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Need in-ear phones recommendation based on my details.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a new pair of in ear headphones for general listening as well as studio mixing (i live in an apartment, so I can't use my studio monitors any more).

 

My goal is to get a pair of headphones at least as good as my current pair but with a little more "air" or brightness.

 

I am currently using a pair of Sony MDR-EX85LP.

 

What I like about this pair of headphones is that they have the absolute best stereo imaging, smoothness and level of depth for an in-ear set in their price range.  The only thing I have always wished was better is that they lack the high frequency balance of a true flat reference studio monitor.  They have the high frequency details, but they just don't have them at the level I would like.  I find the bass and mid rage levels to be excellent, again at the price range.

 

Are there any other pairs for under $100 that would be basically the same exact headphone with a more natural high end?

 

I've tried the MDS EX500 or whichever pair was around $100-$120.  The problem they had was that they suffered from very harsh sibilance.  It is as if they over compensated.  Otherwise, they sounded nice.  There used to be a pair in between price-wise, but they aren't available any more, and I prefer an item I could return if I needed to for any reason.  I'm not stuck on sony headphones, but my biggest gripe is that a lot of the headphones that so many people seem to rave about don't even reproduce over 16-17khz.  I can hear well beyond that and wouldn't even touch a headphone that didn't go up to at least 19khz.  I might sacrifice another 10khz or so that I can hear if the headphone sound incredible in every other way, but even my sony's reproduce frequencies to around 20khz, they just aren't as loud at that level, but they're there.

 

Any recommendations?  The shure's look nice, but the cheaper model only goes to 17.5khz and the 18.5 khz model is $200.  I've heard about the UE series.  The UE 600 looks decent, but how would those compare being at the top of the price range?  What I like about the sony pair I have the most is the apparent resolution of detail.  I listen to a lot of 'detailed' music.  Jazz, New Age, soundtracks, orchestras, etc.  But then again, I listen to dream theatre one minute and then george winston the next.  The sony pair handles these different styles with great versatility.  The bass of the sony pair is always very tight and clean and at a good level.  The mids are smooth and the highs are detailed, but just not as 'airy' as I'd like.

 

Anyhow, I'm starting to repeat myself.  Please let me know if anyone is familiar with my pair and might know a comparable more open airy pair.

post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

Ok.  Some updated info.  After a lot of research I think I've narrowed down a few options for my headphone purchase.

 

UE 700

TDK BA-200

ER HF5

Sony XBA-2

 

First, these are all widely available and between $100-$200.  Second, they all seem to get generally very positive reviews overall.

 

The UE 700 and ER HF5 seem to be the most reference from the graphs and reviews I've seen, but they all have ups and downs (no pun intended).  I didn't like the lack of bass and slight lack of high treble on the XBA-1, so that went back to the store.  The XBA-2 may not be worth the difference in price, but it had a better bass curve, but essentially the same highs.  The TDK looks interesting, but seems the least well known of the bunch.

 

Can anyone familiar with these give some comparison as to which has the most reference, high quality sound?  I'm not a bass head, but I want to hear accurate bass that extends low when needed and airy highs, not overly bright, but allowing you to hear into a room's atmosphere, as opposed to a lot of the rolled of highs I've heard in cheaper headphones...

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I'm leaning towards the UE or ER,  but I just want to narrow down until I'm content...

post #3 of 29

I've heard the UE's they sound really good and isolate well too, much better than my $150 vmodas lol

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm chompin' at the bit to make my purchase now.  I have narrowed it down to the following four pairs for a few reasons, primarily availability and overall value.  I'd like to make a purchase very soon.  Would everyone chime in their thoughts on which deal is the best and why in terms of sonic quality?  Here are my thoughts (in order of price):

 

$99.99  Etymotic Research HF5

Pros: Very well reviewed, claimed to be very neutral (I want as close to studio reference sound), affordable
Cons: Highs and lows don't extend as far as others.
 
$169.99  VSonic GR07 MK2  Apparently these aren't available from the seller on amazon anymore, and the only remaining seller has negative reviews that make me weary.  Scratch those.
Pros: Very well reviewed, supposedly well 'tuned', all around good
Cons: Most expensive of the four
 
$149.00  TDK BA-200
Pros: Good bass response (I'm not a bass-head, but really like good bass quality), overall smooth quality
Cons: Second most expensive, perhaps not as open on the treble end?
 
$109.99  Logitech Ultimate Ears 700
Pros: Extremely well reviewed, overall good FR and quality
Cons: Not sure really, possibly build quality although some claim not the new model, possibly other audio traits lacking vs. other pairs?
 
I was thinking of making a purchase tonight or tomorrow.  I'm worried the HF5 might be less "open" than I prefer due to rolling off past 16khz.  They all have some anomalies on their frequency graphs, but I suppose they can't be perfect, especially at the price range.  It's just hard to know what to expect, especially when different reviewers hear different amounts of bass or treble, etc.
 
Here is a list of some of the varied music I listen to if it helps lean towards a specific pair (in no particular order):
Steely Dan, Bread/David Gates, ELP, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project, King Crimson, David Benoit, Mike + the Mechanics, Van Halen, Police, Richard Marx, Hans Zimmer, John WIlliams, Tycho, BT, Dream Theater, Yes, etc. etc.
 
I listen to a lot of genres from instrumental new age piano to heavy metal and everything in between.  I really listen to a lot of everything, but if I had to pick one single style of music I would say orchestral soundtracks and 70s progressive rock (ok that's two).  So something that really excels all around would be best I suppose...
 
Is it crazy to buy them all and return the ones I don't want? :-o :-o

Edited by luisdent - 11/26/12 at 7:42pm
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

All righty then.  I bit the bullet and bought the tdk ba 200, ue700 and er hf5.  I will report back with my findings.  If need be I will grab the gr07 or pfe 112 as well, but for now let's see how things go! :)

post #6 of 29

Well you already bought a few, I was going to recommend the TDK IE800.

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Well you already bought a few, I was going to recommend the TDK IE800.


I can only find these from adorama camera, whom doesn't inspire confidence to me.

 

Anyhow, I decided what the heck!  And bought the gr07 and pfe 112 as well.  Now I'm done.  After all the research and time spent I will simply have the five headphones i think would be best for me, and I'll get to compare them all at the same time! :)  As long as they hold true to their return promise I won't be poor. ;) haha.  I'm excited to try all of these after all of this talking about them!

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post


I can only find these from adorama camera, whom doesn't inspire confidence to me.

Anyhow, I decided what the heck!  And bought the gr07 and pfe 112 as well.  Now I'm done.  After all the research and time spent I will simply have the five headphones i think would be best for me, and I'll get to compare them all at the same time! smily_headphones1.gif  As long as they hold true to their return promise I won't be poor. wink.gif haha.  I'm excited to try all of these after all of this talking about them!

You mean six? TDK BA200, UE700, Etymotic HF5, TDK IE800, VSONIC GR07 (MK2?), Phonak PFE112

Either way, looking forward to your impressions when you receive them all.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterDLai View Post


You mean six? TDK BA200, UE700, Etymotic HF5, TDK IE800, VSONIC GR07 (MK2?), Phonak PFE112
Either way, looking forward to your impressions when you receive them all.


I didn't get the IE800, mostly because i only found one seller and wasn't to keene on them.  I was trying to get everything i could from either amazon.com or a seller with extremely high ratings and amazon's return policy...  So I got the other ones.  It's early christmas!!! hahaha

 

1000

 

1000

 

I've got my lossless music collection with my amp and i'm ready to test!  be back later...

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'll post reviews when i'm done, however I can already say the first pair i'm trying, the ue700 is a huge upgrade in quality from the sony ex85lp.  less bas, but better bass....  they seem a little dominant in some upper frequencies that make vocals stand out almost too much... but i'll keep listening and get used to them more.  already a crap load more depth and detail....  i'm hearing stuff in music that i didn't know was there and i know these songs well...
 

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

on set #2.  not as detailed, but man the bass on the ba200 is saweeet

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

i can't seem to get a good fit with the hf5.  the best i can get is with the mushroom shaped tips.  anyone have any tips... no pun intended?  if i push them and hold them in with my hands they sound great, but when i release pressure they sound thin... all the other tips just don't even fit...
 

UPDATE:  i got a good fit!!!! i didn't realize you had to jam the things so far in your darn ear.  i though i was going to poke my eardrum... but once they're in they're nice..


Edited by luisdent - 11/29/12 at 5:28pm
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

so far i like the pfe 112 the best... very smooth and detailed....  overall smoothest fr curve from my ear's opinion so far...

post #14 of 29

One nice thing about having all of them altogether is you can try to mix and match the tips with different earphones to see if a better match can be made. Tip choice can have significant effects on how the sound is perceived depending on shape, size, material, etc.

 

Did you try the GR07 MK2 yet? Those have tons of tips that you could try on the other earphones if they fit...


Edited by PeterDLai - 11/29/12 at 6:01pm
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterDLai View Post

One nice thing about having all of them altogether is you can try to mix and match the tips with different earphones to see if a better match can be made. Tip choice can have significant effects on how the sound is perceived depending on shape, size, material, etc.

 

Did you try the GR07 MK2 yet? Those have tons of tips that you could try on the other earphones if they fit...


Yes.  I've ruled out the hf5 and ue700 i think.  the hf5 simply never fits well.  I can jam them deep and get them to sound right, but they're not comfortable.  I've tried a bunch of tips, but for some reason they just don't fit.  I don't even understand it.  They don't seem that different that they shouldn't fit... when i do get them in however, i find they don't have an eq curve to my favor.  They lack the sub bass and even the super highs i prefer...  It's like they're missing the 17-18khz all together  they just don't have the high extension i prefer... otherwise, what they do have seems pretty nice and smooth...  The ue700 seem the lightest on bass compared to the rest and also sort of hollow sounding in a hard way to describe.  They sound as though there's a hump somewhere in the mid highs... not sure exactly where, but it just doesn't sound as good as the others...

 

Right now I have a strong preference towards the pfe 112 and gr07, but the tdk is nice too.  I think the tds has the nicest low end, where it's smooth and sub bass capable, but I "think" it lacks the "overall" quality of the other two...  at least in the upper range.  but it's nice... still listening...

 

i'd say the tdk are the most comfortable.  they just disappear in my ears...  i'm not even using either pair over the ears yet...  the pfe seem the most critically accurate and detailed...

 

the thing i love about the gr07...the cable.  incredible cable.  it feels tough, but it's super soft and flexible and reduces cable noise...  mmmmm


Edited by luisdent - 11/29/12 at 6:26pm
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