So I'm looking to buy a good pair of IEM's. It's not my first foray into good sounding earphones, but it is my first post. Guide me.
There is a TL;DR section at the bottom of my post.
So recently, I realized the joys of better-than-stock iems. Till date, these are the earphones (chronologically) that I've tried and what I felt about them:
- Stock low quality earphones: Was satisfied with various ones (Creative, Nokia, Samsung, etc) until recently.
- Creative EP630: I would consider this my stepping stone IEM. I thought they were great, coming from stock eartips. Now, I consider the soundstage very lacking and I find them very bass-heavy. However, they are extremely comfortable. Still, I had to move on.
- Skullcandy Ink'd: Bought these after my Creative EP630. Initially I thought it was an upgrade. It was better than my EP630 for movies, etc. But it was horrible for the music I'd listen to. Muddy. Then, they stopped working. No rough behaviour - they just stopped working. Didn't bother getting them repaired, threw them in the bin and went on the the EP630 for a few months.
- Soundmagic PL30: This was what I consider my first foray into good quality IEMs, and I absolutely loved these. The soundstage was to die for and there was a general airyness (not sure if I'm using the right adjective) to it that I loved. And it was detailed. Sadly, these got spoilt over one bus journey. Probably due to them getting pulled, one of the ears stopped functioning. I instantly had to buy another pair of IEMs and because really liked what this company was doing, I went for another one of their products.
- Soundmagic E30: I really really liked them. They were like the PL30s but with slightly more bass, a slightly less deeper fit, and a less airy soundstage. Overall, I preferred the PL30s for the comfort and soundstage, but I consider these more versatile because of their soundstage. These got spoilt too. Went back to using my EP630s for anther month.
- Sony XBA-3: Took the leap with these expensive ones. Stretched my budget. Killed my wallet (and I'm a university freshman, I really spent too much). My first balanced armature earphones, I didn't want to hold back. And I liked them. The soundstage seemed alright. More detailed than anything I had heard - miles ahead of the EP630, slightly ahead of the PL30. But I have two problems with these. Firstly, I didn't like the sibilance. Too much of the 'ss' sound, unbearable in the genre I listen to. Secondly, these are extremely uncomfortable. There's the y-shaped wire that I cannot get my head around (see what I did there), they keep getting pulled. Secondly, I like to listen to music lying down on my side - something that is fairly comfortable with the PL30s, E30s and EP630s, but unbearable with the XBA-3s. And it's crazy difficult to wear them over the ear. The Y-shape cable meant that the wire went from behind my neck and that causes too much microphonics. These things manage to become a dealbreaker. I actually uses the EP630s and these stay in my drawer. I abandon the good SQ of these and go for the bad SQ of EP630s because of these things. (BTW, the XBA's bundled Sony Hybrid tips did improve the EP630's comfort and fit even further)
So. Now, I'm gonna be selling the XBA-3s soon and replacing them.
First question (least important one) - Approximately how much should I sell the XBA3s for? I'm thinking somewhere between $150 to $200.
Second question: Which IEMs should I buy? SE215? Vsonic GR06? My budget would be about 120$, but could be lesser considering my next question.
Third question: Should I buy an Amp or other tips? Note my budget for IEMs+Accessories is $120, so should I go all out on IEMs or buy cheaper IEMs and then put an Amp and idk, shure olives?
Music I listen to: Classical Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Rock n Roll, Progressive Rock, 80s Rock - So generally ranging from Led Zeppelin to the Doors to the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Guns and Roses.
Rock aside, I also listen to Classical Music, mostly large orchestral pieces, some piano solos and the cello.
What I am looking for in my next pair of IEMs are primarily comfort. The have to be comfortable. I'd prefer over the ears. A good soundstage is kinda important. I'm still just experimenting so I can't yet dedicatedly say that I like a particular sound signature. I really really liked the PL30 sound signature, and the E30 sound signature. I wouldn't mind just buying another pair of E30s (in fact, I just might), but I want to try something different while not wandering too far off. Yes, this habit will eventually end up with me spending too much money, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Also, I am located in Newfoundland, Canada.
Edited by tquickbrownfox - 1/13/13 at 7:41pm