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comfortable fit + comfortable sound?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

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
post #2 of 13
The GR8's are probably the best fit for what you are looking for IMO. Small, comfy, very warm. Not sure the EQ-7 will be a good fit, they usually fit larger ears canals from what I recall. The Monster Turbine Pro Golds are very easy to listen to all day long. If you get some talk to soundmatters12 to get some white hybrid supertips, they are quite comfy and sound great.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Anaxilus. All help is appreciated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post
The GR8's are probably the best fit for what you are looking for IMO.
So typical for me, I don't mean to do it but I always seem to end up wanting/needing the the most expensive option!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post
Not sure the EQ-7 will be a good fit, they usually fit larger ears canals from what I recall.
I tried the suggestion from one of the impressions threads - I got a pen approx. 9mm diameter and tried it in my ear, it will go in but it's a close/tight fit, so I'm sceptical that the E-Q7 would be good for long listening sessions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post
The Monster Turbine Pro Golds are very easy to listen to all day long.
I'll have a read up on these, I must confess I have completely disregarded Monster due to their overall reputation. Not sure if I would buy a Monster product even if it is right in most ways
post #4 of 13

If you go for the Grados I know they can be had for $240 from onecall.  I think the EQ7's are about $320ish.  The Monster Golds can be had for $199 at onecall also, maybe less if you shop around ebay and such.  There has been quite a bit of debate about Monster as a company on these threads with regard to fair and accurate impressions.  If you want good sound and durability don't fret about Monster, let it go man, lol.  Anyone who has heard the Pros and the short lived Monster Audio CD's knows Noel Lee knows SQ big time.  

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Actually I'm in the UK, so best price on the GR8's is well over $400 inc. tax. It's no surprise that Grado place these no international sales restrictions on their US resellers, if I could get them here for that sort of price I'd be happy to try them. E-Q7's are actually priced reasonably well here at $300 (£200) inc. tax (but my big doubt over fit remains) Coppers and Golds are both also £200, but it's not the sound I'm bothered about with Monster - it's their loathsome behaviour as a company: threats, bullying and litigation against other business (and charities I remember rightly?) Anyway, I will keep them on the maybe list as it should be possible to find a shop willing to offer a demo of the Monster Turbines.

 

Prices do fluctuate wildly, but for the moment I'm going to keep looking for something around the £75-£125 price range. I just keep thinking about my MDR-EX70LP, I'm sure they are inferior to the latest high end IEMs, but I was happy to use them for so long it forces me to question whether I really need something like the GR8s/Turbines/E-Q7s

 

 

post #6 of 13

EX500, if you were happy with sony and the shape worked for you and they are only about £45ish

 

otherwise i say try the IE7

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks, new Sony's I'm ruling out entirely - I tried a couple of alternatives in the last couple of years that were similar shape & price to the MDR-EX70LP, but the overall sound wasn't as good, and the newer Sony are a different fit by the look of them. Anyway there is so much choice these days I want to try something new, when I got the MDR-EX70LP the concept was still new. I have a feeling that 10 years ago the MDR-EX70LP were about the only consumer, ear canal phones you buy!

 

 

As a tangent to my original question: I notice Sony tend to quote frequency response ranges that are much lower than most of the competitors? i.e. from 5-6Hz, whereas something like the GR8 is quoted as 20Hz+. Of course this is no indication of sound quality, and probably just some typical optimistic/utterly disingenuous marketing by Sony, but are the Sony's generally considered to have deeper bass than other IEMs?

post #8 of 13
Quote:

Originally Posted by IanM View Post

 

 but it's not the sound I'm bothered about with Monster - it's their loathsome behaviour as a company: threats, bullying and litigation against other business (and charities I remember rightly?)

 

 


Hmm, I've only seen this against unauthorized companies selling fakes w/o warranties and fake charities.  I was almost a victim of the Heal the World charity which used to be Michael Jacksons charity.  They were selling Monster IEM's they didn't have, Ebay shut them down and Michael's Estate is no longer associated w/ Heal the World.  In cases like that I think Monster should go to town on them. 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

This is going off topic now, so I'll just say the well publicised legal threats against Blue Jeans Cable is enough to make me think twice about buying anything by Monster, and yes clamping down on fakes is absolutely fair and something they should do.

post #10 of 13

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/476315/top-tier-universal-iem-comparison-chart-frequency-response-charts-discussion-first-post-updated-often

 

Check out the thread, it has quite a comprehensive list of all the high end IEMs. Well, about the frequency response, it's very subjective. The freq response curve is not a straight line, but it fluctuates around the spectrum, and you'd need to know how companies define it. As in, a lot of IEM can go over 20Khz, or go below 20Hz easily, but what is the quantity/amplitude of the sound at those frequencies? If some company detect a -80db at 15Hz, they can well say that their earphones can go down that low, but at that level it's almost inaudible.

post #11 of 13

 

Hey IanM - I bought 2 pair of the MDR-EX70's around the same time as you. They were fairly popular at the time as a good bang for the buck ($70) with some bass. I still have both pairs and use them daily. I never had the need to upgrade, but figure I'd get a new set of IEM's since I use them so much. I've read thread after thread around here trying to get a grasp on what to try next, but it hasn't been easy to zero in how much I need to spend to really upstage the EX70's.

 

Based on reviews, I bought the Grado SR80i's for rock and alternative listening at home and i'm wondering if I'm really going to be happy with them once they are fully broken in. The shrill highs are starting to mellow(Pink Floyd's "Money" is just becoming listenable after 24 hours of break-in), but I'm kind of skeptical that I'll get the bass I wanted. Did the EX70's shape our tastes over all of these years? Did you decide on a proper replacement IEM or other?

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by IanM View Post

Thanks, new Sony's I'm ruling out entirely - I tried a couple of alternatives in the last couple of years that were similar shape & price to the MDR-EX70LP, but the overall sound wasn't as good, and the newer Sony are a different fit by the look of them. Anyway there is so much choice these days I want to try something new, when I got the MDR-EX70LP the concept was still new. I have a feeling that 10 years ago the MDR-EX70LP were about the only consumer, ear canal phones you buy!

 

post #12 of 13

I'm enjoying the sound and comfort of the Fischer DBA-02. I literally don't notice anything except the music, which I don't hear as harsh or grating, just very natural and detailed. Check out LFF's review (and others' comments about them) here.

 

I was hesitant to make this recommendation since they are currently not available, but there are more in production.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

Check out the thread, it has quite a comprehensive list of all the high end IEMs...

 

...If some company detect a -80db at 15Hz, they can well say that their earphones can go down that low, but at that level it's almost inaudible.

 

Thanks for the comments (sorry I'm a bit slow acknowledging this!) Top tier thread is very useful, I bookmarked that one quite early on and refer to it often. As for the frequency range - that explains it nicely, will continue my policy of basically ignoring what the spec sheet says and refer to user feedback.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reprobate View PostDid the EX70's shape our tastes over all of these years? Did you decide on a proper replacement IEM or other?

 

 

Happily, courtesy of Head-Direct's great generosity I'm hoping to get a pair of HiFiMAN RE262 when they are available (ETA is July) so I'm praying for a good fit with those. I expect the sound will be excellent given how well regarded the RE0 are by the experienced members on this forum.

 

However I'm still on the fence as to which would be the most likely replacement for the EX70. After reading through many of the review threads I'm amazed by all the choice. I feel like I want to try a dozen different IEMs before buying! especially as I have real problems finding a good fit. HandHeldAudio recommended the Westone 2, and I contacted p0wderh0und23 re fit and I'm hoping he will reply soon. I sent him photos of my ears as I suspect the Westone's or anything similar shape (like the SM3) will not work for me as my ears stick out too much, I expect the driver housing would press into my ear rather than sit flush.

 

If I was going to buy right now I'd be struggling to decide between: IE7, RP-HJE900E, q-JAYS, RE-ZERO, JVC FX700 - as the ones that look like having straightforward fit. If I was confident about fit I think I would go for the SM3 as the perfect IEM will also have good imaging (for video games) as well as my other criteria - but I strongly doubt the fit of the SM3 on my ear.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfrost View Post

I'm enjoying the sound and comfort of the Fischer DBA-02...


Thanks, those do look very interesting.
 




 


Edited by IanM - 6/13/10 at 4:51am
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