I've been snooping around here reading the forums for a while, doing research, but in the end I decided to start my own thread (even though the subject matter has been beat to death, sorry guys.)
I'm looking for a pair of nice IEM, preferable somewhere around $300. Although I am a musician, these will be getting used primarily for 1) pleasure 2) playing drums and 3) in the studio. I don't use monitors live. Sound isolation isn't really an issue since I find that all in ears isolate plenty no matter what I'm doing. What I'm really agonizing over (and I know this is a tough one because it's so personal) is sound signature.
First off: My favorite headphones ever are the Sennheiser HD600s. They just put a smile on my face every time I put them on. I know that IEMs can't really mimic the spaciousness of the open ear design, but if I could get something with a relatively close curve I would be happy. I'm also looking for transparency and separation. They don't have to be 100% true and flat, I have other stuff for that.
Example: The only high end IEMs that I have used are the E2Cs, E3Cs, and SE425s. They all have their strong and weak points, but none of them really do it for me on all fronts. The 2's are much too sloppy down low with not enough detail in the midrange or high end (ok I realize I didn't list any strong points...affordable?). The 3's are much more balanced, but lack the transparency and overall fidelity that I'm looking for. And the 425s are great in the midrange and have a nice tight low end, but I'm always disappointed by the lack of high frequencies. I've thought about the 535s, but they really are out of my price range. Plus I want to try a different brand. Lots of fish in the sea.
Right now my main contenders are:
Westone UM2rc - The reason being that I have seen them compared to the HD600's
Westone UM3x - The reason being that they should theoretically be like the UM2, but...better.
and that's it. Etymotics look too flimsy to me, UE seems a) a little gimmicky and b) is owned by Logitech, which is fine I guess, but....I don't know. And from what I've read of the Sennheiser IE80, they're pretty weighted in the midbass which I never like, plus the bass "control"...yuck.
I've also been salivating over the Westone 4r's, but they're too expensive and an absolute requirement is that I want a removable cable, so no W3 or W4. I've learned that lesson too many times.
My hesitation in pulling the trigger on either of the two I mentioned is that I've read so many reviews that seem to contradict each other - some people say the UM3x are like the UM2's with better treble extension, while others say that the high end is more recessed than the UM2's. Either way I'm nervous I'll wind up with something very similar to the SE425, which leaves me craving SPACE.
Any ideas? Sorry for the long 1st post. Thanks in advance