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Some advice on high end IEM selection please! - Page 2

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 


While I most definitely agree with the sentiment, I am located in Orlando and there are scant few places I could go to audition any headphones.  I noticed EarphoneSolutions was based in Orlando, but their website stated they deal exclusively in online orders.  Outside of that I have not been able to find any shops that allow for a wide range of auditionable IEMs.  Given my nigh nonexistent reputation on here as of this point I don't see many people allowing me to audition their headphones prior to purchase lol.  Given as well that I will not have the actual funds to purchase these until the end of the month, this is more pre-purchase research, so I don't even have the money for collateral at this point.  I appreciate the responses though!  Thank you much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post

^what s/he said. You should try out a few things before dropping a lot of cash on a single iem, custom or universal.


 

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesta View Post

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.


 



what he said

 

however i suspect form what you have said the 3 you should toss a coin between are the IE8, W3 and TF10

post #18 of 29

Hmm...seems like I double posted, when I was just editing my post...weird.


Edited by Yggdrassilious - 5/2/11 at 10:25pm
post #19 of 29

I have to agree with what Jamesta is saying: try a lot of "house sounds," from reputable and history-rich companies such as Shure, Sennheiser, UE, Westone, Audio-Technica, heck, even Sony. Best bet is to go for the second highest model, or the middle model, for best bang of buck (technology and tuning design that's watered down from the top model, but still affordable). Then play around with budget/value brands for a while if you are interested. You'll have a lot of fun doing that, and gain a better understanding of what you want and what different IEMs have to offer. It's a process that's basically never ending, but eventually you'll want to settle down with a few sounds that you like the most, (like me wanting the Shure sound) and then you can get the top models with those sounds, plus one flexible/suitable-for-all-genre custom, and then you can finally retire from head-fi, occasionally returning to pick out some FOTM equipments for fun.

 

But to directly answer your question:

 

My first pair was the E2Cs, which distant memories remind me of the Meelectronics M6, which is to say they weren't very good ($100 vs $20). They felt under-driven constantly, dark and veiled (in a weak and bad way, not like the relaxing and smooth IE7 way), and muffled.

 

My next up Shure was the SE310, and they were a huge step up. The sound was clear like a mountain spring or the morning dew: they had little bass, not very full or embracing sound. But definitely not muffled. The mids were smooth and intimate. The highs were capable yet polite, with slight roll off, and felt placed further away. 

 

I'm thinking your SE115s probably sucked a lot to make you so unsure of the Shures higher ends, like the E2Cs did to me. Shure just replaced the 115s with the SE215s, meaning the SE215s are now the lowest/cheapest IEMs on the Shure line-up, while the SE115s just got shoved below the lowest grade Shure IEM. (imagine that.) But one thing you should know is that no matter how much you spend, Shure will always carry the Shure sound, the 535s are not going to excel in songs that, say, the CK10s excel in (almost half the price). But they do everything above-average, with a polished vocal and very emotionally involving sound being their strength. 

 

One thing for certain is that, the level of details on every high-end IEM is about the same. It's just a matter of how the frequency ranges were tuned, e.g. a more powerful bass may distract you from noticing the sound of one celo scraping slightly against the wooden floor of a stage, but nonetheless the detail is still there if you listen intently for it. Things get messier when you compare BA to dynamics, and then there's dynamics that sound like BAs and BAs that sound like dynamics. But I won't deny you the fun of figuring them out and finding your true love.

 

I realized I haven't really taken a stance on whether you should get 535s or not...I don't think anyone ought to, except to let you figure out things yourself (you can always trade/sell equipments here, trial and error)....hope this helped. (Anyone actually read this long a$$ ramble?)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlax View Post


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!  



 



 

post #20 of 29
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.



agreed.

did you ever consider Earsonics' SM3?

post #21 of 29

Lucky for you there are tons of great choices in the IEM department. But as said by pretty much everyone else in this topic (and this reflects my opinion as well), its 90% personal preference.

 

If you are concerned about Shure's having a muffled sound maybe you should check out the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10s. They cost around $180 (down from $400 MSRP if that matters), are super clear, and I can guarantee you the bass is pretty ample. If you like really excellent, clear highs, deep and punchy bass, and don't mind sacrificing a bit of the midrange, these will be right up your alley. The major bust with the Triple.Fi is the fit can be hit-or-miss, but in my experience once you get the fit right they pretty comfortable. Granted I've never tried the higher end Shures (never been a fan of their "house sound") but I'm just saying, for a pretty decent price, the TF10s should be on your radar as well.

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

It looks like I'm going to have to do more research into the TF10, seen that name a few too many times to disregard.  Thank you!  (Would also be convenient as I have some amazon credit and could get them for around $85 out of pocket.....you could have saved my wallet!).  Much appreciated advice :)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post





what he said

 

however i suspect form what you have said the 3 you should toss a coin between are the IE8, W3 and TF10


I appreciate the time you put forth to respond to my question, I would say that it sounds like a very fun if expensive journey...one that I will have fun with in the future, I just do not have the means to do so right now.  Hence my desire to hit something in the relative high end that can hopefully satisfy me for the near future lol.  That said again, I see the wisdom in what you're saying and in the end that is most certainly be what I end up doing.  With regard to my SE115 I was actually very happy with them, until a friend recommended I try out the S4, it was just so much clearer to my ears.  I was happy with the S4 until I bought my ATH-M50s, sounds like the start of a very long cycle, :X.  Regardless, I'd not say that they sucked, I just didn't like going back to their muffled sound after listening to the other two phones. 

 

The last piece is appreciated as well, I'll be happier with my decision if I eventually come to it myself I imagine.  The option to re-sell here is some comfort for sure, your post definitely helped some, definitely gives some perspective on how to look at this purchase and others in the future.  Thank you much!


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

I have to agree with what Jamesta is saying: try a lot of "house sounds," from reputable and history-rich companies such as Shure, Sennheiser, UE, Westone, Audio-Technica, heck, even Sony. Best bet is to go for the second highest model, or the middle model, for best bang of buck (technology and tuning design that's watered down from the top model, but still affordable). Then play around with budget/value brands for a while if you are interested. You'll have a lot of fun doing that, and gain a better understanding of what you want and what different IEMs have to offer. It's a process that's basically never ending, but eventually you'll want to settle down with a few sounds that you like the most, (like me wanting the Shure sound) and then you can get the top models with those sounds, plus one flexible/suitable-for-all-genre custom, and then you can finally retire from head-fi, occasionally returning to pick out some FOTM equipments for fun.

 

But to directly answer your question:

 

My first pair was the E2Cs, which distant memories remind me of the Meelectronics M6, which is to say they weren't very good ($100 vs $20). They felt under-driven constantly, dark and veiled (in a weak and bad way, not like the relaxing and smooth IE7 way), and muffled.

 

My next up Shure was the SE310, and they were a huge step up. The sound was clear like a mountain spring or the morning dew: they had little bass, not very full or embracing sound. But definitely not muffled. The mids were smooth and intimate. The highs were capable yet polite, with slight roll off, and felt placed further away. 

 

I'm thinking your SE115s probably sucked a lot to make you so unsure of the Shures higher ends, like the E2Cs did to me. Shure just replaced the 115s with the SE215s, meaning the SE215s are now the lowest/cheapest IEMs on the Shure line-up, while the SE115s just got shoved below the lowest grade Shure IEM. (imagine that.) But one thing you should know is that no matter how much you spend, Shure will always carry the Shure sound, the 535s are not going to excel in songs that, say, the CK10s excel in (almost half the price). But they do everything above-average, with a polished vocal and very emotionally involving sound being their strength. 

 

One thing for certain is that, the level of details on every high-end IEM is about the same. It's just a matter of how the frequency ranges were tuned, e.g. a more powerful bass may distract you from noticing the sound of one celo scraping slightly against the wooden floor of a stage, but nonetheless the detail is still there if you listen intently for it. Things get messier when you compare BA to dynamics, and then there's dynamics that sound like BAs and BAs that sound like dynamics. But I won't deny you the fun of figuring them out and finding your true love.

 

I realized I haven't really taken a stance on whether you should get 535s or not...I don't think anyone ought to, except to let you figure out things yourself (you can always trade/sell equipments here, trial and error)....hope this helped. (Anyone actually read this long a$$ ramble?)

 



 



I did, but I still fear for their apparent lack of durability.  Given that these will be going around campus with me, and even though I intent to treat them as gently as possible I'd still prefer something that I won't be terrified of breaking at the slightest misstep.  I could be overstating things, but I've seen many praise the sound quality and bemoan the build quality.  Even so, the price to sound ratio seems very good.  I'd think more of getting this phone or its successor when I have slightly more financial means to spend on a phone that can stay at home!


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foress View Post





agreed.

did you ever consider Earsonics' SM3?



You hit my concern with the TF10 right on the head.  The earpiece looks like it could be a bit uncomfortable, even potentially overlong for my own ears.  That said, as I mentioned before, I'm going to have to take an extended look at those.  Even though my budget may be around $500 I'll not balk for a second if I could be happy spending less than half that!  The multitude of great choices makes the aforementioned choice so much more difficult though :(.  I suppose the hunt is half the fun though, thank you much!


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace o' Spades View Post

Lucky for you there are tons of great choices in the IEM department. But as said by pretty much everyone else in this topic (and this reflects my opinion as well), its 90% personal preference.

 

If you are concerned about Shure's having a muffled sound maybe you should check out the Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10s. They cost around $180 (down from $400 MSRP if that matters), are super clear, and I can guarantee you the bass is pretty ample. If you like really excellent, clear highs, deep and punchy bass, and don't mind sacrificing a bit of the midrange, these will be right up your alley. The major bust with the Triple.Fi is the fit can be hit-or-miss, but in my experience once you get the fit right they pretty comfortable. Granted I've never tried the higher end Shures (never been a fan of their "house sound") but I'm just saying, for a pretty decent price, the TF10s should be on your radar as well.



 

post #23 of 29
The TF10s can be a hard fit, but the flip mod and Sony hybrid tips did the trick for me. The have a V-shaped signature, with a marked bass and treble. But they have incredible detail and are a bargain. These are high quality iems, though they don't get a lot of respect because it's an older design. But these were designed by Jerry Harvey of JH Audio before he went out on his own.
post #24 of 29

My SE535s came in today! And reading your responses has made me think perhaps you should probably consider something else. 

 

I have to say paying over $150 for TF10 is a bit over-paying. They are very colorful IEMs, in that the bass hits way hard and treble sparkles too much, very very lively and musical, and certainly detailed, but sometimes too much so that they all bleed into the mid-range. It's sometimes hard to focus on vocals when the bass and treble are this emphasized. Good for soundtracks and instrumentals. The soundstage also gets messed up in the process. Very fun listen, but current street price of $180 is over-inflated. (problematic cable and fit don't do them any favors either)

 

Here are 3 suggestions you might consider. I'm just throwing hooks here, so go to joker's thread for more details on these. 

 

CK10 - they are also from audio-technica so you know the sound is going to share similarities with M50. They have one of the best quality and make out of any IEM. (kick SE535's a$$ any day of the week). And in general just have that upper-range bling, super clean and sparkling sound which I infer is what you prefer. Still balanced in general, with a super fast, deep, and punchy bass. Lean bass-body though. 

 

MTPC - if you are on a budget, you should just get these period, for $100 factory-refurbed from Monster itself. Here's why: you are paying $100 for one of the top-tier universal dynamic IEMs. You'd be paying $200-$300+ for how these sound. Best price-to-performance ever. 

 

VSonic GR07 - They are $150. Joker made a separate review thread just for them. "Nuf said. 

 

So to recap: TF10-best tech specs (replaceable cable, triple-BA driver), CK10 - best quality, MTPC - best bang-for-buck, GR07 - new FOTM. 

 

 

 

 

post #25 of 29

Dude if you Amazon.com things then you can try out a lot too, the return policy is really easy to deal with, you have 30 days to send it back if you don't like it & you're only out the shipping back, seeing how must orders over $25 are shipped free.  I got the Prime membership for $90 a year because I get so much from Amazon.


 

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

My SE535s came in today! And reading your responses has made me think perhaps you should probably consider something else. 

 

I have to say paying over $150 for TF10 is a bit over-paying. They are very colorful IEMs, in that the bass hits way hard and treble sparkles too much, very very lively and musical, and certainly detailed, but sometimes too much so that they all bleed into the mid-range. It's sometimes hard to focus on vocals when the bass and treble are this emphasized. Good for soundtracks and instrumentals. The soundstage also gets messed up in the process. Very fun listen, but current street price of $180 is over-inflated. (problematic cable and fit don't do them any favors either)


That's really not my experience of the TF10s. They've got a pretty good sized sound stage and I've used them with all sorts of music. The only genre that I've found them extremely weak is rock and roll with lots of guitar. I don't know what you mean by problematic cable. At worst it's a little stiff.

These are (imo) a good value at $150, though they've gone for a lot lower. I like the sound (personal opinion) better than the Shure house in-ear sound which seems less detailed. I've only had the 100, 200, 300 level phones, all of which had cable shorts in under six months.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was actually thinking about picking them up and just testing them out, see if my preconceptions are wrong or not....need to figure it out for myself right? lol.  As for the other phones you listed, I cannot seem to find the TF10s for $150 anywhere, is this a used price?  The AT CK10 seems to be discontinued according to their website, so another used buy I assume?  MTPC are showing up @ $180  (and oos to boot) on their refurb website :( maybe that $100 was a temporary thing, should I still be interested in them @ the $220 cost seen on amazon?  I read the Vsonic review as well, and this may seem petty, but I really don't like the look of those headphones, however given the review I read and another one I saw today by mark I may have to reconsider.

 

Thanks again for your continued interest in this thread and my questions.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

My SE535s came in today! And reading your responses has made me think perhaps you should probably consider something else. 

 

I have to say paying over $150 for TF10 is a bit over-paying. They are very colorful IEMs, in that the bass hits way hard and treble sparkles too much, very very lively and musical, and certainly detailed, but sometimes too much so that they all bleed into the mid-range. It's sometimes hard to focus on vocals when the bass and treble are this emphasized. Good for soundtracks and instrumentals. The soundstage also gets messed up in the process. Very fun listen, but current street price of $180 is over-inflated. (problematic cable and fit don't do them any favors either)

 

Here are 3 suggestions you might consider. I'm just throwing hooks here, so go to joker's thread for more details on these. 

 

CK10 - they are also from audio-technica so you know the sound is going to share similarities with M50. They have one of the best quality and make out of any IEM. (kick SE535's a$$ any day of the week). And in general just have that upper-range bling, super clean and sparkling sound which I infer is what you prefer. Still balanced in general, with a super fast, deep, and punchy bass. Lean bass-body though. 

 

MTPC - if you are on a budget, you should just get these period, for $100 factory-refurbed from Monster itself. Here's why: you are paying $100 for one of the top-tier universal dynamic IEMs. You'd be paying $200-$300+ for how these sound. Best price-to-performance ever. 

 

VSonic GR07 - They are $150. Joker made a separate review thread just for them. "Nuf said. 

 

So to recap: TF10-best tech specs (replaceable cable, triple-BA driver), CK10 - best quality, MTPC - best bang-for-buck, GR07 - new FOTM. 

 

 

 

 



 

I'm considering doing just that at this point.  Or at least doing it with the phones that are either sold by amazon or fulfilled by them.  I am still under my free 1 year student prime membership, so this could most definitely be very beneficial in helping my decision!  Thanks for the idea!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesta View Post

Dude if you Amazon.com things then you can try out a lot too, the return policy is really easy to deal with, you have 30 days to send it back if you don't like it & you're only out the shipping back, seeing how must orders over $25 are shipped free.  I got the Prime membership for $90 a year because I get so much from Amazon.


 



I originally had the SE110s, and replaced them twice, the second time around they sent me a SE115, so I can definitely empathize with the cable problems you had.  I think I'm going to try the TF10s out, previously someone mentioned a fit mod that I might look at if the fit doesn't work.  I do listen to a lot of rock though, even worse I listen to a lot of metal and hardcore....that means a lot of guitar!  I will still probably try them out, if I do as james suggested it would seem to be a win/win situation, I can try them out and broaden my experience with different sounds without having to invest the full amount if I don't like them.  I appreciate your input as well! Thanks.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rroseperry View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

My SE535s came in today! And reading your responses has made me think perhaps you should probably consider something else. 

 

I have to say paying over $150 for TF10 is a bit over-paying. They are very colorful IEMs, in that the bass hits way hard and treble sparkles too much, very very lively and musical, and certainly detailed, but sometimes too much so that they all bleed into the mid-range. It's sometimes hard to focus on vocals when the bass and treble are this emphasized. Good for soundtracks and instrumentals. The soundstage also gets messed up in the process. Very fun listen, but current street price of $180 is over-inflated. (problematic cable and fit don't do them any favors either)




That's really not my experience of the TF10s. They've got a pretty good sized sound stage and I've used them with all sorts of music. The only genre that I've found them extremely weak is rock and roll with lots of guitar. I don't know what you mean by problematic cable. At worst it's a little stiff.

These are (imo) a good value at $150, though they've gone for a lot lower. I like the sound (personal opinion) better than the Shure house in-ear sound which seems less detailed. I've only had the 100, 200, 300 level phones, all of which had cable shorts in under six months.


 

post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 

So based on a lot of the advice I received in this thread I decided to order three headphones; UE TF10, MTPC, SM3.  I ordered them all off of Amazon so I would not have trouble returning whichever I do not choose to keep.  I'm somewhat amused that I did not decide to go with any of the original headphones I listed, but I can thank the advice givers in here for finally turning me to some choices lol.  Much appreciated again!  Thanks guys.

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrassilious View Post

CK10 - they are also from audio-technica so you know the sound is going to share similarities with M50. They have one of the best quality and make out of any IEM. (kick SE535's a$$ any day of the week). And in general just have that upper-range bling, super clean and sparkling sound which I infer is what you prefer. Still balanced in general, with a super fast, deep, and punchy bass. Lean bass-body though.

 


 

I ended up buying these after poking around, and have been very pleased with them.  Even on bass punchier tracks, they have a solid, quick sound to them, and of course are excellent through the mids and highs.  Very happy to keep these for 8/10 months while I save up to sell and upgrade.

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