Battling with VE ERL for Best-In-Class
You have to give credit where credit is due, the VE ERL is the best CIEM that I have ever heard. However, with VE discontinuing the ERL, the new MMR Thummim is threatening to take its crown based on reviews by those with an ERL in hand. The comparison seem to be that the Thummim is everything that the ERL is, but bigger and more colored for a more exciting sound.
We may find that these two kings are complementary once we hear them, but reviewers so far are taking sides. As always, I had to hear this for myself so I reached out for a tour, and here we are.
MMR CIEM Tour Kickoff Video
Two MMR CIEM Tour Kits
We have arranged for two tour kits to keep our tour moving for everyone to get their turn ASAP. Each tour kit contains:
- Thummim and Homunculus in 2.5mm balanced.
Barra's Quick Initial Impressions
The best part of managing tours is getting to hear all the great gear for myself. It felt like Christman morning opening these kits as they are very elegant! Here are some brief impressions from what I have heard so far between the tasks required to set up this tour:
- Thummim: 9 Triple Hybrid Drivers Configuration – Quad Electrostatics, 2 Vented Mid, 2 Highs, 1x Bespoke 9.7mm Foster Dynamic Driver – 4-Way Passive Electro Frequency Division ($4499)
>>>Early Impressions: I had very specific expectations going into my first Thummim listen having read reviews and followed the conversation on HEADFI for a while. I was expecting HUGE bass and a very fun signature in comparison to the VE ERL that is always been compared. The truth is that I was surprised to hear something more akin to the ERL with big sound that is awe-inspiring while being polite and audiophile in nature. However, as the dynamic driver opened up and my tip rolling found a better seal, the bass came out to play more and more getting bigger and bigger. However, this is still an audiophile first IEM vs. the fun signature that I imagined. I am still wrapping my head around the signature, but it is a significant scaler that loves to be treated to my Burson C3R to offer full dynamics. A second observation is that this Thummin sounds wonderous with the provided premium Eletech Plato silver cable, but demands the Eletech Iliad which takes it even a level higher with bolder dynamics, smoother more forward audiophile details and enhanced euphonics. More to come in a full review.
- Homunculus: 4 Triple Hybrid Drivers Configuration – Dual Electrostatics, 1x Vented Mid, 1x Bespoke 9.7mm Foster Dynamic Driver – 3-Way Passive Electro Frequency Division ($1699)
>>>Early Impressions: The Homunculus is not too far from the Thummim in performance, but tuned more like what I was expecting in the Thummim signature. The bass driver is the same, but the bass is more prominent in the Homunculus signature and the mids are more forward and intimate. The Homunculus is basically a fun tuned Thummim. The rounded shape of the Homunculus is also easier to get a proper seal offering an immediate glimpse at its performance capabilities without the need for tip rolling like with the Thummim. This makes the Homunculus the more impressive in terms of early listening impressions, but over time, the Thummim wins you over with the capabilities its extra drivers brings to the game. If you want the Thummim and cannot afford it, the Homunculus is very close in signature and performance at a significant discount.
Seven Day Auditions, Reviewers Go First
Our goal is to allow our audiophile community to actually hear outstanding audio gear ourselves rather than just read reviews. By auditioning this gear in the comfort of our own home over a week and by using our own systems and music to listen, we can make intelligent purchase decisions. By making auditions a community event, we can share our experiences and offer advice to other participants to get the most out of their audition.
7-Day Auditions: The participants are offered a seven day audition in the comfort of their own home, but are responsible for making arrangements to ship out by day 8. Reviewers sometimes are offered a longer review period.
Full Reviewers Always Go First: Do you want to move to the front of the line? If you intend on creating a full review, please note this in your participation request to be moved to the front of the line. This requires a commitment to post a full review here on AudioTier, HEADFI, an audiophile review site, or multiple. Those that wish to demo only or do simple impressions still get their chance to audition the kit, but after the reviewers go first.
Organized Logistically: The participant list is organized logistically to minimize shipping costs moving coast to coast with both a West Coast and an East Coast tour if there is a second kit. To begin the tour, I will ship each kit to the first in each list for a 7-day audition. Thereafter participants will be responsible to hand-deliver or ship the demo kit to the next participant in the list.
Self-Managed: The participants are expected to self-manage by following the basic rules and following the logistical order while managing any small logistics changes among themselves. Any complex issues can be directed to the moderator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rules and Responsibilities
Most of our tours are offering 7-day auditions which you are required to ship out to the next participant on day 8. Yes, you pay the shipping to the next participant, but we organize into logistically friendly orders to minimize the shipping expense.
The tour membership rules and responsibilities are described in detail here. The key idea is that we must be communicative to participate and to keep the tour moving and interesting. It is our responsibility to follow these rules and to ensure the ability to ship out on day 8 when our turn is over.
Join the Tour
To sign up for the tour, you must be a verified tour member and have joined our new AUDIOTIERs platform. The membership qualifications and requirements are described here if you are not already a member. Whether a HEADFI tour member that needs to transfer their membership to the new platform or you are a new member looking to apply for tour membership, please follow the instructions in the GETTING STARTED box below. We are now accepting applications from both US and Canadian citizens.
Tour Signups: If you would like to be part of this tour, please feel free to post your request in the comments below. This is a REVIEWERS GO FIRST TOUR, so if you would like to skip to the front of the line, please note that you would like to be a full reviewer in the request as in the sample below:
Please post a proper request to the comments section to join the tour per the instructions below.
Request Message: I live in Anthem, AZ and would like to participate in the tour. I agree to follow the terms of the tour. (add correct bullet below)
- My membership information is up to date.
- I have applied for membership and have emailed my required ID verification documentation to email@example.com.
Optional: AS A FULL REVIEWER, PLEASE MOVE ME TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE.
Sample Signup Request:
I live in Anthem, AZ and would like to participate in the tour. I agree to follow the terms of the tour. My membership information is up to date. AS A FULL REVIEWER, PLEASE MOVE ME TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE.
Tour Participant Logistics - Reviewers First
Please note, this is a full reviewer first tour. If you promise to do a full review, you will be moved to the front of the line. Everyone else looking to demo only or do impressions will get their chance once the reviewers have gone first.
Starting with reviewers first, we will logistically move our tour kits from coast to coast to reduce shipping time and cost. After the close of the logistical portion of the tour, latecomers can still join first come first serve. The good news is that we will do our best to accommodate all tour members that wish to participate.
The participation information will be updated live throughout the tour and will provide you with current status on kit possession. Per the rules, you should be contacted as a backup prior to your turn so you will be ready when you are next.
MMR US Tour Logistics
Tour Kit 1
- @Barra – Anthem, AZ
- REVIEWER: @ngoshawk – Warrensburg, MO
- REVIEWER: @audio in – Merced, CA
- @CANiSLAYu – Concord, CA
- @firstname.lastname@example.org – San Juan Capistrano, CA
- REVIEWER: @Precogvision /@tlee6543 – Redwood City, CA (I/P)
- REVIEWER: @csglinux – Los Angeles, CA
- @eTHE2 – Diamond Bar, CA
- @wardo783 – Porter Ranch, CA
- @liberatus – El Cajon, CA
- @hypermuteki – Las Vegas, NV
- @circa – Denver, CO
- @drunkenmunkey – Highlands Ranch, CO
Tour Kit 2
- @Barra – Anthem, AZ
- REVIEWER: @audiokeyreviews – Eau Claire, WI
- REVIEWER: @dbstechtalk – LOGANSPORT IN
- REVIEWER: @SLC1966 – Sandy, UT
- REVIEWER: @antdroid –Lynnwood, WA
- @tybot – Albuquerque, NM
- @aafevo – Houston,TX
- @blueshound24 – Sioux Falls, SD
- @toaster – NY, NY
- @darkestred – Denville, NJ
- @Doctorjazz – Westfield, NJ
- @tawmizzzz – Somerville, MA (I/P)
We are looking for a 6 participant threshold to add the Canadian lag to this tour.
- REVIEWER: @Tanjiro – Ontario, Canada
- @Titienne – Quebec, Canada