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Help: which IEM for musician?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I have to decide which IEM to buy, and I absolutely need your wise advices.
I am a 20yo bassist, with a budget of about €200~250. I live in Italy (so I would like to buy a product with a good retail and customer service in Italy\Europe.. Fees for buying from U.S. are a bit high..)
I will use the earphones for:

1~2 hours per day for listening to my music collection through an Ipod Video;
2 hours per month as onstage monitor (when me and my rock\metal band play live).

So 95% as normal earphones and 5% as monitor when I play bass.

I have read many topics, and I am considering a lot the Sleek Audio SA6, but none musician seems to be using'em.. Has anybody some onstage experience of these IEM, or may suggest me if they could work good or not?

Other choices could be Livewire and Hearyourself (more expensive and difficoult to buy for European people... what a shame!), Shure E3-E4 (can be found very easily in nearby markets), but none has got replachable cable (and I'm terrorised by cable breaks. Same thing for Weston UM2 and AtrioM5), UESuper.fi5\M-Audio (but I have read that is not better than SA6). I don't think I'd appreciate the coldness of Ety's.
I know that custom-made fits better and so on, but I don't think I could afford'em, except, maybe, LiveWire and Hearyourself.
Is there any earphone that can be bought as standard today but with the possibility of future upgrades? I'm on budget now, but maybe next year i could invest other €100 for a custom fit..

Please help me, I really need to know your point of view!!
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
are there really so few people that are both audiophile AND musician?? By reading some experience of yours in this forum it seems to me that Sleek SA6 is really good, compared to UM2 and E4, and I really like the replachable cable, so I think I'm going to buy Sleeks. Almost any musician on budget here use Shure E2 (and few people E3-E4) and find'em good for onstage use, so I think Sleeks will perform better, according to some user's comparison..

Really nobody interested\able to help me deciding?

PS: thanks, and sorry for my poor English..
post #3 of 10
wel i've only played on stage a couple of times, but I produce electronic and crossover electro/jazz at home. most of the time I use my monitor speakers (KRK V6 with KRK RP10S sub) with an RME interface. I also use my HP's when its too quiet to rock da house. I have previously owned the UE triple-fi's and only kept them for a couiple of weeks before what I consider to be an upgrade to the SE530. I found the sibilant SQ of the UE to be grating and the cable sucked; broke within the first week really and I spent the next few days trying to figure out what was wrong before sending them back. as far as HP's are concerned though, I use my senn HD25 most of the time, but have used the shures successfully for mixing. I also play bass keyboards and program beats with my 'band' they are fairly well rounded but with a slightly forward midrange. if you are aware of this you can just eq on your channel strip (are you monitoring through a mixer on stage or direct from the amp??) other than that they are fantastic and easy to use for long sessions recording. I have a set of Westone 3's arriving in a day or two and I expect them to be better again for studio duties; I will report back then with impressions if you like. after giving my ears/brain a couple of days burn in I wouldnt recommend the sleeks though. the fact that they have a replaceable cable isnt the end all of benefits. they have a reasonably poor build from what I know and from a friend who owns them. the cable is just another failure point IMO. only the high end UE do it well. although the C3 is supposed to be quite balanced with a slightly recessed high range a bit like the SE530. this shouldnt effect you so much being a bass player though. hey what are you doing on here anyway; can you bassists read now?? sorry I couldnt resist the obligatory bass player joke. from what I hear the livewires really need a re-cable to shine. all in all I think the W3 would be best. with the SE530 coming in second; i'll let you know as soon as I form an opinion. Oh and yes you can get custom tips; there are a few makes of them westones model is the UM56 and you can get it in soft silicon or acrylic, sensephonics also do one that is supposed to be very good and comfortable. the tips cost about $130USD plus the price of your impressions (ear moulds) which is usually about 30-50. hope that helps I will let you know in a few days what the verdict is IMO. BTW lots of music lovers here, but not so many musos
post #4 of 10
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
i had already read that topic, thanks.. I know that Livewires, Hearyourself and Freq Custom would be the best buy in the 300$ range, but as I said, I don't live in the US, so it would cost me much more considering importing duties.. So I am looking more to universal fit IEM.

Thanks
post #6 of 10
I havent tried customs but from doing the research myself to get some before I decided to get the W3's everything pointed to them really not being that much of a step up from good universals with custom tips. in fact some seem to prefer the sound of the SE530 to the hearyourself C3. freqs aren't an option as they aren't available so livewires are really the best of that bunch without going all the way and getting UE10-UE11 or sensephonics or westone customs. I really think the W3 will be your best bet if you can stretch to $399. and you didn't say are you monitoring through a desk?? is Eq available to you??
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
thank you Gusp for your replies!

I'll think about Westone3 and my wallet.. I dunno if I can spend that much, but who knows?
Otherwise I think that my choice still remains into SA6 (best SQ as I have understood by some reviews.. didn't know 'bout poor build quality though..), Shure SCL4\se530, or UM2. [maybe Atriom5 or qJays but still none with replachable cable.. I know that is not always a pro, but i consider it as a warranty of durability :P]

BTW, I will be able to use a stage mixer to equalise instruments, so no problems when i'll play live, but I'n not going to use amps or preamps when I listen to music far from home.. just plug IEM directly to the ipod.

PS: UM56 and sensaphonic seem interesting!
post #8 of 10
Why not use professional IEM?

Atrio series is wonderfull. Future Sonics offers also the custom-fit version.

Ear Monitors ®, Atrio ® professional earphones - musician personal monitors by Future Sonics

"Road Dog On Line" is a legit reseller.(on ebay or their site)

regards,
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by varzyl View Post
thank you Gusp for your replies!

I'll think about Westone3 and my wallet.. I dunno if I can spend that much, but who knows?
Otherwise I think that my choice still remains into SA6 (best SQ as I have understood by some reviews.. didn't know 'bout poor build quality though..), Shure SCL4\se530, or UM2. [maybe Atriom5 or qJays but still none with replachable cable.. I know that is not always a pro, but i consider it as a warranty of durability :P]

BTW, I will be able to use a stage mixer to equalise instruments, so no problems when i'll play live, but I'n not going to use amps or preamps when I listen to music far from home.. just plug IEM directly to the ipod.

PS: UM56 and sensaphonic seem interesting!
yep the UM56 are a good investment (next on my list, because they will fit both my SE530 and W3 as they have the same nozzle size. and about EQ just install rockbox on you ipod and hey presto a very good fully adjustable parametric EQ with shelves, low cut, high cut and q adjustment. IMO the best implementation of EQ that I have ever heard on a DAP. you should check it out.

BTW the sleeks are ugly as **** too IMO
post #10 of 10
I totally agree with qusp. The UM2 is a great musician's IEM and pretty good for personal listening too. The W3 is better still and if you can afford it I'd go for that, especially as you say you'll be using them 95% of the time for personal listening. I'm upgrading from UM2 to W3 myself.

I wouldn't worry about the cable. The Westone cable is the best out there - thin, light, flexible, and strong. If you do somehow manage to break it then it can be repaired by Westone.

You can invest in the UM56 custom tips to get the benefits of customs but with the added advantage of being able to swap tips. So you could for example start with the UM2+UM56 then sell the UM2 and upgrade to the W3. But you can't sell custom IEM's
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