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Some background of my IEM history:

7-8 years ago or so I got my first set of nice IEMs, Shure E3c. They sounded great compared to what I was used to and I was content with them until they broke a couple years later. From the E3c I moved on to the Ultimate Ears super.Fi 5 Pro. The dual armature design was great and this was a favorite of mine for a couple more years until the casing broke apart. From there, I moved to the UE TF10 Pro during the infamous original $100 Amazon sale. TF10 sounded better than the SF5P overall, but the housings were too large to comfortably fit in my ears (I have small ears and narrow ear canals). I looked into custom shell options and decided to go with a reshell done by Fisher Hearing (just as they were starting to build their InEarZ name). First fit was not so good, but the second fitting was spot on.

 

I was happy with the custom shelled TF10 for nearly 3 years until a couple months ago when I noticed that the fit wasn't as tight as it used to be, and would very easily break seal. I was able to deal with this though. Then, a few weeks ago when I noticed almost no sound coming out of the left side. I cleaned out some wax buildup with the cleaning tool but still was not able to get sound from the left side. After closer examination, I noticed some wax buildup deep inside the canal against the filters that were blocking all sound/air. Since the cleaning tool was too short to reach the wax, I improvised and ended up getting the wax out, but also pushing the filter material deeper into the canal. This cleared up my lack of sound issue, but now the treble is very blown out and sibilant (makes sense that if i deformed/moved the treble filter, the treble would be too strong now). Additionally, sound sometimes cuts out on the left channel, but I think this is due to a connection with the cable.

 

My usage of IEMs:

I use my IEMs to listen to music (not during performance). I spend a couple hours each day commuting on public transit (quiet/smooth train) to and from work. Also I use my IEMs when I mow the lawn or use the snow blower.

 

My sound signature preferences:

Not necessarily interested in neutral/balanced/analytic sound signatures. I listen to a wide range of music from classical to classic rock to death metal/hardcore. I like strong deep bass, but not at the expense of becoming bloated/boomy. I like a balanced midrange. I'd choose recessed mids over mids that were too boosted though. I like balanced treble as well, but here I might choose slightly forward treble vs. recessed. If I could take my TF10 and improve the sound signature, I would slightly increase the bass level while definitely increasing the bass extension. I would boost the treble a bit to make it less recessed, and I would slightly boost the treble level while keeping extension relatively constant.

 

My question(s):

What is a good move for me? I was considering sending the TF10 back to be reshelled, but it seems like I'd have to pay ~$200 to get my same IEMs back. Also, I want some custom shooting plugs/IEMs, so I'd have to add another $100+ or so onto that cost. So pretty much it'd cost me $300 to have the same IEMs I have right now (just reshelled) and a set of custom ear plugs. The other option is to upgrade to a sub $1000 custom IEM. Then I can keep my TF10 for yard work/shooting and have a really nice IEM for everyday use. The custom IEM that I'm considering the most right now is the JH11 Pro. I did go to CanJam a couple years back when it was in Chicago and got a chance to listen to a universal JH16 Pro and Westone ES5. Looking back on a thread I created back then, my impressions were that the ES5 was better than the JH16 Pro. I thought the ES5 had a little less bass impact than the TF10, and the treble was a little too strong. Mids were great though.

 

I've been out of the Head-Fi "scene" for some time now, and I can imagine many things have changed in my 3 year absence. Apologies for possibly starting a dumb thread. Thanks in advance for any words of advice!

 

tl;dr - Custom shelled TF10 are dying, what custom shelled IEM should I upgrade to?

 

Here's a pic of my TF10: