Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › What's the best IEM for opera? ~$300-500
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What's the best IEM for opera? ~$300-500

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a good IEM in the price range of $300-500. I've been reading through the forums and I can't find a good and recent thread on this.

 

I listen to a lot of opera (my profession) both live and recorded. I travel a lot and lugging headphones around can be inconvenient. I'm a novice within the audiophile world though my ears are good. I currently have a pair of Shure 115's and I'm pretty happy with them, but they're getting old and I'd like to upgrade. I like the Shure sound profile and I love the comfort (I sometimes wear them 8+hours/day) but I don't have much perspective. Because I travel, nothing too flimsy.

 

I've been leaning toward the Shure 535's, but they don't seem very popular here.

 

There is a ton of info in these forums but very little on classical music and way less for opera. Obviously voice is extremely important (so good/forward mids?) and I think I'm looking for something with a large sound stage and clarity. There may be other factors I should be considering so I'm open to any and all opinions.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 43

I'd think you'd want something with good mids like the SE535, SM3 V2 or W4 which would make the vocals sound very nice.  Now for a third the cost of those you can get the BA200 which also has very good mids and sound pretty much just as good as the $400 IEM's I mentioned.

post #3 of 43

RE262 is a lot cheaper than your budget, and sounds really good (although it's not that easy to power), SM3v2 has a big soundstage and forward/lush mids too. Also kind of hard to get a hold of now..
 

post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 

The SM3v2's def have my attention but I haven't gotten a chance to demo them. The comfort concerns me a bit. Can anyone compare comfort of these to the 535's?

 

And the less expensive options scare me a bit. Are they really, overall, as good as the more expensive? Don't get me wrong, I love saving $$$! But I really don't want to spend $150-200 on a pair of headphones and just wish I'd spent more.

post #5 of 43

Well I had the SE425 which is shaped pretty much the same as the SE535 and the SM3 V2 fits me just fine and I have know issues, I'd say they fit about the same as the SE535.  Both the SM3 and W4 fit me the same and I don't have any comfort issues so if you've used the SE535 and the fit you then the SM3 V2 shouldn't be a problem.

 

You can get the SM3 V2 from soundearphones.com for $350 which is the best price around for a new pair but you might be able to find a used pair in the for sale section of the site, that's where I got mine for just under $300 and they looked pretty much like new.  I think your good with either the SM3 V2 or the W4 I just prefer the SM3 over the W4 a little more.

post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalithian View Post

RE262 is a lot cheaper than your budget, and sounds really good (although it's not that easy to power), SM3v2 has a big soundstage and forward/lush mids too. Also kind of hard to get a hold of now..
 

 

I dont recommend Earsonics for Opera music at all.  I would suggest Fitear F111 or Ortofon e-Q7.

Btw, Sm3V2 is available on sale from MA

post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by yello131 View Post

I dont recommend Earsonics for Opera music at all.  I would suggest Fitear F111 or Ortofon e-Q7.
Btw, Sm3V2 is available on sale from MA

I'd hardly call $400 from Japan on sale, unless the OP lives in Asia. Soundearphones is out of stock on the sm3v2 also. Doubt they are getting new stock. Can't say if the op would like them with opera or not. I happen to think they are great with vocals but I don't listen to opera and people have different preferences.
Edited by Zalithian - 2/5/13 at 3:52pm
post #8 of 43

The e-Q7 is also a good one but imo the SM3 is quite a bit better over all plus I think the e-Q5 is better than the e-Q7 because the highs are a bit more crisp and the soundstage is a bit more spacious as well but both have great mids.

 

You might just want to get the Earsonics SM64 which is what is replacing the SM3 I assume.  Its said to have brighter and more crisp sounding highs and over all a more clean sound that's not a warm and dark sounding as the SM3, its $499 at soundearphones.com and they are in stock.

post #9 of 43
Yep. Not many of us have heard the SM64v2. If you order from soundearphones site you can return it within 30 days for a full refund if you don't like it.
post #10 of 43

I remember a friend (and fellow IEM enthusiast) saying that Final Audio Design's Pianoforte VIII/IX/X sounds particularly good with Vocals, but don't quote me on this as I've never owned/heard it before.

 

And it's way out of your budget too, so...

post #11 of 43
Being an opera singer (in a land/time far away), I've been in your position. My journey took me through:

Shure 425 - not a comfortable fit and not the sound I was looking at all.

Westone 4 - fantastic iem. I could listen to them for hours and everything I listened to sounded amazing. I was then tempted to try the PFE 232 and returned the W4 - I still miss them. For me, these have been the most comfortable pair of IEM's I have tried. The minute I put them in I forgot about them because they felt like they were made for my ears.

PFE 232 - classical, opera, acoustic sound simply amazing through these. You feel like you're placed in the auditorium watching the performance and the music sparkles and dances around you. What's better, especially for opera, is that changing the filters gives you a different sound. I currently have a pair in a sealed box debating what I would like to do.

Aurisonics ASG 1.2 - classical, to me, also sounds great through these. I do sometimes EQ, especially depending on the player I'm using but it pulled you in with a similar (but not same) fashion to the westone 4.

I don't have this one yet: AS-2 custom. I'm ecstatic and can't wait to get them and plug them in. It should be very soon and while I'd be happy to give you my impressions, they are well above the price range you have mentioned. Being a musician and loving music as much as I do, I figured it was more than worth it.

I really hope this helps and would be happy to answer questions if you'd like to pm me. It's hard but I think when you get it right, there's no going back. I'm currently between the PFE and W4 as my favorite universal. I've missed the w4 ever since I sent it back and that's almost 9 months ago. If you can try any I would highly recommend it!
post #12 of 43
Thread Starter 

What was it about the Shure 425's sound you didn't like? From what you've ready are the 535's likely to be better? Or is it the Shure sound profile that you don't like?

 

Re your PFE 232's - They're prob out of my price range but if they go into the "for sale" forum, drop me a line!

 

Thanks for your input.

post #13 of 43

I will highly recommend the RE272 because it has amazing space with in the soundstage for instruments  and vocals sound amazing on these with great depth(like better space with in 3D movie). It will also.improve with portable AMPs help so if you are using iPod then adding AMPs will improve soundquality much more(through lineout dock signals are much more cleaner than HP jack). Other IEMs like Sony EX1000, PFE232, Grado GR10, W4R, UM3X, SM3 and JVC FX700 are great upgrade and match well for classical genres music.

post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Operaphile View Post

What was it about the Shure 425's sound you didn't like? From what you've ready are the 535's likely to be better? Or is it the Shure sound profile that you don't like? Re your PFE 232's - They're prob out of my price range but if they go into the "for sale" forum, drop me a line! Thanks for your input.

I thought the 425's were a little thin. I didn't really feel the power of the orchestra but will say it had forward vocals. I kept trying to like them and that's why I had to move on. If you have to convince yourself it works, it's not the right one. I also couldn't get a good fit and found their cables to be obnoxiously long/thick.

I forgot I had the UM3x and this one is truly a love it or hate it iem. I don't think it's for everyone and in the end, it wasn't for me but led me to Aurisonics. It had great separation but maybe a little too much? I love it when I can listen and hear every instrument in the music, as a whole, and feel like I'm sitting for the performance. I don't want things to be so separated that it takes away from what I'm listening to - if that makes sense.

Honestly - a lot of it comes down to fit and personal preference. I didn't think there would be a huge difference between the fit of the w4 and um3x but there was - the 4 was much more comfortable. Didn't think there would be a big difference between Shure and Westone but that was huge for me. Once you find your fit it finally becomes more about the sound. Something could sound amazing but if it makes my ears sore or I can't make it feel right, it just won't work - especially if I happen to be listening to a 1-3hour opera in one sitting.
Edited by vocalist - 2/6/13 at 8:42am
post #15 of 43

Hey!  Have we met?

 

This was exactly my conundrum that led me to Head-Fi in the first place.  I went with the eQ-7s but have now moved on to a set of AS-2 customs.  I can honestly say that I prefer and would recommend Aurisonics over the eQ-7.  The eQ-7 has no sense of space or instrument separation.  For example, I'm working on Salome right now; I have been listening to the Nilsson, Wächter recording with the Vienna Philharmonic with Solti conducting with my AS-2.  Not my favorite Jochanaan, but the recording is solid.  When Jochanaan is singing from the cistern I find myself almost turning my head because the sound feels like it is coming from over my shoulder.  With my eQ-7 the sound feels compressed and stuck in my head.  The orchestra never feels as expansive as it does with my AS-2.

 

The eQ-7 can also be quite harsh on older recordings.  It has the tendency to get pretty sibilant on top and the hiss from a record transfer can really ruin some of the recordings.  I have a Tristan from Beyreuth that is almost unlistenable because of the constant record noise that is in the sound.  The AS-2 is far warmer and more forgiving of these recordings.

 

I had an opportunity to listen to a pair of Shure 215 recently.  My honest opinion was that they were good, but not on the same level as the AS-2.  The sound was bright and detailed, but they didn't have the same sense of space that the AS-2 provides.

 

I would really recommend looking at Aurisonics.  Their ASG-2 is coming out soon and should fall right towards the top of your price range.  If you would like to hear the eQ-7 and are in the Philly area in the next couple of weeks, I would be happy to lend you my pair.  Other than that, I really haven't experienced the same level of clarity and sound stage with anything outside of a full sized set of orthodynamic headphones.

 

Jeremy

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › What's the best IEM for opera? ~$300-500