Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Comparison of "good IEM's" (e.g. Westone UM2) and/or 'small closed portable' headphones (e.g. PX-200-II, AKG-K450/480) to the headphones I already have? (Yuin G2A, Yuin OK3, Sony MDR 7506)
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Comparison of "good IEM's" (e.g. Westone UM2) and/or 'small closed portable' headphones (e.g. PX-200-II, AKG-K450/480) to the headphones I already have? (Yuin G2A, Yuin OK3, Sony MDR 7506)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 



Over the past 2 years, based on many things I read on Head-Fi, I bought a Sansa Fuze, the Yuin OK3 and the Yuin G2A. I already had a Sony MDR 7506 (similar to MDR-V6) studio-headphone.

Now I am looking for a new portable (!) headphone with good noise-isolation, for listening on the train/bus/subway and other noisy environments. They might even become my most used headphones, isolating me from the 'outside' while listening on-the-go.

  1. First I was looking at closed foldable headphones such as AKG-K450, Sennheiser PX200-II or even the ones with noise-cancelling such as AKG-K480 and Sennheiser PXC310.
  2. But I also read a lot about IEM's. While I like how small they are, I'm mostly afraid of their comfort and their soundstage (having such small drivers...). Considering this and reading about them, the ones that seem to be most interesting for me are the Westone UM2 (or UM3x...but the UM2 is already very expensive...). I also thought about the Sennheiser IE8, but read they don't isolate all that well.


I read a lot about those headphones (mainly on the PX200-II and UM2, as it's hard to find a lot on the PXC310 and AKG-K450/480), but I didn't find any direct comparison to headphones I have or know and I can't find any place here (Belgium) where I can test those headphones before buying. This makes it very hard to compare those different 'families'/'types' of headphones.

Can someone share his experience, comparing the sound of these headphones with the some of the ones I have?

Amongst others, I'm very interested in comparison on the presentation/separation/soundstage of those types of phones compared to the Yuin G2A.


As background info, my headphones experiences/preferences so far:

  • I do love the relative neutral sound and great presentation of the Yuin G2a, only being disapointed by its lacks in the lower frequencies (very little bass). But given their price, their comfort & size and the great results with most kinds of music (especially with acoustics, jazz, classical music, live rock...), that's a limited complaint.
  • Yuin OK3 are 'OK' for real small portability, but left me with some disapointment, which is why I only use them as small 'backup' headphones, when I don't even cary a bag large enough for the G2a... (maybe I was tó satisfied by the G2a...)
  • The Sony MDR 7506 I like better for accurate listening, even more detail than G2a, isolation, 'simple' cleaner bass...almost everything, but they are usually to big for travelling.
  • I did test the AKG-K420 and AKG-430 in a German shop once. I liked the AKG-K420...but they had no sound isolation at all and leaked all the music to the outside. But I didn't like the AKG-K430, which had better isolation and less leakage, but totally lost the 'open' and nice presentation of the K420 and were to 'bassy' and 'narrow' (not in balance)... (that's why I'm afraid of going for the closed K450/K480)


My main concerns are

  • comfort!! (listening for many hours)
  • sound quality (mainly neutral/realistic, pleasant sound with good soundstage/presentation/detail. For most types of music!!)
  • good isolation (I already have the Yuin G2A for at work and other quiet locations 'on the move')
  • low/no sound leakage (I don't want to impose my music to people around me)
  • small (I already have the Sony MDR 7506 for at home)


Any thoughts are welcome!!

Thanks in advance!

Edited by blub - 3/7/11 at 12:14pm
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 

I'm not fond of to many 'bumps', but maybe some more people might see this post normal_smile%20.gif

Can anyone share his experience on these (types of) headphones compared to one-another?



post #3 of 6

for listening on the go, i dont think anything compares to iem's, their small size, supreme isolation, and easy ability to drive trumps any headphones when ur using them in the train or bus.  i'm not sure if u tried any at all, seeing ur list is headphone, clip on, and earbud. if u haven't tried any iem in general, it will be a whole different world, try putting ur pinky finger in your ear to simulate the isolation and feel u will get with iem like westone um2. With that amount of isolation, u will hear urself at times say if ur eating something or breathing heavily.

As for your sound preference, there a lot to choose from a neutral/natural presentation point of view. I would say westone 2 is more natural/balanced sounding than um2, um2 has a mid bass hump and upfront mids with the highs not in focus. westone 2 is less upfront mids with more treble and tighter but less bass. Also consider phonak audeo pfe, ortofon eq5, fischer audio dba, meelec armature, etc. ( a lot of models to look at now since the iem competition is so great )

also note that iem sound very inside your head, soundstage will be difficult to achieve because of the nature of iem, so it won't match ur headphone's soundstage. Detail is one of the strong suits of iem

Comparing um2 to westone 2, i suggest westone 2 to you, and for your first iem, i strongly advise westone in general, they have the best comfort and fit for me and are easy to put in (some iem is finnicky, requires some time to put in, not the westone's). As always, look at the sale threads in this site for some good deals that pop up every now and then.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info & advice!!

It's indeed because the comfort-concerns that I was heading for Westone in the IEM-market.


I'm quite puzzled by you're comparison betwee the W2 and the UM2, as I thought that UM2 was better in most aspects...but maybe I've read to many info over the past weeks to be able to put them all in the correct place rolleyes.gif


I think it's mainly the 'soundstage'/'presentation' that makes me doubt. I just read some posts about custom sleeves (e.g. ACS) and I might try that. In which case I'm doubting between the Westones and the Sennheiser IE8:

  • from what I've read, the IE8 seems to have a very good soundstage, but not a good seel...a problem that would be cancelled out by the custom sleeves...
  • the Westones remain better regarded for pure sound-quality, but I don't know yet if they (W2/3 and UM2/3) can have full-ear custom sleeves and what it does with the presentation


post #5 of 6

its hard to say which westone is better, between the um2 and 2, their difference in sound signature makes them more of a sidegrade than anything else. Personally, i prefer the um2, they have more upfront mids and more midbass, it might not sound as tight and focused than westone 2 but they sound more fun to my ears ( i listen to rock, electronic, alittle hip hop ).

But in the case of your music and preference, i advice the westone 2 because they are more balanced than the um2. They would work better as a great all rounder (and they can do classical and jazz better than the um2).

Ppl have said the senn ie8 are bassy and don't provide iem like isolation, so take that into consideration.

All iem are able to have custom sleeves, and westone's have their own um56 custom tip (search for it, its on their site), however, before you shell out the money for those, i think the stock silicone/foam tips out there are great as is.


I have read here some ppl have the um56 tips, u can do a search for their opinions, but more ppl have done full custom remolds, remolding the triple fi 10 as a popular choice since many bought them with the amazon deal so the price wouldn't be that much of hit. Sometimes, calculating the price of doing a custom job can be higher than expected, getting earmolds professionally done, shipping them out, and possibly shipping them out again and remolding if the mold needs to redone. I don't kno, maybe you can find a deal of a remold/custom sleeve in Belgium.


The iem's i have and had in the past sounded like inside my head, whereas the full sized headphones sound like around my head. Just start talking and notice how your own voice sounds, now put ur fingers in ur ears and talk, do you notice how your voice sounds very inside ur head when u talk like this ? Its not that iem's don't have any soundstage, because some have great soundstage, but its their presentation that is different.





post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

thanks for the inputs and explanation!


I continued my research some further. Considering my budget, for the moment I'm considering the following:

  • Westone 2 (possibly UM2)
  • Shure SE315
  • Klipsch Custom 3

They are all within the same price-range, with appreciated comfort and good sound quality.

(First I was thinking about extending my budget towards W3 or SE530, but it seems more reasonable for that price difference to buy -next to the IEM- a small amp or e.g. a Sennheiser MX980 as very good earbuds to have more "travel-flexibility")


I'm still trying to find more insights on how these IEM's sound with classical music / jazz / rock music (both electrical & acoustical), as those genres seem to be the most decisive for me. (e.g. I don't need huge amounts of bass, but like them clean)

Finding those insights don't seem to be that easy, especially for the Shure SE315.


I might have to do further research, but any advice from people who were able to compare those is welcome!

Edited by blub - 3/19/11 at 5:33pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Comparison of "good IEM's" (e.g. Westone UM2) and/or 'small closed portable' headphones (e.g. PX-200-II, AKG-K450/480) to the headphones I already have? (Yuin G2A, Yuin OK3, Sony MDR 7506)