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How to demo IEM's

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

When I got my speakers a couple years ago, I read a LOT of reviews on forums, online magazines, etc.   I also demoed five pairs in my home, and countless others in various stores.  I drove an hour away sometimes to hear a particular speaker.  With IEM's it doesn't seem to be that easy. I used a few mail order companies' free 30 day in home demo for the speakers, but I assume there's no such thing such thing for IEM's.  I don't want to just buy a product I haven't heard.  I've never owned good headphones before, and I've decided that IEM's will work best for me, but I really don't have a sense for what bass heavy, bass light, soundstage, etc.even sounds like in an IEM.  I know the concepts, but I don't know what to expect out of an IEM at all.  With speakers I can compare written reviews against personal experience, with IEM's not so much. I've been reading in the forums a LOT, but I feel that I've hit a wall.  There's no going forward without hearing some models to get an idea of what's up.   I live an hour north of Philadelphia. Suggestions?  Any mail order places with liberal return policies?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 8

Strange as it may sound, but a decent place is airports.  The big electronics boutiques have demos of everything and I can think of a few brands off hand that I saw recently:

 

Etymotic

Westone

Shure

Klipsch

UE

Monster

 

Not all of them are located behind the security checkpoint.  I'd check into if the Philly airport has a store that stocks them.  They're a nationwide chain in the airports so they all have the same stuff.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Codefox View Post

Strange as it may sound, but a decent place is airports.  The big electronics boutiques have demos of everything and I can think of a few brands off hand that I saw recently:

 

Etymotic

Westone

Shure

Klipsch

UE

Monster

 

Not all of them are located behind the security checkpoint.  I'd check into if the Philly airport has a store that stocks them.  They're a nationwide chain in the airports so they all have the same stuff.

Interesting.  I just looked at Philadelphia's store directory, looks like like Philly is a no go.  I could make the drive into NYC, but by the time I do that, I could add about $80 to my IEM budget in gas, tolls, and parking!

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

OK, so there's an in-motion store in Philly, but in the pic of the shop it doesn't look likes there's a demo section.

post #5 of 8

They don't have a demo section...they have all the IEMs behind the counter with spare tips (usually Comply).  I've even had them open up boxes for stuff they didn't have for me to demo.  I got my current Westone W2s at an In Motion at CLT after demoing it there.  You could call them to be sure of what they have.

post #6 of 8

I second airports. 

 

I have only heard of one retailer here that supported iem demoing and that was a special dixons concession at heathrow airport. They had a few shures, klipsch's, sennheisers and a few more. They used disposable tips and I think even bacterial wipes for the iem body.  

post #7 of 8

Some websites do take returns on IEM's. Headphone.com aka headroom lets u try most things for 30 days. And of course best buys and stuff like that will take returns of used iem's. I have tried a few sets there and returned them within a week or two and they dont usually even ask what the reason for the return is. 

 

Also the good thing about head-fi is that most in demand headphones or iem's are usually in the classified forums. So u could buy used at a cheaper price or sell the headphones or iem's that you dont like here and probably not lose all that much.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

Some websites do take returns on IEM's. Headphone.com aka headroom lets u try most things for 30 days. And of course best buys and stuff like that will take returns of used iem's. I have tried a few sets there and returned them within a week or two and they dont usually even ask what the reason for the return is. 

 

Also the good thing about head-fi is that most in demand headphones or iem's are usually in the classified forums. So u could buy used at a cheaper price or sell the headphones or iem's that you dont like here and probably not lose all that much.

Yeah, I think the classifieds route is a good idea.  You're right, most of the IEM's I want to try pop up on the classifieds pretty often.  MY problem is, I think I want to go for the Heir Audio 3.Ai.  Won't be seeing those in the classifieds just yet, but as you said, I could probably unload them for not too much of a loss.  I could try my other choices from the classifieds or solicit a trade if the HA's don't work out.  Thanks!

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