Sound and all that
Titan 5’s bass is vervy, with clean sound pressure that leans contrasty but stops a step below basshead. It is fast, and reaches low, just not low enough to yawn much air in the opening seconds of Mainstage. For industrial trance and metal, it is the right amount of pressure and speed. And, while it doesn’t appear to have a heap of stereo detail, it is round, treading just this side of warm without being soft-edged. It certainly doesn’t bleed upward.
Mids are bitey all the way into the highs, but generally get the skip. Titan 5 is more about the lows and the highs. It’s not U-shaped like the Ultrasone IQ, and it certainly kicks a WIDE stage from the mids on up, but if you’re really into your favourite vocalist licking your ear, the Titan 3 may be a better bet. For the price, Titan 5’s low-to-high contrast makes it an almost perfect trance and EDM earphone.
To be honest, I prefer its sound to the Echobox X1.
But if you’ve wished for sweeter mids, Titan 3 is freaking awesome.
And, it is more sensitive. I click my iPhone 4s by a notch when moving from 5 to 3. 3’s sound is filled end to end, with sweet, rounded mids. Those mids are smoother, and deeper than the Grado GR10’s or Echobox X1’s mids. They are not quite as bitey, and output more Z-axis stage detail. Bass pressure sinks a smidgeon against the mids, but highs appear pretty even to the Titan 5. Because of this, the Titan 3 appears to throw a deeper sound stage, whose fulcrum is its midrange. Details bleed forward and aft; while they spread equally wide, there’s less inter-frequency contrast, certain stereo details are less stark.
I can’t get away from that depth. It draws me in especially to tight trance records like Progression, and to basically the entirety of uplifting and vocal genres. In fact, it is, in my opinion, a far better match to the above genres than my both my guilty favourite, the Ultrasone IQ,and my overall favourite earphone, the Grado GR10.
If only the Titan series was more secure and felt better in the ear.
Fit and all that
Both Titan earphones fit about as secure as they look. They go in easily and come out easily. The ear hooks are fiddly; had Titan been better engineered, they should be unnecessary. Wearing them up may work – if you’ve got lots of ear going toward the ceiling. If you’ve got boxer ears, down is the only way to wear them. I’ve settled on stuffing the Titans into a pair of JVC/Victor low-density grey foams. They are secure, don’t overly stuff up the sound, and are comfy. But there is no way for these earphones to be secure in my ears.
Good news: both earphones isolate well. Both GR10 and X1 let in a lot more environmental noise. And Titan’s cable tangles less than both. The 3,5mm to 6,3mm adapter is a higher quality part than typically is shoved in with one of these earphones. And, assuming your Titan’s come with all their parts, you get 5 pair of tips, a shirt clip, a 3,5mm -> 6,3mm step-up adapter, and a pair of ear jams. There’s a lot in there.
Dunu tried very hard.
I should have finished this review in December. Not that it would have mattered for 2015’s roundup. Both earphones sound great. Titan 3’s sound is way, way up my alley. If it fit as well as a Grado GR10, it might be an earphone I take to the grave. If I was that much more into a gentle U signature, a more ergonomic Titan 5 might bear the same dark fate.
But, neither earphone fit that well in my ears, nor are they that comfy. In the end, I wish I could answer the Departure’s query: “Is this the end of everything?” at the end of Progression with an affirmative yes.
Instead, I have to grunt: your mileage may vary.