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Need Some Help Choosing IEM's - Specific Criteria

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

So I've done a lot of research, both on this website and all over the Net, but since I'm in college and live in an area where I can't audition high-end IEM's, I really need some help. I know y'all get frustrated with "which headphone" threads, since this is a highly subjective topic, so I'm going to provide every detail of what I'm looking for so it's not a vague question.

 

What I'm looking for is an IEM that is fun and enjoyable to listen to, while providing really high quality sound but not being super analytical and picking out artifacts. I just want something comfy (a little isolation, but not too big of a deal) that I can plug in and enjoy the music. I want to get lost in the music.

 

I currently own two good-quality 'phones:

 

Etymotic ER-4P: They sound great, very flat obviously but clear and detailed. Maybe too detailed, and a little sibliant. My biggest complaint about them is fit/comfort though. I cannot stand how deep these things have to be rammed into my ears. I've tried every tip, and the ones that provide a good seal aren't comfortable while the ones that are comfortable don't provide a good seal. I plan on keeping these though, so I don't need my next pair to be super analytical.

 

Grado SR225: The sound drives me up the wall. Even though they are really comfortable, guitars often sound like they're right in my face while the vocalist seems to be at the back of the stage. I know Grado has a unique "house sound," and I do not like it at all.

 

The music I listen to:

 

Modern Rock (Disturbed, Atreyu, Anberlin, Incubus, Skillet Rise Against, etc.)

Classic/80's Rock (Van Halen, Guns 'n Roses, Bon Jovi, Chicago, etc.)

Vocal (Celtic Woman, Sinatra, etc.)

I also like some Country, Rap (rarely), and a little Classical. The genres I don't listen to are Techno, Dance, House, Dubstep, or Electronica.

 

I only use a portable rig. I can't afford a home rig, so this is what I use whether in bed or around campus:

 

iMod 5G -> ALO Cryo LOD -> RSA Shadow -> ???

 

So I want an IEM that I can just plug in and get lost in the music. I don't want to analyze, but I want quality.

 

Budget: up to $500

 

I am really interested in Westone - I have been pouring over comparison threads among the W3, W4, and UM3X. However, any other suggestions are welcome.

 

Best Regards,

RKP


Edited by Audiophile_Apprentice - 3/25/13 at 11:11am
post #2 of 4

I think you should check out the Earsonics SM3

http://www.head-fi.org/products/earsonics-sm3-universal-fit-iem

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I'll look into them.

 

The UE900 and IE8's both look promising too. So many choices...

 

I'm really leaning towards the W4R's, but I've heard people say they're "boring" and not fun. But since that's kind of a relative concept, I'm wondering if they'd actually be really fun compared to the ER-4's.
 

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile_Apprentice View Post
I know y'all get frustrated with "which headphone" threads, since this is a highly subjective topic, so I'm going to provide every detail of what I'm looking for so it's not a vague question.

We do - http://www.head-fi.org/t/596233/buying-portable-or-in-ear-headphones-seeking-guidance-dont-start-a-new-thread-ask-for-advice-here

 

 

What I'm looking for is an IEM that is fun and enjoyable to listen to, while providing really high quality sound but not being super analytical and picking out artifacts. I just want something comfy (a little isolation, but not too big of a deal) that I can plug in and enjoy the music. I want to get lost in the music.

 

Etymotic ER-4P: They sound great, very flat obviously but clear and detailed. Maybe too detailed, and a little sibliant. My biggest complaint about them is fit/comfort though. I cannot stand how deep these things have to be rammed into my ears. I've tried every tip, and the ones that provide a good seal aren't comfortable while the ones that are comfortable don't provide a good seal. I plan on keeping these though, so I don't need my next pair to be super analytical.

 

Grado SR225: The sound drives me up the wall. Even though they are really comfortable, guitars often sound like they're right in my face while the vocalist seems to be at the back of the stage. I know Grado has a unique "house sound," and I do not like it at all.

 

So I want an IEM that I can just plug in and get lost in the music. I don't want to analyze, but I want quality.

 

 

I think the terms you're looking for are laid-back and musical. In this case the W3s are very much still in your face with linear and transparent mids, very energetic treble, and excessive bass kick. Not at all a lay-back-and-enjoy phone. The UM3X are smoother and warmer, but they still pump details out like crazy, the signature is still rather forward. It really does sound like you're describing the W4s to an extent though.

 

But of course there are other brands aside from Westone. Most certainly the SM3 mentioned will have similarly smooth and musical attributes. UE900s are rather linear, neutral tonality, more along the ER4P styling but with less upper mids and more bass. IE8s are even more aggressive sounding. 

 

 

I'm really leaning towards the W4R's, but I've heard people say they're "boring" and not fun. But since that's kind of a relative concept, I'm wondering if they'd actually be really fun compared to the ER-4's.

Having both right here right now, the W4s are definitely more "fun". 

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