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Overhyping IEMs on Head-Fi?

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I think it's safe to say that headphones become well known in this site from review threads started by well known audiophiles, appreciation threads for example. It attracts average listeners like me and we try to read every posts to get much information as possible on that particular IEM. But what I noticed after joining this site was that you'll never be sure until you actually hear it. For example, two people having same favorite genres are likely to have similar preferred sound, at least for the most part. But in my friends' case they disagreed with the sound signature of a certain headphone (Beats by Dre, go figure) as in one loved it and other hated (non-audiophiles like us find this very hard to describe in words). I rarely see this kind of "disagreements" on Head-Fi. Sure there are many posts about which IEM works best for certain types of music, but everyone in here seem to have same opinions when focused on same genres, although in reality that's not the case. I think new people like me tend to think just because those audiophiles love a certain IEM we should too, almost as if we're jumping on a bandwagon.

To give an example, I think Monster Turbine is the most overrated IEM on Head-Fi. I wonder how many people would actually praise Turbines if the appreciation thread was never posted. Amazon ratings aren't even that great. I compared it to Beats and Bose In-Ear and Turbine isn't that much better in terms of SQ, so how come the other two don't get any love? Is it about the Bose name and Dr. Dre endorsements? And for other in-ears that are barely mentioned in this forum (Denon, Audio Technica, etc.), are they just not good enough? I'm also wondering why people give credits to IEMs when they know absolutely nothing about the product. I know many Head-Fi members personally who try to explain Turbine's sound specifically to new members, but none of them actually own this thing.

I don't mean to criticize any members, but I'm wondering if I'm the only one who thought of this.
post #2 of 125
Welcome to flavor of the month and hype my friend and generally head-fiers are not fans of companies that love advertising more then making a reasonable priced good value product cough cough bose cough cough I am not saying they are bad but most head-fiers argument is compared to other cans at the same level they cannot compete.
post #3 of 125
As a relative newbie my opinion is that seal on any headphone is so crucial and if not sealed properly the phone will sound terrible,but if you do get the correct seal bliss ensues. I try everything, inserting them upside down, every possible tip etc, sometimes it takes so long you just give up and say they are no good!!
post #4 of 125
well, i started the appreciation thread and i think that the thread is warranted. i never said they were the best phone, but no one said the same thing of the ne7m, the apple addiem or many other phones. what is wrong with enjoying a phone and creating an appreciation thread?

if the turbine is not for you, that does not mean you have to create an anti-appreciation thread. also, that thread has been going for a loooong time. it is not a fotM, but rather a long-going thread by fans of the phone.

like the poster above, seal is crucial, but more than that - personal preference. if you don't like a phone, no matter the seal, you will likely never like that phone. i have had the great opportunity to try and own many many good phones from the wonderous ne7m which performs so well at its price to the se530 which i really liked but sold when i heard the er4s which i sold again.

the turbine is not my favourite phone, but for the price, it is worthwhile for so many reasons and with a better cable, would be worth a higher MSRP.
post #5 of 125
I think IEM's are overhyped if you don't have experience with many IEM's, and aren't looking through the lens that they are talking about an IEM. Most IEM's won't hold its own against a good set of headphones, but I challenge you to listen to a 100 dollar IEM then listen to one of the top 4; The sound that comes out of my TF10's is awesome.

I much like my ESW9's over the TF10's, and those are portable not full size. I do get what you are saying though, I honestly can't believe the hype about the JH13, but I have never heard it nor have I heard a custom IEM so I won't say anything more.
post #6 of 125
New IEMS are always hyped. It's really the same with anything though. Also, it shouldn't be a surprise you won't if know you like something until you try it. I don't find this to me IEM or earphone specific so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Sometimes people try to give others a rough idea of the sound signature based on someones elses first hand experience.

Examples - It's common knowledge or at least accepted that the ER4P is very detail oriented and doesn't have boomy bass. It's also common knowledge or accepted that the IE8 has a huge bass presence and sounds smooth.

I think most of the time people try to at least mention what they're posting is from what they have read. There are certain times someone doesn't need to hear something to know the basic sound signature.

There is probably bias towards Bose or Dr. Dre stuff. I haven't heard either but it wouldn't be the first time something was discriminated against due to bias. Monster isn't generally highly thought of around here but as you noticed, many people really like the Turbines regardless.

You can currently witness the huge hype train on the new JVC IEMS. Just take new stuff with a grain of salt.
post #7 of 125
as for people recommending gear they don't own or never have heard... that IS annoying for sure. however, hyping - i see nothing wrong with that. this site is made for that. we are all audiophiles of one flavour or another and in our nerdy circle, we talk big about headphones.

whether you are a headphone person or an iem person, it makes little difference - you are on a quest to find what you like and if you don't find it, to buy more gear! i also believe headphones sound better but i move a lot and cannot afford the space for a nice hifi anymore or big phones. i sold all my big gear and work straight from iems now unless it is my trusty ultrasone dj1pro (which i am still trying to sell!)
post #8 of 125
i still love my SE530 in any case

sorry guys to interrupt, just feel like wanted to say something
post #9 of 125
To me, hyping goes well above and beyond what the particular earphone really deserves. An example is voltag3 and how he would incessantly pump his favorite IEM. Also people that just spend their time popping in on as many threads as possible to make their plugs everywhere, almost like brainwashing - while likewise attacking anyone that dares counter their opinion, certainly qualify. Not much helpful info can be gleaned from individuals like that. Sure there's going to be favortism, and preferences, and the resulting enthusiasm that can take something into FOTM territory, but I don't consider that quite the same thing as hyping.

I really agree with you on the bit about recommending gear without having heard it. That doesn't help very much with a member's credibility.
post #10 of 125
dude, your avatar changed again... haha. anyway, the ganging up is no good for sure -- that is indescribably bad in a forum dedicated to geek lust. however, FOTM, hyping -- it will happen in any market for any product. look at new cpus, new tvs, everything. unfortunately, there will be people who hate another brand or another person and attack, those who just spread viral stuff and whatever, but that is the case for the internet. it is a great way to market and people, no matter how 'audiophile' will be susceptible to marketing.

we all are. i think it goes to show that somehow, in this headfi that hates the likes of a few companies, that a couple of threads which have brought up good points about a 'bad' phone are still attracting fans.

that is a good thing.
post #11 of 125
FWIW, with me being the starter of both the IE8 and current JVC hype, I love my music on the road, so will buy or test as many IEMs as I want or can afford at the time... I guess where fanboy hype (as it happens, this is the only JVC product I own other than a 15yr old VCR!) stops and valid argument begins is where many people share the same opinion, just read through the IE8 thread to see that in action...

Conversely, in my case, I feel that the Cowon D2 sounds very poor compared to all the praise it receives, its not all about being a sheep
post #12 of 125
Originally Posted by ulsanman View Post
As a relative newbie my opinion is that seal on any headphone is so crucial and if not sealed properly the phone will sound terrible,but if you do get the correct seal bliss ensues. I try everything, inserting them upside down, every possible tip etc, sometimes it takes so long you just give up and say they are no good!!
Excellent post.

Seal & fit are critical to hear how an IEM was intended to sound. And as shigzeo stated, preference is also as important.

I listened to the Woody One and Woody Two at Can Jam, liked one, hated the other, just different sound sigs.

I A/Bed my IE8 with the W3, UM3X, UE10, UE11, JH11, and JH13 (plus many lower cost IEMs), and liked my IE8 better than all but the UE11 and JH13, with the W3 being close. The JH11 and UE10 may have been due to fit, but to me, the soundstage that the IE8 presents is hard to beat IMO. I also have spend countless hours getting the tips perfect for my ears, and the IEM doesn't sound nearly as good to me with different tips.

So hype? Yea, blissful positive only posts would fall in that category, but I do know all my IEMs have faults. For example, I preferred the W3 to my IE8 on some songs, but preferred more on my IE8. The soundstage presentation is more important to me than minor added detail of the W3, and I like the warm presentation much better than the natural UM3X presentation.

Unfortunately I think there is hesitance of some people to post what they truly think, post the negative aspects as well as the positive aspects, especially in an appreciation thread. I thought the Monster Turbine sounded really good, well, except for the treble which sounded unnatural to me. Didn't spend enough time to pinpoint it, but it did. In the appreciation thread, people might have just posted they though it sounded really good.

I have learned to take the posts with a grain of salt, try to read through the posts and decipher how the descriptions will translate to sound signature and strengths/weaknesses, and if that fits something I will like. For example, ClieOS's reviews are great since there are so many data point, and I know how many of them sound, so I can somewhat extrapolate to some of the others he reviewed. I might not agree with his review, but at least it helps me make an informed decision.
post #13 of 125
In my view, over-hyping is over-hyped. Basic rule on HF seems to be: read a few threads ... buy and try ... keep return or sell. Repeat process. Just like shampoo.

Duncan, I agree. Valid argument/debate begins when a majority (and not a small one) agree on how much they favor an IEM.

And as you also say, Duncan, nothing wrong with going against the grain. But if one does, why be especially hostile if you don't cotton to a product many others do? Experienced HFers don't often do it, in fact..

Having a contrary view is one thing, but being highly negative and harsh ("Those IEMs suck!") in a post about that specific (and positively received) IEM is quite another, even if it is an honest opinion. That's my pet peeve. No reason to do it, but noobs seem do it most. Not sure why.
post #14 of 125
It's all about purchase justification. Plain and simple. I just spent hundreds of dollars on x-y-z brand iem, and now I need to tell everyone how good they are so I dont feel so bad about losing that money.
post #15 of 125
I wonder Monster is a hype. After 80+hrs burn in, I think it is good enough as a mini version of IE8. It got almost 70% of characteristic of IE8 in term of bass and soundstage. Decent soundstage, not come close to IE8, but it is nice enough to put all instrument inside,IMO better than UM3X. Clear and less dark, forward but little artificial vocal. For its price tag, 99CAD, I don't have any complaint.

I agree decent seal is very important. Small size tips without decent seal, sound is thin and uncontrolled sound . With medium tips and good seal make it day and night.
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