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Best Value IEM's Under $200

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
[CLIFF NOTES!]

- Looking for the best pair of headphones (long lasting with really high sound quality-to-price ratio) available under $200 (after taxes/shipping to Canada)
- iPhone 4 will power the headphones the majority of the time, and a Macbook Pro the rest of the time
- Would love to have a mic for the iPhone functionality, but I prefer sound quality to that feature
- Looking for good bass that doesn't muddle the sound and high clarity in high's and mid's
- I listen to a WIDE variety of music, but focus on hip-hop/rap, electro/dubstep (don't judge me! haha)
- Some considerations (so far): Q-Jays (~$175), Sennheiser IE7 (~$160), Shure SE315 (~$200), Shure SE420 (~200), Fischer Audio DBA-02 (~$200), Etymotic Research hf5 (~$160), Klipsch Image X5 (~$190), Klipsch S5i (~$150).
- Thanks for your time and have a great day!


[History] I've been a long time lurker, and now a first time poster. Back in 2005-ish, I got a pair of Shure E2G's and they've served me well up until now (amazing for a pair of headphones I got for $70-ish off eBay). I lost the tips for them and so I bought a new set of tips, which set me back $18 and now I lost a tip and can't find the surplus of tips anywhere. I thought for headphones I got for ~$70, it'd be a waste of money to buy ANOTHER set of tips for $18 so now I want new IEM's lol.

Anyways, I'm currently a student and so I can't bring myself to spend more than $200 (shipping/tax included) on new in-ear's. I'm obsessed with getting value out of my products (like the six years of usage I got out of the E2G's, which are still awesome). That's why I probably would never buy headphones like the Monster Turbines because everyone talks about how fast they break and how overpriced they are. I want the highest sound quality-to-price ratio as possible without sacrificing longevity.

[What I'm looking for] I did some research on this site and so far, I have the Q-Jays (~$175), Sennheiser IE7 (~$160), Shure SE315 (~$200), Shure SE420 (~200), Fischer Audio DBA-02 (~$200), Etymotic Research hf5 (~$160), Klipsch Image X5 (~$190), Klipsch S5i (~$150) in mind. All of those prices are from eBay and after shipping, etc.

I listen to music off of my iPhone 4 and Macbook Pro. A mic would be AWESOME for my iPhone, but sound quality trumps the mic for me any day. I listen to a WIDE variety of music from classical to indie rock to hard electro, but I usually listen to hip-hop/rap and electro/dubstep. Bass is important to me, but bass that muddles the sound drives me nuts. Basically I want a pair of headphones with clear high's and mid's with noticeable bass that won't distort.

The E2G's are fairly clear with good mid's and high's (for its price), but I want a pair that is even better. I would also like to have some more emphasis on the bass.

I'm also worried about purchasing $200 headphones without trying them and without being able to return them if they don't fit, sound good, etc. I live in Vancouver, Canada and the only stores I know of that let you purchase and return used headphones are Futureshop and Bestbuy. This is why I'm relying on your expert opinions. Thanks for your time!
post #2 of 31

I don't think you should discount the Turbines being that they are 74 bucks brand new from Amazon at the moment.  Couple that with the three year warranty from Monster and them being absolutely perfect for hiphop/rap fans like myself running without an amp...it seems to me they might fit exactly what you're looking for at the moment.  But you've also got a ton of other great buds there so I'm sure you'll be happy regardless of how this thread goes.  :)

 

I really haven't read about Monster's breaking any more than I have other earphones and I did a ton of research before I got mine.

 

BTW...I really would try to stay away from buying headphones on eBay.  I sell a TON of stuff there so it's not like I don't appreciate the format...it's just that there are SOOO many fakes going around in all brands that I'd hate for you to get a pair of fakes and not know they were fake and then trash the product because it sounds like crap.  But that's just one man's opinion.


Edited by dbdynsty25 - 3/2/11 at 2:25pm
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply. Yeah I won't completely discard the Turbines; if enough people say good things about them, I won't ignore them. It's just that I had two people have them and they said that they always broke in less than a year (they always got new ones through warranty though so I guess that's not a problem). I also heard that they're super overpriced, but for $75, their value is really high ($100 after tax/shipping to Canada). I know it's gonna bug me that I don't have a mic on it though, cause I know they make ones with mic's lol.

I second that eBay is extremely risky, but I usually look up the seller and won't purchase anything from a seller with less than 99% feedback. And if one person says in their feedback that they got something fake, then I won't bother. Where would you recommend to purchase these headphones at lesser prices? Keeping in mind that I live in Canada.
post #4 of 31

Quote:
Originally Posted by xpaand View Post

Thanks for the quick reply. Yeah I won't completely discard the Turbines; if enough people say good things about them, I won't ignore them. It's just that I had two people have them and they said that they always broke in less than a year (they always got new ones through warranty though so I guess that's not a problem). I also heard that they're super overpriced, but for $75, their value is really high ($100 after tax/shipping to Canada). I know it's gonna bug me that I don't have a mic on it though, cause I know they make ones with mic's lol.

I second that eBay is extremely risky, but I usually look up the seller and won't purchase anything from a seller with less than 99% feedback. And if one person says in their feedback that they got something fake, then I won't bother. Where would you recommend to purchase these headphones at lesser prices? Keeping in mind that I live in Canada.


Right, but w/ Amazon you can at least return them if they aren't to your liking.  Ebay, unless it's an authorized dealer or something, would prevent you from doing that.  Obviously there aren't going to be many places to get earphones cheaper than ebay besides looking in the for sale forum here or just keeping tabs on the prices on amazon (hell the turbines were 129 just four days ago).  That's what I did (unfortunately it was after I paid 129 at best buy, so I bought some new ones off of Amazon for the 74 and will return the best buy pair, lol).

 

post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Wow I didn't realize the Turbines would be such a great price even to Canada. I think I'm gonna end up buying them because at $99 shipped to Canada, that's probably one of the highest values at a low price I'll get out of any headphones. And your point on their warranty eliminates the worry about how long they don't last.

Only thing is ljokerl's Multi-IEM Review (http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-150-iems-compared-jvc-ha-fx700-fad-fi-ba-ss-1964-t-added-02-27) gave it a pretty low score for sound quality... For example, the Panasonic RP-HJE900's sound quality is 8.7/10 vs. the Turbine's 7.6/10 at about the same price. I know sound quality is subjective, but the guy seems to know his stuff.

Also, I'm guessing the warranty works through Monster with Amazon.com's proof of purchase?
post #6 of 31

Yeah I saw Joker's review too, but you're right, sound is subjective.  Also keep in mind the source material and the DAC you're using.  I run my Turbines from a Zune HD or a Cowon J3, unamped with VBR music (not the best of course) most of the time and they sound fantastic to MY ears.  That's all I care about really.  :)

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hmm.. I'm gonna wait to see what other people say and if no one else persuades me to get something else by 8 pm PST, I'm gonna order them lol. I don't wanna kick myself for not jumping on it while the price was so low. Thanks a lot for your help!
Edited by xpaand - 3/2/11 at 3:19pm
post #8 of 31

For value, I'd also reccomend the turbines. They seem right up your alley; from what I read, the dba and etymotic may leave you wanting more. I consider the bass on the turbines deep with long roots. The bass can get in the way, but nowhere near something like bose triports or skullcandy IEM's. The drivers seem to be decently resiliant to fatigue when tracks become complex and detailed. Overall, I find they are an excellent value for a ~$60 pair. $100 is still good


Edited by aleki - 3/2/11 at 3:49pm
post #9 of 31

Triple Fi 10 Pros. Routinely under $200 on amazon. 

post #10 of 31

Turbines all the way

 

I got them for $100 a few years ago and they are still going strong

 

They are GREAT IEMs

post #11 of 31

i never had regualr turbines, i did have the turbine gold. 

 

from what other members told me, the brainwavz m2 should be better than the turbines, the m2 have more punch, but less sub bass.

 

turbine gold is a whole different story,  the detail is insane on turbine gold, but somehow m2 still have more mid upper bass than the turbine gold, which is the reason why i returned the turbine gold

 

m2 is very durable, its good for everything and all kinds of music. they have a good speed and soundstage. the vocal is a lil forward i think thats what make them more enjoyable,  i think more people who have both turbine and m2 would tell you its the m2.

 

m2 is at lest 70 percent of the turbine gold, turbine gold is $180 shipped on onecall.com,  m2 is $60 on mp4nationUSA, if  you dont care much about bass most people here would reccomand head direct RE0 they are only 79 dollars.

 

please dont ever buy headphones from ebay, most of them are fake.

 

 

BTW if you want value,  turbine gold have killa lifetime warranty, they even cover the shipping for warranty service.


Edited by akacoke - 3/6/11 at 2:12am
post #12 of 31

Triplefi 10's can be had for about $150. Shure SE215 should have reviews popping up soon and those are only $100. Keep in mind that if you don't buy from an authorized retailer you often lose the warranty.

post #13 of 31

I think you should include the westone um1 in your scope. They're pretty good and can be had for $199 where I live.

post #14 of 31
post #15 of 31

I don't think any iem under $200 is better than TF10 sound quality wise.
I mean it; the triple-fi's are not in the same league with the ones you suggested.
TF10's are usually compared with the IEM flagships such as ie8, SE535, westone 4 etc.
The negatives that turn down the value of the TF10s are the comfort, which is quite good for me the comply foam tips

(if you're okay with most earphones you tried, i think you'll be okay. It just takes time and effort to learn how to push these cans inside your ears.)

Also the cable quality is horse ****, but you can always use replaceable cables. Other than that, I think TF10 is clearly no doubt your best choice!
Look at some posts where your considered IEM's and TF10's are compared. You will know what I am saying :)

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