It’s kinda hard to pick up the ball after the likes of interventions above, which basically say it all. But I’ll try to do so in a concise manner. Had the chance to keep em home for close to two weeks. Home being my office (so no week end listening, but close to 5-6 hours per day, except for two when I was out taking classes).
My rig is MSB Universal Transport => Yggy AES => SRM727MKII modded.
Started with my testing playlist for about two days to break my head in. Then moved on to all styles (rock, EDM, classical). Ended with face to face comparisons with Utopia (driven from BW2).
On a build / comfort basis, I’ll basically refer to @Ali-Pacha : you have to pay extreme care to get proper clamping. If not, bass suffers big time. But once you get that and here the Clones the way they’re supposed to sound once, you never forget it, and know when to re-clamp. They’re light and flexible but not flimsy. I wonder what closing them behind the drivers will do to the sound, but I’m sure @n3rdling will figure out to not change the sig, as it is pretty close to fucking perfect as is. If I had one recommendation (and I’ve told that to Milos already), it would be to study the Kennerton system because it’s pretty precise and I think it would fit well the Clones general build and style.
On a sound basis… just wow. The words that just kept coming and coming was “natural and effortless”. It seems like they spew out the music so easily… It just flows. As if it had always been there. It’s so easy to melt in the ambiance. On my first listening experience at the Paris meet, I had a feeling close to that of @frenchbat regarding the soundstage being almost too wide / diffuse. But I think that really must be either clamping or brain burnin sensitive, because I never got it again once the Clones were fitted properly on my head.
Here comes the part were I lose my credibility. I compared the Clones and Utopia face to face for nearly 6 hours, A/Bing specific timecodes of songs I used for my IEM reviews in order to get more info (I’ve had the Utopias for about 4 months now). My biggest surprise was how close they are in the end. I mean sure they’re also very different at the same time. But appart from the bass bump low that the Utopias have to pack their punches, and the general mid highs/highs coloration of the Utopia, they performed very very very close. For lack of a better word, I’ll say that the Clones have the best timbre I’ve ever heard. Utopia’s imaging and details were better imho, but timbre wise, Clones were on top. In other words, whenever I would switch to the Clones, I’d be like ‘hey, this violin sounds a bit truer, and so does this guitar’. Yet I never felt anything missing when switching back to the Utopia. Maybe have I reach my audio-competence plateau, but overall, I expected them to be a lot more different than I found em to be. Near the end of my experience, Milos recommended I try some cellos, so I went with Fournier’s Bach Cello Suites. And that’s probably the biggest difference I saw between the two. It’s almost as if the Clones were reproducing some (natural) harmonics that the Utopias weren’t.
So all in all, I must praise @n3rdling for the honor he made me letting me try the Clones for such an extended period and for listening to my rants trying to make sense of my impressions. I think that they’re in fact quite close to being marketable – ofc the frame will look better than that, and the clamping system needs to be made product-grade. But this is ready for primetime. And I think when it kicks, it is going to be a huge disruption. HP makers beware, David is coming for the Goliathes out there.