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Preparing for the the jump: Universal to Custom help

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So I'm really considering the jump from Westone 3 to at least using the UM56 with them, if not jumping ship to the ES3X or the UE 7 or UE10.

However, seeing as how head-fi has such a diverse community of audiophiles, I'd like to ask: In your opinion, what company produces the best Custom Monitors for the buck?

I tend to listen to different styles of music: Rock, hip-hop, R&B, Rap, Metal, Orchestral; you name it, I'll at least try to listen to it. The issue I have is that I like listen to the extremes, i.e. when I listen to Rap I like the Bass to be bumpin' and for Rock the guitar's to sound like I'm right next to them.

Money wise, I'm not saying I don't have a budget, but I know the UE18's and its contemporaries are out of the question (meaning please keep recommendations sub 1000.00 US)

I've looked into the ES3/X for Westone and the UE 7&10 for Ultimate Ears, but they are about the only two brands I know with Customs, so I'd like to get different opinion.

Thanks for the help!
post #2 of 17
If I were to get full customs I would probably go with JH.

JH AUDIO | Pro Music
post #3 of 17
I'm in a similar position as you, I have W3s with UM56 tips and will soon have IE8s. The UM56 are a great investment and will give you a small taste of what customs (at least mid-tier) may sound like. Ultimately I'd like to save up for JH13/11 or ES3x (if I can convince my wife that dropping a grand on earphones isn't totally insane!).

JH11s seem like a good deal in your budget--they've been called an improved UE11 and are currently $850. In your price range, it probably comes down to ES3x, JH11, JH10x3 or one of the lower range JHs. Here are some reviews I found helpful:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/r...e11pro-440051/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/r...nished-442422/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/r...11-pro-440715/

Livewires (now Fidelity Customs), ACS (T1) and Unique Melody (Mage, UM4) are other companies and customs that get solid reviews for the sub-$800 market.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by intoflatlines View Post
If I were to get full customs I would probably go with JH.

JH AUDIO | Pro Music
x2. Though the Earsonics EM3-Pro seems interesting too...
post #5 of 17
The EM3-pro as well as the ACS T1 are above $1000 range...
post #6 of 17
i say forget the um56 and go straight to custom if you are going down that path anyway. save you some precious listening time
post #7 of 17
I'd stay away from Fidelity/Livewires as the company is extremely shady.

My UM 6-driver customs were under $600. If the OP likes W3s, the JH11 should be the JHA model to consider.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel908 View Post
So I'm really considering the jump from Westone 3 to at least using the UM56 with them, if not jumping ship to the ES3X or the UE 7 or UE10.

However, seeing as how head-fi has such a diverse community of audiophiles, I'd like to ask: In your opinion, what company produces the best Custom Monitors for the buck?...please keep recommendations sub 1000.00 US
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post
I'm in a similar position as you, I have W3s with UM56 tips and will soon have IE8s. The UM56 are a great investment and will give you a small taste of what customs (at least mid-tier) may sound like...

...JH11s seem like a good deal in your budget...Livewires (now Fidelity Customs), ACS (T1) and Unique Melody (Mage, UM4) are other companies and customs that get solid reviews for the sub-$800 market.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kobayashi View Post
I'd stay away from Fidelity/Livewires as the company is extremely shady....
I also entered the IEM market on a budget and considered the UM56 (still am considering it).

I currently own 3 IEMs: JH13Pro recased by Unique Melody with MCX connectors (so I can use my Livewires (MCX terminated) Piccolino cable with them. Livewires T1s (my first personalised IEM) and Etymotic ER4Ps (currently with Apuresound cable but working on an adapter to also connect the MCX terminated Piccolino cable in).

I agree that at the lower end of the personalised market you do get a case of too much demand for a small operator leading to hassles for some (e.g. the comments on Livewires and Fidelity, which are 2 seperate (overworked, not shady IMHO) companies - but based on all I've read since they split I'd still more likely go with Livewires).

Unique Melody definitely do a great casing job and reviews do indicate the Mage is a very good investment.

That said, if you are happy with the sound signature of your generic IEM then why not go with the UM56 - that's what I'll be doing with my Etymotics if I'm happy when I've connected them with the Piccolino.

The underlying message here is that the market is at your feet in terms of options. UM56 with a preferred generic IEM will give improved comfort and a sound you are already happy with. Personalised IEMs give it all in one package and most operators will work with you till you get the right fit (THE key issue). The lower end generally requires more patience/ persistence/ communication/ work/ time to get the job done to your satisfaction.

And in case you're wondering, yes, I do use both the recased JH13s (almost every day) and the Livewires (whilst out in the yard at home), and I'm still deciding on the Etys AFTER I've got them cabled to their best possible performance - if they're also still 'great' IMHO then I'll UM56 them and use them as an alternate for the music I find they work best with for me (just like I use different headphones at different times ).
post #9 of 17
I wouldn't get ES3X as an upgrade to Westone 3. They are really not much of an upgrade if at all. I would go with 4 driver customs or higher. Unique Melody Mage seems like a great price/performance option right now.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post
I wouldn't get ES3X as an upgrade to Westone 3. They are really not much of an upgrade if at all. I would go with 4 driver customs or higher. Unique Melody Mage seems like a great price/performance option right now.
The TF18s aren't much more than the Mages. The Mages are focused on mids which doesn't seem to be what the OP is looking for.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by kobayashi View Post
The TF18s aren't much more than the Mages. The Mages are focused on mids which doesn't seem to be what the OP is looking for.
Yeah, those or Shure SE6X should also be good choices
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel908 View Post

So I'm really considering the jump from Westone 3 to at least using the UM56 with them, if not jumping ship to the ES3X or the UE 7 or UE10.

However, seeing as how head-fi has such a diverse community of audiophiles, I'd like to ask: In your opinion, what company produces the best Custom Monitors for the buck?

I tend to listen to different styles of music: Rock, hip-hop, R&B, Rap, Metal, Orchestral; you name it, I'll at least try to listen to it. The issue I have is that I like listen to the extremes, i.e. when I listen to Rap I like the Bass to be bumpin' and for Rock the guitar's to sound like I'm right next to them.

Money wise, I'm not saying I don't have a budget, but I know the UE18's and its contemporaries are out of the question (meaning please keep recommendations sub 1000.00 US)

I've looked into the ES3/X for Westone and the UE 7&10 for Ultimate Ears, but they are about the only two brands I know with Customs, so I'd like to get different opinion.

Thanks for the help!

Did you ever make a jump to customs? I'm thinking about making the transition myself and am uncertain about when exactly the time would be to transition over to custom. I'd love to hear any thoughts from those who have them!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnonweiler View Post
 

Did you ever make a jump to customs? I'm thinking about making the transition myself and am uncertain about when exactly the time would be to transition over to custom. I'd love to hear any thoughts from those who have them!


The time is now. Where is the postman? What BA IEMs do you have in your collection? What is Kaysen's email address? What is Inearz street address?

post #14 of 17
I have 3 sets of customs as well. I have some Stax SR-003 with ear molds from Starkey, reshelled TF-10's by iNEarz, and Heir 8a's. I use the SR-003 at home, usually while reading and winding down from the day. I use the TF-10's with a BlueAnt ribbon and a Galaxy S4 for "out and about" listening. I use the Heir's for just about everything else (listening at work while doing paperwork , doing testing in the lab, on the airplane or in airports etc.). I like all 3. I was not a basshead until I found out that if the bass is pumped a bit the sound at lower volumes is much more "balanced". To me the reshelled TF-10's were a bargain. But, once I got the Heir's there was no turning back. The Heir's are that good. The easiest way to tell is to not listen to them for a while and then have a serious session with them. It reminds me of why I do not feel it was not worth the money. Since Heir is no longer run by Dr. Moulton I might also look at a company called Noble Audio. For what it is worth, the primary reason to me for customs is comfort.
post #15 of 17

I'm considering the same jump to customs, but at a lower price point than the OP. Could anybody comment on any hassle associated with putting in customs. I listen for short time periods (30-45 minutes) several times a day. Regular IEM's are no hassle. Would customs be easier or more hassle? 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Preparing for the the jump: Universal to Custom help