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What's the best IEM for opera? ~$300-500 - Page 2

post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmilner View Post

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


The only thing the OP should keep in mind is that the Shure 215 is $99 (and universal fit) and the AS-2 starts at $799 and is a custom. That's a pretty big leap from $3-500 although you are right that the ASG-2 would be in their range at $499 and details should be available very soon.

I have heard good things about the AS-1 custom if they would like to jump in but maybe can't afford the upper end model. Your comments about the AS-2 have me really, really excited!!
post #17 of 43
True, that the 215's are only $99. What I was trying to say (and was totally unclear about) is that if you like the balanced armature sound that there might be better options. The Heir 4.Ai as well as the UE900 are both quad armature as compared to the triple of the 535. Also, there are often sets of customs like the 1964 quads that are sold on the forums that might be a better fit for what you are looking for. And as Vocalist said, the asg-1 might be a good option as well.

I haven't heard any of those headphones, but these were the headphones that I was looking at before I bought my AS-2's. For me customs were the way I needed to go for fit issues. Now I would never go back to universals. The biggest benefit is being able to listen to work on the plane without cranking the volume to an unhealthy level.
post #18 of 43
Thread Starter 

@ jpmilner - No, we haven't met yet, but we run is some of the same circles. I'll make the connection next time we're in the same place at the same time. Thank for the offer of the loan; I just left Philly Monday and now I'm in LA.

 

I'm not quite ready to commit to the AS-2's, they're just a bit out of my budget. At the moment I'm leaning toward the W4's, SM3 v2 or the 535's, but the ASG-2's do have me intrigued! While I'm willing to spend some cash for a good set of IEM's, I'm looking for something that is fairly "plug-and-play." I'm not at this time interested in lots of tweaking or portable amps or some of the higher end IEM's kinda need that to shine. The 535's and W4's sound the lowest maintenance. 

 

Thanks for everyones help! I'll keep watching this thread and I'd love any additional info. This could be a valuable thread for us relatively few opera goers.

post #19 of 43
My pleasure. I'm all over so let me know if we are going to be in the same place and I will be happy to lend you my EQ-7s... As long as I know ahead of time to remember to pack them. Toi toi toi!
post #20 of 43
Thread Starter 

Last week I happened across some SE535LE that I could demo but because I didn't plan on it, I didn't bring a good player/good test files. They sounded good, very good, but not great. The sound stage wasn't very big, the highs didn't grab me as I'd expected for the Reds, and I didn't get the instrument separation/transparency. I suspect it was because the music files I had weren't particularly hi bit rate (256) but I'm leary of dropping the cash if this is normal. Again, they definitely sounded good, just not the amazing experience I wanted.

 

So my question: for those who have experience with 535's (or any other suggestions for classical and opera iem's) how do you rate these characteristics? Sound stage is pretty darn important for this music, as is clarity.

 

Thanks again!


Edited by Operaphile - 2/23/13 at 8:03am
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Operaphile View Post

Last week I happened across some SE535LE that I could demo but because I didn't plan on it, I didn't bring a good player/good test files. They sounded good, very good, but not great. The sound stage wasn't very big, the highs didn't grab me as I'd expected for the Reds, and I didn't get the instrument separation/transparency. I suspect it was because the music files I had weren't particularly hi bit rate (256) but I'm leary of dropping the cash if this is normal. Again, they definitely sounded good, just not the amazing experience I wanted.

 

So my question: for those who have experience with 535's (or any other suggestions for classical and opera iem's) how do you rate these characteristics? Sound stage is pretty darn important for this music, as is clarity.

 

Thanks again!

My thoughts are if the 535 didn't immediately grab you, it's probably not the one.  Granted, it could change a bit with different equipment/bit rate but bear in mind most of my music is around 256 because I'm one of the few who cannot tell a huge difference between 256+ and lossless. I hear a larger difference between my iPod nano, iPhone 4S and my Sony player - the Sony being my preferred source. I have always wanted to hear the red 535's but haven't had a chance so unfortunately, I can't help there and hope someone else can. 

 

For me, soundstage is very important because when I'm listening to an orchestra piece or opera I don't want to feel like they are next to me or "in my head."  I prefer to feel like I'm in the auditorium with the ability to place every instrument/singer on stage.  The next thing I want is for instruments to sound true - especially in the case of strings like the cello or to hear the rumble of the upright bass.  Clarity of vocals without harshness in the treble is also terribly important to me as I'm a fan of coloratura soprano.  I might be borrowing a set of W4's in the very near future and depending on your timeline would be willing to open up my 232's and compare them side by side.  I really wish I could hear the UE 900 but unless I'm willing to drop the $$$ I don't see that happening, lol.  

 

Have you checked the forum for meet-ups in your area?  That might be one other way you could get the chance to hear something.  I found out too late that there was actually a meetup about 5min from me earlier this month!  It's so hard because it's all so subjective but in all honesty, I think once you find your "one" you'll know it within the first few seconds - minutes of listening.  Don't try to talk yourself into liking something - if you have to do that, it's probably best to keep looking. 

post #22 of 43
I am using a pair of UE900 and enjoy the opera that randomly comes up. I find the UE900 gives me an intimate and transparent feel to the music while still having a nice sound stage with good instrument separation. The music is very engaging for me.
post #23 of 43
I like the EX1000 for opera and classical in general. Big soundstage which is pushed out in front of you, fantastic timbre, and is very airy with clarity nearly on par with the ER4S. Vocals are extremely realistic sounding.
post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selenium View Post

I like the EX1000 for opera and classical in general. Big soundstage which is pushed out in front of you, fantastic timbre, and is very airy with clarity nearly on par with the ER4S. Vocals are extremely realistic sounding.

 

Agreed, the ex1000 is a very nice earphone. The mg7 Atrio with full-custom silicone earsleeves is also a very nice classical experience.

 

I've already contacted Lee730 for rebuttal. wink_face.gif

post #25 of 43

Sennheiser IE8/80, Etymotic ER4S, Westone 4 are great with opera.

post #26 of 43

Hi Operaphile,

 

A couple of weeks ago I bought the SM64 (Earsonics' replacement/upgrade to the SM3).  If you would like to recommend two or three well recorded opera tracks I'll buy them, listen, and give you my feedback.  That, and I can compare them to my W4 and TF10, too.

 

While I don't have an opera track to my name, I like to think I have a good ear and really enjoy live music (and do so as often as I can).  My goal is to find the iem best able to rereate the live experience I enjoy so much.

 

I can't think of a better way to break into a new genre than with some recommendations from a pro! 

 

 

   -Eric

post #27 of 43

believe it or not, i had close to all the so called top tier universals, from w4 to s535, from ue900 to heir 4ai and as dynamics: ie80 and ex1000. so what am i still using? the cheapo sony mh1c. it is good enough for classical music, comfortable, isolates well and has a decent soundstage. sound is very smooth neither dark nor cold. just right. it might not have the resolution and speed of a quad driver, but as i sad, it is good enough. if the ex1000 would isolate, i would have kept it. all the armatures out there, at least the universals, lack in some areas, if they can do sub bass, they lack highs, if they shine in the highs, the lack sub bass. timbre is some kind of unnatural to my ears. the only armature based iem, that sounded very natural to me were my ue11pro ciems, but they had a very congested soundstage.

 

as you can see, in all the higher end iems you still have to make compromises in sound, so why not go with a decent cheapo, that does everything well enough?

post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

My thoughts are if the 535 didn't immediately grab you, it's probably not the one.  Granted, it could change a bit with different equipment/bit rate but bear in mind most of my music is around 256 because I'm one of the few who cannot tell a huge difference between 256+ and lossless. I hear a larger difference between my iPod nano, iPhone 4S and my Sony player - the Sony being my preferred source. I have always wanted to hear the red 535's but haven't had a chance so unfortunately, I can't help there and hope someone else can. 

For me, soundstage is very important because when I'm listening to an orchestra piece or opera I don't want to feel like they are next to me or "in my head."  I prefer to feel like I'm in the auditorium with the ability to place every instrument/singer on stage.  The next thing I want is for instruments to sound true - especially in the case of strings like the cello or to hear the rumble of the upright bass.  Clarity of vocals without harshness in the treble is also terribly important to me as I'm a fan of coloratura soprano.  I might be borrowing a set of W4's in the very near future and depending on your timeline would be willing to open up my 232's and compare them side by side.  I really wish I could hear the UE 900 but unless I'm willing to drop the $$$ I don't see that happening, lol.  

Have you checked the forum for meet-ups in your area?  That might be one other way you could get the chance to hear something.  I found out too late that there was actually a meetup about 5min from me earlier this month!  It's so hard because it's all so subjective but in all honesty, I think once you find your "one" you'll know it within the first few seconds - minutes of listening.  Don't try to talk yourself into liking something - if you have to do that, it's probably best to keep looking. 

I have the UE900's and I definitely enjoy them. I listen to classic, folk rock and EDM, and I find them to have one of the most natural sound signatures I have ever heard in my entire life. They really have a great soundstage and instrument separation. As a Cello player really enjoy the classic a lot and I really know what to listen to in classical, and everything is there. You have the crisp and precise lows. No muddyness or any overpowering at all. The mids are accurate and bright. Great seperation and clarity. The tops are nice and clean. No sibilence at all. If you really like a lot of bass though, these you won't like the 900's. It's more of a linear, neutral bass rather than a boom that many listeners seem to like. When I listen to EDM, I find the UE900's nice. Even though many people don't think it's enough I find the bass very responsive. If the producer intended the track to be punchy, the bass is punchy. If it's crisp, the bass is crisp. They have a very accurate sound. Folk Rock is really where these things shine. I re-listened to my copy of Mumford And Sons Babel album and I was blown away. The clarity and detail and seperation was amazing. I'd reccomend these if you like a neutral sound.
Edited by porksandwich911 - 3/14/13 at 8:34am
post #29 of 43
Bump on this thread?
post #30 of 43

+1 for westones if your budget allows!

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