Massive, massive thread and extremely helpful!
I have the Philips SHE3580 and I generally love their sound for hip hop, r'n'b, electronic music... they do seem to get a little muddled in faster more noisier music
What models would be a significant upgrade over them but still retaining the same sound signature?
Also what's your preferred tips with SHE3580?
I would go for the JVC FXT90 but it really depends on what you're willing to spend and where you want to see improvement.
I am using some Meelec M6 bi-flanges on my 3580 but it's pretty forgiving of different tips and sounds good to me even with the stock ones.
The UE900 has slightly nicer (though smaller) mids and better treble sparkle than my Shure SE535. However, the UE900 doesn't isolate well enough for the truck and doesn't have enough bass energy (at low volume) to overcome the noise. I was concerned that the UE900's treble would eventually be fatiguing for me. I'm returning the UE900 later today.
Having stated that, unfortunately, it appears that I've contracted upgraditis. At $500, I wouldn't even hesitate to get the IQ. At over $900 however, I have concerns.
Is the IQ vented and does that effect isolation?
Shure tips should fit the IQ, right? (If so, that's a definite plus)
I want a similar treble sparkle as the UE900. Is treble sparkle present with the IQ using the Etymotic triple-flange tips? Are the Ety tips of similar thickness as the Shures?
You mentioned sub-bass roll-off being similar to your preliminary assessment of the IE800. I assume the IE800 has heavier bass presence? How would you briefly compare the IE800 and IQ in midrange clarity and soundstage?
I'm not sure if that's a vent on the IQ but the isolation is average for a high-end monitor. It's better than with the K3003 or IE800, though. The IE 800 isolates pretty poorly.
Shure tips fit but my Shure gray flex sleeves (which I normally like) sounded pretty bad. The IQ has way more treble than the UE 900 with the stock tips or with the shure flex sleeves. I found some other tips that work decently well but most just sound bad.
The IE 800 has some strange ringing in the treble, there's a lot of treble energy and slow decay. The treble actually sounds brighter and more splashy than that of my IQ. The bass is heavier with the Sennheiser, but not by much. Soundstaging and clarity are very good - I would say the IE 800 beats the IQ in soundstaging and keeps up with it in clarity.
From my experience, the stock tips and silicone ones have plenty of sibilance but are still listenable for me. It's the Complys that sounds horrendous in the treble region to my ears!!
Complys are well known for dampening a good a mount of highs, which makes them sibilance free most of the time, but it shocked me when I try Complys with the IQs, the treble is even brighter than other tips, they sound extremely harsh and unbearable to me!
Though I found the IQ don't really sound terrible, but they are overpriced and don't sound good to me, the bass and treble are too much for my taste, which is fine but in these regards, I prefer the IE800 overall.
I tried both of them with ZuneHD and iTouch gen 3 + iQube v2 btw.
Anyway, I actually like the Ultrasone Tio, they don't have the treble and bass emphasis, they sound much more balance and coherent, though extensions at both ends are not as good as the IQ.
For me the Complys don't work and the silicone tips don't work either. With added impedance and a deep insertion the IQ can sound much darker but they are still a somewhat v-shaped IEM with enhanced bass.
Depends on what you want to see improved over the RE272. If it's the midrange and/or treble, none of the mid-level customs I've heard will do it, really.