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"Best" all around trebly IEM under $200?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I know, I know, another "which IEM I should buy?" thread. I'm aware there is a large thread dedicated for that, but what I'm asking requires a little more than the sound quality descriptions in those threads.

 

Background: I have owned the Shure E2c, Head-Direct RE0, and the Vsonic GR07. 

 

I cannot tell much between the sound quality (ie soundstage, detail). What I can tell is smoothness, quantity of bass, midrange, treble, and I sort of rank IEMs by their level of treble. The IE8 is my favorite IEM (I've also heard of the SE530)

 

What I'm looking for

 

- Treble energy like the RE0 (the GR07 sounded dark in comparison)

- Excellent isolation (the RE0 was terrible, the E2c and GR07 are very good), so I'm probably looking for over the ears

- Good bass. I like bass. I don't like how "bassless" my RE0 is. The GR07's bass level is excellent.

- Good build quality. I've gone through 7 pairs of earphones in the past 3 years, and I'm a little sick of that. My GR07's right channel completely died in 2 days of ownership, I'm not an abuser, but I've been choosing poor build quality earphones before.

 

Here is what I've been looking at (to show I've done some research)

 

DBA-02 - it is described as an even better RE0 with more bass and good isolation. It sounded like the perfect IEM. I was going to buy that, but the channel imbalance issue seems to be very prominent, and Bugden Audio has serious customer service issues.

 

Brainwavz B2 - it is a DBA-02 clone with apparently none of the channel imbalance issue, but I heard that it has less treble than the DBA-02 (is that true?)

 

CK10 - Basically a DBA-02 with much better build quality. I would buy that in a heartbeat, but $300 is a lot of money for earphones, and I would prefer not to spend that much (unless I run out of options)

 

Is there anything out there that'll satisfy me?

 

Oh I forgot to mention, I'm in Canada, so there are some IEMs that I can't get easily (or is much more expensive to get)


Edited by chengbin - 7/22/11 at 7:34am
post #2 of 14

Yea the price of CK10's gone up like crazy since May. I'm selling mine here, PM if interested. (Never could figure out how to put those in my signature, and just trying to help out so hope this isn't against forum rules! )

 

Also try the Etymotics. I'm having a blast with my ER4-PTs although the price on amazon has been much unstable of late. Excellent treble, awesome isolation, bass is what you'd expect of a typical single BA performance, not much less than GR07, just different. And they have good build quality. 

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengbin View Post

 

Brainwavz B2 - it is a DBA-02 clone with apparently none of the channel imbalance issue, but I heard that it has less treble than the DBA-02 (is that true?)


Oh man, it's like only a fraction of a fraction difference.  You would never even know unless you had both to AB.  I still consider the RE0 warmer than both.  

 

post #4 of 14

The TF10s have pretty sparkly highs. It also has a lot of bass(for a BA IEM), but the isolation might be so-so if they don't fit you.

post #5 of 14

Just speaking from experience as I've just received my Etymotic ER-4PTs:

 

I've owned the Klipsch S4's and the Shure e2c's and the ER-4PT's allow me to hear my music with more clarity than either of the aforementioned. With that being said the ER-4PT's do not have as much bass as the Klipsch S4's, but I was looking for something with more clarity in the mids and highs as the Klipsch headphones sounded muffled to me. I haven't listened to the Shure's in a few years as I wasn't greatly impressed by them, but I may try to dig them out of storage and give you a quick comparison between my ER-4PT's and the Shures.

 

I believe the ER-4PT's just moved above $200 on Amazon, but I've also heard that the Etymotic hf5's are almost as clear as the PT's, have a touch more bass and sell for considerably less than $200. I believe they only come with a 1 year warranty compared to the ER-4PT's 2 year though. I've also heard that Etymotic manufactures their ER-4 series in the United States, while the other headphones come from China. This may or may not sway your decision. (Either way, I've heard Etymotic's customer support is top notch)

 

I've read nothing but great things from the Fischer DBA-02's as far as sound quality, but an inability to find them from a reputable dealer and their quality control issues scared me off. It seems like you're battling the same problems as me when it comes to these.

 

I have not heard the other phones you are considering personally so can not comment on  them much. Let me know if I can be of any more help!

post #6 of 14

Ortofon e-q5 is definitely  the best option and very similar to Ck10 in soundsignature and with better price as well.

a good review here

you can get them from Dimitri for 250 all inclusive plus you get 1 year warranty and excellent customer service.

Dba02 are good option but they seem to be not as sturdy as japanese made eQ5

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm probably gonna get the Brainwavz B2. It is on sale for $130, and at that price, I don't think I can resist.

 

EDIT: Nope, not $130, that's US only. Guess it is $170. At least I get a free Fiio E5.


Edited by chengbin - 7/22/11 at 4:41pm
post #8 of 14

I had the Re-0, CK10, and B2s all at the same time a month ago before I needed to pay college tuition. The B2s are definitely a better bang for buck than the CK10. You can get great pretty good isolation from the B2s with olives since they can insert pretty deep. Nothing will beat the simple and sturdy build quality of the CK10s though. The B2s feel like trash in comparison so I am not sure the B2s will meet your build requirement.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by singha View Post

I had the Re-0, CK10, and B2s all at the same time a month ago before I needed to pay college tuition. The B2s are definitely a better bang for buck than the CK10. You can get great pretty good isolation from the B2s with olives since they can insert pretty deep. Nothing will beat the simple and sturdy build quality of the CK10s though. The B2s feel like trash in comparison so I am not sure the B2s will meet your build requirement.

My definition of build quality is it'll last more than a year (preferably 2-3) before it breaks, and so far no earphone I've owned lasted more than 1 year (and I don't abuse my earphones). Basically earphones that does not have known durability issues like my RE0 and E2c.

 

Can you give me a little comparison between the RE0, CK10, and B2?

 

Thank you

post #10 of 14

To my ears RE0, B2/DBA-02 and CK10 all share the same basic signature, lean bass and treble focused. You already know the RE0 has very good treble - the B2 and CK10 would be similar as well, but to me the DBA/B2's treble is just a bit too hot and not as natural or effortless as the RE0, nevertheless very proficient IEMs. The CK10 are a little better sounding in general - very smooth, but at the same time fast and energetic when it needs to be, and to me the best sounding of the lot, though of course also the most expensive by quite a bit.

 

The CK10s are also built to last. You'll need to seriously want to break them to actually do. Isolation is tip and fit-dependent but decent on both the BA phones. The RE0 actually isolates well with certain tips, I had good isolation for train use with de-cored Shure Olives.

post #11 of 14

Etymotic ER-4P (or S if you have a good amp). They definitely have more bass than the RE0, but it is still very tight and controlled.

post #12 of 14

HF5, PFE112, EX600 and SA6.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I think I will go with a Brainwavz B2 + Fiio E11 combo for $180. The B2 is like a DBA-02 without the build quality issues, and I can get a quality amp for $10 more, and I think that's a no brainer, even though I don't need an amp. For $10, absolutely. I wish I could have the E7 instead of the E11. There was a deal with the Brainwavz B2 + Fiio E7 for $190, but I missed that deal. I think the DAC function is very important because I'm using the amp mostly at home (adding 14mm of thickness to my 20mm thick Archos 5 is not an option) I'm going to wait a week to see if that deal will resurface, if not, I'll just buy the Brainwavz B2 + Fiio E11 combo.

 

Thank you everyone for your help.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnirai View Post

To my ears RE0, B2/DBA-02 and CK10 all share the same basic signature, lean bass and treble focused. You already know the RE0 has very good treble - the B2 and CK10 would be similar as well, but to me the DBA/B2's treble is just a bit too hot and not as natural or effortless as the RE0, nevertheless very proficient IEMs. The CK10 are a little better sounding in general - very smooth, but at the same time fast and energetic when it needs to be, and to me the best sounding of the lot, though of course also the most expensive by quite a bit.

 

The CK10s are also built to last. You'll need to seriously want to break them to actually do. Isolation is tip and fit-dependent but decent on both the BA phones. The RE0 actually isolates well with certain tips, I had good isolation for train use with de-cored Shure Olives.


CK10 was the least smooth sounding, particularly treble, to my ears of those phones and RE0 bass never approached the quantity of either of those phones even when amped.  CK10 had better bass extension but B2/DBA has fuller note and bass w/ my ears and fit.  I have to keep reiterating this point so people know there certainly is a difference in how people are splitting the differences of these phones.  It drives me bonkers when the bass of the DBA/B2 is considered as lean as an RE0 or ER4.  

 


Edited by Anaxilus - 7/24/11 at 8:48pm
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