Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › In ear vs full size headphones?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

In ear vs full size headphones?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
First off let me state that this thread is not troll/flame bait. If it gets out of hand I'll bring the mods in myself. I understand this can be a touchy subject if improperly addressed.

I have a question for the guys who have decided mostly on IEM (both universals and customs) as their chariot to audiophile heaven. What made you choose IEM over full sized cans? Is there anything you miss that IEM just don't do as well? Is there anything that IEM do better?

I ask because I recently made some custom molds for my cheap IEM and I love them. It stands to reason that a better sounding setup in the same fit to ear design would be even better, be they made by the manufacturer or myself. I'll be getting a set of vsonic vc02 soon. I just keep getting this feeling that after I spend hundreds on a full size rig, I'm just going to end up with IEM anyway. So help me understand please? Thanks!
post #2 of 8

I love IEMs and everything that comes with the territory, like the isolation, long-term comfort, and portability. Unfortunately, I've yet to hear an IEM that can give the same detail and airy feeling as my HE-400 can. I think the lower you go on the price scale, the more and more worthwhile IEMs are. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundstige View Post

I love IEMs and everything that comes with the territory, like the isolation, long-term comfort, and portability. Unfortunately, I've yet to hear an IEM that can give the same detail and airy feeling as my HE-400 can. I think the lower you go on the price scale, the more and more worthwhile IEMs are. 
Thanks that's very helpful. The he400 is on my list when I can justify its cost. That's not a good thing though, because detail/clarity/resolution are my top keywords. Does soundstage and imaging ever get near a good open set (for example, the akg k701vs an iem of the same price range or a little higher)? Could you use iem for immersive gaming or movie watching?
post #4 of 8

The best full-sized headphones can easily outperform the best IEMs in soundstage size, but that's about it. IEMs can match and surpass full sized headphones in pretty much every other area in my opinion.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

The best full-sized headphones can easily outperform the best IEMs in soundstage size, but that's about it. IEMs can match and surpass full sized headphones in pretty much every other area in my opinion.
Thanks for your input. Are you a custom or universal guy? Do you feel IEM can compete with a good closed can in imaging and positioning within the soundstage? Do they do well with gaming and binaural recordings?
post #6 of 8

For me anyways, I chose the IEM route rather than the full sized headphone route at the get go because IEMs for me are significantly more comfortable and easy to wear while on the go. My lifestyle at the moment and foreseeable future doesn't really have me being any less on the move. smile.gif Even though there are plenty of people out there in the world and on head-fi who use portable or full-sized headphones with active lifestyles, for me IEMs were really the only way to go. In terms of soundstage, I think that most excellent IEMs can rival the soundstage and quality of a good upper mid-tier headphone quite well. For example the SM3s have a sound signature and soundstage which is arguably comparable to the Sennheiser HD 650 (in my experience auditioning both).

 

In the not so distant future though, I do think that IEM technology will advance to the point that the larger soundstage of full sized headphones will not be limited to the realm of full sized headphones only.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

The best full-sized headphones can easily outperform the best IEMs in soundstage size, but that's about it. IEMs can match and surpass full sized headphones in pretty much every other area in my opinion.

This, basically.

 

Usually that starts going into CIEM territory which can be fairly costly, especially with reshelling every once in awhile.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by thoughtcriminal View Post


Thanks for your input. Are you a custom or universal guy? Do you feel IEM can compete with a good closed can in imaging and positioning within the soundstage? Do they do well with gaming and binaural recordings?

 

Actually, I feel that well designed balanced armature IEMs can have imaging that rivals the best dynamic full sized cans. For binaural recordings, IEMs with accurate frequency response like Etymotic, Phonak PFE single driver, Hifiman RE0, RE272 or Sony EX1000 should easily compete with great full sized headphones. For gaming or movies, IEMs may not be as suitable, because soundstage size may also be important for these applications and big cans usually have an advantage here, sounding less "in your head" than IEMs. However, this is usually only the case with open back over-the-ear versus IEMs. Closed back full-sized headphones often have poor soundstage size as well, even smaller than what many IEMs can manage.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridCore View Post

This, basically.

 

Usually that starts going into CIEM territory which can be fairly costly, especially with reshelling every once in awhile.

 

IMO customs don't have any inherent advantages over universals at all. They may provide better fit, but not for all people. Many should be able to get a perfectly acceptable fit with universals. As for sound quality, universals can have the exact same drivers and construction as customs, so I don't see how customs can inherently sound better. I say that is BS - universals can sound just as good or better and are more practical than customs as you can share them with other people, resell them much more easily, etc.


Edited by Pianist - 3/3/13 at 11:01am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › In ear vs full size headphones?