Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Your IEM journey so far: What cured your upgrade-itis ?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Your IEM journey so far: What cured your upgrade-itis ?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I thought it would be interesting to see how people's IEM journey went.......and for how long...........and whether you are cured of upgrade-itis ? Mine went like this.......


Nokia (came with the phone !)....too many years of bad sound !

iPhone (came with the phone too !).......I thought this was as good as it gets ?

Sennheiser CX-300 (blew my mind, and wondered what I was missing all my life ! Lasted 2 years)

Thinksound Rain (only lasted one day......sound was nice but didn't fit my ears well)

Jay-Q-Jays (current one, and starting to wonder if there's better out there ?)



Haven't found a cure yet.....


post #2 of 29

There is no cure just temporary relief from the affliction etysmile.gif!!

post #3 of 29

Well, I started the whole "headphone/IEM" search five or so years ago:


5 years ago: Cheap $10-$20 solutions found at any electronics stores. Not really brand-name or anything.

4 years ago: Upgraded to what I then thought was "really expensive", a $36 Sony headphone that ironically failed on me within one month.

3 years ago: Got my hands on the Sennheiser CX-300 and thought it was revolutionary (I feel that many went through this CX-300 stage beyersmile.png.

2 years ago: Decided to up the ante and purchased a Shure E4C/SCL4 along with a Zune MP3 Player. At first I was very disappointed with the bass (was used to boomy bass). Over time I appreciated how much detail, bass realism/texture, and midrange quality the IEM had.

1 1/2 years ago: Bought the Sennheiser IE8 and found the sound quality extremely good. Was very satisfied with the bass and soundstage, but the midrange veil made me want more.

1 year ago: Purchased the EarSonics SM3 as well as the Cowon S9. So far, extremely satisfied. If I do upgrade, it will probably be with a custom IEM.

1/2 year ago: Purchased the AKG K702 along with a headphone amp. Really impressed and loving my IEM and my full-size headphones.


Quite a fun adventure if you ask me. I learned a lot on the way. Oh yeah, and I don't think there's really a solution to ending this, since when you go higher up the differences depend more on preference, making it an entirely different game.

post #4 of 29

No cure...only rehab. When it becomes an addiction, you know you need to stop. My "last drink" will be either the SE535 or the W4.


The two that I thought would be the "last drink" for the longest were the IE8 (4 months) and the UM3X (3 months)

post #5 of 29

Journey so far:


1999: Replaced stock Sony's with better Sony's.

2003: Etymotic er6.

2005ish: Replace Etymotic with Shure, Sennheiser as backup. Start downward spiral of more than one earphone at a time.

2008: Return to Etymotic with the hf5. Backups are mainly UE

2009: Try the Klipsch s4, unimpressed.

Late 2009: Beyerdynamic's, very impressed.

2010: Join Head-fi, discover a lot of other brands, dabble in a few of them, pretty good.

September 2010: First multi-driver, Westone 2

October 2010: First 3-way IEM, Earsonics sm3

2011: Beyer dtx100, mmx100, Ety er4s, Sleek sa6, Westone 2 & H2O surge mini-pro. Eyeing up the Sleek sa7.

2012: I dread to think.

post #6 of 29

Cheapies > EP630 > CX 300 > RE-ZERO


At various points I kept thinking that I want something more than the RE-ZERO can give, and then I'm always surprised again. The sheer VFM of them means that anything constituting a total upgrade will be well out of my budget for some years. Sometimes the coldness pushes me away, but the clarity and butterscotch mids always bring me back.


So yeah, the cure is to find such amazing value for money that the upgrade cost becomes obnoxious. At least if you're a student. biggrin.gif

post #7 of 29

Ever since I got my first portable music player, an RCA CD player 8274743 years ago I've always liked a clean sound, nothing too bass heavy. I had a pair of Creative earphones that came with my Creative NOMAD, which were amazing, certainly beats the iBuds. Alas, they broke (and eventually my NOMAD, even if it was a tank) so I went out to Wal Mart and picked up a pair of Philips with silicon tips and found the Creative's match. When I got my iPod, I didn't even bother with the iBuds.


I got a second pair of those Philips earbuds, and stayed quite content with them... Then, I went to Japan. I needed something that isolated, not noise cancel, so I started my search which led me here. After research, I started with the Super.fi 3s and were always enticed by the Triple.fi 10s, so naturally when Amazon had them at $99 the first time, I had to get them. I grew extremely attached to detachable cables, after going through four cables in one year for the Super.fis; my Triple.fis could use a new cable (after a year, though). The one IEM I wanted, though, was the Etymotic ER4Ss (I was drawn to their blue/red combo). One day a deal I just couldn't pass up came along and I got them and have been my main choice for portable use for the past two years.


I have been greatly satisfied for almost two years with the Etymotic ER4P/S... I am good for now, maybe going up to customs, it would be nice to be able to easily go to Unique Melodys but will probably just go with some JHs. When the funds can be sacrificed, of course.



Luckily, my portable/IEM upraditis has been, for the most part, cured... Unfortunately, home setups are more expensive (for me) and I have about four or five future purchases I am looking forward to, which don't include any new products.

post #8 of 29

I don't even really upgrade. I just buy what appeals to me at the moment :P

cheapies > Kicker eb141 > Metro Fi 220 > Super Fi 5> POSSIBLY: M6 and KSC75

post #9 of 29

sony fontopias > klipsch s4 > ath-ck10s.  i'm currently satisfied.  my next purchase will probably be customs, and those are several years down the road at least.

post #10 of 29

Shure E2c>E3c>E4c>E500>Westone 3>SM3>UE11 Pro>JH 10x3>Westone ES5 and completely happy with the ES5.

post #11 of 29

My first step was when I picked up the creative ep-630 nearly 6 years ago. I was captivated by the sound those tiny IEM's put out. I had those for about a year until they were lost, or stolen; possible suspect - older sisterblink.gif.

Luckily, woot.com happened to be selling a pair of razor iem's for $15 shipped. They resembled the creatives I adored so much, that I figured they would sound nearly identical (I was naeve about driver tech at the time). They sounded good, but they were a bit sibilant.

Fast forward to december 09 when I received my first triple.fi 10's during their holiday sale. I'll admit, I wasnt terribly fond of them when I first received them. This had a lot to do with their fit, and expectation of pumping thunderous dub-bass. although as time passed, I came to really enjoy them for their sparkling highs and their serious detail. I hadnt realized this before because I had been listening to pandora religiously, and their bitrate is kind-of weak.. Regardless, they were my first official ascention to the hi-fi community.

Since then, I have indulged myself in a pair of hd555's monster turbine coppers and miles davis tributes and soon will be having a reshell procedure done on a pair of broken triple.fi's. I havent found a cure yet, but my thinning wallet has currently put a halt on my quest for the perfect sound.


PS: the links I provided were solely for the purpose of visual refrence. Incase you were wondering

post #12 of 29

Countless garbage Sony buds>Sony EX51>Sony Ex71>CX300>Vmoda Vibes>Westone UM2. Starting to get the itch again for something more again recently.

post #13 of 29

 I started off with some sony portables to go with my walkman, which I thought were pretty good back then but I didn't know anything about sound quality. After that the sony walkman cd players came out and  I went for over the ear sony headphones and spent quite some time with over the ear headphones thinking that buds are just crap (I didn't know about iems back then). Later, I got a creative zen and for a lot of time I was using the buds that came with it, which I used also on several ipods - I didn't like the ibuds even then. After that I went for nokia and the nokia buds coz all the nokias had 2.5mm jacks. The first iem I got was a sony bh-103 blutooth headset coz there were still no 3.5mm jacks on the nokia phones and I just loved them (yeah, crazy me). Soon after that I started my obsession with iems and sq (still had zero knowledge about sq). I was into gaming and bought razer morays which were just miles ahead of anything I've listened to before and quite some time later I bought a philips she9850 just to realize how sibilant the razers were. After that I got my first BA iems altec lansing im716 and I was blown away by their clarity and balance. Continued with phillips she9850 which I returned shortly after getting them coz they were muddy compared to my im716. After I got my iem716 I was still obsessed with iems, so I listened to quite a few iems including many sennheisers, meelecs, pioneers, sonies, etys and more others in order to find something better but still in vein - the im716 is just amazing compared to all of them (well I have to admit I liked the senns ie7 and ie8 but there was some sort of veil on the sound compared to the im716 or maybe I got too used to a colder signature). So, for now I'm cured but I'm struggling with myself coz I'll be going to US this summer and the ety er4p/s is quite tempting.

post #14 of 29

take 2 16s and call me in the morning:


post #15 of 29

Curiosity keeps me from being cured.  I've got a drawer of on ear headphones purchased before my first Sony IEM, the predecessor to the EX71.  From there, I got the Sony EX51 and EX71, then the Etymotics ER4S in a search for higher isolation and a reference sound signature, then the Ultimate Ear Super.Fi 5 Pro looking for more bass, then the Shure e4c looking for more isolation and better ergonomics, then the Shure e500 which kept me happy until I started reading a lot more Head-Fi.  Since then, in the past three years, it's been the Triple.Fi 10, the SE530, the UE700, the Westone W3 and UM3X, the Sennheiser IE8 followed by the Monster Turbine Pro Gold and Cu to check out dynamic sound signatures, the SM3 (last week), and the Westone W4 to come this week.


My wife slows me down a bit on this hobby, but she's somewhat understanding since she likes shoes.  tongue.gif

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Your IEM journey so far: What cured your upgrade-itis ?