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Prospecting Audiophile

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

I've always been the guy who listened to a lot of music, but it never occurred to me to buy high quality equipment to do it.

That is until last week when I decided to buy some headphones to insulate me from the noise of my university.

 

I have to thank the forum because it prevented me from doing the foolish thing of buying active noise cancelling headphones.

 

And after reading more I decided that what I wanted are universal fit IEMs that can be used well without an amp so low impedence and high sensitivity if i'm not mistaken. I'm looking for something that makes me want to play my library all over again. I'm also looking for something that has good insulating (I can buy foam tips separately) and sturdy build quality as I'm not the most careful of dudes.

I listen to lots of rock (not metal) and classical music but also some dubstep and electro.

My source is a galaxy s with vodoo sound.

 

My budget is around 500$ - 400€ tops. I'd like to spend less and I don't want overpriced stuff.

 

Thanks a lot! And congratz on this awesome community. My wallet will probably hate you by the time I'm done here.


Edited by Voland - 3/9/11 at 5:01am
post #2 of 66

Pretty demanding first post. Are you looking for a cage match among enthusiasts? The truth is out there. http://www.head-fi.org/search.php?action=edit&containingforum[]=103 


Edited by goodvibes - 3/8/11 at 7:49am
post #3 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voland View Post

Please don't answer me with the usual "CK100, UM3x, SM3, Westone 3, FX700, GR10, SA7 and EX1000", please motivate or even link me informative threads and posts.

 


Translation: please do the hard work for me.

 

See below wink_face.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

Pretty demanding first post. Are you looking for a cage match among enthusiasts? The truth is out there. http://www.head-fi.org/search.php?action=edit&containingforum[]=103 



 

post #4 of 66
Thread Starter 

Yeah I know, but most request threads look for slightly different things, and appreciation threads are only very informative about one pair of iems.

 

I read

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

and

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204/concise-multi-iem-comparison-klipsch-s4-added-1st-march-2011

But many of the "most suggested" (and more recent) IEMs are missing, I've also read all the guides linked in the first post of those threads.

 

Many here say that before buying expensive IEMs one must do a lot of research, so this is me doing my research. :) (or rather asking for help with my research)

 

post #5 of 66

Westone 4 are a fantastic pair of earphones (which i just happen to be selling...so take with a grain of salt). If you're willing to spend that kind of money, I would really consider them a top option. They do all genres well, have a remarkable soundstage and no noticeable bias in frequency. Bass, mids and treble are well-controlled, present and extended. They are also the most comfortable earphone I've used (having an identical body to the W3). They are well built, though replaceable cables would be nice, and are easy to drive. The only real criticism (which really isn't a criticism) I have with them is how balanced they are; sometimes I want the lush mids of the SE535 or the analytical quality of the ER4P, so it can be nice to have multiple earphones. But short of getting multiple earphones, if you only have just one pair, my recommendation would be the W4. Yeah, its a huge price commitment, but I really have a hard time imagining anyone being disappointed with this as your first major iem purchase! If you haven't spent hours listening and comparing other iems, you will be blown away and be forever grateful to me :)

 

PS. if it helps, I've owned Sennheiser IE7, IE8, Westone 2, Westone 3, Westone 4, UM3X, Shure SE535, Etymotic er6i, HF5, and ER4P


Edited by imackler - 3/8/11 at 8:54am
post #6 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imackler View Post

Westone 4 are a fantastic pair of earphones (which i just happen to be selling...so take with a grain of salt). If you're willing to spend that kind of money, I would really consider them a top option. They do all genres well, have a remarkable soundstage and no noticeable bias in frequency. Bass, mids and treble are well-controlled, present and extended. They are also the most comfortable earphone I've used (having an identical body to the W3). They are well built, though replaceable cables would be nice, and are easy to drive. The only real criticism (which really isn't a criticism) I have with them is how balanced they are; sometimes I want the lush mids of the SE535 or the analytical quality of the ER4P, so it can be nice to have multiple earphones. But short of getting multiple earphones, if you only have just one pair, my recommendation would be the W4. Yeah, its a huge price commitment, but I really have a hard time imagining anyone being disappointed with this as your first major iem purchase! If you haven't spent hours listening and comparing other iems, you will be blown away and be forever grateful to me :)

 

PS. if it helps, I've owned Sennheiser IE7, IE8, Westone 2, Westone 3, Westone 4, UM3X, Shure SE535, Etymotic er6i, HF5, and ER4P

 

The Westone 4 had caught my attention, but the price tag frankly makes me nervous.

I mean my ears are totally ignorant, they were brought up with cheap 10€ earphones.

Wouldn't it be wiser for a first timer like me to try something like the CK10?

I read they can be used well without amp (that confuses me, they have higher impedence than the CK100 and the CK100 seem to need an amp to work properly, what am I missing?) and they are cheaper.

According to the big and totally kick ass "multi IEM review" thread the CK10 are better than the westone 3 as far as sound quality goes, but i know that's just his opinion.

 

But, I mean, I'd really like to try the best and if you think the Westone 4 are an improvement I will consider them.
And they are indeed different as the CK10 are dual drivers and the Westone 4 are quads.

 

post #7 of 66


.

 


Edited by music_4321 - 3/8/11 at 12:22pm
post #8 of 66

Thanks for the clarification.  I think if you ask several specific questions and let us know what qualities are most important to you, such as good soundstage, plenty of bass, analytical sound, etc. that will help.

 

A few thought of mine...

 

- If you are looking to make one purchase and only one purchase, skip universals and go for customs.  In my experience and from everyone I know with ears I trust, they are regarded as better.  There are plenty of options in your price range.  I know, you bolded universal fit IEMs.

 

- Go through the process of elimination: monster IEMs need amps IMO to perform their best; FX700 isn't all that isolating, etc.

 

- Maybe buy 2 lower cost IEMs such as the Radius DDM and DBA-02 and see what you like/dislike and then take the next step.  You may be able to pick one/both up used.

post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Thanks for the clarification.  I think if you ask several specific questions and let us know what qualities are most important to you, such as good soundstage, plenty of bass, analytical sound, etc. that will help.

 

A few thought of mine...

 

- If you are looking to make one purchase and only one purchase, skip universals and go for customs.  In my experience and from everyone I know with ears I trust, they are regarded as better.  There are plenty of options in your price range.  I know, you bolded universal fit IEMs.

 

- Go through the process of elimination: monster IEMs need amps IMO to perform their best; FX700 isn't all that isolating, etc.

 

- Maybe buy 2 lower cost IEMs such as the Radius DDM and DBA-02 and see what you like/dislike and then take the next step.  You may be able to pick one/both up used.

 

The problem with customs is that prices go up significantly and it seems that most of them are made in america, making it more troublesome to get them in europe.

 

I don't need them to be too neutral but balanced, not too tiring to listen to, usable at quiet volumes.

 

 

post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voland View Post

The problem with customs is that prices go up significantly and it seems that most of them are made in america, making it more troublesome to get them in europe.

 

I don't need them to be too neutral but balanced, not too tiring to listen to, usable at quiet volumes.

 

Here are the custom IEMs I know of in EU.  Problem is, there isn't much on here about most of these.  You can find the full list here.

Earsonics EM1-iFl 326€ 

Spiral Ear SE 2-way Pro 500 

ACS T3 £249

Minerva Mi-1 £152.17, Mi-2 £254.29, Mi-3 £356.42

Insono EarBack Music Single driver  €435

Ambient acoustics АМ1 1400UAH,  АМ2 2500UAH

Puretone Music Flex-1 - £299

post #11 of 66

Buy some used custom IEMs here and you can remold them later or buy 1964Quad).

post #12 of 66
Thread Starter 

I guess that would be the safer option, get some great IEMs now and then a custom mold/sleeve later when i have the money.

 

But going back to the topic, any more suggestions?

Should I get the CK10?

They have high impedence so I'm not sure how easy to drive they are unamped. But the build quality, insulation and sound quality reviews make me very interested.

 

edit: also, what do they lose by having only 2 drivers?


Edited by Voland - 3/9/11 at 5:12am
post #13 of 66

You should understand what sound signature you like first. I'm not so sure about getting a CK10 when you mainly listen to rock. Try some budget or mid range IEMs first to discover your desired signature. Just because one IEM is technically better than the other doesn't mean it will actually sound better to your ears and with your music.

post #14 of 66
Thread Starter 

Knowing myself i know that if i start sampling IEMs I will end up with an ample collection and debts.

 

To sum up: I'm looking for a IEM that works well unamped and is suited for rock.

I'd like to be balanced but not necessarily too neutral, with a good soundstage and not too thin on bass.

 

Could the Earsonics' SM3 fit the bill?

Those things sure seem uncomfortable though.

post #15 of 66

It might but you won't really know until you try it. For pure rock (electric guitars, bass) I recommend the Panasonic HJE900. They are better at translating rock music more than expensive IEMs like the IE8 or W3. However they do have own their flaws (treble, detail) but for what they do with rock music, nothing else does it better.

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