Archive for September, 2010

Recognizing Voices

My wife told me yesterday that our daughter, watching a movie with Luke Wilson, said he sounded like the guy in Marley & Me. That’d be Luke’s brother, Owen Wilson. I like keeping track of cool stuff like this.

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My wife told me yesterday that our daughter, watching a movie with Luke Wilson, said he sounded like the guy in Marley & Me. That’d be Luke’s brother, Owen Wilson. I like keeping track of cool stuff like this.

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Klipsch Image S4 IEMs

I got my pair of S4s from Amazon via UPS just now. My take? Great bass, super-muddy mids! The mids are so bad and recessed that I just hate these phones. I prefer my NuForce NE-7Ms to these, even though the bass on the NuForce phones isn’t as well controlled as the bass on these S4s. Great bass, but the price for that is apparently really crappy mids.

To be specific, it’s vocals in certain songs. Brain of J (Pearl Jam), Riders On The Storm (Doors), Say It Right (Nelly Furtado). One of my favorite albums to test headphones with is Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind. Surprisingly, these phones were pretty much perfect for this album (the couple songs I tried, anyway). But, boy, do they butcher voices in the songs I mentioned above.

I have a pair of the Altec Lansing version of Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 3s coming tomorrow. We’ll see how they do. I’m not expecting much bass from them, but I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Update after trying them: Can’t get a good fit nor seal. These aren’t for me.

I only have my Etymotic MC5s here right now to compare with these Klipsch S4s and there’s just no comparison for what I like. All my MC5s are missing is some driving bass. All the S4s are missing is a forward (unmuffled) mid-range. But the MC5s win, for me.

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Personal audio (headphones, in-ear phones, amps) as a hobby seems like a sensible fit for me. Lots of discussion is possible, there’s always something new to try out and it’s something I can test whenever I have some free time.

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Etymotic MC5 IEMs

I found a couple reviews on head-fi.org about the Etymotic MC5 dynamic driver, entry-level IEMs. Maybe they’re in the canalphone range but don’t rate as being IEMs, but with their signature Etymotic neutral sound, they probably do.

Anyway, I read some reviews comparing these to the RE0 and some other phones and I liked what I read about cable microphonics, sound signature and build quality (like a tank, it seems). And another head-fi.org thread found an unadvertised JR.com sale bringing the price of a pair of black MC5s down from $79.99 to $49.99.

I called J&R at 800-806-1115 first thing the next morning (Tuesday of this week) and placed an order with “Everett” for two pair. At that price and with free Priority Mail shipping, how could I go wrong?

My MC5s arrived at the office today and I’ll try them out tonight. I probably should have kept my ER-4Ps a little longer to do an A/B comparison but once I decide I don’t want something, I like to get it back to the vendor immediately.

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Etymotic ER-4P IEMs

I like good earphones. A few years ago, I wanted to try Etyomtic’s ER-4 IEMs but I was turned off by two things: The price ($300) and the reported lack of bass. Last night, on a late-night iPad-based canalphone research binge, I discovered that Etymotic’s ER-4P is highly regarded for my kind of use (no amp) and has a new price (since I last looked) of $169.95. That’s a compelling price for me so I ran it by the wife this morning and, with her “Go for it!” I pulled the trigger and added overnight Prime shipping for an additional four bucks.

I can’t want until they arrive tomorrow (Saturday) or Monday.

23 September 2010 Update: While their sound was bright and detailed and their construction excellent, I returned my ER-4Ps to Amazon this week. To get the best sound out of them, I had to jam them so far into my ears that it made my ear canals uncomfortable for days. Not hurt, just kinda stretched out. I may have gotten used to this, but there was a second problem: My eardrums hurt. I wasn’t cranking my music, so it wasn’t due to that kind of sound overload. But I didn’t like this sensation. For what it’s worth, I liked my ER4s best with the clear small tri-flange tips and my Comply Tx100 foam tips. (No insertion problem with the Ety foamies of course, but they were not my favorite tips.

Also, amped by my Fiio E5 headphone amp, with bass boost on, the ER-4Ps really sounded the best for me. I liked the fuller sound I got using the amp, especially for songs with women singing and acoustic instruments. It also helped with songs from Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind album.

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Kindle 3 Crashes

My Kindle 3 just crashed twice in a span of about five minutes. Wireless (3G) was on at the time, which I leave off most of the time. I was scrolling through the [Menu] menu both times, I believe.

The first time, it restarted on its own. The second time, it seemed to be hung up and eventually it responded to my holding the power/wake switch closed and it restarted.

I googled “kindle 3 crash” without the quotes and the first hit is this report, which seems like exactly what I encountered.

12 December 2010 Update: No recent crashes noticed whatsoever.

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