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IEM recommendation: Detailed for reference monitoring, rugged for the gym and isolated for air...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi!
I've spent the last weeks rolling around in reveiws and Head-Fi posts on $100-150 (~€100) IEMs...
I'm a big fan of Audio Technica M50 which i use at home for electronic music producing and critical all-genre listening.
I need a new pair of IEMs, mostly for critical listening at my noisy office and for mobile production. Since I don't want to buy multiple pairs I would like them to be at least a bit rugged so I'm not afraid to use them at the gym, although in the end, noise isolation is probably more important than ruggedness...
I previously used the Apple In ears (ADDIEM) for all this, and I enjoyed them a lot and was thinking of buying a new pair but then I thought I should try a step up in sound quality in regards of detail and clarity. I believe i like the sound of a dual balanced armature, but that might just be a tech thing i picked up reading too many reviews. Isolation is ok but not enough for airplane.
 
I have also used Sennheiser CX300 but they have too boomy and undetailed bass and overall more focused on the lower part of the fq spectrum. The highs exist all the way up to the highest fq but not very loud or distinct enough. Isolation is a bit better than ADDIEM but not enought for airplane.
 
I have also used the a-Jays 4 but I think they are quite like the CX300, but with boosted rather than more detailed highs. V-curve kind of... They might have a bit more detail in the bass but over all I believe they feel like a loudness button been pressed. Isolation is worse than CX300 and ADDIEM.
 
I've been looking at Shure SE215 but I'm afraid I might lose analytic detail compared to the ADDIEMs. I've also been looking at Etymotic HF3/5 but I believe they will have to harsch highs for me. I once bought and returned a pair of Grado SR60's due to the harsch (but detailed) highs and don't want to make the same mistake. Is there a dual BA (for detail) out there with bass (ADDIEM bass amount is ok), well isolated and highs that wont make your ears bleed? Yet ~$150…… Perhaps not…?
Or is it my misconception that I need a dual BA to get the analytic sound i want?
On isolation btw; my experience is that I usually get a good fit with most standard silicone plugs so the noise isolation must be dependent on the shell/construction of the plug itself.
 
Thank you for your time.
 
PS. Other IEMs that caught my eye:
Head direct RE0
Brainwavz M4 (or are they just a step down in SQ?)
Klipsch S4 (or are they too just a step down in SQ?)
Audio Technica CKM50
 
Edit: I might actually stretch to ~$200.

Edited by johanwahlberg - 11/16/12 at 4:47am
post #2 of 9

TDK BA200 --- gentle highs, but not rolled off, accurate mids, bass extends way down, great imaging, good monitoring sound, ergonomic housing... did I mention affordable?

 

...ticks all your boxes.

 

Go check it out: http://www.head-fi.org/t/584123/tdk-ba200-impressions-and-appreciation-thread

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

TDK BA200 --- gentle highs, but not rolled off, accurate mids, bass extends way down, great imaging, good monitoring sound, ergonomic housing... did I mention affordable?

 

...ticks all your boxes.

 

Go check it out: http://www.head-fi.org/t/584123/tdk-ba200-impressions-and-appreciation-thread

+1. A great pair of IEMs!

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I ended up ordering a pair of Triple Fi 10 – got a good deal from a web shop who still had a couple in stock. Figured I could just order all of them one at a time until I found a pair I like, otherwise i would continue reading reviews until I get mental. If these don't make it, I will definitely take a look at BA200. I'll try to remember posting my impressions...
 

post #5 of 9

Well, the TF10 is certainly not the worst choice there is; it is a very nice sounding IEM for the V-shaped signature and has held up well over the years. However, it is not known to have the best ergonomics, especially for vigorous exercise. It's also not the best isolator because of its relatively shallow insertion depth. The treble sparkle is also possibly too much for you, but only you can determine that. If you find that you desire a gentler treble, more forward mids and an all-around more accurate response, then then the BA200 is undoubtedly the best choice in its price range (can easily be found at less than $160).

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

Well, the TF10 is certainly not the worst choice there is; it is a very nice sounding IEM for the V-shaped signature and has held up well over the years. However, it is not known to have the best ergonomics, especially for vigorous exercise. It's also not the best isolator because of its relatively shallow insertion depth. The treble sparkle is also possibly too much for you, but only you can determine that. If you find that you desire a gentler treble, more forward mids and an all-around more accurate response, then then the BA200 is undoubtedly the best choice in its price range (can easily be found at less than $160).

The TF10 flip-mod solves the ergonomics and isolation issues, and the sparkly treble is easily attenuated by the choice of tip. Also TF10 has the benefit of replaceable cable in case you snag it on something and break it.
post #7 of 9

You know I'm for the BA200 but I wouldn't be using them at the gym but that's just me I wouldn't want to damage them.  The BA200 is quite a bit better than the TF10 though the flip flop mod would make them fit good while working out.

post #8 of 9

I think the effectiveness of the flip-mod would still have to depend on an user's ear size. I agree, though, the cable of the BA200 is its only weak point. I dislike that flat cable.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Okay guys. I got them today. I've actually only been listening to them for about an hour so they haven't gotten burnt in yet, and I have to do lots more testing. But I feel confident enough to say that these easily match my expectations and they actually seems to exceed the ATH-M50 in definition and clarity, in both bass, mids and highs, although the M50 has a bit more bass quantity. I'm comparing the TF10 unamped straight from my laptop, and the M50 "amped" through an M-Audio FT Pro interface.

 

Regarding fit. I must admit the complaints about the TF10 fit are justified. They extend far out of the outer ear and the extended weight makes the silicone tips work harder to stay in place. I almost instantly tried the flip flop mod, but I'm not yet sure wich is a better fit for me, especially since I don't know if I'm gonna wear the cable around the ear or not.

I get a tight seal though, so there is no problem with SQ. I left the default small size silicone tips on since I usually need the S sized tips. At first theese seemed to large, with a dry and slippery surface that wouldn't stay put, but after the factory fresh silicone got moistened up they stays in place.

 

Well, I guess I'll come back here with my second or third impressions. Hope this helps anyone...

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