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?