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Custom IEMs - What should my budget be?

Poll Results: Custom Brand Preference in General

 
  • 0% (0)
    Ultimate Ears
  • 16% (2)
    JH Audio
  • 0% (0)
    Westone
  • 58% (7)
    1964 Ears
  • 25% (3)
    Other
12 Total Votes  
post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

For those of you who have been following my other thread - you are probably going to think I am some sort of a maniac, as I just got my Westone 4s yesterday and here I am already talking about customs. But I figure that I am ready to make this move within the next 1-2 months. At this time, I don't know if I will replace the W4s directly, or start building out a collection and keep the W4s.


So far the W4s have been simply wonderful! I put up a preliminary review/some thoughts in my other thread.

 

I guess I'm just trying to get a decent idea about what I can expect with customs (yes I've read a few threads), but mainly looking to use a benchmark of the 2 IEMs I've owned now, (TF10, W4) and how various customs compare/contrast.

 

So far I've just looked into the UE 11s (better for bass than the 18s) + much better than the 4s? & JH Audios offerings + the quad from 1964. Seems like a bit of a premium for the others over 1964 - realistically....what should I budget for a pair of customs that can perform like the W4s or better, and obviously I will be getting a great seal regardless right!


Thanks for your advice guys!

 

 

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
Really...no replies?

Bump.
post #3 of 16

I have been hearing very good things about the 1964-Q, so you may want to give that a shot. You should PM ericp if you are interested.


 

post #4 of 16

You may also want to contact rawster who has the 1964-T and the W4. Even though the triples and quads will differ, you can get a sense of how close the 1964 sound dig is to the W4.

post #5 of 16
post #6 of 16
If I had to redo the custom experience, I would probably try the 1964 quads contrary to what I said a few months ago. After learning how to read frequency charts a bit, I'm pretty confident it'll have the bass requirement I'd like, and the higher impedance means i'd probably find it easier to pair with more powerful amps instead of staying within the first 2 volume notches on the lowest gain. I freaking loved the ue11 when i heard them. Couldn't afford them then, that's why i cheaped out. Been paying for that bad decision since. Could have bought them if I accumulated all my repair and shipping costs.

UM should be in your poll too. I'm considering the Merlin for my next pair if it sounds really really good. Best custom I've heard so far goes to jh16. Followed by UE 11, then the ES 5. I really believe that you shouldn't read opinions, instead you should try any potential custom that fits your sonic preference. And if you don't have a sonic preference, take some time (maybe a year) to decide on what you really want from a earphone, so you'll make a decision you won't regret. Remember, customs are only worth their price tag if they last you at least 5 years. That works out to abt 1 pair of high end universal a year, depending on which custom you buy of cos.

Hope it helps and hope I offered you good advice without stepping on any toes.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

This may be a really stupid and novice question. But what is, essentially, the difference between the UE11 & 1964-Q that justifies more than double the pricetag. I mean if it is one of those things like buying a off brand vs brand handbag or other article of clothing - then that's fine I understand. But I find that in technology/electronics it usually doesn't carry over at such a high degree...

post #8 of 16

That can be said for electronics like DAPs as it does carry alot of complexities(dependency on many parts of greater complexity and production), but headphones are very simple, yet they are priced with high inflation.  Its basically a luxury item, the production values doesn't cause the price hike compared to what I would consider electronic devices such as mp3 players.  Headphones, I don't consider it a electronic device, although it has to be powered.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphahelix View Post

This may be a really stupid and novice question. But what is, essentially, the difference between the UE11 & 1964-Q that justifies more than double the pricetag. I mean if it is one of those things like buying a off brand vs brand handbag or other article of clothing - then that's fine I understand. But I find that in technology/electronics it usually doesn't carry over at such a high degree...



 

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphahelix View Post

This may be a really stupid and novice question. But what is, essentially, the difference between the UE11 & 1964-Q that justifies more than double the pricetag. I mean if it is one of those things like buying a off brand vs brand handbag or other article of clothing - then that's fine I understand. But I find that in technology/electronics it usually doesn't carry over at such a high degree...



The only ways to know for sure are to read the specs (or get someone to interpret them for you) and to get the opinion of the rare person who has both. There's going to be some markup associated with a brand name, but there's also the possibility that there's a difference (that would matter) in the phones themselves.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q View Post

That can be said for electronics like DAPs as it does carry alot of complexities(dependency on many parts of greater complexity and production), but headphones are very simple, yet they are priced with high inflation.  Its basically a luxury item, the production values doesn't cause the price hike compared to what I would consider electronic devices such as mp3 players.  Headphones, I don't consider it a electronic device, although it has to be powered.
 



 

So if I am understanding this right - my original train of thought is along the right lines? The only thing I am going to get out of a UE 11 vs a 1964Q is going to be marginal or at best, a matter of personal preference in that certain people maybe in fact appreciate the sound signature of the 1964 over the UE regardless of the lower price.

 

That being said, I understand that I am blending the line between IEMs and electronics - but it seems that over the past few years many more options have come to exist (at least in the custom market). It seems that UE is a long standing contender (pioneer perhaps? I didn't go into that much depth). I am curious as to whether or not that may be a reason for the price.


Being in the DJ world for many years now, I've become very familiar with the UE name working with many musicians who swear by them. Even though I picked up a set of W4 Universals recently, I just came to know of Westone only a few short months ago (along with some other names like Grado, 1964, and surprisingly even Ortofon despite their known regard in the turntable cartridge/needle industry). 
 

 

post #11 of 16

actually, I can offer a reasonable explaination. UE11 was once their flagship monitor, although it was a long time ago. And it was once regarded very very very highly, literally king of customs. But technology has caught up to them, and companies have found cheaper ways to produce them, and the law of perfect competition states that prices would gradually decline till price = marginal costs. that obviously hasn't happened yet, but prices are coming down. UE have not revised their prices, and the UE11 has remained as expensive as it was before, without taking into account that other companies have similar offerings for half the price. this would not be beneficial to UE as the smart and rational consumer would choose the cheaper "brand-less" product that appears to offer the same quality and specifications. If I were UE I'd start revising prices or risk losing a significant portion of the market. If you ask around the 1964 thread, I think some people have commented the 1964 Quads sound very similar to the UE 11. I haven't heard the 1964 Quads so I can't comment. 

 


Edited by Saintkeat - 4/10/11 at 4:09pm
post #12 of 16

I believe customs are not mass produced.  Is it worth the higher price tag?  For me, no.  But look, what used to be over 1k in priced customs from JHA or UE is selling for less than $500 at 1964.  How is that?  Were they overpriced?  Based on how other custom headphone companies can offer it for so much less, I would say so.  But they will be high as long as there are no competitors, but now that UE, and JHA have competitors their price will have to come down if they want to compete or have to come up with some kind of a gimmick product like JHA's headphone amp.  


Edited by High_Q - 4/10/11 at 4:08pm
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q View Post

I believe customs are not mass produced.  Is it worth the higher price tag?  For me, no.  But look, what used to be over 1k in priced customs from JHA or UE is selling for less than $500 at 1964.  How is that?  Were they overpriced?  Based on how other custom headphone companies can offer it for so much less, I would say so.  But they will be high as long as there are no competitors, but now that UE, and JHA have competitors their price will have to come down if they want to compete or have to come up with some kind of a gimmick product like JHA's headphone amp.  


There's going to be a limit to how much cheaper the name companies can or will go.  It part, it's prestige. You can't turn around and say, "Oh oops, that thing I've been charging you a grand for is really only worth $600." But another reality is that UE (and JHA to a lesser extent) have more overhead than a place like 1964-Ears. UE has the cash to have people on staff that they can send to meets. They have sales people. They pay graphic artists and web designers and who knows what else. I've been to 1964-Ears. It's in a small rental space on the north edge of Portland with about four people working on customs. You can bet that UE's plant is not like that.

 

post #14 of 16

Last time I checked, JH, wife, and daughter was at the Can Jam.  You maybe overestimating how many are on JH's team, but UEs I don't know, but I'm guessing small for the custom's team, but large for the universal line.  If they have more people, I would hope the price would be a lot lower because there would be a sort of a production line to make thing more efficient to bring cost down.  Marketing will cost, but I really haven't seen mainstream marketing for JHA, its all audiophile phooy.  UE on the other hand, has more marketing because they sell universals, but still they aren't very mainstream marketing wise.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post




There's going to be a limit to how much cheaper the name companies can or will go.  It part, it's prestige. You can't turn around and say, "Oh oops, that thing I've been charging you a grand for is really only worth $600." But another reality is that UE (and JHA to a lesser extent) have more overhead than a place like 1964-Ears. UE has the cash to have people on staff that they can send to meets. They have sales people. They pay graphic artists and web designers and who knows what else. I've been to 1964-Ears. It's in a small rental space on the north edge of Portland with about four people working on customs. You can bet that UE's plant is not like that.

 



 


Edited by High_Q - 4/10/11 at 4:24pm
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q View Post

Last time I checked, JH, wife, and daughter was at the Can Jam.  You maybe overestimating how many are on JH's team, but UEs I don't know, but I'm guessing small for the custom's team, but large for the universal line.  If they have more people, I would hope the price would be a lot lower because there would be a sort of a production line to make thing more efficient to bring cost down.  Marketing will cost, but I really haven't seen mainstream marketing for JHA, its all audiophile phooy.  UE on the other hand, has more marketing because they sell universals, but still they aren't very mainstream marketing wise.
 



 


 

Note that I said JHA had more overhead than 1964-Ears to a lesser extent than UE. I'm not sure how mainstream marketing figures into this conversation as we're talking about customs producers.

 

But I'm still betting that JHA has more overhead than 1964- Ears, even if it's not a behemoth like UE.

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