Damaged Gears

Evolve your Gears

Splash Damage: MDR-E888, Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10

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I’ve been back from Korea for about two weeks.  For one, it was very cold in Korea.  Freezing my butt and ears off, literally.

However, the trip was very fruitful, both personally and gears wise.  Since this isn’t my Facebook page, I’ll just have to update you on the gears side of things.  So, here is then my quick impression of Sony MDR-E888s (obtained in Korea), JVC Flats (Also obtained in Korea), and Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10.  Actually, I’ll save the impressions of Triple.Fi 10 for another post.  Suffice to say, it is one of the most impressive gears in my collection (and this includes Shure E4Cs, at one time of the more beloved IEMs).

MDR-E888:  Sony’s legendary open earbuds, all but extinct from the US Shores once the EX-series of earbuds more or less conquered the earphone market.  Of course, the EX series itself was conquered by clones and me-too in ear buds by many manufacturers, but that’s for another post.

I say the MDR-E888 is legendary (a cursory search would support this claim somewhat), and was considered as such before the Yuin’s of the world made its impact.  It is mostly a forgotten legend now that Sony no longer sells MDR-E888s, or any other high end earbuds, period.  Which is a total shame, since the E888s are very impressive, even more so than the current MDR-EX300/500 line of  in-ear buds.

Somewhat flat and neutral sounding, yet very open and expansive.  In fact, it has remarkably open soundstage, rivaling full sized open cans, Such as Grado SR60 (a very full sized open cans).  E888s takes to EQ like fish to water as well.  I dare not mod these (though there are couple of mods available) as that’s how I killed my first set of E888s (I had a set few years back, thanks to Ben).  It does exhibit some treble roll-off and feels slow at times, especially so with high-energy tracks.  However, given the general balance and openness of the phones, it’s forgivable.  What is not, however, is the large size of the drivers (16.5mm) and may be physically incompatible with certain people’s ears.

Avoid the fakes (get them from reputable source such as Audiocubes) and you’re in possession of a legendary earbuds and reminder of Sony’s glorious past.  A Reminder that Sony is, at heart, an quality electronics company, even if its current line up do not inspire such confidence.

Grade: B+, if you can fit the drivers.  C- if the drivers do not fit.

JVC Flats.  Marshmellows, but bigger.  Very decent sounding for $10-$20.  Vocals do tend to sound awfully sinusy at time.  Rather unremarkable when it comes to sound.  And I think that’s the point here.  But given the price, these are much better bang for your dollars than other closed or clip-ons at this price (save KSC-75s).  Much better than Sony’s offering at this price.  The MDR-V160 comes to mind, which are piss poor compared to the Flats.  The MDR-XD100s are a better pair of cans, but they are two different beasts.

Having sad that, however, I can’t generally recommend the Flats as much as I thought I would.  Given the general good feeling from Head-Fi and what not, I may have expected more from these than what they can offer.  But for the price, it’s entirely unremarkable and inoffensive.  Which is a big enough statement as is.  I suppose.

Grade: C+

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Written by Damage

02/9/10 at 12:29 am

Posted in Soapbox

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