Most impressive IEM's I've tried - and sub $50 !!! - Page 3
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  1. #21
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happydan View Post
    My take is that you might get some change, but wasting 100 hours on it is snake oil. And that the size of the components in IEMs leaves a lot less wiggle room than over-ear drivers.
    Enh. It also can't hurt them. And the differnce wasn't that subtle with these. At least to my ears. I have no good way to measure them, so I didn't bother. On speakers, I've both heard and measured it before. So....it stands to reason we're talking about a difference of scale, not existence.

    Is it placebo? Who cares. I like them better now. And it was free. The important word in "Placebo Effect" is the second one.

    Fun fact...academic/medical-based acupuncture, occult/traditional acupuncture, and flat-out sham acupuncture based on nothing but "don't hit an artery" all work to some degree on most people tested. And in some of the testing I've seen, there is no difference in efficacy. That implies that it's either just the body's general stress/injury response actually doing the thing it's supposed to do or completely placebo. But in many people, the results are also measureable.

    Interconnects...as long as they're built right, I call BS on that making a difference. But if you're buying pre-built cables, the cables that are built well tend to have "good" interconnects anyway, so it's not something I've bothered to test at all.

    Cables? I'm undecided when it stops mattering, because it absolutely does with guitar cables. And at the extremes (George L vs. cheap bargain cables from GC or Monoprice) if you can't hear it, then you can't hear. Note that George L cables are specifically designed to not act as a LPF (which basically all other guitar cables do) as well as possibly changing the interaction between the pickups and the amp's input, and I don't prefer the sound of the George Ls. They're too bright. It's unquestionably a difference, though. By the time you get to speaker cables, if there is a differnece, I'm pretty sure it's miniscule. I've never heard it with Mic cables, but outside of live situations where nothing in the system was good enough to care, I've mostly used Canare or Mogami "digital" cables, which aren't supposed to act as a LPF until you get into the MHz range.

    There absolutely is a lot of stuff in both the audiophile and pro audio communities that boil down to snake oil. But, I'm not convinced that speaker break-in is one of them. And, again, it doesn't hurt them.

    But, my experience is that almost anything physical and dynamic (meaning it moves), especially if it stretches or is affected by any kind of harmonic waves during normal operation has to break in: springs, guitar strings, tires, rifle barrels, etc.. Also, literally anything that will wear out through normal use obviously changes from use. It's just a question of where in it's service life it performs the way you want. And speaker cones do wear out. And...for most things like this...if it's going to have a significant failure, it's going to have it either very close to the beginning of it's service life or very close to the end of it's expected life, assuming it's not from damage.

    I will never believe that amplifiers require break-in. But, every PA amp I've bought has gotten a few hundred hours into a dummy load straight out of the box...because if it's going to fail early and I do that, it'll probably fail during the return/exchange period instead of having to deal with shipping it in for repair. And I have discovered a couple faulty amps that way and gotten them replaced.

    When I first heard these earbuds, I was about ready to trash them. Mids and up were detailed and clean, maybe a little bright for my taste, but okay. There was basically no bass extension, and the low mids sounded off. After looping pink noise for a few days, I like them. And I didn't change anything else...used the same cable and eartips, same DAC (my phone), and same reference tracks, played at the same level, with the same app. All that changed was that the low-mids evened out and the bass extension got better. So, it probably was just the dynamic drivers and not the BAs that broke in, if that is what happened at all.

  2. #22
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    So - burn-in is up there with “high quality interconnects” in the hokum field...
    High quality, I can understand - "Audiophile Quality Cables" on the other hand

    Audiophile Quality Speaker Cables are, by far, the worst snake oil offenders though.

    Back to break in. I know first hand from a side by side reference that certain headphones do sound noticeably different over an extended period of time, so I'm not ready to write off burn-in-theory.

    Like Mostapha said, I think that the properties of anything that mechanically moves like a headphone driver or speaker cone will change somewhat over a period of time - for better or worse.

    Anyhoo, I've been running mine anytime i'm away from my computer running a playlist of random stuff with the bass/mid bass whacked up for maximum movement on the drivers that move the most air. I don't think it'll make the slightest difference to the balanced armatures in any case.

    Honestly I don't know if they are, or ever will be any more "broken in", but hey, like Mostapha also said its free. no harm, no foul.
    Last edited by deevey; 03-22-2018 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #23
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    This is going pretty off topic, largely because this alternative topic interests me greatly. Because I'm a loser/dork.

    Anyway...quickly about the earbuds....I do like the sound for the price, but they're not good enough to stop me from spending a crap ton of money at some point in the future.

    The bass extension is still not quite as low as I'd like, but I'm not sure I've ever heard earbuds or headphones that could actually compete with a decently-tuned subwoofer in a room. The "problem" is that the bass still feels light on songs that I know were aggressively high-passed at like 40Hz for some reason. It really could be a difference between the waves hitting my eardrums and being trasferred to the bones in my skull vs. the air pressure in the room changing.

    They're also not quite as comfortable as I'd like if, like yesterday, I read half a book and listen to 3-4 albums at the same time.

    I'm willing to try Comply audiophile/comfot tips to try and fix both of those issues...I'll probably order some this weekend because I don't have that size.

    Now...onto the OT stuff...

    Quote Originally Posted by deevey View Post
    High quality, I can understand - "Audiophile Quality Cables" on the other hand

    Audiophile Quality Speaker Cables are, by far, the worst snake oil offenders though.
    I disagree that they're the worst but not that they're a problem.

    I haven't seen any real technical reason why USB "Decrapifiers" make a difference. If the thing you're trying to decrapify (e.g., a DAC) has a bad design that puts analog and digital singals or either and power lines too close together....if it has a badly designed PLL or one that doesn't work right with the external clock you may be using...if it's clock sucks...if it's using a bad filter...if it's upsampling wrong (since they all upsample before conversion nowadays)....all of those things can negatively affect the sound quality, and they're probably the biggest problems in crappy converters.

    And literally none of them have anything to do with whatever the frak decrapifiers claim to do....especially when you consider that USB is an asynchronous transfer anyway....literally everything coming through USB is buffered in the DAC, which minimizes the effect of noise and loss (since reconstructing binary from degraded signals is kind of a core feature of how computers work), and there's nothing like clocking that has anything to do with word clocks that happens with asynchronous digital transfers....because they're buffered in the next stage.

    I'm willing to admit that it's hard to read through marketing BS and there might be something. I'm really curious if anyone has a technical explanation why this stuff is doing anything that I should care about.

    As for the cables...yeah. I'm pretty sure we've all seen the Monster Cable vs. Coat Hanger test. That proves that Monster Cables are snake oil, not that all cables are. And, again, it absolutely does make a difference at instrument level with high impedance inputs and low impedance outputs. IIRC, it was Buddy Guy who used a 100' guitar cable because the LPF and RF noise were part of his tone.

    The "problem" with audiophiles arguing about it is that when you're talking about Line or Speaker level...the voltages are a lot higher, and the impedances are a lot lower. If nothing else, speaker cables are high-enough voltage/level that you don't have to worry so much about them acting like radio antennas (compared to long unblanaced mic cables).

    My suspicion is that "audiophile" cables don't matter, but cables that meat certain requirements in terms of resistance (basically, thicknes and design to a degree) and capacitance (hot and ground near each other separated by an insulator is exatly how you build a capacitor) can cause an effect. But...I've also seen first and and heard too many 2nd hand stories about high-end speaker manufacturers using plain old Home Depot power extension cables as speaker cables when not all of the boxes arrived at a trade show to think there's anything that makes a cable worth 2 grand a foot or anything like it.

    Using cables designed for AES/EBU or even DMX as mic and line cables, OTOH, makes complete sense to me. They're not really any more expensive, and since all cables are low pass filters, knowing that LPF will accurately pass low level signals in the MHz-GHz range over very long runs means that they'll pass audio band signals just fine. And, they tend to have connectors that are actually soldered well instead of the absolute garbage you sometimes get from LiveWire and Monoprice. People use CAT 5e or 6 Ethernet cable for MADI/AES/etc. cables for the same reason....they're built to not act as a LPF and reject enough noise to reconstruct a bit-perfect digital signal until you're well into the GHz range even with cable runs on the order of 100 feet.

    FWIW, I don't actually know what speaker cables are in my hifi/living room setup. I'm pretty sure the store threw them in when I bought the speakers. They are far from the biggest flaw in that system (the room is the biggest problem, like almost everywhere).

  4. #24
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Just given mine a listen.

    Pre- any kind of burn in, and to my ears, they sound better using the stock cable. The sound is MUCH brighter when I tried the upgraded cable, and there was less bass than when I was using the stock cable. That was a surprise to me, because, usually, for listening, I like a tiny touch of boost in the mids and hi’s, but the upgraded cable made a very obvious difference. Shame, because the stock cable is that horrible, rubbery type that gets tangled and bent, while the upgraded is braided cable that is much nicer.

    Neither of the cables sounded bad - and the actual product is phenomenal for the money. I’ve ordered another pair for DJ’ing. I’ll probaly order another pair again for the “sketching” stages of production... At <30 a pair, why the hell not!
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  5. #25
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Just given mine a listen.

    Pre- any kind of burn in, and to my ears, they sound better using the stock cable. The sound is MUCH brighter when I tried the upgraded cable, and there was less bass than when I was using the stock cable. That was a surprise to me, because, usually, for listening, I like a tiny touch of boost in the mids and hi’s, but the upgraded cable made a very obvious difference. Shame, because the stock cable is that horrible, rubbery type that gets tangled and bent, while the upgraded is braided cable that is much nicer.

    Neither of the cables sounded bad - and the actual product is phenomenal for the money. I’ve ordered another pair for DJ’ing. I’ll probaly order another pair again for the “sketching” stages of production... At &lt;&#163;30 a pair, why the hell not!
    Interesting.

    The stock cable is still in the box. But, I actually hate the upgraded one I have. The braiding looks cool, but it's still a little loud when something bumps it, and I HATE memory sections that are supposed to curve over your ears. Maybe my ears are small or something, but they never stay in the right position the way normal cables do.

    Also, I got the comply tips. They're definitely an upgrade, and the 500 series do indeed fit.

  6. #26
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Nice. I’ll grab some of those tips. And I agree about the memory section on the upgraded cable. Again - the stock cable beats the upgrade there.

    Definitely give the stock cable a try just to check that I’m not crazy!
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  7. #27
    Tech Wizard djelton's Avatar
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    Damn, I read, and read, and read.. And it only got better..
    I as almost about to start ordering, but then I noticed that in every review they say how bright and high they could be
    I don't know if my ears are f'd up, or what.. but I just can't stand high frequencies :/
    Maybe they have a new model with more lows and less highs coming

  8. #28
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    The hi’s were only an issue for me with the “upgraded” cable...
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  9. #29
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    Nice. I’ll grab some of those tips. And I agree about the memory section on the upgraded cable. Again - the stock cable beats the upgrade there.

    Definitely give the stock cable a try just to check that I’m not crazy!
    Agreed about the memory section. The stock cable also seems a little bit better about things bumping it.

    As for it being less bright...IDK. I think you might be right (though I obviously couldn't determine that blind, so your statement will color my experience). With eitehr cable, it's not bad to me.

    That being said, it does seem like the stock cable lets the earbuds go lower, which would make it seem less bright if it happens. But...I'm not really sure how it could unless headphone level is lower (in raw voltage) than I think it is....or if the braided thing really does make that big of a difference in capacitance.

    ....or if the weirdo audiophiles are right and silver really does sound different....which I'm not ready to accept.

    But, yeah...the super-tight memory section alone is a good reason not to use whichever fancy cable I wound up with. It's better with the stock one to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by djelton View Post
    Damn, I read, and read, and read.. And it only got better..
    I as almost about to start ordering, but then I noticed that in every review they say how bright and high they could be
    I don't know if my ears are f'd up, or what.. but I just can't stand high frequencies :/
    Maybe they have a new model with more lows and less highs coming
    They're not overly bright, IMHO. It's just that a lot of things people like are a little dark.

    They're closer to MDR-7506s than HD-25s, if that means anything to you. Though they're not as harsh as 7506s can get.

    Without being able to measure, talking about these things is always going to be a bit vague and nebulous....one person's warm is another's dark.

  10. #30
    Tech Guru astromech's Avatar
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    I ended up buying some of these out of curiosity, because my last set of earbuds died on me. I went for the upgraded braided silver cable as well. I'm fairly sure the cable doesn't connect properly with the earpieces. There's a very different sound from that set up, almost like it's mono, but it it's definitely not.
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