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$500 iem vs $500 headphones?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
I am just wondering how will $500 iems such as the westone 4, um3x or se535 would compare with the similar priced headphones like the hd650/600, he400, or denon d5000?

would iems sound better or worse?
i know they are totally different but as of right now, i am very confused on what should i get.

some places say that iems have better $ to sound ratio while others say they sound worse...

say that all headphones/earphones were properly amped and have reached thier full potential
how well will they compare?

thanks
post #2 of 51

My Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω which I bought $180 used sounds noticeably better than any of my IEMs upto $400-500 price point. Note: I almost only listen to classical music.

post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
wow really? which iem? im quite... shocked even
post #4 of 51

See I like IEM's more than headphones, my SM3 V2 which is anywhere from $300 to $400 new sounds better than the similar priced HD650 that I've listened to.

post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by airo View Post

wow really? which iem? im quite... shocked even

I have aurisonic ASG-1, Sony XBA-3, Brainwavz B2, R1, FXT-90, MH1C, PFE232 (this one I rank top on my IEM roster - i paid $499 comes close to dt880)

 

I am sure listening to other genre, IEM might come close and even beat full sized can but for me with what I listen, IEM loose out 9 times out of 10.

 

I auditioned AKG K3003 and it gave me slight better enjoyment with music I listen to but that is $1200 IEM


Edited by tgx78 - 12/1/12 at 6:11pm
post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by airo View Post

I am just wondering how will $500 iems such as the westone 4, um3x or se535 would compare with the similar priced headphones like the hd650/600, he400, or denon d5000?
would iems sound better or worse?
i know they are totally different but as of right now, i am very confused on what should i get.
some places say that iems have better $ to sound ratio while others say they sound worse...
say that all headphones/earphones were properly amped and have reached thier full potential
how well will they compare?
thanks

 

IEMs do certain things better and certain things worse. For classical, no contest, full-sized headphones are better since they have a much better soundstage. Detail and accuracy tend to be better for IEMs, but for bass and soundstaging, IEMs will always have limitations. I think my HD600s are better than my 4.Ai, but the portability of the 4.Ai makes that better in my eyes.

post #7 of 51

I have yet to hear an earphone at the W4 level that beats any similarly priced headphone. However the caveat is that one has to spend more on gear with headphones that earphones. You have have a W4 and your phone or dap and be on your way. With headphones you need a source, dac and amp which can easily go to double and beyond the price of that W4, SE535, etc.

post #8 of 51

If IEMs higher resolution, imaging, instruments separation compare to fullsize headphones then IEMs are comparable to fullsize headphones but if add soundstage size, dynamic, power then headphones have upperhand compare to most IEMs.  Also adding AMPs will fill the gap for portability and best soundquality possible, the IEMs like AKG K3003, Sennheiser IE8, Sony EX1000, SM3, PFE232 sound big and fuller.

post #9 of 51

In my opinion, the main advantages of iems are its portability, isolation, and the ability to sound good out of relatively cheap portable sources. In terms of sound quality alone, headphones offer more for every dollar spent and can scale quite high with higher end gears in the chain. But you can end up spending a lot on a decent dac/amp setup.

 

My Goldring dr150 + vero cable cost me only around a 100 bucks.It does not need an amp but improves with one. Even out of the relatively low end govibe petite + DAC/amp, it makes the $400 4.Ai sound muddy, veiled and highly congested. In fact I never use the 4.Ai at home. It is strictly for portable use where I cant bring the dr-150s. 

post #10 of 51

I use the EIM's on the go and headphones for at home. The Headphones are mainly for my home rig since it feels more relaxed drinking a beer and listening to headphones just seems right. Not sure how to discribe it but EIM are portable use only:)

post #11 of 51

I think it really comes down to your usage. IEMS are better if you plan to use for portability. If you plan to listen in the privacy of your own home/bedroom or whatever, full sized with proper amplification will be better, generally speaking.
 

post #12 of 51

I know for me, I've come to prefer IEM's for a number of reasons mentioned here. While I do lust after full sized pairs still, and I'll probably get another pair someday, I find IEMs to fit my lifestyle more. I like listening to my music wherever I go, and as much as I would love that sexy LCD-2/ Pan Am combo in the ALO video, I find that I want less to carry, but have the maximum fidelity possible. Hell, I'd buy a Tera Player if I had the dough. 

 

I do feel there is a degree of cohesiveness that comes from over ears though. I just can't stand having to sit at my computer every time I want to listen to a song. And sadly enough, most of the "desktop replacement" DAPs are either bulky as hell, have a battery life of a few albums, or both. I will say though, I've been eyeing some more open backed pairs or modding another pair of T50RPs, even though I'm waiting on my Tzars. Take that as you will. People will always say one has more bang for the buck over others (I've heard speakers v headphones forever now). I think just try to get an idea of where you want to listen the most, and make that pair your primary money dump. Bang for buck pairs are EVERYWHERE now, both in IEM and full size, so an auxilary pair won't be an issue.


Edited by mosshorn - 12/1/12 at 8:59pm
post #13 of 51
If you're gonna go IEMs, go custom, Universal IEMs tend to lose to headphones in most situations, I had a few IEMs along side with my galore of headphones (not including those high-end like HD800, LCD3, T1...). I was once like you, wondering if I should go IEMs or headphones. Well, the universal ones were not good enough to win me over.

I have however replace all my headphones with my custom IEMs, and I'm very satisfied (for now at least)
post #14 of 51

Full-size...

post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Bao Quan View Post

If you're gonna go IEMs, go custom, Universal IEMs tend to lose to headphones in most situations,

Fully agree. $500 brings you some interesting CEIM's that sound great. I have a few Heri 4.A's on the way. can not wait.

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