Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Multiple Budget IEMs Reviewed - [22] Total - (Samsung Stock EHS44 Added)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Multiple Budget IEMs Reviewed - [22] Total - (Samsung Stock EHS44 Added)

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

Note

 

 

This is going to be a running impression of all the IEMs I’ve listened to. Everything will be written from a budget conscious consumer’s perspective rather than an audiophile because a) I don’t have expensive gear b) I’m not experienced enough to write detailed write ups…yet c) I don’t like to spend a lot of money :) The reviews will be brief and concise but to the point.

 

The gears I use will mostly be my laptop to Fiio E7, iPod Nano 4G, and HTC G2 (now SGS2).

 

The genres I listened are mostly pop and rock - top 40 stuff. None of that busy metal, electronica, dubstep stuff that’s popular here. In terms of sound signature, I prefer slightly boosted bass and sparkly treble along with clear vocals.

 

Table of Contents

 

[1] Creative EP-630

[2] Sony MDR-EX81

[3] Monoprice MEP-933

[4] Philips SHE3580

[5] Brainwavz Beta

[6] Audio Technica ATH-CKM50

[7] Thermaltake Isurus

[8] MEElectronics SX-31

[9] Skullcandy Ink’d

[10] MEElectronics CW31

[11] Sennheiser CX 200

[12] MEElectronics M11+

[13] MEElectronics M6

[14] MEElectronics M9

[15] MEElectronics RX12

[16] JVC Riptidz HA-FX8

[17] DUNU Hawkeye DN-18

[18] XKDUN CK-700

[19] Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10

[20] DUNU Crater DN-17

[21] Sennheiser CX 275

[22] Samsung Stock EHS44

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

[1] Creative EP-630

 

DSC_1355.JPG

(Black version of the EP630 pictured)

 

Packaging - I got mine without packaging but it looks like the new ones just include SML tips in the box.

Build - Plastic body with good strain relief. Looks well built. Cable is a soft rubber that tangles easily and very prone to microphonics.

Comfort - Very comfortable and provides reasonable isolation.

Soundstage - Sound sounds like it's coming from the drivers and not an inch further.

Lows - Definitely on the bassy side but it doesn't extend very far. Bass notes are thick and muddy.

Mids - Relatively recessed. Bass bleeds over sometimes. Easy to listen to although everything is smoothed over. Detail seems lacking.

Highs - Neutral to slightly too much. Notes do sound clean and sharp.

 

Once a very popular budget IEM but now severely outdated. At $25 for a guaranteed genuine pair, there are better alternatives. The EP630s are not remarkable in any way.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[2] Sony MDR-EX81

 

DSC_1335.JPG

(DR-EX81 pictured which is the identical but with a mic and no asymmetrical cable)

 

Packaging - Comes with SML tips, a pouch, and a rather useless clip to hold the earpieces together.

Build - Plastic. Ear hook helps to keep them on your ears but it's not tight which can cause the earphone to move around. Cable constantly tugs on the ear hooks which creates cable noise and it also tangles.

Comfort - Very light and comfortable. With the L tips, they stay in my ear without the hook support. It blocks out a good amount of noise too.

Soundstage - Not very big at all. Nothing special.

Lows - Not clear and does not rumble when it should. Very boomy.

Mids - Still relevant despite the bass. It sounds like there is a layer over the vocals though which renders every note muddy.

Highs - Highs are RELATIVELY clean and clear. A good amount.

 

Sounds very muffled across the whole frequency spectrum. Terrible value at $25, not recommended.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[3] Monoprice MEP-933

 

DSC_1352.JPG

(MEP-933 aka the 8320 along with its stock tips - A Dsnuts discovery)

 

Packaging – The new batches only come in a little plastic bag. Only the headphone and one set of tips is included.

Build - Looks and feels cheap, very plasticky. Cloth cable is a little microphonic even when worn over the ear. Kinks and tangles easily.

Comfort - Uncomfortable due to large housing. Little isolation and leaks because of the vents. Stock tips will not seal well if you have small ears due to the housing.

Soundstage - Despite having a semi open back the soundstage is not particularly expansive. Average at best.

Lows - Does not extend low. Neutral though I'm sure many will find the quantity lacking.

Mids - Forward. Clean and clear if a bit thin. Some may find vocals a bit bright but I think it’s a nice change of pace from V shaped IEMs.

Highs - A little on the harsh side. Just as forward as the mids but also just as thin. Notes are sharp and sparkly.

 

I found the sound to be a bit thin but very enjoyable. For $9 it is definitely worth a shot but be warned the fit can be very troubling.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[4] Philips SHE3580

 

DSC_1354.JPG

(Blue SHE3582 pictured along with its messy cable – A Dsnuts and Joe Bloggs discovery)

 

Packaging - Terrible! Must destroy to open and even then, you risk getting your hands mangled. 3 pairs of cheap single flange tips.

Build - Plasticky. Very stiff and microphonic cable. Cable retains the tangled form from when it was in packaging.

Comfort - Quite comfortable due to the relatively small size, you won't even know it's there. Decent isolation.

Soundstage - I wouldn't say it’s confining but it's not very wide either. It works for most music but won't do orchestral performances justice.

Lows - Bassy. Extends low but the bass response slopes downwards. The bass you feel is far more noticeable than the bass you hear.
Mids - Bumped up bass and accentuated treble makes these very V shaped. I found vocals to be clear but very thin sounding due to the treble.
Highs - Way boosted highs adds "fun" as well as a sense of clarity to music but a lot of times I found them harsh.

 

For only $10, the V-shaped sound makes for a fantastic upgrade to stock buds. Multiple color options too. My only complaint is the horrifically BAD cable.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[5] Brainwavz Beta

 

DSC_1350.JPG

(Brainwavz Beta with mic pictured)

 

Packaging - Great. Nice box, 3 pairs of silicone tips as well as a pair of Comply foams. Shirt clip as well.
Build Made of plastic that doesn’t look particularly durable, some have reported they fall apart easily. Edges are a bit sharp. Cable is a little microphonic but not bad worn down. Nice strain reliefs off the housings but the cable are thin. Note that both my original and replacement mic’d Beta had some channel imbalance issues.
Comfort Comfortable despite the weird design. Does not isolate well unfortunately.
Soundstage Excellent, especially for the price. Very large soundstage, almost open back like despite being a closed design.
Lows - Bass stands out the most on the Betas. Hits low. Punchy but not boomy. Just the right amount IMO.
Mids - Neutral or slightly recessed relative to the bass but still perfectly audible. Very smooth sounding. Vocals sound great.
Highs - On par with the mids so fairly neutral as well although on some songs I found female vocals a tad harsh.

 

A very pleasant to listen to headphone held back by its questionable build quality. Great bass and large soundstage are the highlights. Great for $28 and amazing when on sale for $13…just hope your pair doesn’t have any QC issues.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[6] Audio Technica ATH-CKM50

 

DSC_1336.JPG

(Black ATH-CKM50A pictured - A Dsnuts discovery)

 

Packaging - Great. Nice box, 3 pairs of silicone tips, a pouch and an extension cable.

Build - Plastic but well put together. Cable is far too short without the extension cable and way too long with. It is also noisy and thin.

Comfort - Very comfortable and perfect fit for me with stock tips. Not bad isolation as well.

Soundstage - Soundstage does not stand out. It's not large but it's not non-existent either.

Lows - Very very bassy. Clean, extends low and hits hard, you'll definitely feel it. Some can find the quantity too much.

Mids - Clear if a bit distant. Overpowered by the bass on bassy songs. Doesn't sound too detailed as a result.

Highs High notes are clear and sharp but it’s obvious it’s boosted. Very fun but can get piercing.

 

A very fun IEM for those who don't mind bass. Not a bad buy at around $30 if this is the signature you are looking for.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[7] Thermaltake Isurus

 

DSC_1348.JPG

(Black version with included case – Thanks dziendobry for the pair!)

 

 

Packaging - Very nice! Comes with the standard SML tips + a nice zip pouch + audio/microphone splitter cable all presented in a cool box.
Build - Well built Dr. Dre-esque plastic. Cable is decent and asymmetrical design keeps it quiet but no strain reliefs. The remote looks like it could be a weak point on the cable.
Comfort - Housing is far too bulky and will likely give many fit issues. Included tips don’t go deep enough as a result of the size. Isolation is very okay considering. Paired with foam tips they become a lot more manageable.
Soundstage - Not bad. Slightly wider and deeper than the norm.
Lows Relative to what I’ve heard, the lows are neither lacking nor emphasized. Punchy and clear with no bleed into the mids. Extends low too. No complaints here.
Mids Just like the lows, the mids also sounds quite neutral. Neither in your face nor are they distant. Quite clear as well.
Highs - Highs were a mixed bag for me. Everything was clean and clear but a bit too bright. Treble, especially on the higher end, came through with some harshness.

 

Overall, the sound was quite good. If you can get past the size and tolerate the harshness, the Isurus packs drivers that punches far above its $25 price tag.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[8] MEElectronics SX-31

 

DSC_1367.JPG

(Black version of the SX-31 pictured)

 

Packaging Interesting plastic tube packaging with the standard silicone SML tips.
Build - Plastic. Despite certainty looking its price range, it looks like it could last. Cable is short but not terribly noisy. Handset control works.
Comfort - Very light and comfortable. A bit big because of the long stems.
Soundstage - Does not stand out. The soundstage is from your left ear to your right ear.
Lows At the price range, it comes as no surprise they are very bass heavy. I found the lows excessive given that the other ranges are lacking.
Mids - Recessed and unfortunately covered by the booming bass. Don't expect the vocals to come through on low heavy tracks.
Highs - Neither here nor there. It has a neutral amount of treble and is not harsh. In no way is it detailed though.

 

I have no complaints considering they can be found for $5. At that price it's disposable and also serves as a great replacement for stock buds.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[9] Skullcandy Ink’d

 

DSC_1363.JPG

(Black and gray 2009 version)

 

Packaging - Pain to open blister packaging with SML tips.
Build - Cheap looking plastic. Cable is decent but microphonic. Newer versions have a cinch which reduces cable noise a little. No L/R indicators.
Comfort - Light and comfortable. Isolation is pretty average.
Soundstage - Music does not project out beyond your head.
Lows - Lows are slightly elevated but not overwhelming; just the right amount. Booms and punches in the right areas.
Mids - Not bad but not great either. Clear and audible but the large amount of treble makes it too bright.
Highs - Highs are overrepresented on the Ink'd. They can get quite harsh.

 

Looks nice, sounds OK, and widely available in a bajillion different colors. For $10, it's a pretty good budget IEM.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[10] MEElectronics CW31

 

DSC_1359.JPG

(The microphone/remote version CW31P shown)

 

Packaging - MEElectronics doesn't skimp on extras. Nice compact pouch, SML tips, pair of bi AND tri flanges, as well as a shirt clip.

Build - Wooden housing looks like it will last. The cable has a plastic tube layer over it which makes it quite durable and quiet.

Comfort - Petite body will cause no fit issues. Isolation is average at best.

Soundstage - By no means large but definitely above average. Music extends a small distance away from your ears.

Lows - They possess a generous amount of bass but it is never overdone. It will rattle in bass heavy songs! Will satisfy all but bassheads.

Mids - No bleed from the accentuated lows but it does cause sound slightly recessed. Very smooth and clean overall if a bit too thick.

Highs - There simply isn't enough treble. Recessed mids and recessed highs equates to unlively vocals. What is here though is very smooth.

 

Impactful bass and extremely smooth presentation makes it a good buy at $30 street. I found the lack of treble to make CW31s very boring but that's subjective.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[11] Sennheiser CX 200

 

DSC_1379.JPG

(CX200 with its small indented housing)

 

Packaging - Just the typical SML tips. Has a cable clip attached pass the Y-split which I found pretty useless.

Build - Matte plastic housing is well built and there are proper strain reliefs. Has indents so one can "twist to fit" but I found it no better than just normally inserting it. Cable is thin and not exactly quiet either.

Comfort - Incredibly small size makes it very comfortable. Sits flush in my ear too. Isolation, with the right tips, is pretty good but some noise still gets in.

Soundstage - Not noteworthy, simply average.

Lows – As advertised, bass is the CX200s highlight. Lows are nice – powerful and defined. Not basshead quantity though.

Mids – The mids sound very recessed and muffled. The punchy lows do not do them any favors; bass tends to overwhelm vocals.

Highs – Highs sits between the lows and mids in terms of quantity. To my ears they sound crisp and clear.

 

The CX200s performs above its price range ($15 on sale, $25 otherwise). They offer a good amount of highs and lows but neither overwhelms the ear. The mids are very recessed, yes, but if comfort and this sound sig is what you seek, give them a shot.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[12] MEElectronics M11+

 

DSC_1396.JPG

(Silver microphone version M11P+ shown)

 

Packaging – Typical MEElectronics affair with pouch, a good selection of ear tips (10 different pairs!), an airplane adapter and a shirt clip. The clip comes preattached to the cable though and looks like a pain to remove.

Build – Aluminum housing feels very solid. Cable is well built and virtually noise-free when worn over the ear, not bad otherwise. Lack of nozzle filter might call for extra caution when in use.

Comfort – I found no complaints with the comfort. Fit was painless and the small size allows it to sit flush in the ear with ease.

Soundstage – Surprisingly decent considering the design. It’s not massive but the soundstage does expand beyond your head with above average width and depth.

Lows – Based on the impressions I’ve read, I expected these to be bass monsters but that was not the case. The M11+ is definitely bassy, yes, but detail and clarity is still intact. Extension is also quite good. Very well done all in all.

Mids – The midrange is too recessed for my liking. The detail was there but vocals sounded thick and muffled. EQing did help a little but I prefer not having to rely on it.

Highs – Highs are slightly ahead of the mids in terms of quantity but was still lacking. I found them to sound tinny at times and it also lacks the sparkle to make vocals come alive. On the bright side, they were well extended and clear.

 

When you factor in the deep impactful bass and great clarity alongside its fantastic build quality, it’s not bad for $50 but great at sale price $35. It didn’t do my vocal heavy pop music justice but I can see it excelling at other genres.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[13] MEElectronics M6

 

Q3012126.JPG

(M6P-BK pictured with large single flange tips)

 

Packaging – As you’d expect from Meelec, you get multiple tips (normal SML single, M double, SL triple flange), preattached shirt clip (not a fan), and clamshell case.

Build – Plastic body but very solid. Good strain reliefs on a great tangle and noise resistant cable. Top portion has about two inches of memory wire that you’ll either love or hate. Depending on the tip, I found the drivers to exhibit some flex during insertion which sometimes affect the balance between the left and right channel. No nozzle filter also so may require frequent cleaning. Remote/mic is great but chunky.

Comfort – Due to the housing and the memory cable, getting it to fit and seal properly is a pain. Once in though, comfort and isolation is top notch.

Soundstage – There is a really good sense of space considering these are closed AND cheap. Stage isn’t super large per se but there were times where notes took me by surprise. Overall it’s quite impressive considering they are both small and closed.

Lows – Bass is deep and powerful. Quantity wise it should be more than adequate for all but bassheads. Lows isn’t boomy nor does it ever step out of line.

Mids – Mids are very smooth and warm because of the lows. Vocals sounds a bit distant but still manages to make its point and is never overpowered by the bass.

Highs – Treble is clear with decent sparkle but can be harsh at times. I found the amount to be VERY slightly north of neutral.    

 

The MEElectronics M6 serves as a budget benchmark and for good reasons. At $15 (or less), they represent a fantastic value with good sound across the board. Be warned the fit is very YMMV!

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[14] MEElectronics M9

 

Q3012124.JPG

(Silver MEElectronics M9P with the balanced tips shown)

 

 

Packaging – SML single flanges and two double flange tips (one “balanced”) along with a clamshell case and annoying preattached shirt clip. No surprises here.

Build – Nice aluminum body but looks very plain and cheap. Great tangle and noise free cable plus good strain reliefs. I found that certain tips, the drivers exhibit some serious flexing during insertion. The updated remote/mic is very solid but a tad bulky.

Comfort – This style of housing have never given me fit problems and the M9 is no different. I found all the tips to be rather comfortable. Isolation is pretty average considering the ported back.

Soundstage – Weird is the only word I can think of. Because of the vent in the back, the soundstage is above average in size, but at the same time, the center seems slightly empty. When you cover the back, the dimension shrinks drastically.

Lows – Bassy to very bassy depending on the tips used. Well done most of the time but it does get boomy. It can be annoying in vocal centric songs.

Mids – Mids are very recessed. Vocals are very distant and slightly hollow sounding. The bass bleeds into the mids slightly.

Highs – The highs are relatively well done. Clarity and detail is good. Very smooth throughout. For me, the highs lack the quantity and sparkle to make music lively.

 

The MEElectronics M9 takes a while to open up, but when it does, its performance is very respectable. I’m not a fan of the way vocals are reproduced but the bass is quite good and treble is not bad either. Just like the M6, it stands on top of its price bracket at $10.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[15] MEElectronics RX12

 

Q4152219.JPG

 

(The two tone color of the MEElectronics RX12 is pretty neat)

 

Packaging – Being one of MEElec’s lower end models, it only comes with SML tips in a cheap “off the rack” plastic packaging.

Build – The black and red (or blue) plus chrome will last but it definitely looks its price. The housings do not have proper strain reliefs but they aren’t needed as the flat tangle and noise free cable is fantastic.

Comfort – Very comfortable and isolates quite well considering how shallow it sits.

Soundstage – The RX12 sounded really confined to me. The recessed midrange coupled with the massive amounts of bass did not help either.

Lows – The lows dominate the sound. Bass hits 20hz no problem but it’s mostly one note and boomy. The sub bass on these are WAY boosted, to the point where non-bassy tracks suddenly become annoying to listen to.

Mids – With the prominent bass one would expect the mids to take a backseat and they’d be right. The midrange, especially vocals, sound quite distant although clear.

Highs – Laid back but not to the extent of the mids. It’s still relatively recessed so unfortunately vocals still sound quite dull without a boost here. Not bad nonetheless.

 

The RX12 is a case of quantity over quality. If you like gobs of earth shattering bass then these could do the trick, but since they are still new and going for retail, I would much rather get the M6 or M9. They do look great though!

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[16] JVC Riptidz HA-FX8

 

DSC_0039.JPG

(One of the eight available colors of the Riptidz)

 

Packaging – Comes with the bare minimum: SML tips in blister packaging.

Build – Plastic body and thin cable is about what you’d expect for the price but the lack of strain reliefs is questionable. Supposedly sweat proof, but you can test that.

Comfort – Small, lightweight, and very comfortable. Isolation is about average, so while not great, it still sufficiently blocks out external noise.

Soundstage – The Riptidz’s sense of space and imaging is decent for its class. It’s not confining and provides just enough depth to be enjoyable but won’t blow minds.

Lows – Very slightly mid bassy. Impactful when called for, smooth and well done.

Mids – The midrange was very clear and vocals were placed right where you would want them. The slight bassiness did not color the mids.

Highs – The whole top end of the JVC is relatively laid back, dull even. Despite the lack of quantity, it still somehow manages to have some harsh spots.

 

The JVC Riptidz is a good pair of headphone for the $5-$10 it costs. Durability concerns aside, the balanced sound make it one of better options at this price range.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[17] DUNU Hawkeye DN-18

 

Dunu DN-18.jpg

(The Hawkeye is quite a looker with its mirror finish)

 

 

Packaging – Quite possibly one of the best I’ve seen. Nice minimalistic packaging along with all the accessories you need and then some. Large assortment of tips, airplane and 1/4 adapter, shirt clip, hard AND soft case and even a cleaning cloth!

Build – Mostly top-notch. The headphone themselves are made of very solid metal in a nice chrome finish. Strain reliefs are present all around and…a built in, but unobtrusive cable wrap? Genius! The cable is a little more problematic being quite noisy when worn down. L and R markings are also hard to see.

Comfort – Large nozzle combined with the fact that they need to be inserted deep means if you have small ear canals, fit might be a problem. Otherwise it stays in place and isolation is fantastic.

Soundstage – For a closed pair of IEMs that seals this well, the space it creates is amazing. Separation of notes, however, was not noteworthy.

Lows – The bass on the Hawkeye is plentiful and impactful when needed but isn’t neatly tucked away when not. Overall sound signature is full and warm.

Mids –Mids are forward and generally well executed. Vocals come out clear though quite thick sounding due to the beefy low end.

Highs – The highs on the DN-18 are also very smooth but a tad soft. The lack of treble renders some genres sound less energetic. It still has more sparkle that it’s sibling, the DN-17, however.

 

On sound alone, you can do better for $69. The true draw of the Hawkeye, however, is its beauty, build, and bundle. What’s aesthetics worth to you?

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[18] XKDUN CK-700

 

XKDUN CK-700.jpg

(Quite the package considering its price!)

 

Packaging – Flap display box is very surprising at this price range! SML tips only.

Build – Housing is great – small, metal and light weight. Straight relief off it is not flexible which seems non-sensical but the 3.5mm jack has a proper. The cable is stiff and noisy but with a very solid Y splitter. Significant driver flex was noted during insertion with all tips which affects the volume until it’s seated perfectly.

Comfort – Just stick them in the ear and you’re good to go. Isolation is good.

Soundstage – Good width but feels compressed height and depth wise.

Lows – The CK-700 is on the bassy side but not overly so. The low end is well composed by managing to hit deep and hard. Should be satisfying for most.

Mids – The mids are situated at a good distance but because of the highs, notes are sharp… sharp to the point where the sound becomes thin. Clarity was good.

Highs – Very treble happy these are. Mixed feelings here as the midrange tends to sound livelier but it also renders some tracks harsh.

 

Coming in at just $7 or less depending on the color, the CK-700 represents a good value. If you want a fun sounding IEM and can overlook the (admittedly really annoying) driver flex, give the XKDUN a look.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

[19] Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10

 

Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10.JPG

(The housing of the TF10 is absolutely monstrous)

 

Packaging – About as good as packaging gets: 5 sets of tips (two being Complys), a sturdy metal case, 1/4" adapter, cleaning tool, extender, and an airline attenuator.

Build – Plastic body but very study. The stock cable has memory wire at the top  which works as it should but the rest of the cable also seems to retain shape and never really straightens out. Replaceable cable is a nice feature, especially because there have been reports of the cable falling apart but no problems here.

Comfort – The fit can either be horrifying or amazing, luckily for me it’s the latter. They sit in my ear perfectly but do stick out quite a bit due to its size. Isolation is top notch on these with a proper fit.

Soundstage – One of the best soundstage I have ever heard in an IEM! Still doesn’t sound like a full-sized headphone but incredible nonetheless. Very wide and spacious stage with excellent imaging that projects layers upon layers of detail.

Lows – Slightly bassy with good punch. The balanced armature drivers don’t quite deliver the impact you would get from a dynamic driver but it does provide a very precise low end. Satisfying quantity of quality bass overall.

Mids – Midrange on the TripleFi is the least represented given the emphasis on the top and bottom but it doesn’t really sound “recessed”. A little more body in the midrange would be perfect since it sounds thin. Clarity and detail is of course great.

Highs – The biggest draw to the TF10 is it’s incredible treble. The sheer amount of energy on these makes even the dullest of music come alive. Detail retrieval is fantabulous and will bring out things you’ve never heard before. Despite being very top heavy and sharp, it is rarely harsh. Some may find the bump a bit too much (at times, it is) but if you can handle it…fun is to be had!

 

The Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 is a huge step up from low-end earphones. It boasts an super engaging sound with incredible resolution. If $170 is within your budget and you want to listen to your music in 1080p, give this triple driver a try ;)

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[20] DUNU Crater DN-17

 

 

700

 

(The Crater delivers on style)

 

Packaging – Fantastic. Nice minimalistic packaging along with all the accessories you need and then some. Large assortment of tips, airplane and 1/4 adapter, shirt clip, metal case AND soft case and even a cleaning cloth!

Build – Just like the Hawkeye, the headphone are made of metal in a nice chrome finish. Strain reliefs are present all around and a cable wrap is built in. Also like the Hawkeye, the cable is…bad. Very noisy when worn down, bit mushy, kinks, and tangles. Differentiating between L and R is also difficult.

Comfort – Fit might be a problem if you have small canals as the nozzle is quite big but for most it should be no problem. Isolation is very good, especially considering the port in the back. Very minimal sound leakage both ways.

Soundstage – The Crater has a great sense of space but it doesn’t sound any larger than the closed DN-18. There is a more defined separation between notes though but still not amazing.

Lows – Bass carries good impact on the Crater, only slightly less than the Hawkeye. Lows are full sounding and doesn’t bother other frequencies but it is slightly boomy.

Mids – The Crater’s mids sound great. It is prominent, warm and smooth though lacks energy in the upper end and can come off as a bit dull. Vocals sound great.

Highs – The upper FR is soft and rounded, borderline muffled sounding to me. Not enough treble for upbeat music and overall unexciting.

 

The DN-17 is a smooth but boring sounding IEM. It is great for vocals, but at $80, it is only worth it if you value the, admittedly, good looks.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[21] Sennheiser CX 275

 

 

 

 

(The futuristic looking CX 275)

 

Packaging – Pretty generic plastic packaging. Comes with SML tips only.

Build – Feels quite flimsy, especially for the asking price. Wire is thin, strain reliefs are small (and none on remote!) and the housing is plastic. Jack is good though. A minor annoyance is the black grip part of the headphone is on the front of the ear instead of the back; I think it would have made more sense the other way around.

Comfort – Small and light, shouldn’t be a problem for most. Isolation is average.

Soundstage – The spacing and imaging is pretty good for a closed IEM.

Lows – The bass on the CX 275 are plentiful and well extended. It is not the most articulate and can be boomy but it’s great for its class and provides nice slam.

Mids – The midrange is always present despite the bass and treble. Thickness is good, clarity is good and overall, good.

Highs – Slightly north of neutral, the treble on the CX 275 is enjoyable. Notes come across nicely with good clarity and sparkle. Harshness is few and far between but it does happen, just not enough to declare these “harsh”.

 

The Sennheiser CX 275 is a good sounder for the $60 entry, I only wish they were better built. Time will tell how they fare but you always have a 2 year warranty to fall back on so if a  good looking, good sounding, and phone ready IEM is what you seek, go for it.

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

[22] Samsung Stock EHS44

 

 

 

 

 

(The Samsung EHS44 is included with many high-end Samsung devices)

 

Packaging – Whatever your device came in. One set of tips only.

Build – Lack of solid strain reliefs could be trouble. Plastic housing is bulky but sturdy. Remote/microphone is not bad.

Comfort – About average in terms of comfort and isolation is subpar. With only one set of tips and a large stem, it could be better or worse for you.

Soundstage – Average. You can feel the music reaching out but not very far.

Lows – Very bass light and not particularly well extended. Everything you’d expect to be punching won’t be. Surprising signature for an IEM meant for the masses.

Mids – Mid heavy. Vocals seems to be the main highlight of these and at that, it does quite well. The midrange is full and smooth sounding.

Highs – The high frequency response is very soft and rolled off. That combined with the forward mids makes the overall sound muffled.

 

These stock phones are quite a surprise, not only because they can be had for literally nothing (or less than $5), but because they have an uncommon sound signature for its class. A worthwhile backup should your primary fail you.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Edited by GigaFi - 8/28/12 at 1:20am
post #2 of 64
Thread Starter 

Reserve #1

post #3 of 64
Thread Starter 

Reserve #2

post #4 of 64
Thread Starter 

Reserve #3

post #5 of 64

Great start! What other IEMs are you planning to review?

post #6 of 64
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

 

10 IEMs added to the OP.

 

 

[1] Creative EP-630
[2] Sony MDR-EX81
[3] Monoprice MEP-933
[4] Philips SHE3580
[5] Brainwavz Beta
[6] Audio Technica ATH-CKM50
[7] Thermaltake Isurus
[8] MEElectronics SX-31
[9] Skullcandy Ink’d
[10] MEElectronics CW31
 
Feedback welcome!
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 

[11] Sennheiser CX200

 

added

 

post #8 of 64

Great start; though perhaps you should take into account other tips? The stock tips with the Isurus are pretty bad and replacing them gets rid of the sibilance.

post #9 of 64
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I don't have a lot of tips but I did test them with the ones that I did have - stock, jlabs, complys, and today, meelectronics. I still hear a lot of sssss but YMMV.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravefire View Post

Great start; though perhaps you should take into account other tips? The stock tips with the Isurus are pretty bad and replacing them gets rid of the sibilance.



 

post #10 of 64

Very Nice. Thanks!

post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 

[12] MEElectronics M11+

 

added

post #12 of 64

Nice reviews on the budget IEMS.

post #13 of 64
Thread Starter 

[13] MEElectronics M6

[14] MEElectronics M9
 
added

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KimChee View Post

Nice reviews on the budget IEMS.


Thanks! I've still got a lot of catching up to do but I'm set on trying to listen to as many as I can.

 

post #14 of 64

I've got Brainwavz Beta, Meelec SP51 and Final Audio Piano forte II buds.

 

My least favorite is Mee SP51. The reason is that I get tired fast of isolating IEMs. Mee has deeper boomier bass than other two.

 

My favorite for listening is Beta. It is half in ear design and doesn't isolate very well which is a plus for me. Hence the sound is more open and fatigue is much less. 

 

Piano Fortes are the most comfortable because they are earbuds ( I almost don't feel wearing them). They are almost on par with Betas but they lose in instrument separation and hence sound more 2D. I use them for podcasts, YouTube etc.

 

Betas are great. There are not much half in ear or vented IEMs. There is big leap in price if I decided to upgrade from Betas. Probably the next step would be vented Radius DDM, Sony EX600 which are more than $120. triportsad.gif


Edited by mutabor - 3/1/12 at 3:13pm
post #15 of 64
Thread Starter 

I like the Betas alot too, in fact, it's probably my favorite pair of IEMs save for their QC issues.

 

Maybe you can look into the Brookstone Clear Dual Drives since they're relatively cheap and is close to what you're looking for.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutabor View Post

I've got Brainwavz Beta, Meelec SP51 and Final Audio Piano forte II buds.

 

My least favorite is Mee SP51. The reason is that I get tired fast of isolating IEMs. Mee has deeper boomier bass than other two.

 

My favorite for listening is Beta. It is half in ear design and doesn't isolate very well which is a plus for me. Hence the sound is more open and fatigue is much less. 

 

Piano Fortes are the most comfortable because they are earbuds ( I almost don't feel wearing them). They are almost on par with Betas but they lose in instrument separation and hence sound more 2D. I use them for podcasts, YouTube etc.

 

Betas are great. There are not much half in ear or vented IEMs. There is big leap in price if I decided to upgrade from Betas. Probably the next step would be vented Radius DDM, Sony EX600 which are more than $120. triportsad.gif



 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Multiple Budget IEMs Reviewed - [22] Total - (Samsung Stock EHS44 Added)