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Please help - my unsuccessful journey so far in selecting new IEMs

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I've spend the past week researching the heck out of IEMs to try to find a replacement for my Brainwavz M2's. They still work, but my wife needs 'new' ones so I'm taking the opportunity to pass those on to her while getting something new. Just for context, I also have a pair of Grado SR80s (which I rarely use because of the open backs - I'm rarely alone while listening to music, unfortunately).


I've spent a ton of time reading Joker's thread, as well as sorting and dicing up the spreadsheet. I wanted (or so I thought) something with good isolation, great comfort, and a terrific sound rating that cost under $150. I ended up selecting the JVC FXT90 and brought them home yesterday, thinking this would be the best listening experience I've ever had.


Plugged them into my iPod touch (2nd gen) and at first, I hated them - probably because I was so used to my M2's. I was impressed with their musical ability, particularly on instrumental tracks (This Will Destroy You, God is an Astronaut, etc.) but disliked the harshness of the high end (also found they had too much sibilance) on female vocalist tracks (Daughter, A Fine Frenzy, Sucre) and the bass - while punchy - was sorely lacking (especially on tracks by Nicki Minaj, Ice Cube, etc.).


I thought, okay, maybe they just need a bit of tweaking so I downloaded Accudio onto the iPod, loaded up the profile for the FXT90's and gave a listen. Hmmm. A slight improvement, but still issues. Dialed down the sibilance to -2, upped the subbass to +6 and bass to +4, and tried again. Better, but still not blowing me away. Sigh. Putting my M2's back in I love the deep and punchy bass, but also now appreciate how muddled the sound is on the mids and highs compared to the FXT90's.


So, I've discovered I'm not as much of an audiophile as I thought I was. I seem to prefer a U-shaped curve over flat. So I guess what I'm really looking for is a 'fun' IEM that has incredibly solid and low bass while at the same time clear mids and especially highs. My other criteria:


  • Has solid, deep base suitable for rap/hip-hop tracks
  • Has great musical ability in the mid->high range (for female vocalists and acoustic music)
  • Sounds great with i-devices (iPod/iPad), without using a 3rd party EQ
  • Doesn't require amplification to get the best sound
  • Straight down orientation, not 'over the ear'
  • Are comfortable
  • Provide good isolation


Does what I'm searching for even exist?


Right now I'm considering returning the FXT90's and trying the following (local prices listed):


Sony XB90EX ($105)

Atrios M5 (MG7) ($113)

Hippo VB ($90)

Audio Technica ATK-CKS99 ($120)

Velodyne vPulse ($100)


Any suggestions on which of these (or if there are others) might best meet my listening needs (acoustic folk (usually female vocalists), instrumental, top 40, R&B/hip-hop)? Any help would be much appreciated.

Edited by canuck88 - 2/11/13 at 8:42am
post #2 of 8

Consider cranking the budget up a bit and get UE TF10 or hunt a Yamaha EPH-100 ; seems like either one has what you're looking for.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply, but the TF10 is primarily an over-the-ear (which I don't want) and the EPH-100 is too much of a pain in the ass to find (especially from a place that allows returns). I also can't imagine that it can produce the sub-bass I'm after with it's 6mm driver (but I could be wrong). Any comment on the ones I've listed?

Edited by canuck88 - 2/11/13 at 10:20am
post #4 of 8

You can wear the tf10 with wires down with the flipflop mod (do a search) if you really want.

post #5 of 8
These might be well below your budget but maybe consider the RHA MA450's. Punchy fun bass and sparkling highs. I found these great fun. But from your selection velodyne vpulse is a solid choice.
post #6 of 8

I find the same thing with FXT90 soundsignature where they excel in mids, highs but bass is still.light compared to kther IEams and i will highly recommend to try GR07 and they have good amount of tight punchy bass, crisp clear mids, highs like FXT90 and fairly wide soundstage with good instruments separation, overall great upgrade over FXT90 with better bass response and wider soundstage. Other IEams like Klipsch Image X10, XB90EX, UE TF10Pro are also amazing for the price and they offers dynamic bass with higher resolution soundquality.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
The GR07s would definitely be on my list if I could stand over the ear smily_headphones1.gif I think I'm down to the XB90EX and vPulse....
post #8 of 8

i am also very interested in seeing a comparison between the xb90ex and the vpulse... i have the xb30ex and i like it so im interested in upgrading to the xb90ex

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