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So if I don't care for these IEMs, which ones would I like?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

So if I don't care for the following IEMs what would you think I would like?

 

Klipsch X10: Decent sounding but not very transparent. Musical but a bit veiled, lack of details.

 

Senn IE7: Nice bass but grainy mids, highs. Veiled. 

 

JVC FXZ200: Very transparent and revealing, great bass but too harsh in the upper mids. No soundstage.

 

TripleFi 10's: Good extension, decent bass but HiFi sounding, not natural sounding.

 

Klipsch S4i: Bland, does nothing special.

 

I tend to like deep bass but want a natural, realistic sound. Budget is $550 or less.

 

Any suggestions?

post #2 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatFarm View Post

TripleFi 10's: Good extension, decent bass but HiFi sounding, not natural sounding.

 

 

It might help if you explain this in the least subjective most concrete terms possible - because at the moment it's anyone's guess what this means,  and those TripleFis do seem to be the closest approach!

 

 

PS I was just looking at The Chart Of Expensive IEMs for my own purposes

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/top-tier-universal-iem-comparison-chart-and-information

 

and the EarSonics SM3s jumped out as sounding like what you're looking for; you might want to find some people to ask about them.


Edited by scuttle - 2/17/13 at 11:54am
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

It might help if you explain this in the least subjective most concrete terms possible - because at the moment it's anyone's guess what this means,  and those TripleFis do seem to be the closest approach!

I guess it's all subjective at the end of the day. I figured if I list the IEMs I have tried and what I didn't like about them then it would be easier to recommend something. IEMs are sooooooo difficult to purchase because opinions are all over the map except for the most expensive customs and it's impossible to try before you buy.

post #4 of 39
Thread Starter 

From what the SM3's are described as, it does seem like it may be what I'm looking for. Any SM3 owners want to chime it? normal_smile%20.gif

post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatFarm View Post

From what the SM3's are described as, it does seem like it may be what I'm looking for. Any SM3 owners want to chime it? normal_smile%20.gif

 

You may consider them veiled. They're not very transparent. Otherwise, they sound great.

post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hmm... I guess I can rule them out then. I am looking for great transparency, naturalness and solid bass. I have heard that the SM64 is better than the SM3 but requires an amp to sound their best. I almost broke down and bought a pair of W4Rs but again, mixed reviews. *groan*

post #7 of 39

Can you go into more depth? I've only heard the opposite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zalithian View Post

 

You may consider them veiled. They're not very transparent. Otherwise, they sound great.

post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatFarm View Post

Hmm... I guess I can rule them out then. I am looking for great transparency, naturalness and solid bass. I have heard that the SM64 is better than the SM3 but requires an amp to sound their best. I almost broke down and bought a pair of W4Rs but again, mixed reviews. *groan*

The Westone 4's are a great set of iem's.  You mention that quite a few you have heard sound veiled so maybe tell us what you're hearing.  The Westone 4 is a little dark (non-fatiguing) but I personally don't think it's a veiled iem.  The PFE 232 is fantastic and you can use different filters to get the sound more tweaked to your liking.  I realize they are discontinued but it might be worth a look.  

 

Also what types of music do you listen to?  I listen to a lot of classical, pop, rock, hip hop - pretty much anything that's not country or rap and found both of the above to be fantastic. I've considered getting the W4 back multiple times since I sent it away last May.  

 

Reviews are really hard to go by and unfortunately, the only way to really know is to give it a shot.  If you buy from Earphone solutions or Soundearphones you can generally exchange one item for the other.  If you buy it used, you can always re-sell it if it's not what you expected.  Just some things to keep in mind.  It's very hard when there is nowhere to go audition iem's before you buy. 

post #9 of 39

I've enjoyed my SE530s, and then my 535s for a few years now. I wouldn't say they are overly bassy, but they certainly have a pleasant, natural sound to them.

 

The only other IEMs mentioned in this thread that I've tried are TF10s (which I don't remember how they sounded, only that they broke twice in the first few months I had them) and Westone 4's, which I tried for 20 minutes last week. All I can say from my 20 minute experience with W4's is that I liked them but didn't hear a big difference from my SE535s.

 

At a lower pricepoint, my friend has SE215s and likes them so much he's getting a second pair to keep at home. If you get the chance to audition a pair of Shures, go for it!

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

I guess what I mean by transparency is hearing into the soundstage, hearing the smallest of details like a press of a footpedal on a piano or a intake of breath from a vocalist. The FXZ200s did this well but at the expense of harsh upper mids.

post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatFarm View Post

I guess what I mean by transparency is hearing into the soundstage, hearing the smallest of details like a press of a footpedal on a piano or a intake of breath from a vocalist. The FXZ200s did this well but at the expense of harsh upper mids.

 

How long are you trying IEMs for? There is such a thing as "neural burn-in" both with types of music (it takes time to listen to syncopation as anything but error if you are not used to it) and IEMs.

 

Plus - I keep saying this to people - you might want to try using some EQ. In your case you obviously have the ambition to be a highly demanding and technical user, but have you tried using pink noise to make sure that your IEMs are balanced correctly? This is especially needed with IEMs as the shape of the ear cavity varies substantially - you shouldn't expect to get neutral sound without the sort of EQing a professional soundman would do for the acoustics of any room he would work with:

 

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/audio/equal.html

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial

 

Obviously if you are using a DAP with only 5 bands of EQ you will be limited - but 5 bands are better than none.


Edited by scuttle - 2/17/13 at 2:37pm
post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

How long are you trying IEMs for? There is such a thing as "neural burn-in" both with types of music (it takes time to listen to syncopation as anything but error if you are not used to it) and IEMs.

 

Plus - I keep saying this to people - you might want to try using some EQ. In your case you obviously have the ambition to be a highly demanding and technical user, but have you tried using pink noise to make sure that your IEMs are balanced correctly? This is especially needed with IEMs as the shape of the ear cavity varies substantially - you shouldn't expect to get neutral sound without the sort of EQing a professional soundman would do for the acoustics of any room he would work with:

 

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/audio/equal.html

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial

 

Obviously if you are using a DAP with only 5 bands of EQ you will be limited - but 5 bands are better than none.

I've been on the hunt now for a few months after listening to my existing IEMs for a couple of years. The FXZ200's showed me that there is much more detail to be had but they were just too fatiguing to listen anymore than 20 minutes or so. So I'm on the hunt for that transparency without the harshness. I think the mids are hardest to get right and nearly impossible to EQ properly so I could live with an IEM that needs minor tweaking at the extremes I guess. I agree that neural burn-in happens to a limited extent but my true test of headphones in general is not wanting to take them off after 30 minutes. The only headphone that passes that test for me at the moment are the Beyer T1s....

post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundstige View Post

Can you go into more depth? I've only heard the opposite.


The SM3's are thick sounding, with a wide soundstage, without much treble energy or sparkle. There is nothing wrong with their level of detail imo - makes for a great long term listen, but I wouldn't say micro detail is their strong suit. It's there, but hard to hear.

post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by RatFarm View Post

I've been on the hunt now for a few months after listening to my existing IEMs for a couple of years. The FXZ200's showed me that there is much more detail to be had but they were just too fatiguing to listen anymore than 20 minutes or so. So I'm on the hunt for that transparency without the harshness. I think the mids are hardest to get right and nearly impossible to EQ properly so I could live with an IEM that needs minor tweaking at the extremes I guess. I agree that neural burn-in happens to a limited extent but my true test of headphones in general is not wanting to take them off after 30 minutes. The only headphone that passes that test for me at the moment are the Beyer T1s....

 

Well, the T1s by all accounts set a very high standard - matching them may be impossible.

 

But I think learning professional rather than intuitive EQ technique might help. There's more to EQing than people think - for instance, EQing down the high frequencies can clear up the mids by reducing distortion products. If you are going to be as exacting as you have (very legitimately!) decided to be, then you have to neural burn-in a chance and be willing to learn to EQ. You can't expect an IEM of all things to be out of the box perfect for every ear without EQing, because the ear cavity will play such a large role in its acoustics, and ear cavities vary.

 

So my suggestions are

 

- What ever IEM you try next, give it a few hours of neural burn-in

 

- Try squashing the high end - say over 15kHz - with everything the EQ has and listen, for long enough to allow your ear to adjust. If it seems to offer even a partial/mixed improvement, then start tweaking - move it to more cautious settings (and then back to extreme) and try dialing in (and then out) some boost in the band below. Try higher and lower frequencies. In this way you may get rid of distortion products in the mids at no real cost to the audible highs. The HM601 and 801 fr graphs show a pretty extreme version of this sort of filtering. People don't get it, but EQing the mids for properties like "veil" rather than quantity can actually require adjusting the high treble!

 

- Try pink noise EQing


Edited by scuttle - 2/18/13 at 4:37am
post #15 of 39

I think you are looking for bright forward highly detailed mids, tight punchy heavy bass, crisp clear highs without being extended with large well rounded soundstage. IMO Sony EX1000 are the closest match but it need AMPs help and long burn in(150H) to sound there best. Other IEMs like W4R, Heir Audio 4Ai, ATH_100Pro, GR10 are highly detailed with wide soundstage and good punchy bass but they need AMPs help to improve the bass and cable is important too in chain and i will highly recommend the ALO Pure Copper or CXS 18AWG cable with source has line out like on iMod iPods, Sony Walkmen with WM-Port and you will hear the big difference in soundquality.

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