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$500 iem vs $500 headphones? - Page 4

post #46 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

Opinions are like..... smily_headphones1.gif .... everyone's got one.

I won't get into any argument as to what is better, as I don't feel there _is_ a better; there's just different.

I've been listening to music through hi-fi for probably longer than most of you have lived, with a lot of different experiences at different levels of equipment, always with an ear, though, to great sound quality.

You don't have to pay a lot to get fantastic sound quality these days; and, to contradict that, there are some very expensive headphones and earphones that I think are well worth the money. smily_headphones1.gif

I've never sought a "better" system, just differences; I have a number of Sennheiser units, headphones and IEM, and Shure IEMs, and a Sony MDR-7506 I've always found great for a little more isolation when I'm working on music rather than just listening to it... sometimes. Plus I haven't thrown away my iPhone 5 earbuds, nor some cheapie Sony earbuds I got years ago.

They all sound great! They emphasize different things, different parts of the frequency range, different levels of sibilants, with varying levels of distortion (there is no distortionless transducer; they're all basically pretty optimal if they're less than ten years old, though). Systems with more bass emphasis tend to reduce the sense of presence; systems with a slight midrange emphasis tend to emphasize vocals; systems with less bass and more treble have more "soundstage" (I don't like to bandy such impressionistic terms around much).

IEMs I think tend to be a little more precise in response to transients, simply due to the nature of the technology; less material to move and stop with high-powered magnets. OTOH, the strength of the magnetics in most modern headphones has great control over the drivers as well. I do think you'll get less distortion from mass acceleration/deceleration with IEMs at a lower price point, though; but these are vanishingly small differences.

The biggest secret I've found, though, is this: don't switch frequently between systems. Get used to whichever one you've landed on. The brain is an amazing thing, and contours your experience of what you hear around whatever spectrum balance and so on you're listening to. The minute you switch, there's a difference which will always be initially discernible; it will sound "worse" or "better" based on what you're expecting, whether you want more bass, impact, soundstage, air, whatever. Every unit I've ever heard sounds horrible coming from the last one I listened to, at some level. smily_headphones1.gif

Specifically as well: listen to music you are very familiar with on your choices. See which sounds good to you, and ultimately, trust your own ears above over any internet opinions you may hear, or sales pitches, or graph curves. Then, simply, enjoy. The endless pursuit of "better" is a cycle you'll be chasing forever if you get started with it, with frustration and a little perspective at the end of it.

One last thing: different systems sound different in different environments, with different music. I'd never take headphones on a plane trip, for instance. The bass on my IEMs which is fine in a quiet home or work environment will sound "too thin" in a noisy environment, again, say, a plane trip. Some of my headphones sound great turned up; others sound fantastic and more detailed turned down. Ditto the IEMs. I feel like every system has an "ideal" volume level you have to find to listen at, and again, whether it seems loud enough or not is very much a result of what you condition yourself to. Everything sounds compressed, peaky, congested, lacks detail once the volume gets past a certain level, and loses detail and air if too low -- you have to find the right balance there for yourself, too.

Oh and if you do like different headphones/IEMs, there's nothing wrong with having more than one, either; each has something about it to enjoy, just give it time and a listen and don't pursue unachievable ideas about perfection.

Hope that helps!

it does, great post!

post #47 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericfarrell85 View Post
 

I don't know what to tell you, other than that I'm glad you're enjoying your iem's. I have never heard either of the two pairs you mentioned above, but to suggest fit issues is silly. I have had more iem's than I care to count and generally speaking have a pair of ears that accept anything (except certain triple flanges). Then there are the customs which are particularly made for my ears only. Once at the HD650 tier I don't believe I have heard an in ear that can compete very much and as I matured in this hobby the chasm grew deeper and wider. Could certainly be differences in what we look for when we listen to music. For myself I tie a knot between clarity and resolution and even with very expensive portable amps and dac's iem's just don't unravel the textures in sound. It's really quite unnerving to discover how much you have missed when you find that synergistic desktop setup that floats your boat.  

 

I have to say I share your experiences. I can't get into the sound of IEM's. To me, they sound all around worse than full-size headphones by a significant margin.

 

I have absolutely no issue with IEM's and those who love them. They're just not for me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

The biggest secret I've found, though, is this: don't switch frequently between systems. Get used to whichever one you've landed on. The brain is an amazing thing, and contours your experience of what you hear around whatever spectrum balance and so on you're listening to. The minute you switch, there's a difference which will always be initially discernible; it will sound "worse" or "better" based on what you're expecting, whether you want more bass, impact, soundstage, air, whatever. Every unit I've ever heard sounds horrible coming from the last one I listened to, at some level. smily_headphones1.gif
 

 

I absolutely agree.


Edited by Taowolf51 - 11/22/13 at 2:30pm
post #48 of 57
Yes, totally; there's no point in trying to force yourself to like something if you don't; I would just counsel patience rather than snap reaction, sometimes (but not always) there's an a-ha moment with enough time given to a system you're not attracted to; but sometimes there's not, so no point beating your ears up over it! smily_headphones1.gif

I used to not like IEMs but at the moment I'm liking them more than headphones for both their convenience and portability, and because the isolation lets me hear more at lower levels. But it's a very different experience from headphones, for sure.

Plus, they're just cool, these tiny, marvelous things. One can enjoy that entirely apart from the sound.
post #49 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

One last thing: different systems sound different in different environments, with different music. I'd never take headphones on a plane trip, for instance. The bass on my IEMs which is fine in a quiet home or work environment will sound "too thin" in a noisy environment, again, say, a plane trip. Some of my headphones sound great turned up; others sound fantastic and more detailed turned down. Ditto the IEMs. I feel like every system has an "ideal" volume level you have to find to listen at, and again, whether it seems loud enough or not is very much a result of what you condition yourself to. Everything sounds compressed, peaky, congested, lacks detail once the volume gets past a certain level, and loses detail and air if too low -- you have to find the right balance there for yourself, too.

 

 

Good point and for the most part a neglected subject in equipment evaluation. An "ideal" volume level is indeed an important factor. 

post #50 of 57

I own Westone 4R and Sennheiser HD600. On mid class amp HD600 win in everything except bass, on something better like Bakoon HPA-21 for example ,4R getting really close to HD600.

post #51 of 57
There are big differences between the two in function. I use my HD800 or O2 at home but could never use them outside. My iem's are at work or on my commute and block the outside sound allowing me to listen to my music without having to crank up the volume.

I can't say any of my iem's surpasses my headphones but they are close enough and sound good when I'm out of the house.
post #52 of 57

Could this be restarted? I'm looking into headphones around the 500$ mark, I found Hifiman HE-500's, they seem to be getting great reviews.

These will be my stay-at-home headphones, so they can be delicate, and need an amp (which I have yet to buy). My out of the house phones will be V Moda Crossfade M100's, which I heard are a little on the mids, so I want this pair to have a more balanced sound (with if anything a slight emphasis on the mids). I like EDM (fast, slow, and everything in between), classic/american rock (Black Keys, White stripes, Racounteers, The Heavy) and some soft/psychedelic rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radio Head, The Shins). They also will be used for watching movies upon occasion. All suggestions are welcome, the more detailed review the better.

post #53 of 57
Honestly, when it comes to questions like these the best way to find an answer is to actually listen to the stuff (or at least buy from a store that has a no questions asked return policy). Personally, I haven't found an IEM that sounds even as good (to me) as a full size headphone at half the price. However, a lot of people love them and place them at above full size headphones at the same price range. There isn't a solid answer to this question and the best method (as always) is to listen for yourself.
post #54 of 57

Thanks for the quick response, and the advice. I'll try to find a retailer with a good return policy. Just to clarify though, I want over-ear headphones, not IEM, EDM (trap, dubstep, chillstep&many more) is a genre. :D

post #55 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandnew234 View Post
 

Could this be restarted? I'm looking into headphones around the 500$ mark, I found Hifiman HE-500's, they seem to be getting great reviews.

These will be my stay-at-home headphones, so they can be delicate, and need an amp (which I have yet to buy). My out of the house phones will be V Moda Crossfade M100's, which I heard are a little on the mids, so I want this pair to have a more balanced sound (with if anything a slight emphasis on the mids). I like EDM (fast, slow, and everything in between), classic/american rock (Black Keys, White stripes, Racounteers, The Heavy) and some soft/psychedelic rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radio Head, The Shins). They also will be used for watching movies upon occasion. All suggestions are welcome, the more detailed review the better.

Do you have an amp? HE500 needs an amp.

post #56 of 57

No I don't, I was planning on picking out headphones and then picking an amp that will compliment it. I heard the Lyr is works well with it, but it's expensive. I'll check out the "best amp under 200$" thread for cheaper alternatives.

post #57 of 57

I guess under 200 is mostly for pretty low-power amps, so perhaps the Schiit Lyr 2, I heard they go well together from multiple sites.

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