Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › On the prowl again for IEM. Need input.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

On the prowl again for IEM. Need input.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have finished my full-sized headphone journey as some of you know, but currently, I'm still trying to finish my IEM journey. It's a bit harder because while I'm willing to spend whatever it took to finish my full-sized headphones journey, I'm not willing to do the same for IEM, mostly because I don't use IEM's nearly as much, and there aren't any audiologists in my area where I can make molds for quality custom ones. So I must rely on universal fit IEM's, and they can't cost me an arm and a leg (but it looks like universal fit IEM's don't cost nearly as much as the custom molded ones anyway).

 

Currently, the IEM's I own/owned or auditioned are:

 

Westone 3 - The bass is bloated while not much sub-bass extension. The treble is a bit subdued. The mids are fine. Very comfortable. Cables very easy to deal with. If only that bass isn't so bloated, I'd be fine with it.

 

Shure SE535/530 - The upper/mids (around 7KHz area) is too bright and fatiguing for me. Other than that, I don't have any problems with it's sonic signature. The cables are a pain in the ass since they are stiff. I much prefer very soft cable like the W3.

 

Shure E4C - Same fatiguing upper/mids problem as SE535/530, and the bass isn't extended or authoritative enough. 

 

Triple.fi 10 Pro - Sounded quite warm and didn’t have the kind of articulation/clarity/air I prefer (which is one of the things I don’ t like about the Westone 3). The sub-bass wasn’t as extended as could be either.

 

Westone UMX3 – The UMX3 was more balanced than the Westone 3, without that really bloated mid-bass, but it’s still not there in terms of clarity and air.

 

Etymotic ER-4P – I really liked the ER-4P because it’s got great clarity and articulation, but its bass was just not substantial enough, which is a shame, because it’s not something you can just EQ with your MP3 player, since typical EQ’s on players do not extend into the sub-bass region.

 

Ideally, I would love to have a pair of IEM's that sound similar to the LCD-2 (neutral, non-fatiguing, detailed, and great bass presence and extension that's accurate and never bloated, yet powerful), or even the HD650 (the only issue I have with it is the sub-bass isn't as prominent as should be). Hell, even the M50 would be fine (the bass is a bit heavier than neutral).

 

In general, it should first and foremost do no hard, and that means it cannot be too bright/fatiguing in the upper-mids (from 6KHz~8KHz range). It should have enough air in the treble, but not splashy and tinny. The bass should be extended, authoritative, and powerful, but never bloated. The mids should be smooth and liquid, not recessed or too prominent.

 

So, is there such a universal IEM on the market currently? Or is what I'm looking for only available in the expensive custom molded range? Should I just EQ the IEM's I have now and call it the day?

 

post #2 of 21

It looks like so far you have only owned the giants of American made IEMs.

you might be able to find something  suitable from French or Japanese makers.

 

Anyways, what is maximum you are looking to spend on a universals?

 

For sure, Your standards are quite high but there still might be a hidden treasure for you to discover.

 

Good luck in your search.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yello131 View Post

Anyways, what is maximum you are looking to spend on a universals?

 


I guess under $500 (street price) would be reasonable. I really don't use IEM's that much--only when I'm traveling and have nothing to do and no one to talk to (like long plane/car/train rides or waiting for a flight, waiting in a long line...etc). 

post #4 of 21

Have you heard of SM3?

another option Radius DDM

AHT-Ck100

Ortoofon e-q7

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

I have never auditioned any of them, and because I'm not able to audition IEM's in my area, and I'm won't be traveling for a while, I'm asking here for some opinions on which IEM's fit my criteria.


 

post #6 of 21

Have you considered the W4? Long-time Westone fans seem to find it avoids having the bloated bass of the W3, and avoids the fatiguing highs of the W3/UM3X (I can't remember which).

post #7 of 21

Read dfkt's SM3 review on ABI. Tbo they're not my cup of tea, but if the Shures are too bright for you, they may be just what you're looking for. smile_phones.gif

post #8 of 21

I agree with james; just get the SM3 and call it a day wink.gif

 

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

I read that review of the SM3 and it really doesn't tell me anything that makes me think it's "the one" for me. Is there a frequency response graph available for it?

 

Someone PM'd me and recommended the W4 too. I might take a look and see if I'd be interested.

 

BTW, my EQ settings for the SE535 and W3 can be found here:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/546077/my-meticulously-tweaked-eq-settings-for-shure-se535-and-westone-3#post_7363708

 

 

 

 

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique View Post

I read that review of the SM3 and it really doesn't tell me anything that makes me think it's "the one" for me. Is there a frequency response graph available for it?


Well, that's why I thought you should read it, to find out whether they could be "the one" for you. Recommendations can only do so much. I've read a lot of feedback from Shure owners, but can't remember anyone else complaining about their too bright upper mids. Seems to me you're extra sensitive in that region. Since I've found the SM3's sound sig being somehow reminiscent of the SE530, minus a dip around 6-7kHz, I thought they'd be worth considering. Here's their FR-graph:

 

arta-fr-sm3.png

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post


Well, that's why I thought you should read it, to find out whether they could be "the one" for you. Recommendations can only do so much. I've read a lot of feedback from Shure owners, but can't remember anyone else complaining about their too bright upper mids. Seems to me you're extra sensitive in that region. Since I've found the SM3's sound sig being somehow reminiscent of the SE530, minus a dip around 6-7kHz, I thought they'd be worth considering. Here's their FR-graph:

 

arta-fr-sm3.png

 

Actually, it's that 7KHz peak that's driving me mad--I hate it. It's really piercing and fatiguing. You can see that the SE535 is uniquely bright in that area:

http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2731&graphID[]=733&graphID[]=2271&graphID[]=693

 

I would like to find a pair of IEM's that isn't sibilant/bright in that range, but with bass that's at least as authoritative as the SE535, and ideally with a bit more air in the upper treble (13Khz~16KHz range).

 

Based on how I EQ'd the SE535 and W3, you guys can get a very good idea of what I'm looking for:

 

SE535

shure_se535.jpg

 

Westone 3:

westone3.jpg

 

Based on the comments I've read of the W4, it seems to fit the bill, but then again, without auditioning it myself it's hard to say, especially that Westone is really bad when it comes to releasing any kind of frequency response graphs for their products. I really hate that they don't do it.

 

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post


... I've read a lot of feedback from Shure owners, but can't remember anyone else complaining about their too bright upper mids. Seems to me you're extra sensitive in that region...

 


Shane55 specifically spoke of having issues with the upper mids. I spoke of the SE535s having anemic bass & pronounced treble, which I also found somewhat grainy and fatiguing. There have been other people (can't remember their user IDs) who also found the SE535's bass & treble inadequate. Very likely what some of us call 'bright treble' may well be referring to the upper mids/ lower treble region.


Edited by music_4321 - 3/26/11 at 2:48am
post #13 of 21

Well, the OP mentioned both the SE535 and SE530, from which I was (perhaps wrongfully) implying that he hears them both equally. So you've had those issues with the SE535, but was it the same for you with the SE530 back then? I've only heard the SE530 and like most folks here would rather complain about lack of treble than about the opposite.

post #14 of 21

^^  If that's the case, then I stand corrected. You're quite right about the SE530s, I personally found the treble rolled-off, but I'd take it over the SE535's pronounced and rather grainy treble. Also, from how I remember the SE530s, the bass wasn't as 'anemic' as I heard it on the 535s, it wasn't great but I don't remember getting the shock I got from the 535's bass presentation.

post #15 of 21
Sm3. Kinda sounds like your looking at the MD as well. Anax can elaborate more on that. He's lurking around here somewhere also the Futuresonic Atrio Mg7.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › On the prowl again for IEM. Need input.