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IEMs vs Portables

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
With the recent influx of new universals, as well as new custom monitors, it seems like IEMs have taken center stage over portables, at least as far as attention goes. Question is, have high end IEMs surpassed high end portables as far as sound quality is concerned?
post #2 of 33
In the case of ES3X, JH13 etc, I'm guessing yes. As far as universals go, I'm guessing no, because of the ESW10 etc.
post #3 of 33
I can already tell you that none of the supposedly high end universals I own (W3, IE8, Earsonics SM2) are significantly superior to the Shure SRH840 I currently have on the head. Since the latter are roughly equivalent to the ESW9 in terms of overall average SQ, and given that the ESW10, ES10 and Edition 8 are still considered better, then logically I'd deduce that universals are still behind high end portable headphones .

According to my readings, top end customs on the other hand compete on an equal footing with top end full sized cans - they might be better on some aspects, and worse on others, but overall they're targeted for different purposes and both have their advantages and inconvenient.
post #4 of 33
I've owned the ESW10, and they are indeed wonderful. I would never take them out of the house though, as they were spendy, and beautiful. I currently own W3's, I've owned UM3X's, TF10's, SE530's. They all give the ESW10 a good run, and are much more convenient when on the move. For truly portable use, my vote goes to IEM's.

As to customs, no experience, no comment.
post #5 of 33
It's more of a personal preference thing.....no way to say in absolute terms one is better
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
^Portability, comfort, convenience are all relative. Sound quality...well...that's relative too.
But hey, there wouldn't be much of a headfi if people didn't try to qualify SQ, least sofar as it can be qualified objectively.
post #7 of 33
Yea they are made for different purposes. Overall you can get better sound from portables and full sized cans but I solely use IEMs because of the portability that IEMs give. Excellent sound and total isolation from the outside world is the sell for me.
post #8 of 33
Actually I'm in a dilemma that can be summed up by the OP's post. I'm biffing and boffing between getting the ESW10jpn or getting TF10s and going custom with a driver or the Unique Melody quad driver Mage. Was almost set on the custom IEM route till I spent more time with the ESW10jpn. Problem is isolation isn't as fantastic with the ESW10jpn.

And isolation is where IEMs especially customs kill it.

Honestly I don't think there's a clear answer. Its pretty tough.

For me I've been looking at something that can be used on the move and when stationary: at the library, cafes etc.

On the move on trains and buses and airplanes - IEMs rule the roost. But when you sit down and want great sound quality from what I've heard so far I think the top end portables still reign supreme. Unless of course you're talking about the JH13 - but then again I've yet to try it so I can't say much.
post #9 of 33
I think high-end IEMs like UM3X, Tirple.fi SE530, etc are generally comparable to ESW10 in sound quality. The ESW10 costs much more because of it's beautiful design and because its rare IMO.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post
I think high-end IEMs like UM3X, Tirple.fi SE530, etc are generally comparable to ESW10 in sound quality. The ESW10 costs much more because of it's beautiful design and because its rare IMO.
I disagree. As for UM3X, to my ears it sounds much worse then my PX100, and in general, none of the universal fit IEMs come even close to best portables. (based on G1A impressions, which is probably not the best portable, but still beats them all easily). My ranking is in my signature.
post #11 of 33
Portability is key for me. Isolation second.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lelek45 View Post
I disagree. As for UM3X, to my ears it sounds much worse then my PX100, and in general, none of the universal fit IEMs come even close to best portables. (based on G1A impressions, which is probably not the best portable, but still beats them all easily). My ranking is in my signature.
I prefer my IE8's hands down over my PX100's.
post #13 of 33
PX100 barely keeps up with reasonably-priced IEMs. Compared to anything at the level of the RE0 or higher is just sounds like a muddy mess. I've always like the PX100 but it's just outclassed in every way by most mid-range IEMs. Even moving up in the Senn range the HD238 cannot match the clarity and resolution of ~$100 IEMs and the HD25 loses to ~$200 ones easily.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
^True enough. I mean I love my ksc75s, and they are great fun, but even the lowly M6 beats them in some respects. But what about the high end portables, a la the audio technica esw10? - basically the portables that cost as much as the high end universals and low end customs. That's what I was wondering about in the first place when I made this thread.
post #15 of 33
Well as I said, my IE8, W3 and SM2 are roughly equivalent to my Shure SRH840 in overall SQ : they do some things better, others worse.

So since they're all pretty much at the top of the universal IEM game, I suppose that the ESW10 and ES10 (and probably Edition 8 as well), which are all a class above the SRH840, are better than those high end IEMs, though I cannot say anything about the magnitude of the difference.
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