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Audiophile Column No 14. Questions and Answers

After the latest question time has passed almost one month, so it's time to answer your urgent (and not very) questions.

Audio-Technica earphones

The review of Audi-Technica earphones caused quite a stir on forum and in personal messages.

I will answer the most popular question straight ahead – why have I left the headband of ATH-ES7 in a bent condition. The answer is obvious as you can (and should in this case) bend it only if you paid for the product. Moreover the headband can become loose and regularly keep falling from your head.

The second question was if the headphones were genuine. After the review of Sennheiser IE4 I received an angry letter where a reader asked to test original products only. Probably the description of the sound did not match his idea of this model. At the same time, the sample I tested was official and legally imported to Russia. The model is quite interesting and I recommend to read the review if you have missed it. Besides, read an article on Doctorhead.ru website about ways to distinguish fakes from original gadgets.

Going back to ATH-ES7 some of our forum correspondents quoted Audio-Technica website and another forum with interesting photos. Allegedly, the package of my sample was different. Inquisitive readers can make independent comparisons:

Photo of Audio-Technica ATH-ES7 box from the US website

Photo of Audio-Technica ATH-ES7 box from my review

The difference is in text on the inside. I guess (though it should be additionally studied) that my sample was destined for European market, hence the text in French.

I will also quote the letter from our reader highlighting more serious differences:

Dear Ilya,

I was looking forward to your review of ATH-ES7 not because I wanted to get an expert assessment of the sound quality, build and ergonomics, but to know what you think about the price of the model.

Around one month and a half I purchased it for $75 online. It is twice lower than the minimal price you mentioned! I didn't hesitate as other shops offered a price two times higher.

Then I started looking for explanations and the only idea to cross my mind was that I must have bought a fake product.

Remember that:

  • my model was white
  • the plug is different from what I saw on your review photos
  • the manufacturer is not specified, but digits under the bar code are identical to ones on your model apart from the last 5, which makes me think that the model is from Japan.
  • black case is made of faux leather or something similar... (the material is the same as in KOSS porta pro)
  • there was no cloth

I would like to know your opinion about the price and compatibility with the player (iRiver Lplayer)

Aleksandr Nakonechny

What can I say? When we want to economize the risk of buying a fake product is high. We will speak about counterfeited Monster headphones as it deserves a separate article. If you need the sound and not the looks it is worth paying more to purchase an original model from the trusted vendor. When you buy from an individual – scrutinize the package and test the sound. There is no other way out.

Review of Sennheiser IE4 earphones

How to choose a headset for iPhone 3Gs

Dear Ilya Tarakanov.

Please, help те to choose a headset for iPhone 3GS. I tested many models, but returned to the first one in the form of Sennheiser px100. I already own its second version (II). I need an in-ear headset with the similar or better sound.

What can you say about Apple in-ear, Sony MDR 300 iP, Ultimate Ears Metro.Fi 220vi and Klipsch Image S4i? Is there at least one model in the list worth trying?

I somehow like Sony, but its products traditionally have too much bass, while I need a natural sound without excesses.

I listen to heavy metal only.

I am looking forward to your expert opinion.

Thank you very much!

Ilya Solovyov

Dear namesake, I have only tried Apple in-ear from your list and my impressions are not the best, while the original model costs around $160. If you want to listen to heavy metal you may forget about the enumerated products, raise your budget a bit and buy, for example, Phonak Audeo PFE 121, which is a version of PFE 111 with a microphone and a button. The review of the model without the microphone and button can be read here.

Phonak Audeo PFE 111

I have a question – do you want to read my review of Apple in-ear?

Differences between Apple iPod 5G and 6G

Dear Ilya,

I regularly read articles on this website, especially your reviews. I find many useful (good or bad) things here. In the latest Audiophile Column (No 13) you mentioned the quality of sound in Apple iPod 5th and 6th generations: "One day I hope to compare Apple players of 5th and 6th generations to cross all the dots at least for myself ". I have been a proud owner of 5th generation model for 5 years and but for the minute hard drive I would not have replaced it. I recently switched to Apple iPod 6 (I remember the words of Steve Jobs: "If you have an iPod your next model will also be produced by Apple" or something similar). As my impressions are still fresh I can share them with others. My thoughts are the following:

  1. the in-built amplifier became more powerful, which translates into louder sound
  2. the change of player components led to negative consequences – my old headphones (manufactured by a not very well-known company) selected specifically for 5th generation player do not fit 6th generation – the sound seems muddy, sharp and metallic (the quality of sound files remained the same) and I think that the new model is more demanding to the material
  3. during the playback (I moved to Sennheiser HD 215 used predominantly on the go) I came to the conclusion that equalizer settings in 6th generation model do not influence the sound much (for the player considered by Apple as the benchmark of portable sound!)
  4. the player sound fits electronica more as I enjoyed the guitar sound only, while cymbals produced the worst results
  5. all deficiencies could be addressed – I started looking for new headphones and after analysis, reviews and forums I chose Audio-Technica ATH-ES7(I would be very happy to read the review from your colleague) and the quality of audio material was boosted by moving to ALAC


I hope that my humble opinion was interesting and useful.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

Ilya Tarakanov (tarakanov.ilya@gmail.com)
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published - 31 October 2010

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