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First Harmonic IEB6 IEM with Mic
First Harmonic IEB6 IEM with Mic
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I now think these are high bitrate only,(which is usually a sign of quality but the highs are weak on these(low resolution, tinny seem like their missing information) unforgiving headphones overall which is odd for a 20 dollar iem first time Ive run into this. (The mojo was probably hiding most of this thats why I probably considered these passable at low bitrate if you didnt.) These seem possibly interesting enough for comparisons now gonna add those later.
Testing Drive Train: Latest Foobar 2000 on Win 10 15055, to mojo via regular usb via stock cables for each to iems.
First Harmonic IEb6 vs KZ ZST(cheap ChiFi review king one of the better of the sub 20 bracket)
First Harmonic holds its own even with only one smaller driver. Seems clearer has better mids the ZST(2BA and 1 Dynamic Bass if i remember correctly) is overall fuller and has better highs that soar better when vocals extend higher. First Harmonic has more artifacts but nothing too bad. First Harmonic is more cohesive and bouncy in the low end the ZST is has looser rumble bass that can flub(these are both good iems overall tho when I say flub its rare and doesnt last long(both sound good but this is some audiophile detail nitpickiness) the highs on the First Harmonic are bad compared to their mids and bass tho). ZST mids are recessed people talk about the 3 main spectra low mids and highs as if they are equal and everyone likes a little bit of treble sparkle if its not sibilant but really the most important is the mids which is where most of the music happens and really the other scales are just accoutrements(effects added onto) to the mids which are the anchor. The First Harmonic has superior mids. The ZST has the punch tho which can dazzle more, that and the upper mids extending into the highs. The lower mids are better on the First Harmonic but the highs sounds cheap tinny and like its grainy or missing resolution even on FLAC or better(but really this is some audiophile nitpickiness great for a single small driver). Ok maybe its still a bit of a novelty but on FLAC or better I feel better about the purchase now.
FLAC OR BETTER: The only proper way to listen to these
Bass cleans up allot and sounds rounder.... bouncier.... mids also cleaner rounder bouncier.... highs still sound a little tinny but are also vastly improved.... everything of course sounds more cohesive and clear. Transients punch and dont sound grainy kicks are clean... Sound is more natural mids sound lower where they should be highs arent as pronounced and now sound high-lean bass has a great reverb in the skull especially for the tiny size of these. Headphone manufacturers really need to state if thier headphones are unforgiving of low bitrate. I'm sure thats why these received such poor reviews(I now check this in full size headphones this is the first time Ive had to check this in am iem). Volume can go higher and they dont crack up or distort. These are actually an amazing value if you play flac or better only through these but high bitrate is still a limitation in what is likely the end of the age of the mp3 but we are still in the age of the mp3. Wow these are impressive now especially for 20 bucks.
Sound sig. Bouncy rubbery bass not the most precise but very good more mid and bass focus(but still not basshead warmer than neutral but there are many iems with more stupid bass than these) than highs but overall very clean from top to bottom tho the bottom is not super deep; highs still the weak point. Highs can be a little sharp and a hint sibilant at higher volumes on regular CDs and EPs. Sing sheen seems even more reserved at high bitrate but its still there. On high bitrate these are not the most detailed or aggressive headphones I have ever heard but they are good and a steal at 20 bucks. You can hear some cracks in some tracks(cracks in midbass digital track effects usually) but they are amazingly clear but once again they seem minor and because they are pleasing they dont bother you too much(read below the original review on inet radio). Vocals are now a strong suit and the high end of the vocal spectrum sounds good as well.
LOW BITRATE: Original Review before I realized these were unforgiving of low bitrate
I feel like the product pics are deceptive they look like regular sized iems but they are actually the micro kind that usually comes in a dowel-like thin straight shell. These have the same shape of like monster turbine shells but are actually 1/5th the size or smaller they are tiny(care less about this now because the performance is far better on high bitrate now is price vs sound performance dichotomy). It is amazing what these achieve for their size as far as quality but obviously at this size there are drawbacks. There are flaws to the sound quality that overall is pleasing but sometimes you hear graininess(this is a typical effect of headphones that are too detailed for low bitrate audio) to the bass or treble(but at least the mids sound like mids(maybe slightly high) than most iems whos mids sound like low highs). When burning these in(yes they need it some) using sweeps I noticed these have harmonic resonances where you can hear them stepping or bumping as the sweep increases in hz which is odd but you cant detect these things with most music and sound fine. I see these more as a tech demo than something you could use on a daily basis and because of their size I can see the problems with durability. Still they are interesting if nothing else and the sound quality is above par for 20 but really KZ ZST will blow these out of the water(on high bitrate its not really a blowout but I still give the edge to the ZST) for 16 bucks tho on some tracks these do have good detail. The major drawback of these and their small size is the limit on volume. They sound great at certain listenable average volumes but if you go higher the mids come forward and they begin to distort and quality suffers(This is not a problem on higher bitrates). Better than most earbuds or stock iem offerings from most devices and sound quality is probably better than most chifi(not the top chifi tho) and its cheap. Being super small is cute(most new computer users are enamored by cute things which I dont understand) but it really doesnt have any functional benefit just novelty which in the end makes this more of a novelty product than anything else. For me these benefit from foam(not comply comply is worthless) with the hard inner sound tubes tips with really good seal for best sound. Stock thin rubber tips are not stiff enough for bass nor do they get that good hard seal that foam can especially after you sweat in them and they get hard(I like to run in mine then they work better if you sweat on them again tho they will soften till they dry again).
I feel like I should try to describe the sound sig. These have good bass thump especially for their size and detail(detail in the bass and mids the highs extend but you feel they are reduced in some way(lower resolution highs it would take research to quantify exactly how) but they are there) and there is no muddiness and it sounds good but you can tell its missing resolution in some way like its a well reproduced facsimile with few detectable drawbacks had you not heard the same track with other phones. The mids sound like mids which most iems especially this size sound an octave or 2 too high like low highs(I hate when I get iems and they sound like this bugs the crap out of me). The highs have a little bit of sparkle and sound extended but once again you feel like some resolution is missing even tho it sounds good. You run across occasional tracks where the bass will grain or the highs will grain(they are always slightly grainy but it doesnt bug you) but even with the grain its not super annoying most of the time(low bitrate effect). Also kick drum(kicks) if they have too much slam can grain(maybe these have trouble controlling hard fast attack transients(listening on mojo right now which might not be the dac/pulse array(not an amp) to use on these)(low bitrate). I detect other artifacts they are there you know they are but they are never upsetting or piss me off they are always kind of pleasing which is odd.......kind of funny. The real strength of these compared to most iems is the mids xylophone(just came across track) sounds good spanish guitar isnt bad either(not the greatest tho, sounds like low highs version but has detail)(low bitrate). I think these have some kind of sing sheen almost like what tubes provide to the overall sound like sing blur sheen that is smeared all over the spectrum of these(without sacrificing detail like v-moda m-100 but not nearly to that degree far more reserved smear) which makes them sound pleasing even when they artifact. Had these been damped or dry sounding the artifacts would probably be a deal breaker but with the sing sheen on these it makes you not care(maybe this is actually the strongest feature of these headphones the sing sheen(first time Ive run into this maybe these do have something special to them)). Kind of odd these work well with acoustic or edm. Vocals all sound a little high(raised key) and if the track has manipulated the vocals a little high then they can sound way too high sound like mid low highs crap again. Graininess dies down on higher bitrate exceptional detail and clarity for the price I wouldnt say the bass is reserved but its not basshead(nor deep but not bad for no depth) either.
There are many headphones that are expensive that have all the specs and components of good sound, clarity, drivers, but the overall sound signature sucks. These are the opposite they are limited in many ways most of all size but the overall signature is good if not perfect. Flac or higher the graininess disappears so maybe they are just unforgiving of low bitrate tracks. The other testing was done with internet radio which is usually 128k mp3.
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