The Headphones / In-Ear Monitors Thread (Merged)

Discussion in 'Musicians and DJs' started by macxchange, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm....it is the swiss army knife of headphone amp/dac. Lots of options for input and output. You can't go wrong with ifi Audio (UK brand and strong value). Bought the iDSD Micro awhile back (several years ago) from Egghead Audio and it can drive anything including the 300 ohm HD 800 and 800 S.Try the new version, the Black Label (refined, improved). Also, it can drive sensitive in-ear monitors (low noise floor) through the iem matching switch. One thing about it that I dislike is it is a bright amp. So audition it first with your headphones to see if it synergizes. Fun factor: it has DSP-like settings (digital filters) that you mess aroumd with.

    https://ifi-audio.com
     
    #3821 raypin, Jul 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
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  2. donsiapno

    donsiapno Active Member

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    Im eying the ifi nano idsd, I just figured just get the micro to make it future proof in case I upgrade to higher ohm headphone, I was able to audition the ifi nano with the hd600 and I couldnt find anything negative about it
     
  3. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...

    1. Have you compared the two side by side?
    2. Specs wise, the Black Label blows the Nano out of the proverbial water. Two Burr Brown DACs vs. One. Burr Browns are well known for their warmish, musical and tube-like performance.
    Up to 4,000 mwatts @ 32 ohm impedance vs. 130 mwatts of output. Better battery life.
    3. As you say, for future proofing the Black Label is the better choice but you need to spend more.
    4. It depends on your use case scenarios. If you are more into in-ear monitors or low impedance headphones, the Nano will serve you well.

    Good rule of thumb when considering headphone amplifiers: aim for one that can output at least 1,000 mwatts or 1 watt of output power to competently drive full-sized over ears headphones. You gain better control over the headphone drivers. Better control means better listening experience (richer sound, deeper/blacker backgrounds, better clarity at lower listening volumes, more holographic experience etc.).
     
    #3823 raypin, Jul 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
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  4. kyubi

    kyubi Member

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    Q! Anybody here using FLIPEARS iems? What model? How is it?
     
  5. ronnel0918

    ronnel0918 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Me, @rbenzon, and @jai bautista. :)
     
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  6. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    This is an IEM question in a Headphones thread, so I'll reply here (and maybe merge all headphone threads?).

    Now to answer the question: I forgot the model (Axis?) of my FlipEars, but it hast six balanced armature drivers, which I posted about in the Ear Monitors thread.

    The best thing about CIEMs is the "C"; the fit is, well, so custom. Sound quality is subjective; just ask "Laurel or Yanny". :)

    It also helped that the customizer, Aries Sales, is local. So I went over to his house to tweak the sound of my monitors. More about that later.

    I liked the six-driver BA model because it was fun without being boomy. The price, well, that was not worth... telling the wife. :D

    I am still happy with my FlipEars. In fact, I am thinking of ordering another pair, but just the dynamic driver model to match this new purchase:

    IMG_2008.jpg
    IMG_2011 2.jpg

    And with my FlipEars.
    IMG_2015.jpg

    The BASN bluetooth MMCX cable is rated for 10 hours, which lasts much better (3x) than my AK XB10 bluetooth receiver.

    A couple of reasons why I want to get a dynamic-driver FlipEars:
    1) They're cheaper; losing them won't make me cry :)
    2) No need to use the best-sounding IEMs when you're going wireless, because Bluetooth is not lossless, anyway.

    The BASN BT cable is not better than wired for two reasons:
    1) The obvious: BT will rarely sound better than wired;
    2) The revelation: the MMCX cable that came with my 6-driver FlipEars was so conductive, the SQ sounded borderline sibilant (i.e., overemphasised HF), which could be fatiguing, so I made Aries roll off the HF a bit (he mechanically tweaked the "mufflers" in the earpiece). But as the BASN revealed, the IEMs weren't sibilant; the wired cable was.

    So now, my FlipEars with the BASN sound more HF-muffled, because BASN is BT and its cable is less conductive. The upside is that the combination makes for all-day listening. The downside is, well, less HF, so less liveliness.

    In summary, FlipEars or any CIEM is worthwhile for the "C" alone. SQ is subjective, which may vary with your budget too.

    A 10-hour MMCX Bluetooth cable for $50, BASN is a good buy. Goodbye, AK XB10; not for long flights, anyway.

    The AirPods I only use in the office or subway commute. For airplanes, AirPods won't cut it; CIEM all the way.
     
  7. ronnel0918

    ronnel0918 PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Is the BASN BT cable available locally? Looks interesting.
     
  8. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    ^Lazada has a lot of BASN cables and headphones, but not ^^that^^.

    I searched on Amazon for "MMCX Bluetooth", sorted by reviews, then gave the 50 bucker a try. So far, so good. Long life, no dangling participles, and the neck band feels invisible. The neck band even contorts nicely, into the FlipEars case.

    IMG_2016.JPG
     
  9. kyubi

    kyubi Member

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    My apologies :) i didnt know there was an iem thread, hehe tinamad na maghanap ;) anyway... thanks for the information. I inquired yesterday about the flipears iems. Prices are almost the same with some top iems out there (specially the mid level flipears). This where my dilemma comes in. The advantage of flipears is its customization but at this price range i could also get a QDC , Campfire Audio and the likes.

    Yes, SQ is subjective.

    I think i better try them out first... As many as i can for comparison :)

    @rbenzon thank you for the info, really apreciate it.

    Should i post this to the other thread if I/we/anybody are to continue this discussion about iems? :)
     
  10. kyubi

    kyubi Member

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    There is an IEM thread! :) Sorry got confused... post lang ng post kasi e without me reading hehehe
     
  11. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Ot: I agree with @RB, merge the iem and headphone threads na lang.

    Btt, If you are going to invest in quality CIEMs, pair it with quality devices. Don’t settle for unknown brands from China. You are not doing justice to your Ciem (what it can do).
     
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  12. rbenzon

    rbenzon Super
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    If you can find it. :) Threads merged!

    How will you get foreign CIEM-makers to make a mold of your ears, unless you travel for a fitting, like @raypin? :)
     
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  13. raypin

    raypin PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Mm...for high-end, end-game foreign brands (frankly, world-class), contact Music Sanctuary Philippines (formerly Polaris Audio of Makati). They carry some of the best brands in the world for universal in-ears and custom in-ears plus cables. Prices are high, I know. The most expensive: Project K Soundwriter ciem with PW Audio cable at around Php 221,000.00 plus plus. It is a re-worked 18 driver Tzar ciem from US- brand 64 Audio. You can have it without leaving Manila.

    https://m.facebook.com/musicsanctuary249ph/

    https://music-sanctuary.com/products/project-k-soundwriter

    Also, Egghead Audiohub.

    Both are trust-worthy.

    For ear impressions (Ciems), Manila Hearing Aid in Megamall can do it for you for a fee.

    Of my 5 ciems , 4 were sourced locally (impressions made here and sent overseas to manufacturer) and 1 in Singapore. Hindi pa naman sumablay sa fitting so no refitting yet (knock on wood). Turnaround is around 4 to 6 weeks. Typical experience: ear impression is less than 30 minutes, ear impression is sent to the US by courier (3-4 days), manufacturer inspects it and once approved, manufacturer starts the process of manufacturing, expedite is possible for extra fee (3-5 weeks), your ciem is sent to the Philippines by courier (3-4 days).

    For the uninitiated in the world of ciems, the traditional method of getting an ear impression is the technician will squirt a soft, clay-like substance up to the 2nd bend of your ear canal (translation: it is deep) on both your ears while biting on a bite block. You hold very still until the substance is hardened. Don’t worry. It is safe. Then it is sent off to the manufacturer for the process of manufacturing your own customized in-ear monitor. The newer method is digital scanning (device creates a 3D model of your ear canal). @RB had it done in Singapore in 2017 (photo was posted in this thread).

    Done properly, a CIEM will introduce you to the wonderful world of in-ear monitors that is 100 times better than a stupid Apple or Samsung earbuds. You have a lot of options: single dynamic driver, multiple balanced armature, hybrid dynamic and balanced armature, electrostatic driver, face plates, exotic wood, picture of your girlfriend on the face plate, DU30 engraving, transparent shell, translucent shell, glittery shell, gold-plated shell, etc. etc. etc. The options are endless. Sure beats the: should I get the black or white earbuds? :mad:

    Give it a try and treat yourself, before you go deaf (old age).

    My personal bible for all things in-ears:

    https://theheadphonelist.com/

    If you want the best of the best CIEM/universal in-ears in the world right now:

    https://theheadphonelist.com/ranking-the-stars-flinkenicks-2017-iem-flagship-shootout/

    i have no. 2 and no. 12 (by ranking).
     
    #3833 raypin, Aug 17, 2018 at 10:00 PM
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018 at 3:47 AM
  14. jai bautista

    jai bautista Active Member

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    Wow, the IEMs and HPs threads have been merged! I was wondering initially why the thread count has been up to 192 :ROFLMAO:

    Thanks @ronnel0918 for tagging me!

    @kyubi

    Yep, I do own a pair of FlipEars, the very first pair of A-Zs that came out of FlipEars's production lab (as I was the guinea pig for that experiment-that-became-an-actual-production-unit):

    [​IMG]

    (In the above picture, the FlipEars are on the right with the bubinga wood faceplate, with the universal Westone UM30 Pro Gen2 on the left)

    The A-Zs are a five (5) BA-per-side CIEM, the actual driver configuration of which i cannot disclose for obvious reasons :giggle: (Suffice to say, one BA driver is allotted for the bass, two BA drivers for the midrange, and two BA drivers for the highs.)

    How is it? I'll answer the question in two phases:

    Ergonomics/Fit: As @rbenzon mentioned earlier, they fit like a glove to my ears. While I am now experiencing a wee bit of discomfort in my right ear (since I've been gaining weight since I got them, which was like around 2 years ago!), it still fits more or less great. The moment I wear them, I feel as if my head is submerged underwater (all ambient noise is blocked). Since I chose to fit my A-Zs with the standard two-pin female connectors, it's not a comfortable as MMCX-fitted ones (whose earpieces you can swivel according to your liking) but still comfortable overall (I have one cable that has a wire earguide a few cm from the male connectors, so I can twist them to allow for better comfort).

    Sound: When I first got them, I considered them to be among the pound-for-pound champs in terms of fidelity. As mentioned above, I volunteered to be the guinea pig for the A-Z, hence I was given some form of leeway in determining its final sound signature. IIRC, I wanted the A-Zs to sound more or less "balanced" (this term gets thrown carelessly nowadays given the explosion of the chi-fi/budget-fi scene in recent years), which means equal weight is given to the major frequency groups (bass, midrange, treble). Over time, however, I've noticed that my ears get fatigued when I use the A-Zs for more than an hour. After having an interesting discussion with a great friend from the pro audio industry who has extensive experience in studio and stage monitoring, I realized that (a) the tuning was more in line for studio/stage monitoring use, wherein the audio engineers have a lot of flexibility in EQ'ing the sound signature thrown to the ultimate IEM user (I don't EQ because audiophile :ROFLMAO:) and (b) what works for stage/studio monitoring doesn't exactly work for home use. I think my listening preferences have also matured during that two-year period, i.e., I now prioritize soundstage depth (over width), midrange clarity (over amazeballs clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum), and an smoother sound signature. Hence, the Westone UM30 Pro Gen2 now works for me better than the A-Zs as the former ticks all those items. Don't get me wrong: the A-Zs still sound terrific. It's just that my ears now crave for another sound signature.

    The good thing about getting a pair of FlipEars CIEMs is that Sir Aries (the man behind the brand) keeps demo units for the different models, so you can try each before committing to purchasing a pair. Also consider this when getting into the wonderful world of CIEMs: If you decide to sell your pair in the future, expect the selling price to tank as purchasing a second-hand pair of CIEMs involves a lot of rework (it has to be reshelled). So before you commit, make sure that the sound signature of the model that you're getting is something you're going to live with in the foreseeable future.

    Good luck with your planned purchase! :)
     
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