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Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated? - Page 7  

post #91 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzyfi View Post

Yes, it is quite surprising to me that nowadays a lot of youngsters has the money to buy custom. I put my ES3X in the for sale forum and I got a lot of reaction from students as young as 16 years old. How the hell do they get their money? When I was 16, I was freaking happy if I can buy a cassette tape with my allowance.

And what makes it worst is that they don't realize that their ear is still growing, custom will be a waste of money. They need to refit every year.
 



 

 

thats the evil/greatness of this hobby/website. people will spend money on things they never in their wildest drreams thought they would ever need/want before coming here. before you know it, youve tried dozens of headphones/amps/sources and you just keep working your way up to the top (customs for IEM and the flagships for full size)

getting 16s were totally out of my price range but i had been researching/trying different things and just figured, i am now upgrade proof.  i no longer have any urge to try any other IEM and in the long run, that might have saved me moeny from buying and selling after trying new ones out.
 

 

post #92 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

 

This thread is mostly about high-end customs and I've changed the thread title to "Are (High-end) Custom IEMs Overrated?". At the time I created this thread two years ago most customs were $850+. These days one can get customs that are a lot cheaper. How good are they? I've no idea. Most reports of the JH5, for instance, say they are very good. But, you still face the prospect of low re-sale value, possible re-fits, a visit to an audiologist (or two as in my case), extra shipping costs, and living outside the US can make things a lot more expensive not just because of much higher shipping costs but often added (high) import duty & taxes.
 
The best universal IEM I've heard, the Sony MDR-EX1000, cost me $500+, but in the US they can now be had for $400. It's not uncommon that prices of universal IEMs drop within a few months after a new IEM is released. The same can't be said of customs, ie prices generally remain unchanged. 
 
Here's a review of the EX1000 by someone who cannot be accused of shilling or marketing. The reviewer happens to compare the EX1000 to the JH16 and he never says the JH16 blows the EX1000 out of the water. He doesn't even say the JH16 is necessarily a better IEM. I've been told before "You only know your ES3X and haven't heard the JH13 or JH16". Both JH customs may turn out to be better sounding than my ES3X or just have a different flavour. I've no idea and have no intention to get either the JH13 / JH16 / ES5 / UE18, etc.
 
When I made enquiries lat year about the possibility of 'upgrading' to the Westone ES5, I was told by a Variphone (Westone's distributor in Europe) technician that the 'upgrade', in his view, was not worth it and that he personally preferred the ES3X. He said that a triple-driver IEM already covered the whole frequency range very effectively and also that there were fewer chances of (future) issues due to the more complex design involving the use of more drivers in the ES5. He also said he recommended the ES3X to most musicians.

 

This thread is about value IMO, which is a personal thing.  For some people, spending extra on something better (by how much is debatable) is worth it, usually the majority of others it is not.

 

My big issue with this thread is the data points people are using to come to a conclusion.  Some people with one custom IEM are answering the question and making it sound like it is an absolute.  There have been points and counter points, here is my 0.02 (again):

- I own custom IEMs that cost more than $1K and around $500 to $600.  There is a fairly significant different to me between the two groups, not necessarily in overall technical ability, but in enjoyment of the final product due to the finer things the more expensive products do better.  Well, three of the 5 I have in the "expensive" range are like that.

- It seems the JH13/JH16 have started the "huge difference" vs. overrated debate and I have not heard the JH16 except when I shoved it in my ear with someone else's ear mold before sending it off for a reshell, which I am still waiting for.

- Just like with any headphone, synergy is huge.  For example, I have one custom that sounds poor to me from my iPhone but great from my Clip+, and I have yet another that is the opposite.  If I were to judge based on the one source with poor synergy, my experience would be very bad.

 

And that is an interesting data point about the linked review above.  I am eagerly awaiting the JH16 reshell so I can see what all the discussion is really about (and I feel confident with a reshell since JHA seems to not get it right a good amount of time).  If that is truly the case that the EX1000 technically is on the same level as the JH16, that is a fantastic accomplishment and a good step forward for the whole industry.  @ music, I am glad you have found something you like and while I have not wanted to hear any universals again, maybe I should grab an EX1000 for perspective.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzyfi View Post

Hmm.. I'm not sure which technician you did talk to. I did an upgrade from ES3X to ES5 and the difference is noticeable. I'm a musician and I still have both ES3X and ES5 until now (Variphone made).

The ES5 is more neutral than the ES3X. The ES3X has more forward mid than the ES5 and a lot of musician (except bassist maybe? Any bassist can confirm this?) tend to like the ES3X for monitoring purpose because of its properties. But for final mixing the ES5 is better in terms of neutrality.


Is one "better" than the other technically, and other than presentation, what are the other differences?  Is one more detailed, or smoother, more dynamic, or more spacious for example?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bledig View Post

Hi guys,

 

I got a JH16 half a year ago and honestly .... what a total waste of money!!! (oh god i am gonna be flamed)

Seriously it's good but i don't hear the angels

and the hassle is insane. i have to send it back, they are slow, the thing is a horrible fit at first

then when i send it back they just use the old molds, when it comes back it's so much better (it looks totally remolded not just shaved)

so it's simply just bad quality control! For a USD1k earphones i expected a lot more!

 

Just a note that i am simply an amateur music lover and i just want to enjoy music. When i got SE530 as my first bud i was blown away!

It's freaking amazing coming from apple stocks. And i read here that se530 is just meh compared to JH16

So i saved up, sold my se530...and i get this..>quarter a year of sending the thing to and fro...and even with the fit being better...it's just good.

It put me off so much that i ended up not even using it much...

 

So to answer you...500usd earbuds will bring you to that 90-95%...if you insist on that 99% which is isn't even guaranteed, then by all means

And i am not talking about video game world of warcraft/diablo last 4% which changes everything but an evenly distributed, heart-wrenching 4%

 

Last words, caveat emptor, and if i can go back i would rather spend the money on 2-3 very good universal earbuds for the imperfect (to earphone connoisseur) adventure

 

edit : to add on, isolations are NOT that amazing, even after refit (i emphasize that it fit snugly). even the manual says -26decibels. The triflanges(cut to biflanges for comfort) is a lot better.Although... i heard about rubbery soft ACS customs...no, i must not be tempted!

 

 

Experience and expectations can play into perception.  I respect your opinion that for you, it is a waste of $.  Here is what I think are important factors for reading a review and determining if it is a strong data point for you or just something to read.

 

Also, it seems that most on here with what is considered high end customs here have either a Westone or JHA custom IEM while there are so many more options out there.  I believe it is familiarity that has lead people to their buying decisions along with some glowing reviews.

post #93 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffroyroycole View Post

Changing the thread title is like, as they say in the NFL, "moving the goal posts." But it does do one thing, it means anyone who hasn't heard a high-end custom can pretty much stay out of the discussion. After all, to answer that question one way or the other means you would need some experience in the matter. I don't, so I leave it up to those who do.


This thread is mostly, but NOT exclusively, about high-end customs. I believe some of the points I make in my opening post are relevant to lower-priced customs - eg comfort, fit, isolation, re-sale value, re-fits (and the likely added frustration), extra shipping costs, and, yes, even SQ. But obviously lower priced-customs, from a price perspective, would not be as overrated as their high-end counterparts.

 

This is probably also true of universals, where the differences between some $150-$200 IEMs aren't as big as some of the $350+ top-tiers. But, like I said already, at least one can sell universal IEMs and not lose that much money in the process.

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/2/11 at 7:52am
post #94 of 467

The ES3X feels less detailed because it has mid forward presentation so you tend to keep more attention on the mid. The ES5 is very neutral, no frequency bump so you can pick up every detail in every frequency range. The bass is also improved in the ES5 (different driver than ES3X), it handles low frequency really well. I can't say it is smoother or more dynamic or anything. It is just replicating the source faithfully.

 

I like the overall presentation of the ES5 more because of the neutrality. But as what I already mentioned, some people like ES3X more for monitoring purpose, my vocalist is one of them.

One thing for sure, I know when it sounded right on my ES5 it will sound right for the audience. That is the most important factor of custom IEM for me.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Is one "better" than the other technically, and other than presentation, what are the other differences?  Is one more detailed, or smoother, more dynamic, or more spacious for example?

 



 

post #95 of 467
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 

This thread is about value IMO, which is a personal thing.  For some people, spending extra on something better (by how much is debatable) is worth it, usually the majority of others it is not.

 

My big issue with this thread is the data points people are using to come to a conclusion.  Some people with one custom IEM are answering the question and making it sound like it is an absolute.  There have been points and counter points, here is my 0.02 (again):

- I own custom IEMs that cost more than $1K and around $500 to $600.  There is a fairly significant different to me between the two groups, not necessarily in overall technical ability, but in enjoyment of the final product due to the finer things the more expensive products do better.  Well, three of the 5 I have in the "expensive" range are like that.

- It seems the JH13/JH16 have started the "huge difference" vs. overrated debate and I have not heard the JH16 except when I shoved it in my ear with someone else's ear mold before sending it off for a reshell, which I am still waiting for.

- Just like with any headphone, synergy is huge.  For example, I have one custom that sounds poor to me from my iPhone but great from my Clip+, and I have yet another that is the opposite.  If I were to judge based on the one source with poor synergy, my experience would be very bad.

 

And that is an interesting data point about the linked review above.  I am eagerly awaiting the JH16 reshell so I can see what all the discussion is really about (and I feel confident with a reshell since JHA seems to not get it right a good amount of time).  If that is truly the case that the EX1000 technically is on the same level as the JH16, that is a fantastic accomplishment and a good step forward for the whole industry.  @ music, I am glad you have found something you like and while I have not wanted to hear any universals again, maybe I should grab an EX1000 for perspective.

 


 

The points I've been trying to make in this thread from the start is that there is, in my view, a wrong perception of the huge benefits one gets from a custom IEM.
 
No doubt some will be willing to pay $500 - $1000 extra for a small improvement in SQ. I, for instance, do not believe in the benefits of expensive aftermarket cables, and some people have reported not hearing a difference in SQ at all with such cables; yet others are willing to spend $300+ on them, sometimes even A LOT more as in the case of the Piccolino cables. Some of the people who speak of the benefits of such cables speak of marginal improvements, others of significant improvements, yet others hear NO improvement whatsoever.
 
You speak about synergies and about the fact that I and others only own one set of customs as if somewhat invalidating our views. My sense is the synergy you speak about isn't as significant as you claim.
 
I remember when I purchased the very expensive Sony X1061 mp3 player, some of the reviews/impressions said that it was a huge improvement over the iPod Classic. I bought the Sony X and did hear an improvement, but it was nowhere near what some had claimed - not by a very long shot. I believe it is exactly the same case with the debate of customs vs top-tier universals. A similar case I found when I purchased the $400 RSA Mustang portable amp - I bought it based on some reviews that spoke of significant improvements in SQ. I learned my lesson. And it seems I wasn't the only one who found no such improvement with the Mustang.
 
The way you, average_joe, described the impressive sonic qualities of the SM3s actually made go and purchase them almost one year ago only to be hugely disappointed and found them to be a fairly mediocre sounding IEM. That doesn't invalidate all you're saying - specially for those who think the SM3 is a great universal IEM - but in my particular case, when I read your views on some IEMs - for example after you stated that your custom EM3 pro is 35% better SQ-wise than your SM3 - I take your comments with a huge grain of salt. I also believe you stated that the IE8's SQ improved after many, many hours of burn-in. I personally found that not to be the case. Again, when I read average_joe's views I cannot personally rely on them, though I don't completely ignore them. BTW, I suggest you do not get the EX1000, at least not based on my take on them. I loved the UM3X and when you tried it, if I remember correctly, you thought it was a dull and too in-your-head sounding and much preferred your SM3. So, in your case, definitely best not to purchase anything based on music_4321's impressions. It is very clear you and I hear things very differently.
 
I am of the opinion that there are other factors/variables that come into play when we state IEM 'A' is better than IEM 'B'. Some of these factors are psychological - and these are largely ignored -, others, like listening at different times of the day or having had music/noise overload prior to comparing or listening to a new IEM, are not.
 
The main premise of my opening post is that the average HF'ier may be easily misled into thinking that customs will provide a huge improvement in SQ, fit, isolation & comfort. The differences in SQ are often difficult to measure and possibly what you call 35% may, to many people, amount to 10%.
 

Edited by music_4321 - 6/2/11 at 8:42am
post #96 of 467

Oops, just posted something in the JH16 thread that should be here.

 

 

Basically that "refits" are an absolute KILLER to any profitability so that must be factored into the cost.  I hear of very few JH5 refits but many higher level customs with multiple drivers, dual, triple bores, etc.  It is obviously more difficult to get "right".  If this were not the case JH13/16 would be in the $600-700 range IMHO.  I am actually saying this in the manufacturer's defense.

 

There is zero margin for error with a custom but fit is not even an issue with a universal.  Only defects... so a universal will always be priced more cost effective.


Edited by Spyro - 6/2/11 at 11:59am
post #97 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Oops, just posted something in the JH16 thread that should be here.

 

 

Basically that "refits" are an absolute KILLER to any profitability so that must be factored into the cost.  I hear of very few JH5 refits but many higher level customs with multiple drivers, dual, triple bores, etc.  It is obviously more difficult to get "right".  If this were not the case JH13/16 would be in the $600-700 range IMHO.  I am actually saying this in the manufacturer's defense.

 

There is zero margin for error with a custom but fit is not even an issue with a universal.  Only defects... so a universal will always be priced more cost effective.



That's definitely not true. I've read posts from a number of people who said they needed to send in their low-end customs for a refit. I'm one of them.

 

There are just more people who buy the high-end (and are vocal about it) so it seems like it's more. It's certainly more related to having taken good impressions than anything else. Because if you think about it - it doesn't make any sense that the number of drivers would affect the fit. They don't shape the drivers, then make the shell around them. They make the shell, then cram all the stuff inside. That doesn't affect the outside, it could only affect the sound, but they tweak that afterwards.

 

The price has more to do with marketing and research. Of course the parts don't cost so much extra. I was reading a comment a few days ago about the HD800. The parts probably don't cost more than $40 more than the HD600. But the cans cost 4x as much. Why? Because there was more R&D, because are people willing to pay it, and because the price will drop. The latter's less of an issue for customs. Do you think they're overrated? That's for you to decide. But it still doesn't mean the price is an accurate reflection of cost to manufacture.

 

But claiming that fit issues are somehow tied to the complexity of the internals just doesn't at all line up with what I've seen or heard.

post #98 of 467

Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post

It is very clear you and I hear things very differently.

 
I am of the opinion that there are other factors/variables that come into play when we state IEM 'A' is better than IEM 'B'. Some of these factors are psychological - and these are largely ignored -, others, like listening at different times of the day or having had music/noise overload prior to comparing or listening to a new IEM, are not.
 
The main premise of my opening post is that the average HF'ier may be easily misled into thinking that customs will provide a huge improvement in SQ, fit, isolation & comfort. The differences in SQ are often difficult to measure and possibly what you call 35% may, to many people, amount to 10%.


Man, this is a circular discussion.  Once again, we have established we hear things differently.  With that the case, why can't my difference be 35% (which I was asked to quantify and did not want to do so)?  How would you know if we hear differently?

 

Speaking of variable, have you read this: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541494/custom-iem-resource-thread-summary-reviews-info-custom-iem-manufacturers#post_7302116?  It seems like you have not, which is my take and what I consider during my reviews.  You can also read how I go about performing my reviews here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541494/custom-iem-resource-thread-summary-reviews-info-custom-iem-manufacturers#post_7302112

 

Like or hate my reviews, believe me or don't, that is your choice.  Different listening conditions, sources, music, and interest level in the music will affect the perception of improvement from one piece of gear to the next and differer from one person to another.  And perspective changes with each new experience.  As Cliff said, this argument is going nowhere as it can't be resolved because it is yes for you and no for me and no measurements or arguments can change that, only experience.  

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Oops, just posted something in the JH16 thread that should be here.

 

 

Basically that "refits" are an absolute KILLER to any profitability so that must be factored into the cost.  I hear of very few JH5 refits but many higher level customs with multiple drivers, dual, triple bores, etc.  It is obviously more difficult to get "right".  If this were not the case JH13/16 would be in the $600-700 range IMHO.  I am actually saying this in the manufacturer's defense.

 

There is zero margin for error with a custom but fit is not even an issue with a universal.  Only defects... so a universal will always be priced more cost effective.


Just curious where you got the data to support this?

 

post #99 of 467
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

  As Cliff said, this argument is going nowhere as it can't be resolved because it is yes for you and no for me and no measurements or arguments can change that, only experience.  

 


I'm afraid I fail to understand the above statement.

 

I do know, however, you have a thread dedicated to discussing different custom IEMs and that in the last few months you've really been getting into these types of IEMs. It's obvious to me you're not only happy with customs, but have taken an above-average interest in them - good for you. I have no interest or intention to take part in your thread and express my views that customs are largely overrated for the average HF'ier. I don't know, either, if you get (generous) discounts or free sets in order to talk about or review some of these products, some of which are made by rather obscure companies - I'm not interested to find out whether this is the case or not. 

 

I do NOT believe that, as you suggest, it's a matter of experience for me to change my mind - you keep hinting at the fact that I only own one set of customs, which, in your view, are probably not so good as they're probably too similar to the UM3X, a universal IEM you didn't particularly enjoy. This would also imply that other people would need to get several pairs of customs to perhaps finally come to the conclusion that they're ultimately not worth the hype. The only problem with your suggestion is that other people would have to spend quite a bit of money before they might ultimately say "customs are not worth it (or appropriate) for most people".

 

I've read enough posts - not zillions, mind you - by people who own other expensive customs and who seem to share some of my thoughts. They don't say "customs are overrated", but they don't hype them either when discussing their sonic qualities, fit, comfort, seal and so on. Some of these people have more than one set of these expensive IEMs and, generally speaking, they're the sort of people willing to spend quite a bit of money in order to get minimal increments in SQ or just have the luxury of having different 'sound signature flavours', much like those who can afford and own different sets of (expensive) full-sized headphones. However, these people are not your average HF'ier, they're also not in their (late) teens or even in their 20s, AND they are well aware of the "law of diminishing returns".

 

 

 


Edited by music_4321 - 6/3/11 at 12:14am
post #100 of 467

music, again, you missed my point, conversation over.

post #101 of 467



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonsofquestions View Post





 

 

There are just more people who buy the high-end (and are vocal about it) so it seems like it's more. It's certainly more related to having taken good impressions than anything else. Because if you think about it - it doesn't make any sense that the number of drivers would affect the fit. They don't shape the drivers, then make the shell around them. They make the shell, then cram all the stuff inside. That doesn't affect the outside, it could only affect the sound, but they tweak that afterwards.

Well, that doesn't make sense in my case.

 

I took impressions, sent to JH.  They made JH5's which fit perfect!  2 months later they used same impressions to make JH13.  Not as good a fit as with JH5 but still fine.  Slight issue with right channel but not enought to warrant a re-fit.  Because of this worry, I sent my JH5 in for them to model my JH16's.  Should be a no-brainer, right?  JH16 had even worse problem with right side.

 

So basically, I took great impressions but the higher up the ladder I went the more problems I had.  But yes, this was just my experience.

post #102 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by iponderous View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post
Course. A professional photographer's livelihood which depends on his pictures can justify a 10k camera. 90% of this forum do not need a nice headphone but dammit, we aspire towards that goal
A studio recording engineer doesn't require a set of JH13 PRO's, HD800's or PS1000's to record and mix music but we do in order to listen and appreciate it fully.


As a studio engineer myself I can say that this is a ridiculous statement. An engineer might have  a listen to how a mix sounds on a set of can's but none of them are required to make a quality recording OR to "listen and fully appreciate" the music. Most mixes & listening are done on a variety of quality studio monitor's which almost NEVER have multiple drivers for the same frequency band! The only reason to use multiple drivers is to increase sound pressure level with low distortion. ie PA's not headphone's .. the high end IEM multi driver thang really is BS. The aim should be to reproduce accurately what was recorded and intended by the engineers, not claim superiority through driver number wars or in this case isolation wars. The quality of the drivers and crossover plus to a lesser extent the enclosure will determine how successful the speaker/headphone is in accurately reflecting the engineer's intent.

 

More on topic I would therefore say, on a certain budget, if you can get good isolation/seal (enclosure) happening then more spent on quality drivers and crossover is more important that the enclosure differences.

 

So go for universal iems for the money (often same drivers & crossover as the twice as expensive customs)

 


Edited by ASG - 6/3/11 at 9:17am
post #103 of 467

You know ... personally (and I've discussed this with owners of "customs") I believe a good "squish and insert" foam universal (like Shure black olives or the "comply" tips from Westone) will offer a better seal (strictly noise isolation) than most customs, allowing for the fact that you have somewhat normal shaped ear canals. Reason being and according to my own experience, they expand and maintain a constant slight pressure against all of your inner ear canal's surfaces. I get ZERO leak, EVER no matter what I do with my mouth and ... (something I figure is also good about "customs") ... I never have to adjust them once they are inserted. I can go all day and never have to touch them a single time. I love that. The silicon tips I've tried not only don't sound as good to me but they would constantly slide out of my ears and I'd have to press them back in every five minutes or so. Annoying.

 

I'm not even slightly interested in customs. The Shure tips I use and the Comply tips I use have lasted well over a year now as I simply wash them whenever they get funky and the isolation is about as good as it could get, I think (Shure's a bit more than the Complys).

 

I wish JH would sell universal variants of their JH13 and JH16 IEM's as I'm sort of interested in trying those out some day but I don't want the custom thing. Does anybody know if JH Audio *does* in fact sell universal variants?

 

post #104 of 467
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASG View Post




As a studio engineer myself I can say that this is a ridiculous statement. An engineer might have  a listen to how a mix sounds on a set of can's but none of them are required to make a quality recording OR to "listen and fully appreciate" the music. Most mixes & listening are done on a variety of quality studio monitor's which almost NEVER have multiple drivers for the same frequency band! The only reason to use multiple drivers is to increase sound pressure level with low distortion. ie PA's not headphone's .. the high end IEM multi driver thang really is BS. The aim should be to reproduce accurately what was recorded and intended by the engineers, not claim superiority through driver number wars or in this case isolation wars. The quality of the drivers and crossover plus to a lesser extent the enclosure will determine how successful the speaker/headphone is in accurately reflecting the engineer's intent.

 

More on topic I would therefore say, on a certain budget, if you can get good isolation/seal (enclosure) happening then more spent on quality drivers and crossover is more important that the enclosure differences.

 

So go for universal iems for the money (often same drivers & crossover as the twice as expensive customs)

 


 

hmmmm, you do realize that this is EXACTLY why they were implemented in iems, which have their roots in stage monitoring as well right? also so that they could be fed a hot mix of live channels and not clip so easily (more headroom). they are also dual driver units, in my jh13 there is 3 x dual drivers with a 3 way crossover, not 6 x single drivers. i agree in a limited manner with the driver war thing, particularly with the new cheaper add 3 drivers and a dynamic subwoofer to your existing triple driver iem thing.

 

also i guess i'll just agree to disagree with the enclosure comment, they are massively important to the resulting sound quality with speakers, as are transducers and i dont use an actual XO, give me biamped digital anyday

 


Edited by qusp - 6/3/11 at 9:48am
post #105 of 467
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

You know ... personally (and I've discussed this with owners of "customs") I believe a good "squish and insert" foam universal (like Shure black olives or the "comply" tips from Westone) will offer a better seal (strictly noise isolation) than most customs, allowing for the fact that you have somewhat normal shaped ear canals. Reason being and according to my own experience, they expand and maintain a constant slight pressure against all of your inner ear canal's surfaces. I get ZERO leak, EVER no matter what I do with my mouth and ... (something I figure is also good about "customs") ... I never have to adjust them once they are inserted. I can go all day and never have to touch them a single time. I love that. The silicon tips I've tried not only don't sound as good to me but they would constantly slide out of my ears and I'd have to press them back in every five minutes or so. Annoying.

 

I'm not even slightly interested in customs. The Shure tips I use and the Comply tips I use have lasted well over a year now as I simply wash them whenever they get funky and the isolation is about as good as it could get, I think (Shure's a bit more than the Complys).

 

I wish JH would sell universal variants of their JH13 and JH16 IEM's as I'm sort of interested in trying those out some day but I don't want the custom thing. Does anybody know if JH Audio *does* in fact sell universal variants?

 

 


Funnily enough I have the exact opposite experience to yours regarding the use of foam & silicone tips. In my particular case the soft grey (single-flange) silicone Shure/Westone tips always provided the best comfort, seal and SQ. I know there are a lot of people like you who get the best results with foam/Comply tips. In my case I could also go on for hours on end with my universal UM3X & W4s and the same goes for my new EX1000s, but the Westones did provide better isolation.
 
The interesting thing, too, is that I was first puzzled by the fact that quite a few people seemed to favour foam tips over silicone tips for best SQ. It wasn't until I got my custom ES3X that, at least in my case, I found out I was indeed using the right tips all along, ie the soft silicone tips did provide the best SQ. If I'd only used foam tips - and the original UM3Xs only came with Comply tips - I would have found my ES3X significantly better sounding and probably would've thought that was the result of having paid more than twice as much. Luckily I had some extra silicone tips from my previous W3s. The importance of getting a good fit (with the right tips) with universals cannot be overstated. At least that is something that does frequently come up in most universal IEM threads.
 
As for JHA selling/making universal versions of their JH13/JH16, they do not make them, but I did read something a few months ago that apparently they were considering introducing JHA universals. Whether they'll be able to cram 6/8 drivers into a universal housing is another matter. Currently only Westone have the W4 that houses 4 drivers in each shell (2 lows, 1 mid, 1 high).

 

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