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The Search for a Comfortable IEM v2 -aka- Better Sound Than PFE?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Not too long ago I asked for a relaxing comfortable IEM. You can find the thread here:



I ended up getting the Hippo VB and it was exactly what I was not looking for.  To me the reviews were very misleading and I can only raise a brow after reading some of them again after listening to the Hippo.  They're all bass and mids are completely overshadowed. I also wouldn't describe the sound signature as warm but as dark. I need a brighter sound. And probably more balanced.


Biggest problem, though, was the comfort issue I had. Further, the silicon tips of the Hippo are also some of the worst I've ever seen. So let me say this again: I'm looking for a comfortable IEM!


I was able to test the Phonak Audéo PFE 112 for few days and I was quite impressed by sound, build quality and comfort alike. I didn't like the silicon tips (although they were alright) but the Comply tips were a dream come true.

I would prefer a bit more bass but only if it's separated (unlike the low budget Sennheiser crap... or the Hippo).  I think the new green filters will make the overall sound a bit darker and that's not what I'm looking for. However, I'm still waiting for a comparison review of the black and green filters.

Also, I noticed sibilance from the line out. Unfortunately I don't plan to buy a portable amp.


I'd actually just go for the PFE but in some other thread people said that for the price there are better sounding IEMs, like the q-JAYS. They're 90€ online and apparently build quality and comfort is amazing. (It looks like Comply tips are included as well.)

And there are also the ugly Radius DDM which caught my attention. I can't find much about their comfort, though.


So, which portable earphone can you recommend me? I'm used to the Ultrasone HFI-780 and I love both its treble and separated bass. I don't expect the same soundstage for a portable solution. You can also recommend headphones as long as they're actually portable (not as big as ATH-M50) and closed.

Basically I just want to close my eyes and get sucked into the music and its details. Classical, Jazz, Soul, whatever... and also some Fatboy Slim or Eminem from time to time to remind me I'm not old yet (in which the PFE disappointed).

This time I will not ask for a warm sound as people seem to confuse it with a dark and bassy sound.


Short: Sound wise, I want smooth treble with a separated bass (if possible similar to the HFI-780 but by no means stronger!) without recessed mids. Budget is 150€ (I'd also take used IEMs if I have to). But most importantly, it has to be comfortable! Not okay, not good, but "oh baby, yeah!" 


Will the q-JAYS do or are the Phonak my best bet? Any portable headphone I've overlooked?

Thank you for your time! 

post #2 of 8

2 of my favorite IEMs (in your budget):


Fischer Audio DBA-02

Radius DDM


If you can, try the two of these out, and pick whichever one is more comfortable.


If comfort is a big concern for you, then try to make sure whatever you buy has available Comply tips. Though the Comply tips slightly change the sound sig, it seems like the comfort would be worth it for you.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've been browsing more threads all this time, especially q-JAYS VS *** and I think I can safely forget about them. From what I've read the Phonak will please me more.


I also noticed that some people in the Radius Appreciation thread are still trying to work out a good fit. That's a bummer seeing as the described sound makes me drool.


I will take a closer look at the DBA-02 but so far the looks are a turn of and it doesn't look like it's more comfortable than average. But I'll look into it!

post #4 of 8

Over the ear IEMs tend to be most comfortable, and I don't think there are other over the ear IEMs as good as the PFE in that price range.
The only thing I can think of would be the westone 2, which is supposed to also have an analytical sound. And no IEMs are lauded more for comfort than westone's.

post #5 of 8

Agreed on the westone 2, upgraded from q-jays to the W2 due to the q-jays lack of bass and comfort for me. The westones provide excellent comfort and from what others have said is a PFE with bass.

post #6 of 8

On a similar budget to the PFE, I'd suggest the Klipsch Custom 3.  It's a great earphone with excellent balance and extension.  It got discontinued due to crap sales, but the chosen drivers and earphone itself are great.  The cord sucks(memory, tangly), but it's livable.  It is exceptionally light and doesn't have microphonics problems.  Klipsch states its better than the available X10, but they still discontinued the Custom 3.  It's still available on eBay for super cheap though and a great buy.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Westone 2 and Klipsch Custom 3 are both above 200€.


But I'm really considering the DBA-02 for ~130€ now. I haven't found any complaints about the comfort yet but neither did I find any about the Hippo VB...


So here are some final questions I have before placing an order:

- How does bass quantity compare to the PFE/black filter? Just a tiny wee bit more would suffice.

- Is the Fischer Audio more analytical or more musical compared to the PFE?

- How does the DBA-02 sound unamped on an iPhone 3GS? (I might consider the Fiio E1, though.)

- Do you know of any other silicon tips that fit on the Fischer in case they're uncomfortable? Maybe even by Comply?

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I went through pages 1-40 in Fischer Audio's DBA-02 Review Thread and I came across a comment by ClieOS stating that the Comply T100 fit perfectly. I can get them for 19,90 € if comfort should be an issue.


Apparently the DBA-02 is not dark nor bright but just fun and very detailed. Sounds too good to be true. I will try them out!


... I think. I'll finish reading pages 41-60 first, though. 

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