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Comparing IEM with headphones

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm curious to hearcomments from people who own multiple in-earphones and headphones. Can you hear as much detail and clarity from IEMs or headphones beat them flat in terms of music experience, for all price ranges?

Would a high-end UE or Shure render instruments clearly, compared to a SR60 for example or headphones would render a much better soundstage regardless of price / quality range?

I'm trying to get a hang of what to listen for on my next visit to try these stuff at the store.
post #2 of 9
I want to join this question.
Let's say, HD650, K701, etc. and SE530, ER-4P or customs. I've heard opinion that even most expensive IEM have "small" sound, no soundstage, and can't compare to a big brothers. I've ordered ER-4P (it's on the way), so soon I will be able to answer this question by myself.
post #3 of 9
I have a pair of customs, and a pair of Ultrasones. I find I get much better overall soundstaging, dynamic contrast, detail, etc. from my Ultrasones.
post #4 of 9
I think you need to consider the overall system synergy - the sources and amps you're using - as well. It's the overall experience you want to be comparing.

I travel and love the sound of my portable (FLAC/iRiver H1-xxx/SR-71 or Mini3/Livewires) rig. They're great when travelling or even when listening next to my sleeping wife at home. Wonderful sound, especially with the best recordings.

BUT

If I have the choice, and my wife is awake, I'll pick what, to me, is a better amp and headphones combo any day. It's not like I'm disappointed heading to bed listening to the Livewires via the portable rig. I really do love what that system delivers for me.

But a Picollo DAC (rather than the iRiver Line out - i.e. using its optical out instead) to a Stax SRD-X Pro feeding Stax SR-001s is a noticeable step beyond (in most - almost all - aspects for me).

And move to the Apuresound DAC/Woo GES/HE60 that I'm listening to in the Study right now and I wouldn't even consider switching to the portable rig before sleeping.

But that is me. What works for you might be more flexible.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lelek45 View Post
I want to join this question.
Let's say, HD650, K701, etc. and SE530, ER-4P or customs. I've heard opinion that even most expensive IEM have "small" sound, no soundstage, and can't compare to a big brothers. I've ordered ER-4P (it's on the way), so soon I will be able to answer this question by myself.
I've answered my question by going to the stores and testing myself. An SR80 will beat any 3-driver IEM on soundstage. I guess it has more to do that the speakers are outside the ears.

IEM has more isolation and detail, but headphones will provide the experience of "being in a room" with the what you're listening. I also tried amps with IEMs and that didn't how much either.

I guess its listening experience versus portability.
post #6 of 9
I believe Triple Fi Pro soundstage will rival most haedphones.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
I believe Triple Fi Pro soundstage will rival most haedphones.
Its a personal listening experience, but to me, SE530 and Triple.Fi is close to but does not provide the same soundstage experience. The music still sounds "in my head" over being in a room.
post #8 of 9
Several days ago I've got Yuins OK1 - huge improvement on soundstage from etymotics. I would say it's comparable (if not better) with my K701 - simply amazing. Yuins are not IEMs, so it is still interesting is there any IEM that come to this level.
post #9 of 9
I have Hearyourself.com custom C-3's triple driver and the soundstage does end up in your head because the left ear cannot hear any of what the right ear hears. Even with sealed cans your left ear hears a tiny bit of what is fed to the right ear from across your head. Headroom (Headphone.com) has two portable amps (Total Airhead and Total bithead [usb dac] that have a crossover circuit built in to help balance the "inside your head" feel you get with in-ear monitors.
I read that it is generaly accepted that High end headphones give a better overall performance than IN-Ear but I think that some of that can be attributed to the difference between Balanced Armature and Dynamic driver speakers. Just as many people disagree whether Balance Armature drivers need "burn-in" time as dynamic drivers do. I believe it's our brains that need the Break-in time when first trying out Balanced Armature
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