In-Ear Fidelity

Cliffnotes (Dated July 15, 2018)

Some stupidly short notes in no particular order because why not. I’ll go in-depth once I’m back in Australia and have some time to type all my feelings out.

  • PEARS SH3: Wow, very impressive. I’d recommend these over the UERR as reference IEMs to be honest.
  • 64 Audio U18Tzar re-listen: not very impressive now. It’s kind of has this “everything is okay” thing going on, but also nothing really special is sticking out. Not even its resolution.
  • 64 Audio Tia Trio re-listen: huh, the other demo unit sounds less wonky. I’d daresay now it’s pretty much “right”. Now I really think there’s no reason to get a Fourte.
  • Lark Studio LSX: nothing stands out. It’s a thing.
  • Sony EX1000: So goddamned picky and so critical of source files. Too intense for daily listening but it’s extremely technical and competent.
  • Sony EX800/MDR-7550: the slightly bassier, warmer, more forgiving EX1000.
  • Symphonium Audio Mirage: mediocre.
  • Symphonium Audio Aurora: not bad. For the price it’s a pretty great deal.
  • FiiO F3: very nice U-shaped dynamic sound. Gets my vote for a cheap pick.
  • FiiO F5: typical V-shaped dynamic sound.
  • JVC FW-01: soooo heavy, so dense, so rich.
  • HUM Pristine Reference (force fitted custom): sounds a lot different from the demo unit I tried ages ago. A lot more engaging, less congested and less dark sounding. Wouldn’t drop MSRP cash on it still though.
  • JH Audio Billie Jean: it’s… a thing. Nothing really stands out neither particularly bad or good.
  • Kinera IDUN: was expecting a lot of bad things considering the H3 and the SEED. Surprisingly, not bad. Pretty much what I expect for that asking price.
  • Stealthsonics U2: veeery V-shaped, rather sharp. Not for me.
  • Stealthsonics U4A thing
  • Stealthsonics U9: kinda meh in timbre, edging on congestion at times. Good bass though.
  • Stealthsonics U9 JDM: fixes the congestion issue in the standard U9 and better at being natural. I like.
  • Advanced GT3: treble daggers into my ears. No.
  • RHA CL750: treble icepicks into my ears. Nooo.
  • Unique Melody ME1: mushy, no definition, off timbre. This is not how to do an in-ear planar.
  • Kumitate KL-Sirius: pretty much the definition of “Japanese neutral”. A very good IEM.
  • Kumitate KL-REF Type S: amazing bass. Horrible timbre. Apparently it was specifically tuned for one singer; I can see that.
  • Earsonics EM10: rather dead and oddly tuned. Actually, that kind of applies to the rest of Earsonics’ lineup. The French have weird taste.
  • Lime Ears Model X: not bad. Well balanced and the two modes are decently different from one another, either as a “musical” or “reference” IEM.
  • ARC Pollux: might impressive for a single BA. Would recommend if a cheap custom is a necessary purchase.
  • VSonic (new) GR07: still holds up. It ain’t budging as my $100 benchmark.
  • CTM CT6E (new edition?): decently neutral. Not going to turn any heads in today’s market.
  • InEar SD5: warm, “natural” signature similar (but not equivalent) to the UE18+ with a little added treble sparkle.
  • qdc Anole V3: bassy, forgiving and pretty good. I like the signature but the resolution can be a little lacking.
  • qdc Anole V6: more uppermid-centric compared to the V3 with the interesting mids-boost switch.
  • Acoustune HS1503: more treble, more texture, not for everyone.
  • Campfire Comet: meh. Worth the price, I guess.
  • Campfire Atlas: clearly inspired (or upgraded from) the Vega. A love-it-or-hate-it affair, I think it’s way too bassy to be competent.
  • Hyla Nerva X: emotion vampire. Sucks out a lot of soul out of the music for some reason.
  • iBasso IT04: a good improvement over the IT03 but retains some of its weaknesses. Like the weird hollowness in the midrange.
  • JustEar Club Sound (custom forcefitted): veeeery pleasant to listen to. Timbre is just right.
  • Ultimate Ears UE6 Pro: better than the Live. A very capable “midrange” hybrid.
  • Warbler Prelude (custom forcefitted): good timbre reproduction. Horrible extension on both ends. Mediocre resolution. Too many compromises.
  • Advanced M51D: a little rolled off and ultimately average sounding.
  • Advanced M55D: painful to listen to. Geez, go easy on the high freqs.
  • Dita Fidelity: good technicalities, decently neutral tone, intensely V-shaped.
  • Dita Fealty: far more forgiving than the Fidelity, warmer and more “musical”, for lack of a better term.
  • Empire Ears EVR: decently neutral, good detail. Not bad.
  • Empire Ears ESR: ssssssharp…
  • Empire Ears Bravdo: typical V-shaped hybrid signature, nothing much to say.
  • Empire Ears Vantage: a logical step down from the Legend X in my opinion.
  • Empire Ears Nemesis: really bright. Somewhat balanced by the thundering bass so I guess it’s fine.

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