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Upgrade time... for my mum!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

A few years ago I helped my mum pick her first pair of 'proper' IEMS, as she kept buying cheap Sony ones that kept falling apart and got fed up... which is where I reeled her into HeadFi land. Picked UM1s as they were just about in the price range she was willing to spend and comfort was v. important, and she seemed happy with them and her old Creative player (she's no audio nerd though). Anyway, after being jealous of my iPhone love and her newish laptop not playing nice with it, she's replaced her ropey old player with a 4G 32GB Touch and I spent this afternoon showing her how to use the thing/iTunes/apps e.t.c. Heart-warming stuff I tells ya.

 

Obviously now she's upgraded everything else, she's thinking about keeping the UM1s just for the gym and upgrading to something nicer for home/holidays. I'm thinking something midish-range, probably dual BA. She mostly listens to contemporary chart music, 80's stuff (power ballads, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, Fleetwood Mac e.t.c.), lot of female vocals and last time I looked most of it is fairly low bitrate, although I need to re-rip a load of stuff for her as she had a lot of things in .wma, so I can improve things on that front, and hopefully if she buys more stuff off iTunes it'll be in 320 AAC.

 

I realise that things have come on quite a way from a few years back in terms of SQ p/$ but there's just a ridiculous amount of choice now so it's hard trying to decide. I'd add that she'll likely buy them while they're over in the States on holiday this summer so we can ignore UK prices. I've had a look at a few of the uber-exhaustive lists of IEMs which has helped a bit, but it's still a proving a bit of a headache. I'm guessing $250 would be an absolute max since I seem to remember ordering the UM1s from the US and getting them pretty cheap compared to the £90 they are now here, and there's that disconnect between the size of IEMs and the price which she still hasn't quite overcome (although the stupidly thin Touch is helping her address that).

 

Any ideas appreciated!

post #2 of 11
Given her musical tastes, how about some Grado? I gave my mother a pair of iGrados - she loves them.

She asked for something to use with her iPod, so I got them for her and didn't go into Head-Fi nerdery about what they are.

A couple months later, she brought them up and said that they sounded better than anything she'd ever heard and wanted to know more. It also seemed that my father had been listening to them and then he laid down a guilt trip about not having anything good to listen to. So he got a SR-125. This, indirectly, led to the loss of my ESS AMT-1s. They wanted better speakers and appropriated them bexause they somehow think I have "enough" speakers. (Managed to take my old workhorse Kenwood receiver, too.)
post #3 of 11

Etymotic hf5, although both the fit does take time to get used to (and some people just can't get used to the deep fit), and the sound signature also depends on what the the person likes (lot of people find the bass lacking), but I love my hf5s!

 

Otherwise, from the reviews I read, the DBA-02 is great!

post #4 of 11

hmm its cheaper than you were aiming but for female vocals id say the PL-50, if you want a dual BA id say the SE420/425 (420 more likely to be found going cheap since it just got discontinued) or the excellent and tiny q-JAYS

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somnambulist View Post

A few years ago I helped my mum pick her first pair of 'proper' IEMS, as she kept buying cheap Sony ones that kept falling apart and got fed up... which is where I reeled her into HeadFi land. Picked UM1s as they were just about in the price range she was willing to spend and comfort was v. important, and she seemed happy with them and her old Creative player (she's no audio nerd though). Anyway, after being jealous of my iPhone love and her newish laptop not playing nice with it, she's replaced her ropey old player with a 4G 32GB Touch and I spent this afternoon showing her how to use the thing/iTunes/apps e.t.c. Heart-warming stuff I tells ya.

 

Obviously now she's upgraded everything else, she's thinking about keeping the UM1s just for the gym and upgrading to something nicer for home/holidays. I'm thinking something midish-range, probably dual BA. She mostly listens to contemporary chart music, 80's stuff (power ballads, Genesis, Mike Oldfield, Fleetwood Mac e.t.c.), lot of female vocals and last time I looked most of it is fairly low bitrate, although I need to re-rip a load of stuff for her as she had a lot of things in .wma, so I can improve things on that front, and hopefully if she buys more stuff off iTunes it'll be in 320 AAC.

 

I realise that things have come on quite a way from a few years back in terms of SQ p/$ but there's just a ridiculous amount of choice now so it's hard trying to decide. I'd add that she'll likely buy them while they're over in the States on holiday this summer so we can ignore UK prices. I've had a look at a few of the uber-exhaustive lists of IEMs which has helped a bit, but it's still a proving a bit of a headache. I'm guessing $250 would be an absolute max since I seem to remember ordering the UM1s from the US and getting them pretty cheap compared to the £90 they are now here, and there's that disconnect between the size of IEMs and the price which she still hasn't quite overcome (although the stupidly thin Touch is helping her address that).

 

Any ideas appreciated!

 

The Westone UM2 now comes with detachable cables, too - which is a big plus -, and it's a fantastic IEM, I rate it higher than the W3, SM3, SE535, SE530 & CK10 (but not higher than the W4, UM3X, TF10, CK100 or IE8). It can be had for $250 if you do your homework and search carefully.

 

BTW, I think 192 AAC files are more than adequate (and not just for your mum) - I use 192 AAC files with my $850 ES3X customs & $450 W4s paired with my Sony A857 DAP (no amps, LODs or expensive aftermarket cables, BTW).

 

 


Edited by music_4321 - 3/20/11 at 6:01am
post #6 of 11

You know who else has the best iems? MY MOM!

 

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Cheers for the ideas. My dad is more of a cans guy so I'm helping him pick some Senns too lol, it's only my sister who has yet to come under my 'you NEED to get some decent headphones!' spell. I should add that by low-bitrate I'm talking about 128kbps, but it's not like most of it isn't already clipped, compressed and butchered by the production/mastering already!

 

I did think about the CK10s as a kind of 'best in budget' from other reviews, as they're like her, small, but supposedly comfortable which would fit the bill, but I'll look at a straight upgrade to the UM2s as well, the DBA-02s also stood out due to the price. I'd need to read up a bit more about the sound sig for all of them since I get the feeling I'm going to be looking for something that's slightly leaning towards the 'fun' side of things without being overly coloured.


Edited by Somnambulist - 3/20/11 at 11:11am
post #8 of 11

This reminds me of my first thread on head-fi which was about buying a pair of headphones for my mom biggrin.gif I eventually went with the Monster Miles Davis from JR for $260 and she has been 100% satisfied. Since you said your mom isn't an really an audio nerd, I would think a pair of dynamic driver IEM's would ultimately prove more enjoyable and the MMD's fit that bill perfectly. Plus lifetime warranty is a huge +!

 

I would recommend the re262's as well, they should drive just fine out of a touch (though some one who uses the set up should confirm this) and they are perfect for vocal music. 


Edited by Daanish - 3/20/11 at 1:14pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Bit out of her budget though from the looks of things. The dynamics also tend to look less comfortable than some of the BAs, although that's just based off pics. My mum is small and has little ears, so something like the TF10 just isn't going to work as they'll be sticking out the side of her head like two antenna.

post #10 of 11

The new Phonak dual BA driver PFE232 might fit your bill. I've heard a preproduction model and it sounded pretty good. Expected release date is April, hopefully the price will be within your budget.

 

IMO the elegant and very comfy Phonak design is perfect for the ladies. smile_phones.gif

 

PFE232-01.jpgPFE232-02.jpg

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Another for the list. They won't be going on holiday till late July, so I have a few months to help her choose/wait for things to come out.

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