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opinion: any point to high end iems with mp3 music?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ok so I am not an audiophile...small improvements in this area or that area do not do it for me...and when I spend significantly more money on a product, I am looking for a wholly improved product with clear and consistent benefits over a less expensive one. I say this because I am well aware of the law of diminishing returns in the audio world.

 

I have posted before about my experience with the shure e4c, which impressed me terribly...as it should have, it was my first quality headphone. Since the cable shorted I have purchased 3 other pair....Klipsch s4, Monster Turbine Copper, and Westone 3. All of these iems are well liked, and and are certainly good phones in their own right. But to me, none of them have made me say WOW the way I did when I listened to the e4c's...and I believe that reason is quite simply because I had no point of reference before the shure's.

I even recently on a whim purchased what looked like a nice quality inexpensive iems ($10) and with equalization and a small mod, they sounded very agreeable...certainly no where near as 'bad' as they should sound compared to high end models.

 

However, there is one caveat which I am considering...and perhaps my underestimation of it has made me a bit of a fool for spending all this money on iems. Most of my music collection is mp3 in 128 or 256 kbps. I know from first-hand experience that even high end speakers will sound unimpressive running mp3 files when one is used to true CD quality sound, there just isn't that much for them to reveal in the first place on the compressed files.

 

So I come to my question, is it even worth it to spend alot of money on a headphone when you mostly listen to mp3s?

 

post #2 of 11

It greatly depends on the MP3s themselves. If they're anything up to V2 on Lame then nobody can tell the difference - self deluded people may argue. If it's 96KB CBRs you grabbed from p2p or lossy horribly encoded rubbish you bought or whatever online then indeed MP3s might sound bad on any headphones.

post #3 of 11

Actually not only they might be no difference, but also good iems may end up sound worst because they will show all the bad encoding. E.g once i compared two iems in my w850i and i noticed that with one of the iems, in bass heavy songs there was a bad distortion sound.

 

Many audiophiles mention in their reviews that a particular pair of earphones might not be forgiving in bad quality media due to the fact they have very analytical signature.

 

(hope am correct with the terms B] )


Edited by Angelopsaro - 10/3/10 at 5:30pm
post #4 of 11

I would never want to use a low-end IEM just because I'm listening to mp3. Over 90 % of my files in iTunes/MM(12,000+) are LAME V0 but even some 128/160 files sound good. My ER4 is the least forgiving. I listen to the V0 mp3 with T1 with no shame.

post #5 of 11
Depends on the quality of the mp3 files AND the quality of the DAP. When I first got my Se535s, I loved them, but I wasn't completely wowed by the sound I was getting. I wanted to use my Samaung Captivate for my main player and, although I love it, the SQ wasn't that great.

I just picked up the 4G Touch and the sq is way, way better. I converted all of my songs to 320kbs and they all sound amazing.

To go along with what you're suing though, once you start switching between phones in the top tier, there is less of a wow factor and more of an emphasis on personal preference: vocal oriented music has Never sounded better than what I am hearing now (equipment on my profile page).
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelopsaro View Post


Actually not only they might be no difference, but also good iems may end up sound worst because they will show all the bad encoding. E.g once i compared two iems in my w850i and i noticed that with one of the iems, in bass heavy songs there was a bad distortion sound.



 



Many audiophiles mention in their reviews that a particular pair of earphones might not be forgiving in bad quality media due to the fact they have very analytical signature.



 



(hope am correct with the terms B] )





Definitely man. I am now restricted to getting all of my music at 320kbs at the least; any less and I'm either not satisfied or the music just sounds... Off. I used to only use FLAC files but with using an iPod touch now a) I can't use FLAC and B) It takes up too much space.
post #7 of 11

I'm damned if I could tell the difference between 256 K AAC or 320 K MP3 (the two kinds of files that are on my IPod, from CD rips and Classics Online respectively) and Redbook. And plenty of published tests show that very few people can (and those few only when they're listening intently for very subtle artifacts rather than listening to music in a  normal way.)

post #8 of 11
I could only discern between FLAC and 320 if I'm sitting down and quietly listening, completely focusing on the music. However I don't like it when people state not being able to hear this without these reuiremrbts because they make it out to be a bs thing; some of us like analyzing the music down to the taps of the foot pedals and placements of fingers on instruments.

Some of us want to hear these nuances; that's why we spend so much on the equipment... Right? To argue to use mp3s because you can't normally tell the difference is like putting regular fuel in an exotic performance car. Meh, it's cheaper (less space in mp3) and I will go the speed limit all the time (critical vs casual listening).

Oh and im not making a point or stab at you, just throwing my thoughts out there. smily_headphones1.gif
I use 320 now because I'm using an iPod that restricts space and I love the sound I'm getting with 320 (compared FLAC to 320 before I switched)
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Halk View Post

If they're anything up to V2 on Lame then nobody can tell the difference - self deluded people may argue.


Not to derail the thread but I'm sorry, I can prove you wrong. I have successfully ABX'd V2 and V1 from lossless and I can do it again (I will admit that I had to look very hard within the tracks that I picked to compare) and I'm pretty sure there are lots of people with better hearing + equipment than me, so I think your remarks fall dangerously close to bigotry. I would say that VBR V0/1/2 are on the safe side, while 192/256 kbps CBR can sound poorly on some tracks.

post #10 of 11

 

 

Quote:
 
I could only discern between FLAC and 320 if I'm sitting down and quietly listening, completely focusing on the music. However I don't like it when people state not being able to hear this without these reuiremrbts because they make it out to be a bs thing; some of us like analyzing the music down to the taps of the foot pedals and placements of fingers on instruments. 

Some of us want to hear these nuances; that's why we spend so much on the equipment... Right? To argue to use mp3s because you can't normally tell the difference is like putting regular fuel in an exotic performance car. Meh, it's cheaper (less space in mp3) and I will go the speed limit all the time (critical vs casual listening).

Oh and im not making a point or stab at you, just throwing my thoughts out there. smily_headphones1.gif
I use 320 now because I'm using an iPod that restricts space and I love the sound I'm getting with 320 (compared FLAC to 320 before I switched)

 

 

And I mean no disrespect in reply, but again plenty of studies show that people who were quite sure they could tell the difference couldn't do so (with pretty rare exceptions) in a properly conducted blind test. Given how strongly perception is influenced by expectations, that last bit is crucial, even if it sets some audiophiles' teeth on edge (a reaction to which, as a scientist, I'm not at all sympathetic).

 

Anyway, at the most, the differences are still not anything like enough to make high-quality IEMs pointless, something on which I suspect we can all agree.


Edited by supersleuth - 10/4/10 at 2:13pm
post #11 of 11

you should post the relevant samples together with the ABX logs on hydrogenaudio.org, I'm sure the developers would appreciate it.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by c61746961 View Post


Not to derail the thread but I'm sorry, I can prove you wrong. I have successfully ABX'd V2 and V1 from lossless and I can do it again (I will admit that I had to look very hard within the tracks that I picked to compare) and I'm pretty sure there are lots of people with better hearing + equipment than me, so I think your remarks fall dangerously close to bigotry. I would say that VBR V0/1/2 are on the safe side, while 192/256 kbps CBR can sound poorly on some tracks.

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