i have hidden certain parts of this post to avoid tl;dr :)
first, if u would like to suggest Westone 3 or Shure SE535, please read the backstory (#1). if not, feel free to skip it.
the reason for the wide budget is because i've also been looking at the full-size Hifiman HE-5LE/EF5 combo and it costs $1100.
the question is - are there any IEM's with a street (or ebay) price of $1100 or under (not requiring an amp) that are in the same league as the Hifiman combo?
if yes, then please read #2.
if not, then please give any feedback or suggestions about the HE-5LE/EF5 combo and it's competition (same price range including headphones and amp).
in case it matters, my music likes, source, and listening preferences are in #3.
my gf wanted to get some new headphones and since i've been wanting an upgrade, i decided to give her my Shure E4c instead of her buying a $100 pair of lower-quality Shures. now i don't really know what to get.
my friend let me borrow his Westone 3 and i like them, however there's a problem. the right earphone is louder than the left, which is especially noticeable for highs. i find this very annoying. i've had this problem with my E4c and i luckily i got them exchanged under warranty (without a bill, just with the date number on the jack). i just read that the westone 3 only have a 1-year warranty and i can't see any numbers on the earphones themselves, so my friend might be sol unless he bought them not too long ago. i don't want to tell him about this problem since if he hasn't noticed it, good for him. i listened to them for 2-3 days before i noticed the problem.
anyway, to be brief, although i find the sound from the Westone 3 satisfactory, i'm a bit scared of buying them since they come with only 1 year of warranty and from personal experience problems with hi-end headphones seem to be pretty common. i like the fact that the Shure SE535 are new and come with 2 years of warranty, however the lowest price i've seen is $430 on ebay. the westone 3 are $360 and i doubt that the shures sound better, since the SE530 cost less than the westones (correct me if i'm wrong). i also don't like the cord/jack on the Shures (i don't know if it's been fixed on the new ones, but yes i did have this problem on my E4c.
#2: "if yes"Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
i would prefer to get IEM's, since they (in descending order of importance):
- don't require an amp
- don't take a lot of space
- are portable
- block outside sound
- are inaudible to others
- are light
- i find them comfortable and have no trouble getting a good seal
please suggest IEM's that have 3 drivers or more. i don't care if they are universal or custom earpieces.
#3: "about me"
1) i only listen to different kinds of trance and house.
2) i will either use my laptop with a PCMCIA Creative Audigy 2ZS soundcard or my Sandisk Sansa Fuze portable MP3 player. i'm planning on eventually getting a ~$500 USB DAC.
3) the headphones/earphones must have the following sound-related qualities:
- groovy, generous, but very tight and fast bass
- pognant and pleasant mids
- clear, precise, but composed highs
Edited by fomoz - 8/5/10 at 11:34pm