I am running in my newly purchased SR71B with my iBud at the moment, using a balanced out to 3.5mm connector. The reason is that I don't want to run in the SR71B using any of my more expensive IEMs, universals or customs.
I have come a long way since my first IEM and I believe I am one of the lucky ones who is able to hear what can be considered high-end headphone and IEM systems (check out my list of main gears in my signature block). I was curious on one hand and also a bit snobbish on the other, wanting to hear how bad the iBud sounds to me now - so I picked up the iBud which is driven from the SR71B balanced out (albeit through the connector) and gave it a listen.
To my surprise it sounded not bad - at least not as bad as I imagined. It doesn't have the tight bass, nor the silky smooth mids and treble which I am used to with my SR009, nor the creaminess of the mid range of the LCD2 Rev 1. And certainly it does not have the deep bass and refined treble of my UE18 Pro, or the fullness of the mid high range of my ES5.
But it doesn't sound bad to me at all. I don't know how much the SR71B plays a part here, but it really surprises me the effort Apple is making through these years. I remember the stock iBud which came with the first generation of the iPod nano really sounded like crap.
I wouldn't go as far as running full tests on the iBud with my other portable amps or the iStuff DACs (I have both CLAS and Fostex HP-P1), or re-terminating the iBud to balanced mode for the SR71B (lol), but it looks like that I will stick these iBuds into the bottom of my bags or pockets just as a backup in case I forget to bring my customs.
Edited by googleli - 9/18/11 at 7:59am