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IEMs for deployment to Afghanistan?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Greetings, I've been a member of this forum for quite a while but rarely contribute.  Until recently I've been more of a vinyl guy and spend my time in those forums.  I'm in the military and have a deployment to Afghanistan coming up which has forced me to get into pc audio and headphones.  I have to tell you I am having a blast.  I'm a bit of a tech junky and this is a whole new world of gadgets to learn about and play with.  I've done quite a bit of research on this forum and others and am very well prepared.  Thanks to all of you who post here because it was an invaluable source of info.  I have one final option to consider which is kind of unique and is why I am starting a new thread rather than reviewing old ones.

 

I bought a pair of Atrio M8 iems back in 2007 to use for travel.  They have held up great and I love them for their base.  They are great for watching movies, its like having a subwoofer in your head.  I bought a pair of Etymotic HF2s as back up and really fell in love with their sq.  I got the custom molds and they are unbeatable for noise cancellation.  They were too good and I don't think I could be satisfied with the Atrios if the etymotics were to fail.  I don't have many other hobbies and am frugal in every other aspect of my life so I don't feel too bad about having a 3rd back up.  I have to say as much as I like them they are not completely satisfying, although extremely close.  If I could get the etymotics with a bit more flesh I think I would be totally satisfied.  So here is my situation

 

-I don't need subwoofer base, I have the Atrio M8s

-I don't need noise cancellation, I have the etymotics

-I'm not concerned with micro phonics because the etymotics AND the Atrios are really outstanding in that category

-I want the best pair of IEMs in the ~$200 range give or take a bunch.  I'm not hard pressed for budget but I can't go crazy.  I want them for the rare but ideal moments when I can really sit down and listen to music and not be concerned about build quality or micro phonics or subwoofer base etc... I have those bases covered.

 

I am leaning towards what I am sure is obvious to most of you: the VSONIC GR07, Fischer DBA-02, Hifiman re 262 or 272.  I am sort of considering etymotic er-4s because they could benefit from the custom ear molds I had made for the hf2s, but I read that although they are better than the hf2s they are not $270 better.   I am way open to suggestions outside of that list and would appreciate even recommended sellers.  

 

I listen to everything (not as big into rap but not a hater), I use iTunes and have a HRT Headstreamer as my dac/amp combo.  I also have the HRT Music streamer II+ and a DIY altoids style head amp that is set for high gain originally used with sennheiser hd 600s. I am not planning on brining the hd600s with me though.

 

Thanks for your time and thanks for the help you have already given me.  Like I said, this has really been fun.

 

Nate

post #2 of 21

Hey thanks for serving our country. smile.gif

 

I have the GR07 myself, and I love it's natural sound signature. It is quite good technically, and listening to music just feels right. You can't go wrong with any of the others either.

post #3 of 21

Nate, 

 

Westone makes some great IEM's and they have special deals going for military personnel.  You can contact them to see what sort of pricing they can give you.

post #4 of 21

+1 for the GR07

post #5 of 21

I just got back from that particular trip and if it goes anything like mine you won't want too much isolation.  A few bad days and you'll be too paranoid not being able to hear anything.  I had several headphones shipped to me to deal with the boredom, the only IEM I used was the FX700 simply because I could hear what was going on outside....otherwise I used portable over the ear types.  Good luck.

post #6 of 21

JVC FXD80

post #7 of 21

Yeah most people don't opt for these due to the isolation issues. But I know what you mean by being aware of your surrounding. You can't trust people these days especially when out and about. Rule number one always be defensive and assume the driver ain't looking lol :P.
 

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I didn't want to ham up the war aspect too much so I didn't go down that path, but as soon as I heard how deaf I was to the outside world with the etymotics/custom molds I knew it would be rare if ever that I could use them.  Thats one of the reasons I started this thread, there isn't much out there for people who don't need or in fact don't want too much noise isolation.

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by texanater View Post

Yeah, I didn't want to ham up the war aspect too much so I didn't go down that path, but as soon as I heard how deaf I was to the outside world with the etymotics/custom molds I knew it would be rare if ever that I could use them.  Thats one of the reasons I started this thread, there isn't much out there for people who don't need or in fact don't want too much noise isolation.


The IE80s, FX700, EX1000 etc. The GR07 has better isolation so that may be a problem for you but I'm sure it's not as good as the etys isolation.

post #10 of 21

sony ex600 or gr07 for me!

post #11 of 21
Perhaps a good knock around can may be better suited.

Fostex T50RP

Just a thought, Jim
post #12 of 21

I use the GR07 and I can definitely recommend it. Its only say, 200 hours in do you really begin to fall in love with them though. I've tried the RE272s as well and they are also great, but they require an amp to sound their best. You have one though so thats fine. If you don't want good isolation you can go with the Sony's...people recommend the EX600 but you can try the Sony MDR-7550's if you can find them. They are the model between the EX600 and the EX1000. They are around $250 dollars though and there aren't many reviews around, but the general consensus is that they are definitely worth their price, more so than the EX600 and EX1000. 

post #13 of 21

For me, the best choice is the GR07. I think it sounds more natural than the HF5 (which I really liked), with a decent bump in sub-bass. The thing I love most about it is that it works for every genre of music under the sun, and you won't find it lacking in any. It does isolate more than the FX700 and IE8, but nowhere near the Ety level. I think you'd be happy with it. I wrote a few words about it here:

 

 

Quote:

 

 

FX700, IE8, and GR07 Comparison

 

 

 

Please bear in mind that these impressions are the result of what I'm hearing from directly A/B/C'ing these iems.

 

FX700: I can see why some regard it as the best dynamic universal. Timbre is great, detail is ridiculous, and it has this extremely lively, edgy sound that can be addictive on the right songs. The treble extends to the feet of Zeus, and the bass reaches down to the depth of the river Styx. Sorry, I love Greek mythology. I wouldn't consider the midrange recessed, it's just not that forward. It's there and it's detailed, but you can tell the bass and the treble are the stars of the show. There's a whole lot of bass, but it's so rich and textured that it's never really a problem. The overall sound is just so open, and the imaging is addictive. I feel like I'm listening to a headphone moreso than an iem, a really engaging headphone. The only (personal) con that I have with with it is that there is just so much treble on some songs. I feel like the overall sound is tilted towards the upper regions, with lots of bass to prevent the sound from becoming cold or overly clinical. When I listen to instruments like drums and cymbals, I can hear the treble boost in the overly lively snap of the snare, or the slight splashiness of the cymbals. I also feel like the treble tilt improves the apparent detail presented. Going back and forth with the GR07 on Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man," the FX700 presents about 5% more detail in the opening guitar sequence. Would I keep them for my daily use? No. They're a bit too aggressive, even at less than 1/2 of my iphone's volume and the mids are a bit dry for my taste. Otherwise, they're an EDM lover's dream come true, and the ultimate incarnation of the V-/U-shaped signature.

 

GR07: Way more polite than the FX700. I'd say the timbre is on par with the FX700, without that treble tilt, so it sounds more natural (to me at leas). Detailing is less aggressive, and the overall signature is more laidback, allowing me to listen for hours without a hint of fatigue. Dynamics on the GR07 are good, but not on the same level of the monster that is the FX700. So on about 10-15% of my library, I found myself longing for the edginess of the FX700. Keep in mind that the remaining 85-90% of my library was done better to my ears by the GR07. One of the things I love about this iem is that it lets me hear my music as it is. It's ever so slightly warm, without really coloring the music. That is not something I can say about the FX700. Not to say that the GR07 is boring; it's what I call a "lady in the street, but a freak in the bed." It's not a stripper with tattoos all over her body, but a girl with a little butterfly on her pelvis where you alone can see it. What my strange analogy implies is that the Gr07 is not an "always on" iem. It has no midbass hump, yet it can rumble your socks off it it needs to. It's still my favorite iem. The

 

IE8: The IE8 sounds way better than I expected, listening to the accounts of some. Yes, there is a midbass veil that obscures detail in the mids, but the rest of the spectrum is done pretty well. The highs are well extended, and have plenty of sparkle, and the mids, though veiled, are present and enjoyable. I didn't really find the soundstage to be that massive or distant. Listening to Amy Winehouse's "Valerie," her voice was intimate enough to keep the song together. Overall, the sound is pretty darn good, and I can imagine that the IE80 is even better  It wasn't. I have to comment on the beautiful, beautiful cable. It's so supple, and pliable. I think it may even be better than the GR07's. There's a member who keeps dumping on the IE8's jack because it's not gold-plated. To that, I say..."So?" This is one of the best built iems I've ever seen. Also, to the person saying the IE8 has no bass, there is moore than enough bass. It was enough to be slightly overpowering on some songs, and this was on the first knob out of 4 or 5!!

 

I can definitely see why all these iems are considered top tiers. I have to say that the FX700 is the classiest IEM I've seen in my life. It's simply gorgeous. It makes the GR07 look like the ugly duckling...

 

.TLDR = FX700>=GR07>IE8

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 21

I would kick in a recommendation for the GR07 as well. They do isolate decently, but they're not the last word in complete oblivion to the outside world! Sonically they continue to impress me tons, even in comparison to the likes of the Westone 4 which I recently got to compare directly. The Westones are much more expensive, and the Vsonics were right on the heels of the Westones! I think they're durably built too, which would be pretty critical on a deployment I would imagine. 

 

Also, want to wish you a totally safe deployment, and thanks for all that you do overseas. I truly hope you find a set of earphones which bring you some enjoyment when you're out of country.


Edited by cn11 - 7/23/12 at 8:01pm
post #15 of 21
Go for the GR07. Thank you for your service and stay safe smily_headphones1.gif
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