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Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated? - Page 14  

post #196 of 467

Great points but if you're buying IEMs or any HiFi as an investment, you've got the wrong idea. It's very individual if it's worthwhile or not but the one thing that's certain is that you shouldn't buy a custom unless you're very sure about them sonically and not for prestige or experiments. It should be a long haul deal which also makes the possible hassle of getting them right more palatable.


Edited by goodvibes - 6/24/11 at 5:12am
post #197 of 467

Fair enough music_4321. The resale value of lower tier customs does make it harder to sell than higher customs since I think when people see the price of a JH13, etc. going for $500 or so they rather spend that amount than a cheaper custom. However all customs are a risk since I have yet to hear a demo before buying the real thing so the only thing to go by are reviews by people who have opinions that I trust and luckily for me there a few around here.

 

I may one day get one of the higher priced customs instead of remolding and getting more drivers like I did with my Livewire Trips. I think that's even more risky since it does change the sound signature but that's another story. One of these days I may end up getting a ES5 or the UE Reference Monitors as those are the two that interest me the most.

 

Lastly I do wonder about demos vs the actual custom. I've heard both sides where it is close to the real thing and also where it is nothing compared to the real thing. I guess it depends on how good a fit you get but I really have doubts that it is nothing compared to the real thing. You should be able to get a flavor of what the real thing will sound like when you have a demo or at least that would make sense.

post #198 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post




I don't think entry-level customs are as overrated as high-end customs, but I still think a good universal is a better option (specially for non-US residents), here's why:

 

1) You still have to add price of ear impressions, shipping costs, face the prospect of re-fits (therefore adding to the overall cost) and possibly paying import duty/taxes for non-US residents.

 

2) Resale value is too low if you're not happy with the sound sig or simply decide to upgrade or 'try a new flavour'. The resale value is even worse than high-end customs (percentage-wise) as probably someone wanting an entry-level custom would prefer a brand new set over a second-hand pair.

 

Or you'd have to sell your pair for peanuts (less than half price) and only if the buyer chooses some cheap re-shelling service offered by companies which are not consistent in the quality of their work. Unique Melody, the only company I'd personally consider for reshelling, is located in China, so shipping costs, very long shipping times, the prospect of re-fits (even much longer waiting times) would be serious aspects to be taken into account and, ultimately, for me, a big turn-off.


I can't see how you think a high end custom is overrated but a low end custom is not.  If you can't really hear a difference between a high end custom and universal you surely won't between a lower end custom and universal IMO.  That statement seems to say that the high end customs really aren't much, if at all better than lower cost customs.

 

And how about the custom manufacturers worldwide?  Most people can find custom IEMs manufactured close to where they live.  The manufacturer section in my custom IEM thread has them broken down by region/country.

 

Just curious as to how you know the "cheap" reshelling companies are not consistent?  Many companies other than those reviewed on here reshell custom IEMs and universal IEMs.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

For ear impressions 2+ weeks is bad news, so Europeans are advised to spend even more on express shipping so their ear impressions get there fast (that, obviously, apart from the actual audiologist's fees). JHA charge $75 on top of the $1,100 for shipping the finished product to Europe, hoping (or praying) they declare item as a gift with a low value to avoid import duty/tax. Any re-fits (and perhaps a second set of ear impressions) and you have to add even more shipping costs. So, in the end it can be well over $1000 USD. At least with universals one gets a pretty good idea how much one will pay. I think midoo1990 spent a fortune to finally get a proper fitting (and sounding?) JH13 set. Midoo's case is certainly not the norm, and perhaps he could afford the whole thing, but more than a few can easily spend close to $1,300 - $1,500 

 

Where did you get the info on the impressions only being good for 2 weeks?  I have conversed with more than 5 people that said the current material will not change over time (edited).  The old material that is mixed together with water (and still may be in existence, as you can buy it, but I have not seen an audiologist use it) had longevity issues, but not the new materials.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

Knowles and Sonion are the main sources for almost every company selling BA-transducer based earphones, both custom and universal fit.


I am curious to hear your take...mg6pro (high end custom, right?) overrated or not?

 


Edited by average_joe - 6/25/11 at 11:41pm
post #199 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 

Where did you get the info on the impressions only being good for 2 weeks?  I have conversed with more than 5 people that disagree that the current material will not change over time.  The old material that is mixed together with water (and still may be in existence, as you can buy it, but I have not seen an audiologist use it) had longevity issues, but not the new materials.


Just to add my 2 cents.  My ES5 impressions were at Westone for almost two months while we worked out some details and artwork.  I asked their head audiologist about this concern and he said they use a silicone compound now that doesn't shrink.  Sure enough my pieces fit perfect despite my fears.  So it really depends on what material each vendor or audiologist is using.  

post #200 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Just to add my 2 cents.  My ES5 impressions were at Westone for almost two months while we worked out some details and artwork.  I asked their head audiologist about this concern and he said they use a silicone compound now that doesn't shrink.  Sure enough my pieces fit perfect despite my fears.  So it really depends on what material each vendor or audiologist is using.  


I think you understood what I meant...I corrected it in my post.  5+ and your experience...the materials typically used these days don't shrink.  That is the gun and also the self-impression kits.

 

post #201 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post


I think you understood what I meant...I corrected it in my post.  5+ and your experience...the materials typically used these days don't shrink.  That is the gun and also the self-impression kits.

 

Yeah sorry, I was agreeing.  Forgot to make that clear.

 

 

post #202 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

Lastly I do wonder about demos vs the actual custom. I've heard both sides where it is close to the real thing and also where it is nothing compared to the real thing. I guess it depends on how good a fit you get but I really have doubts that it is nothing compared to the real thing. You should be able to get a flavor of what the real thing will sound like when you have a demo or at least that would make sense.


Well, no one can tell for sure unless they have heard both side by side. But to put things into perspective, the guy whom I got the JH13 demo from is one of the most respected dealers where I live. Needless to say he's heard both and he told me that bass would get better (with more impact) on the custom, whereas the upper frequencies would stay virtually the same. Even after I reported my mixed feelings about the JH13-D, he never once tried to feed me the story that my the final version would be much better. Instead he suggested that I should try the IERM demo.

 

Those who'd actually care to read my impressions in the JH13 thread with an open mind, would notice that most of my critique is due to personal preference. I haven't been all too fond of the SM3's in-your-face mids and neither do I like JH13-D's, even though both have fantastic quality. I love my soundstage and would take a less proficient but more spacious IEM over a technically better but more confined one. I attach great importance to natural timbre, because I listen mostly to acoustic instruments (classical, folk, jazz). I'm quite sure that aspect would be at the end of my priority list, if I were a death metal lover. And so on... Pretty much the only thing not related to personal preference was my impression that they have a bass hump - and I'm glad to see that this has been confirmed by JHA themselves, so I wasn't completely in the wrong.

 

Like I said, of course I have no way of knowing whether my issues with the JH13-D would be sorted out on the full custom version, but it seems very unlikely to me. In my personal view the JH13-D performed slightly below the FI-BA-SS and W4 and that's where they ended up in my sig.

post #203 of 467
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post


I can't see how you think a high end custom is overrated but a low end custom is not.  If you can't really hear a difference between a high end custom and universal you surely won't between a lower end custom and universal IMO.  That statement seems to say that the high end customs really aren't much, if at all better than lower cost customs.

 

And how about the custom manufacturers worldwide?  Most people can find custom IEMs manufactured close to where they live.  The manufacturer section in my custom IEM thread has them broken down by region/country.

 

Just curious as to how you know the "cheap" reshelling companies are not consistent?  Many companies other than those reviewed on here reshell custom IEMs and universal IEMs.

 

 

Where did you get the info on the impressions only being good for 2 weeks?  I have conversed with more than 5 people that said the current material will not change over time (edited).  The old material that is mixed together with water (and still may be in existence, as you can buy it, but I have not seen an audiologist use it) had longevity issues, but not the new materials.

 

 

 


"I can't see how you think a high end custom is overrated but a low end custom is not."
 
It's funny you chose to highlight the very first sentence in my post and yet you interpret it wrongly. I did not say that "low end customs" are not overrated, I said "I don't think entry-level customs are as overrated as high-end customs", ie I still think entry-level customs are overrated but not as much as high-end customs (specially for non-US residents).
 
"If you can't really hear a difference between a high end custom and universal you surely won't between a lower end custom and universal IMO"
 
Who says I can't hear a difference between a high-end custom and a universal? You? First of all, when I speak of universals in this thread, I'm specifically referring to top-tier universal IEMs, and have always made that clear. Up until recently my custom ES3X sounded better that all universals I'd tried, but the difference between the UM3X (about 10%) and W4 (about 5%) to my ES3X was not that big. The differences were bigger between my ES3X and TF10, IE8, SM3, SE535, SE530, etc. Only my Sony EX1000 has matched 100% my ES3X sonically.
 
Also, I have indeed noticed differences between different universal IEMs and not just between cheap & expensive universals, but even between top-tiers, so implying that I simply can't tell the difference between IEMs is simply wrong and suggests to readers of this thread that music_4321 thinks customs are overrated because he simply can't hear any differences between IEMs.
 
How many times is it necessary for me to say that even some respectable & experienced head-fiers have said that the differences can be minimal, and for this reason we have the so-called "law of diminishing returns". Some of these experienced head-fiers say they are still prepared to pay that big premium for several reasons, but some of them will admit that high-end customs are not for everyone.
 
I do NOT recommend my $400-$500 EX1000 to the average head-fier because for $180, for instance, they can get the excellent sounding CKM99 or EX600. I am prepared to pay double for that small increment yet I don't go round saying that the EX1000 "destroys all other universals" or that "the difference is night and day" or that the EX1000 "blows all universals out of the water", all of these statements are often found in customs threads & some universal IEM threads.
 
But at least with universals the consumer can test different universals and sell them if they're not that happy/impressed. Not so with customs, and worse with high-end customs where the financial loss can be greater.
 
You and others seem to suggest (and often insist) that the differences between customs and top-tier universals are huge - you yourself said the Earsonics triple BA custom was 35% better than the triple BA top-tier SM3 when I asked you one year ago. So, please allow me to disagree with you (and others) and feel that such views are exaggerated and not only because of my very own experience with a top-tier custom but also after having read the impressions of a few others who also own (or have owned) some of the 'best' customs ($1000+).
 
"That statement seems to say that the high end customs really aren't much, if at all better than lower cost customs"
 
That's your interpretation.
 
"And how about the custom manufacturers worldwide?  Most people can find custom IEMs manufactured close to where they live."
 
So, those in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Argentina, Scandinavia, Russia, etc., have a custom manufacturer "close to where they live"? Do they really? 
 
And even if that were indeed the case, are you saying that all custom manufacturers are the same? Do they offer the same CS, have the same QC standards? Do their products have the same SQ? Those in Europe who want a Westone custom only have Variphone in Belgium and they charge 50% more than Westone in the USA! Earsonics in France and ACS in the UK also charge a fortune for their customs, (way) more than some high-end customs by Westone, JHA & UE. What if I specifically want a JHA custom? They're in the USA, not exactly close to where I live. What if I want a UM custom? They're in China, not exactly close to where I live. Hey, in many countries even a good top-tier universal IEM is not easy to come by, and not just in developing countries! 
 
"Just curious as to how you know the "cheap" reshelling companies are not consistent?"
 
From reading a few threads on HF, where more than a handful of people have not been pleased with the results of the reshelling or their experience ultimately told them it wasn't worth it for several reasons. Not all, of course, but certainly not just 2, 3 or 5 people. 
 
"Where did you get the info on the impressions only being good for 2 weeks?"
 
I got that from Westone 2 years ago. I had to use Express shipping when I sent my second set of ear impressions to ensure Westone used 'fresh' impressions - the end result was a better fitting pair of customs. If things have changed now with regards to the materials being used, great. But, I'm not sure that everyone who goes to an audiologist today - specially for those who don't live in big cities in 'rich' countries - will get the new type of material you mention "which will not change over time". As it happens, some people - even in 'rich' countries - have reported that the audiologist they went to didn't know how to make ear impressions for custom IEMs because they only did impressions for hearing aids. These audiologists may well still use the 'old' material. And even with the new material, refits are common, or at least that's what it seems as refits are still being reported quite often in most custom IEM threads.

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/26/11 at 2:23am
post #204 of 467

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

 

"And how about the custom manufacturers worldwide?  Most people can find custom IEMs manufactured close to where they live."
 
So, those in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Argentina, Scandinavia, Russia, etc., have a custom manufacturer "close to where they live"? Do they really? 
 
nd even if that were indeed the case, are you saying that all custom manufacturers are the same? Do they offer the same CS, have the same QC standards? Do their products have the same SQ? Those in Europe who want a Westone custom only have Variphone in Belgium and they charge 50% more than Westone in the USA! Earsonics in France and ACS in the UK also charge a fortune for their customs, (way) more than some high-end customs by Westone, JHA & UE. What if I specifically want a JHA custom? They're in the USA, not exactly close to where I live. What if I want a UM custom? They're in China, not exactly close to where I live. Hey, in many countries even a good top-tier universal IEM is not easy to come by, and not just in developing countries! 
 

 

I just wanted to point out that, according to "average_joe"'s thread, there are quite a lot of custom manufacturers in those countries/regions. In Scandinavia, there's Starkey, and not too far away in Poland we have Spiral Ear. There are some in Germany as well. Think of Europe as a large country with states sort of like America. The only difference for us will be the shipping costs. Distance wise, some of us will live closer to a custom manufacturer than some Americans, so yeah, I'd say we can live pretty close to custom manufacturers.

 

When you mention the price increase of 50% for Westone products in Belgium, you need to remember that VAT is a large part of that, and the company selling the ES5 also needs to make a few bucks. Granted, it is a major price increase, but there are reasons for it. There are however other places in Europe to purchase Westone customs, but that's besides the point.

 

 

 
post #205 of 467
Thread Starter 

^ I knew about those manufacturers you mention (except in Scandinavia), and that's why I said in the next paragraph in my post: "And even if that was the case...".

 

Whether customs in Europe are (much) more expensive due to taxes or other reasons is irrelevant. The fact is that Europeans often have to pay a lot more for customs, which makes these customs even more overrated, in my view, than for US buyers.

 

And like I said, you may not want customs from those companies 'nearby', and there's often not enough reliable feedback for a potential buyer to feel confident to pull the trigger on such expensive items from these companies. Earsonics (France) and ACS (UK) are not distributors for any other companies (like Variphone for Westone) and their products are still VERY expensive - same goes for that Polish company and I believe the same is true for that other German manufacturer.

post #206 of 467

I wouldn't exactly call it entirely irrelevant, as everything over here is more expensive, thus making the ratio somewhat similar. To put things into perspective, the MSRP for the Westone 3 is 646$ in my country, which is quite a bit more than in the US I believe. However, the salaries over here are also higher, making things comparable to one and other. 

 

I do see you're point when you say "you may not want customs from those companies 'nearby'," but that is also the case for americans. Granted, they do have a bigger selection nearby than we do, but if your mind is set on one specific custom, the amount of manufacturers in your neighborhood doesn't matter, if it's not what you're looking for. 

 

I do agree that customs are an expensive investment, and even more so when we look at the european prices compared to comparable american products, but it's up to the ear of the beholder whether or not the price is worth it for him/herself. 

 

Granted, the 2 best IEM's I've heard are a universal version of the Spiral Ear Reference 3, and the Westone 3. The price is close, but not the same range, but the Spiral was quite a bit better even with what I would call forced seal, as I had to put my fingers on the monitors as the plugs put on didn't fit my ears one bit.

post #207 of 467
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielofDenmark View Post

I wouldn't exactly call it entirely irrelevant, as everything over here is more expensive, thus making the ratio somewhat similar. To put things into perspective, the MSRP for the Westone 3 is 646$ in my country, which is quite a bit more than in the US I believe. However, the salaries over here are also higher, making things comparable to one and other

 

I do see you're point when you say "you may not want customs from those companies 'nearby'," but that is also the case for americans. Granted, they do have a bigger selection nearby than we do, but if your mind is set on one specific custom, the amount of manufacturers in your neighborhood doesn't matter, if it's not what you're looking for. 

 

I do agree that customs are an expensive investment, and even more so when we look at the european prices compared to comparable american products, but it's up to the ear of the beholder whether or not the price is worth it for him/herself. 

 

Granted, the 2 best IEM's I've heard are a universal version of the Spiral Ear Reference 3, and the Westone 3. The price is close, but not the same range, but the Spiral was quite a bit better even with what I would call forced seal, as I had to put my fingers on the monitors as the plugs put on didn't fit my ears one bit.

 

I only say it's irrelevant because at the end of the day whether the increased price is due to taxes and/ or manufacturers inflating their prices, the consumer ends up paying A LOT for these products.

 

Yes, the W3 may be $646 in your country, but the vast majority of people will not pay that price (even in Europe) and if you shop around you can easily get them for half that price or a little more, or even cheaper if you get a second-hand W3 in very good condition in the For Sale forum here. Customs, on the other hand, cannot be purchased for lower prices as most of the time you can only get them directly from the manufacturer or a distributor, who will not offer you a lower price and in those few cases where they do, the 'discount' is minimal. Then you have to 'prey' you don't need a refit or more, an extra set of ear impressions, which would add to the overall price and then, of course, longer waiting times and possible added frustration.

 

"...it's up to the ear of the beholder whether or not the price is worth it for him/herself."

 

The issue of people preferring to spend a lot on these products has been discussed several times, so I won't be repeating what I and others have said on the subject. I suggest you go back and read all the thread as it often happens that people respond to one post and the issues have already been discussed at length.

 

EDIT: "However, the salaries over here are also higher [than in the USA], making things comparable to one and other."

 

That may be true in your country (Norway?) but even in the UK and many other European countries, where salaries are NOT even equal to those in the US, prices across Europe for these products are pretty much the same (except where VAT rates are different). It's a fact that generally speaking the standard of living in the US is higher than in many European countries, ie US consumers have access to more (consumer) goods doing exactly the same kind of job.

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/26/11 at 3:54am
post #208 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

 

"I can't see how you think a high end custom is overrated but a low end custom is not."
 
It's funny you chose to highlight the very first sentence in my post and yet you interpret it wrongly. I did not say that "low end customs" are not overrated, I said "I don't think entry-level customs are as overrated as high-end customs", ie I still think entry-level customs are overrated but not as much as high-end customs (specially for non-US residents).
 
"If you can't really hear a difference between a high end custom and universal you surely won't between a lower end custom and universal IMO"
 
Who says I can't hear a difference between a high-end custom and a universal? You? First of all, when I speak of universals in this thread, I'm specifically referring to top-tier universal IEMs, and have always made that clear. Up until recently my custom ES3X sounded better that all universals I'd tried, but the difference between the UM3X (about 10%) and W4 (about 5%) to my ES3X was not that big. The differences were bigger between my ES3X and TF10, IE8, SM3, SE535, SE530, etc. Only my Sony EX1000 has matched 100% my ES3X sonically.
 
Also, I have indeed noticed differences between different universal IEMs and not just between cheap & expensive universals, but even between top-tiers, so implying that I simply can't tell the difference between IEMs is simply wrong and suggests to readers of this thread that music_4321 thinks customs are overrated because he simply can't hear any differences between IEMs.
 
How many times is it necessary for me to say that even some respectable & experienced head-fiers have said that the differences can be minimal, and for this reason we have the so-called "law of diminishing returns". Some of these experienced head-fiers say they are still prepared to pay that big premium for several reasons, but some of them will admit that high-end customs are not for everyone.
 
I do NOT recommend my $400-$500 EX1000 to the average head-fier because for $180, for instance, they can get the excellent sounding CKM99 or EX600. I am prepared to pay double for that small increment yet I don't go round saying that the EX1000 "destroys all other universals" or that "the difference is night and day" or that the EX1000 "blows all universals out of the water", all of these statements are often found in customs threads & some universal IEM threads.
 
But at least with universals the consumer can test different universals and sell them if they're not that happy/impressed. Not so with customs, and worse with high-end customs where the financial loss can be greater.
 
You and others seem to suggest (and often insist) that the differences between customs and top-tier universals are huge - you yourself said the Earsonics triple BA custom was 35% better than the triple BA top-tier SM3 when I asked you one year ago. So, please allow me to disagree with you (and others) and feel that such views are exaggerated and not only because of my very own experience with a top-tier custom but also after having read the impressions of a few others who also own (or have owned) some of the 'best' customs ($1000+).
 
"That statement seems to say that the high end customs really aren't much, if at all better than lower cost customs"
 
That's your interpretation.
 
"And how about the custom manufacturers worldwide?  Most people can find custom IEMs manufactured close to where they live."
 
So, those in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Argentina, Scandinavia, Russia, etc., have a custom manufacturer "close to where they live"? Do they really? 
 
And even if that were indeed the case, are you saying that all custom manufacturers are the same? Do they offer the same CS, have the same QC standards? Do their products have the same SQ? Those in Europe who want a Westone custom only have Variphone in Belgium and they charge 50% more than Westone in the USA! Earsonics in France and ACS in the UK also charge a fortune for their customs, (way) more than some high-end customs by Westone, JHA & UE. What if I specifically want a JHA custom? They're in the USA, not exactly close to where I live. What if I want a UM custom? They're in China, not exactly close to where I live. Hey, in many countries even a good top-tier universal IEM is not easy to come by, and not just in developing countries! 
 
"Just curious as to how you know the "cheap" reshelling companies are not consistent?"
 
From reading a few threads on HF, where more than a handful of people have not been pleased with the results of the reshelling or their experience ultimately told them it wasn't worth it for several reasons. Not all, of course, but certainly not just 2, 3 or 5 people. 
 
"Where did you get the info on the impressions only being good for 2 weeks?"
 
I got that from Westone 2 years ago. I had to use Express shipping when I sent my second set of ear impressions to ensure Westone used 'fresh' impressions - the end result was a better fitting pair of customs. If things have changed now with regards to the materials being used, great. But, I'm not sure that everyone who goes to an audiologist today - specially for those who don't live in big cities in 'rich' countries - will get the new type of material you mention "which will not change over time". As it happens, some people - even in 'rich' countries - have reported that the audiologist they went to didn't know how to make ear impressions for custom IEMs because they only did impressions for hearing aids. These audiologists may well still use the 'old' material. And even with the new material, refits are common, or at least that's what it seems as refits are still being reported quite often in most custom IEM threads.


So the original thread title was correct then?

 

It appears you have not looked at the manufacturers list in my thread.  There is a manufacturer in Russia and one in Brazil.  I also think there is another that services South America.  Of course different custom manufacturers will have different sound signatures and different QC etc.  I agree with you that it is very important to make sure you are making the right choice for you when buying a custom IEM because they lose so much value if you decide to sell.  I know all about sending packages international, I have sent 2 ear impressions with $30 shipping each to ensure arrival, but not because of time to get the ear impressions.

 

I am surprised Westone said what they did, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.  There is a lot more that goes into custom IEMs, but in stark contrast to your opinion about the value of high end custom IEMs, I think that some of the ones I have, but not all, are significantly better than any universal I have heard.  Whatever the reason, the 5-way, LS8, and SA-43 are just better without doubt.  I know a Miracle owner that has heard just about every top tier universal and may be loaning me the EX1000 for some time and his take is the same as mine.

 

If you are international and want a JH16, you are stuck.  But if you want it and are overseas, does that all of a sudden make that product overrated?  Or is the JH16, in your opinion (even though you have never heard one) overrated?  And ACS charges more than the others?  My by currency conversion, the ACS triple is $1036 today (649 GBP).  And from talking with all but one silicone manufacturer (that I know of), silicone is harder to work with than acrylic.  I thought the pricing was with VAT.  I know the Earsonics pricing has VAT built in and the EM3 Pro is about the same price as a JH16 with artwork.

 

As far as reshells, sure, not everything is perfect.  Neither is any original custom or universal.  And, some people will complain about something no matter what.  The eQ-7 I had was faulty and funny thing is the two previous owners just thought they had a bad fit.  I had a bad IE8 that was replaced with an IE8 that had a channel imbalance, the CK10 I sold didn't sound right to the buyer (after being stuck in customs for 2 weeks even though expedited shipping was paid for), so that was warranty replaced.  Of course, with custom IEMs you have the chance you will need multiple refits while chances are the replacement for a universal will be good.  But it sure seems like you are making overgeneralizations.  Just because one company says something that does not make it an industry wide fact.

 

Your thread somewhat reminds me of something I stumbled upon on hydrogen audio where someone said don't get a JH16, get a Livewire and just use a parametric EQ.  I think you will find plenty of allies there!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

^ I knew about those manufacturers you mention (except in Scandinavia), and that's why I said in the next paragraph in my post: "And even if that was the case...".

 

Whether customs in Europe are (much) more expensive due to taxes or other reasons is irrelevant. The fact is that Europeans often have to pay a lot more for customs, which makes these customs even more overrated, in my view, than for US buyers.

 

And like I said, you may not want customs from those companies 'nearby', and there's often not enough reliable feedback for a potential buyer to feel confident to pull the trigger on such expensive items from these companies. Earsonics (France) and ACS (UK) are not distributors for any other companies (like Variphone for Westone) and their products are still VERY expensive - same goes for that Polish company and I believe the same is true for that other German manufacturer.


Actually, there are some head-fi favorites for custom IEM companies, but there are other international forums that discuss several different custom IEM manufacturers.  There is a forum in German that says how much better Compact Monitors are than JHA stuff.  Here is an example of a non-English forum and yet another of one in English.  I understand it is not wise to jump in blind, hence people are on forums.

post #209 of 467

I'm not going to quote your last post, music_4321, as it will be painful to look at so many quotations, but I will give my answers.

 

I do realize that the MSRP for the W3's is ridiculous, and I didn't even pay close to half that for mine, but that is besides the point. It was just an illustration of how expensive things are over here, and pointing out that "custom" prices aren't that crazy to some people. 

The only reason I brought up the european countries economies is because everything is more expensive over here - generally speaking - but our salaries tend to be equally higher. Notice the word tend, and let's leave the economic aspects out of this.

To answer your question, I am not norwegian, I am danish. 

 

 

Also, thanks to Average_joe. The danish forum link you posted was actually a thread made by myself, because I heard about Spiral Ear from your thread I believe. 

 

 

Now, I'd like to end this post with saying that I haven't really got an answer to the question, other than I find it hard to imagine, as I have the Westone 3's which are fantastic IEM's, and I've heard the Spiral Ear 3-Way Reference which by all means outshines it, and it's not even a flagship. 

post #210 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post


So the original thread title was correct then?

 

It appears you have not looked at the manufacturers list in my thread.  There is a manufacturer in Russia and one in Brazil.  I also think there is another that services South America.  Of course different custom manufacturers will have different sound signatures and different QC etc.  I agree with you that it is very important to make sure you are making the right choice for you when buying a custom IEM because they lose so much value if you decide to sell.  I know all about sending packages international, I have sent 2 ear impressions with $30 shipping each to ensure arrival, but not because of time to get the ear impressions.

 

I am surprised Westone said what they did, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry.  There is a lot more that goes into custom IEMs, but in stark contrast to your opinion about the value of high end custom IEMs, I think that some of the ones I have, but not all, are significantly better than any universal I have heard.  Whatever the reason, the 5-way, LS8, and SA-43 are just better without doubt.  I know a Miracle owner that has heard just about every top tier universal and may be loaning me the EX1000 for some time and his take is the same as mine.

 

If you are international and want a JH16, you are stuck.  But if you want it and are overseas, does that all of a sudden make that product overrated?  Or is the JH16, in your opinion (even though you have never heard one) overrated?  And ACS charges more than the others?  My by currency conversion, the ACS triple is $1036 today (649 GBP).  And from talking with all but one silicone manufacturer (that I know of), silicone is harder to work with than acrylic.  I thought the pricing was with VAT.  I know the Earsonics pricing has VAT built in and the EM3 Pro is about the same price as a JH16 with artwork.

 

As far as reshells, sure, not everything is perfect.  Neither is any original custom or universal.  And, some people will complain about something no matter what.  The eQ-7 I had was faulty and funny thing is the two previous owners just thought they had a bad fit.  I had a bad IE8 that was replaced with an IE8 that had a channel imbalance, the CK10 I sold didn't sound right to the buyer (after being stuck in customs for 2 weeks even though expedited shipping was paid for), so that was warranty replaced.  Of course, with custom IEMs you have the chance you will need multiple refits while chances are the replacement for a universal will be good.  But it sure seems like you are making overgeneralizations.  Just because one company says something that does not make it an industry wide fact.

 

Your thread somewhat reminds me of something I stumbled upon on hydrogen audio where someone said don't get a JH16, get a Livewire and just use a parametric EQ.  I think you will find plenty of allies there!
 


Actually, there are some head-fi favorites for custom IEM companies, but there are other international forums that discuss several different custom IEM manufacturers.  There is a forum in German that says how much better Compact Monitors are than JHA stuff.  Here is an example of a non-English forum and yet another of one in English.  I understand it is not wise to jump in blind, hence people are on forums.

 


"So the original thread title was correct then?"
 
Is that your way of saying "I didn't read your post correctly even when I highlighted some of the contents in it?"
 
The original thread title was "Are Custom IEMs Overrated?" and after one poster repeatedly suggested that since we'd been mostly talking about high-end customs I should change the thread title to "Are High-end Customs Overrated?", but I thought a better solution was the current title Are (High-end) Customs Overrated?" - this way it is implied that all customs, and specially high-end customs, my be overrated. 
 
"It appears you have not looked at the manufacturers list in my thread"
 
I did look at it some time ago, but I think there are many, MANY more countries in the world where there are no customs manufacturers. And, I'll say this for the third time: even if there were, people may still want a Westone, JHA or UE or UM set of customs - just like they want X Y or Z universal - and on top of that, there's little or practically no feedback on MANY of those companies you list. Most people will want to read as many reviews as possible not just to get the best SQ & price, but also to try to avoid some of the 'not so great' or downright horror stories we've seen in some of the threads, eg Kozee, Livewires, Alien Ears, etc.
 
"I am surprised Westone said what they did..."
 
Well, they did.
 
"I think that some of the ones I have, but not all, are significantly better than any universal I have heard"
 
Yes, you've said that before, and I gave the example of your view that your EM3Pro was 35% better than your SM3. Your view is a lot more common on HF than mine, it seems, and I've already explained before why I think that is.
 
"I know a Miracle owner that has heard just about every top tier universal and may be loaning me the EX1000 for some time and his take is the same as mine."
 
Although you speak of one nameless person, I could also say "I know someone who...who thinks just like music_4321" Instead, you can read the Headphonia review of the EX1000, where the reviewer (who presumably has heard other IEMs in his life) compares the JH16 to the Sonys, and the latter does very well.
 
The fact the Headphonia reviewer says what he says doesn't mean he's got to be100% right, just like not everything you and "the Mircale owner you know" say has to be right. But, the point is that there are REAL people out there, some of whom are quite experienced, who seem to share my views, I'm sorry to say, ie that some of these customs -- high-end or otherwise -- do NOT destroy all top-tier universals, or are significantly better. Some of these people have said that even when they did think their high-end customs were better than the universals they've heard, the differences were small. You and others insist the difference is much more significant and just do not want to accept there may really be such a thing as the "law of diminishing returns". There are other aspects, which are quite factual (not opinions), that many buyers simply ignore due, mostly, to the hype that often surrounds customs threads.
 
"If you are international and want a JH16, you are stuck.  But if you want it and are overseas, does that all of a sudden make that product overrated?"
 
No, it doesn't. I think whether you're based in the US or not the JH16 and other customs are still overrated, but it would be even more overrated for those who live outside the US because they not only pay more for it in the first place, but could end up paying (much) more when re-fits are involved, plus the waiting & possible added frustration.
 
"Or is the JH16, in your opinion (even though you have never heard one) overrated?"
 
How many more times do you need to say that I haven't heard the JH16? You yourself haven't, so please stop - and even if you had, so what? Does that invalidate everything I say? I've always spoken of my $850 ES3X. Others have spoken of their ES5, JH13, JH16 & UE18. So, let me ask you this: If I bought all those other customs and I came to the same conclusions, would that make any difference to you? I don't think it would. I think you'd come with all manner of 'explanations' to 'prove' what my ears were telling me was just wrong.
 
"And ACS charges more than the others?  My by currency conversion, the ACS triple is $1036 today (649 GBP)...I thought the pricing was with VAT"
 
You "thought the pricing was with VAT"? Please, if you're not sure, say so clearly as that would possibly mean adding an extra 20% to an already expensive product. But still, even at $1036 for ACS's triple BA isn't exactly the $799 JHA charge for their triple BA JH10 or JH10X3, or the $850 Westone charge for the ES3X, or other (much) cheaper models by other manufacturers.
 
" I know the Earsonics pricing has VAT built in and the EM3 Pro is about the same price as a JH16 with artwork."
 
The price is 744.15 EUR + 148.83 EUR (VAT) = 893.00 EUR --> $1,267.00 USD for a triple driver when JHA charges $799 for both triple BA driver models. The JH16 has 8 drivers per shell and the EM3Pro has 3, not exactly a fair comparison, I think, even if ultimately both may not sound all that different. And please don't say you were only comparing both flagships from both companies. In that case I might as well compare Skullcandy's flagship IEM with Westone's or Sony's flagship universal IEMs.
 
"As far as reshells, sure, not everything is perfect.  Neither is any original custom or universal.  And, some people will complain about something no matter what."
 
Seems like a rather convenient thing to say and a rather poor argument from your part. I've read enough posts to be able to tell where some would just moan and where some have had genuine issues, and like I said it's not just 2, 3 or 5 people. That is one reason I never got my TF10s reshelled. And please, you cannot compare the isuues with a universal IEM with the frustration, waiting times & extra costs seen on some of those reshelling accounts. 
 
"But it sure seems like you are making overgeneralizations."
 
That's what it seems to you. I also think you make some statements which at times are quite off the mark, I'm sorry to say.
 
"Your thread somewhat reminds me of something I stumbled upon on hydrogen audio where someone said don't get a JH16, get a Livewire and just use a parametric EQ.  I think you will find plenty of allies there!"
 
If that was the case, I'd get a pair of $50-$100 IEMs, use a parametric EQ and be done with it. I would not have spennt $500 on my EX1000s, $450 on the W4s, $400 on the CK100, etc., and would have sold my ES3X long ago when I would have got more for them than now.
 
You will forgive me but I will not say what some of your posts & threads remind me of - I'll keep it to myself.
 
"there are other international forums that discuss several different custom IEM manufacturers.  There is a forum in German that says how much better Compact Monitors are than JHA stuff.  Here is an example of a non-English forum and yet another of one in English.  I understand it is not wise to jump in blind, hence people are on forums."
 
I know about some of those forums, but I think many will agree one cannot yet get enough information on MANY of the products and manufacturers you list on your thread and sometimes the translations one gets from some of these foreign forums isn't enough. 
 

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/26/11 at 11:32am
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