I owned one of these. I loved the air and openness, since that’s not something you usually get from IEMs. The bass rumble with the Cipher cable was super neat too.
Without the Cipher cable they’re super shouty though. I measured them with the stock 3.5 Cable and got this:
They basically sounded like that. Lacked treble pretty significantly, incredibly boosted upper 1-2kHz. Painful to listen to with brass and female vocals. Even with the Cipher cable I noticed this very strange artificial timbre. The FR with the Cipher Cable was much more linear though. If you aren’t too picky about that, it’s an interesting option because it does some really unique things for an IEM.
Truthfully I really enjoyed the iSine 20s.
I did only ever try it with the cipher cable since I was using an iPhone 7 anyways and heard that the regular cable did some wonky things with the EQ.
They are very unique and also kind of weird as they can’t be used for most situations that an IEM would be used for. But just as with the LCDi4, I enjoyed that open-ness because it let me be a lot more aware of my surroundings while commuting while still enjoying great sound. The soundstage and imaging with them blew me away as well. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but when I threw on Yosi Horikawa’s Bubbles it was an euphoric experience.
If I could use them as a daily driver I would but because of their design, I am too worried about the outside environment getting in and effecting the drivers. Because they are fairly lightweight though, they did win out in comfort over the LCDi4. I wish there was a better way to wear them than the ear hooks though.
I’d be curious what your measurements were like for the Cipher. I know when Tyll did the measurement for the cipher it was much closer to the Harman Target than the stock 3.5mm cable.
I wasn’t able to measure it with the Cipher cable because of how my measurement program worked, but I’ve tried to simulate what I believe I heard with the Cipher cable with EQ and this is sort of close:
It’s much more normal-looking.
I actually preferred the fact that it was open because I was able to use it outside to walk around. I’m not that much of a fan of using IEMs in places other than public transportation so that was a nice bonus.
Yikes that is pretty much a completely different headphone haha.
Which would also explain why I see so many people with mixed reviews on the iSine 20s or asking for EQ settings when they purchased the 3.5mm cable option only. I knew that there was some differences but I didn’t think they were that large.
Wonder if Audeze will fix that when they eventually release a new version.
Yeah, if I wasn’t paying attention to the timbre, I actually really liked it because it was very solid otherwise. It’s just…yeah. You really need an iPhone or a source with a good EQ if you want to use these and can’t tolerate the shout.
I believe I read something about Audeze having to do this, in conjunction with the weird waveguide the iSine has as a tradeoff to have the astonishingly low distortion that it has. It’s pretty clear the iSine (I also had the 10 and it was very similar) series was meant to be used with DSP.
I really enjoy the sound of my iSine 20s.
I’ve only used them with a Cipher cable since I am an Apple junky through and through. Don’t judge me!
When I first gave them a listen, I had several “wow” moments, mostly because I wasn’t expecting such a full-size headphone sound from them. I was most impressed with the airiness of the soundstage and fullness of the lower octaves. Not something I expected from an IEM.
I mostly use them at the office when it is particularly quiet. Some days it’s dead silent. The transducers are so small that sound leakage out is negligible.
The only complaint I have is the ear hooks get quite uncomfortable after about 1 hour of use. A softer, more malleable material would be most welcome in place of the brittle plastic with which they currently ship.
If anyone knows of any aftermarket ear hooks for these, I’m all ears.
Hi, looking to find out more about the frequency response with the Lightning cable. Not sure if I’m able to articulate this correctly but here goes:
Without the Lightning Cable (just passive cables), the iSine 20 frequency response looks as follows:
The raw response (I’m assuming total flat) with the Cipher Cable is like this:
Since the second FR is with a flat or linear Cipher EQ (all of the frequencies adjusted to Zero), I’m assuming that the DSP is doing all of the work to enable a more Harman-like target response.
With that being the case, I’m assuming it is very difficult to successfully EQ these without an iPhone and Cipher cable since there isn’t a DSP to create the baseline to make the response linear. So for example, these iems sound unbelievable out of my iPhone with the Cipher cable but quite a bit off on my DAP (Fiio X7 mk II using balanced cables) and Liquid Carbon even with an EQ similar to my Cipher EQ.
Has anyone had success getting the iSines to a neutral FR out of anything besides the Cipher? Can anyone post an EQ setting that they used on recent Fiio or similar DAP?
Hope this makes sense.
I’m so glad I read this thread. I have loved my iSine 20s since the day I bought them. I only listened with stock cable. Then I had Samsung S7 phone. Now have Apple iPhone x. I’ll get myself a cipher and try to give a what does my ears hear review.
Have you take a look at the Audeze Reveal software/plugin?
It may not help using the Fiio, but if you use a PC at times as a source it may be just what you need.
I tried the Reveal Plugin on my iMac shortly after I originally posted. It works pretty good. I also found that Sonarworks True-fi has a free Android app for my X7 but unfortunately it does not have the iSine 20 pre-set yet.
I really liked the iSine 20’s when I owned them. I got mine with both the 3.5mm cable and the Cipher cable. I only really listened to them through the Cipher and found them to be great. However listening through the 3.5mm cable everything sounded off and I wasn’t prepared to faff around eq them when I had the Cipher cable which did this far better than I ever could. The only reason I’m got rid of them was the comfort really. I mean it wasn’t awful but I just couldn’t settle with them in the long run.
So I recently got some iSine 20’s and would appreciate some advice about the best way to drive & EQ them for sound quality. I do not use Apple products and thus their lightning cable; 90-95% of my listening now is via Windows PCs (3 locations, well spec’d but no special add-in sound hardware beyond what’s built into the motherboard) and 5-10% is via Samsung phone. Usually I’m sourcing from streaming services such as Tidal.
Option 0: Standard cable. The phone definitely needs the volume on the upper end for them to lift out of the mud and bloom, and it’s widely commented the EQ is off.
Option 1: Audeze’s Bluetooth Cipher cable ($100), and connect to the phone instead of the PC’s. I don’t really care about wireless as a convenience, and my Samsung S10 doesn’t support AptX HD. Will this still improve sound quality?
Option 2: Use Audeze’s Reveal plugin in probably Audirvana. I likely have to buy 3 copies at $75 each. I’m not aware of free software that supports i) plugins, ii) Windows, and iii) streaming services like Tidal. Foobar2000 seems to lack on the streaming, but I’m open to pointers.
Option 3: Buy a portable DAC/ music player and set the EQ on there. This may cost a bit more; I’m not averse to that if it results in truly better sound quality.
Options 2 & 3 have the additional benefit of better driving other models of headphones. What do you all recommend? Thanks in advance!
Others will have to comment on other aspects of your questions, but:
Unless it is different under Windows, the Audirvana license is good for two machines, provided only one is actually being used to play music at any given time.
But you should be able to use “Equalizer APO” for both EQ and as a system-wide VST (plug-in) host for Windows. Not personally a fan of the thing, but technically it should work. Though you will lose ASIO/WASAPI support.
There are probably other free VST hosts with system-wide support.
On the paid side of things, DDMF Virtual Audio host will also do the job as a VST host for system-wide audio (so you can use whatever streaming client/player application).
Welcome @lime. As far as I am aware there EQ settings freely available on the net that follow the Audeze Cipher cable. Just a case of inputting them into your choice of EQ software. Mind you it’s never that straight forward is it? Good luck.