Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Some advice on high end IEM selection please!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Some advice on high end IEM selection please!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

 

First off my apologies, I know this question is likely asked a hundred times a day at the least.  That said, I have spent many weeks lurking and reading opinions and reviews and quite frankly the vast amount of information has left me almost as undecided as I was when I started.  Probably the most common thing I read on here is that everyones ear hears differently, which undoubtedly is true.  Unfortunately, everyones ears hear so differently I read many contradicting opinions and thus make forming a conclusion difficult haha.

 

On to my question however, I am looking to buy a high end IEM that I would not need to upgrade anytime soon, also have read that @ the $400+ range it is mostly sidegrades, so I want to find something I will be happy with for a good long while.  I am currently a graduate student and will mostly be using these while on campus (or while studying at other places), I have a couple pairs of older headphones that I will use for working out.  I tend to listen to a lot of classical music while I study, though for casual listening I listen to almost anything (minus country, very little rap but its there), so a very versatile IEM would be preferred.  I do not consider myself a bass head, or consider myself to have really any specific preference, probably because my overall experience in the world of high end audio is non-existent.

 

My current slate of headphones include the SE115 (my first entry into the IEM world), the Klipsch S4, and I also use a pair of ATH-M50s.  It also happens that they are listed in order of preference, which I suppose is to be expected that I enjoy the cans most out of those.  I do enjoy the Klipsch sound signature more than the SE115, which sounds almost muffled to me.  I do admit to being almost clueless when I read about things like rolled off highs or recessed mids, I don't know entirely what to look for, maybe it's because I don't have anything to compare to.  Anyway I digress, I have a handful of IEMS that I have "narrowed" it down to, but is by no means a 100% set list.  Those IEMs are;

 

Westone 3 (Constantly seeing the term "fun" associated with this, however it may be a bit too "coloured" for what I'm looking for?)

Westone UM3X (I've mostly included this due to my interest in the other two westone IEMs)

Westone 4 (at this point I feel like this is the front runner, the impression I have of it so far is that it is all around very good)

Shure SE 535 (read that it is good for classical music, but is midcentric?  i take that to mean it is not as well balanced an IEM as others, could be wrong)

Klipsch Image x10 (though the more I read the less appealing it looks compared to the others)

 

If I left anything out feel free to bring it to my attention if it would help it making a recommendation!  I greatly appreciate any advice, thank you in advance!


Edited by Warlax - 5/1/11 at 1:10pm
post #2 of 29

I'm also in the same boat as you. The best IEMs I've ever owned are the Klipsh S4s (or most expensive, rather), but now I'm looking for a pair of headphones that are good for listening to any type of music. I'm not a basshead by no means, I prefer very clear and not muzzled sound. I'd like to know peoples' opinion on the best price-to-performance ratio headphones in the high-end region. Thanks.

post #3 of 29

Sony EX-1000 smile.gif  IMO its as high as you can go amongst universals.  If you want to save a lot of money, go with Phonak PFEs.


Edited by High_Q - 4/30/11 at 12:33pm
post #4 of 29

Hey,

 

I have the same problem as you have. I am also searching for High End IEM, but for

Techno / House / Hardstyle and Dubstep music. I was also thinking of getting the SE535 but don't know

how they preform in the bass region. Did you ever check out the SM3? A lot of people said that they

are the way to go and some consider it even as an upgrade to the SE535. Let me know which IEMs

you picked, because I am also still choosing between the SE535, Westone 4 and SM3.

post #5 of 29

I've sort of decided on the Fischer Audio FA-003s. A good choice, or not?

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 


I've yet to read anything on the sony, but I will look into it for sure!  Much appreciated.  I have heard good things ab out the Phonaks....I saw them in the deals thread a week or so back for a good price iirc.  My problem is that one of the reasons I'm looking into high-end with so little experience on the lower ends is that I want to hit the ceiling for quality faster lol.  I'd be afraid I would want to upgrade again soon after those :X.  Again, I appreciate the input! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by High_Q View Post

Sony EX-1000 smile.gif  IMO its as high as you can go amongst universals.  If you want to save a lot of money, go with Phonak PFEs.



 

From what I read about the Shures, and this seems pretty universal, is that their bass is very neutral.  So it's not enhanced in anyway.  That said I did look a little bit into the SM3, but I've seen so many posts on potential build quality flaws that I'm afraid to go through route, despite their stellar reputation among many members here for sound quality.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeroMachine View Post

Hey,

 

I have the same problem as you have. I am also searching for High End IEM, but for

Techno / House / Hardstyle and Dubstep music. I was also thinking of getting the SE535 but don't know

how they preform in the bass region. Did you ever check out the SM3? A lot of people said that they

are the way to go and some consider it even as an upgrade to the SE535. Let me know which IEMs

you picked, because I am also still choosing between the SE535, Westone 4 and SM3.



 

post #7 of 29

You could think about getting a custom too.  If you get a good custom you won't be needing an upgrade for quite some time.

post #8 of 29

Well you are absolutely right when you say that in the higher-end levels differences between IEMs are more like "sidegrades" rather than upgrades. And it just depends on the kind of flavor you are looking for. 

 

For me, I started with Shures 4 years ago and after a while ditched them precisely because of the problems people say they have: rolled off highs, light bass with little extension, muffled sound etc. But it's funny how life works sometimes, because right now I am dying for some Shures. (just placed an ordered for SE535s as I'm typing this post :D). I find myself terribly missing the involving and very much smooth vocals.

 

And I'm sick and tired of all the balancedom, the neutrality, the analytical-ness, the stage-monitor presentation, the "fun" and "brightness", the dark and smooth, the V-shaped fun curve, and et cetera sounds, anyone of these from which all FOTM recommendations seem to base on. But after a while I asked myself, so what the Shures have a flat bass and rolled-off highs and mid-centric? I GFD want some Shures!

 

And that's why I just ordered myself some Shure SE535s... and I'm recommending them. Warning: your personal experiences may vary. L3000.gif

post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 


I was on the edge of buying the SE535 yesterday when I was looking @ them on 6th ave for 370.....but given that I'm not a huge fan of the SE115 I hesitated.  Now I know it's impossible to compare those two as they are in different leagues, but I keep hearing about that "muffled" shure sound signature and I hesitate cause I don't like it on the 115 and I would die if I received the 535 and the muffle was still there lol.  I'm curious if you could give any comparison as to the degree of difference between the lower end shures and the SE535.....because from an aesthetic, durability, and customer service reputation stand point I would have no problems going with the shures.  Thank you for any further input!  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

Well you are absolutely right when you say that in the higher-end levels differences between IEMs are more like "sidegrades" rather than upgrades. And it just depends on the kind of flavor you are looking for. 

 

For me, I started with Shures 4 years ago and after a while ditched them precisely because of the problems people say they have: rolled off highs, light bass with little extension, muffled sound etc. But it's funny how life works sometimes, because right now I am dying for some Shures. (just placed an ordered for SE535s as I'm typing this post :D). I find myself terribly missing the involving and very much smooth vocals.

 

And I'm sick and tired of all the balancedom, the neutrality, the analytical-ness, the stage-monitor presentation, the "fun" and "brightness", the dark and smooth, the V-shaped fun curve, and et cetera sounds, anyone of these from which all FOTM recommendations seem to base on. But after a while I asked myself, so what the Shures have a flat bass and rolled-off highs and mid-centric? I GFD want some Shures!

 

And that's why I just ordered myself some Shure SE535s... and I'm recommending them. Warning: your personal experiences may vary. L3000.gif



 

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 


Forgot about the multi-quote ~_~.  I would definitely like to hit customs at some point, but I'm thinking they might be a little bit out of my budget?  I'm currently working with a price ceiling of around $500.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBomb77766 View Post

You could think about getting a custom too.  If you get a good custom you won't be needing an upgrade for quite some time.



 

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlax View Post


Forgot about the multi-quote ~_~.  I would definitely like to hit customs at some point, but I'm thinking they might be a little bit out of my budget?  I'm currently working with a price ceiling of around $500.



 


You could try the 1964ear's 1964T, it is under your 500 budget and offers great sound for the price as well as all the benefits of custom fits. Look around here for some reviews.

 

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 


Does that include the ear casting cost?  I looked a bit on their website and the product page and did not see anything regarding the ear molding.  Just the 30 day fit guarantee.  I am intrigued though, if you don't mind, id be curious as to what their general sound signature is compared to the headphones I listed in my original post.  Otherwise I will research some on my own as well, thank you! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnirai View Post




You could try the 1964ear's 1964T, it is under your 500 budget and offers great sound for the price as well as all the benefits of custom fits. Look around here for some reviews.

 



 

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlax View Post


Does that include the ear casting cost?  I looked a bit on their website and the product page and did not see anything regarding the ear molding.  Just the 30 day fit guarantee.  I am intrigued though, if you don't mind, id be curious as to what their general sound signature is compared to the headphones I listed in my original post.  Otherwise I will research some on my own as well, thank you! :)



 


The impressions cost from $30 to $75 depending on where you are and the local audiologists. It's not included in the 1964-Ears cost. I've only listened to the Shure 115 and I'd say the triples are much clearer, better detailed. I think you can seen the frequency response graph on the 1964-Ears page somewhere.

I think they're pretty flat, though you will read reviews that refer to a rolled off bass. I haven't noticed that myself.
Edited by rroseperry - 5/1/11 at 10:37am
post #14 of 29

My advice is to try as many different sound signatures or "house sound" of different brands as you can before going the custom route.  It would be terrible to drop $500-1000 on customs to find out that other listener's description of the sound signature differs from yours & end up unhappy.


 

post #15 of 29
^what s/he said. You should try out a few things before dropping a lot of cash on a single iem, custom or universal.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Some advice on high end IEM selection please!