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Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Week's Most Interesting

Last week probably marked the most important week of the year for all IEM user: the highly anticipated, long overdue Westone 3 has finally been released to the market at the 28th of November. For those who didn't keep track of thing, Westone 3 was first announced at January 2007, which means it took almost 2 years for Westone to actually bring the prototype to live. During all these time, Westone had shown and all0wed people to demo the prototype on multiple meetings. Needless to say, the impression seems to overwhelmingly positive. In any case, the impression fueled hype is now over and the IEM will be judged more openly by the public eyes ears. With more and more reviews being posted all over the world, we shall soon to see whether Westone 3 will become the stuff of what legend is made of or not. Perhaps it will even set a new standard of what to be known as 'the best of universal IEM.' I am sure Westone's main competitors like UE and Shure is keeping an close eye. The question is, would they do anything about it? I certainly hope so.

Other IEM that make their debut in the last week or so are the s-JAYS from JAYS@Sweden and Audéo PFE (“Perfect Fit Earphones”) by Phonak@Swiss. The s-JAYS utilizes a kind of rounded (instead of the more common box-shaped) balanced armatures transducer named 'Siren' which I believe is made by Knowles, one of the largest balanced armature transducer manufacturer in the world. On the other hand, the Audéo PFE from Phonak has a single drived, sideway mounting balanced armatures transducer that seem to resemble the TopFire transducer on UE's new 5. Just proves that you can't keep a good idea all to yourself.

Westone 3, the first true universal IEM that deploys three balanced armature transducers with a three-way crossover network. MSRP US$399.

  • Driver: Triple balanced armature
  • Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz -18 kHz
  • Impedance: 30 ohms
  • Driver: Three balanced armature
  • Features: Soft padded travel case, ten different eartips, and wax loop for cleaning.
  • Standard Color: Black
Phonak Audéo PFE, the first attempt from the hearing aid maker to break into the IEM market. MSRP US$139.

  • Driver: Single balanced armature
  • Sensitivity: 107 dB @ 1 mW
  • Frequency range: 5 Hz – 17 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm @ 1 kHz
  • Cable: 110 cm / 3.6 ft (Y-style), straight 3.5 mm gold-plated plug, microphone (optional)
  • Accessories: Carrying case, silicon tips (S/M/L), Comply foam tips (M), cleaning tool, acoustic filters, silicon ear guides
s-JAYS, a new offering from JAYS that targeted at the lower end IEM market. It comes with an unconventional 'Siren' transducer (and the earpiece design looks rather interesting). Strange enough, I can only find it on JAYS' UK website. MSRP £64.97.
  • Drive: Single SIREN balanced armature
  • Sensitivity: 113 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
  • Frequency range: 20Hz - 20 kHz
  • Impedance; 69 Ohm @ 1 kHz
  • Cord: L 0.60 m (~24 inch) + 0.90 m (~35 inch) extension cord, W 2/1.5 mm (0.079/0.059 inch)
  • Weight: 10 grams (0.35 oz)
  • Plug: Gold-Plated Stereo Mini-Plug 3.5 mm (1.8 in)

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Important: All postings are my own personal opinion only and should not be treated as absolute truth. I do get things wrong just like everyone else. Always do your own research!

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