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Oldish (<$100) IEM for clear vocals, good bass: Etymotic Hf5 / Klipsch S4 / Brainwavz M2 / ...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I would like very much to pay less than $100 = that's why I need oldish. If it just came out and it's $100, I doubt I'm going to pay under $100 easily. Something within the last 3 years would be nice.

 

I've never owned anything "high-end," but I appreciate definition: I spent a week upgrading all my songs to 320kbps. Never knew I was missing so much.

 

What kind of sound I like:

 

  • Very clear vocals. I turn the EQ on my iPhone to Vocal/Treble Booster permanently. Brilliant, even, for piano portions.
  • Ever-so-slightly thumping bass. I dislike muddy bass; sharp bass punches are good.
  • Detailed sound. I want to pick out instruments. The dream IEMs would articulate orchestral pieces perfectly.

 

I am not exactly looking for "reference-quality" sound. I just want aggressive vocals, a dynamic bass, and detailed clarity. Absolutely no muddiness whatsoever. I want the sound to jump out: juicy ("sound that has joie de vivre, energy, and life") would be the one-word adjective to describe what I want.

 

If that didn't help, some music I listen to: strong vocals (Erin McCarley, Regina Spektor, OneRepublic, Vanessa Carlton), light rock (Smash Mouth, Green Day, blink-182, Bowling Soup),  the lighter side of bass (will.i.am, Mogwai, Slipknot, Owl City), and some piano-based (Ludovico Einaudi). A good portion of the music I like has some piano back-up: clarity with piano would be nice.

 

I was going with the Etymotic Hf5/hf2/hf3 series, but I heard they had some "weaker" bass. I really would like a bit of a thump with bass, so I looked at the Klipsch Image s4/5 series. They looked great, but I heard they were muddy (which I dislike even more than a weak bass). So, I'm open to anything now.

 

Any advice or purchase suggestions would be quite appreciated. :D

 

~Ibrahim~

 

P.S. Noise-isolation would be nice, too, but I assume any IEM worth owning has at least halfway decent isolation.

 

 


Edited by ikjadoon - 5/24/11 at 11:39pm
post #2 of 8

I'm with you.  I like overall *clean* sound + some noticeable bass, but if it branches into "muddy" territory, then no way.  I use HF5s are my primary earphones, and they are definitely "clean", though I find the bass a bit lacking most of the time.  For my work earphones, though, I use the Brainwavz M2 (a.k.a. ViSang R03).  The overall sound is very straighforward, but the bass is not lacking at all.  Not overpowering, but never lacking.  They're also well below your $100 price range. 

 

http://mp4nation.net/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=51&products_id=390

 

Isolation can be made better with some double-flange eartips or Comply Foams.

 

Lastly, if you can find some Panasonic HJE-900 earphones for less than $100 (or near to), those are very noticeable on bass, but also quite clear.  Sibilance is an issue for some, but not all.  VERY well made.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Yip

post #3 of 8
Lucky you, with all your requirement, I think one new earphone call realvoice will fit you perfectly, here is one of headfi member who wrote the review for it, http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/554949/spider-realvoice-iphone-ipad-in-ears-pleasant-surprise, you should go check this review
post #4 of 8

re0 has the best vocal and detailed sound i've ever heard given it's under 100$

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies! :) They've definitely helped me narrow in.

 

@yipcanjo

 

Alas, I could not find a cheap set of the HJE-900s. :( The Brainwavz M2 looks perfect, actually! :) I wish it came with more tips, but I can always buy more. The signature sounds exactly what I'm looking for.

 

@KevinLP

 

They don't look bad, but are there any 3rd-party reviews of it?

 

@soundhunter

 

Right; however, I've heard the RE0's bass is slightly lacking...

 

OK, I've done a bit more research. The cheapest I can get the Brainwavz M2 is $60 shipped...however, the Sunrise SW-Xcape has caught my eye. It has the highest rating from ljokerl's Multi-IEM Review of any phones under $100 and I haven't seen any negative reviews. ljokerl's review speaks well for the Xcape for my tastes: a "punchy" bass and "crisp, clear, detailed" treble. However, no one has described it as "fun," while plenty have for the M2.....I'm a fan of the V-shape signature (on my old graphic-visualizer-Sony-Ericsson phone, my EQ was permanently in the V).

 

It may boil down to availability. I can't find the Xcapes anywhere in stock. :(

 

 

post #6 of 8

i've only heard the S4, but it is definitely does not fit the description of headphone that you are looking for.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaqueh View Post

i've only heard the S4, but it is definitely does not fit the description of headphone that you are looking for.



Right; I've seen the S4's seared more than expected on these forums: they're out of the running now.

 

I think the "new" list is the Brainwavz M2/ViSang R03, the Sunrise SW-Xcape v1 (v2 seems to be worse), or any new contenders I may have missed?

post #8 of 8

fischer audio silver bullet, although i haven't heard your other contenders and they SBs are hard to acquire, but they have amazing soundstage. the treble isn't very well extended tho

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