Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Jun 7, 2016.
For me I guess it's feeling thing, I simply can't reasonably talk to anybody with IEMs in my ears.
I got a set of Samsung Buds for free with my new S10e. They're kinda ok, but really only good enough for listening to podcasts, and even then they need EQ. The ambient mode is pretty useless as the mic response on my set has really bad channel imbalance and it sounds like bad AM radio with treble cranked up. Fit and comfort-wise they're pretty good. I basically only use them at the gym.
I'm also still figuring out how to deal with them when I need to talk to someone. Thanks @james444 for the tip about just breaking the seal. I'll try that next time.
trademarked “DF shout” but free from BA timbre, now with DD subbass.
more flexible/usable cf sony ex800 but ex800 still has better microdetails and better textured bass
tight dd bass, smooth but present treble, not all that sparkly or airy, no ex800/ex1k type of wide headstage tho not as claustrophobic or in your face as er4se/xr
needs power, otherwise the upper mids becomes a littled smeared (sss becomes sschh); cant be adequately powered by iphone dongle.
but on the zx300, with mids @-1 and treble @+1 - happy days!
isolation is great, equal to any etys.
these are perfect for inflight and everyday podcasts/listening of streamed music.
cf er3xr, er2xr is more natural but a bit less sensitive, 3 can sound good with the iphone dongle, 2xr’s bass is a bit more solid and “real sounding” 3xr has slightly better or accentuated microdetails in the mids, sibilance is rounder, less accurate but less obvious. 2xr with power renders sibilance (already in recordings) more naturally.
cf er2se. se is more neutral, still with extended subbass but without the lift, felt that at low volume, the DF mids are more exposed, less bodied, and less ideal for long haul inflight listening. Needs more power/volume than er2xr to sound balanced (lack of fletcher-munson comp?)
given all the compromises, i still think it’s prolly the least compromised DD anywhere near the price IF you want a DF neutral sound sig.
I wonder how similar the ER2SE is to the MC5 and MK5 of years' past. I had an MK5 in the past, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, but found the chintzy plastic body wanting. Ety have refrained from posting the FRs of their dynamic driver models in the past for some reason or another. I had the MK5 measured a few years back, and it followed the ER4S target fairly closely with a few limitations.
there are unofficial measurements of the er2se/xr on massdrop, head-fi and reddit
and they definitely sounded more refined and extended than the mk5 from what i recall.
@deafdoorknob I’ve been reading the ER2 treble is more subdued than the ER4. Sounds like you’d agree? If so, does it lack transparency next to the 4’s?
i have only had them for 20+ hours, i would say that it is subjectively less transparent than the er4xr but moreso than the er3xr, er2se is subjectively more transparent than the er2xr but that could be down to the bass lift. on the bright side, it doesn’t fatigue as easily.
Time for a much needed update to the budget end of the list. I’ve been meaning to write this for weeks but life just keeps getting in the way. Better late than never.
I’m adding 2 fantastic budget iems to the list: Final Audio E1000 and Moondrop Crescent. Both can be had at a hair under $30 but both would sound great at $100.
The Final Audio E1000 is their cheapest model in the E range of in-ears. The E range consists of all single dynamic driver, barrel housing style models. The E1000 can be had for a measly $26.99 at audio46.com. Final cuts the last pennies off the E2000 by offering a plastic, instead of metal housing in the E1000. Crinacle/La Centric has measured the entire line-up and the E1000 seems to be the best balanced signature of the line-up. That’s not to say it’s exactly neutral though.
The E1000 is very reminiscent of the Zero Audio Tenore in looks but seems to be made better, in that it has a more robust and confidence inspiring cable. But neither has strain reliefs at the housings, so it’s best to be careful removing them from your ears and grab from the housings only. Speaking of the housing, they are tiny and fit is super comfortable. Signature wise, it’s also somewhat reminiscent of the Tenore (at least from my memory)- warm and smooth. However it’s not as extended as the Tenore and is probably a good step warmer/colored overall. The E1000 just sounds effortless with natural tone and timbre. It’s a bit of a male vocal and acoustic instrument specialist. While vocals are clear, bass is a bit soft and round, lacking macro dynamics and attack for faster and harder rock music. Treble seems typical of Final tunings, just a much more tamed version of it. The bass warmth is particularly welcome when on the go, as outside noises tend to lean out bass, and it can take on a more neutralish tone. But in a quiet room, its decidedly warm and smooth.
Final wants $15 for their very good Final E tips, in which a full set comes with the E1000. Does this make the E1000 an $11 in-ear? I can’t lie, I’ve finally fallen in love with Final and funnily enough it’s their cheapest model.
Looking for something more in the neutral wheelhouse? Look no further than the Moondrop Crescent. The Crescent has a standard, OEM looking metal, barrel style housing seen a lot over the years. It’s a little on the heavy side and is a brassy gold straight out of the 60’s. The cable is rubbery and springy. All in all not much to complain about at the asking price. The Crescent can be had for $29 on eBay or Amazon from a handful of Chinese importers.
Moondrop, if you are not familiar, is a Chinese manufacturer that has been garnering quite a bit of notice for it’s mostly neutral leaning tunings, and following the most recent revisions of the Harman target for in-ears (for better or worse). The Crescent is a single dynamic driver and is the at the bottom of the price rung for Moondrop IEM offerings. However, as mentioned above, sound quality far exceeds its asking price.
The Crescent does sound pretty neutral overall with a slight mid bass boost. It has good extension in both directions. Bass rumbles down and low and hits hard when asked. The midrange is clear and straddles the line of sounding lean at times and sounding full and rich at others. Treble is both easy to listen to, yet has plenty of sparkle and good presence; just lacking a bit in the refinement and smoothness its older sibling, the Kanas Pro, has. Early on I found myself getting really picky with the Crescent- wanting a little less mid bass and a little more treble refinement and presence for more neutrality- and I was getting angry it wasn’t tuned that way! Then I remembered this thing is $30. Relax. But that’s how good it is. It’s so close to excellence, I just want to push it a little further.
Budget IEM sound quality has really come a long way over the years and these 2 are about as good as it gets. At least for now.
@shotgunshane Any update on your Tanchjim Oxygen? I'm really curious about this IEM.
+1 on Final E1000, fwiw, were it not for the less than stellar isolation (it doesnt really leak out as much as leak in) it would be one of the best all rounder. @shotgunshane for reference, ety er2xr, tonally, is more DF, more revealing, faster sounding than the e1000, with better bass resolution/texture, more importantly, it has better isolation.
It’s supposed to ship out April 25.
Thanks for your comments on the Final Audio E1000 shotgunshane!
I picked them up since I could get them in Aus with overnight shipping at similar price and I'd been meaning to get my hands on the final audio tips, so your review sold me.
I think your description compared to the Tenore is pretty spot on. It's quite warm / coloured in comparison but very pleasant and doesn't go too far for me.
I've had bad jaw problems lately so have been using my Koss Portapro and IEMs only. Between the Portapro and the E1000 it's certainly been one of those moments where I have been forced to reconsider why I spend so much on gear.
Moved IMR Acoustics R1 impressions and modifications talk to its own dedicated thread here:
Really great thread, thanks for the ample reviews on IEM's (something which I was pretty clueless about)!
I'm pretty sure I totally suck at using the search function, but I was wondering if there's any bluetooth earphones thread like this one. Aside from Marv's brief review on MX Nuforce Stride, I haven't found much else. I know it might not be a subject this community would be typically be keen on, but I'm curious if there's any decent bluetooth stuff out there that doesn't break the bank. Even though I totally dismissed the idea of wireless earphones for a while, I end up having to swap out earphones every couple of months due to the jack getting messed up, probably because of the usual running routine. So I'm afraid of getting something like the FD01's for heavy use due to accelerated wear.
And, of course, once the jack starts losing contact even partially, Google assistant decides to go apeshit and stop every attempt of music playback thanks to Android 9, so it's become a bit of a problem.
As an alternative to a dedicated bluetooth earphone, I recommend the Radsone EarStudio ES100, a very small Bluetooth receiver that you can use with your favorite high quality earphones. Excellent sound and enough power to drive even many full size headphones. It supports the LDAC codec, which you can use with Android 8 and 9. It has a long thread on Head-Fi.
I think the FD01 at least has a replaceable cable if that's the problem, although probably a bit fancy to go running with.
I think there is also Sony bluetooth mmcx cable that some people were pretty excited about a while back - that might be worth looking into.
Unfortunate I haven’t heard any true wireless models outside of AirPods (which I own and like a lot).
I have heard the wired (Mass)Drop Stride. They nail the connectivity. It connects effortlessly to your phone. However I found the SQ lacking. It was both muddy and metallic. Plus I’m just not a fan of flat cables either. I haven’t heard the new new true wireless Drop Move version. It ditches the cable completely and measurements show reduced bass boost and a smoother upper mid and treble response. The charging box looks like a nice addition.
The Jabra Elite 65T is the true wireless earphone most recommended on consumer electronic sites like Wirecutter, Verge, etc. Again, I haven’t heard these but have been tempted to buy them to try. However all the Amazon repair issues in reviews scare me off every time I get tempted.
@8man I asked about true wireless very recently in this thread. Folks steered me toward the Jabra 65t for my wife, which she's happy with.
Got myself a cheapo TFZ X1 (apparently a rebrand of a Mifo). <$100 USD. Sounds ok, nothing offensive, fits good and no noticeable video lag on my S7 phone, so I'm happy. It's also reputed to hold 100 hrs of charge on earpiece+ case.
@shotgunshane damn, I have a pair of JVC's that are exactly like that, pretty harsh on most stuff. Yeah I've seen people seem to recommend Jabra stuff a lot, plus, they seem better priced than Sony (not sure how good they are, though). Have to admit I haven't heard about the brand until I've started looking into wireless solutions.
@Eric_C these really look nice, that's some awesome battery life for the money too. Don't know if it's easy to find outside Massdrop, though (which is Drop now apparently, cause this is the new trend).
@Metro a cordless amp sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how that would work. Isn't getting rid of the cable the point of using bluetooth stuff? Or maybe it's extremely pocket friendly, would that be the point? My phone's already a brick in the pocket so I'm not sure I'd want more stuff bouncing in my pockets
Most importantly, thanks for all of the recommendations, I'll definitely check out some reviews now!
@8man, regarding tiny Bluetooth dac/amps like the Radsone ES100 and Fiio BT1K, both of which I own, allow you to use the earphones you already own as Bluetooth sets. You could buy/make shorter cables, so that the Bluetooth module clips at your shirt collar. I just run the cable down my shirt and clip it at my pocket. I enjoy using them, as it lets me more easily change songs and volume without getting my phone out; or allows me to use my phone without worrying about the cable, particularly if I’ve routed the cable under a shirt or jacket. While I prefer the SQ of the ES100, the Fiio unit is simpler to use blindly.
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