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Purely SQ: Fullsized vs IEMs

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

I've been debating with myself lately if to let go of my SR325is(let me know what you think of my price btw) and go with top tier universal IEMs. I searched for a consensus on these forums to no avail. My belief is that Fullsize headphones have more bang for their buck, is this true? When you compare a $300 pair of headphones to a $450 pair of IEMs what changes? I am specifically looking for sound quality when the SR325is and Westone 4s go head to head. I understand they have different sound signatures and strengths, but which one is capable of more technically. Thanks.

post #2 of 34

Bang for buck/Fullsized:

 

T50RP - stock are boring. Modded are godly. Wearing mine at the moment and they keep me from buying a LCD-2

Value 9/10

 

Bang for buck/IEM:

 

Brainwavz M1/any Chinese IEM - Great sound while also being cheap

Value: 6/10

 

 

The main difference is that there is a larger market that can show more gems for the fullsized can market.

 

 

Now I've heard, I haven't tried the W4, but heard that they are bassy and have some fogged mids. 

Compared to the 325i (which I think are some of the best headphones out) you get more bass with the W4 but loose everything a Grado is. To me, Grado's are the greatest sound quality you can buy.

 

 

but, it's not so much of SQ when dealing with the two, it's about comfort.

Any person will try between a IEM and FS, and will find the IEM to be more revealing, higher clarity and better SQ. But not many people can have sensitive ears that actually hear the difference between FS and IEM. To my ears which have led me everywhere in life, I've found nothing can beat a good old Fullsized. 

 

Fullsized for me. The top cans I have for fullsized, are the T1's I'm borrowing and for IEM, I have the UE18 which I don't use unless it's for something really important

 

 

Capability:

A Open can will destroy a IEM because the IEM must replicate SQ and Soundstage, when a Open FS can use the natural air and openings to perform better. Price to price, the Fullsized win. Comfort to comfort, Fullsized. 

 

I only keep my M1's on me when I'm out and about for a long time and might not take my Grado, or I use my UE18 for drumming on stage. 

 

Other then that, 10 hours a day with fullsized on. No Exceptions


Edited by BotByte - 8/13/11 at 3:52pm
post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post

Bang for buck/Fullsized:

 

T50RP - stock are boring. Modded are godly. Wearing mine at the moment and they keep me from buying a LCD-2

Value 9/10

 

Bang for buck/IEM:

 

Brainwavz M1/any Chinese IEM - Great sound while also being cheap

Value: 6/10

 

 

The main difference is that there is a larger market that can show more gems for the fullsized can market.

 

 

Now I've heard, I haven't tried the W4, but heard that they are bassy and have some fogged mids. 

Compared to the 325i (which I think are some of the best headphones out) you get more bass with the W4 but loose everything a Grado is. To me, Grado's are the greatest sound quality you can buy.

 

 

but, it's not so much of SQ when dealing with the two, it's about comfort.

Any person will try between a IEM and FS, and will find the IEM to be more revealing, higher clarity and better SQ. But not many people can have sensitive ears that actually hear the difference between FS and IEM. To my ears which have led me everywhere in life, I've found nothing can beat a good old Fullsized. 

 

Fullsized for me. The top cans I have for fullsized, are the T1's I'm borrowing and for IEM, I have the UE18 which I don't use unless it's for something really important

 

 

Capability:

A Open can will destroy a IEM because the IEM must replicate SQ and Soundstage, when a Open FS can use the natural air and openings to perform better. Price to price, the Fullsized win. Comfort to comfort, Fullsized. 

 

I only keep my M1's on me when I'm out and about for a long time and might not take my Grado, or I use my UE18 for drumming on stage. 

 

Other then that, 10 hours a day with fullsized on. No Exceptions


 

Your best bang for the buck IEM is rated at a 6/10 by you?

 

 

 

The W4's are good, no way around it, still has that trademark Westone scoop in the FR curve where the brighter highs are accompanied by a small bass hump, it' s more mild on this though. It's all very tasteful and the W4 is quite an impressive system. As for that vs SR325is, I doubt it. I'm something of a Grado junkie and I hang out with a bunch of Grado listeners locally, and the 325is is in a class of it's own and can hold it's own vs things like the 701, 650, and 880 no problem in terms of accuracy, and detail retrieval, all tonal preferences aside.

 

As for IEM's vs Cans:

 

The custom IEM giants these days JH/Westone/UE/1964/UM have gotten people to quit their thousand+ dollar headphone systems outright. That should say something. 

 

post #4 of 34

I don't think there is much debate in em, there is a reason why all major companies are dedicated to full size and the amps for em. for example, at 1k range, ed8 will outperform the jh16 pro for sure. for a cheaper ones, i haven't see any iems perform at the level of HD650. 

post #5 of 34

All though keep in mind that I drive HD650 from WA22s , if you not looking for a headphone only for portable use( seems to me you would use em pretty often at home or something since u got the 325) the full size would win hands down. 

post #6 of 34

You are not taking the environment(noise) and portablility into consideration

For example for riding a bus to work/college/whatever IEMs definately have a better bang/buck than open fullsized cans

For home use, full-sized or even speakers is the way to go

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for the replys very helpful. I still would like more detail and opinions on the Westone 4s vs Grado Sr325is. I posed a similar comparison in the IEM sections of the forum so I understand people are going to be more biased based on where they dwell.

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Costia View Post

You are not taking the environment(noise) and portablility into consideration

For example for riding a bus to work/college/whatever IEMs definately have a better bang/buck than open fullsized cans

For home use, full-sized or even speakers is the way to go



i thought the title had made that clear. 

post #9 of 34

I can hear superior detail and imaging in headphones when compared against similarly-priced earphones. There also seems to have a more natural texturing in headphones (probably due to bigger drivers...?) but earphones have the edge on clarity and accuracy.

post #10 of 34

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't custom iems or even universals reshelled be a whole lot more comfortable than a full sized can? From what I've heard, they tend to get all hot and uncomfortable, while customs fit your ear perfectly so you wouldn't even feel them there.

post #11 of 34

Depending on the pads, cans can be very comfy - no hot, sticky mess.  IEMs bother me a bit after about an hour as my ears start to get itchy and start having excessive wax.  Never tried customs but from what I've been told, they are quite comfy.

 

As for SQ, they both have their strengths and its really hard to say one is better than the other driven out of a proper source.  Desktop setup >> portable.

 

Bang for the buck IEM is the RE0 hands down.  Also very cheap!

post #12 of 34

Haha yup. RE0 would be a great choice for people into neutral sounds, while something just as good but with a fun sound sig would be the Shure se215, or the soundmagic pl50.

Yeah that would be an issue in the beginning(itchness), but after getting used to it it doesn't itch anymore, even with long listening sessions. Customs are very comfortable, and increase the sq of a universal by quite a lot due to the increased isolation.(In my opinion at least)

 

:> hot sticky mess...?

post #13 of 34

IEM's are bad for soundstage, but good for portability. But since SR325 don't have any particular soundstage, this probably won't be a big issue for you. I find most full size headphones to sound more natural/realistic and superior all over to IEM's

 

I have Westone 4 and I previously owned sr325is. These two are VERY different.

 

SR325 are very forward in the mids, Westone 4 have a more balanced sound signature with a more "polite" presentation

SR325 are very bright (sometimes a bit harsh), Westone 4 are warm all over (absolutely no listenign fatique)

SR325 are very special, I found them to be good with some recordings and bad for a lot of things, Westone 4 are a very good all rounder

 

I think they are both good headphones. But not very comparable. If you just love sr325's sound signature and want something comparable in an IEM package - don't buy the Westone 4. Go for something more neutral, I guess...


Edited by librarian - 8/29/11 at 3:14am
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrimevil View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't custom iems or even universals reshelled be a whole lot more comfortable than a full sized can? From what I've heard, they tend to get all hot and uncomfortable, while customs fit your ear perfectly so you wouldn't even feel them there.



it's true that full sized headphone can get hot or heavy or whatnot but IEMs can impart a feeling of congestedness in the head (well, they did for me, anyway :)

 

I used to have a few high end IEMs. the triple.fi 10 and the Westone 3. the westone 3 were super comfortable and fit well in the ear but I always felt them there because I didn't have that airflow going past my ears. made my head feel slightly stuffy after an hour or two. so now I use full sized cans and find their comfort drawbacks to be less problematic than IEMs.

 

obviously, other people may feel the opposite but if someone hasn't used IEMs for long periods of time, I think this is a valid point to bring up before they invest too much cash.

post #15 of 34

On average, dollar for dollar, full sized headphones sound better than iems.

Full sized headphones have a larger soundstage (especially open ones) as well.

Iems have, on average, more bass (because of the seal) but a smaller soundstage.

 

My estimate is that full sized headphones sound $50-$100 better (I could be wrong though) than iems of same price. This means if you find an iem for $400 then you can find a full sized can for $300-350 (maybe even lower than that) that sounds just as good.

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