Audio Random IEM / Headphone Rants

Claycamera

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Feb 1, 2012
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Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon <3
Never liked Beetles, not my thing.
I think the basis of the list was more to showcase the sound recording and mastering skills (L-R panning, crossfeed, instrument separation, 3D effect etc) achieved .
 

b_naresh

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Apr 12, 2005
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@esanthosh: Have you formed an opinion on where the JVC HA-FXD70 would settle in your IEM rankings? Would they still be above the Brainwavz M3? I currently own JVC HA-S500 headphones and Sennheiser CX400 earphones and am thinking about JVC HA-FXD70/80, Brainwavz M3 or SoundLogic E30 as an upgrade from my CX400. I'd be mainly using this to listen to music on my mobile phone without amp. Factors to be considered: Clarity, resolution, comfortable fit, not too bright sounding or harsh treble as to induce fatigue, should not need amp to drive it.
 
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kenpachiroks

Active Member
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Dec 15, 2009
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Whats been happening! Been a loooong time.
7 months and only one page? What happened to this once bustling thread? :facepalm:

The IEM market has never been better!, CanJam 2014 was amazing, almost every manufacturer has new stuff out, and a couple of new manufacturers have popped up too!

@esanthosh: Have you formed an opinion on where the JVC HA-FXD70 would settle in your IEM rankings? Would they still be above the Brainwavz M3? I currently own JVC HA-S500 headphones and Sennheiser CX400 earphones and am thinking about JVC HA-FXD70/80, Brainwavz M3 or SoundLogic E30 as an upgrade from my CX400. I'd be mainly using this to listen to music on my mobile phone without amp. Factors to be considered: Clarity, resolution, comfortable fit, not too bright sounding or harsh treble as to induce fatigue, should not need amp to drive it.
@esanthosh is MIA :D. You can find his latest updated ranking here . Indeed the FXD70 is above the M3. I haven't heard the IEMs you have listed so I wouldn't be in a position to advice. Perhaps someone else could chime in.
Going only by your requirements of "Clarity, resolution, comfortable fit, not too bright sounding or harsh treble as to induce fatigue, should not need amp to drive it": I would suggest the RE400, though there is a chance you may find the bass lacking(especially if compared to the CX400). You could also consider the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear, Ostry KC06A (check reviews).
Let us know what kind of music you listen to, and what is your minimum bass requirement. This should help us narrow down some options for you to consider.
 

esanthosh

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Jan 3, 2010
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@b_naresh,

I am completely out of touch with IEMs, so much so that it took me 8 minutes to remember which one of my Soundmagic IEMs is E30 :). But, I will attempt. Please note that this is a rough impression of going once over with a portion of the same track than a detailed comparison / analysis.

I have not heard CX400 or have read reviews about it. So, it's hard for me to say which one will form the right upgrade. If it sounds something like PX80 headphone - lots of mid bass, slightly pushed back and a little veiled mids and slightly rolled off treble, then the following impressions would prove helpful.

E30: It is light weight and comfortable with it's over the ear design. But the design would also sacrifice isolation.

The bass would not be missing coming from CX400, but without the mid bass hump and probably better quality. The mids are clear and the sound stage and separation is good. The treble does not sound harsh. It ticks all the boxes. If you are going to use the IEM for casual listening more than attentive listening, E30 would be an apt choice. But if isolation (for outside use) and build quality are high priority items, then E30 will not be as suitable.

FXD70: It's housing is well constructed, but the design prevents deep insertion. It is not as light as E30 in the ear. On the other hand, it would surely last longer than E30 without needing as much care.

You will miss the bass coming from CX400. In contrast to E30, the focus is more towards the mids and treble. Bass sounds a bit rolled off, the mid range is clear with that unique JVC timbre. The treble is slightly tipped, but not harsh. The presentation is up front and personal. Forget my rankings, I am not sure this is the one for you yet.

Steel Series Flux: Small form factor, comfortable and allows deeper insertion due to it's design compared to E30 and FXD70. Though it does not require an amp, this requires a little more volume than FXD70 and E30 (-32 on Clip+ compared to -40/-38). It has a thin flat cable and a mic. Since you are using it with a phone, mic might come in handy. While I do not have an issue with the flat cable (and the cable is not as bad as MH1C), it is something to keep in mind.

This errs more on the side of balanced. The bass quantity is a bit more than FXD70, but not as much as E30. The quality is good though. The mids are a bit withdrawn compared to FXD70 and E30 and the coloration tends more towards neutral than the warmth of the other two. Treble is more in line with mids compared to E30 (a little pushed back in relation) and FXD70 (a little upfront in relation). The clarity is quite good and the sound stage is good enough. FXD70 due to it's upfront presentation will sound a bit more clearer at times.

RE-400: The clothed cable (till Y-split) has a little memory (won't unwind to a straight line, I forgot the term), but manageable. The small form factor makes it as easy on the ears as Flux. People generally have reservations about Hifiman's build quality and rightly so on account of failures. Due to my limited usage all my Head-Direct / Hifiman IEMs have lasted longer than it has for most people.

This is somewhat similar to FXD70 in it's orientation, but better all around. The bass quantity hits somewhat close to the FXD70 range. The mid range is neither forward as FXD70 nor as recessed as Flux, which kind of makes it 'optimal' positioning. The treble is smooth. The clarity is really good. While I am sure it would take you a few hours of mental burn-in to get used to this kind of signature, it is kind of addictive if you like it.

FXD80: Unfortunately, I do not have FXD80 or M3 with me right now. I remember them as clearly as the guys in 'Hangover' movies. I think you should read my impressions of FXD80.

M3: As far as M3 is concerned, the bass should be better than FXD70 and RE-400, but will lose out to both in the treble department. The mid range is smooth and buttery if I remember correctly. Though there's no saying without a direct comparison, I think I would still prefer FXD70 and RE-400 as far as mids go. It may have a slightly better stage than FXD70.

In short, if you would use for mostly casual listening, your need for isolation is not great and you would be a little more careful in preserving it, go for E30.
If you would rather take a risk with a different kind of signature, go for RE-400 depending on availability. I'd think that FXD80 would be a decent option as well, though I did not love it as much as RE-400.

I think there are plenty more options, but I have not kept pace with the developments for the past one year. I am hoping somebody else with updated knowledge may help you here.
 
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kenpachiroks

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Dec 15, 2009
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VSONIC VSD1S: Kaboom for your buck: The all-rounder prodigy.
This review is delayed, but only because they were a gift to someone. Only recently have I had given them an extended listen. Extended indeed.
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Vsonic needs no introduction as they have, year upon year, released bang for buck IEMs that turn into instant recommendations. That is until they up the ante again.
This is my first Vsonic IEM and was excited to try it after going through the all favourable reviews on Head-fi and Vsonic’s proclamation: “Baby brother of the famed GR07 series”.

I(unfortunately) have not tried the legendary GR07, which even today, over 3 years after its release, is still widely recommended for its sound and value. I was torn between the HiFiMAN RE400 and the GR07, and decided to give Dr. Fang a chance. A decision that transformed my journey, though I do have a feeling I would have loved the GR07 too. The GR07 has recently been given a boost with the release of the GR07 classic, which is basically identical to the GR07 but at the magic 99$ mark. So, the 99$ market is well catered to. The 50$ bracket had a few players at the time in the form of the Steelseries Flux, Vsonic's own GR02 silver, Sony MH1C, etc.

Enter Vsonic; VSD1 and VSD1S in tow: 90% of the GR07 at 50$. Hype ensued, sustained and bang-for-buck status attained.

There are quite a few reviews that describe in detail, the build, accessories and comfort. I will briefly describe this section and move on to the Sound.

Build, accessories and comfort:
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The plastic housing is light and has a good feel to it, although the comic sans lettering is far from classy. The metal swivel nozzles ooze quality and the cable looks like it can take a beating. I must point out that despite their over-ear appearance, the VSD1/S is equally comfortable worn up/down. The light housing and swivel nozzles contribute hugely. Plus, they include ear-guides for those tricky situations.

A decent number of tips are included with the VSD1S, that will tip roll you into a good fit. I particularly like the Vsonic foam tips. They are denser than comply memory foam tips, but very comfortable. And unlike comply, they do not alter the sound(for me at least). One important thing to note is that the nozzle is thinner that most earphones, ruling out tip swapping from other earphones (unless they have a slim nozzle too)

Microphonics:cable down is below average and non-existent when worn cable up. I observed no driver flex whatsoever.

Sound:

Source: LG G2, Sansa Clip Zip, Asus Ultrabook. The VSD1S is easily driven to ear splitting volumes and respond well to EQ. All tracks were >256kbps.

The overall signature is V shaped. But the V is not drastic and therefore plays well with all genres.
The bass is bumped over neutral with good presence. Not very linear though, with a gradual boost up to the midbass before dropping in the lower mids. The sub-bass is felt at average listening volumes, has a natural decay and is of better quality (read: control) than the mid-bass. The midbass keeps things lively. However the drop in upper mids is more evident as a result.
The mids are not strictly recessed. They sit a row behind the ensemble and are sufficiently accurate and clear. The upper mids are gradually more emphasized (a trend which continues into the treble range). Female vocals are more intelligible than male vocals. In tracks that do not have much midbass presence, the mids really shine through and show how capable the VSD1S midrange is.
Having read reports of sibilance on the GR07, I was pleasantly surprised to note that this wasn't a major issue on the VSD1S and was forgiving enough. Yes, the treble is emphasized, and on occasion does overstep the line, but only when the recording contains stressed ttt’s or shhhh’s. In short, the VSD1S treble is not a deal breaker. On the contrary, it made the IEM more enjoyable.

The soundstage does not leave you wanting, with average depth and above average width. Stereo imaging is convincing and is helped further by high bitrate audio.

This must give you a picture of what makes the VSD1S a great IEM. It is versatile. It has a V shaped sig that has been flattened out a bit, allowing it to handle anything thrown at it with aplomb.
It truly is amazing considering the price-point, and sometimes makes you forget that it only costs < 50$.


Now for some subjective drivel:
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I am a self-diagnosed mid-head. Blame HiFiMAN. Also I am slightly treble sensitive, meaning that I am less tolerant to sibilance. I was weary of Vsonic’s trademark sound and wondered if the VSD1S was right for me. But this was meant to be gifted, and who wouldn’t want 90% of the GR07 at 50$. I barely got to listen to them for a few minutes before I had to gift-wrap it. My mind, expecting a V shaped sound with sibilance thrown in was pleasantly surprised. I was intrigued, but sadly they were out of my hands soon thereafter. And over the next months all I heard was “Thank you so much! They sound amazing”. And over the past month I see where that came from and have grown attached to the VSD1S. Rest assured I have stolen it back and replaced the gift with my MH1C.

Am I satisfied? Not entirely (who is though?). The mids irritate me on certain tracks. I usually use the mids to volume match and therefore end up with a volume setting that makes my head sound like a club. If I had to 'fix' the VSD1S, I'd like to pull the midbass back a bit, a very very slight controlled boost in the sub bass, work in some depth to the soundstage.
My RE400 is not allowed to leave the house (build concerns), and this is excellent on the move. They isolate well, are light, and sound spectacular with all my “fun” music. I actually prefer it over the RE400 for certain genres.

Product link: Here
A big thank you to Hifinage for binging Vsonic to India. Shipping was super-fast, decent pricing and pre and post purchase customer care is top notch.
@abhi_jollyguy , @esanthosh : Thank you for the recommendations and help.

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b_naresh

Well-Known Member
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Apr 12, 2005
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@esanthosh, @kenpachiroks: Thank you for your responses. I'm currently leaning towards the FXD70 because its more VFM. I'm biased towards it also due to my JVC HA-S500 which sounds so much better than my CX400, has solid build quality, and again is VFM.
 

sardar17

Active Member
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Dec 16, 2013
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@esanthosh: Have you formed an opinion on where the JVC HA-FXD70 would settle in your IEM rankings? Would they still be above the Brainwavz M3? I currently own JVC HA-S500 headphones and Sennheiser CX400 earphones and am thinking about JVC HA-FXD70/80, Brainwavz M3 or SoundLogic E30 as an upgrade from my CX400. I'd be mainly using this to listen to music on my mobile phone without amp. Factors to be considered: Clarity, resolution, comfortable fit, not too bright sounding or harsh treble as to induce fatigue, should not need amp to drive it.
U should seriously consider gr07 classic for 99$,,it beats the shit out of brainwavz m3 that i own.
I recently got havi b3 pro 1,,,,once u are used to that u will not touch the artificial sounding m3 with small soundstage ever again.Plus m3 is too sensitive and prone to hissing with some sources.

If i were u i would get havi's but u should ideally have an amp to use it properly so re-400 and gr07 will be superior options and clear upgrade over m3.And they will just be much much better than cx 400.

Other cheaper but an awesome option would be vsonic vsd3s for 45$ and detachable cables.



If u are after massive soundstage with great clarity,good isolation go with havi b3 pro 1(u need an amp)
If u want very good treble extension(albeit some uncomfortable sibilance) with neutral everyhing else go with gr07.BUT IFU CANNOT TOLERATE SIBILANCE,STAY AWAY.
If u want a musical iem with good bass response go wih vsd3.


If u want gr07 like effect with a tiny bit more bass and no sibilance go with re-400.

DON'T BUY M3,please.
 
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swapyworld

Active Member
Adept
Sep 16, 2009
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Mumbai
how are m5 compared to Pl21 and brainwavz delta? thinking of upgrading from ES18....not a basshead....lil thump is fine...more about the wider sound stage and clarity in treble !!
 

sardar17

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Dec 16, 2013
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@sardar17: I have placed an order for RE-400 at hifinage.com
Very good decision,,although u could have saved some money with gr07.[DOUBLEPOST=1414844756][/DOUBLEPOST]
Hello, Where did you get havi b3 from ?
lendmeurears.com,,singapore

or

penon audio,hong kong

or

mp4nation.com,hongkong.


remember,never choose fedex,dhl or other couriers,select free option as they deliver with india post.U will save customs money.
 

ruiner21

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Nov 29, 2012
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Nagpur
Can somebody please tell me if sony XB30 earphones are good enough in their price range?? ( I really want the extra bass )
 

sardar17

Active Member
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Dec 16, 2013
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Yeah for 1500 u cannot go wrong but consider tekfusion twinwoofers too.They are rated pretty highly for the bass.
 

swapyworld

Active Member
Adept
Sep 16, 2009
390
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Mumbai
Can somebody please tell me if sony XB30 earphones are good enough in their price range?? ( I really want the extra bass )
Yeah for 1500 u cannot go wrong but consider tekfusion twinwoofers too.They are rated pretty highly for the bass.
had tekfusion for about a day ...used with my note 3....they are indeed good for bass but with bass on, it dampens all other frequencies. Otherwise in all cases, treble is good too. No idea about xb30.