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Recommendations for Forgiving But Still Resolving < $150 IEM

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

As a relative newcomer to higher fidelity IEMs, I'm finding that as my listening gets re-tuned to expect a higher level of quality, my digital music collection remains an unwieldy mish-mash of old 128 mbps mp4s from when iTunes sent downloads at that bitrate, lossless rips of CDs, music podcasts at 128 - 192 mbps, some audiophile dowloads from HDtracks, a lot of 320 mbps AACs, etc., etc. I also listen to a lot of streaming sources to find new music.  Unfortunately, despite my upgrading the quality of some of the old mp3s here and there, I will always have a lot of poor quality stuff that I listen to.

 

This variety in the quality of my source material leaves me with the problem that my VSonic GR07s are sounding "bad" to me with a lot of my listening, especially harsh and sibilant in the treble and brutally revealing of muddy lower mids on the poorer quality recordings and streams.  This is not a fault of the GR07s, of course, because they continue to sound wonderful, if a bit too neutral, to me on better source material.  This leaves me looking for an IEM that can sound as good as the VSonics on a lossless file while perhaps smoothing over some of the shortcomings of a 128 mbps podcast.

 

In terms of preferences, I listen widely but not much rap, hip hop, techno, or pop.  The music I listen to, whether rock, electronic or orchestral, often has a lot going on it, and I split my time roughly equally between intense listening when I look take the piece apart and when I just relax and enjoy the entirety.  I'm no basshead, but I do like to feel the kick of the kick drum and the rumble of a reverb-laden deep base line, but it is equally important to hear a hand slapping the drum head before the resulting thump.  I also tire easily from harsh treble (my experiment with the Klipsch S4 was VERY short lived!).

 

To some degree, I know I'm asking for the impossible as a revealing, forgiving phone is inherently a contradiction, but I'd appreciate suggestions for the best possible compromises.  Thanks.

post #2 of 4

Have you tried Ety's ER-6i's?  They are one of the best IEMs I have heard for the price that are built really well.  I usually recommend the UE700, but with so many people claiming build issues I avoid it now.  Perhaps if you do decide on the 2 driver UE700 I would suggest a recable so you can apply proper strain reliefs at both the ear pieces and jack ends.

 

The ER-6i is really weak on the bass end, but the clarity is amazing and they remain one of my favorite IEMs for the price.  The bass is present, but due the armature driver it is lacking.

 

The UE700 is an amazing sounding IEM.  The bass is clear and more impactful than the ER-6i, the mid range is nicely represented, and the treble is quick and not too bright.  Just keep in mind that they have build issues.

 

If you have not done so already be sure to check out joker's master IEM review list here:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/multi-iem-review-186-iems-compared-xears-nature-n3i-xe200pro-added-8-01

 

joker has a great ear and is very honest so the reviews can be trusted.  I have purchased several pairs from his list and came to the same conclusions.

post #3 of 4

Keeping to mostly the same sound signature as the GR07 but going for something more mellow, I'll suggest you you take a look at Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition and HifiMan RE262.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.  As I've been thinking more about it, I should have mentioned up front that 1) build quality is important to me and 2) deep insertion bothers my ears.  I think the former may rule out the UE 700 and Sunrise and the latter the Etys.  I also think the RE262s might be too mid-centric for my tastes.  Right now, I've got my eye on the Radius DDM, Atrio mg7, Sony EX600 and am intrigued by accounts of the JVC FXT90.  Any views on this menu of choices?

 

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