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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi Reference Monitors: Modified by Rin Choi


A $990 vs $99 Challenge



About a month ago, a parcel originated from Changstar was dropped off at my doorstep. I was afraid it was a fart bomb(My apologies to the folks at Changstar, LOL) or something, but thankfully, it was a scratch pair of Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro, sent to me for modification from James. Previously, I stated:
"Is it just me, or the frequency response of the UERM really resembles that of good old Triple.Fi 10 Pro?"
So I set out to find out whether TF10 can be modified to closely match the frequency response of UERM or not to fulfill my friend's request. And if possible, the modified TFRM will be sent off for user auditioning, along with the IEM it was modeled after, UERM itself.


Rin Choi's Triple.Fi Reference Monitors

I can talk about how TF10 can be modified all day long as how I've done here, so I'll just cut the crap, and simply get to the result right away.


The IEM has been extensively modified from its crossover network scheme to its acoustic damping characteristics, so that the consequential tonality closely resembles the sound of UERM. As the rear part of the housing has been cracked open and completely ripped apart, I wouldn't dare to praise TFRM's aesthetic value. There's no durability issue though, since the IEM has been literally covered with a heady-duty epoxy resin inside and out.

Regardless, Above plots acquired at the reference plane of the occluded ear simulator indicate how finely TFRM is tuned against UERM, custom or not.


Unlike the target, TFRM finds its glory from the tweeter transducer, UEHI's high acoustic output impedance. In other words, sleeve acoustics play very important role with this modified IEM. Its versatility is unparalleled- Once a pair of long-thick calibered sleeves is attached, TFRM starts to sounds like TDK BA200, no kidding.

I've done what I can possibly do on my end, so I'll leave the subjective judgment to the panels of the loan tour, which will be organized soon at Head-Fi.org. Hopefully this technique turns out to substantially increase the fidelity of TF10 subjectively, almost up to that of UERM. A relevant modification guide will be presented after the tour.


Impedance adapter



I made this adapter for James, so that he can hook up his UERM to any source devices without losing too much treble, caused by high output impedance. If nothing goes wrong, this will be included in the loan tour along with UERM and TFRM.

The adapter can't correct all the error, but will definitely help the tour panels who are struggling with their devices' high source impedance, as the attenuation is only a few dB with the adapter attached. Of course, this won't work if the source impedance is lower than 1 Ω.

19 comments:

  1. I fear that such a sighted comparison would heavily favor the uerm over the ghetto tfrm no matter what the latter's sonic merits... ^_^"

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    1. "Ghetto" LOL! Oh cmon Joe, even ER4 used to look like this: http://www.stereohead.ru/_articles/images/Headphones/Teoria_and_practika/Etymotic/4.jpg

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  2. Thanks Rin, for accepting my challenge and putting a lot of effort into this!

    The "$990 vs $99 Challenge Tour" is in the making as we speak and participants will be explicitly asked to disregard aesthetic differences and judge both IEMs by sound quality only. Those interested in comparing both IEMs by ear and telling us their subjective impressions, please PM eke2k6 over at Head-Fi.

    I'm looking forward to the results of this experiment and only regret that my humble self is going to be the very last member of the tour ;-)

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    1. I try to accommodate my contributors' request as much as I can, and if the request is from you James, simply consider it done haha.

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  3. No Fart bomb? Uhhh... I was disappointed!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry for letting you down! LOLOL

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    2. We were to busy doodling mustaches on works of art to throw a fart bomb into the box. Don't worry, next time we'll be sure to get around to it.

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  4. So the impedance adapter helps to keep the treble with high impedance source. Where can I get one? Loss of treble with my UERM and 22ohm AK100 is driving me nuts.

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    Replies
    1. Currently I am the only person who knows how to make it. I'll release the info once the tour's finished.

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    2. Oh ok. You are truely a skilled person!

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    3. Oh Cmon brother! LOL You will be able to build one too, as the design is super simple :)

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    4. I hope I can... lol. I hope it's easier than soldering a 3.5mm jack. That's just about all I can do!

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  5. As someone who is technically dumb in electronics, is it possible to buy the adaptor from you? :(

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    Replies
    1. It is not for sale, I am sorry. :$ I made it for my friend only.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Thanks for your great work Rin! But should we, all the happy Triple.Fi owners, hope for the "part two" with modification guide annouced here?:) Or the project is dead?

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  8. Very interesting. relevant modification guide is available anywhere? I am keen to try and cannot find anywhere.

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