So, the short list is pretty simple:
1: Heir Audio 4.A
2: JH Audio 13 Pro
3: Frogbeats C4
The problem is they all have pros and cons, not just the CIEMs themselves, but getting them, comparing them, choosing one. I work offshore and am about to go away for a few months and have the option to rush a job and probably get them in time, or wait until I get back and take my Ultrasone Edition 8s with me (which are awesome but not brilliantly portable for a guy trying to survive just with hand luggage for 2 months).
Pros: They look great, the reviews are excellent, the company is meant to be good to deal with.
Cons: Have not heard them and there are few comparisons around, sending and receiving goods to and from China, the rush job option costs almost half the cost of the CIEMs and I'll probably get stung for another 20% import duty after the fact.
Pros: Excellently reviewed, good options and accessories, the company is meant to be reliable and good to deal with.
Cons: There is no rush job option, I have not heard them, will probably get stung for 20% import duty and still have the hassle of sending stuff to and from the US.
Pros: made in the UK, the few reviews are good, the cost is much better for what is possibly a similar quality product, no import duty, they say they have a rush option which is relatively affordable.
Cons: They are a small, rapidly growing company under pressure and paying for a rush job does not (in my mind) guarantee they'll arrive in time. There are no reviews that seem to relate them to other products and so it's a bit of a crap shoot. The brand is a little ugly and there are a number of reports about the company being swamped and not necessarily able to communicate that well right now.
So, it has to be CIEMs, it has to be great quality without swamping over heavy bass, it has to have great sound isolation and the company has to deliver, preferably fast.
Thoughts anyone? I reckon a lot of other people are weighing up these things in their heads right now as well as the CIEM market develops.
P.s. Source as follows: ALAC files from iPod classic, Cypher Labs Algorythm Solo -dB, RX Mk II out to head/earphones. Music very varied, from Solti's Wagner to Squarepusher, from Marconi Union to Miles Davis and everything in between.
Edited by bassgroove - 2/25/13 at 3:56am