LiveWires Product Reviews…

Hi everyone,

A short product review by a LiveWires user…

Update: Responding to those who emailed me, here are my thoughts.

 Hi, Koo and those who emailed me. Rather than replying individually, which would take an inordinate length of time; I decided to put my thoughts in this blog.

The review ends with YMMV and opens with caveats; hence it is indeed a personal opinion and not a definitive one.

Reviews of anything should begin with a parameterized definition; otherwise it would be prone to artistic interpretation. Good or bad, would very much depend on the item being reviewed.

Mandatory parameters for a good review, in the case of customized IEM’s would be:

  • IEM customized for the reviewer’s ears.
  • The source
  • The source resolution
  • The music

Of course there are other factors too.

As an aside, even those who tried the Sensa demo and finally owned it will attest to the demo and the actual thing sounding different, yet they are the same drivers. The reasons for the different sounding experience would be rather obvious and confirms the need for the unit to be made specifically for the person.

Perhaps, a quick look at the current well-known users at the LiveWires site will reveal industry names and if anything there must be a semblance of a good piece of equipment.

Within the industry, extremely sophisticated equipment is used in designing earphones/headphones and I have been to some very sophisticated setups. Needless to say it was rather mind boggling. Even artificial ears have been constructed for equipment evaluation. The need, obviously points to the inconsistency of the human senses which varies; a bad day, a bad cold, a stressed-out day and etc. produces differing results. Whilst the “universal” ear may exist, it is more the custom IEM used in universal mode.

 All told, the abbreviation YMMV says it all.


~ by jaben on June 26, 2007.

5 Responses to “LiveWires Product Reviews…”

  1. Can’t wait to hear just how good these little buggers are!

    Jaben: Make one and you’ll find out. You’ll find big names using it… go to Hey!, you mean fellas… 🙂

  2. <strong>Courtesy of Jon, a LiveWires Owner</strong>
    <strong>### start of article ###</strong>
    Here’s just a simple review of the Livewires that I collected from Jaben last Friday. Thus far, it has gone through about 20 hours of music (recorded) and about 6 hours of stage monitoring use (live). Hope it helps some of you with your decision.
    Some background here, I have listed below, the IEMS that I have owned and used the following both for personal audio listening and for stage monitoring for the past 5 years. I have also included brief thoughts about each, so as to facilitate the brief comparison later.
    My music is played unamped, through an iPod 3G, a iPod Nano 1G, a iPod Shuffle 1G, and an iPod Shuffle 2G. Stage monitoring is through the Aviom and the Shure PSM700 personal monitoring system.
    1. Shure E2 (Hated it.)
    2. Shure E1 (Fabulous. My favorite single driver till the E4 came along.)
    3. Shure E3 (Hated it.)
    4. Shure E5 (Hated the cable, couldn’t appreciate the sound)
    5. Shure E4 (Fabulous. My favorite single driver. Period.)
    6. Westone UM1 (Bang for the buck. Close to the E4 sound for less than half the price. Liked this too.)
    7. Westone UM2 (Superb for relaxed listening. Extremely musical and engaging. Loved this while i had it, but missed the details i heard with the E1, E4 and UM1.)
    8. Earpeace Livewires (My favourite so far.)
    <strong>Build 4/5</strong>
    I have seen (physically, not through reviews) and felt the Westone ES2, and the UE10Pro before. Both are similar to the Livewires as they are all made of acrylic. This is unlike the Sensaphonics 2X-S which is made of soft silicon. Having seen the two other IEMs made of acrylic, i would say that the build of the Livewires is quite comparable to them. The surface is smooth and there were no bumps or indents in the surface. Feels ‘solid’ in my hands, feels lighter than my UM2+Widex Custom molds.
    They do have limited color choices, and the faceplate has to be either black or brown. And they don’t do glitter in your earpieces. I originally wanted mine in either 1. Fully transparent red, 2. Fully transparent black with gold glitter OR 3. Fully transparent with silver glitter. But alas, i was give the order form with a measly few color options and no glitter. This might not be a problem to all, but the aesthetics do matter to me personally. Check out the Livewires website for the full color options if you’re thinking of getting a set, or just email Uncle Wilson for an order form.
    To differentiate the right earpiece from the left, there is a blue dot on the left earpiece to identify it, the other earpiece, will then obviously be the right one. The dot can be seen in the photo above.
    The cable seems to be of high quality, looks extremely similar to the ones found on the Etymotic ER4 series and the Westone UM1 and UM2. Microphonics (when worn over the ear, that’s the only way i use them) is virtually non-existant, comparable to the UM2 (which i used for the longest time before I went to the Livewires).
    The 3.5mm audio jack, sadly, came in chrome rather than gold. The publicity photos and review photos I’ve seen and read about the Livewires show them in gold, so i was a little perturbed and disappointed when I saw that the sets that were sent to Jaben were in chrome. I would think a custom IEM aimed at performing musicians on stage would definitely have the jack in gold for durability purposes, as the chrome jacks tend to oxidize and spoil much faster.
    The cables are replaceable, just pop them out and put the new ones back in. To differentiate the cable for the right side and the left side (for those who are anal about the panning issues like me), the Livewire cable has a small red heatshrink (check out the photo above to see what i mean) on the cable that goes to the right earpiece.
    The cable connector is unlike the standard 2-prong connector that can be found on Westone and UE IEMs. This one on the Livewires, according to the website, is a coaxial connector (think SCV cable point) that can rotate 360degrees instead of being in 1 fixed position. The Livewires website puts this as being an advantage for people who like to dangle their cable forward rather than hang it over their ears. I personally think the gold connector is a little huge and it is not very aesthetically pleasing. The photos above show the connector on the cable, and the connector on the earpiece.
    The cables also come with a memory wire (seen in the photo above). This is short and works well, even with my Oakleys. This is completely unlike the one on the Shure E5 which is long and unwieldy. I like this feature a lot! Keeps the cables over my ears with them threatening to fall off.
    I guess another major issue about custom IEMs is the fit. I had my impressions taken by Uncle Wilson from Jaben Network in Singapore. The Liveswires fit really well. The first time i inserted them i felt a little strange and sore. It was probably due to the fact that the Livewires was made of acrylic. After a day of using it, i must say that it no longer feels strange or sore. I guess it just takes a little getting used to. Its extremely comfortable, and the isolation is better than custom sleeves on your universal IEMs.
    The sound from this is really good. The soundstage of the Livewires is much wider than the Westone UM2. Music sounds bigger and more enjoyable. There is more ‘air’ in the sound. The music is not as ‘in-your-face’ as the UM2, now, the music is as though the musicians took a couple of steps backwards, adding more space between you and them, and between themselves, thus details are more noticeable too.
    The main difference between these and the UM2 is the details. The UM2 is an excellent IEM, enjoyable bass, and music just seems to melt into you when you listen, but as some has noticed, the details in the highs are missing from the UM2, but for me, that is exactly what contributes to the lush sound signature of the UM2. The Livewires, possess that detail in the high end. Now the acoustic guitars, acoustic piano and vocals suddenly have that sparkle again. And you can hear the ‘air’ when they resonate. The bass is deep, but controlled and not overpowering. The mids are present, but not as forward as the UM2.
    I listen mainly to Rock, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, some Pop, acoustic music, and Indie. In my opinion, the Livewires is an all rounder, it has made my enjoy my varied choice of music so much more in the past few days, and it has also made my stage monitoring experience a whole lot more enjoyable due to the isolation and the wider soundstage.
    <strong>Accessories 0/5</strong>
    The Livewires came with ZERO accessories (discounting the ziplock bag and Uncle’s namecard). This is the most disappointing part of the Livewires. For such a low price, I was not expecting much. But I thought the least the company could do, is to provide a decent hardcase to protect the Livewires and a 1/4 inch adaptor (for some monitoring systems). The Livewires, were afterall, designed for stage monitoring.
    Also, I’m not too anal about this, but I was promised some Livewires souvenirs from the webmaster (apparently the co-founder of Livewires) when i had some email correspondance with them with regards to my order, but i never received them.
    Turnover Time 2/5</strong>
    I placed my order with Jaben on the 5th May. It arrived last Friday 22nd June. The Livewires website promises a 10day turnover time. Adding a week before and after for freight would add up to 24 days, and to give it some allowance, it would take a month (30days) for the Livewires to reach me. However, it took slightly over 1.5 months to reach me. There have been others who are complaining about the turnover time as well on Head-fi. But i think it’ll get better once they start sorting out their process for mass production as it is a new company and i think they are swamped with orders for such a ‘bang for the buck’ product.
    I would say that at this price, for this sound quality and build, NOTHING COMES CLOSE to the Livewires. At this price, this product is EXCELLENT. In my opinion, it beats any universal single/dual/triple driver IEM hands down based on the fabulous sound and the fact that its a custom IEM, no universal can fit better and sound as good (even with custom sleeves).

  3. Well, ahdui review on HPH gave it a very horrible review. Hrmm.

  4. Nice detailed review their…

    You can look at the above link for the same review..but with pictures!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: