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Hard Decisions

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

In doing a little Christmas shopping I decided I would venture back into the headphone realm and get my brother (myself as well :P) some decent in ear phones. I thought the decision would be fairly easy but as all things go in the audiophile universe, the opinions are wide and varied.

I am hoping that, if I tell you some of my likes/dislikes I might be able to get some help in deciding on what to get. I've read so many different posts here, but again each post is different and specific to the context.

So here goes:

I love bass. In fact, I revel in any headphone and speaker that delivers a wallop of a punch. So perhaps most importantly, the in ear buds need to have some awesome bass to them. (So the M5/8 and the 5EB come into mind).

That being said, I listen predominantly to rock/alternative on an ipod touch 2nd gen, and so I don't want all the guitar detail to get washed out. But if a pop/hip hop/techno song comes on in my playlist, I want to hear that bass pumping hard.

And yet again, I also revel in a bit of George Winston piano solos now and then.

Also, I hate microphonics.

Is there something out there for me? Or am i pretty much describing two different headphones and can't get the perfect mix?

Since I'm getting two pair, they would ideally not cost over $250 each. I might be willing to compromise though. I've been looking into the 5EB, SA6 and X10 among others.

Thanks in advance for the help!
post #2 of 12
Personally, my vote would go to the Westone 2. Great, impactful bass, and an over-the-ear design that mitigates microphonics. I'd just buy two pair, but I love the things. I'm sure other options abound.
post #3 of 12
I wouldn't use the 5 EB.

I would consider the Atrio M5, Image X10, and if you are willing to sacrifice some bass capability for extra clarity (which isn't really needed given your desires, IMO), the SA6. I don't know enough about the UM2 from Westone to say "yea" or "nay".

The Image X10 is going to be the in-between compromise between bass and clarity. In addition, it's very comfortable. The M5 will have the most bass as well as some good mids and decent highs. The SA6 has good customizability (with ports you can swap out) and replaceable cords (nice bonus) but is rather fragile. However, it'll have a more analytical sound than the other two.

Too bad you weren't around on December 2nd. Future Sonics was doing a buy one get one free on Atrio M5/M8.
post #4 of 12
Atrio m5 seem to be bass kings at that price although ive not tried them. I can recommend Senn IE8 but over your budget.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Maybe a little perspective might help too:

When it comes to earbuds/canalphones, I've only ever used the stock ipod earbuds.

So if I went with some Atrio m5's, would I really notice muddy mids and less than stellar highs, as I have nothing to compare it to?

I'm leaning towards getting both the M5 and the X10 and letting my brother pick which one he likes the best.

I am drooling after the new Westones, but doubt they are in my price range. How would it's bass compare to the M5? And what's the difference b/w the M5 and the M8?

And is $295 a good price for the SE530's?
post #6 of 12
M5/M8 is black/blue colors. No driver difference.

Going from stock iBuds you probably wouldn't have anything to complain about. I also wouldn't call the M5 "muddy" or even "less than stellar" with highs. It's not an Etymotic ER4P, but the highs on the Atrio are nowhere near bad.
post #7 of 12
The new Westones are the 3. The 2 aren't quite as good, but they're 90% of the way there and they're within your price range.
post #8 of 12
Shure SE310 at $249.99. I've tried the E2C's they sound awesome with sound isolation at $90 when we bought them, how much more the SE series
post #9 of 12
For DETAILS + BASS, go for UM2.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've almost made my decision, but I'll throw in one last factor.

I'm seriously considering getting some portable headphone amps as well. Would that change your opinions? If I got some amps, would you recommend something different?
post #11 of 12
The only thing I really remember is that the Image X10 isn't drastically changed by an amp (Which can be seen as good or bad). It sounds great without an amp, but only sounds marginally better with one.

I can't really make an amp recommendation because I haven't forked out the necessary cash for any yet. (I'd be getting a desktop amp anyway since I do most of my listening at a desk)
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Would there be a better amp and iem combo that could achieve the whomping bass and keep detailed clarity?
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