Mids have better resolution and detail over the ES-2 overall. They’re more open sounding and airy and they have more transparency. The separation of the mids from the rest of the spectrum is well done on ES-3, which is the area that ES-2 takes a hit. Upper mids are smoothed out, which was a very appearent thing on SM64, although this time it’s not that noticable. So it doesn’t affect the sound too obviously like SM64. The positioning of the mids is identical to ES-2 altough the tone is really different. Some will find this surprising but I think ES-2 has a truer tonality in terms of mid presentation. On ES-3 they’re a little thin and sound on a higher note than usual but ES-2 sounds more natural here. So basically; resolution and seperation-wise it’s ES3, but in terms of tonality I think ES-2 has the edge.
In terms of trebles, yes, ES-3 takes down the ES-2 by quite a margin with the better extension and resolution. This is where it sounds similar to flagship, the S-EM9, which in my experience is the best IEM in terms of treble success and ES-3 here shows some of that magic of the bigger brother. High freq’s are crisp, detailed and articulate. I think as the S-EM9, this is the area that this IEM shines and it’s the best part about it.
It needs a little more power when compared to ES-2, which was obvious from the spec sheet. You don’t need too much of a power though. It’s just a little harder to drive. All sources can drive it maybe except the ones that have really low power output but I don’t think you’ll face too much of a problem.
Obviously, ES-3 is the better IEM but my favorite is the ES-2 with a more reference bass and truer tonality. Of course it falls behind with the treble response and separation, but I think it’s more realistic with a very in-contrast sound with Earsonics’ past.
As usual, I’m going to add a couple of comparisons and finish the article.
ES S-EM9: Overall, I can say ES-3 is a mini S-EM9 because in terms of presentation it’s almost the same. The difference is of course lies in technicality. Every good factor about the ES-3 (say speed, resolution and treble) is simply better with S-EM9, and S-EM9 has more coherence and detail. Fit and build quality are also better in the flagship model. But ES-3 with a price of 400 Euros, is a great alternative to those who really like the Earsonics signature and don’t wanna spend so much money. If you’re familiar with the house sound, you’ll like the ES-3 very much, given that overall it’s %65 of what S-EM9 gives IMO. Therefore those diminishing returns comes into play here, as you have to pay more than double to reach that %35 performance increase.
ES Velvet: The fellow French has even more fun in it’s presentation but it’s midbass is an obvious let down for me as it gives the IEM an unnatural and thin sound. ES-3 I think has more coherency in the spectrum as the ES-2 but ES-2’s resolution and airiness is worse than both the Velvet and ES-3. I think ES-3 tops those two.
ES SM64; The older IEM from ES has many similarities to ES-3. I simply think ES-3 is similar with the bass and treble (with more success), has better mids overall, as SM64 has an obvious upper-mid problem as it has a deep point around that region. ES-2 has a very different approach of course with less bass and much darker sound but both the ES-2 and 3 has a better soundstage and better bass control.
In Ear SD2; the German made semi-CIEM has a little narrower soundstage than the ES twins. ES-3 sounds much more fun and energetic while ES-2 sounding darker and smoother. ES-3 has more bass body and punch and ES-2 has a similar presentation there, maybe better in terms of subbass. Treble extension is hands down the ES-3, as ES-2 and SD2 can’t match it at this department.
Noble Savanna; has also a narrower stage but in terms of realness it’s the better IEM than both, and gives better mids than both. Resolution and detail wise I think it’s also better than those two, but it’s boring compared to them with a flat sound. Also the brightness of it can get you tired on long sessions. Bass is also worse especially when compared to ES-3. So the ES twins are easier to work with, the choice is yours.
UM Martian; the newest IEM from Unique Melody, is better in every area except the soundstage over the ES twins. Much better bass, realistic and transparent mids, good treble extension. It’s also built better and has a better fit IMO.
If you’re curious about some more comparisons you can drop to the comments section and I could try to help you as much as I can, of course if I experienced that particular IEM that you may ask about.
I think our French friends have made a nice push to mid-fi market of IEM’s. The ES-2 was the obvious surprise with that veiled and dark sound but if you match it with a reference DAP with a brighter sound I think you will get a great musical result, and I insist that it has a better tone overall than ES-3. If you’re treble sensitive like me, you can go for it.
ES-3 on the other hand, has already been sat together with the best price/performance IEM’s according to me. With it’s speedy and funny approach to music it will make the ES fans fully satisfied. The sound is also very dynamic and articulate and I repeat, it’s a junior S-EM9 with less than one-third of the price.
Thanks to Max and Earsonics for these IEM’s and thank you guys for reading.
Have fun and stay with the music!