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Are IEMs that good? Are they really worth it?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My questions is simple.

 

Are the IEMs really good? If one buys a 200 euros/250 dollar IEM will he be satisfied? Can the IEMs, with all their limitations (sound stage, depth in sound, size of driver) be the benchmark for portable sound? Will the bigger Headphones be allways better?

 

I never tried anykind of mid-end IEMs so I really dont know if an investment on a good pair of these would be a good ideia or not. Were I live I cannot try any and make up my mind before deciding.

 

Hope you guys get my question correct.

 

BRegards.

post #2 of 22

Let me divert the question back to you : Are headphones really portable? Can headphones, with all their limitations (not pocketable, heavier, bigger, most needs to be amp'd to function properly) be the benchmark for portability? Is the smaller earphones always better?

 

You see, that question is highly subjective; I personally think the gap between IEMs and headphones are getting smaller and smaller--small enough to be negligible; I have Audeze LCD-2 and some proper desktop amps back home in my country. Decided not to bring it to where I live now in Japan and never looked back or miss it. If you ask me if I'm satisfied with my IEM, then I'd say yes I am. Maybe that's just me; others might not share my opinion. 

 

Still it's always easier for you to answer your question on your own by actually listening to some good IEMs get the answer.

post #3 of 22

Love my IE80's, bass is unbelievable for someone that's always used full sized cans and the soundstage is fantastic.

post #4 of 22

Hi,

 

I haven't been back here in some time, and am far from what I consider to be an expert. However I thought your post could use a little direction, and I hope to answer your question.

 

Typical over-ear headphones often can have a great deal of value considering the price/performance ratio. But if being driven by an iPod (or similar), care should be taken to choose something that can be easily driven by the portable of your choice. If willing to invest in a quality portable headphone amplifier (or build a DIY one), then using full sized headphones should provide you with over-all a better sound than IEMs as long as the amp can provide enough gain and current to drive your full-sized cans. 

 

I just saw this post here at head-fi. Seems some really like them.

 

Another consideration is the need to either block out ambient sound or to not block ambient sound. I think for safety when using a portable, headphones that do not completely block out ambient sound are a smarter alternative (so superaural headphones need not apply). Look here for the 107 headphone shoot-out for portables. I particularly like the idea of the Grado headphones. All share a similar sound,  SR60i being the least expensive. I know folks with the SR125, SR225, and SR325 headphones and they all love them. The Grados in the "prestige" seies are priced from approximately USD$80- USD$295 (via HeadRoom as an example only of current pricing).

post #5 of 22
post #6 of 22

Personally, I never noticed any inherent advantages of full sized headphones over IEMs. In fact, balanced armature drivers used in IEMs can often surpass some of the best dynamic driver full sized cans in sound quality, rivaling orthodynamics and perhaps even electrostats in at least some aspects. Measurements prove this - just look at the measurements of your average dynamic driver, be it a small or large one, and those of typical balanced armature drivers - the latter usually have a significantly more even frequency response, better bass extension and control, lower distortion and faster decay.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I know nothing on sound physics but how can a small driver, even a BA be better than a good headphone driver?
This question is a big one for me. I tend to prefer Headphones to IEM. Its hard for me to justify to myself paying 200 euros for a pair of iems, but I assume i never had the chance to try any on this price range.


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post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by starcraft2 View Post

I know nothing on sound physics but how can a small driver, even a BA be better than a good headphone driver?
This question is a big one for me. I tend to prefer Headphones to IEM. Its hard for me to justify to myself paying 200 euros for a pair of iems, but I assume i never had the chance to try any on this price range.


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It totally depends. But IMO, yes. IEMs(dynamic or BA) is capable of sounding equal to if not better than full sized at its price range.

post #9 of 22

I'm not sure I agree but it's hard to compare the two since they serve different purposes. However if given the choice I would rather have a sub $100 earphone and a good headphone setup than the other way around where I have a 1k earphone and some cheap headphone.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post
 

I'm not sure I agree but it's hard to compare the two since they serve different purposes. However if given the choice I would rather have a sub $100 earphone and a good headphone setup than the other way around where I have a 1k earphone and some cheap headphone.

 

That second choice seems to be like me.

post #11 of 22

These Shure SE535 are so good, I'm not using any of my headphones anymore. Hence why I ordered a high end open headphone ( which is more expensive than the Shure SE535 ) for home use. 

 

So yes, IEM are excellent and can certainly beat headphones. I'm pretty sure my IEM sound much better than everybody else their headphones I see walking everyday in public while offering superior portabilty.

 

However, good open headphones like the HD800 can't be beaten by IEM most likely, but those headphones are not portable at all. 

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by starcraft2 View Post

I know nothing on sound physics but how can a small driver, even a BA be better than a good headphone driver?
This question is a big one for me. I tend to prefer Headphones to IEM. Its hard for me to justify to myself paying 200 euros for a pair of iems, but I assume i never had the chance to try any on this price range.


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You know nothing of sound physics, you've never tried good IEMs but you're sticking with your completely uninformed opinion.

 

I mean, come on.  There are literally thousands and thousands of threads on this board and others talking about IEMs.  Did you think they all exist just to trick you in to making a bad purchase?

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jekostas View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by starcraft2 View Post

I know nothing on sound physics but how can a small driver, even a BA be better than a good headphone driver?
This question is a big one for me. I tend to prefer Headphones to IEM. Its hard for me to justify to myself paying 200 euros for a pair of iems, but I assume i never had the chance to try any on this price range.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk - now Free

 

You know nothing of sound physics, you've never tried good IEMs but you're sticking with your completely uninformed opinion.

 

I mean, come on.  There are literally thousands and thousands of threads on this board and others talking about IEMs.  Did you think they all exist just to trick you in to making a bad purchase?


Yes I do. i believe in a big masterplan to trick the consumer, especially me.

What I mean, in case you did not understand, is just to compare the value for money of the IEMs and Headphones. Nothing more. I do not want to compare them directly, other than sound quality wise.

I think its pretty simple. Many of you had the opportunity to try expensive IEMs and Bigger Cans so your opinion is welcome. Its that the point of this Forum?

Anyway thank you. I think I will give the IEMs a shot some of these days so that I can enjoy them and have an informed opinion.




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post #14 of 22

The only thing that over the ear ever did better in my opinion was the "out of head" sound vs "in the head" sound. With my new customs, that gap is quite a bit smaller and i have completely lost my urge to own a full size now.

post #15 of 22

Now that I think of it, there are aspects of full size that no iem is going to have. An good example is headshaking bass. There's is a physical limit to bass that an iem can provide. It can never shake earlobes like full size hps do. But besides that, iem can outperform full size in terms of detail and clarity.

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