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Best all-around IEMs for <$100

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I recently picked up the new 80 GB Zune, and the thing is awesome. Unfortunately at work my headphones got wrapped around my chair's arm and as I stood up, the wire just pulled right out of the splitty part

They were pretty decent headpones to come with it, but this gives me an excuse to get some better performing buds.

The problem is I can't really place myself into "I want powerful bass" or "defined highs" or anything like that... I would say I listen to rock type music primarily, but everything from classic to bass crunching punk. I also listen to some "pop" style music, some rap, even classical. So I'm trying to find a pair that don't make me say "hey I wish this had more bass.." or something like that.

Here are some I've been looking at:

Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3
Amazon.com: Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio Earphones (Black): Electronics

Amazon.com: V-MODA Vibe Earbuds - Flashback Chrome: Electronics

Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator
Amazon.com: Etymotic Research ER6i Isolator In-Ear Earphones (Black): Electronics

Shure E2c
Amazon.com: Shure E2c Sound Isolating Earphones: Electronics

All 4 of these get ample mention here except the V-MODAs, which seem to get pretty good reviews though, and they don't look like cheap plastic like every other IEM

Well if anyone could give me some advice, I kind of want to get them ordered by today.

post #2 of 12
Out of your selection here is my honest opinion:

Super.fi 3: Decent bass (not powerful, but there), Forward mids and good highs.

Etymotic ER-6i: More pronounced bass than Super.fi's IMHO becasue they are more balanced. Very good mids, highs and treble.

I haven't heard the other two, but from what i've read, you should just narrow it down to the Ety's and the Ultimate Ears.

I did a review a while back comparing my two suggestions it's in my sig.
post #3 of 12
I reckon the ATH-CK7s would be good for you. Nice balanced sound, good bass but not overpowering. Comfortable and durable. All the phones you are considering apart from the vibes will insert deeper than the phones you were using. The CK7s are canal phones so don't go in very deep.
post #4 of 12
I don't have a lot to compare them to, but Jays d-Jays sound good across a lot of genres. Bass isn't all that deep, but it's still nice and punchy. Particularly good for rock.
post #5 of 12

probably my favorite rock iem because they provide a bit more punch than the er4p
post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by feh1325 View Post

probably my favorite rock iem because they provide a bit more punch than the er4p
really? I though the ER-4p was supposed to have more bass?
post #7 of 12
What about the Altec Lansing IM716?

post #8 of 12
If you've narrowed it down to SF3 and ER6i, I would recommend the SF3, as I think that it is a bit more versatile in terms of handling different genres of music. ER6i is definitely more balanced and puts sounds in their right place, but they might feel a little cold and distant for your "bass crunching punk" or rap tracks.
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by pez View Post
really? I though the ER-4p was supposed to have more bass?
I have both and i once did a bass test with "Party Boy" and 4p delivers more bass.
post #10 of 12
Interesting price point, though I think all of the options mentioned by the OP have fallen from first consideration in the last year, in the face of excellent new competitors. My impression is that these are the best-regarded options at or below that price point:

armature: podectomied im716, D-Jays, ER-6i, UM1.
Are there others still in the top rungs? Armatures are stronger in the $150 category.

dynamic: ATH-CK7, Denon c700 or c551, Kenwood C711 (though I've heard reports of cable issues), JVC fx300, Klipsch Custom 1.
The new dynamic canalphones from the big audio companies have been very well received lately, and pretty much wiped off the earlier, often less-reliable dynamic canalphones off the map (like the CX300/ep-630, vibe, OVC, JBL, and Crossroads, though the Atrio still seems to keep its good rep).

It seems to me that the armature makers are going to have a tough time keeping up with the dynamics in the ca. $100 bracket. The next question, though, is whether the new $150-$300 dynamics will be able to bring the fight on up the in-ear ranks. Not a huge amount of buzz yet on head-fi for the top Klipsch, AT, JVC, and Denon options, though I think it will come. Seems like it was a bad time for Shure to revise its line with such high MSRPs.
post #11 of 12
This may be helpful to you...

I've been told by many the Altec Lansing IM716 (designed by Etymotic) is superior to the ER6i's...

I was looking at IEM's near the same price range as you.

I ended up picking the IM716's... just ordered them tonight for $50.45 shipped.

Altec Lansing IM716 In Ear Monitors - $50.44 Shipped from ChiefValue/Newegg - SlickDeals.net Forums

Good luck in your search, I'll post up how I like them when they arrive.

post #12 of 12
For under $100, I'd have to go with Westone UM1s. No competition in my opinion.
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