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Ready to Step Up from the Etymotic Research Hf5 - But Lacking Experience/Knowledge

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Everybody,

 

A few months ago I broke my Hf5's for the third time and the warranty was over. I really liked the sound but I'm not willing to buy another pair because they keep breaking despite my best efforts to treat them nicely.

 

To replace them temporarily, I bought a pair of Grado igi's because they were in my price range and in stock locally (I live in Portland, OR). I was also curious to compare them to the Hf5's. Overall, I don't think very highly of them.

 

Please see my review here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/643342/my-first-review-etymotic-research-hf5-vs-grado-igi

 

Now, I'm ready to step up to a better IEM. My price range is $400 and under, including accessories. I'm willing to get an amp within that price range, or to add one later on (a can of worms I have yet to open). 

 

What I really like about they Hf5's is the overall analytical detail and clarity. I'm a musician (drummer) and I love to really dig into what the musicians are doing, so separation is critical for me. It is the combination of warmth and clarity which I really enjoy about the Hf5s. I would like to have more balance and maybe something a bit more gentle. I don't like overemphasis on lows. (see above review for more detail on my tastes).

 

I primarily listen to jazz fusion, contemporary jazz, and hip hop.

 

If you have any questions or thoughts, please let me know!

 

-sheldon

post #2 of 22
Firstly, it would be good to know how they're breaking and see if there is a pair that are more suited to the strains you're placing on them.

Personally I love the IE80's but I'm not sure if these would suit your musical tastes.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSARider View Post

Firstly, it would be good to know how they're breaking and see if there is a pair that are more suited to the strains you're placing on them.
Personally I love the IE80's but I'm not sure if these would suit your musical tastes.

If I'm walking or moving, I always try to point the cable up and wrap the wires behind my ears. But, I'm not sure if that's effective in eliminating the strain, since I'm still having problems.

 

Funny you mention the IE80's. I tried the IE60's today and was very impressed. They're at the top of the list alongside the ER4s. However, nowhere in town carries the ER4 so I can't try them on, I'm only guessing based on reviews :-/

 

Have you tried either the ER4 or the IE60? If so, how would you compare them to your IE80's? How would you compare the Hf5 to the IE80?

 

Any help is appreciated :-)

 

-sheldon

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Also, mods: Should I move this discussion to an existing thread like this one?

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/596233/buying-portable-or-in-ear-headphones-seeking-guidance-dont-start-a-new-thread-ask-for-advice-here

 

?

 

NOOOB

 

-sheldon

post #5 of 22
I have tried the Er4's and they sounded good, however the triple flange tips were uncomfortable plus I like having the cables behind my ears also, which the IE80's do. I also like the IE80's totally replaceable cable, which, in my opinion is usually the weak point in a lot of IEM's. the IE60's don't have a removable cable either and it really sounds like you need it to be.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSARider View Post

I have tried the Er4's and they sounded good, however the triple flange tips were uncomfortable plus I like having the cables behind my ears also, which the IE80's do. I also like the IE80's totally replaceable cable, which, in my opinion is usually the weak point in a lot of IEM's. the IE60's don't have a removable cable either and it really sounds like you need it to be.

Thanks for the help. A removable cable would be nice, but I don't think it justifies the price gap between the IE80's and the IE60's. Also looks like they might be out of my $400 budget. Is there any other difference between the two?

 

Here's my list right now:

 

Etymotic ER4

Sennheiser IE60 

Rockit R-50

 

Thanks again for all the help!

post #7 of 22

Have you looked into the Vsonic GR07 at all? Or the Heir Audio 4.Ai?

post #8 of 22

The R-50 is a great choice, its got all the detail of the HF5 and the R-50 has a larger soundstage better imaging and instrument separation, for $120 they're hard to beat and are still one of my favorites after going through about 50 IEM this past year.

 

Also the TDK BA200 is another dual balanced armature under $150 that's very good.  Now it has a warmer sound but still has the detail you want and it to has a spacious sound with great separation and the imaging on the BA200 is a bit better than the R-50.  I'd rank both equal as far as sound quality and what it comes down to is do you want a brighter more analytical sound (the R-50) or a warmer smoother sound (the BA200).

post #9 of 22

Just remember though... the R50 warranty is only parts/labor for 90 days. You get 1 year on parts but that is never the expensive portion of fixing something. Just want to add that because I didn't realize it before I ordered them. I had thought the industry standard was one year, you just pay for shipping but maybe I'm mistaken.

post #10 of 22

I know someone who had a problem with their R-50 and it was past 90 days, they sent them back and got a new pair so I don't know about and just parts warranty.

post #11 of 22

TechnoKid made some nice suggestions; I don't know if they're necessarily what you're looking for in an "upgrade", but they're good choices that won't break the bank. I'd also be partial to the BA200.

 

If you're ready to go the custom in-ear monitor route (which would be good for you if you perform on-stage often), the Cosmic Ears BA2 Twin Balanced Armature model seems like a good choice. It'll offer a bit more warmth compared to the HF5, and from what I've seen of its frequency response, it'll offer a mixture between the R-50 and the BA200.


Edited by tomscy2000 - 12/30/12 at 12:38am
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

TechnoKid made some nice suggestions; I don't know if they're necessarily what you're looking for in an "upgrade", but they're good choices that won't break the bank. I'd also be partial to the BA200.

 

If you're ready to go the custom in-ear monitor route (which would be good for you if you perform on-stage often), the Cosmic Ears BA2 Twin Balanced Armature model seems like a good choice. It'll offer a bit more warmth compared to the HF5, and from what I've seen of its frequency response, it'll offer a mixture between the R-50 and the BA200.

 

That's the model I was getting tell my ear impressions got lost in the mail and that's when I ended up getting the BA200 which lead to the SM3.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techno Kid View Post  That's the model I was getting tell my ear impressions got lost in the mail and that's when I ended up getting the BA200 which lead to the SM3.


Eeek. That sucks. The SM3 is still an enjoyable IEM nevertheless, though it doesn't really offer the kind of analytical experience that other IEMs provide.

post #14 of 22

I'm not a big analytical listener so the SM3 is perfect for me.  The have the same amount of detail as the analytical R-50 and DBA-02 but in a much smoother way with awesome mids and 3D imaging which I love.  So really I'm glad they lost my impressions because it lead to me getting them.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

TechnoKid made some nice suggestions; I don't know if they're necessarily what you're looking for in an "upgrade", but they're good choices that won't break the bank. I'd also be partial to the BA200.

 

If you're ready to go the custom in-ear monitor route (which would be good for you if you perform on-stage often), the Cosmic Ears BA2 Twin Balanced Armature model seems like a good choice. It'll offer a bit more warmth compared to the HF5, and from what I've seen of its frequency response, it'll offer a mixture between the R-50 and the BA200.

 

It doesn't look like they have the BA2's available any more :-(

 

http://cosmicearphones.com/products/custom-earphones/ba2/

 

(no order button, not on shopping page)

 

Do you know where to get them?

 

-sheldon

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