Pretty new to portable music but have been enjoying a bunch over the last 6 months. When the company I work for went IPhones it all started and after listening to the stock ear buds for a few weeks I thought there has to be something better....enter Head-Fi.
So, in my short tenure of listening to IEM's I have tried a couple, I started out with the RE0's and then tried the DBA02's. While I was totally impressed with the RE0's and still listen to them today they left me wanting something, then I bought my wife a pair of S4's and listened to them and knew right away that was not what I wanted. Enter the DBA's, when I first plugged them in I was like OK but after listening to them for a couple hours and burned them in (I know this is heavily debated) for 100 hours or so, they totally changed and I was in love...they were pretty fast, accurate, and sounded full and punchy and just a slight bit warmer to me...they offered all that I loved about the RE0's but just more of almost everything. After 6 weeks of listening bliss they crapped out and I was back to the RE0's. Now you ask why I just did not buy another set of DBA's?,,,,I started another post on that whole fiasco for your reading enjoyment.
So with that said I had an itch to buy another set of IEM's and one thing I have learned about Head-fi is that you could read 20 different reviews on the same product and get 20 different verdicts. I actually think reading too many reviews is bad as you will have just finished reading a great review and then read one that pans the products....it comes to a point where you read and then just use your gut instinct from reading between the lines.
I had initially had a list of about 7 IEM's I was interested in and they included the following:
Roland RH-IE3 (Not a lot of info out there on this one)
I ruled a few out based on price and lead time and decided to try the HF5's. I received them last night and I have to say I am happy....I think. To be honest they sound A LOT like the RE0's and they also sound A LOT like the DBA's (in my recollection). To me the HF5's are just slightly warmer then the RE0's and on par with the with the DBA's. The highs on the HF5's are not quite where the RE0's or DBA's are but I think I enjoy them more, I find the highs of the RE0's to be slightly fatiguing. Where I think I like the HF5's a bit more than the RE0's is the mid and lower octives, the HF5's seem to have more punch, not quite where the DBA's are but more so then the RE0's. With the right tips i do not feel that the RE0's are lacking bass but they seem to lack the punch...hard to explain. Punch is where I think the DBA's excel....there were times listening to the DBA's where the punch would catch me off guard and it would actually surprise me. Another thing I have noticed with the HF5's is the sound stage, with the RE0's I would listen to a tune and all the instruments sounded blended together to a certain extents where as with the HF5's it seems like you can pick out where in the room the instruments are, easiest way to explain this is the RE0's are like you are sitting far away from the performers whereas the HF5's feels like you are in the first row.
In terms of fit, finish and comfort I will give the highest comfort score to the DBA and then I am not sure. I have not played with all the tips on the HF5's but the the standard triple flanges that come installed on the HF5's hurt putting them in but once in they are very comfortable. I have been using the Klipsh small triple flange on the RE0's and while the seal great and really add to the bass they are VERY deep in my ear....kind of a weird feeling. Build quality/coolness factor I will give to the HF5's, I have had no issues with the build quality of the RE0's but they do not look like anything special, the DBA's are plastic and I had reliability issues with my pair. The HF5's just look cool, I bought the Ruby and they look great and seem to be nicely built and are tiny.
All in all if you like the RE0's but want something just slightly more emotional while retaining most of the RE0's sound quality the HF5's should be considered especially if you do not want to wait for DBA's or want to spend a little less money.
With that being said I am still looking for the holy grail....is it obtainable? One of these days when I am not feeling so cheap and have time I may take the jump and try the E-q5's as they sound like they are right up my alley and they sound like they are built really well and....well.....they look cool.