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Help on getting new IEMs (Classical Music)

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

Hi experts,

 

As my last in-ear headphones are broken, I'm getting a new and hopefully, better pair.

I listen to almost only classical music (Everything, opera, orchestral, chamber, choral, solo, and even organ quite often) and sometimes pop but not rock, but I will need to use them for composing, as well as watching films, when I use them on my iPod, my phone (non-apple) and my laptop.

I only want in-ears as I travel and carry them around quite a lot, so I hope the cable would be quite durable, too.

Noise isolation however isn't the most important thing for me, although it should be decent.

They should be comfortable as well, because I sometimes wear them for hours and I don't want them to hurt.

I'm not quite sure on my budget, yet. But I'm not likely to go for IEMs that will cost $400; preferably under $300, unless they are really worth.

 

So, any suggestions? normal_smile%20.gif


Edited by jordanwong - 6/14/12 at 1:30pm
post #2 of 51

Etymotic HF5, $150, sometimes on sale at Amazon for $100 or even a little less. Highly detailed but without any harshness, and very neutral; ideal for classical music. Well made and as a bonus, very isolating.

post #3 of 51

They are a bit more money than the Etymotics, but I would go with either the Grado GR8 or GR10 (used if you can find them).  They are a lot like the Etys but the sound is not as narrow and the bass is richer (though not at all overblown).    

post #4 of 51

You should also consider the Etymotic ER-4 as well.

post #5 of 51
Thread Starter 

What's the difference between hf5 and ER-4?

post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanwong View Post

What's the difference between hf5 and ER-4?

In my opinion...

 

The ER-4 is a Professional Grade Headphone, and the HF5 is a Consumer Grade Headphone.

 

The ER-4 is serviceable by Etymotic, whereas the HF5 is a throw away/unserviceable unit.

 

There is also a slight difference in sound reproduction. The ER-4 winning over the HF5.

 

Just my thoughts, Jim

post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 
Are the cables fragile as they look pretty thin in photos?
post #8 of 51
I have not handled the HF5 model.

But do have a 10 year old set & a brand new set of ER-4P model.

I also have a Etymotic MC5 headphone.

I find the Etymotic line to be very well built.

Good Luck, Jim
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinnievidi View Post

They are a bit more money than the Etymotics, but I would go with either the Grado GR8 or GR10 (used if you can find them).  They are a lot like the Etys but the sound is not as narrow and the bass is richer (though not at all overblown).    
What do you mean narrow?
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
I know there are ER-4 models with different letters at the end like 4S and 4P, what do they mean? Are they very different?
post #11 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanwong View Post


What do you mean narrow?

Sorry about that.  What I meant is that the Grado sound stage appears larger, giving more space and depth to the placement of the instruments.  This is especially welcome for opera and larger orchestral works, where you get a better perception of the scale of the work.  I hope this makes sense.  Don't get me wrong, I like Etymotic (you can see this in my profile), but I do think that you have to pair them correctly to get any warmth out of them.  This isn't a cost thing though, where you need to spend a lot for a proper source: For me, Etymotics sounded full out of my MacBook Pro, iPod Nano, and stereo receiver; but sounded very thin--and quite disappointing--out of my iPhone and Headroom portable amp.       

 

I listen to classical (all sub-genres) about 90-95% of my listening time, and I'm convinced that of all the IEM models I've owned, the Grado GR8 and GR10 are the most impressive for the genre.  Besides the Grado IEMs, I really liked the Westone 4.  The only issue with the W4 though is that they can sound rather flat, depending on the recording.  The Westone 3 was really fun, especially for bombastic works (Wagner anyone?), but wasn't my cup of tea for chamber works.  But this is just me.  

 

If you do happen to go with a pair of Etymotic, my advice is to try the Hf5 before the ER-4... they are cheaper and--I think, at least--they sound identical (they use the same drivers as the ER-4P).


Edited by vinnievidi - 6/15/12 at 4:21pm
post #12 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanwong View Post

I know there are ER-4 models with different letters at the end like 4S and 4P, what do they mean? Are they very different?

Etymotic.com has a great explanation of the 3 models in the ER-4 series.

Jim
post #13 of 51

i wish i could like etys on the comfort level.

would so love them to be in the westone fit. sigh, one can hope.

post #14 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss2625 View Post

i wish i could like etys on the comfort level.

would so love them to be in the westone fit. sigh, one can hope.

Which tips have you tried?

 

Thanks, Jim

post #15 of 51

I really like the Westone 4 for classical as well as the PFE 232 which is way out of your price range.  In that case I think, from what I've read, that you could go with the PFE 122.  The soundstage is really open and the instruments have a nice amount of air around them which gives them a very realistic feel.  I get height in classical vocals/opera that I don't get with a lot of other iem's.  Some good deals can be found on the Westone 4 if you're patient - either from dealers or on the sale/trade listings.  Those would be my pick - speaking as a classical singer and someone who listens to a lot of classical and opera.

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