I've been lurking here for a while trying to build up a short list IEMs that might be suitable to replace some disappointing Sony's. After reading some of the recommendations on the higher end comparison threads I have something of short list, but still quite a few reservations about these alternatives. If possible I'd like to be pointed toward some cheaper mid range models that I should research further and try to demo. I do have a problem with quite a lot of expensive hi-fi: I often find it sounds very harsh and grating to my ears so I can't listen for very long, and this has also been the case with playback though an X-Fi Elite Pro soundcard on the computer.
These are the ones that appeal based on user feedback and description:
- Grado GR8 - potentially a good fit with non harsh sound, but these look very expensive to me and one or two people question the build quality. A very tentative maybe, and I would need to be absolutely 100% sure after a demo
- Ortofon E-Q7 - not sure a demo would be possible and I have a suspicion that the fit of these could be a problem as my ear canal is narrow(ish)
- Klipsch Image X10 - the ultra slim fit concept is very appealing, though I'm worried that the sound won't suit me.
For many years I used Sony MDR-EX70LP (think that's the correct model) purchased way back in 2000-2001, but eventually the cable got caught in a zipper and broke. I did like the MDR-EX70LP a lot, as far as I know it was the only ear canal phone available at the time. Subsequently I tried a couple of similarly priced mid range Sony (don't have the model numbers) and both these newer alternatives were no where near as good as the original MDR-EX70LP in terms of sound, despite similar price.
In terms of fit, the small tips on the Sony's were always slightly loose, but the medium were slightly tight and less comfortable overall. The medium fit on the newer Sony's I used were better than the original, possibly the tips were softer making them just about comfortable enough.
Would anyone care to suggest some cheaper alternatives to my short list, that prioritise comfortable fit for smaller ear canals and that have a very non-harsh, non-grating sound?
N.B. my source player and type of material changes often: I use an old iPod nano right now, but plan on getting a new player in the summer/autumn. I use several different computers between home and work for music, games and radio. I also use my earphones with a couple of different TVs as well.
Edited by IanM - 5/6/10 at 10:38am