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Thread: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

  1. #1
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    Default Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Have been reading about this pair of IEMs, said to be similar to Etymotic's flagship ER4, but selling at a much lower price...www.newegg.com is selling it for US$59.99 shipped free in the US.

    Has anyone here tried it before?

    I have and love the ER6i. Gave the first pair I bought to my niece, left the second pair on a plane , and now using my third pair. Tried Shure E2c and did not like them, because I prefer the details and transients of the ER6i.

    Every review seems to say the ER4's are significantly better than the ER6i. Ever spoke with the engineer from the company that makes the balanced armature driver that is used on the ER4 and he told me that the drivers on ER6's are indeed lower grade than the ones in the ER4's.

    Also read about DIY mods to customise the frequency response on the Altec Lansing iM716 by changing a series resistor value. Looks interesting to me since I am an electronics engineer.

    Please share your experience and opinion?

    Thanks!
    -Roy
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Just an update if anyone is interested...

    Got the iM716 for a few months already (US$60), and yes, they really do sound better than ER6i, but the efficiency is low so I could only listen to it via my own DIY headphone amp.

    Today, I finally decided to try out the resistor mod ont he pod. Instead of removing the pod altogether, removed all the surface mount components and re-used the HD/Bass switch to switch between 2 sets of series resistor values, which are 47 ohms and 33 ohms.

    So far very happy with the results. The sound quality improved noticeable but more importantly the efficiency went up so I can now use it directly on my Zune without an amp.

    Compared with teh ER6i, the IM716 has very similar highs and considerably much fuller bass.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Here's a picture of the PCB inside the pod after the mod:



    Steps of the mod:

    1. Open the poc casing and remove the PCB
    2. Desolder the cables
    3. Remove all the surface mount resistors and capacitors, keeping the switch and the volume control resistor
    4. Cut the 2 traces from the L and R inputs to disconnet the input signals to the volume control resistor
    5. Solder the resistors (33 and 47 phms) from the inut pads to the switch pics
    6. Solder the cables (L and R of the output cables have to be swapped)
    7. Put everything back to the casing.

    After the mod the volume control becomes a dummy, and the HD/Base switch switches between 33 or 47 ohm series resistors.

    At 33 ohms the efficiency is higher and bass goes deeper, but the highs also becomes a little brighter. At 47 ohms things seems a little more controlled. I can now switch between the 2 settings depending on the type of music and the recording I am listening to.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Altec Lansing, my favourite brand for computer speakers.
    the pcb board looks a bit burnt, your soldering tip not sharp enough ?

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon_84 View Post
    Altec Lansing, my favourite brand for computer speakers.
    the pcb board looks a bit burnt, your soldering tip not sharp enough ?
    No lah...it's the lighting that made it look burnt
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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    Senior Member afbug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Sorry, now than I read your thread. Tried the iM716 years back when it was first launched. Its slightly better than ER6i but inferior to ER4P and a bigger gap if its a ER4S.

    The higher impedence setting is for use with amp and will sound better. Just like the ER4P and ER4S. Similar earphones but different impedence. 4P is 27ohm and 4S is 100ohm. 4P can be converted to 4S just buy using a P-S cable which increases the resisitance to about 102ohms +- = 4S liao.

    If u can get the 4P at a good price, its still a worthwhile upgrade and by adding an amp and P-S cable, you probably have 1 of the best sound already.

    The downside of ER4 series and many users is that it can get uncomfortable. Its really a deep probe into your ears but its sound is quite magical at times.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Quote Originally Posted by roygoh View Post

    After the mod the volume control becomes a dummy, and the HD/Base switch switches between 33 or 47 ohm series resistors.

    At 33 ohms the efficiency is higher and bass goes deeper, but the highs also becomes a little brighter. At 47 ohms things seems a little more controlled. I can now switch between the 2 settings depending on the type of music and the recording I am listening to.
    Actually, without the mod, the HD/Bass switch is to change the resistance right? At HD setting, the resistance is higher, requiring an amp but will sound clearer and less bass. Bass setting will decrease the resistance thus making it easier to drive and more bass.

    Ety ER4P and S works like this too. 4P is bassier and easier to drive and less resistance. 4S at 100ohms requires an amp and is less bassy but clearer and brighter.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    The circuit in the pod makes me uncomfortable...first the input signal is sent to the potentiometer which is 500 ohms across. The output is then split into 2 paths: one is simply a resistor (forgot the value) and the other path has a resistor and capacitor network. The 2 paths are then connected to the switch for selecting between HD or Bass setting.

    I believe the HD setting is the one with only the resistor (higher value) in the signal path and the Bass setting has an overall lower resistance and also the RC circuit to help attenuate higher frequency (equivalent to bass boost in a sense).

    The volume setting potentiometer changes the overal resistance when used, and thus has a different frequnecy response at different volume settings. This is useless for me as I prefer to set volume ont he player.

    Have not listened to the ER4 before, but I am pretty happy with the iM716 now after the mod. I think the highs are comparable to the ER6i and the bass is fuller.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  9. #9
    Senior Member afbug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Ok when u are sick of im716, give ER4 a chance and I think u will regret why u delayed and spent all these $$$ in the 1st place.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Quote Originally Posted by afbug View Post
    Ok when u are sick of im716, give ER4 a chance and I think u will regret why u delayed and spent all these $$$ in the 1st place.

    Too many things to buy....
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Which headphone amp are you using? A cmoy? I'm using a Mini3 and it was a huge improvement. Using it with er6i and e2c. Blew my mind away with the detail.

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    Default Re: Another hearphone thread...Altec Lansing iM716?

    Quote Originally Posted by seankyh View Post
    Which headphone amp are you using? A cmoy? I'm using a Mini3 and it was a huge improvement. Using it with er6i and e2c. Blew my mind away with the detail.

    I have a DIY that I designed which is not quite the same as CMOY's design. Mine uses a more current op-amp from NS (forgot the part number). It runs down to 3V so I power it with 3 AAs (CMOY designs uses a 9V).

    With the amp I hear great improvements even on my Sennheiser HD580. Tighter bass and better transients.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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