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  #1  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:52 PM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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Default Cowon D2+ w/ stock earphones vs Phonak PFE

I just got my Cowon D2+ and my Phonak PFEs today. I put some MP3 on the D2+ that ranged from female jazz vocals to classical mussic, with some pop/rock and acoutic guitars in between. There was no EQ and all sound effects where turned off. Then I decided to compare the iAudio earphones that came with the PFEs, out of curiosity. Please note that I am new to this, so this is by no means a review. I'm just trying to explain what I did and what are my concerns.

Anyway, to my surprise/shock, I couldn't hear much of a difference between the stock D2+ phones and the PFE! I thought that maybe it was the quality of the MP3 files that was the cause, so I decided to hear some CDs from my Sony Discman. I swapped the phones countless times and in some musics I actually think the stock phones have a slightly wider soundstage. I tried the grey and black filters and all tips that came with the PFE, settling on the medium silicone ones. After an hour of A-B'ing I came to the following conclusion:

In the PFE, with the grey filters, higher frequencies are mode detailed, but lower frequencies suffer very slightly, i.e., I guess it lacks a bit of bass, even though I'm not, by any means, a basshead.

With black filters, the higher frequencies sound less detailed, but the overall sound is more balanced. I hear very little difference between the stock D2+ phones and the PFE + black filters.

Altogether, I prefer the PFE in most circumstances, but the difference between them and the stock D2+ phones is minimal. In some tracks, I actually like the stock phones better! They seem to have a wider soundstage, seem more balanced and have a "clearer" sound than the PFEs. I also noticed that the positon of the tips of the PFEs inside the ear canal influence the soundstage and the quality of the sound.

I just spent 128 Euros on the PFEs and they sound almost the same as the phones that came with my D2+. This is very frustrating. Am I missing something here?
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2010, 07:04 PM
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Excuse me as I know this sounds stupid, but did you have a good seal with the PFE’s? IEM’s need a good seal to sound their best …
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:20 AM
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EddieE EddieE is offline
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^ That's exactly what I just thought. I've seen a lot of people new to IEMs just sort of rest them at the front of their ears like they were earbuds; they need to be right inside your ear canals, especially important for phones like PFEs that have too quiet bass unless you get a proper 100% seal when it comes back again.

If you did have a good seal, I don't know what to say to you. For me the differences between PFEs and stock Cowon buds are immeasurable.

At one point when my PFE were away for repair/upgrade I left my other closed cans at a friend's house and was forced to do the commute with all I had - those stock Cowon buds. Half way through the journey I decided going without music was better. It was a painful experience that felt like my ear drums were being run over with sand paper. Incredibly rough and muddy sound, a world away from the extremely smooth clarity of PFEs.
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  #4  
Old 01-27-2010, 05:48 AM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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I tried all tips that came with the PFE, but I don't mind trying a few more if there are any other tips compatible with the PFE. Any recommendations? BTW, how deep are the tips supposed to enter the ear canal? Thanks.
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Old 01-27-2010, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katabatik View Post
BTW, how deep are the tips supposed to enter the ear canal? Thanks.


http://www.anythingbutipod.com/archi...one-review.php
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:31 AM
filousophe filousophe is offline
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is really wondering what happened to the issue presented by the threadstarter.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:30 PM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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Hi

After a couple of months using the PFE, I can say that the PFE sounds a bit better, but it is not a huge difference from the stock phones. The stock phones still have a better soundstage IMO. The main reason I kept the PFE is because they are very comfortable and with proper tips, they can isolate ambient noise very well. On the other hand, the stock phones make my hear's tragus hurt after one hour and as far as isolation is concerned, it's not even comparable.

Oh, and by the way, I'm using the PFE with gray filters.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:56 AM
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You are seriously comparing stock Cowon earbuds to the PFE? I'm getting the feeling that either your PFE are broken in some way, the filters are clogged, or you don't get a good seal with them. I know, differences in perceived audio quality are often subtle, but the difference between the Cowon/Cresyn stock buds and the PFE are like night and day, at least to my ears.

But you're right, open-backed earbuds often do have a wider perceived soundstage than in-ear phones. There's no way around the laws of physics, unfortunately.

---

EDIT: I just dug some Cowon stock earbuds up to compare them... wow, they're horrible. A muddy undefined mess with zero bass, harsh treble, no detail, and not really any redeeming sonic traits in any way. Old Sansa Clip stock earbuds sound a lot better to me than Cowon's already.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:26 AM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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I'm not doubting you dfkt, but I can assure you that there really isn't that much difference in the phones I own. Yes, the PFE sounds better, but the difference is not as big as most people say it is. BTW, I'm using Comply tips. Now you got me thinking if my PFE are not faulty in some way. Unfortunately I can't return them and I have no other phones to compare with.

As far as bass is concerned, I don't like too much bass. That is why I use the grey filters. For the music I listen to (classical and opera), the black filters are just a little too "bassy", without being bass heavy though. It is a question of personal taste, of course, but maybe because I started enjoying music before the beggining of the "basshead culture", I feel that too much bass spoils the music. Since manufacturers discovered that heavy bass sells, some of them went to ridiculous extremes.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:48 AM
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I don't doubt your ears either, it's just such an obvious difference for me, I wonder how both phones could sound so similar to you. My guess was that something's not right, but of course I can't hear with your ears, or with your gear... so it's hard to figure anything out. In any case you're the first person who perceived those two phones in that way.

If you're willing to spend ca. $10-15, I assume you might like the Koss KSC75 for your taste in sound.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:41 AM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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If they are that cheap, I'm willing to try them to see the differences between the 3.
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  #12  
Old 04-21-2010, 07:16 AM
katabatik katabatik is offline
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I got the Koss KSC75. They have a very nice sound for the price. Better than the stock Cowon buds but not as detailed as the PFE. The downside is that isolation is non-existant, they are very big and not as confortable as the PFE.
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