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Old 08-03-2011, 10:20 PM
nathan nathan is offline
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Default Thinking of Getting the Phonak Audéo PFE

I think I'm pretty sure of replacing my broken Panasonic RP-HJE900 that broke about a month ago with the Phonak Audeo PFE's but I have a few concerns before making a purchase.

There's no importances of order so first, I'm well aware from digging through this forum, Head-Fi and other reviews on the web that the phonaks, being a analytical phone, has less bass quantity then the pana's but can you get close to the pana's bass quantity with EQing with rockbox or by using the fiio E3 amplifier? How does an EQ'ed or E3 sourced pfe bass compare to the pana's bass in terms of overall quality and punch?

Another concern, I'm not sure if I'm accurately using the right terms here but are the mids on the pfe's containing the same or better texture then the pana's mids? I think I'm asking you can feel sounds in the midrange of the pfe's the same or better then the pana's but I'm not quite sure.

I haven't came across any reviews or comments of anyone really hating the pfe's, so either they're really solid sound phones or people who would potentially dislike them just stay away from them.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:09 PM
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They are really solid phones.

No the bass will never be felt quite like the Pana's which have one of the highest impacts around. The mids on the other hand is a bit more sterile/spaced out. I'd pass on both TBH.

What is your price range? There's always a sleek Zo for you though it's small and able to up the bass a bit I can't use it with the Phonaks though as their out on loan just a thought. If it came between the two I'd pick the Pana. Phonak's are good though why don't you just buy another Pana?
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
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I'd pass on both TBH.
curious...for the $100-150 range what would you get right now?
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:26 PM
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Yes my budget is around $100-$150-ish - I may be willing to stretch it by 10 or 20 dollars if there where really good justification for doing so. The main reason for not getting another Pana is because I want to get a pair a phones with a decent warranty (at least a year) and that I can have confidence that they will last a while. I wasn't pleased with the pana's breaking in half while in my ear listening to them in half and not being able to replace them by warranty. Plus the price of the pana's are way more now (even used) that what I payed for them originally. Plus I would like to try something a bit different anyway.

I was considering the nu-700 that lesterstar just did a review on but they're around $90 after shipping to Canada and I was kinda wanting a phone somewhat equal to the pana's (weaker in some areas but stronger in other).
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:43 PM
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The Panas and the PFEs have completely different sound signatures and if you were happy with the Panas you might look for something else. That being said I prefer the PFEs, I don't dig the overbearing bass and the piercing highs of the Panas, they sure are solid (at least on the outside) but too heavy and the cable is too short IMHO.

YMMV but I heard so many good things about the Panas and for me they just don't live up to the hype. They also seem to have some QC issues with a lot of people reporting that they went bad on them.
There might be reason why they stopped producing them.

The PFEs react well to EQuing but like confispect said they'll never sound like the Panas. Their bass reproduction is more on the tasty than on the heavy side. Everything else is better on the PFEs (speaking strictly for myself here), but then again I prefer a more neutral and somewhat 'dry' sound signature with even mids and highs that shimmer but don't pierce my ears.

The PFEs with the Digizoid ZO can be turned into serious bassmonsters and you can get the bass up to thumping levels with an EQ as well.
A way to describe it is the PFEs always stay in control, even with EQuing while the Panas are a bit more on the loose side but also sound somewhat compressed, just not as open. My impressions of the PFEs are with the grey filters (better mids), don't like their sound with the black filters (bass and treble boost, more recessed mids).

Lestastar would be the one to ask if the Nuforce he recently tested could be a viable replacement for the Panas.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:26 PM
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Grr! It seems like what I fear is true. You only can guess if you like em or not by reading reviews and other peoples opinions. To truly know or not I would have to actually try them. There are Phonak hearing aid centers in Canada, I just wonder if they actually carry the pfe's and would they let people addition them.

I was highly considering getting the Digxoid ZO sometime latter. My preference is deep bass with presents but not overbearing. I guess, having "presents" for bass can be a very different thing between different people so I'll never be able to read anything definitive on the issue.

For the highs, I had the pana's foam moded and even then the highs where good (not amazing) but it seem to me the pana's still exaggerated symbols and stuff by adding more sparkle then there ought to be.

The mids, I not very sure off, I do have the audioengine A5 speakers that with very slight EQing have bit more forward mids then the pana's and less warmth too but I believe they sound signature still possesses a bit of warmth in the mids and not completely sterile - they're somewhere in the middle of sonic monitors and house speakers. I think for a lot of songs the mids sound better on the A5's as you can hear better as vocals and guitar sound a bit more real then flavored. If this helps anybody - read before it's not fair to compare IEM's to cans and comparing IEM's to speakers is even less fair but that is what I have for comparison.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:08 PM
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I did the foam mod as well and recently removed the foam again as the highs were tamed but not in a good way, the occasional 'shrieks and shrills' (for the lack of a better term) were toned down but so was the whole treble range. To me the sonic reproduction of the Panas is kind of artificial, not bad but just not very 'natural'. Their bass performance is powerfull though, the mids are pretty decent but certainly not spectacular.
The highs are overdone and unbalanced.

As always, YMMV and what sounds great to one person doesn't necessarily to another and the other way around and yes, testing IEMs with your equipment and your ears is the only way to find out if you like them.
It's a highly subjective thing and getting there can have detrimental effects on your wallet.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:24 PM
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It sounds like you might like NuForce IEM's. . . I would just buy those.
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDvsEGO View Post
curious...for the $100-150 range what would you get right now?
I just got a loaner set FX500 the Fx700 little brother these is what I would crown best $150. I should have SonyEx600 coming in as well not that im particularly happy about it.

As far as Phonak and Pana in no way is the Phonak more natural I'd say more neutral but not more natural. Pana smashed plenty of low-end and even high-end when it comes to realism, timbre, soundstage, the Phonak is not a IEM I'd pick over Pana. If it was a Armature I'd pick over the Pana it would be the SM3.
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Old 08-05-2011, 01:50 PM
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unfortunately, the Fx700 from what I understand isolate very little so they wouldn't work with me for on the go.

What sounds 'natural' is kind of a subjective term. What I've read it's almost like do you prefer the sound if you're on stage with the performer(s) which would be more of a analytical sound or do prefer they sound of being a few rows back in the audience which would be phones with equal loudness counters.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:28 PM
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I never quite grasped the on the stage, ten rows, eleven rows, bullshit I guess it works for some folks not me though. As far as natural that's not what I would use to describe natural or analytical.

As far as deciding between the Pana/Phonak I'd go with Pana again for the mids question definitely. Sounds much more real-to-life then the way the Phonak decides to do it's mids.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:00 PM
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The JVC don't have enough midrange for my taste - too V-shaped, so to speak - but they sure are nice phones otherwise (if you are alright with zero isolation).
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:41 PM
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True I actually thought they'd be more v-shaped.

So Nathan this thread doesn't seem to be much help at least for me it wouldn't be it resembles confusion have you made a decision?
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:01 PM
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I think I'm going to try the pfe's and if I don't like them I can return them with an online vendor's 30 day money back guaranty or possibly buy them used from a person that's offering me a pretty good price for them. Again if I don't like them, they're already used so selling slightly less then what I got for should sell quickly I figure.

And by Monday morning my budget might grow significantly depending how high the Canadian dollar grows - hopefully for everyone's sake the markets aren't too turbulent.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:08 PM
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Congrats let us know how you like them.

Warning: It could take some time to get used to the sound sig.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:20 PM
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Thanks

yeah, that is why I think I'm going with the used option. I believe from my experience what you like is adaptive. I probably going to the used route so I don't have the pressure of 30 day limit to decide and of course they lower price.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:48 PM
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Allright it's been awhile update please.
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:11 PM
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My bad lol, been a bit busy.

Alright for the impression. I really enjoy the pfe's. To me they are at least just as good as the pana's but of course stronger and weaker in certain area's.

As stated in other comparisons the pfe's have a bit more detail. To me, I was expecting maybe just a tad more detail but nothing considerably special to the presentation. However, the 'bit' more detail allows me to hear parts of tracks (or maybe the pfe's present the detail in a different way) that I didn't hear before giving many tracks extra dimensions.

I was concerned about the bass response with the pfe's. In general I would have to say the bass quality is better on the pana's but the pfe's bass is pretty darn good in it's own right. The pana's do have more punch, air and body. With the pfe's, even using the gray filter's, they offer plenty punch for me using rockbox bass setting around +5db. I think the pfe's bass is better in some aspects such as detail, speed and having a razor straight base response all the way down to the lowest ochtive.

For midrange, I actually prefer the airiness of the pfe's to how the pana's did midrange. I also don't mind the 'sterile'/ how the pfe's kind of dissects a track. To me it's just better instrument separation. Despite my preference, I did still very much enjoyed the warmth of the pana's when I had them even though it always seem like the warmth was added into the sound. As such, the pfe's sound more 'natural' to me.

The pana's treble was good but I have to say the the pfe's treble is definitely better in pretty much all aspects. It is more detailed than the pana's treble and has the right amount of sparkle. As previously stated, I found the the amount of sparkle from the pana's to be exaggerated. With the pana's though, I did liked the 'energy' or 'excitement' from the the spikes in the treble for certain tracks.

The sound stage is better with the pana's as the straight line of instruments extends past my head. Again, the pfe's sound stage in nothing to snare at as although it mostly stays inside your head; it's not typical three blob presentation as each instrument has its own space. The sound stage allows me to be engrossed into the music pretty much the same as the pana's sound stage did.

for fit and use, I like how the pfe's housings are lighter and virtually always stay in place. The pana's were pretty good for this but I had to slightly tap an ear piece back in place every 20 minutes or so. I also get considerably better isolation with the pfe's; the pana's isolation with the v-moda tips was slightly better then average for me. The cords are equal with both pares (I have the latter revision of the pfe's) as both allow pretty much no micro phonics noises and are thick, and very tangle resistant. The pfe's chin adjustment works better while the pana's cable looked better with the silver molded connections.

I didn't originally plan on writing a full review/ comparison between the pfe's and the pana's but it appears i did. This is in no way heavily edited piece of writing (I just wrote what came to the top of my head) so feel free to inform me of any major errors or lack of clarity.

I'm still in the 'mental burn in"/ playing with the EQ to get the most optimal sound for these phones. I would appreciate if other Phonak pfe's owners could share with me their EQ setting in rockbox for these phones. Thanks .
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:09 AM
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Ah it's funny how ears here differently or how minds perceive things as far as EQ I add a bit of lower bass and thats about it.
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:54 PM
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Nathan your experiences with both phones pretty much mirror mine and are not too far off from how I described the differences. I think you are spot on.

The Panas sound very nice but they always have a slightly artificial quality to their presentation and certainly don't sound more natural than the PFEs to my ears. And I don't mean more clinical (which to me suggests a sound signature that's a bit on the trebly side with a tendency of anemic bass performance and dry mids) but somewhat more true to the source with more sparkle and detail.

But everyone's ears and brain hear things differently I guess.

As for stronger bass on the PFEs I dial up the two lowest bands on the Rockbox EQ up a bit, around 3-5 on the 60Hz and 1.5-2 on the 200Hz, sometimes even less.
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