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How IEM characteristics are measured?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I am new to this forum and to the audiophile world. I am planning to buy an IEM for my daily use, so I was browsing through the IEM reviews.

I came across some terms like recessed mids, larger soundstage, darker, brighter etc. How are these measured? In may case, when I listen to a new set of headphone/earphone, I always compare it with my current set. Is there any threshold value or it is compared against the another IEM all the time? If it is latter then review become very subjective and may not be applicable to all of us. Please provide inputs.

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsha2 View Post

Hi,

I am new to this forum and to the audiophile world. I am planning to buy an IEM for my daily use, so I was browsing through the IEM reviews.

I came across some terms like recessed mids, larger soundstage, darker, brighter etc. How are these measured? In may case, when I listen to a new set of headphone/earphone, I always compare it with my current set. Is there any threshold value or it is compared against the another IEM all the time? If it is latter then review become very subjective and may not be applicable to all of us. Please provide inputs.

 

Majority of the time, with newer reviewers, it's all subjective.  Others will tell you what it is in contrast to.  Other times, they will only go with properties of sound (what I personally do).  In terms of how flat something is, the standard would probably be a neutral phone like an Etymotic or HiFiMan, flat when DF-EQ'd.

 

If you actually are talking about an actual measurement, they are done either by an ear simulator (more recent and new) or a 2cc coupler (older standard, I use this method when measuring).  It's then compensated for the error in the system using some RETC function and/or diffuse field (DF) compensation. 


Edited by tinyman392 - 6/6/13 at 11:50am
post #3 of 10

this is the problem with all sound related purchases, If you have no experience you kind if have to just shoot in the dark on a pair then learn what you like/don't like and try for a better pair next time around.

 

If you have an idea of what you want you can give us a shot, a lot of people on here have tried many IEM's, If you want a really detailed pair then don't cost to much and play it pretty safe in regaurds to sound id try the Shure SE215's, treble isn't harsh and shrill and they have a little extra bass which most people like, I thought they could use a little more treble sparkle but I wouldn't know that had I not owned a pair.
 

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsha2 View Post

....review become very subjective and may not be applicable to all of us.

This is true, and also products tend to have fans, who overstate qualities and promote their favourites, and detractors, who overstate faults and make unwarranted criticisms.

If you visit innerfidelity.com you can see tests and reviews where the test methodology is explained and consistent, with data from one product being comparable with data from another. This is accompanied by good, honest description by testers with broad experience. That is a very good combination.

With some experience of different products you can probably identify as expert, honest and helpful some people who offer their opinions and data using less formal means. There are people whose opinion is well worth noting even if they never make a single graph or use any instrument other than their ears. Then there's the other 95% of us....

Anyway if your budget is in the US $100 area I'd agree with others that the Shure SE215 is a good choice for daily use as it is well made, offers good isolation and has pleasant sound quality that doesn't become annoying (I've had mine for about 15 months).
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the information. :)

Currently I own a Brainwavz M2 which was also my 1st purchase, I have listened to my friend's cheap IEM and have always thought that M2 is superior. I fell in love with it. For me there was nothing better than this.

Now, left monitor is not working properly. So, I signed up and started to go through the reviews. In most of the reviews, it is said the IEM is very good. That made me confused. I saw some comparisons with M2 and found out that it is nothing. I never thought of those terms while enjoying my music through this great IEM (at least for me). I increased my budget to $120 to explore more. I know, It is far more than what I had paid for M2. That is why I wanted to know the review process. 

post #6 of 10
The usual failure of IEMs is in the cable. Shure SE215 are the cheapest IEM that has a replaceable cable.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by julian67 View Post

The usual failure of IEMs is in the cable. Shure SE215 are the cheapest IEM that has a replaceable cable.

 

Both the Vsonic VC02 and Thinksound TS02 are cheaper than the SE215 and have detachable cables. 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pazz View Post

Both the Vsonic VC02 and Thinksound TS02 are cheaper than the SE215 and have detachable cables. 

Are you sure about the Thinksound TS02? The specification doesn't mention a detachable cable, the cables go right into the earphones with no apparent connector. I don't think that is detachable. I've even read some quite detailed reviews where the cable is described and nobody mentions it being detachable. The price in UK is about £5 lower than the Shures.

As for the Vsonic, yes you are right, if they are available where you live. They aren't retailed here in the UK though of course you can always buy them from Hong Kong and China ebayers. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be possible to buy a spare cable wherever you are so if your cable breaks you have to buy a whole new set of VC02! This doesn't strike me as very useful. It's also worth noting that VSONIC no longer list the product on their website, nor any spares for it.

So I'll offer a slightly modified assertion:

The usual failure of IEMs is in the cable. Shure SE215 are the cheapest IEM with a detachable cable that is actually available to purchase.
post #9 of 10

ThinkSound TS02 has no removeable cable. 

post #10 of 10

A good reviewer will have calibrated themselves by comparing their perception to measurable differences in sound e.g. this.They should explain when something is highly subjective.

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