In my constant pursuit of better sound, I have reached yet another point in life where I find myself once again yearning for even better sound quality. I'm currently using JVC FXD80s which I purchased a couple months ago and I absolutely love them. With unparalleled instrumental separation and black levels for an IEM of its price, I simply cannot ask for more from these extremely fun IEMs. With that being said, I would like to invest in something that sounds ever better than the FXD80s, and keep my FXD80s for casual listening.
What I demand from my gear are:
High black levels/instrumental separation, as high as possible
Smooth, non-sibilant treble
Doesn't necessarily have to be airy, but must have a wider than average soundstage
I don't mind if the sound is coloured, as long as mids are not too recessed
Extended sub-bass, does not have to be heavy hitting, but does have to be present
No bloated mid-bass hump
No harsh 2kHz spike like some of Sony's products possess
In that sense, my criteria mirrors what the FXD80's sounds signature is, but I'd like to take things further. What I crave from the FXD80 that I'm not getting is a warmth in the vocals. The FXD80 sounds slightly cold. Usually a warmer sound means less "clarity," but I wonder if there's an IEM or on-ear/over-ear cans that is able to retain a warm midrange while still remaining analytical with high levels of clarity. My main source is an iPhone 4S. I have yet to invest in an amp yet as I have no reason to since all my gear can be driven fine with my iPhone.
I listen to a mix of genres, but mostly J-pop/J-rock, electronic, and the occasional orchestral score and piano and such. And for those who know who she is, I'm a huge Nishino Kana fan and have her entire discography which I listen to a ton, if that helps at all!
My budget is around $200-$300 which, to be honest I'm not sure if there are any IEMs or on-ear/over-ear cans that can offer an improvement over the FXD80s without being just a sound signature change. Looking for an improvement, not just a change. I'm not sure if I should keep purchasing IEMs, or simply make the switch to on-ear/over-ears which by default have a fuller midrange.
I'm a musician who's been involved with music ever since I was a kid, so I have a connection with music. I'd like my next pair of headphones to give me goosebumps when I hear it for the first time. I think I have a thing for very wide soundstages, bright and clear sound signatures with very high levels of instrumental separation. To achieve that kind of sound signature I crave, I'd probably have to go for a costly multi-driver setup for an IEM in order to get that imagery and enhanced spacing. If I go for an on-ear/over-ear headphone perhaps this trait is already present?
I've been looking at JVC's new FXZ100/200 and AT's new CKS1000, but once again I'm not sure if I'll actually achieve enhanced sound or simply a sound signature change. As for on-ears/over-ears I have no idea where to start as the best setup of this kind I've used is Panasonic's RP HTX7 which honestly doesn't sound very great. Perhaps AT's WS or AD series would fit my needs?
Thanks in advance.
Edited by akinari-kun - 1/23/13 at 10:42am