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Dive in straight to the good stuff, or test the waters a bit before buying?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So, I've been looking around various threads, and see that a lot of people, including me at first I admit, want to go straight from the stock buds they get with their mp3 players to expensive, audiophile-inclined iems. It seems to me that this is a bit of a waste. Isn't it better to try and tune your ear to different sound signatures at first to see what suits you, isn't the point of the hobby to develop an ear for what a really good iem sounds like, and don't you have to listen to some bad ones to make this happen? I feel that there is something to be said for working your way up, so that when you finally get that awesome pair, you actually know why it is so good compared to other options out there. What do you think?

These may be the ramblings of a girl who has been awake far too long, if so I'm sorry, or a discussion worth being had, in which you're welcome tongue_smile.gif.

 

post #2 of 6

Welcome,

 

first of all I dig your alias. 

 

I started with one headphone, at one point I have had more than twenty headphones and that is not a lot actually. Through having tried all those headphones I definitely developed certain preferences that result in the the headphones I use the most these days. Through trying out headphones and set ups I have learned more about audio. It comes at a cost but I feel it was worth some effort.

 

If you want to take the long road, control your budget and beware of hyped products. Some hyped products are really worth it but the higher end it is the more expensive the needed components can become regarding the set up you need.

 

In short: welcome to Head-Fi and sorry for your wallet... 

 

post #3 of 6

I have just recently gotten back into head fi after a long absence.  After picking up some ath m50's which I'm very happy with I then started in on IEM's...my wallet is regretting it.  I felt like it was important to try out some of the 'touchstone' models like the RE0's, Brainwavz M1, and Fischer Eternas to figure out what I liked before I broke the $100 barrier.  I also read Joker's iem shootout thread obsesively/cumpulsively to compare what I was hearing to what he was hearing so I could then ballpark other IEM's.

I also have a great store in town where you can try out IEM's and they have quite a few brands.

So I think working your way up is a good idea especially if you try some of the benchmarks in each sound signature category.

post #4 of 6

There are a lot of very good performers in the $50-100 tier of headphones, I'd definitely recommend trying some before upgrading.  I don't think most people can just jump into top tier iem's.  If I let my friends try out my $200+ headphones they won't appreciate them at all.

post #5 of 6

Welcome

 

I can give you another newcomers view - not sure if it will help.  I joined Head-fi very recently - but have been lurking here for around a year before joining.  I only recently got back into my music again - after putting everything on hold for family.  Once I started traveling for work - I needed a decent portable set-up (a lot of time on long haul flights and in airports) - so I researched here carefully and bought a good DAP (Cowon iaudio7) + a lower end good brand IEM (originally Shure SE102).  I knew I'd keep the DAP - and upgrade the IEM if I liked the signature.

 

I guess I was lucky - because although they almost completely lacked bass, the 102's introduced me to the Shure signature sound (which I really loved) - and picqued my interest for going further.

 

A couple of months later I bought my SE420's - which I still love and use every day one year on.  I would have loved to get the SE530's - but I simply couldn't afford them at the time - but I'm still very happy with what I got.

 

My next adventure will be to get some semi-decent cans - so once again will start by testing the waters - starting mid- (budget) range with SRH840's.  Plan to then give it a good year - then start experimenting again as far as the budget will allow.

 

So I'd suggest (from my own fleeting experience) getting a decent source and source material (FLAC on the Cowon / ALAC on the Touch) - then reading the reviews on Head-fi, and trying to identify the sort of signature you want.  Mine was always about vocals - which is why (from my reading) I eventually settled on the Shures.  Once you know the signature / brand - then depending on the entry price - go low/mid range.  If you get lucky like I did - you won't end up spending a lot finding a signature you're happy with - then can go higher-end as soon as you can afford it.

 

Be prepared though - the bug can hit quick.  My next trip (in a few weeks) I'll be picking up an AMP/DAC (budget) - and I've already decided in a year's time that I'd like to try some Grados :)

 

I can see this is going to get expensive - but I'm enjoying the journey.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadrophenia View Post

So, I've been looking around various threads, and see that a lot of people, including me at first I admit, want to go straight from the stock buds they get with their mp3 players to expensive, audiophile-inclined iems. It seems to me that this is a bit of a waste. Isn't it better to try and tune your ear to different sound signatures at first to see what suits you, isn't the point of the hobby to develop an ear for what a really good iem sounds like, and don't you have to listen to some bad ones to make this happen? I feel that there is something to be said for working your way up, so that when you finally get that awesome pair, you actually know why it is so good compared to other options out there. What do you think?

These may be the ramblings of a girl who has been awake far too long, if so I'm sorry, or a discussion worth being had, in which you're welcome tongue_smile.gif.

 


True. I'm similarly having this audio journey and I want to take it slowly, trying out a range of IEM's in the lower price range, with all their different sound signatures and house sounds. Then slowly move up into higher territroy (aka $100-upwards), but as everyone knows, dimishing returns will start kicking in so not as much fun will be had as the initial IEM move. Also, my income is a very big constrictor stopping me and causing these excuses.
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