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suggestions for IEM's for public transit commuting

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm currently using a pair of Sennheiser HD 449's when I'm on my commute to and from work on the bus, and in a few months I'll be going back to school which will necessitate a 2 hour long transit commute, and I'm looking at various IEM's and pondering the benefits of the noise isolation, but I have essentially no experience whatsoever with them, having been a headphone guy for the past few years after ditching earbuds entirely, and I'm looking for suggestions at makes and models to look more closely at. I am wondering however how the sound quality of an IEM could compare to that of larger over ear headphones such as my 449's (or the 650's that I use at home; if any IEM's match those in sound quality I'd be amazed)

I'm not too concerned about budget, anything below $500CAD is fine, give or take $100 if it's a really amazing IEM. I don't want to look into a custom set at this point in time, being my first serious IEM purchase (first IEM purchase at all, actually), but I do want it to have solid noise isolation and comparable/superior sound quality to my current 449's. Comfort is important, and they need to be durable, because I'll likely be tossing them into my bag and locker and such. I dunno if what I'm asking is like a best-of-all-categories type request but I'm hoping that's sufficient criteria for good suggestions from the Head-fi community =)

post #2 of 8

First off (in case you haven't found these yet) - http://www.head-fi.org/t/596233/buying-portable-or-in-ear-headphones-seeking-guidance-dont-start-a-new-thread-ask-for-advice-here

 

 http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-279-iems-compared-audio-technica-ckm500-added-05-01-13-p-678#post_6492044

 
Isolation, durable, comfortable -  but first, you'd probably get some more specifics if you go into more specifics regarding preference in sound/signature, etc, rather than just wanting something equal to your current rig (unless you do want a similar signature as with your current rig) as the headphone-IEM change in paradigm makes it hard to compare between either.
 
You would have to break each individual aspect of how one perceives technical proficiency in an audio rig - presentation (obviously different between the two), detailing/resolution, transient response, among other things, and then judge for yourself whether or not you find the differences to be subjectively "better" (and better is really such a reductionist way to qualify things).
 
There are great threads/discussions regarding this topic, in particular this one (should really have it bookmarked as this gets asked quite a bit) -  http://www.head-fi.org/t/620641/do-you-prefer-headphones-or-iem. I've also found great opinion pieces regarding this on various other threads where the topic isn't about this in specific. The Diary thread, for one - there was just talk regarding headphone vs IEM presentations, and it seems to come up quite consistently. I'll try and find the other threads and link them here later if I can find them. 
post #3 of 8

Oh, and a Headfonia piece that goes into the topic nicely -  http://www.headfonia.com/hd800-and-jh16/

Also average_joe's writeup on his multi-CIEM thread - post #2, the section on "Custom IEMs vs headphones" .Customs are still very much classified as having an in-ear presentation, however one may choose to interpret that. Difference between in-ear presentations are varied and bountiful as well.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm rather new to the audiophile world and I'm learning that I know far less than I ought to about how to describe and quantify a particular listening experience, the word 'better' is an inadequate descriptor, I'm aware, but I can't say I'd be able to adequately describe what I would want in terms of sound signature without being painfully obvious in my lack of knowledge

If it helps, I would want the earphones to be well suited to classical and orchestral music, but I wouldn't want them to colour the sound too much, Id want a neutral sound throughout the frequency spectrum
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by InternetSandman View Post

I'm rather new to the audiophile world and I'm learning that I know far less than I ought to about how to describe and quantify a particular listening experience, the word 'better' is an inadequate descriptor, I'm aware, but I can't say I'd be able to adequately describe what I would want in terms of sound signature without being painfully obvious in my lack of knowledge

If it helps, I would want the earphones to be well suited to classical and orchestral music, but I wouldn't want them to colour the sound too much, Id want a neutral sound throughout the frequency spectrum

Do attempt to do so though - no one will judge you for trying (at least I wouldn't think so...blink.gif)

 

Neutrality is a much maligned term with audio in general. But without getting into too much of a kerfuffle, you could definitely start by looking at stuff like the ER4S (especially since isolation and build is being looked at as well), UE900, or perhaps the F111 (have only worn, not heard - the word is that they are essentially FitEar's homage to the ER4 series - but again, not personal experience so would take with a grain of salt and plenty of external research on the main thread).

post #6 of 8

I would say Etymotic HF5 due to isolation, it sounds good close to ER4S good.  There are a lot of IEMs you could use with foam tips that would isolate very well, do you have a preference on sound signature?

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

Do attempt to do so though - no one will judge you for trying (at least I wouldn't think so...blink.gif )

Neutrality is a much maligned term with audio in general. But without getting into too much of a kerfuffle, you could definitely start by looking at stuff like the ER4S (especially since isolation and build is being looked at as well), UE900, or perhaps the F111 (have only worn, not heard - the word is that they are essentially FitEar's homage to the ER4 series - but again, not personal experience so would take with a grain of salt and plenty of external research on the main thread).

Well after looking more into the glossary of terms that the Joker review provided I can hopefully describe what I'm looking for a bit better. I want minimal color to the sound, something that will remain faithful to the original recordings, but priority would definitely go towards the build quality and isolation that potential earphones would offer (willing to have a bit more color added if it means greater isolation/buld quality)

I spent my evening poking around that massive Joker review and was just now looking through some of those suggestions you gave. The UE900's look rather appealing, and I found the ATH-CK100's as well as the Shure 535's to fit my general criteria, so right now my only problem is finding a place where I can actually buy them, or at least try them for a listening test (I live in Vancouver, Canada and I couldn't seem to find a nearby retailer or reliable e-tailer other than EBay)
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by InternetSandman View Post

Well after looking more into the glossary of terms that the Joker review provided I can hopefully describe what I'm looking for a bit better. I want minimal color to the sound, something that will remain faithful to the original recordings, but priority would definitely go towards the build quality and isolation that potential earphones would offer (willing to have a bit more color added if it means greater isolation/buld quality)

I spent my evening poking around that massive Joker review and was just now looking through some of those suggestions you gave. The UE900's look rather appealing, and I found the ATH-CK100's as well as the Shure 535's to fit my general criteria, so right now my only problem is finding a place where I can actually buy them, or at least try them for a listening test (I live in Vancouver, Canada and I couldn't seem to find a nearby retailer or reliable e-tailer other than EBay)

Not only did you miss the Vancouver headphone meet I had in my sig, it appears you haven't found Headphone Bar as well (they stock the SE535s among other things). This is heavily disappointing. 

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