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This is my first Massdrop review. I would consider myself an audiophile, but I haven't had a high end setup in my house for several years. I'll do a couple reviews on the EDC3, this first one being right out of the box without any burn in. It's just my initial feelings on the EDC3. It will be completely subjective.
Listening test 1: Out of box, On iPhone 6s, no additional amp, 1/2 volume in Music app, flat EQ
On Diana Krall, Look of Love:
- Female vocals and piano glorious, warm and accurate.
- Highs are decently extended with slight airiness, but no harshness. Not super airy like Sennheisers.
- Accoustic bass tight and accurate. Not M50 fat, but its definitely there and you don’t have to go looking for it.
- Jazz guitar is snappy and euphonic
- Strings are gorgeous and cinematic
- Initial feel is sweet and almost organic.
- Similar to magnetic ribbon for your ears, but with a slightly forward soundstage.
- I could listen to these for hours. They let you just absorb the emotion of the music
- Amazing performance for $99. This is definitely the first 85 - 90% of the audiophile experience.
- It's not doing anything wrong. It's really musical and non-fatiguing.
On Pat Metheny, The Road To You (Live)
- Same impressions as above for jazz in general. Organic, musical and non-fatiguing.
- Only thing lacking (hehe at $99) is maybe a little more air, but that's a tightrope. Too much and fatigue sets in.
But as an example, The Road To You opens with whistles, cheers and the rise of the cheering as the band walks onto the stage. On very good monitor speakers you can hear where every single person whistling and cheering is located. The recording has a fantastic soundstage. It's the first recording where I remember thinking, "Oh so this is why people pay ridiculous dollars for good audio." At the time I was listening to it on a pair of Dunlavy SC-Is. It was definitely like being in the middle of the audience. Not bad for a $1000 pair of speakers, but at least that brackets what's possible when you really push audiophile engineering value. The EDC3s are what's possible at $99 and it's incredible and musical with very few compromises -- and those slight compromises are serving your ears by by keeping fatigue at arms length. That's the best kind of engineering compromise.
I imagine you could tweak the highs and response a bit by spending another $200-$300, but this is an amazing bit of engineering that you can just hook up to your iPhone with it's mic/volume cable for everyday or take it to Carnegie Hall and not be dissapointed.
Next I'll improve the source chain by using by using a Project Ember headphone amp from Garage 1217. It's a great amp and has a tube pre for rolling your favorite tubes.
After that maybe we'll drop in a solid DAC and run playback through macOS in bit perfect mode.
Then perhaps a quick "everyday" iPhone test for voice, volume and microphone usage.
Thank you for your first impressions. The reference system that I go to when I need to check something (or tune myself up) is a pair of Duntech Sovereigns + one of my very best friends who is a mastering engineer. :)
CEE_TEE, isn't DunTech where John Dunlavy first worked?
Anyway: Serious question. I just had freak accident with my EDC3s. I took them off for a few minutes and then walked a couple paces and they snagged on my desk and the cable for the right earbud tore off. Grrr. Earbud is fine and I can use my other cable until I solved this. Where can I go to order another iphone-style cable?