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IEMs - don't have a place to try and listen to them - please help me choose

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello!

I'm new to Head-Fi but I can feel that I'm getting tangled here. And also that my wallet will get thinner, but, no regrets!

OK, after I've read a lot around here, I still can't decide which IEMs to buy.I never had an IEM in my entire life and didn't listen to any special gadget, so, here it comes the time for an upgrade. Please help me choose because here in Romania I have no place to listen to any of them, so I'll go after your recommendations. I'll buy them from US and somebody will bring them to me.

I will be listening to them from my Cowon D2, without an amp, that has this specs, if they're helpful: Max Output: 16 Ohm earphone : 37mW + 37mW. I listen mainly to Rock (Symphonic, Gothic), Classical, Jazz, R&B.

I have a few factors for which I care a lot:

*Sound Quality - I'm very oriented towards details. I would like crisp treble, good mids and well defined bass.
*Microphonics and hearing the internal workings of my body (eg. heart beating, chewing) - I won't sit at home and listen, I'll ride my bike, I'll do jogging so I don't think I would like that, not at all!
*Isolation - I would prefer something that shuts the outside world as much as possible.


I'm going to spend maximum, somewhere around $180-$200.

So, here comes my list:

Etymotic Research ER4p or ER6i
Shure SE210
Ultimate Ears Super.fi5 Pro
Westone UM1
Jays q-JAYS

Now, I'll state my opinions about them in order to see if what I know about them is correct.


Etymotic ER4p, first: While I heard lots of good things about these, about their clarity and all, I think I won't like the microphonics (If they didn't fix it, did they) they make. And the bass... While I'm not a basshead, from the reviews I've read I think the provided bass will be to thin for me. I've read this kind of complaints from ER4p users, and I think ER4p has better bass compared to ER6i, doesn't it? And, I don't know about the filter of these IEMs, it is stated in the manual that you cannot reuse the filter after you remove it. Did anybody tried to put it back after he cleaned it? If not, I won't have a place here to buy new filters.

Shure SE210: Well, I put this in the list only because of the great isolation it has from what I've seen in the graph made on the HeadRoom site ( Isolation Comparison on the HeadRoom Site. I think Westone UM1 is a lot better at bass and highs and comfort. The price is better to, but how does the Westone UM1 isolation compare to that of Shure SE210?

Ultimate Ears super.fi5 Pro: I think these I would like the best but I'm worried about their isolation. On the graph the difference looks kinda big. Is the difference the same in real life? Give me some examples of how good UE 5Pro isolates. For instance, in an airplane, train. The noise of a crowd in the train station, etc. Is it possible to put triple flange on these? Or any other Shure foam sleeves or Comply Canal Tips in order to make them isolate better?

Westone UM1: I heard about these that they are the best in comfort, and fit. They sound better than the Shure SE210 in the bass and treble department. The complaints I've read is that the bass is muddy, the highs being rolled off compared to UE super.fi5 Pro.

Jays q-JAYS: This isn't out on any site but will be very soon. I heard lots of good things about these. Like the sound can be compared to Shure E500 or SE530? WOW! And they're a lot cheaper. I'm worried about how well they isolate compared to Etymotic or Shure. And how's the bass compared to UE super.fi5 Pro. Being more analytical and flat, maybe they don't have so much bass.

OK, I'm inclined to go for UE super.fi5 Pro, or q-JAYS, but I'm waiting for your opinions. I'm open for new recommendations. Sorry for making you read such a long post.
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 
Any recommendation?
post #3 of 20
For around 130$, you could get a used pair of Shure E4C in the FS forum. This is IMO the best compromise for what you seek.

From your list, I tried the E2C, Super.fi 5 Pro and the ER4P which I have right now and will keep for a very long while.

The E2C are not a good choice, SQ is crappy and you will want to upgrade soon after buying them.

The SF5P are very nice for the price and the bass is superb for an IEM. The downside to this is that they're uncomfortable to a lot of people, but the only way to know is to try them. Also, they're a little bit too muddy for my tastes.

The ER4P are the best IEMs I've tried yet, including the Shure E500. Clarity, precision, fast attacks, gorgeous treble and midrange. The bass is there and works great for me with the Shure black foamies, but it doesn't suit everyone. The microphonics are a big problem though if you want to use them while doing sport...
post #4 of 20
If you stretch a little, there's the Livewires for $249 (+ ~0-30 USD ear impression fees) which is including shipping even to Europe.
I think this is one of the best bargains at the moment (still waiting for mine), it's a dual driver custom IEM for that price.

SQ and build quality wise they are said to be good, I see no reason to buy a universal IEM for about the same price when you can get customs (except if you can't get impressions done nearby, or don't want to wait 3-4 weeks for them to be made).

Only real drawback I read about them is that they have a very low impedance (7 or 8 ohm or so), so they can hiss straight out of a DAP headphone jack.
This is no big deal to me though, since it shouldn't hiss with a good amp with low gain, and the company said they will release an impedance adapter in the future.
They use a nice cable too (looks like the Westone's) and have memory wire at ears, so cable noise should not be an issue.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gp_hebert View Post
For around 130$, you could get a used pair of Shure E4C in the FS forum. This is IMO the best compromise for what you seek.
I've found Shure E4Cs on Amazon for around 200$ which is ok, but please tell me what is FS Forum. Why do you think it's the best compromise? Does it have better detail than super.fi5 Pro and better highs while still having enough bass? The isolation from what I've seen on the HeadRoom graph is better.

And besides the microphonics (It's a shame, though, that so great IEMs, like Etymotic, suffer from a superficial problem like microphonics), please tell me about the ER4P filter. Can't it be reused?

I'm really considering the E4C now but I still think I'll like the super.fi5 Pro bass a lot...

Please tell me if it's possible to put triple flange on super.fi5 Pro, or any other Shure foam sleeves or Comply Canal Tips in order to make them isolate better?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tk3 View Post
If you stretch a little, there's the Livewires for $249 (+ ~0-30 USD ear impression fees) which is including shipping even to Europe.
I think this is one of the best bargains at the moment (still waiting for mine), it's a dual driver custom IEM for that price.
Thanks for the recommendation but I really don't want to use an amp and the price is a bit too much for me right now. Thanks anyway. Please inform us of your impressions when you get your Livewires...
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by erunestian View Post
I've found Shure E4Cs on Amazon for around 200$ which is ok, but please tell me what is FS Forum.
In the main Head-fi forum page, there's a For Sale sub-forum where you can buy used headphone gear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by erunestian View Post
Why do you think it's the best compromise? Does it have better detail than super.fi5 Pro and better highs while still having enough bass? The isolation from what I've seen on the HeadRoom graph is better.
For details, it's a compromise between the Super.fi 5 Pro which wasn't very detailed to my ears and the ER4P which is hyper-detailed. The biggest strength of the E4C is their midrange which is smooth and warmer than the ER4P, yet very detailed. The bass is quite shy, a little bit more present than the ER4P, but it lacked its crispness. It's quality bass though, but it's not in-your-face bass like the SF5P. The Shure treble presentation is good for most people, except for a couple of die-hard Ety fans like me who call it rolled off. For isolation, I think it's quite similar on all these models, it only depends of the seal you get with the different tips. Shure black foamies is what works for me (Shure and Ety tips are interchangeable, but not Ultimate Ears').


Quote:
Originally Posted by erunestian View Post
And besides the microphonics (It's a shame, though, that so great IEMs, like Etymotic, suffer from a superficial problem like microphonics), please tell me about the ER4P filter. Can't it be reused?
I didn't have to change the filter yet, so I don't know.
post #7 of 20
I would go with the q-jays. They supposedly approach the detail of the ER4, while having a more musical presentation and more bass. If I was going to buy another IEM, that'd be the one (based on what I've read).
post #8 of 20
the q-jays are going to be great,the super fi 5 are great,alot of earphones sound like the se530 but anything under the price range tends to not be up there with bass and mids detailing and content,ive owned all but the q-jays and can confirm out of your choices the super fi 5 are very good and the q-jays will no doubt be great
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gp_hebert View Post



For details, it's a compromise between the Super.fi 5 Pro which wasn't very detailed to my ears and the ER4P which is hyper-detailed.
Alot of people rave about the er4's and thier detail but in reality its only able to be so detailed because it lacks much warmth and bass,what is music without bass,most instruments can create low frequencies,and a big example would be the human voice and in this case,voices and certain instruments sound too light on occasion,but they are detailed,take nothing away from the performance but does lack low end,which is a big part of music.

And for those that say the er4 do have low end its very detailed,all i can say is bass is only bass when its got punch and impact,something the er4's certainly lack, but bass is there.
post #10 of 20
Wow jinx, you mention the SE530 in every thread you post.

I'm surprised no one recommended the Atrio M5 so far. Those phones seem to be very loved around here when choosing a sub-200 pair.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dima1109 View Post
Wow jinx, you mention the SE530 in every thread you post.

I'm surprised no one recommended the Atrio M5 so far. Those phones seem to be very loved around here when choosing a sub-200 pair.
I'll look into those. Never heard of them. Can you compare them to Super.fi5 Pro?

And, do I have any option for improving the isolation of the UE super.fi5 Pro? Like foam sleeves from another brand, etc. I'm not considering custom fit earpieces for now.

Look what I've read here, on Amazon ( Amazon 1 Star Review ): It muffles the voices, violins, and horns, but with rap, hip hop and metal, they are fine.
.........................
I missed the horns and flutes that my old Shure e4c were able to reach while i really have to drive the UE hard to try and get those notes.

I'll listen to classical music a lot. Who tried them on classical music? Was it ok for you?
post #12 of 20
x2 on the Atrios, which for $130US (on ebay) are a tremendous value for superb, smooth sound. Just check roaddogonline's ebay store, and make an offer.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
The maker of Atrio Series IEMs, Futere Sonics is quite an impressive company. I think I'll have to decide, now, between UE super.fi5 Pro and Atrio M5. I've found the Atrio M5, new, on eBay for $159.60.

Oh, it's so hard...
post #14 of 20
Same case as me - I can't testing before buying and no refund policy..... but I just bought IM716 and satisifed with it... As for me, the consideration are as follow:
1. SQ, sampe preference as yours.... modded IM716 give good highs and mids, but as for the bass, you can customize based on what resistor that you put in. Mine currently use 39 ohm, and if I want more bass, I will switch it to 20 ohm... (which I will try soon to see which one I like the most). This is where the fun part is. Now I'm enjoying of the ability to listen the texture of voice, instrument, etc, and even human voice incosistency throughout the song, makes the song become so realistic.
2. microphonic... so bad if you just wear it straight down.... but I just turn it upside down and put the cable over my ear, and it solve the problem...
3. For the money, in my opnion, it is worth.... I got it at $100, but if you can get it lower....
4. the minuses... filter problem always makes me afraid, but cleaning the ear regularly, DIY filter, and possibly the ER8 filter that might fit give a good opportunity...

So my conclusion.... it is worth the money only if you are dare taking the risk for those minuses in point 4. Apart from that, it might push you to have amp as it has done to me now as it is hard to drive.... apart from that... I'm very happy with my purchase... thanks for everybody who has suggested me to get this IEM
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by erunestian View Post
I've found Shure E4Cs on Amazon for around 200$ which is ok, but please tell me what is FS Forum. Why do you think it's the best compromise? Does it have better detail than super.fi5 Pro and better highs while still having enough bass? The isolation from what I've seen on the HeadRoom graph is better.

And besides the microphonics (It's a shame, though, that so great IEMs, like Etymotic, suffer from a superficial problem like microphonics), please tell me about the ER4P filter. Can't it be reused?

I'm really considering the E4C now but I still think I'll like the super.fi5 Pro bass a lot...

Please tell me if it's possible to put triple flange on super.fi5 Pro, or any other Shure foam sleeves or Comply Canal Tips in order to make them isolate better?


Thanks for the recommendation but I really don't want to use an amp and the price is a bit too much for me right now. Thanks anyway. Please inform us of your impressions when you get your Livewires...
I have the E4c and like them - they have very good detail in the bass mids and treble, basically the entire frequency spectrum is reproduced very neutrally so they make good reference monitors. They have good bass extension but not very loud bass for bassheads, but they respond well to bass equalization. I never felt they lacked bass till I got my Shure E500PTH

They also isolate external sounds very well, and are comfortable for long periods. With the E4c at $149-179 last I checked at eBay, you're budget will allow you to add a $39 cMoy Bass Boost amp (I have one).

http://cgi.ebay.com/Shure-E4c-Black-...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=004

You don't need the amp unless you are a bass-head, but it is very good for the price and worth getting. I like my E4c enough that I wont sell them.
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