I have been using rather cheap earphones for a long time ($20 - $50 range) and am getting rather tired of the "okay" sound. I enjoy good music (good being personal taste, but the point is I thoroughly enjoy music) and I listen to it in a variety of situations. I'm no fan of headphones, hence I am looking for in-ear earphones.
I have therefore decided to invest into a high-end in-ear set of earphones that I will use for the following purposes / situations:
- Listening to music in a quiet environment
- Listening to music at the library when studying, so very little audio leak so that I don't disturb those around me in a quiet environment
- Listening to music while travelling (primary airplanes, but you get the idea), so noise isolating/cancelling
- Watching movies on iPad and computer
- Playing games on the computer (such as Battlefield 3, Borderlands 2 and Shogun 2, to name a few with very high-quality audio)
As you can see; a wide variety of situations. It's also important to note that while I enjoy high-quality music, I do not have FLAC files. For the most part I have 256kbps AAC low complexity 44,100 kHz songs purchased via the Apple store.
When it comes to sound preferences, I apologise in advance as I am rather much a neophyte when it comes to the science behind audio. In other words; no audiophile. But I do thoroughly enjoy good audio, and I mean really good audio.
I would not call myself a base (bass?) person, but I enjoy good base. I don't mean thumping club or house music, not really my style. The best way to describe my relationship with base is this: my car has 10 speakers and a sub-woofer (so a rather expensive and good sound system), and the base settings range from 0 - 20 where 10 is default, and I have it set to 13. I'm afraid that's the best I can do. I don't really like excessive base as it tends to muffle the music (to my unknowing ears), but I tend to increase the base just a tiny measure from the default.
Other than, the kind of music I listen to is stuff like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Gerry Rafferty, A Flock of Seagulls, Modern Talking as well as a lot of classical and epic music (i.e. game and movie soundtracks like the new Batman soundtracks, Star Wars etc.). I realise the settings can be set anywhere for these, but my point is music with a fair hint of variety, but no extremes like heavy metal or the treble-painfully-high-pitched 90's pop.
At the same time I also play action-packed games like Battlefield 3 where I really want to hear the thundering booms from tanks and artillery, and the contrasts to small arms fire and more delicate sounds.
In other words; great for music with some variety, movies and gaming.
After extensive research I have arrived at these alternatives:
- Shure SE535
- Sennheiser IE80
And I have no strong preference between the two. The only factors I have that differs them would be that the Shures look better (not a deal breaker or maker), versus the IE80s ability to customize the base level in case I'm not satisfied with the default (where the SE535s are at a disadvantage). I've found both for roughly the same price on Amazon, both new, so the price is a tie.
Edit: an additional thing to note here is that, as previously mentioned, my music is only 256kpbs AAC from the Apple store, so the question is if I'll notice a difference with that "source music" between the two. At the same time, my games have excellent high-quality audio, so that should be comparable to high-quality music files.
I realise this is a wall of text, and I appreciate it tremendously if you have taken the time to read this. I figured I should give as detailed an explanation as I possibly could when someone is taking the time to help me.
I appreciate all replies, opinions, suggestions and advice, and greatly appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to this huge wall of text.
Edited by Moliat - 12/1/12 at 11:09am