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Down and dirty earbud reference/list.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

OK, so my endless search for my first pair of non-cheapo headphones is likely going to go on for the rest of my life, I now conclude.

 

Cnet reviews, and the like, do not seem to be anywhere near as realistic & useful as forum user reviews/experts on the ground - specifically here.

 

The difference is, though, Cnet and the like package everything so attractive and reference friendly, i.e., Top 5 Ear Buds Under $100.

 

Concluding that, in a year or two, I am more than likely going to end up with an entire dresser drawer dedicated entirely to earbuds, why not make a list and begin the pursuit.

 

I'm thinking a list from cheapest on up, best of the best, with minimal, but necessary information. I think the basics most average home users want to know are:

 

Sound quality: accuracy, sound stage, how "bassy" they are, and low, mid and hi performance

 

Build quality: are they going to last

 

Comfort and overall all fit in the ear

 

Microphonics (big one for me that doesn't seem to get addressed all that often) and overall cord quality 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I have so far (no personal experience, so please correct me if I am wrong):

 

Also, just throw information on the page and I will edit it to the OP.

 

 

Monoprice Enhanced Bass:  $8-$10  One of the absolute best bangs for buck, relatively good sized sound stage… but large, thus can hurt/fatigue certain ears, and cord transfers a lot of unwanted noise.

 

 

Philips SHE3580:  $10-$13. Good quality, highly reviewed, excellent bang for buck, relatively small, but could maybe use an aftermarket tip/sleeve…not sure what the cons are.

 

 

Sony MH1C: $30  Highly reviewed, have heard a couple of complaints on the cord, but nothing specific was noted. Seems average to good bang for buck.

 

Klipsch Image S4: Seems that these things can range from $20 - $90, but a lot of/some talk of counterfeit ones, even from reputable dealers. 

 

But huge sound stage, great all around performer, extremely comfortable, and great cord with little to no microphonics..


Edited by Guysakar - 12/5/12 at 11:38pm
post #2 of 4

I haven't touched the Philips or Monoprice IEMs, but I'm going to say that the S4's aren't that good. I used to be a believer that it was one of the best IEMs for it's price comparing them on the level of my old Bose on-ears (Bose and Klipsch headphones being my gateway to better audio quality), but after two of them breaking, I gave up. If you know how to solder new jacks onto headphones, great!, but they can break easily, especially after a year. On terms of sound quality, the mids that focus on vocals and bass is more dominant, it's extremely sibilant, good soundstage yet not very deep (sounds thin), and are not very forgiving due to it's slightly brighter than average sound and ridiculous sibilance. I can't compare to the MH1Cs since they still broken and I haven't got the time to fix them yet. For $20-40, they are a steal, especially if it's your first IEM that doesn't cost $20 or less.

 

As for the MH1Cs, they sound full, a lot of bass, not a lot of "sparkle", but I personally prefer them even more than my B2s on average. I can definitely say that they perform better than the S4s and B2s as they are not sibilant unless you bring out your sibilant music and more volume, they aren't dark or bright sounding, they have a decent extension, and the soundstage I would say is less than the B2s. I much prefer certain instrumental music on the B2s (ex. Kashiwa Daisuke - Stella) as oppose to the MH1Cs, though the MH1C's better bass impact and warmth is nicer for tracks like jizue - home, though that lack of sparkle in the piano is a little bit disappointing. Basically, I feel that the MH1C outperforms either in better bass, less fatigue, or by signature compared to the analytical signature of the B2s. The MH1Cs may need a little bit more power though to perform.


Edited by Sycho - 12/6/12 at 1:57am
post #3 of 4

I never liked the Philips nor Klipsch S4, and never tried the monoprice as well, thought about buying the Sony MH1C but haven't been able to.

 

To me, the best sounding IEM under $50 that I have tried and/or owned are

  • UE200
  • Brainwavz - M4, M5, and R1
  • Soundmagic E10
  • Meelec - M6 and CC51

 

Again, it all depends on how you like your sound, and what music do you listen most...

post #4 of 4
Certainly another vote for the SoundMAGIC E10. +1
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