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First custom IEMs -- advice and guidance

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Howdy,

I'm looking for some advice and guidance while purchasing my first custom fit IEMs. I'm looking for something I can wear for extended periods of time while at work, so comfort and isolation are important -- and I'm looking to take a step up in sound quality as well.

I've been looking at things like the JH5, 1964-Q, AC2, that kind of price range. I currently own Grado SR80s, Sennheiser HD280s, and Shure SE110s. My sources are a Cowon iAudio7 for mobile use (playing FLACs or high quality Oggs) and FLAC files at my computer while I'm working.

I've been doing as much reading as I can in the last few days, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the options available. I'm looking for something that won't be fatiguing, that is well balanced vs. being bass or treble happy, etc. Ideally, something that won't be overwhelming if I need to put some music on and work, but is detailed enough to close my eyes, lean back and focus on the music.

The JH5 seems very well regarded. The 1964-Q seems, to a naive observer like myself, like it would be a step up, but I know just enough to realize I can't make judgments just based on spec sheets and driver counts. Is there a clear winner in this category? Without the ability to try these out myself, I don't know how to go about making a decision. I'd very much appreciate any advise or guidance that anyone has.

On a related note, should I be looking at a DAC/AMP for this kind of listening? I know the sound card on most of the computers I'm using kind of sucks. I feel like the iAudio7 has pretty good sound quality and drives the headphones I've used it with well, but I could obviously be wrong. Would something like the Fiio E7 be appropriate? Unnecessary? Insufficient?

Thanks in advance for any help, and please let me know if there is more information I could provide that would make a decision easier.
post #2 of 6

For best comfort over long time periods and maximum isolation, you should definitely consider going with an all-silicone earpiece design. You'll find the Sensaphonics 2X-S and 2MAX are a perfect match for your specification. These are dual-driver IEMs with a neutral/accurate sound signature - sonically competitive with any multi-driver design on the market. If you like things a little bassier, you might consider the 3MAX triple-driver.

 

Bonus feature: Sensaphonics makes the only silicone IEMs with field-replaceable cables.

 

The website is www.sensaphonics.com.

 

Good luck with your search.


Edited by JackKontney - 4/17/11 at 5:56pm
post #3 of 6

It all depends on you budget. There is a UE 10 being sold now, on the forum for about 400$ remold it and you'll have a 1000$ iem for half the price. 


Of course you could go directly through the guys who make em. Jh audio's top of the line JH16 Pro is well known here. But it might be too bassy for your tastes, if that is the case theres always the jh13 pro. Its considered to be analytical, but it may suit you. UE has some similar offerings. 

 

And, if the jh 16's or 13's are out of your budget you can always stalk the forums for a good deal on them. They usually go for half off or 600-750$ depending on the model.

 

However I would also consider upgrading your source/DAC. Not exactly a filo e7, but I suppose it will do for now... You may eventually want to upgrade again. It's usually good to get the best you can afford now, so you're less likely to upgrade in the future. That's why I recommended the 13 and 16. 

 

P.S. Welcome to head-fi, say goodbye to your wallet.

post #4 of 6

First of all, don't upgrade your source - put your money into the IEMs instead: the rule of thumb is that you put money into IEMs first, only then into source/amp. The difference you are going to see between a low end and a high end custom is going to be far, far greater than going from an iAudio 7 to a "better" source. The second rationale behind this is that sources can always be upgraded later, whereas if you want to upgrade your customs, you need to buy a new pair (expensive).

 

As for which custom to get - there aren't that many people who would have heard all of the ones you have listed - my personal advice would be to look through the appreciation threads, and PM people who you notice own several for further impressions.

 

Best of luck! 

post #5 of 6

If you have a favourite iem that could use it why not look into getting custom tips or a reshell done?  Could save a bit of cash in the long run.  I'd love to get a pair done for work use but my cowardice about getting impressions done mean I keep chickening out !

post #6 of 6

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enianen View Post

Howdy,

I'm looking for some advice and guidance while purchasing my first custom fit IEMs. I'm looking for something I can wear for extended periods of time while at work, so comfort and isolation are important -- and I'm looking to take a step up in sound quality as well.

I've been looking at things like the JH5, 1964-Q, AC2, that kind of price range. I currently own Grado SR80s, Sennheiser HD280s, and Shure SE110s. My sources are a Cowon iAudio7 for mobile use (playing FLACs or high quality Oggs) and FLAC files at my computer while I'm working.

I've been doing as much reading as I can in the last few days, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the options available. I'm looking for something that won't be fatiguing, that is well balanced vs. being bass or treble happy, etc. Ideally, something that won't be overwhelming if I need to put some music on and work, but is detailed enough to close my eyes, lean back and focus on the music.

The JH5 seems very well regarded. The 1964-Q seems, to a naive observer like myself, like it would be a step up, but I know just enough to realize I can't make judgments just based on spec sheets and driver counts. Is there a clear winner in this category? Without the ability to try these out myself, I don't know how to go about making a decision. I'd very much appreciate any advise or guidance that anyone has.

On a related note, should I be looking at a DAC/AMP for this kind of listening? I know the sound card on most of the computers I'm using kind of sucks. I feel like the iAudio7 has pretty good sound quality and drives the headphones I've used it with well, but I could obviously be wrong. Would something like the Fiio E7 be appropriate? Unnecessary? Insufficient?

Thanks in advance for any help, and please let me know if there is more information I could provide that would make a decision easier.


There are many choices in your price range you might not have known about evil_smiley.gif

 

The AC2 is somewhat of an unknown at this time, at least on head-fi that I know of.  There are plenty of thoughts about the Q, although I am not sure what it is compared with, and the JH5 is very good for the price according to the owners I know.  There are many more options out there including the Minerva Mi-3 in silicone.  

 

As far as sources/amps, BA IEMs are usually pretty easy to drive and while I do think there are benefits from amps, you will get more bang for your extra $ by spending the money on the headphone.  Plus, I am not all that sold on the E7 amp from my limited time with a friends.  

 

 

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