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Upgrading my IEM (or should I get a can?)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello! I currently use the Phonak PFE's and have been mostly satisfied, but it has a few shortcomings, like the lack of bass. I can't decide on upgrading my iem's or going for a full size can.

If I upgrade my iem, I'm currently looking at the Westone UM3X

I'm a bit overwhelmed by how many good quality full size headphones there are out there. Basically, the reason I am considering on getting a can over a iem is if it has superior sound quality to even the top tier universal iems, such as the se530, westone 3, westone um3x, and the triple.fi 10.

So if I spend the same price on a pair of cans as I would on any of those iem's, will the sound quality be significantly increased?


This is the type of music I listen too: Mostly European styled metal, all forms of it. Symphonic, power, folk, gothic, doom and many unique flavors of the bands own nationality and history. Most of the bands I listen to use at least 2 or more of the types of sound I listed above at once. So basically it covers all the spectrums of sound. Anything from a heavy power act ending in an insane quitar solo, to orhestra, to power ballads, orhestral ballads, male fronted and female fronted groups.
A few band examples: Kamelot, Delain, Draconian, Sonata Arctica, Tyr, Nightwish, etc etc...

The other types of music I listen too on occasion but not nearly as much is stuff like classic rock of america and some electronic (particularly psy-trance, ambient, etc.)
post #2 of 9
I think that it depends on how and where are you going to use your headphones/iems. I have similarly priced iems and cans, and from my point of view you get a better sq at full headphones for the same price.
Where do you listen to your music mostly?
post #3 of 9
the trouble with full-size (coming from IEMs) is that they need more power to move the bigger drivers. I prefer the sound of full-size cans but when you're buying a nice pair of full-size, plan on dropping some additional funds on an amp...so, in a way, you can't get the same SQ from full-size as from IEMs at same price.
post #4 of 9
This is a quite from the IEM guide posted in this forums:


"Is IEM worth the money?
This is a question you need to answer yourself.

It is often found that, when paying the same amount of money, headphone provides better SQ than IEM of the same price. However, IEM has certain advantage over headphone such as noise isolation and portability that should also be considered. You need to get your priority straight: Do you want the best in SQ, portability, or a bit of both? What, when, why, where, how do you going to use your 'phone will determine whether an IEM is best for you or not. Once the decision is being made, you need to figure out your budget limit. Do some research in the forum, don't rush in and post a thread asking for recommendation - more than often the question has been asked and those who have answered previously might not be in the mood to answer the same question twice (or the tenth times)."
post #5 of 9
UM3x are the best you can go for portability and for full size headphones like ESW9,W10 and HFI780 which are portable enough to carry arround. These fullsize headphones like W10 can easly exceed the UM3x in term of soundquality.
post #6 of 9
JVC HA-M750.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have decided to keep my phonaks and buy a small amp like the fiio E5 for it. I'm wanting to get a full size can for sure, so I will post in the other forum.
post #8 of 9

A Bass Boosting Amp like the FiiO E5...

...will really help out the bottom end on the Phonaks.

I would also recommend the BLACK filters, and these tips, the Silicone Bi-Flange for the RE's Series from HiFiMAN / HEAD-DIRECT. I'm finding my IEMs 'bump' quite well with these while keeping good mid and treble range. As well as the fact they're very comfortable and grip well.

Here's a LINK ---> http://head-direct.com/products.php?p=33

ENJOY! Especially the PFE's they're a great IEM of the BA (Balanced Armature) Type.
post #9 of 9

I agree with FLACvest, an amp with hardware bassboost can really change the PFEs. I have dynamic bassboost on my Cowon i9 which helped, and the Fiio E5 helped a bit more but just couldn't give the soundquality I wanted. Then I got the Arrow and it changed everything.

 

I use the grey filters for clarity, the black filters sound boring to me and I can't really say I hear a significant difference in bass. It just seems the amazing PFE mids fall away so the little bass that is there gets a chance to be heard. But that's just my take on it.

 

I also listen to psy-trance and various similar genres of music. The PFE is great for all the wacky layers and sounds, and a good amp (Arrow for me) can give it all the power to play those often really low basslines.

 

Fit/seal is also very important!

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