JAY's audio memes (and reviews/ranking too I guess)

Chopin and Nova now in database:

8 Likes

:100: with you on nearly every model - they just don’t move the needle against the competition - though the 530 to me was the outlier - it is really good.

7 Likes

changed my mind and cancelled my Dusk order… The huge 16kHz peak worries me, and saving up for the DaVinci

6 Likes

We all have our preferences and more sensitive to certain parts of the frequency range than others.

But I’m a big fan of the upper treble peak, it’s very reminiscent of 64a and my Mirai, which I really enjoy:

3 Likes

I did an AR3 and S3 quick comparison awhile back, I’m not a Senn fan boy I sold my HD660s’s because even when driven by an OTL amp they still kinda bored me…yeah for sure the mids :+1: bass :man_shrugging: treble nice but again :man_shrugging: for me…oh and that claustrophobic’ish soundstage and blobby imaging = me…

@Rikudou_Goku buds at least for me are way more musically entertaining and soulful than anything Sennheiser have ever managed to create IMO lol.

"From what I can tell AR 3 is more V shaped which in turn lends to a slightly brighter and airier treble for instance on 10CC’s How dare You all the funky drum and percussion bits a the beginning stand out more clearly on AR 3 as does the spoken “over here” and “how dare you” so detail wise AR 3 wins, but this doesn’t make up for the way the upper mids replay female vocals, well for me anyway (libraries vary ymmv) plus that sub bass focused low end and more forward treble means I listen at lower volumes. On the other hand S3 is more balanced throughout the whole frequency range, Sub bass is enough without getting bombastic likewise the mid bass I reckon it would be a smoother glide than the AR3?. The S3 is also really tuned well through the upper mids to presence region followed by a detailed but slightly rolled off treble ie non offensive, so yeah I can listen louder to this set.

Both entertaining sets in their own right but if pushed to choose it would be S3 for it’s balance” :+1:

7 Likes

I’m getting older so my hearing is declining slowly but the 15k was bothersome on the U6T. From now on I’m trying to stay away from any peak in the upper treble as well as the typical 1DD dip around 10k.

2 Likes

Yeah the DaVinci looks good I asked Timmy he still wont divulge what the 2nd DD is doing MB mids ?

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Have you seen a graph yet?

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I dont think I did yet.

3 Likes

Not yet, tuning hasn’t been finalized from his videos and I think bass is his last tuning point. Possible that the tuning could be different from his prototype tuning from CanJam that he’s bringing.

1 Like

Plunge Unity Review - Controversial IEM from Canada :canada:

Ah yes, the infamous PLUNGE from the north itself… and I’ll just say it as it is, if you like adjusted harman or diffuse-field, don’t continue reading LOL… but if you’re open to trying new things, stay tuned.

So, I’m really trying to love the Plunge here because it reminds me of a wamer OG EJ07, and I want to support a fellow Canadian company. In its own vaccuum I agree with what others have said about the Plunge: the mids are really forward and are the star of the show. It pretty much cuts off any sharpness or fatigue away, and really highlights the midrange. These are great at loud volumes; when you crank them up the immersion is amazing - in-your-face instruments without any harshness, smooth, wide staging, and there’s no sharpness at all because of the tamed uppermids/treble.

You get a ton of midrange detail, however… as soon as you A/B them with a set that has a traditional vocal presentation and treble extension, or out of the vacuum, the lack of information and extension becomes very obvious. The clarity in the midrange is still there, and the bass is good, nothing crazy, but it does the job - ever so slightly warm-neutral, but when you A/B the Plunge to something like the ZIIGAAT Cincotres or even the Simgots, the Plunge sounds like you’re listening to music underwater because of its tuning…so, my main concerns are:

  1. The vocals lack openness/extension because of the scoop and uppermids/treble dip and sounds congested and muddy at mid/lower volumes. Upper regions of female vocals sound scooped out and hollow at times (checks out with the graph)
  2. Cymbals and endnotes lack decay, sparkle, air, and you miss a lot of detail overall
  3. The sub-bass isn’t enough for many genres like hiphop, jpop/kpop, EDM
  4. The asking price is kinda high - $900 CAD? In this market?

So then, who are these for? Well, accurate to the marketing, these would be great for Musicians who perform on stage that needs to cut out a lot of the noise and sharp tones, or those who listen very loud and love mids. Do not “plunge” in expecting it to sound normal or like a traditional IEM because you will be disappointed. Rather, listen to the Plunge on its own, get used to its sound, and enjoy them for what they’re meant for - mids. Leave the target-comparisons aside, shut your brain off, and just enjoy what it does with your music - the Plunge is like the Hades of mids, and I can see why people say these are unique as I do get a warmer OG EJ07 vibe from them, and the treble/vocals aren’t a huge issue once you’re at 85dbs+ (lol).

Now, do I recommend them? For most people - nah. However, if you’re down to support a new company, and want to try something different, don’t be scared to Plunge in.

Thanks for reading :slight_smile:

Final Rankings (HIGH-VOLUME):
Tonality: A/A-
Tech: B+
Overall: A-

(MID-VOLUME):
Overall: Not recommended

14 Likes

I guess they do a good job for what they are intended for - musicians’ stage work. :smirk:

6 Likes

I will say one thing for Unity: your gear matters.

They scale up to your gear like nobody’s business.

WiiM pro plus streamer —> Hifiman EF500 R2R dac —> Earmen ST-Amp amp sounds :peach:

5 Likes

Empire Ears EVO & Oriolus Isabella REVIEW


Starting with the EVO it has an energetic, aggressive, slight v-shape sound with “endgame” low-end texture. The resolution on the EVOs are up there with other expensive sets, and slightly more “resolving” than sets like the GAEA, Prestige, etc. Although the uppermids boost does get sharp on energetic tracks - these are not a high volume set, listen at mid-volume to save your ears.

That aside, the EVO strikes a fine line in the bass from being satisfying without becoming “basshead”. The bone-conduction drivers actually work unlike most IEMs, and really brings that tactility and texture to the sound since in-terms of volume the EVO doesn’t have an insane amount like the FATfreq mini series, but the impact and rumble is still very satisfying and well-controlled. Treble isn’t airy like the Prestige LTD or Helios SE, but instead sharper and clear.

Now, for $3100? Idk about that. Maybe around $2K max retail because the driver-flex is atrocious - the worst I’ve heard in any IEM… but it is Empire Ears, so it is what it is.

Half recommended. Kinda. If you have the cash, sure, why not.

Final Rankings (MID-VOLUME):
Tonality: A
Tech: S
Overall: S-

ISSABELLA:

The Isabella has a warm-neutral sound signature deviating from Harman 2019 in the mid-bass. Reminds me of a warmer and less bright Simgot EA1000/EA500LM - not warm like the Doscinco, but just warmer. Scales better than the Simgots, but vocals aren’t as open/airy - although at higher volumes the Isabellae is very immersive, and those small issues are fixed via scaling.

Resolution is very similar versus the Simgots, aside from being less boosted in the treble, everything else stacks up (imaging, staging, clarity). However, it’s pretty overpriced imo at retail ($659), as you can just mod the Simgots and get pretty much the same result, but if you can find the Isabellae around $250 then give them a shot as these are solid dynamic driver IEMs; the steampunk design and colorway also looks dope.

Final Rankings (HIGH-VOLUME):
Tonality: A+
Tech: A/A-
FInal Rankings: A

Thanks for reading :slight_smile:

16 Likes

The thing about the Issy is they’re like 3 years old. So no they’re not worth full price now, but it took the game years to catch this level at lower cost. Issy looks at our golden era and says Welcome to 2021.

It’s just a real cool benchmark, if you can get your hands on it, to see what was already good years ago.

Great reviews, as usual

6 Likes

word, oriolus should change the pricing, but still solid IEM

the design is dope, thanks for sending these in!

3 Likes

Have you ever stared at an IEM that was so beautiful that all you can say is, damn. Well, that’s pretty much Kinera’s entire lineup (aside from the Pandamon, we don’t talk about that). Since Kinera has some new stuff on the way, I wanted to test - looks aside, do they actually sound good?

Phoenixcall & Dark Phoenix:

Well, starting with the phoenix call and dark phoenix, these follow a v-shape type of sound, very engaging, exciting, aggressive, sometimes too aggressive. Low-end texture is good for the price, the tactility is there, the note-weight and texture is there, it’s well-controlled and doesn’t bleed into the mids - it’s not going to slam like a monster, but it’s decent. However, not the same could be said for the vocals. IMO, the vocals are too shouty on both the Phoenix IEMs; the extra 1.5K peak push the vocals too forward, and combined with the uppermids and treble energy it just makes voices sound a bit sharp and fatiguing.

This is very evident with genres like KPOP/JPOP where tracks have a little bit too much energy, the electric guitars and female vocals aren’t smooth, again, aggressive and energetic sounding, but the treble on both the Phoenixcall and Dark Phoenix are actually pretty well extended, the transients are more sharp than airy, lots of small details, good resolution at its price, and the overall imaging is precise and sharp in the attack and location. I personally like the Dark Phoenix more than the Phoenixcall because the extra bit of bass helps balance out the energy from the vocals and treble, but neither are high volume sets, as they don’t scale too well and more of a mid to lower volume listening experience.

Plutus Beast:

The Plutus Beast is my least favourite out of the bunch, it looks amazing, the prettiest out of the 3, but the combination of forward vocals plus darker treble puts it in a weird spot since you can’t crank them up too high because the extra 1.5K region is going to be too much at higher volumes, but at mid-volume it also sounds dark and a bit congested because of the lack of treble extension while the vocals are more forward. So, if you do want a v-shape type of sound, I would grab the Dark Phoenix.

LOKI:

Next, we have the LOKI, my favourite Kinera I’ve heard so far, super clean with great head stage, wide and deep, beautiful treble presentation, not too airy where it gets soft, but resolving enough that you get all the information while being not too sharp where it gets too much. There’s also a good amount of low-end, great texture, and separation, slams nicely without taking over the rest of the playback. But aside from the clean treble, I think where the Loki really shines is in its midrange. The Loki’s layering is not the flat type of soundstage like the U12T, but more 3D because the vocals are pushed in more, while there’s enough air and space for other elements to play behind it.

Now, the 1.5K boost is definitely noticeable, vocals are noticeably more forward, and combined with the clean treble you can hear the micro-nuances of the voices, although at higher volumes this can be an issue with certain songs as the vocals can be a bit much since they don’t scale as well as some other sets. However, I don’t get the same closed-in type of feeling of the vocals from the boosted 1.5K as I do on the Beast for example. The vocals are more forward, yes, but it’s also well-extended and open, it’s kind of like the RSV in a way but cleaner. If the vocals on the RSV is like getting blasted by a powerful beam of light, then the Loki is like showering under a clean waterfall.

VERDANDI:

Now versus the Verdandi, which is probably one of the most beautiful IEMs I’ve ever seen, imbalance aside, because yes, you do still get those with a $1K IEM, sound wise, the Verdandi is a less engaging and exciting version of the Loki. It has less bass and treble from both ends, not as spacious, more closed in, and follows a similar clean type of sound with the same amount of 1.5K boost, but just a little more energy in the uppermids. The Verdandi is pretty much Harman 2019 but with more forward vocals, and the overall head stage also feels less open vs the Loki, which makes the vocals even more forward than the Lokis.

Now, aside from the SKULD, which we’ll talk about later, the vast majority of the Kinera IEMs are meant for mid volume listening - which is fine since the vast majority of people don’t listen at super high volumes like me. For most tracks, I think the Verdandi needs either more air to open up the sound, or less 1.5K and 5K. This clean, vocal forward signature works well with genres that don’t have a lot energy like indie, acoustics, and ballads that’s more forgiving when it comes to cymbals, and sharper sounds like electric elements as they usually don’t have any. But even then the vocals can get a little congested on certain tracks like Pasan Los Dias which is a slow ballad acoustic.

On Pasan Los Dias, Natalia’s vocals are close to the listener, but also there’s less air in the mixing and production of the track in general which puts a lot of emphasis on the singer, and if an IEM is very forward in it’s vocal presentation combined with the intimate production, then the overall sound can feel very in your head and not open. It’s intimate, sure, for those who like that feeling of being right next to the singer the Verdandi would be fine, however, the 5K peak is still an issue where at higher volumes the vocals can get shouty, especially in the consonants which is why the Verdandi is a mid-volume set.

So essentially what you’re paying for jumping from the Verdandi to the Loki is the extra treble extension and air that provides a more open sound, as well as less 5K for a smoother vocal playback, and a little more bass. Imo, in the current market, this is a tough sell given that the Loki is $2000 more, and the fact that there’s also the MK3 and Hype 10 that although isn’t as clean and refined as the Loki, do have better vocal presentation, soundstage, and bass texture compared to the Verdandi overall. It’s a shame because the IEM itself is super beautiful, if it had more air and less 5K I think it would’ve been a nice set, but as for now this is more of a collector’s piece, meaning, if you want to buy it for the craftsmanship and looks alone, I can’t stop you, the design do be designing.

SKULD:

Then finally, we have the SKULD, ah yes, the more v-shaped PLUNGE. Now, in a vacuum, it sounds good, very juicy mids, good bass texture, and scales very well… but not maybe not $550 worth of well. Similar to the Plunge the SKULD is a mid centric set that has an unorthodox vocal gain, aka, close to none, but, the treble extension is better versus the PLUNGE and doesn’t feel as gimped when it comes to the smaller details. You still miss some information because of the tamer sound as well as the peaks and dips, but it’s just less now. I wouldn’t recommend listening this at mid to lower volumes because, well, you can’t hear the vocals or treble as well, so crank them up since they scale decently well and that’s when you’ll notice the sound really start to open up.

When you listen to the SKULD on its own and get used to its tuning - it’s very enjoyable, a warm-neutral sound without much harshness, pretty immersive because you can crank them up, but, as soon as you A/B it to something like the Nova or an IEM with a more traditional sound profile - that’s when you’ll notice the small flaws. Compared to the Nova or the LM, the vocals and treble on the SKULD doesn’t feel as resolving and open, lacking that extension because of the tamer tuning. And because it’s got a good amount of mid-bass without much air or uppermids, the SKULD by default feels warmer, more closed in, not as open, more intimate. Is it a fun tuning to have in your collection? Sure, but would I pay $550 for it? Nah. Maybe for the same price as the Nova (or around $200) as a nice little sidegrade to hear some different types of sound because it is still enjoyable if you just shut your brain off, but at $550 you can get much better resolution and tuning these days.

Here are the final rankings:

Dark Phoenix:
Tonality: A-
Tech: A-
Final: A-

Phoenixcall:
Tonality: B+/A-
Tech: A-
Final: A-

Plutus Beast:
Tonality: B
Tech: B
Final: B

LOKI:
Tonality: S/S-
Tech: S/S-
Final: S/S-

Verdandi:
Tonality: A+
Tech: A+
Final: A+

SKULD (HIGH-VOLUME):
Tonality: A/A+
Tech: A-
Final: A

Thanks for reading :slight_smile: Here are some pics:








14 Likes

DUSK, bruh

Moondrop QC back again!

9 Likes

I don’t remember where but I read that the planar drivers are hard to match.

1 Like

But even the bass is off on his unit.

Dusk = avoid for me. I just get bad vibes from it.

5 Likes