Fidelity Dual'sOne thing I am not seeing mentioned in these posts is that the MATERIAL of the Fidelity's (and I assume the LiveWire's and Sleek's) is a HARD plastic, NOT a soft malleable silicone, like regular custom ear plugs and typical in-ear's.
Also, no one seems to be mentioning that the efficiency of the drivers do not support "typical" gain settings on most headphone ready equipment.
I am unable to get an accurate seal after 2 returns, nor am I able to turn up the volume on nearly any device, past the 1 or 2 setting.
These 2 factors should be high on the list of people considering these, especially those of us that use multiple headphones, loudspeakers, and listening equipment.
Here is my tale:
I got a set of the Fidelity Dual's, and immediately sent back for "re-fit".
They came back "better", but I again sent the right side back for another "tweak".
Came back "better" yet, but if I move my head or face in the slightest, the seal changes and all L/R and / or bass response changes drastically.
I could NEVER use these as a performing Bassist on stage without risk to my hearing, as these would quickly unseal (losing all bass response and letting in a sudden blast of unprotected drumset SPL's) and most likely fall out with even the simplest of stage "moves" (i.e. looking at the drummer, or looking down at the pedal board...smiling at the crowd...)
At this point I can say they tried their best (pretty decent with personal phone response from Katherine Neal, but email response was really slow and uninformative), but with the HARD Plastic ear pieces, I find it is impossible to get them to survive a light visit to the gym no matter how well they can tweak them. I do plan on trying them on a 2 hour plane flight soon! (sitting completely still, tweaking the iPod "EQ" to get me through the flight without earplugs for jet rumble! ? )
Sonically, even when they are sealed to the best I can achieve, I find the midrange to be so pronounced (but detailed) that it takes a while to adjust to them after going from loudspeakers or Alessandro Music Two's, that they are basically unusable for music enjoyment, nor critical listening.
While, inferior to almost any other headphone or loudspeaker for full range audio "quality", I CAN hear detail that is not represented anywhere else:
-Tape / hiss artifacts are audible, but I would NEVER use these as a "treble" reference.
-Over-Compression / limiting artifacts and pumping are immediately audible, but again, the imbalance between midrange and both the lows and highs are unusable for critical listening.
Additionally, they are so "efficient" that I find I need to completely zero all gain on all gear before even thinking about plugging them in.
I am going to shell out the $40 for the 50 ohm Cable Set, but then between the 2 x Return trips for re-fitting, and the actually useful cables, the total for these is quickly zipping up to the range of Ultimate Ears, Sleek's, or Westone's...
In most cases, I find that I have to put the "volume" on 1 or 2, which immediately brings out any hiss, L/R discrepancies in the amp, or other undesirables that are NOT present on powered loudspeakers, nor other headphones.
This would be great if the fidelity were up to snuff on what was coming through, as then I could "test" every headphone amp on the market with them! Unfortunately, I want to listen to MUSIC, and I want to seal out outside noise while doing so. Otherwise, I use my Alessandro's, or loudspeakers! The purpose for these in-ear's is the SEAL and the audio quality! Then I could use them in all instances where the other options do not work.