So I thought I'd throw the 2011 in the title there since I've been searching thru a lot of good threads on here and it seems like you all really know what you are talking about! However one thing I saw a lot of was that some threads are quite old and I know so many new models of headphones have come out in the last year or so.....
Anyhow, here goes. I basically made this thread because I am looking for you guys - The PROS to help me settle on a pair of phones for my use.
Some background on me: I work part-time as a DJ, and play a wide variety of music which usually ends up boiling down to Top 40, and Urban Mainstream music (Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, etc) as well as some international flavor (think Punjabi MC). These days there is so much music coming out, and so many popular artists breaking ground that it's become a constant struggle to keep the playlist packed w/ the right jams...so what I like to do is load up my iPod with a bunch of music as it comes my way via record pools and such and then go through it while I'm doing other activities (riding the subway, running/working out at the gym, and so forth).
What I currently use (and have used) to give you a benchmark for my preference: I swear by the Ultrasone DJ1-Pro Headphones. In the past I've used a lot of phones...brands like Sony, Denon, Pioneer, Audio Technica....but I love my DJ1-Pros and I'm on my second set (unfortunately, they are plastic and don't last so long with heavy use). The only IEMs that I've owned (at least those over $100) were the Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10vi. Just to be clear though, I auditioned many different IEMs before deciding on the Triple Fis....I'll give my view to give you all a better idea:
Etymotic HF Series - I had the one w/ the 3 button iPhone control. I thought the clarity of these was exceptional, detail was good -- but no BASS. I mean, literally NO BASS. So they had to go back, especially since I deal w/ a fair amount of Hip-Hop music which I need to hear the bass in.
Monster Turbines - Standard edition, wack...muddy, returned. Gold edition bass was too overpowering, everything else sounded crappy - no balance. So didn't even try the coppers
Beats Tour - complete piece of sh** - These headphones should be $50 max -- being extremely lenient here. Not only are these terrible, but after listening to Etys and Turbines, the experience was just terrible w/ these.
Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 - So i ended up with these. I mean, out of all the ones I tried, I liked these the best. I had to settle a little bit because I could not keep buying and returning headphones every 2 weeks without the salespeople getting pissed off at me. These phones had a great balance from what I could tell. Yes, the mids might have needed a little more oomph, but I felt like when they had a really good seal the sound was pretty decent and the bass was tight. Big problem was sometimes getting that seal....eventually the complyfoams worked best for me, but I had to get used to them. The phones are so big, and stick out a little far -- weird design IMO and not the most comfy! Eventually, the cable frayed on these phones and I had to get rid of them. Good job UE...build IEMs with a $400+ pricetag and put stock ibuds cable on them.
What I am looking for:
So basically, at this time I am looking for a set of phones (I guess IEMs since I feel they will be better for the venues I plan to use them (gym/travelling), although I am open to some over ear recommendations if you guys feel they are absolutely stellar! For the IEMS, I am currently looking into these models:
Shure 425/535 -- I still haven't been able to hear these anywhere, so I don't know if their sound signature/profile fits my needs. Maybe you can help on that. What I really like about the Shures is the thicker & removable cable. That is a BIG PLUS for me, seeing as the issues I've had w/ the UE10s.
IE8 - I heard these were really good, especially for BASSier music - but the design somehow does not speak to me.
Westone 4 - This would really be more on the higher end of the phones I would go for (and not sure if the cable is removable, but I have heard it's SOLID). What really intrigues me with this set is the 4 driver triple crossover design.
My Budget: At this time I'm setting a budget of $300-400 (roughly, I can probably give or take $50 if it is really really a huge difference in quality). I feel that I am still a noobie when it comes to IEMs, and while I have been looking into CUSTOMS I really have no idea which way to go about it and get it done. Also, the price for decent customs is also a bit out of my current price range. I've looked at the custom options from UE and I feel like at this time if I got something Universal fit, the next set I get could be customs. Again - I'm open to comments and considerations....
And so far that is it. I am sure you all have a lot to say and I am all ears. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my thread and help point me in the right direction.
Thanks a lot guys!