Archive for IEM

Ortofon e-Q5 Review

ortofon e q5 main Ortofon e Q5 ReviewOrtofon Denmark is best known for being a seasoned manufacturer of cartridges and stylus tips for both DJ turntables and home hifi record players alike. Less known in Europe and America is that Ortofon’s Japanese daughter brand has quite the different gear line-up to offer for the Asian market. Not only does Ortofon Japan provide everything from amps to speakers for an upper class home hifi system, lately they also entered the portable audio market with two in-ear phones, first the e-Q7 and now the e-Q5.

While other brands often jump on the profitable IEM bandwagon with a “me too” attitude, adding yet another pair of generic phones to the unmanageable pile of models a customer has to wade through, Ortofon Japan sure entered this market in style. The e-Q7 and e-Q5 use neither dynamic drivers nor balanced armatures, as found in 99.9% of all other in-ear phones available. They use a newly developed technology instead, a hybrid of aforementioned transducer designs, a so-called “moving armature”, or “single pole armature”, manufactured by Yashima Electric. This kind of speaker features a diaphragm as in a traditional dynamic driver, but instead of being driven by a voice coil, it’s driven by a miniaturized armature ‘motor’. While regular balanced armatures rest between two magnetic poles, the Ortofon driver is surrounded by a single magnetic field, thus the “single pole” moniker.

Generally speaking, dynamic drivers are often said to have a more full-bodied, more substantial sound, with better soundstage – while armatures are said to have better precision and speed, yet are often thinner sounding (thus the reason for multi-armature IEMs with crossovers, to beef it up a bit).

Let’s see if Ortofon Japan managed to combine the best of both worlds in their moving armature equipped e-Q5. Continue reading…

Shure SE530 Review

se530 mainP1010020 Shure SE530 Review

A lot has been written about Shure’s current flagship in-ear phone already, but of course that doesn’t stop us from reviewing them. Maybe we just add a bit more to the confusion surrounding them, seeing how the SE530 are either loved or hated by certain people, and seeing how so many reviews tend to contradict each other about their sonic qualities. One thing is for sure: the SE530 do have many virtues, but they also have their fair share of weaknesses.

Let’s take a closer look at these quite expensive triple armature equipped earphones… No holds barred, for s(h)ure.

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Panasonic RP-HJE900 IEMs Use Zirconia to Allegedly Improve Sound

zirconia iems Panasonic RP HJE900 IEMs Use Zirconia to Allegedly Improve Sound

Until now I thought I’d heard about every possible method of allegedly improving sound quality on IEMs, but I was wrong. While some IEMs have quad armatures and others have interchangeable parts, Panasonic have taken it one step further and have included a Zirconia in their RP-HJE900 IEMs to “suppress sound distortion”.

The RP-HJE900 also comes with interchangeable cables through connectors that frankly look more like Nokia chargers than audio jacks. The phones have a frequency range of 6Hz–28 KHz and an impedance of 26Ω. If the use of this material really had an effect on sound quality I’d have thought the bigger IEM manufacturers like Shure or Ultimate Ears had already tried it so I don’t have too much hope for this product, but it sure would be interesting if these got good critics. The IEMs will be released in Japan on June 15th with
no word yet on pricing.

[Akihabara News via Gizmodo]

JAYS q-JAYS Review

jays q jays review main JAYS q JAYS Review

JAYS, the company formerly known as “Jens of Sweden”, lately shifted their focus from manufacturing well-designed audio players to equally classy looking in ear phones. After their relatively inexpensive j-JAYS and d-JAYS models they now launched their first dual armature driver phone, the q-JAYS. JAYS claims they managed to create the world’s smallest IEM (in ear monitor) to date, at a fraction of the size of most other single armature earphones, let alone dynamic driver models. They’re available in black and white, come with a boat-load of accessories, and are competitively priced to similar multi-armature phones.

We’ll try to find out how the q-JAYS hold up to the well established competition in the high-class ear monitor game…

Continue reading…

Future Sonics Atrio M5 / M8 Review

future sonics main Future Sonics Atrio M5 / M8 Review

Future Sonics, self-proclaimed innovators of in-ear monitoring (IEM) phones some twenty years ago, hit the market with two universal-fit IEMs, the Atrio M5 in black and the M8 in blue.

Future Sonics isn’t a company with a big advertising budget; they keep a low profile. However, their phones are quite well known among professional musicians and audio technicians. Artists like Madonna, Sonic Youth, U2, and Luciano Pavarotti use custom-built Future Sonics ear monitors on stage. Now the universal-fit Atrio series offers a glimpse of the Future Sonics sound – without the need of having ear impressions made by an audiologist and (most importantly) without dropping almost a thousand bucks for them.

Future Sonics is very vocal about their usage of traditional single dynamic driver technology in their products, similar to the ones found in most full-sized headphones. This approach is the polar opposite to almost all other high-end IEM manufacturers who use multiple balanced armature drivers, the tiny drivers commonly used in hearing aids. We’ll see if Future Sonics are on the right path, and if a single dynamic driver IEM can take on the masses of balanced armature IEMs out there.

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V-Moda Vibe Review

v moda vibe main V Moda Vibe Review

Look what the mailman delivered the other day; it’s a box straight out of Hollywood, California, home of young headphone couturiers V-Moda. They’ve just released their newest model of IEM (in ear monitor) earphones, the V-Moda Vibe. Resembling several things Hollywood-ish, these phones just ooze glamor and style.

After wading through lots of marketing-speech and company philosophies on V-Moda’s website, I began to wonder if there could be more to these phones than mere style. Are they more than just a fashion accessory? Do they deliver more than glitzy appearance? Well, let’s see (and hear)…

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