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Microphonics - are all IEMs/canalphones this bad?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
i recently bought myself a pair of Head-Direct RE2s because i desperately needed some quiet phones for my quiet office. And whilst i'm happy with them in terms of sound quality, the amount of noise you get from the cable moving around is absolutely ridiculous - it makes listening to any sort of subtle music at a reasonable volume an exercise in futility. For a pair of audiophile(ish) headphones, isn't the entire object defeated if the listening experience is interrupted so often? Likewise, what is the point of isolation if your own headphones respond to every slight movement? And it's not like i'm moving around frantically - i just sit at my computer and type

Maybe they're just a particularly bad model (although my sister's EP630s had a similiar problem), maybe i'm just weird. But it's so frustrating, when i put my iGrados or Alessandros on the relief is tremendous - i can actually relax and listen uninterrupted

Sorry for the pointless rant, but is this the same with all IEMs/canalphones? Because if so, these RE2s might be my last pair
post #2 of 18
On almost all iem's you can reduce/eliminate microphonics by running the cable over and behind your ear instead of just having it dangling.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
hmm, the effect seems to be marginal at best

plus it feels uncomfortable and looks a bit silly. Thanks for the tip though
post #4 of 18
I have just got my Sennheisers cx500, yes the Microphonics is not that good, this is my first real IEM, my last pair was a Sony MDR EX90LP (semi-IEM).

the sound quality is definitely the best on the cx500, great sound stage, great clarity, great highs and lows and nice tight bass, but the cable noise is a pain.

it would be much better if it was a J cable design like the Sony ex90 where i can wrap the longer cable around behind my neck.
post #5 of 18
Microphonics is something you'll get use to, in time. Patience is a Virtue
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowpat View Post
i recently bought myself a pair of Head-Direct RE2s because i desperately needed some quiet phones for my quiet office. And whilst i'm happy with them in terms of sound quality, the amount of noise you get from the cable moving around is absolutely ridiculous - it makes listening to any sort of subtle music at a reasonable volume an exercise in futility. For a pair of audiophile(ish) headphones, isn't the entire object defeated if the listening experience is interrupted so often? Likewise, what is the point of isolation if your own headphones respond to every slight movement? And it's not like i'm moving around frantically - i just sit at my computer and type

Maybe they're just a particularly bad model (although my sister's EP630s had a similiar problem), maybe i'm just weird. But it's so frustrating, when i put my iGrados or Alessandros on the relief is tremendous - i can actually relax and listen uninterrupted

Sorry for the pointless rant, but is this the same with all IEMs/canalphones? Because if so, these RE2s might be my last pair
Try a shirt clip, which will keep the cord from moving around. I use them on all my IEMs, and they work. You can get them at the Etymotics site, and get the one for the er6is, not the ones for the ER4Ps.

Anyway, it works for me.
post #7 of 18
wear over ear, and clip at the back of your shirt. think it looks silly? all the rock stars wear their IEMs with cable over ear, if a vain and image conscious bunch like that can do it so can you! personally i think its much tidier, and much more of the cable is out of sight.

cables vary a lot in terms of microphonics some are much worse than others

my ety ER4S have a quite microphonic cable, but the westones have much less microphonic cable, i stick with the etys cos they sound better. I might recable them at some point.

basically there are 2 points here.

* yes cables vary a lot in terms of how much vibration they transmit.

* keep the cable still, and there IS no vibration to transmit.
post #8 of 18
Cable microphonics are a problem with nearly all IEMs and canalphones.

Some makes are definately worse than others. I always find that Sennhesier cables are really microphonic ... I recently bought some CX95 canalphones that sound great (for the price) but I stopped using them after a week, as the cable is too long, too heavy, rubbery, bouncy and therefore REALLY microphonic. It was a little better if I wore them over the ear, but due to the CX95's ergonomics the buds had to be worn the wrong way round (left bud in right ear and vice versa) and the connection where the two separate wires meet under the neck ended up a bit too tight for comfort.

I bought some q-Jays instead and the cable is far quieter. They have to be worn over the ear for maximum microphonic reduction though. I know that when I first started to wear my IEMs/canalphones over the ear it felt strange and unnatural, but once you get used to it you can't go back to wearing them straight.

One thing that makes microphonics worse is that a lot of IEMs/canalphones now come with short cables that can be increased in length with an extension. This really annoys me as most people end up with a cable that is either way too short, or is way too long and made heavier by an extra connector in the middle. This extra weight makes the cable more likely to swing around, producing extra microphoncs.

It's always dangerous predicting the future, as you can end up looking an idiot in hindsight, but I'm fairly certain that we'll have affordable, discreet, qualiity wireless IEMs/canalphones within the next 5 to 10 years.

It'll be interesting to see how successful the rumoured SA6 wireless adaptor turns out to be.
post #9 of 18
Westone IEMs have almost no microphonics. My Super.fis weren't bad either when I got them sitting properly.
post #10 of 18
I have the SA6 and SE530's and, maybe its just that these models don't produce noticeable microphonics or maybe its that I can't identify the noise, but so far, in what, 4 months of owning and using IEM's (3 really, as was without a working set of IEM's for a month or so) I have not had my listening interrupted or disturbed by noises I could attribute to microphonics. I know they are cable noise, but can someone describe to me what they sound like? Are they a hiss, like that produced by the amp of a DAP? Are they scrapes and squeaks and squeals, like fingers cross a blackboard? What do they sound like?
post #11 of 18
UE's super/triples worn over the ear have almost no microphonics. SA6 worn over the ear have no microphonics. So, yes, it does matter which IEMs you have. Some are terrible and, if you're bothered by it, it doesn't matter how good the SQ is when you're sitting perfectly still. As you note, what is the point of all that superior isolation and detail if there's little "squeeb squeeb" noises in your ears all the time.
post #12 of 18
Ah, ok, little sqeeb, sqeeb noises. I think i've encountered them on ocassion actually. Nothing very overpowering or interferring at all nor consistent or sustained enough to bother me, but I had a feeling they would be microphonics. Good to have an idea what they sound like now. Thanks.
post #13 of 18
I put the Y-piece of my Shure E4-cable in the back of my shirt and just wear them straight down (hate over the ear) doesn't look silly I think and greatly reduces microphonics.
post #14 of 18
Whoever said that it looks silly to have an IEM wrapped over the top of the year is clearly new to IEMs. I personally think it looks pretty cool. It's when I see people do something similar with their iBuds that I consider it silly.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by robojack View Post
Whoever said that it looks silly to have an IEM wrapped over the top of the year is clearly new to IEMs. I personally think it looks pretty cool. It's when I see people do something similar with their iBuds that I consider it silly.
Why? Even if someone is wearing cheap buds, it still makes sense to wear them over the ear. It's a practical solution to reduce cable microphonics, rather than a fashion statement.
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