Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated? - Page 3  

post #31 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
Who gets to decide what overrated means? The people who have customs or the people who don't? Who gets to decide what too expensive means? The people who find spending $1000 + on one pair of iems or more to be no problem or the people for whom it's a struggle? All I'm saying that those terms are loaded, and the only true answers will lie with each individual's personal beliefs and circumstances.

For me, customs are not overrated. They give me what I like. I've had crappy, decent, and excellent universals, and have heard many others. None have recreated the sound quality I get from my UE11s. Do some come close? Probably, but close doesn't equal the that's it take I get when listening to my custom iems. Even loving them as I do, the mid bass bugs me just a little on certain tracks, and when I heard the universal JH13s at CanJam, I knew that I'd be getting the perfect set of iems for me in comfort, design, and sound quality. There's nothing overrated about that in my opinion.

Others may think I'm crazy. That's fine. They are probably right, but as my lifestyle allows this personal kind of craziness without detriment to myself or others, I'm hoping a-live-and-let-live tolerance might be extended, especially when it comes to posting here on this forum. I would never dream of deciding what overrated means for anyone, unless someone's talking out his bum, having zero experience with what he's insisting (not the same as asking) is overrated. I would never dare suggest when the laws of diminishing returns kick in for any member, since that's highly personal, but I do find it interesting that there is a tendency for people to want to apply their own personal limits to others and then start judging from that place. One size does not fit all. That's all I'm saying. Happy listening.
Yeah! I agree with you. My wife and kids, as well as some friends think I am nuts. But what the heck! I don't have any vices besides this one!
I am currently waiting for my ES3X. I'll let you know my more informed opinion once I get them.
post #32 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomana View Post
Who gets to decide what overrated means? The people who have customs or the people who don't? Who gets to decide what too expensive means? The people who find spending $1000 + on one pair of iems or more to be no problem or the people for whom it's a struggle? All I'm saying that those terms are loaded, and the only true answers will lie with each individual's personal beliefs and circumstances.

The fact that some people, let's say for exmple, were prepared to pay $5000 for a set of ES3X/UE10/UE11/JH13 doesn't mean they would not be overrated. They are not overrated to THOSE people. There may be people who could afford that kind of money but think 'NO way I'm spending THAT kind money on a 'stupid' set of customs'.

Now, this may be the wrong analogy here but I think, for example, that Madonna & U2 are highly overrated, costing, in my view, a fortune to go and see them play live. By contrast, there are other excellent singers/ bands/ musicians who may play in small clubs/ venues where you'd pay a lot less for similar, if not better quality music & performances. Of course one could say that Madonna/ U2 fans would pay even more money than they currently pay for said shows because to THEM it's worth it.

So, from that angle, then, there's no discussion.

My point is that regardless of the money people some are willing to spend on customs, there's a certain level of hype, or as I like to say 'customs are overrated'. And I mentioned the costs, often, have extras for shipping, impressions, and (possible) frustration at needing to have a re-fit.


For me, customs are not overrated. They give me what I like. I've had crappy, decent, and excellent universals, and have heard many others. None have recreated the sound quality I get from my UE11s. Do some come close? Probably, but close doesn't equal the that's it take I get when listening to my custom iems. Even loving them as I do, the mid bass bugs me just a little on certain tracks, and when I heard the universal JH13s at CanJam, I knew that I'd be getting the perfect set of iems for me in comfort, design, and sound quality. There's nothing overrated about that in my opinion.

Yes, and does that extra bit of improvement to get the 'that's it' take that you get make them generally worthwhile to the masses? I think not. As you said some universals come close, and that precisely is my point, ie, we have universals at a much lower cost that come close to top sounding customs. Great that people like you (and me) are prepared to pay much more for that 'small' improvement, but I think others will be disappointed to learn they didn't get that massive better SQ they were expecting. Yes, customs look great (though not everyone would agree) and to some extent they may be a status symbol, but that is NOT my concern here, although it certainly plays a part for a few people out there, I'm sure.

Others may think I'm crazy. That's fine. They are probably right, but as my lifestyle allows this personal kind of craziness without detriment to myself or others, I'm hoping a-live-and-let-live tolerance might be extended, especially when it comes to posting here on this forum. I would never dream of deciding what overrated means for anyone, unless someone's talking out his bum, having zero experience with what he's insisting (not the same as asking) is overrated. I would never dare suggest when the laws of diminishing returns kick in for any member, since that's highly personal, but I do find it interesting that there is a tendency for people to want to apply their own personal limits to others and then start judging from that place. One size does not fit all. That's all I'm saying. Happy listening.

That may very well be the case with you, and it's great YOU are happy and no harm is done to those around you, but that's not the/ my point. I'm happy with my ES3X. But that doesn't mean they may still be overrated.

I'm thinking more of those who read all of these customs threads, many of them (very) young members (and some not so young) who will think THAT is the next step, I'll get this massive improvement over (perhaps already) an expensive set of universals and now think 'I'll do anything I can to get my hands on those ES3X/ UE11/JH13'

The bits in red are my comments.
post #33 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post
Yes, customs look great (though not everyone would agree)
Actually, most people will confuse them with hearing aids, so the cool factor is rather... low.
post #34 of 467
I wouldn't use a single custom to describe every singe custom IEM, that's like using a SE530 or ER-4S to describe all universal IEMs or like using a SR-225 or a R10 to describe all dynamic headphones, etc. The ES3X might be a overrated IEM or have a bad price/performance ratio, but that doesn't mean that all custom IEMs do. Maybe you should try some cheap customs?
post #35 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by KONAKONA View Post
The ES3X might be a overrated IEM or have a bad price/performance ratio
I don't have it, but I've read threads comparing it to the UE10pro and UE11pro, and after reading the whole "neutral" versus "natural" essay in tetracapilosectomy, I came out with the impression that the ES3X beat both of its more expensive competitors.
post #36 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KONAKONA View Post
I wouldn't use a single custom to describe every singe custom IEM, that's like using a SE530 or ER-4S to describe all universal IEMs or like using a SR-225 or a R10 to describe all dynamic headphones, etc. The ES3X might be a overrated IEM or have a bad price/performance ratio, but that doesn't mean that all custom IEMs do. Maybe you should try some cheap customs?
Not sure you're talking about my comments, but in my original post I said:
Quote:
I honestly think that for most people the UM3X (or similar type of IEM) is a better investment than expensive (or even inexpensive - read $300-$400) customs. One obvious advantage is you can sell your second-hand Universal IEM's, specially the more sought-after types, whereas a set of customs has no re-sale value.
Basically, I still think 'lower'-priced IEM's are also overrated compared to similarly priced universals ($300-$400), but I think they wouldn't be as overrated as the more expensive customs.

And, don't forget you still may need to pay for ear molds, shipping and may need one or more re-fits.
post #37 of 467
amazing that so much discussion has gone into this thread. unfortunately, you cannot try out customs. taking their drivers out and putting into a universal only shows how possibly they may sound somehow, but not really.

the only way to actual understand how they sound, is by buying them which is a hard nut to swallow. however, i will say gladly and with full faith, that my custom experience is so far away and above any universal i have tried. nothing comes close. i have had fit problems though and that is a pain. waiting is a pain the the whole process costing about 450$ was a pain.

but, the sound is so perfect on my ct6 sleeks. i wish that i had decided to do this earlier rather than fiddling my way through all of the major fotm phones on headfi and a few offshoots of my own.

i would have saved perhaps 800-1000$ had i just gone for customs from the first.
post #38 of 467
HPA ranks his LW above the more expensive SE530. He also stated that he preferred the demo UE4pro (which he heard at Can Jam) over the TF10pro. Similarly, Jude said in his thread about the UE4pro that it sounded better than any universal IEM he'd ever tried.
post #39 of 467
I haven't tried any customs, but I'm having a hard time believing some of the claims about the ES3x. I have the UM3x- it's fantastic and I get a perfect seal with a variety of different tips. Superb isolation and comfort. It uses exactly the same drivers as the ES3x, according to Westone. When I asked what if anything was different or better about the ES3x, I was told that "the tube is larger, so the sound will mix differently before it hits your eardrum". Call me a doubter, but I'm having a hard time believing that this tiny difference in the diameter of the tube, and this tiny difference in the distance that the mixed sound will travel before hitting your eardrum could possible make a difference that I, or almost anyone, could hear. And for the huge price difference, the hassle of having customs made, and the total absence of resale value, there's no way I'm going to find out!
post #40 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post
Not sure you're talking about my comments, but in my original post I said:


Basically, I still think 'lower'-priced IEM's are also overrated compared to similarly priced universals ($300-$400), but I think they wouldn't be as overrated as the more expensive customs.

And, don't forget you still may need to pay for ear molds, shipping and may need one or more re-fits.
Of course you can sell your Customs, i always see people transfer their customs to someone elses impression for a fee which is lower than the MSRP of the Custom. Not many know about this or do this, but when you are planning to spend money on customs, i think you would take into consideration that you can't really "sell" your customs....
post #41 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaoDi View Post
i always see people transfer their customs to someone elses impression for a fee which is lower than the MSRP of the Custom
Really? Which companies offer this?
post #42 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaoDi View Post
Of course you can sell your Customs, i always see people transfer their customs to someone elses impression for a fee which is lower than the MSRP of the Custom. Not many know about this or do this, but when you are planning to spend money on customs, i think you would take into consideration that you can't really "sell" your customs....
Not sure what your point is and why you've quoted my last post - can't see the connection.

Re: selling one's customs - If, for example, Westone charge around $350 to re-do the ES3X's a few years down the line (plus price of new impressions & shipping), how much would someone have to sell their ES3X's for, then? If I paid $850 in the first place and you'd have to shell out about $400 before I even sold them to you, how much would I get when I sold them to you? Might also need a new cable, btw ($35-$40).
post #43 of 467
While it is impractical to sell your customs if you bought them from American Westones and UE (due to extremely high costs, as stated in above post), if you bought your customs from an Asian company like UM, selling your customs are much more practical.

They charge about 700 yuan, which is about 100 dollars, for the whole re-shelling process. I'm not sure whether the "1 month refit" guarantee works for cases when you decide to sell your customs to others. I've spent about 550 dollars total on getting a custom pair of triple-fis + additional mid-driver + 3 different custom cables, and if I can use them for 3 years and sell them for 250, I really wouldn't think that I was at much of a loss.

One of the reasons that I went with UM in the first place instead of UE4 is because of that reason - if in X years that I decide to go for a refit or sell my customs, I would have a much harder time with the UE4s than I would with the UM product (assuming they're still in business )
post #44 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post
The bits in red are my comments.
Eeek. That was hard to read, but I don't disagree with what you're saying. I also think we're looking at different definitions of the word overrated. I stand by my statement that it's a loaded word, and the question remains of who gets to determine what it even means.

You've keyed in on a basic issue for an audio forum with members of many different ages, income brackets, audio experience, and life circumstances that offers discussion about good gear ranging from under $25 (KSC75) to well over $30,000. I agree with you that it's worrisome that members, many quite younger, might be spending too much time wanting things that are really unnecessary, thinking what they have isn't good enough (it probably is), and even end up overspending to be disappointed through some crazy mix of unrealistic expectations and desire. I would never recommend very high-end custom iems to anyone in this situation, and actually try to steer them towards something excellent, but not as extravagant. At the same time, should there be a separate, invisible forum for people like me, who have been working hard for 30+ years (means), listening to audio equipment seriously for nearly that long, and want to talk about something that excites us on one of maybe two forums that has members who understand and share that excitement?

I dunno. I'm just cranky today. I do hear what you're saying, and maybe I'll rethink what responsible posting means, especially in the gear forums, but at the same time, I've heard what I've heard, know what I know, like what I like, and wonder why it's necessary, on a forum created to talk about high-end gear, that anyone should re-frame real impressions about gear (i.e, these iems are amazing and not overrated, which I rarely say) in order to not encourage foolish desire or spending in others. After looking at a couple cars I really wanted for a few months, I finally had to admit they weren't in my budget, and I'm now pleased with a basic sedan. It was fun fantasizing for awhile and a bit disappointing having to talk sense into myself, but as an adult, that's what you do. Maybe that's the skill we should be worrying about and encouraging some to develop, and let the talk about audio gear flow freely.

btw, I do think this is a great topic you're brought up. Lots to consider.....
post #45 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewF View Post
I haven't tried any customs, but I'm having a hard time believing some of the claims about the ES3x. I have the UM3x- it's fantastic and I get a perfect seal with a variety of different tips. Superb isolation and comfort. It uses exactly the same drivers as the ES3x, according to Westone. When I asked what if anything was different or better about the ES3x, I was told that "the tube is larger, so the sound will mix differently before it hits your eardrum". Call me a doubter, but I'm having a hard time believing that this tiny difference in the diameter of the tube, and this tiny difference in the distance that the mixed sound will travel before hitting your eardrum could possible make a difference that I, or almost anyone, could hear. And for the huge price difference, the hassle of having customs made, and the total absence of resale value, there's no way I'm going to find out!
i have had the sa6 and now the custom ct6 from sleek. they are worlds apart. the same must be true of the um3x and the es3x. the reason basically is bone conduction. with bone conduction. you don't only hear the sounds, but your ourter and inner ear feel the vibrations which are not dampened at all as with flanges and foams and even the custom ear pieces that you an build.

the tube is bigger and that probably makes a difference, but it also means that that big tube feeds more vibrations into the places that matter most. trust me, my sleek ct6 is leagues better than the se530 which costs more. if the se530 was housed in a nice custom, it would probably be a completely different animal.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated?