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$500 iem vs $500 headphones? - Page 5

post #61 of 74


You are 100% rigth!!!

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!


Thank you! You are 100% right!!!

post #62 of 74
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, 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)

 

I don't have any totl IEMs or CIEMs but from what I heard similar # of drivers CIEMs easily outclasses the same number of drivers in universal IEMs.

 

That being said, my HD650s which cost about $600 CAD (taxes in) sound miles ahead any IEM that I've previously owned or heard. 

post #63 of 74

for $500 IEM/CIEM, there is a limitation of no. of BA in it.

 

it's a different story for headphones i.e bluetooth, close/open back

post #64 of 74

Wait... let's not even get started on driver war. More driver does not equal better sound. After a certain point, it's just pointless. Compare a three driver UERM to a 12 driver roxanne. I would take UERM everyday.

post #65 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimvictor View Post

Wait... let's not even get started on driver war. More driver does not equal better sound. After a certain point, it's just pointless. Compare a three driver UERM to a 12 driver roxanne. I would take UERM everyday.

Agreed.
post #66 of 74

In fact many people need both.

post #67 of 74

Dear Mosshor, just out of curiosity I want to ask you a question that is not directly related to the subject of your post that I have just read. What hi-res music do you listen to? What sort of digital files are you happy with (16/44.1, 24/44.1, 24/96, 24/192)? Do you listen to DSD64 and DSD128 material? I deal with recording music in native DSD format and that is why I'd like to know. I am in London and I am about to open a website dedicated to music and DSD format especially. Some of our plans are digitising analogue studio master tapes of old albums in DSD128 or even DSD256 and releasing them in DSD format. I just want to know if you like this format and do you perceive and appreciate the difference in enjoyment of music it affords? Please let me know your thoughts. I need to begin gathering opinion of people who really care about sound reproduction as the rest of 1.7 billion 'music listeners' use smartphones, but most do not even bother to change those 'voice only' ear buds.

My name is Sergei and my direct email is sergei@interda.com

Kind regards. I will look forward to hearing from you.

 

P.S. I have material for about 18 long live albums so far and if you are interested in DSD format, I can email links to a variety of sample files. Music is mostly modern jazz, but there are other interesting performances by funk and blues bands etc.  

post #68 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuiter23 View Post
 

 

I don't have any totl IEMs or CIEMs but from what I heard similar # of drivers CIEMs easily outclasses the same number of drivers in universal IEMs.

 

That being said, my HD650s which cost about $600 CAD (taxes in) sound miles ahead any IEM that I've previously owned or heard. 


The best IEM at the moment is/was a Universal IEM, the JH Audio Layla. 

 

My experience was the complete opposite. The HD600 & HD650 underperformed in comparison to my IEM's. The only headphone that impressed me was the Sennheiser HD800. 

post #69 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ubs28 View Post
 


The best IEM at the moment is/was a Universal IEM, the JH Audio Layla. 

 

My experience was the complete opposite. The HD600 & HD650 underperformed in comparison to my IEM's. The only headphone that impressed me was the Sennheiser HD800. 

 

The Layla will be a custom... And said to be superior than the UIEM variant. 

post #70 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuiter23 View Post
 

 

The Layla will be a custom... And said to be superior than the UIEM variant. 


Seems the universal JH Layla could be better than the custom version. Below is an impression from the JH Layla thread. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Culter View Post
 


For some strange reason, universals have really huge and wide sound stage which you immediately notice, but it is not present on the customs. They feels much more 'center focused' in your head. Main difference I found is in the high frequencies - customs are not that crisp and sharp. This is comfortable for general listening, it is not fatiguing as much, but it is unwanted in the reference monitor. Universals have very fast, sharp and crips highs, so you can spot much more details and this difference between UIEM/CIEM is really noticeable. Mids seems to be same on both models. Bass hits with more power and better details on universals as well. It's strange - I got very good and tight seal with the customs, so the fit does not play any role here.

Also I do not believe in 'burn in' so the sound will hardly change at all in time.

It happens only when person listens for a longer period of time to the same headphones, so his brain adapts to it. When you switch different headphones often, you hear the real difference.

post #71 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ubs28 View Post


Seems the universal JH Layla could be better than the custom version. Below is an impression from the JH Layla thread. 

This is really insightful. Thanks for the quote!
post #72 of 74
In the $500 range you mentioned, both a nice pair of IEM and phones can be had if you pursue the used market.
For instance, I have had the Etymotic ER4-S (until American Airlines lost my luggage and refused to compensate me for the loss
of electronics...) which I obtained for US$200 and the Senheiser HD600 which I found for $300. Aside from differences in comfort,
isolation and sound stage, I find the signatures of both to be quite similar, though both require amplification.

Although the sky is the limit as to what one may spend, really good sound and versatility can be had for very reasonable cost.
post #73 of 74

For me it all depends on whether I want portability. a $500 headphone (with a decent amp) easily wins in terms of soundstage even compared to a top CIEM, but IEM has better imaging and resolution in most cases imo. I am actually more into sounds from my IEMs than headphones but I still prefer the latter when at home or office simply because they are more comfortable. meanwhile it doesn't make much sense to me to wear open-back headphones on the street.

 

and don't forget you probably need >$500 amp to get decent sound from a HD650 but an iphone can drive most iems to a decent level.


Edited by tnounsy - 5/1/15 at 11:38am
post #74 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnounsy View Post
 

For me it all depends on whether I want portability. a $500 headphone (with a decent amp) easily wins in terms of soundstage even compared to a top CIEM, but IEM has better imaging and resolution in most cases imo. I am actually more into sounds from my IEMs than headphones but I still prefer the latter when at home or office simply because they are more comfortable. meanwhile it doesn't make much sense to me to wear open-back headphones on the street.

 

and don't forget you probably need >$500 amp to get decent sound from a HD650 but an iphone can drive most iems to a decent level.

 

I agree with this. Although the airyness from an open-back headphone is just too hard to resist haha.

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