I am looking for an iem around the 200-250 USD price range. The current iem that I have and enjoy is the CK100 but I want to get something cheaper with a similarish signature so I can use outside without being too worried that I'll drop/loose them. My preferred signature is something that sounds clear and detailed with a forward midrange/vocals and a treble that has good extension and air without sounding sibilant. Something that is airier with a bigger soundstage than the CK100 is a plus. I can't really describe the bass I like (definitely not a bass head though) but I do like to feel the impact of the drums, guitar solos/riffs and acoustic guitar. The 7550 sounds like the ideal iem that I'm looking for but I am not sure about the isolation and comfort of those. Is there something else I should be looking at that fits my description?
The 7550 is going to be less mid-forward and less bright than the CK100. The soundstage is nice and large, though, and sibilance is never a problem. Isolation is mediocre and the fit is atypical, but not uncomfortable once you get used to it. If you want a somewhat similar signature with the comfort and isolation of a BA earphone, the TDK BA200 is a good option. I compared the 7550 and BA200 in the BA200 review: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/tdk-ba200/
On the real cheap side (nothing wrong with getting a disposable IEM if it sounds good to you), I would strongly recommend the UE600 and Fidue A63
This surprises me. The foam tips aggravated my ears like crazy at first (which appears to be my fault for jiggling them around after they'd "settled"). but I don't understand how the size of the whole housing is an issue. You're not sticking the entire unit in your ear.
The housing is supposed to sit in your outer ear:
I currently have the IE80 and am in love with the sound signature, sound stage and all that good stuff. However, I commute long distances everyday and would appreciate any extra isolation I can get. I've tried the IE80s with Comply foam tips and while they did isolate more, I found the bass to be significantly muddied.
My question is, are there any universal IEMs at $400 to $500 that can give me the same kind of sound but with improved isolation? Thanks!
It depends on what aspects of the IE80's signature you want to keep and which you're willing move away from. There are a couple earphones with good isolation that also have strong bass and good (maybe not as wide as IE80, but good) soundstages. The ones that come to mind are the EarSonics SM64, 1964EARS V3, and the Yamaha EPH-100. The EPH-100 especially might make for a good commuting IEM in addition to your IE80, because it's relatively inexpensive and isolates really well.
Between the other two, the 1964-V3 has a brighter, more v-shaped signature than the IE80 while the SM64 is not as bassy but less bright and smoother. It has a bit less presence in the upper midrange, though.