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Wonder what to get - Help much needed

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I have some thoughts about buying earphones, and as such hope for some help from you guys.

First off, after some reading back and forth, it seems the D2 is a good choice for a player - good sound quality and supports ape/flac, which is nice.

But then, the question is what should I use with it?

The wallet-issue isn't much of an issue - I can afford eg. the Shure 530PTH but the question is more: "Do I really want to spend that much for a product I haven't even sampled?" I live in a very small town in northern Norway and no, there are no hi-fi stores around here where I can listen to music beforehand to experience how it sounds like so I am left with the internet. That means for most things I need to do extensive researching first in order to get some sort of idea. Which ultimately will remain on a level of theoretical approximation.

I have seen mentions like Shure SE530PTH, JAYS q-Jays, Atrio M5, Denon C751, Sennheiser IE8, and the Ultimate Ears super.fi 5/EB/Pro / UE triple.fi 10 pro, but without having listened through any of them, it is difficult to know what to pick.

So, I am thinking perhaps I could explain what sort of music I listen to, and what expectations I have.

My main genres of choice would be electronic, classical, metal and pop.

Electronic: Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, some dubstep, grime, psytrance, goa, etc.
Classical: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Penderecki, Ustvolskaya, Valen, Kilar, Cecilia Bartoli, etc.
Metal: Enslaved, Einherjer, Zyklon, Dimmu Borgir, etc.

Of course I like a lot more - both artists and genres - but this paints a very simplistic picture of what I enjoy. Metal though is not my priority when it comes to earphones.

With that in mind, what options do I have? And would the D2 alone be able to run the earphones properly, or should I get an amplifier as well (if so, which)?

I guess I want it all in terms of sound, but that's probably difficult. I do want bass, but equally so the midrange has to be top notch, as well as the highs.

I am not an audiophile yet nor an expert (but I do love music!), however as of now I have the means to start improving my equipment which I use for listening to music, and right now that means portable equipment.

I hope there's some advice and suggestions for me, it's all a bit baffling in the beginning!

Many thanks.
post #2 of 7
I'd suggest you to start with something with good bass and not so expensive. Atrio, q-JAYS and Denon will be good starting point IMHO. Denons have the weakes sound isolation and instruments separation among these, and requires long burn-in. Atrios have the most powerful bass, and q-JAYS would be good for classical music revealing a number of details that the other models will blur. Later you may find yourself in need of upgrade to Triples/Shure 530PTH (although I don't feel any need for upgrade with my q-JAYS at all).
post #3 of 7
The D2 is wonderful, just as you described. It is fully capable of driving any IEM, including the Shure SE530s which I personally use. A portable amp helps to control the bass but the difference is small and the hassle of having another piece of gear in a portable rig is large.

I have found the SE530s to mate well with the D2. I consider them a good all genre IEM, excelling with some but credible with all genres. My tastes run to (in no particular order) jazz, classical, classic rock, Christian contemporary & etc. I especially like the 530/D2 combo with jazz and classic rock. Unless you're a basshead the 530s should handle metal just fine.

Good luck on your decision.
post #4 of 7
I ditto what Aimless says. I've paired up SE530s and a Cowon D2 playing CDs ripped to FLAC, and have been very happy with the results. Highs are just faintly softened, easily fixed with the D2.

Music types: classical, new age, classic rock, some classic country, bluegrass, international, a touch of jazz.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

Thanks for the feedback.

I am thinking I will opt for the less expensive option this time around, mainly because it'd feel utterly horrible buying something which turned out to be failure (not that I think any of the top level earphones/IEM's are just that but...)

If I don't buy the SE530's now, it does not mean I will never get them, but as of now they are $390 on Amazon and that is a bit more than the other alternatives. I'm ok with taking this in two steps; or maybe three - get different models for different purposes - get experience from the journey.

I was thinking that in terms of alternatives that I have right now which seem interesting, there's the Phonak Audéo PFE / FutureSound Atrio M5 / JAYS q-Jays -- and for later there's the Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 pro / Sennheiser IE8 / Shure SE530PTH.

This could change but right now these are the thoughts I have of the issue.

Anybody with thoughts on the Phonak compared to the M5 and q-Jays?

I'll leave the UE/IE8/530 options for later.

Thanks again.
post #6 of 7
I'd recommend the Future Sonics Atrio M5/M8 (~$180), the Sleek Audio SA6 (~$200) or the Klipsch Image X10/Custom 3/X5 ($175/$150/$125 until November 30th from klipsch.com).

I can't speak for the Jays Q-Jays, but I haven't seen much praising or demonizing of them, so I'd imagine they're worth what you pay for them.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just ordered the D2 16GB with the Future Sonics Atrio M5.

I've read plenty of reviews and user experiences back and forth but I wanted some more input for singling out one or two from a group of six-seven choices.

I doubt the M5's will be directly disappointing - of course one can never know - but these seem to be very popular overall.

If I feel a desire to get other IEM's for other "soundscapes" so to speak later on, then that's not a problem - one just have to start somewhere first no?

I can't wait to fill up the D2 with sweet sweet music!
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