After having several nightmare experiences returning IEMs to various online vendors after disappointing experiences with the monitors, I am no longer interested in patronizing anything other than brick-and-mortar stores for IEMs. Brands such as Sony, Monster, Ultimate Ears, Q-Jays, Sennheiser, Shure, JVC, Audio Technica, Klipsch, etc are easily found in your local Best Buy, Apple, Microsoft, and audio specialty shops.
Other brands like Dunu, Phiaton, 1964Ears, etc are really boutique brands that can only be accessed through high-risk purchases online with vendors who may/may not enforce restocking fees, who may/may not properly receive and credit the returned merchandise, etc.
I live in a major US metropolitan area and at least 50% of the IEMs on this list are completely unavailable to me for purchase unless I am willing to purchase online. This is a complete failure of those manufacturers to get their products into stores against the Skullcandy/Beats juggernaut.
I wish this IEM list would make mention of which headsets are available to purchase in stores and which are online-only models.
You're completely wrong. Its not a failure on the manufacturers side. Its the stores that need to do some research and stock. Do you think the manufacturers are stopping stores abroad to buy from them - no. You have to understand that most stores sell what is popular and advertised by celebrities or brands that are popular - like sony, jvc etc., which people know for their other electronics. How many people outside of head-fi know about 99% of the listed here brands and their iems? Companies like Vsonic, for instance, are investing into production and quality and think about Chinese sales - they won't be paying stupid celebs to carry their products around, just so some US vendors can stock on them. Also its unrealistic to expect to have a database of which store sells what - there are millions of stores worldwide and some of them carry like 80% of what is on this list and some carry none. Just because you don't have a store like that in your city doesn't mean there aren't such stores for instance in Europe or Asia. Do you seriously expect someone will list every city and every store and their inventory?
Edited by kova4a - 11/17/12 at 2:29pm