Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Custom IEMs

Today I took the plunge and ordered custom In Ear Monitors. Visited Dr. Craig A. Kasper of Audio Help Hearing Centers, very nice guy and very knowledgable. I had planned on ordering the Westone ES5 in clear with 50" black cable for $950.  Dr. Kasper said IEMs are in two camps hard silicon and soft silicon, the Westone ES5 are of hard silicon, although they have a soft silicon coating on the ear canal section.  He expressed concern about Westone and the recent sale of the company.

After some conversation Dr. Kasper recommended the ACS T3 £249 ($388USD), he feels five armatures is too many and only muddies the sound, saying the seal is more important than the number of armatures.  The T3 is a three armature IEM and does not have a removable cable, although the cable is made of a kevlar coated material.   ACS is a British company with offices on Long Island.Saying it is not possible to have five armatures separate the frequencies, and one, two or three armatures is better than five or more.   He offered to order both the ACS T3 and the Westone ES5 and let me decide between the two.

I found Dr. Kasper through an article in Stereopile, by Wes Phillips.   I was told to request an open jaw impression as the ear canal changes shape with an open jaw and the fit will be better with an open jaw. Dr. Kasper recommended an open jaw for the ES5 and a closed mouth for the T3.

Al Jarreau and Dave Matthews are clients of Dr. Kasper, being a musician, he enjoyes working with musicians. We spoke about Etymotic and their "reference sound" and the mistake that is Dr. Dre Beats.   We talked about Headfi and the flying opinions and the lack of transparency.  

Will go back in a couple of weeks to try the two different IEMs and make decision

Very nice comparison of ES5 and ACST1