Originally Posted by pops
and on my lg motion phone (all 320kbps). I will be listening to rock, hip hop, heavy metal and grunge at home; I don't want a neutral phone. I know this is a big leap and don't need to spend exactly $400. I also want them to be easily powered, or else an amp and phone combo that doesn't exceed $400.
1. Your phone might not have a great amp and adding a headphone amp probably won't fix the problem - because the usual problem is noise, and you'll get the noise from both. So consider how happy you are with your phone's amp before spending money.
2. It sounds like you'll need punchy bass with a lot of attack. This is the downfall of most IEMs and you can't fix it with EQing or bass boost, because it is about bass quality not bass quantity. Trying to fix this problem runs into the law of diminishing returns and the brutal fact that IEMs are delicate and easily trashed. The two things I'd consider if I was you are
- HD25-1-ii. Portable phones designed for pro sound people, very tough, often considered one of the most exciting to listen to rock phones at any price - I switched to these after giving up on IEMs (including those Yamaha ELH100's mentioned) because of problems with rock/grunge, and they definitely deliver. They'll also probably last a lot longer than any virtually any other headphone, let alone IEMs.
- The new generation of microdriver IEMs like the ATH CKN50 and CKN70, and Sony-whatever (EX1000?) My experience is that microdrivers do enormously better at the well defined bass delivery you need for the type of music you listen to - so much so that my $50 JVC microdriver IEMs utterly demolished my $150 Ety HF5s playing tracks like the Pixies' "Debaser".
You could get the HD25s, the CKN50s, and a tiny $30 Sansa 4GB Clip+ Player with a 64GB memory card - a player which does excellent bass, especially if you add Rockbox and use the advanced EQ - for less than your budget. The Clip is smaller than all but a handful of amps and gives you extra options a disposeable player for the gym and beach, and the CKN50's aren't sob-over money either.