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what high-end IEM to buy?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 



I've been reading a LOT of reviews recently and several times I've been close to placing an order, but each time

I am getting close to buying, I find a review or a comment linking some other thread with some different opinions on that pair,

advising someone to buy something else. So now I'm stuck in my search and really need to decide on a pair before next monday.


My requirements are:



1: Mid

2: Bass/Treble



up to 600$


I've been looking at SE535, SM3, Q-E7, UM3X, IE8 but now i have no idea, although i have ruled out UM3x (too limited soundstage) and IE8 (too much focus on bass).


The most important thing is the mid-range, why I've been close to buying the SE535, but then I have read about the fitting issues and such and now i don't know.


If you had up to 600$ and needed some new IEM's what would you buy that fit the requirements?

post #2 of 22

Based on recent reviews the re262 should be something to consider.  It supposedly competes with the sures.

post #3 of 22

I'd go for customs.

post #4 of 22


post #5 of 22

Your signature leads me to believe you already have the SM3. Is that true?

post #6 of 22

1964T or Q for $350 or $500 respectively. 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Ooops.. sorry, forgot to mention that I already own a pair of SM3's although that is not completely true..


I got them from a friend who just recently bought himself a pair of custom JH16.. the only problem is that he recently borrowed them for an A/B testing of some other IEM's and unfortunately they ended up in the washing machine, so they kinda died there..

Just forgot to edit them out when i copy-pasted my sig from another forum.

I've never had a chance to listen to them as it has been some time since he borrowed them and at that time I were waiting to receive my Cowon J3.. Haven't been so lucky

post #8 of 22

for $600 US one can get top Universals or customs like JH6. From universals  JVC FX700, Radius DDM W2 (new Dual Driver coming out at the end of the month) Shure 535, ortofon e-Q7/e-Q5

Also similar to Ortofons are Final Audio Design FI-BA-SB

There is a great thread written by James on the matter.

post #9 of 22

SM3 "In the washing machine"?? OMG


UM3x with clip is not "(too limited soundstage)"



post #10 of 22

JH-5's at $399! Ear Impressions $50 to $150! Total = $449 to $549! This would be within your budget.

post #11 of 22

Where are you at? Availability and pricing can vary. I like GR10s or JH5s. JH5s have a lot of power and are warmish but overall well balanced and seamless in the mids. Top is still great. Grados are very even and balanced. Preferences aside, GR10s can make others sound a bit colored. Fit and tips are great but there's one report of the largest tips not being quite large enough. One member here had a few of those you mentioned and kept W3s as he likes a more fun type sig. Still talks about how good the Grado's were but prefers extra weight and more V shaped in general. He now also has JH5s and seems to be warming up th them as their mid presence startled at first but their overall goodness is undeniable. Spyro, if this is incorrect, please comment.


There's also 1964 Ts but I don't think anyone has directly compared to the JH5 yet.

post #12 of 22

The RE252 is one of the most balanced and "correct" universal earphones on the market.  They're affordable new, cheap used, and they spank pretty much everything out there.  From a holistic standpoint nothing beats it, although other products do this or that a little better but also suffer in more areas.  I've owned most of the top end products short just a couple.  If I had $600 in my pocket and had the option of only one IEM, I'd hop on the classifieds and grab a RE252 cheap.  Is the RE252 godly?  No.  Will it impress you?  No.  Frankly you'll look at it and be somewhat disappointed.  You'll listen to it and think it's quite good but not special.  It's hard to appreciate it without having a dozen of the best other universal IEMs on the market to compare.  What you realize is it is one of the most correct, reference IEMs on the market.


Where does this leave the RE262.  Well, more colored.  The RE262 technically has a better driver, but the RE252 is more balanced.  In a way the RE252 is a better implementation of slightly lesser hardware.  Would the RE262 be better still?'s a trade-off.  They end up about on par.


p.s.  The UM3X is awesome in its own right, but it doesn't get seriously good until you can dedicate EQing to it to balance out the response.  I still point you to the RE252 because it's half the price, needed no EQing, and many folks still tend to prefer dynanic drivers for presentation.

post #13 of 22

Also check Jokers's review thread.

post #14 of 22

AT CK100 - wonderful midrange, but the sub-bass is lacking.

post #15 of 22


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