copas dr forum head-fi.orghttp://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...dget-woody-iem
Whats interesting about these earphones is that they appear to feature a very thick foamy filter over the wide nozzle, which I assume attenuates the highs and boosts the bass. Consequently the bass is big and bloated. Midbass dominates (ala CX300 / EP630) and even after burn in I was a bit disappointed with the over-bloated bass sound. Some people will really like the stock bass, but I am used to a more balanced sound. Brighter tracks such as Ryan Adams Note to self, Don't die sounded pretty good bass wise, while darker bassier tracks such as Radioheads All I Need the bass was overdone and dominated the track too much.
Never one to adopt the 'if it ain't broke' philosophy, I pulled out a pin and struck a very small hole in the middle of the filter. The actual filter is a very soft meshy foam thing, so don't push to hard, and keep it small.
This mod really tightens up the bass a lot. There is still plenty of it, but the bloat is greatly reduced. To my ears now it sounds about right. This mod seems to help 'speed up' the earphones - I think they stock filter was creating some reflections (despite the semi-open back design) and now everything sounds tighter. Naturally if you like the bass levels the way they are, leave them, but if like me you want the sound to be a little more balanced, try out the mod.
The mids are one thing these suckers really get right, especially at this price point. Some people may say they are slightly recessed, but to me they sound about right, not to forward, not too recessed. After the mod they come forward slightly, but not by a huge amount. These also feature very impressive sibilance control: even heavily sibilant tracks such as Weezer's Dope Nose were free of the dreaded Essss sounds. Good show!
The actual quality of the mids is decent, but naturally $12 doesn't buy you super natural, highly detailed mids. Tom Waits and Better Midlers vocals on I never talk to strangers sound very pleasant, not exactly natural, but not coloured either. You can pick out minor inflections in their vocals, minor quivers in their voice and such, and they are quite smooth despite the earphones relatively aggressive lows and highs. The mids certainly don't dominate, but they don't take a back seat. At this price point, I don't think you could do much better.
One thing that disappointed me with the SoundMAGIC PL12s were the heavily rolled off treble. The KM92 earphones certainly don't possess the treble sparkle of the KSC75s, thats for sure. After the mod they come out a little more. The highs don't extend particularly high, and there seems to be a slight peak in the lower treble, which occasionally sounds too harsh, such as the string section in Manic Street Preachers Everlasting. However the highs definitely knock the socks of the CX300s, EP630s and SoundMAGIC Pl12s. After modding there is just enough to quench my treble thirst, but ideally I would have liked a little more.
On Ryan Adams Two Hearts the cymbals and high hats sound alright, a little rough and metallic when you really pick them out with your ears, but generally they sound good enough.
Despite the shallow insertion and semi-open back design, soundstage is not really anything special, nor is it bad. Its about the standard IEM fair. Slightly wider than the Phonak PFEs but of course less precise. But few IEMs really offer great soundstage, so they definitely do it as good as any sub $50 earphone.
Overall Sound - or - Damn it get to the point!
Probably the first thing you'll notice is how 'big' the sound is. The overall tone is quite aggressive, but the aggresiveness seems to be mellowed by what seem to be very thick filters. They also have a veiled quality to them too, a bit Sennheiser. Surprisingly the Phonak PFEs offer a similar idea, without filters they are very aggressive and peaky, but with the filters they sound oh so good! After the mod they sound quite fast, just fast enough for heavy metal tracks such as Protest The Hero's Bloodmeat but metal probably aren't their forte. In fact they sounded best on pop tracks such as Michael Jackson Thriller - but that said I guess all cheaper earphones sound best with simpler pop tracks than complicated songs. But these earphones can handle big tracks just fine, you won't hear any amazing detail, but they don't jar up with too much detail. Joni Mitchels acoustic track All I Want come through well thanks to the strong mids, but the somewhat veiled sound depletes from the intimacy more expensive earphones provide.
The general sound signature has a hint of warmth and a hint of colour. I would have liked the sound to be tad more neutral, but I'm probably nitpicking a bit too much at this price point.