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Multi-IEM Review - 352 IEMs compared (Pump Audio Earphones added 04/03/16 p. 1106) - Page 21

post #301 of 16803

First of all, thanks to joker for compiling this awesome comparison thread... Now on to my dilema. I'm torn between the MEElectronics M9P, the Nuforce NE-7M, and the Maximo iMetal iP-HS5 (same drivers/construction as the iM-590, but with a mic, you should add that to the post btw joker). I realize that the M9P are probably a slight step down in SQ from the other two, and the budget isn't a big issue ($20-25 vs $50-55 for the other two), but the build quality and low microphonics make them pretty attractive nonetheless.

 

I just wanna make sure if I spend 2x the money for either of the latter two that I'm getting my money's worth... I'm coming from a pair of CX300's (which I use to travel, work, study, etc.) and a pair of JVC HA-FX34 Marshmallows. I bought the Senns years ago when they were pretty much the only budget IEMs around (pretty sure i paid over $50 for 'em!) and I bought the JVCs recently from a Best Buy vending machine at an airport when I realized I left my CX300 at home... No joke, not bad at $20 and a quasi-emergency. I'm now using them to exercise (running) since they perform better than the CX300 in an active environment (less microphonics, tips slide out less, etc.).

 

I also use the JVC HA-RX700 at home, FWIW. I started reading Amazon reviews for the NuForce and Maximo (I know, they're to be taken w/a grain of salt) and there seemed to be a lot of complaints about the Maximo's build quality despite joker's praise of it. A lot of people seem to have had issues with the cable specifically (saying it frayes or opens up and lets the inner cabling show, etc.). I know any of 'em should be an improvement over the JVC (let alone the CX300), but still I'm torn...

 

Don't people usually say that an I-plug puts more stress on the connector? Joker mentions the Maximos have an I-plug even tho it looks a bit angled on the picture (I guess it starts straight and bends, farther out than the MEElec's 45 deg. plug I suppose). I'll be using 'em primarily with my netbook & phone so I'd guess an L plug or a shorter angled plug is ergonomically preferable. Anyway I've read a few other reviews here and elsewhere and I still can't seem to make up my mind, so if anyone's got any further comments I'd appreciate it, thanks!

 

Edit: The accessories aren't a big deal to me, the Shack sells Comply tips and I already have a serviceable pouch to carry them. I'd put equal emphasis on everything else.... I guess NuForce's excellent support and Maximo's lifetime warranty are worth a lil' extra $ but if they end up being more fragile than the MEElec's that's kind of a dubious distinction. Never had any issues w/my CX300, or the JVC after having used 'em for 4-5 months of running (3-5 miles about 2-3 days a week), Never used the CX300 to run as they seemed a bit fragile (and expensive, given what I paid) for that.


Edited by Impulse - 5/29/10 at 11:35pm
post #302 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Thanks for such a detailed description of your dilemma. 

 

First off, thanks for the suggestion about adding the HS5. I'll add them with the next update. There's also the iM-595, which I believe is the blackberry (?) version. Also, the plug on the iM-590 is bent at around 15 degrees at the strain relief - not really enough to call it an angled plug but for what it's worth, it's not completely straight. My comments on build quality deal with initial build quality since I can't really test the long-term durability of every IEM I go through. If a lot of people report long-term issues with the iM-590 cable, that's probably true. It's up to you whether the hassle of getting them replaced if that happens is worth it. 

 

Regarding your question, I do think the SQ upgrade of the iM-590 is worth both the extra dough and the extra bother in terms of microphonics/build quality; however, if you plan to use them actively the microphonics may be an issue. I'd recommend wearing them over the ear but since you're looking at the iphone-compatible versions, you'd probably want the microphone to be in the proper position most of the time. It really looks to me like you've got your decision cut out - just need to pick what matters most to you. The Meelecs are great all-rounders, no doubt, but only you know if you will later catch yourself wondering about what you're missing in terms of sound. IMO Buying the Nuforces would be taking the middle ground. I'm not much of a middle-ground sort of person so I sold my Nuforces shortly after the housings split and I got a replacement set. The Maximos and M9s I still own. By the way, while durability is certainly important, I have to say that in my experience all three of these companies have exhibited outstanding customer service. 

post #303 of 16803

Thanks for the quick reply! Even tho I'm looking at the mic versions (for use w/an Android phone btw), I'd probably use them over the ear often if it does reduce the microphonics... I'm not one to yak on my phone for hours on end, but I figured I'd get one w/a mic anyway if I was gonna upgrade my CX300's. What I'm trying to say is that it wouldn't be a constant occurrence for me to switch from music to calls, or a huge hassle to swap them over in the moment (just unplug both ears and swing one around my shoulder). I think you're right tho, I'll just narrow it down to either the MEElecs for good all around performance and low microphonics or the Maximos for better SQ. I like how either of those look better than the NuForce anyway, heh, that counts a lil' bit!

 

I did read about the iM-595's as well btw, couldn't find 'em online tho, I dunno what's the difference... Is their plug 2.5mm or does the mic/button just interface differently on Blackberries and it requires an entirely different config? I guess that might be something worth looking into w/regards to my phone (an HTC EVO), I'll probably test it with an in-line mic/extender for the iPhone that I got from Philips once I have my phone (next week), if it works then I can be reasonably sure that any of these will work w/it. I'm not terribly worried about the button working right, just the mic. Thanks for clarification on the Maximos' plug! (and the heads up about the iM-595)

 

Just a couple more questions if it's not too much bother, the Maximos DO have a lifetime warranty no? I think I read it different on Amazon but Maximos page seemed to indicate all their headphones have a lifetime warranty... Also, does the barrel on the Maximos stick out noticeably more than the MEElec M9 or are they about the same? I think your link to the mod to increase isolation on the Maximos is broken btw, it just takes me back to this very thread (or an earlier version of it, I forget). I found the mod while looking around for a more detailed explanation of the fused bi-flange tips tho (pretty clever), here's the mod:

 

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k240/ofey_s/Maximo/modtips.jpg

 

From this review: http://www.inearmatters.net/2009/11/review-meelectronics-in-ears.html

 

Thanks again!

post #304 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Impulse View Post

 

Just a couple more questions if it's not too much bother, the Maximos DO have a lifetime warranty no? I think I read it different on Amazon but Maximos page seemed to indicate all their headphones have a lifetime warranty... Also, does the barrel on the Maximos stick out noticeably more than the MEElec M9 or are they about the same? 


Regarding the warranty question I've seen conflicting statements and I don't have my iM-590 packaging to check. You may want to shoot a pm to Andrew of Maximo Products and he should be able to clear that up and also explain the difference between the HS5 and iM-595. I think the iM-*95 line is meant to be phased out but I can't be sure. 

 

As for the length, the Maximos are actually shorter than the Meelecs and fit completely into my ear (with only the rubber tail sticking out). The Meelecs stick out noticeably. Even if your ears aren't big enough to conceal the iM-590s in their entirety, there's no way they'll stick out more than the Meelecs. 

post #305 of 16803

Interesting, judging by the pics I would've thought otherwise but it's hard to judge scale off of those, many thanks... I can now make a well informed decision.

post #306 of 16803
Thread Starter 

First update for the new month: Rockford Fosgate Punch Plugs and Arctic Sound E361

post #307 of 16803

Impulse,

 

I have both the NuForce NE-7M and MEElec M9P, and have also considered the Maximo iP-HS5.

 

Regarding the last, I think the difference between iP-595 and iP-HS5 is that the 595 has volume control as well as the mic and pushbutton of the HS5. Don't know if the volume control will work with an Android (specified "for iPhone3GS and latest iPod"), but Andrew at Maximo is great about answering questions. Both use 3.5mm plugs, and the HS5 includes a 2.5mm adapter for Blackberries that require such. For Maximo products, I'm waiting for the upcoming 7-series. Last I heard, they are expected in July. Hopefully the cable durability and microphonics issues will be corrected on those.

 

Between the NE-7M and M9P, if I had to pick one it would be the NE-7M. I find they have a cohesiveness and musicality that I slightly prefer over the MEElec, although the M9P has better treble extension and detail, sometimes also bringing a bit more harshness. I use these with a Blackberry Curve (music stored on a micro-SD card) and an iPod 120 Gb Classic, no amp, and rarely with any EQ. I generally prefer the NE-7M with the BB and M9P with the iPod, but interchange occasionally.

 

They are quite similar, but I'd summarize their differences as:

- The NE-7M sounds like I'm sitting in the best seat in the audience in a good, small concert hall, so there's a great sense of reverberation without losing directionality in the soundstage. 

- The M9P sounds like I'm on stage with the performers, with a little more detail and "space" around each instrument.

Of the negative SQ attributes with these two (both can sometimes be too bassy and harsh treble), I'd say that the NuForce are more manageable on the occasional tracks when these characteristics are apparent. BTW, I'm using Head-Direct large biflange tips with both of these ATM. Microphonics are good on both, maybe a slight bit better with NuForce. When walking I usually wear them over-ear (the mics still work OK in that position), but they are acceptable worn down. I can lay on my side with both (and those tips). The NE-7M protrudes a little bit more, and the M9P will be more bassy, because that blocks the vent on the down ear.

 

A friend is looking for less expensive IEMs. I let her listen to both of these and she immediately picked the NE-7M.

 

The M9P may be the more durable of the two, but I haven't used it as long. I've had two NE-7M fail at the L-plug, but NuForce has been fantastic about getting warranty replacements to me quickly (before sending the defective unit to them!). And to be honest, there may have been some issues with how I use them, although they are never stored while attached to the DAP.

 

Here's a good description of how the pushbutton control works (same for M9P and NE-7M, and probably also for HS5).

post #308 of 16803
Thread Starter 

^ Nice sum-up. I was going to comment yesterday but forgot. I agree on all counts, especially the presentation differences between the two IEMs, except for the Nuforces being harsh, which they weren't to my ears - at least not significantly. Either way a very helpful post for those in need of a cheap mic'd IEM - been seeing a lot of these questions lately. I have to say your ears must be pretty... sizable. I really can't lie down in either one. The M11 and Maximo iM-590 are pushing it for me in terms of protrusion for lying down. 

post #309 of 16803

Just a FYI since you used to edit your titles to reflect changes but you can edit your thread titles now.

post #310 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Awesome, thanks. Never would have noticed myself.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

Just a FYI since you used to edit your titles to reflect changes but you can edit your thread titles now.

post #311 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Added Radius HP-TWF11R 'DDM' and the new JVC AirCushions.

 

I am aware that some of the older pics are not showing up, which is due to an imageshack 503 error. Hopefully it will get sorted on their end.

post #312 of 16803

Omnonom at the Radius.  I've had an interest in these since the review by shigzeo.  I'm a big fan of cone area when it comes to putting out a clean sound with ease, and earphones are typically a major compromise device.  It's good to see a company push the boundaries.  It's good to see you found them to sound so good.  How big of an issue was fit for you?  Do you see a lot of people having any issues wearing these? 

post #313 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Omnonom at the Radius.  I've had an interest in these since the review by shigzeo.  I'm a big fan of cone area when it comes to putting out a clean sound with ease, and earphones are typically a major compromise device.  It's good to see a company push the boundaries.  It's good to see you found them to sound so good.  How big of an issue was fit for you?  Do you see a lot of people having any issues wearing these? 

 

I'll be honest - I'm not a fan of the fit. I use my IEMs on the go pretty much all of the time and the Radii just don't lend themselves to being forgotten about while in use. I had the same problem with the RE252 and TF10 - they are hardly unnoticeable when worn. It seems that they were designed to stay in with the tips as the only contact point and that seems counter-intuitive to me because these things aren't small. I can tuck the driver bulge in my ear and they seem more stable that way but then the cord entry point gets in the way. If you've worn the Sony EX700s you'll have some idea of what these are like. 

 

However, when I tried to warn someone about getting these as a gift (due to finicky fit) in a recommendation thread, one of the other DDM owners said that most head-fiers have no problem with the fit so I may be in the minority. I haven't looked at the appreciation/impressions thread past the first page so I really don't know.

 

As for sound, they are an odd beast. I do think their presentation warrants some adjustment time as they may not sound entirely natural at first but rather 'grow' on you. They certainly aren't perfect but as far as bass-inclined dynamics go I prefer them to the MTP Golds and Atrios, my only non-analytical >$100 dynamics.


Edited by ljokerl - 6/7/10 at 7:06pm
post #314 of 16803

Wow!  First, thank you ljokerl for all your hard work on this. I just went through all 21 pages of this thread and now I've "narrowed" my choices for a new IEM from 2 to about 6 or 7.  Spending up to about $80 on an IEM to use in the gym mainly, current choices are:

 

Maximo iM-590

Visang R03

BrainWavz M1

Soundmagic PL-50

RE0's

Cyclone PR1 Pro

Fischer Audio Eterna

 

I use a Sansa Clip+ and Fuze with 320 kb mp3 or FLACs and listen mostly to rock with some occasional jazz thrown in. Still using the stock buds which are surprisingly listenable compared to other stock buds (like ipod Shuffle and Creative Zen to name a few).  Based on what I've read so far in sound quality the RE0's are probably best for me, but what about the usability/durability factor for the gym?

 

Thanks

post #315 of 16803
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by heathkit View Post

Wow!  First, thank you ljokerl for all your hard work on this. I just went through all 21 pages of this thread and now I've "narrowed" my choices for a new IEM from 2 to about 6 or 7.  Spending up to about $80 on an IEM to use in the gym mainly, current choices are:

 


Hah, I thought the whole point of this thread was so that you would only have to do one page of reading (the first page) . Glad it helped you narrow down your choices though...

 

Personally I would rule out the iM-590 and RE0 if you're buying it specifically for the gym (my new RE-ZERO reminded me of how much I don't like the HiFiMan cable) and the Cyclone PR1 Pro because you just plain won't find one (I should probably mention somewhere in the review that it's been discontinued). 

 

As for the rest, the PL50 has great ergonomics and comes with ear guides (as do the Brainwavz M1 and M2), which may come in handy for the gym. The R03 does not and since the M2 sounds exactly the same, the ViSang version is not worth getting in your case, even if it is a few bucks cheaper. 

 

Personally I prefer the R03/M2 to the M1 and, by a wider margin, to the PL50 for rock. Their imaging isn't quite as good as that of the PL50 but they sound more airy and generally have a more likable sound signature - I would say that they are the safer choice. There are people who swear by the PL50 and others who are bored by it - no way to really tell which group you'll belong to without trying it. 

 

Oh and I've not tried the Eterna yet, though I should have one on hand next week.

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