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If I had a $400 budget....Custom vs Universal?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Not saying I have that kind of budget but I have been looking at the IE8 and I am wondering do customs at the same price preform as well?

post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 

Baw.

post #3 of 32

JH-5's. Period.

post #4 of 32

The JH5 at $400 is not REALLY $400. You need to go to an audiologist get an impression and sent it to JH Labs which can cost anywhere from $50-125. Also you will more likely then not need to send them back a couple of times due to a poor fit, or in the worst case get the ear impression done again.

post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 

Bah, don't do that to me. I know of the extra costs, but I was really going for IE8 vs JH5.

post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKang25 View Post

The JH5 at $400 is not REALLY $400. You need to go to an audiologist get an impression and sent it to JH Labs which can cost anywhere from $50-125. Also you will more likely then not need to send them back a couple of times due to a poor fit, or in the worst case get the ear impression done again.


Most reputable audiologists are around $50. Shipping can be as cheap as Priority Mail, $4.95. 

 

And if the audiologist does their job right and pays attention to JH Audio's specs, there will be a much less likely reason for refits. Mine fit first time perfectly. 

 

For non-customs, you'll end up most likely paying for either tax or shipping or maybe both.

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE COST OF MOLDING.

Now that that is out of the way, which is better overall?

post #8 of 32

I'm also a big JH-5 fanboy. I think it's a great value, and too often overlooked because of the long shadow cast by its big brothers. I think it definitely spanks all the $300+ universals (with the IE8, for all its refinement, I can't get past the huge mid-bass hump that's more a characteristic of an entry-level IEM).

 

Admittedly I have not tried the current Head-fi darling, the SM3, and am very curious about it. However, it seems none of the SM3 fans have tried the JH-5 either, which is probably the BIGGEST ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM on Head-fi. (And one almost gets the feeling those fans are not particularly encouraging about such comparisons, which I thought was the whole point of this website.)

 

Also, just yesterday at our little Portland meet, a recent Alien Ears customer tried out the JH-5, which led to a bit of buyer's remorse (although at this point, he's going to save his nickels and hold out for the top end).

 

As far as getting custom moldings, $50 seems pretty common. Even less is possible (some dealers will include it with the purchase). But in any case, people here who paid up to have the work done tend to think it's a very worthwhile investment. You get your hearing tested, your ears visually inspected, cleaned, expertly fitted, etc. It's like a pre-purchase mechanic's inspection on a used car: $50-100 may seem like money down the drain when nothing is wrong. But if something is...

 

And I think it's pretty common to be offered a free remold if anything is found to be wrong. But my "impression" was that this was the exception more than the rule.

 

Then if you get into a JH-5, you also have the option to upgrade the cables, which definitely does make a difference. May seem a little crazy at this level, but they'll be able to work for higher-end customs as well (once you're ready to upgrade).

 

All that said, I personally hate the idea of buying anything "sound unheard". (Especially earphones, which are going to be more "YMMV" than headphones or speakers especially.) Of course not all of us have easy access to a store like 32 Ohm, where you can take hours to try out just about anything. ..

post #9 of 32

One thing to consider is that these used to be $600 I believe until UE came out with their UE4 which was $400 as well so they dropped the price to match it as well. Some dealers may very well offer a discount or provide ear impressions for free.

 

As for refit cost it depends on the audiologist. I went to one for a refit and was offered a 50% discount so it became $25. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't free but at $25 I can't get a better price either way so no big deal. The guy was a JHA dealer which I found out after wards but I imagine if I bought a JH custom I would have gotten a free impression. I'd get these if I didn't think it was pretty ridiculous to own two lower priced customs in these and the Livewires.

 

Is there a JHA dealer anywhere near where you live who has the universal version of these where you can get a listen to them? Although since you say you don't have the budget it probably would be a waste of time..

post #10 of 32


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew H View Post

I'm also a big JH-5 fanboy. I think it's a great value, and too often overlooked because of the long shadow cast by its big brothers. I think it definitely spanks all the $300+ universals (with the IE8, for all its refinement, I can't get past the huge mid-bass hump that's more a characteristic of an entry-level IEM).

 

Admittedly I have not tried the current Head-fi darling, the SM3, and am very curious about it. However, it seems none of the SM3 fans have tried the JH-5 either, which is probably the BIGGEST ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM on Head-fi. (And one almost gets the feeling those fans are not particularly encouraging about such comparisons, which I thought was the whole point of this website.)

 

Also, just yesterday at our little Portland meet, a recent Alien Ears customer tried out the JH-5, which led to a bit of buyer's remorse (although at this point, he's going to save his nickels and hold out for the top end).

 

As far as getting custom moldings, $50 seems pretty common. Even less is possible (some dealers will include it with the purchase). But in any case, people here who paid up to have the work done tend to think it's a very worthwhile investment. You get your hearing tested, your ears visually inspected, cleaned, expertly fitted, etc. It's like a pre-purchase mechanic's inspection on a used car: $50-100 may seem like money down the drain when nothing is wrong. But if something is...

 

And I think it's pretty common to be offered a free remold if anything is found to be wrong. But my "impression" was that this was the exception more than the rule.

 

Then if you get into a JH-5, you also have the option to upgrade the cables, which definitely does make a difference. May seem a little crazy at this level, but they'll be able to work for higher-end customs as well (once you're ready to upgrade).

 

All that said, I personally hate the idea of buying anything "sound unheard". (Especially earphones, which are going to be more "YMMV" than headphones or speakers especially.) Of course not all of us have easy access to a store like 32 Ohm, where you can take hours to try out just about anything. ..


Admittedly I haven't tried the JH5, but I doubt they are better than the $350 - $375 new UM3X, which now comes with detachable cables, ie you can replace them eventually for other type of custom cables. The new cable, btw, apparently is just like the Westone ES (custom) series.

 

The UM3X comes very close to my $850 custom ES3X SQ-wise.

 

And, unlike the resale value of customs which can go down drastically, a good set of top-tier universals has a reasonably decent resale value.

 

Lastly, most customs are Balanced Armature IEMs, just like the UM3X, but not the IE8 (Dynamics). Also the IE8 is known for having fit issues (not ijn my case, though) and isolation isn't nearly as good as the UM3X. The latter is the most comfortable universal I've ever tried, nearly matching the superb comfort of my customs.


Edited by music_4321 - 8/23/10 at 5:16pm
post #11 of 32

I haven't tried the UM3X, but I wonder how it compares to W3 (which I think the JH5 is much better than)?

post #12 of 32

Have to check in here my friend Music. I owned the UM3X, and I am seriously considering the JH5 (among several customs), and the more I read, the more I believe the JH5s are probably a better IEM, at least based on my experience with the UM3X, which did absolutely nothing for me. Anyway, when and if I get the JH5s, I will let you know how much better they are than the UM3X.

 

I can answer that Andrew. I traded my W3s for the UM3X, and I wish I had never done it. I had some fit problems with the W3s (had to use tri-flanges or they were really sibilant), but once I eq'd them, they sounded better to me than the UM3x, which was a "grass is greener" move for me. A bad move. Anyway, even with the Um56 custom sleeves, the UM3X bored me. Can't say it any other way. I doubt the JH5s will do same. They are getting close to a purchase. I just feel spending $1,000 for IEMs is nuts, but $500 only semi-nuts.


Edited by slaters70 - 8/23/10 at 5:52pm
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_4321 View Post


 


Admittedly I haven't tried the JH5, but I doubt they are better than the $350 - $375 new UM3X, which now comes with detachable cables, ie you can replace them eventually for other type of custom cables. The new cable, btw, apparently is just like the Westone ES (custom) series.

 

The UM3X comes very close to my $850 custom ES3X SQ-wise.

 

And, unlike the resale value of customs which can go down drastically, a good set of top-tier universals has a reasonably decent resale value.

 

Lastly, most customs are Balanced Armature IEMs, just like the UM3X, but not the IE8 (Dynamics). Also the IE8 is known for having fit issues (not ijn my case, though) and isolation isn't nearly as good as the UM3X. The latter is the most comfortable universal I've ever tried, nearly matching the superb comfort of my customs.

 

It might be because they both use the same internals? I'm not sure about the crossover but I think it's the same as well. It's just the dual bore I believe which apparently makes a big difference. However you seem to rate the UM3X much higher than others so I'll be interested in how they compare to your ES3X when the detachable ones arrive. I'd also like to know how they compare against my Livewires since they have the same drivers if I ever acquire a pair of UM3X.

 

@slaters70: please do get the JH5. I'd love to know how they fare against the top universals. I already have my opinion on how cheap customs fare but not much info out there on the JH5.
 

post #14 of 32

Get a pair of universal tripple fi 10 and get them into customs and people say there equal to UE10's. Thats $800 savings!

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cifani090 View Post

Get a pair of universal tripple fi 10 and get them into customs and people say there equal to UE10's. Thats $800 savings!


Hmmmm...I'd have a hard time believing that exact relationship. From what I've read, the 10's are very flat and the triple fi's have a obvious mid dip.

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