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My wallet is tired of return fees. Please help advise me on an IEM under $100

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,


First, if this post doesn't belong in this portion of the forum, please let me know and move it to where it belongs and, my apologies in advance. Second, thanks to anyone who reads this and double thanks to anyone who actually responds.


So I'm looking for an IEM under $100 that has a certain type of sound signature. I listen to a variety of music but right now, when I'm working, I am on a huge movie soundtrack/epic orchestral video game music kick. To relay how nerdy I am for the sake of getting some good recommendations, I'll even link a few songs through youtube to give you an idea of what I'm listening to:


Logan's Journey-Guild Wars 2



Shaemoor-Guild Wars 2



All my music is direct-ripped from an original CD source and converted to a 192-bit MP3 (I personally cannot tell the difference between 192 and 300+ even on my brother's $300+ BeyerDynamic cans with a Fiio E11 amp. That should give you an idea about my non-level of sound sophistication ;)


Sound signature I'm looking for in order of priority:

1) Soundstage: The more open the better. I can give up definition and clarity for a larger, more epic feeling soundstage

2) Lower-midrange (I think): What I call "cello warmth". In that Shaemoor song example, I want that cello to sound airy and warm

3) Bass: I don't need thumping bass, but I need enough so the sound isn't perceived to be thin.

4) Vocals: don't need any micro-detail or anything, just don't want them to be so recessed that they are almost non-existent (I'm looking at you Brainwavz R1)

5) Highs: I don't put too much emphasis on this mainly because I feel like, in my price range, something will have to give to get the soundstage and lower-midrange I'm looking for.


What I have listened to:

1) Sennheiser CX150: quite a decent soundstage, decent base, somewhat warm. Sound can feel a little too much like its under water though. Detail is just not this sub $20 IEM's strong suit, though I still find them fun to listen to and use for jogging


2) Brainwavz R1: Great soundstage, good treble sound separation. Bass is a bit too boomy, but I think I'm quite happy with it because I believe it increases my perception of the size of the soundstage. Lower-midrange/midrange: Its like 10 rows behind the Bass and treble. Detail is there, but its way too recessed to enjoy it


3) HiFiMan RE-ZERO: Man I thought these where going to be the ones. All the reviews said these have great detail (which they do, in spades), somewhat relaxed sound signature (which they don't) and a decent soundstage (they most certainly do not). I tried to burn them in for 20+ hours but the only benefit I got from that was a reduction in sibilance, it did nothing to open up the lower-midrange. These sound very cold, tinny and thin to my ears. Details were amazing for sure, but the upper-midrange is so prominent, there is almost no warmth to this sound and the soundstage is small to me.



So what I'm considering:

Xears xe200pro: I'm hoping these put the lower-midrange and midrange slightly more forward than my Brainwavz which lock them up in a closet somewhere.

Brainwavz B2: I know, these are out of my price range, but I would totally consider them if they met my needs. I'm personally skeptical that I would actually like BA drivers though. I think I can sacrifice the accuracy, detail and sound separation of BAs for more warmth and a larger soundstage. But hey, I haven't tried them and they could be the "ones".


I'm totally open to other suggestions, so If you made it through this epic wall of text, please grace me with some recommendations. Thanks Head-Fi community!

post #2 of 4

too bad soundstage isn't way down in number four or five for your priorities.

otherwise I would whole heartedly recommend the sony mh1c.


the soundstage is what I liked the most in the r1's.

You just missed out on a sale for the xba-3 at just outside your price limit (130).

would have been a fantastic purchase that meets all your requirements and then some.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply! Actually, I'm a little sad because I bought the Munitios on Sale for $20 because of the mic on them. They aren't bad, but I think I would have rather had the Sony's. And yeah, the R1's have a great soundstage. They are my favorite IEM's that I own, though not without reservations. 


Xba-3 eh? I'll look into them. Who knows, black friday and other holiday sales are just around the corner.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Ok... So I found the exact sound I'm looking for which is a great middle road between the Brainwavz R1 and the RE-ZEROs that have good detail and warmer lower-midrange. Unfortunately they aren't IEMs... they are Sennheiser HD280 Pro cans. My brother lent them to me thinking this would be what I'm looking for. Now if I can find some IEMs that sound like these, that would be great. Anyone know of some IEMs that sound like these $100 cans?

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