Hey all you esteemed IEM enthusiasts of all experience levels!
What pieces of music (and ideally with timestamps and descriptions of what your are focussing on specifically) do you guys routinely use to gauge the different aspects of an IEM?
I got into this hobby not long ago (4 months) and I would still consider myself a noob still. I’d love to learn about what music you guys use to gauge different IEMs and why!
@hawaiibadboy I know uses:
Big boi - Kill Jill for subbass and treble
Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing - for midbass (4-string bass guitar)
Black Sabbath - Sweet leaf (the rehearsal version on YouTube) - for resolution.
My personal standard music:
D smoke - Gaspar Yangar for subbass. Though I have changed this to Kill Jill now.
Bela fleck and the Flecktones Live at the quick album for soundstage and imaging.
I don’t have anything standard I use to gauge other aspects. Just random things off of what I’m listening to at the moment from different genres.
Don’t really know how to gauge treble, mids, air, BA timbre, coherence, resolution.
Oh I also don’t quite have a standard way to test attack, tuning and slam.
Of course the nature of this hobby is ultimately subjective however clarity in subjective descriptions as best as possible really helps with not wasting money thinking it is one thing but it actually is another. Ha ha.
For timbre, any orchestral piece will do great as long as you know and understand how the instruments should sound. That’s the key. Listening to live performances of acoustic instruments and then hearing them again with headphones or earphones and the authenticity of how realistic they come across is the key.
That’s exactly right. Quality transducers will be able to replay those incredibly fast start and stops with complete clarity and definition. In my opinion, a few examples of IEMs that are not very proficient in this technicality would be the Legacy 3, Blon BL-03 to name a few. You can hear a softness in the leading edge that should be crisp and defined.
Yep. For the dynamic range example, the quiet parts of the music will stay very quiet and the loud parts will be very loud (depending on your volume). If the transducer is compressed, there won’t be as much contrast between the quiet and loud parts. Having a larger variation in the volume contrast will mean your transducer is not very compressed and will be good at depicting dynamic range. Dynamic range will matter little in most of todays music since most music is leveled in the mastering process to maximize the volume and crush the dynamics out of the music to make everything loud. Where dynamic range will matter considerably is classical music that has very soft and very loud passages. Film scores as well per the great example.
You’ll only notice these kinds of technicalities if you’re really listening for them (audiophile) and you have heard what they sound like on quality sets and how poorer sets sound differently. Having a lot of experience with how many different sets sound will give you more and more experience in understanding the differences, but knowing some of these tracks like the back of your hand is key.
For the record, I also use Big boi - Kill Jill for testing subbass and treble sibilance. I have a few headphones that can’t pass the Big boi bass test unfortunately. For me, it’s the most important test of a transducer.
Bass hits and bass guitar details -Take The Power Back - RATM
Drums - Bathwater by No Doubt
Guitar - lots sometimes i use Save My Soul by Blues Saraceno
Classical instrument and flutes - Clock and Dagger (Witcher 3 OST) by Percival
Live music - Nirvana MTV live in New York
Those are some that i must include in my rotation. others i have similar tracks to BGGAR like All Eyez on Me (2pac), Bitch Please II (Em, and the team)… mostly RATM too.
Here’s another one I use all the time to test overall clarity/resolution…
You’ll want to attain the track in the highest quality you can. My library is made up of all flac files. The trick to this track is that I believe the piano was recorded acoustically. Because mics were used in the room, you can clearly hear the piano hammers striking the strings as you normally would, but in this recording, the mics were placed in a position that also picked up the noise from the players fingers touching and depressing the keys.
If I’m listening to this track on my monitors, I can barely make out the finger/key clicks and noises. On sensitive IEMs, it can be clear as day and very noticeable. I’m always shocked as to how audible the noises will be listening on different transducers of this track.
Check it out and let me know if you can hear what I’m talking about or I might just be audiophile crazy.