drivers. But the phase correction tube and doubling up of the drivers I feel does more to hinder than help, especially in terms of FR.

    There is still, to my ears, some funny reflections happening in the 6-8Khz range (within the range that the phase tube is supposed to mitigate) which exacerbates the peak at those frequencies, and I feel the tube might have something to do with it. I hope in the future they make a more straightforward single DD design with those drivers.
     
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  12. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I haven't heard the RHA MA750 or the AT IM04. The RHA T10i had awesome build quality but not so great SQ. The only AT IM model I heard was the IM02. Some tried to claim it was the second coming of the CK10 but it wasn't even close. It's a fun iem but more tuned towards a typical consumer market than not.
     
  13. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    Thanks for the information about IM02! The newer AT E70 flagship is disappointing in a major way. The bass is kinda bloated and muffled, while the midrange no longer has the typical AT magic.
     
  14. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    @shotgunshane Great list bro, thanks for sharing. Great take on the Sony ex1000, agreed. One of my top 5 of IEMS. Sony definitely check out the Xb90ex if you love bass, extremely power hungry, along with EX800st.

    Asg g2 and g2.5, another great basshead iem. Some treble roll off, but eq fixes it rather nicely.

    If you are on a budget, the Sony Xb90ex is a great iem for bassheads. Overall, great Sq as well. "bargain" at $90.
     
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  15. zachchen1996

    zachchen1996 Friend

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    I've only heard the EX1000 once and I loved them, wish sony would come out with a successor.
     
  16. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    They are incredible. I prefer the EX800st, but the ex1000 are tuned differently. Plus, with eq, you can dramatically alter the sound, and it still sounds crystal clear.
     
  17. mulolomu

    mulolomu Rando

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    I thought Z5 is supposed to be the EX1000's successor...but i dont think its worthy to "replaced" the EX1000..
     
  18. Panohm

    Panohm Friend

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    Z5 is due for a successor, rumor has it that the major change will be to the mmcx connector. Sony had quite a few RMAs because of the durability of this connection.
     
  19. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    I'm still waiting for mine (z5), might be tomorrow... If not hopefully Monday. Not sure if I will like them, but I needed to know.
     
  20. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    ASG2.5 falls within my non-shit category. It's basshead but no way it's the best quality bass.
     
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