Returned my Etymotic HF3 and bought a pair of Sony XB500's today. What a blunder that was, they're going back ASAP! The bass is nice and thumpy, but at the expense of the treble and midrange. I had to listen closely to feel the detail in the vocals that I felt rather easily with my old $40 pair of Sony in-ears, and in some cases there was a very obvious recession in the treble. I don't like harsh, piercing treble, but I still like clear treble!
Also, they're damn hot. When I read comments about over-ears causing sweaty ears, I thought that was only in the worst scenarios - sitting out in the summer heat, or wearing them for several hours. My ears were sweating within 5 minutes. I guess I should have expected that with the XB500's, since their earpads are only slightly smaller than monster truck wheels.
However, I am learning a lot about my personal preference. This is, after all, the first time that I am venturing outside of the IEM/earbud zone. It's difficult for me to find a pair of comfortable AND good-sounding IEMs, especially difficult to find a nice fit because my inner-ears can get rather oily after an hour or so of listening to music. However, having sweaty/hot ears is just as bad!
I think I need to find a nice middle-ground. Perhaps on-ear headphones are my true calling. My only concern about on-ears is how well they sound. My gut tells me they're not going to sound as clear as IEMs, and not as surrounding and perhaps reduced bass compared to over-ear headphones. Sort of a Jack of all trades, master of none, you know? Is my gut correct? It has been wrong before!
I also really don't want anything that leaks noise. I'm a university student, and I often spend 2 or 3 hours in the library working and listening to music. I really don't want to be that jackass with loud headphones in the library.
In any case, I'm going to start searching for some on-ears and see if I can find something that works for me. The Sony XB500's reminded me that, in fact, I prefer a more neutral signature. No harsh treble, no overbearing bass, and a lovely clear mids. Hearing the voice, in perfect detail, is very important to me. Do you guys know of any on-ears that can deliver to my preference?
As always, I greatly appreciate any advice. You all have been extremely helpful and I hope you have the patience to continue to help me for a little longer.
Edited by Jackstick - 11/7/11 at 1:48pm