Question: What would any self respecting audio reviewer do when they find themselves in possession of a little free time, a camera, a working set of ears and a handful of the best IEMs in the £1000 or under price bracket?
Answer: Organise a deathmatch, of course!
The Spurious Reason for doing this: I thought people would be interested in some knock down, drag out comparisons between some of the IEMs in my collection, and it would benefit the audio community (and in fact the world) as a whole to have my useless opinion on more in-ear gear written down somewhere
The real reason: I’ve only got one pair of ears, far too much gear and chronic indecision syndrome when it comes to getting rid of things.
The Rules: each IEM in the competition will be drawn against a random competitor (using the good old fashioned “left IEM in the hat” method). For the sake of brevity and my own sanity, each pairing will be a straight knockout, scored out of 10 in the following categories:
Build and Ergonomics (how well stuff is made)
Bass (frequencies that drummers and EDM fans like)
Mids (the sort of place singers and folk music fans hang out)
Treble (Opera singers and Grado enthusiasts can be found here)
Soundstage and Separation (how well stuff can be distinguished from other background stuff)
All marks are subjective rather than absolute, and will be influenced by the competiton (in other words, if something scores a 10 against a competitor in one round, it won’t necessarily score a 10 the following round if the standard of competition is a little bit higher). I will leave the proper analysis to experts like @flinkenick and his compatriots at The Headphone List, so please take this in the spirit it is intended (i.e. just a bit of fun with some waffle and pretty pictures thrown in). I know this might not make much sense to the purist (or the more scientific among you), but it does to me – full reviews of most of these IEMs will be published separately as and when I have time, with a more reasoned appraisal. The comparisons here are meant to highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses between the two competing models, and try to quantify that into some form of scoring system – this is meant to be a more tongue-in-cheek series of head to heads rather than an in depth technical appraisal or analysis. After all, who takes a deathmatch seriously anyway?! Hopefully some of you will find it useful, or if not, at least vaguely entertaining (I live in hope).
Quarter Final 1: JH Audio Rosie vs CustomArt 9-driver (one off design)
Quarter Final 2: Campfire Audio Vega vs Cardas EM5813
Quarter Final 3: Campfire Audio Andromeda vs Unique Melody Miracle V2
Quarter Final 4: Astell & Kern AKT8IE Mk2 vs Campfire Audio Lyra II
QF1 – CustomArt 9-Driver
Semi finals will be randomly allocated once the Quarter Finals have all been posted, and results will be updated after each post.
If you aren’t interested in all the wordy stuff, pics from each match up and some other general shots will be added below – enjoy!!