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

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

  1. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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  2. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Any update on the IE800 v2? I read somewhere that was happening. Any other high end DDs in the pipeline? Right now it seems that the Xelentos/tie8 mk2 are the best bet at <1k and not wonky, but no one seems terribly impressed either.
     
  3. Mimouille

    Mimouille Almost "Made"

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    My friend (who is Sennheiser GM in China) told me end of the year or January for the IE800s, which will have an upgraded driver. Otherwise I tried several of the top DD but none convinced. Dream sounds too thin, RE2000 sounds nice but not 2k nice, and the build is just OK. I haven't tried the Xelento but the Akt8ie was nothing to write home about and the fit is too shallow for my ears. I am intrigued by Xelento still, but I might just end up getting a pair of Sony EX1000...
     
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  4. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    The EX1000 are intriguing but lack of isolation is a non-starter for me.

    I'm intrigued by the new Acoustune IEMs. Haven't heard anything bad about them except they now retail at twice what they started at.
     
  5. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    I've only heard the 1551, it's more TG!334 in terms of speed (read: slow) for my tastes. Smooth, slightly V, with a slight upper mid tilt leading to a light nasally vocal tone IME. Haven't liked any of Senn's attempts (IE8, IE80, IE800, etc). Dita's always had odd tuning to me. EX1000's peak too much for me.
     
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  6. Kunlun

    Kunlun cat-alyzes cat-aclysmic cat-erwauling - Friend

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    I'll foolishly buy the ie800S when it comes out.

    The hot new thing is smaller drivers with extra travel so you get a fast, light driver which can still, in theory, give good bass.

    Hopefully, the Helmholtz resonator thing has been ironed out and the next iteration will have fully controlled treble, plus a new cable. Could be great.

    Rhapsodio continues to evolve the galaxy, so we'll see more and better as Sammy sells off enough stock to put newer iterations out.


    Oh, and we really need Vega 2: Electric Boogaloo from @KenBall to iron out that ADLC driver's peaks.
     
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  7. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Ultimate Ears UE18+ vs UERM (and some UERR musings)

    Bass quantity isn’t too terribly far off from each other but the UE18+ definitely has more. It has a fuller and warmer bass overall, with a more obvious rumble that lingers a bit longer. While the UERM sounds leaner down low it does sound quicker, more incisive.

    The midrange is a familial sound and both are highly resolving, however the UERM is more of a transparent windows into the recording. The UE18+ does carry more heft for male vocals in the lower midrange, and the UERM carries more energy into female vocals. Basically the UE18+ trades some of the UERM transparency for a little bit of warmth and fullness and just sounds a little more laid back.

    The UERM treble is crisper and airier, more incisive and throws details more forward. The UE18+ presents treble detail a little further back and relaxed, in direct comparison to the UERM, but I believe it does have a little more presence than I remember from my now departed UERR.

    Basically I hear the UE18+ as a better version of what the UERR was trying to achieve. It’s treble doesn’t sound as shelved down as the UERR, and while the bass might not be as linear, it certainly seems to dig a little deeper. Maybe the UERR looks better on paper but in actual listening enjoyment, the UE18+ brings it.

    I do think the UERM’s airier, more forward presentation sounds a good bit wider and much more open than the UE18+, but the later is definitely more forgiving and easier to listen to with perhaps more depth to the presentation. I think many will enjoy the hint of lushness the UE18+ gives to male vocals over the UERM, but when it comes to female vocal energy, there still is nothing that can give me goosebumps like the UERM.

    The UERM is more sensitive, in that it plays louder at the same volume setting but the UE18+ is just as sensitive to OI as the UERM and the UERR. Like both of those others, the UE18+ seems to lose treble presence pretty quickly and can sound overly warm on just a few ohms. Unfortunately this means I wouldn’t recommend AK players, as those all have higher OI than the manufacturer specifies. 1 ohm or less OI is recommended.
     
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  8. ductrung3993

    ductrung3993 Almost "Made"

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    Such a shame, I have been very interested in the UE18+ but if I have to pick which is aspect of music is the most important to me, it would be female vocal. On a side note, how would you compare UE18+ vs Andro?
     
  9. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Female vocals will sound a little more husky with the UE18+, if that’s your thing. I like them with more energy and liveliness.

    Speaking of liveliness, on my modded AK120, Andromeda is more lively and exciting sounding, next to the more reserved and slightly laid back UE18+ character. Where Andromeda sounds more spacious left to right, the UE18+ sounds more intimate and focused.

    Andromeda is noticeably U shaped next to the UE18+, with more deep bass and treble emphasis. When switching back to the UE18+, you can more clearly hear stage monitor heritage of the UE18+ tuning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  10. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    Thanks for your UE18+ review. Can you please also write a short comparison to the PP8 or are they too different to compare them to one and another?
     
  11. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I’ll try and fit that in tomorrow morning.
     
  12. joeexp

    joeexp Don't ship this man FD-X1 ever

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    Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 Universal IEMs
    SEE DROP


    The Massdrop x Noble Kaiser 10 will launch October 6 at 6 a.m. PT for $899.99 with free US shipping. At checkout for an additional $40, you can add a lightning cable or a 2.5mm TRRS balanced cable.
     
  13. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I had a little time this evening to knock out some thoughts of the UE18+ vs the InEar ProPhile-8

    The PP8 is obviously more neutral and linear across the spectrum. UE18+ is darker, overall more laid back and a bit warmer. The UE18+ has greater mid bass and upper bass warmth, and in comparison the PP8’s more linear bass has better, and more evident bass texturing and nuance; sub bass rumble shines through better without being boosted. Where the UE18+ feels a little more lush and indulgent, the PP8 feels more natural and accurate.

    The PP8 treble strikes an excellent balance between realistic weight and presence, leaving the UE18+ to sound a little dark and too relaxed right after switch over. The same follows in the midrange, with the PP8 striking a great balance between rich and engaging male vocals and energetic and lively female vocals. Upon switching the UE18+ sounds fuller in the lower midrange and relaxed in the upper midrange, giving a more husky tonality to all vocals.

    Neither sounds as wide and as spacious as Andromeda, but the PP8 is the best proportioned and has better layering and depth than either. The UE18+ sounds more intimate and closed-in with a/b. It strikes me that this is the signature that Westone and Earsonics have been trying to perfect all these years, with their warmish stage monitor tunings. UE, while still maintaining the stage type tuning, has been able to achieve better balance and realism moreso than any offerings I’ve heard from the aforementioned manufacturers. It’s really pleasing and easy to listen to without being too warm or too bassy or losing too much presence in the upper midrange.
     
  14. La Cenric

    La Cenric Friend

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    Probably my bias speaking (considering I actively chose the 18+ over the PP8 having heard both) but I found the 18+ be the more "natural" sounding monitor as opposed to the PP8's relative sterility. I would choose the PP8 for detail/reference-oriented listening while the 18+ would be more general.
     
  15. dongster

    dongster Rando

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    thanks for the comparison,

    to what kHz does PP8's treble extend to?,
    I know the UE18+ extends at least to 18kHz.

    4 ur convinience :)
    http://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_frequencycheckhigh.php
     
  16. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    It doesn’t extend as far as UE. UE has some of the best armature extension on the market (besides Etymotic). PP8 drops off sooner for sure.

    Perhaps @La Cenric can chime in with his measured extension?
     
  17. dongster

    dongster Rando

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    thanks for the response :)

    any thoughts on how well UE18+ responds to EQ?

    thinking about just EQing out the treble dip (my main source of hesitance),
    for when i want a little brighter piano/female vocal
     
  18. La Cenric

    La Cenric Friend

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    The top-firing BAs that UE uses (that they call "TrueTone") in the UERR and UE18+ definitely results in better extension, at least on graphs. Same goes for 64 Audio's Tia stuff that utilises the same concept.

    EQing the treble dip works. But the bass doesn't respond as well.
     
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  19. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Today Massdrop is announcing their own branded iem, designed and tuned from the ground up. It’s a triple Sonion armature universal with custom-like fit, for only $299.
    https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-plus-universal-iems

    70C5C455-A2C9-4648-B67D-B80EA8DF9CF8.jpeg

    The Massdrop Plus tuning approach reminds me a little of what Sead Smailagic of Sony was trying to achieve with their MH1 and MH1C dynamic driver iems. The basic approach is a diffuse field accurate iem with a healthy deep bass boost. The problem with the Sony is that they boosted the bass entirely too much, with approximately 12 db’s of bass centered around 50 or 60 hz, it could certainly use some taming. The Sony also suffered from poor quality control and some samples exhibited over 20 db’s of bass boost!

    Luckily Massdrop seems to have found the sweet spot. I’m guessing the Plus bass boost is around 7db’s, give or take and centered just a little higher. The result is an iem approaching neutral that should appeal to a broader base of users. The bass boost is extremely pleasing, adding a hint of fun without sliding into indulgent overload.

    Frankly it’s pretty amazing. Clarity is through the roof fantastic! It makes just about everything else at my disposal sound like there are differing degrees/layers of veil yet to be removed. However, the Plus stays harshness and hardness free, particularly with Mee Audio dual flanges, which give me a bit deeper fit and a hair smoother top end.

    Speaking of fit, it’s superb. The shell shape is form fitting and flat to the ear. Nothing sticks out. These rival the fit of Westone universal shells I like so much, and the wider nozzle allows for many more tip rolling options than the narrow nozzle Westones. My understanding is the shape comes from nearly 3 decades of custom ear plug and hearing aid manufacturing; all those custom fits average into one. I really do love the fit of the Plus.

    Is it worth $299? Absolutely. This iem holds it own and doesn’t give up much to TOTL offerings. The Plus is easily the best iem under $600 or so on the market today. I love they way it pairs with the Lotoo Paw 5000. This combo is pretty hard to beat and probably impossible in this price bracket. Needless to say the Plus is going on my list.


    Comparisons


    vs Massdrop/Noble X

    Where the X has a general bass boost across the spectrum, the Plus is focused in deep bass, which helps makes the lower midrange sound much clearer. Both have similar bass texturing but the Plus bass is noticeably cleaner.

    The X vocals sound much warmer than the Plus. Upon switching, it’s like a veil has been lifted. There’s more energy and detail, producing a much clearer window into the performance. The Plus also sounds brighter and crisper overall, though never harsh. The X top end is much more laid back and sounds softer, darker. The Plus is overall much clearer and much more transparent. The Noble X’s downward sloping signature sounds much warmer and has a slight veil in direct comparison.

    The X produces a much more intimate presentation, even if vocals are place further back than the Plus. The Plus sounds wider left to right, with more air and space between instruments. Depth is negligible between the two.


    vs Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor

    The Plus has a noticeable boost in bass over the UERM with a stronger focus in deeper bass that lingers a little longer as well. The UERM definitely sounds leaner right after switching. Kick drums are more forward and palpable with the Plus. While the UERM sounds more linear in the bass, the difference in extension is noticeable with the Plus.

    The Plus rivals the UERM for female vocal reproduction. In fact the Plus sounds a bit more forward and more lively with female vocals in comparison. The same follows with male vocals, the Plus sounds more forward, more energetic, though the slight difference seems to give the UERM a more noticeable depth to vocals and the midrange in general.

    While the Plus sounds a touch clearer, due to more forward upper mids, the UERM is brighter in treble, particularly in middle treble. Top end details are easier to pick out with the UERM and there is just more of a sense of air.

    Overall the UERM sounds a bit more spacious, layered and airier. In contrast the Plus sounds more forward, clearer and energetic. It grabs you, demanding your engagement.


    vs Campfire Audio Andromeda

    Both sound very lively and clear with similar bass levels. Actually the bass sounds really similar, with a similar deep bass boost. Perhaps Andromeda’s boost is a hair deeper and hair bigger at 1ohm OI. Andromeda also seems to have longer decay, for a bass sounds a little more natural in direct comparison. The Plus bass is a little denser sounding, restricting texturing in direct comparison.

    Male and female vocals have similar weight and richness, with the Plus sounding closer in distance with both, particularly with female vocals. Both models have excellent distortion rock guitar crunch and bite; definitely two of the better iems on the market in this regard. Again the guitars sound a good bit closer to the listener with the Plus.

    The biggest difference between the two is in treble. Andromeda is overall brighter with more sparkle and air. I also think the spoutless armatures produce a more lifelike decay than normally aspirated armatures. In this regard, Andromeda’s going to put top end resolution more up front and easier to hear. Low level micro dynamics and decay are just easier to hear and separate.

    While there are many similarities, Andromeda still sounds airer, more spacious overall with greater micro dynamics and resolution. The distance Andromeda gives up in the middle helps to create a deeper and larger stage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  20. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    ^^ Wow, that was more glowing than I've ever seen from you @shotgunshane. Do you know if review units being sent around to other reviewers too?
     

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