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Best IEMs based on some specific preferences

Poll Results: What Headphone would be best for me? (select any that apply)

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 42% (6)
    Etymotics Research ER-4PT
  • 50% (7)
    Audio Technica ATH-CK10
  • 7% (1)
    1964 EARS 1964S
  • 0% (0)
    Infinity X1 Executive
  • 0% (0)
    Sunrise SW-XCape
14 Total Votes  
post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

 

I'm a newbie to nice headphones (I've owned a Sennheiser CX-250, but that's about it). But I've been getting into the sound system thing a little bit (I now own an Infinity Beta 50 based 7.1 sound system). I'm looking for good headphones in the $50-$250 range (but could push it a little bit if necessary). 

 

The things that are important are:

 

1.) Good isolation (I fly about once a week, I haven't listened to headphones much on planes because the background is so annoying). 

 

2.) Relatively light bass - I'm not a bass head at all, very much the opposite. I like melodic bass lines, but nothing booming.

 

3.) I listen about 40% classical, 30% pop, 30% indie stuff (think White Stripes/Decemberists etc.) I will listen primarily on my ipod nano or my macbook pro - I doubt I will use an amplifier (unless there is a very small one)

 

4.) Comfortable for long periods of time (i've found a lot of cheap earphones annoying - and was worried about going IEM based on this....but i really need noise isolation and small size for travel)

 

The earphones I am currently looking at are:

 

1.) Etymotics Research ER-4PT - But I'm a little worried about putting something that deep in my ear - also about microphonics, if I am listening while typing/reading a paper (i'm a grad student).

 

2.) Infinity X1 Executive - Probably the leader right now, since the major complaint seems to be weak bass. Don't know how customs compare. 

 

3.) Audio Technica ATH-CK10 - A little on the high end price wise, but it seems like the sound is very good.

 

4.) 1964 EARS 1964S - I've heard great things about the 1964T, but don't know how the S compares to the Infinity X1. Could anybody lend some help here?

 

5.) 1964 EARS 1964D - Again on the high end price wise - but if they are almost 1964T's, then maybe worth it?

 

6.) Sunrise SW-Xcape - Great price, and supposedly only a step down from everything else listed. How much will I hear the difference, not being a huge audiophile?

 

 

Thanks so much for any help/suggestions,


~Lyuokdea


Edited by Lyuokdea - 4/17/11 at 12:54pm
post #2 of 26

Just as a thought in regards to the Etymotic phones. Alot (relative) of people, in my short time lurking and now posting here, have mentioned the deep insertion of the Ety phones as a concern. IMO, if you are familiar with tri-flange hearing protection, and to some degree the foam plugs as well, I would say the Etys are no different. Pull back the ear, and insert the ear plug/phone and there you go.

I've used my Ety hf3s for about a month now, and thoroughly enjoy the isolation that they provide! Taking the bus every day to and from work (about an hour and a half round trip), my Etys have been fantastic. As for microphonics I typically wear my cord between layers shirt/sweater or a coat, and I haven't had any issue. As to general wearing without the cord between layers, it's not bad either. I can sit and read a paper/book, type at the computer without concern.

As a comparison, I've just gotten (Friday) a pair of Klipsch Custom 3s with the stock cable, and this cord certainly has microphonics. I have yet to try them on the bus, and between layers, but I guess I'll find that out tomorrow. But I certainly wouldn't be concerned about microphonics and the Etys with my current experience.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information -- it's good to know that the microphonics aren't as bad as some have commented. I definitely don't plan to be running with these or anything. Probably just desk work and planes. 

 

I have not used tri-flange protection before, and it looks like they are a bit too expensive to buy just as a test to see what the earphones would feel like. 

 

~Lyuokdea

post #4 of 26
Microphonics are nearly non-existent on the CK10. With the right tips like Shure, Westone, Etymotic or ear earplugstore.com triple flanges isolation is very good, on par with Etymotic iems.

Triple flange hearing protection such as the Etymotic ER20 can be found for as little as $10. smily_headphones1.gif
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

Oh really - that's good to know. So you can plug the CK10 into the Etymotic Research ER20? Or am I reading you wrong?

 

Sorry for the newbie comment, but I'm kind of new at IEMs.

 

Thanks!


~Lyuokdea

post #6 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lyuokdea View Post

So you can plug the CK10 into the Etymotic Research ER20?

 


not quite, the ER20s are just earplugs for blocking out noise. I think RADI0HEAD was referring that you could try out a set of triple flange tips and see if those would be something you could handle for less money ($10) rather than buying a set of ER4s or other IEMs.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyuokdea View Post

Oh really - that's good to know. So you can plug the CK10 into the Etymotic Research ER20? Or am I reading you wrong?

 

Sorry for the newbie comment, but I'm kind of new at IEMs.

 

Thanks!


~Lyuokdea

If you want to see what triple flange tips feel like I recommend these, http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/roauprtrflti.html

Get the long stem version. You can trim them with a pair of scissors for a perfect fit. They work perfectly with Etymotic iems and they could also be stretched a bit to fit on the CK10. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

Cool - thanks for the info.

 

So how exchangable are tips between different headphones? Can I buy the triple flange tips listed above, hook them into a CK10 or Xcape, and get the same isolation I would get from the ER-4PT? If I buy a ER-4PT and don't like the triple flange - could I add olives without effecting the stock quality?

 

Or are headphones really built for a specific type of environment, where you'll mess with the sound aesthetics by inserting the wrong kind of tips?

 

Thanks,

 

~Lyuokdea

post #9 of 26
I don’t know anything about the Xcape but if you use the tips above with the CK10 the isolation will be similar to the etymotics.

Just so you know, the er4 come with an assortment of tips. If the triple flange aren't comfortable you can try the included others.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Sweet - thanks for the info. In that case, it sounds like I shouldn't worry about native isolation so much, and should really think about my preferred sound signature, and the price point.

 

I've seen listing prices on here saying that the etymotics are cheaper than the others ($169 gets listed sometimes) - but I haven't seen a price under $230 online anywhere - could anybody hit me up with a cheaper link?

 

Lastly, it seems nobody here is high on the customs - are they just not offering as much performance at this price level (compared to the universals?)

 

~Lyuokdea

post #11 of 26
Native isolation is important too. Simply using triple flange tips doesn't necessary mean you'll obtain high isolation. For example, a dynamic iem that is well vented or has large ports isn't going to isolate nearly as well as an iem that is closed/sealed.

I've never owned a custom, yet. If someone can recommend a custom that has the identical sound signature as the CK10 I will be all over it. biggrin.gif
post #12 of 26

Sorry to complicate things, but its very necessary.  

 

 

Phonak PFE.


Edited by High_Q - 4/17/11 at 7:09pm
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q View Post

Sorry to complicate things, but its very necessary.  

 

 

Phonak PFE.

 

Not a problem  - outside opinions are great, are there any details about these that make them specifically good for my preferences? The Multi-IEM review here rates them to have very average isolation, which is why I am worried.

 

Thanks,


~Lyuokdea
 

 


Edited by Lyuokdea - 4/17/11 at 7:28pm
post #14 of 26

I think isolation is great, universals typically have number of fits, not like customs.  So some may not like the fit of a certain IEM.  I got Phonak, and tried Ety tiples, you can't go wrong.  Sounded very good.  Then I got Sony Hybrids, and for some reason it was better.  It was perfect fit and Phonak makes great drivers.  :)

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help everybody - it's still a tough decision, it seems. Can anybody suggest a site to get the best prices from?

 

Thanks,


~Lyuokdea

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