Originally Posted by Mandala
So I have a question that may seem like I'm detouring my own thread, but it is a question that has been on my mind lately. Are full-sized headphones better, in audio quality than IEMs? The reason why I ask this is that I always seem to read IEM reviews that have qualifying statements like " the imaging is great for an IEM", or "such and such is great, almost as good as a proper headphone".
I feel like I've come to the conclusion based on my limited experience, that, all other things being equal, I'm more comfortable with transducers being in my ears than covering them. The only problem is I've gotten the unspoken impression that the natural progression would be for me to eventually graduate toward a "home rig", one that consists of a large pair of closed or open full sized cans and an expensive desktop amp and DAC. I guess I'm asking out of complete ignorance, but is it common for headphone enthusiasts to stay within the realm of IEMs and pursue high fidelity within that paradigm, or am I going to reach a ceiling at some point where in order to experience the truest of true high fidelity I will need to cross over to the world of closed or open circumaurals. Forgive me if it's a stupid question, but it's one I have really been curious about. Are there aspects of performance that an IEM can't deliver (not withstanding to some degree the soundstage of an open back headphone), but a full sized headphone can, or do most people just have a preference for full-sized headphones except when lack of portability and isolation make smaller headphones a necessity?
When I consistently get the chance to hear IEMs that can rival my LCD-2s in sound, I'll get back to you on that. The only ones I've heard that were in the same price range were the K3003 and the TG334, and yes the latter was great. Probably something like customs would come even closer. IEMs generally lack in soundstage compared to full-sized, and full-sized still lack in comparison to speaker. I find that IEMs can be more resolving than full-sized, and etc, etc. Full-sized headphones are a nice in-between, having a bit of both the convenience and enveloping sound.
Back on topic, now. I think that the HE-300/HE-400 series would be good for you in terms of comfort. Because for all the problems people have with HiFiMAN phones in terms of comfort, one thing people cannot complain about is the size of the cups. They are 60mm in diameter, and the pads are more than enough enveloping for any ear size. They will probably not touch your ears much. They both have decent bass quantity, with the HE-400s being a bit more linear, tighter, extending further, being more tactile, and faster, even beating the HE-500's bass. Very easy to drive as well.