Here are some small comparisons with other high caliber IEMs out there.
InEarz Nirvana: The Nirvana is the flagship monitor from InEarz and it has a very different approach. It’s much darker and mids are a little laid back, it has more bass and especially midbass when compared. It can be more enjoyable than the SH-3 on a number of occasions, but the SH-3 is simply better in a technical mindset. It has more resolution, better accentuated mids with better transparency. Treble wise both are very good but the SH-3 has better articulation & separation from mids. Bass goes to the Nirvana though.
HYLA CE-5: A rare and one of a kind, CE-5 has an incredible bass response and it’s the best I’ve heard until now. A 3BA monitor can’t get very close with its reference type approach and driver configuration. But it has better timbre and truer tonality than the fun-oriented CE-5 across the mids. Both have very successful mids but the CE-5 has a wider and deeper stage. Other aspects are close and it’s down to the choice between a fun & uncolored sound in the end.
Earsonics S-EM6 V2: This could be the most similar IEM that I can compare to the SH-3 recently. It also has that flat, linear character in its bass but I find the SH-3’s bass on a higher resolution level and its overall quality is better. Mids have a truer tone on the PEARS as well, as the S-EM6 V2 sounds a little thin and the note size is not that great with that brighter tone. Trebles are fantastic with the Earsonics, as well as the SH-3 so there’s a tie there. But it’s a win for the PEARS all in all.
Oriolus MKII: Just like the HYLA, the MKII has much more bass rumble and punch with much more sub bass quantity. The SH-3 remains flat and linear across lows. The MKII has a warmer and fuller character with its own unique cohesiveness, but again it can’t beat the tonality and timbre correctness of the SH-3. The SH-3 has more resolution and detail, especially on micro ones, not to mention a better treble response. The Oriolus is still very enjoyable and vivid on the other hand.
A CIEM of this technical level and a reference sound automatically makes its way to our Custom IEM Recommendations list. That list has become quite packed and crowded lately and maybe Lieven will eliminate some of those form the list, but I already told him that we have to put this one in there.
Are you searching for a sound that is exactly like your studio monitors in a custom in ear? Look no further, this is one of your answers in this industry. You can add a little more color into the mix with a nice copper cable as well. This is not a monitor for those who seek a luscious sound with a big bass and vivid mids. You have to have the experience and ear training to appreciate what this monitor marvelously puts on the table.
In my audiophile journey, the IEMs that caused me a “wow” are no more than fingers of one hand. Well, this one has already managed to be on my very special list of very special IEMs, and that should tell something.