chris marten's review of earphones

pchemist -- Tue, 07/31/2007 - 23:13

Hi Chris, Notably absent from your recent review of IEM's were the Westone products(particularly the UM1's and UM2's). Do you have any experience with these? They're supposed to be some of the most comfortable ones around, and the UM2's are supposed to be comparable in sound quality to the Super.Fi 5's. I've also heard some very positive reports on the Moda Vibes. Also, before saying that the Shure EC-530's are the "best IEM's that money can buy," (you said that either in the article or the video), don't you think you should have also tested Ultimate Ear's higher-end model, the Triple.Fi 10? Thanks for your time.

Chris Martens -- Fri, 04/11/2008 - 19:43

At the time of the original "Killer Earbuds" survey, the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro was not yet available, though I was thinking along the same lines that you are, and did formally request a review sample.

I have since had an opportunity to hear the UE Triple.Fi 10 Pros, and will be reviewing them in an upcoming survey called "Return of the Killer Earbuds," which will appear in Playback issue 8 (our May 2008 issue). The survey will cover the following models: Denon AH-C551, Klipsch Custom-3, Klipsch Image, Sennheiser IE 7, Shure SE-110, Shure SE-420, Skullcandy Titan, Skullcandy FMJ 11mm, and of course, the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pros.

I'm not familiar with the Westones or Modas, but will look into them as possible future review subjects. Thanks for suggesting them.

There are so many earbud models that I--and I suspect many readers--would like to check out that I've been thinking of making the "Killer Earbud" surveys a recurrent feature in Playback. Let me know if you feel that would be a good idea.

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

pchemist -- Fri, 04/11/2008 - 20:40

rcjlmartens wrote:At the time of the original "Killer Earbuds" survey, the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro was not yet available, though I was thinking along the same lines that you are, and did formally request a review sample.

I have since had an opportunity to hear the UE Triple.Fi 10 Pros, and will be reviewing them in an upcoming survey called "Return of the Killer Earbuds," which will appear in Playback issue 8 (our May 2008 issue). The survey will cover the following models: Denon AH-C551, Klipsch Custom-3, Klipsch Image, Sennheiser IE 7, Shure SE-110, Shure SE-420, Skullcandy Titan, Skullcandy FMJ 11mm, and of course, the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pros.

I'm not familiar with the Westones or Modas, but will look into them as possible future review subjects. Thanks for suggesting them.

There are so many earbud models that I--and I suspect many readers--would like to check out that I've been thinking of making the "Killer Earbud" surveys a recurrent feature in Playback. Let me know if you feel that would be a good idea.

Doesn't sound like a bad idea. To keep abreast of what's hot, you might want to check a commercial site like http://www.earphonesolutions.com/beeaforip.html

My personal predilection, though, would be to hear reviews whose seriousness befits the audiophile heritage of your magazine. I'd particularly like to see a serious analysis of what's the best sound available from portable audio. For instance, using the best headphones, determine what are the best players -- Zune, Creative Zen, Cowon, Sony, Apple, Archos, iRiver, etc. [Apple is one of the few that can playback lossless CD-quality, so that gives them an advantage over other players; too bad Sony doesn't make an SACD portable! For an interesting comparison of ipods, see http://homepage.mac.com/marc.heijligers/audio/ipod/comparison/comparison... ] Is the first generation shuffle still, as some say, the best-sounding ipod? Is it true that there are significant errors in the D/A algorithms in all the current ipods, such that the best-sounding ipod is actually the previous-generation video ipod (5.5G) (see http://homepage.mac.com/marc.heijligers/audio/ipod/comparison/measuremen...). As a reference in a comparison of portable players, you might want to throw in a good portable CD player. Some think these devices, particularly the Sony D555 (now considered a dinosaur), provide better audio stages, and thus better sound, than ipods and their ilk (see http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0703/midmonth/bestportab...) . Also look into the Redwine ipod mod (http://www.redwineaudio.com/iMod.html) and portable headphone amps (Headroom Total Bithead, etc.: http://www.headphone.com/products/headphone-amps/the-mobile-line/headroo...). Now if you did all that, that would constitute some serious reviewing!

Incidentally, based in part on your review I decided to buy the SE-530s. I'm happy with them; they're good phones.

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