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post #16 of 40

Since such a thread came up, might as well share my views.

 

I believe people went for CIEMS because it was the right upgrade to TOTL universals in the past.

But things are changing, we're seeing technology make things smaller, making drivers sound really fantastic yet small, the ie800

and also lots of other offering such as the latest shure to hit the market. 

 

I've believed u still couldn't stuff in 6 or 8 drivers and make it a universal shell, it will probably drop out of your ears, then thats when 

customs come in to give a better fit. But we all know technology is the way to go, instead of just plainly add on the number of drivers.

This technology will make iems even smaller, even lighter, ie800 seems to have accomplished that, im sure other few manufacturers will

follow suit.

 

While both ciems and uiems have their place, we should be seeing lesser ciems popularity among audiophiles very soon.


Edited by muscular - 6/11/13 at 9:48am
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by smial1966 View Post

Perhaps I was unlucky but my CIEM were the most uncomfortable things that I've ever had the misfortune to insert into my ears. Perhaps the audiologist screwed up or I'm just not compatible with molded acrylic, but dang they gave me earache after about 20 minutes of use. My frustration boiled over last summer when the cable plastic split and I'd had enough, so I inserted them into the scarecrow guarding the field of crops behind my house. That made me laugh no end as I wonder whether the farmer noticed them when he removed the scarecrow for the winter.

 

Cheers,

Andy.  

Help me with this - you had customs - the cable went bad - then you threw the entire assembly away in a cornfield (Billy Mumy reference intended) - something is missing. I have to say that if they gave you that much trouble from the beginning - and you chose not to have a refit done - then disposed of them (I'm assuming you paid a bit for these) - I'm not trying to flame you here. Either you didn't do your homework - or they were given to you as a gift - or something else that would help this make sense. There is something missing from the story. Can I ask what brand and model these were?

 

Cheers normal_smile%20.gif

post #18 of 40

Ivabign,

 

In retrospect a bit more info on my part would of been helpful! I returned to the Audiologist twice and had the CIEM refitted once - as this involved shipping them back to China. They were Melody Miracles and alas never fitted properly.

 

Cheers,

Andy. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post

Help me with this - you had customs - the cable went bad - then you threw the entire assembly away in a cornfield (Billy Mumy reference intended) - something is missing. I have to say that if they gave you that much trouble from the beginning - and you chose not to have a refit done - then disposed of them (I'm assuming you paid a bit for these) - I'm not trying to flame you here. Either you didn't do your homework - or they were given to you as a gift - or something else that would help this make sense. There is something missing from the story. Can I ask what brand and model these were?

 

Cheers normal_smile%20.gif

post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by smial1966 View Post

Ivabign,

 

In retrospect a bit more info on my part would of been helpful! I returned to the Audiologist twice and had the CIEM refitted once - as this involved shipping them back to China. They were Melody Miracles and alas never fitted properly.

 

Cheers,

Andy. 

 

That's what I call disposable income!biggrin.gif

post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodcans View Post


SF, I am in agreement with your original post. I have experienced what you have described first-hand over the past several years. I have gone through several mid to high end universals (Shure, Ety, Westone, Senn) before embarking on the CIEM route with JH13 followed by JH16. After some time with the customs, I found myself using them less and less, followed by almost never. I have since sold them and moved on to more current universals (FAD and Senn(though now sold)). I certainly have been getting much more musical enjoyment out of the current crop of UIEMs. And I think cooper mentioned that the fit was the least liked aspect of customs, which I also found to be true in my case. In short, I won't be going back to customs soon.
 

 

Precisely. Same story for me. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smial1966 View Post

Perhaps I was unlucky but my CIEM were the most uncomfortable things that I've ever had the misfortune to insert into my ears.

 

Yeah, I do not find customs confortable at all. Shoving giant chunks of acrylic into your ears is not fun. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

 

I'm very glad the market is growing and offering more, different options for everyone; but that hardly takes away from the unique benefits of custom IEMs.

 

Yes, like I said there are a few that need the isolation and actually do find customs comfortable. For the rest of us, everything is changing, for the better. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smial1966 View Post

 

I returned to the Audiologist twice and had the CIEM refitted once - as this involved shipping them back to China. They were Melody Miracles and alas never fitted properly.

 

 

Yet another horror story. So unnecessary. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by muscular View Post

 

While both ciems and uiems have their place, we should be seeing lesser ciems popularity among audiophiles very soon.

 

You highlight my idea that it is definitely in part technology driven. That technology is progressing quickly right now. 


Edited by SoundFreaq - 6/11/13 at 10:30am
post #21 of 40

By their very nature, customs will always be a small portion of IEM sales - but if we had actual numbers, I would venture to say that the custom business is expanding - there will always be a place for something that has exclusivity and artistry combined with advanced technology. When the inconsistencies of impressions can be minimized - whether it be by laser or other some such 3D scanning technology - the market can increase further. But of course, never to the extent of corporate universal sales numbers. I see it as more of a designer vs off-the-rack sales approach. Like clothing, there will always be stylish duds available for purchase - but there will also be "tuners" that attract a loyal following. From what I see and hear, it is the process that remains out of the hands of the custom manufacturers that creates the most trouble - once that is minimized - or even done away with - both the universal and custom manufacturers can flourish and we, the consumers of fine audio, can enjoy the fruits of their labors.

post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

My custom is infinitely more comfortable than any universal I have tried regardless of tip rolling.  

 

You are one of the lucky ones (relative to customs). They work well for many people. However there are also many people who have found them annoying to varying degrees. We are starting to speak out. 

 

And we are lucky now too. Not only are there excellent universals entering the market but also excellent tip options. The later includes a variety of sophisticated tips that are far more comfortable than the old TF10 offerings - I personally am really liking the Sony Hybrids but there are others. In addition, Comply have expanded their line to new shapes and sizes that are a real improvement over previous offerings.

post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

 

You are one of the lucky ones (relative to customs). They work well for many people. However there are also many people who have found them annoying to varying degrees. We are starting to speak out. 

 

If someone who stated that his customs were the most comfortable IEM he had ever used was one of "the lucky ones" - there would be no custom business to speak of - no one would buy them. I have worked in the broadcast industry - also worked in music management. Part of my research that went into my decision to purchase customs was to talk to some of the musicians I know. Based on that research, less than 5% had an issue with fit. Most did not cheap out and look for the cheapest way to have their impressions made. I believe this is the main issue - fit. Just look at the threads on Head-Fi where the promise of a cheap intro to customs is trumpeted. The Inearz and Inearcustom and others that have received posts in bunches and views in thousands - and instant sales that have compromised their ability to function smoothly - they send you out a kit and you mix it and make your own impressions. Now I don't doubt there are a few here that can do this without consequence, but most cannot. These threads are chock-full of  posts from disillusioned purchasers re: fit. Starting to speak out? lol - Maybe with the advent of the cheap custom, the complaints are increased. It also could be that there are many more companies offering customs. With the prices dropping, there are more folk who are stretching their financial pocketbook to buy into customs. They inundate these companies. And when people stretch boundaries, they often cut corners. Impressions are the easiest place to cut. If someone is who is strapped for cash looks in his city for an audiologist - and one is $100 and the other is $45 - guess who usually wins? I've said this before - the only link in the chain the manufacturer has no control over is impressions. Now I would agree that if you looked for the cheapest CIEM and did your own impressions - and then had no issue with fit or timing - then you might be considered one of "the lucky ones"bigsmile_face.gif

post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

The new age of Portable Audio

 

The rise of universals and the slow decline of custom IEMs

 

There is a paradigm shift occurring with universals that is shaking portable audio to its core. The old-schoolers are having trouble wrapping their brains around what’s happening, and the new guys are thrilled at the plethora of seemingly new and exciting toys to play with at all price levels – and it may even be confusing.

 

Just a few years ago, there was a decided division between universals and customs, unless you were a fan of rare esoteric, extremely expensive universal IEMs. The universal was where you began. Then you would top out with an SE535 or W4, then start the custom gamble. Customs were the next tier in sound quality. This was a typical path.

 

That it not the case any longer. There are new universals that question the entire existence of customs for many people.

 

People’s preferences vary so greatly. If you’re lucky enough to demo a custom, that’s great, but most of us take the word of our piers around here. And owner bias says of course something you spent $1000 on will sound good.

 

Many people took the gamble of customs. Some lucked out, some did not. If you don't love them, you're stuck. This is assuming they fit you right and you don't have to go back and forth getting them refit, or even worse, go back to the audiologist. And overseas (even CONUS) shipping is costly and takes so much time. Then you inevitably grow out of them at some point.

 

The top universals are just as good if not better. They maintain their resale value if you choose to move on to something else. And you never outgrow them. Plus, you have the option of tip-rolling to tweak the sound to your preference if it’s close to what you like.

 

Unless you need superb isolation in a portable package, I see no use for customs. Some argue comfort. But I found nothing comfortable about shoving giant pieces of acrylic up your ears. Universals have less touch-points, and to me are much more comfortable.

 

That is my opinion.

 

There are too many top universals available to take the gamble on a custom these days.

 

Not only have top universals come to dethrone the top customs, but also the quality of the new universals in the middle price-range is becoming more and more impressive. People are comparing the $400 Flat4 SUI to the TG!334. Rhapsodio to Tralucent. Price is becoming less important, and is not an indicator of performance, moreso than ever before.

 

The entire landscape of portable audio is changing, and changing quickly. Less weight is being put into accuracy and graphs, and more weight placed on pure musical enjoyment and how an audio device tugs at your heartstrings. Sometimes the earphone that you connect with emotionally doesn’t look so good on paper. That’s one of the most important things you can learn, and the new onslaught of universal variety is showing people this truth.

 

At the end of the day, this new landscape will force innovation across the portable spectrum. We’re seeing new offerings from the established guys, like Shure and Westone. Now they are playing catch up.

 

The new offerings are outstanding, and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of new offerings in the making. The old guys, and the new, need to put away with the previous structure, the previous hierarchy that defined portable audio a few years ago. A new day has dawned, an exciting day. Every new offering should be evaluated in this new light. What was before is no more. We are experiencing a renaissance in the portable audio field, and it’s exciting. Lets all hop on board and enjoy the ride.

 

Cheers

 

A very good read. I am awaiting the Stage Diver 3 from Inear who are custom experts. They are obviously seeing much of what you have said and trying to bring "Custom level" sound to the average consumer. I have never owned a custom iem and actually not that enthused on going through the whole process. I appreciate that with a custom you have in theory more space to fit X amount of drivers but to be honest, I doubt we are talking about a big difference, especially if you have small ears (not me).

I think we may see more of this as the percentage of buyers are scared off by the high price tag and combine that with the whole process, including a refit if required, it makes more sense to tap into the "ordinary" audiophiles.

post #25 of 40

As someone speaking from experience of having a very very mixed bag trying to get customs (see my various posts across the various threads if you want to know more!) I look on the rise of the universal custom as a good thing.  When I was first interested in trying customs I was at the sennheiser ie7/tf10 sort of level (tf10 bought in the sales obviously).  I just couldn't bring myself to take the next step into higher priced territory (oh those WERE the days!)for universals.  Then reshelling became the next big thing, customs at a cheap (ish!) price? Yes please.  That was the start of a very slippery slope for me.  Many attempts across three (yes never say quit!)different companies and I am only now getting hopefully to the point of having a good fit, and that is only because of the extraordinary patience and willingness of Cosmic Ears (see thread to save repeating stuff).  Now that said, if I had the chance to go back to the start with the knowledge of what was to come would I go down the custom route again knowing now what I do?  Not particularly if I'm honest.  With the rise of good to excellent universals in the likes of shure, westone, phonak (soon to be no more sadly)heir and so on (please don't take offence if your favourite iem manufacturer isn't mentioned!)there really isn't the need (desire perhaps)to go to all the faff of getting impressions done (not cheap if multiple ones are needed), postage (again not cheap if refits are required)duties to be paid and so on.  I should explain that I am lucky enough to be able to wear headphones at work for most of the day if I choose.  I work in a fairly loud environment and so isolation is important to me.  The idea of just getting the headphones out, popping them in your ears and not have to worry about tips or fittings or what not was (and still is obviously!) hugely appealing to me, but the reality has turned out to be somewhat different.  If I had it over again I would probably have just bought a westone (at the time I started this whole venture the 4 was the new kid on the block which just goes to show how long I have been at this!)or equivalent, a butt load of comply and had done with it!

 

I'm sure the above will not apply to everyone, and I wish all who choose to go down the custom route the very best of luck and pray that you do not have the sort of trouble that I (and it seems others) have encountered, but please please look around and do the research before handing over the $$$£££'s!

 

Cheers

post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post

By their very nature, customs will always be a small portion of IEM sales -

 

Absolutely.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post

 If someone is who is strapped for cash looks in his city for an audiologist - and one is $100 and the other is $45 - guess who usually wins? I've said this before - the only link in the chain the manufacturer has no control over is impressions.

 

Exactly, which is such a shame. When looking for an audiologist make impressions, I look for the most experience, price is never a consideration when dropping $1k on customs. basshead.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinth View Post

 

A very good read. I am awaiting the Stage Diver 3 from Inear who are custom experts. They are obviously seeing much of what you have said and trying to bring "Custom level" sound to the average consumer. I have never owned a custom iem and actually not that enthused on going through the whole process. I appreciate that with a custom you have in theory more space to fit X amount of drivers but to be honest, I doubt we are talking about a big difference, especially if you have small ears (not me).

I think we may see more of this as the percentage of buyers are scared off by the high price tag and combine that with the whole process, including a refit if required, it makes more sense to tap into the "ordinary" audiophiles.

 

Agree, and interested in that Stage 3. Let me know how it goes!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidcotton View Post

 

I'm sure the above will not apply to everyone, and I wish all who choose to go down the custom route the very best of luck and pray that you do not have the sort of trouble that I (and it seems others) have encountered, but please please look around and do the research before handing over the $$$£££'s!

 

Cheers

 

 

Yes!! And even then, we rely on the opinions of other a lot around here. Everyone hears differently. And everyone has preference tweaks that cannot be relayed to the needed extent through the opinions of others. 


Edited by SoundFreaq - 6/16/13 at 4:57pm
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post

By their very nature, customs will always be a small portion of IEM sales - but if we had actual numbers, I would venture to say that the custom business is expanding - there will always be a place for something that has exclusivity and artistry combined with advanced technology. When the inconsistencies of impressions can be minimized - whether it be by laser or other some such 3D scanning technology - the market can increase further. But of course, never to the extent of corporate universal sales numbers. I see it as more of a designer vs off-the-rack sales approach. Like clothing, there will always be stylish duds available for purchase - but there will also be "tuners" that attract a loyal following. From what I see and hear, it is the process that remains out of the hands of the custom manufacturers that creates the most trouble - once that is minimized - or even done away with - both the universal and custom manufacturers can flourish and we, the consumers of fine audio, can enjoy the fruits of their labors.

 

While they may be a small proportion of IEM sales generally, there was a period during which I think customs became a much more popular product within the head-fi community than is perceived.  I think that's why you see some backlash amongst users who were sold on the virtues of customs as something other than a niche product. 

 

Again, my perception is that a few years ago, after the release of the W3 and Shure 530 and triple.fi, there was a lull in the market for new top end universals and that customs filled that gap.  I think universal manufacturers recognized that they'd lost out on a growing market in the $500+ range for high-end IEM's and are now trying to fill that gap by releasing universals that try to capture some of the market that customs usurped from them.  If universal manufacturers didn't believe that a lot of the customers going for expensive customs were doing so because of a lack of alternatives in that price tier for universals, then I don't think they would be as successful as they've been in re-capturing some of that market.  They believe that there are a lot of people out there that went for customs that probably would have gone for a universal if there'd been a competitive alternative. 

post #28 of 40

What an interested tread. I was starting to think the same.  I mean, I have a $200 iem that is better than most $400 iem(imo of course).

post #29 of 40

I think the faster product cycle of universals is decreasing the appeal of customs.  A custom is a longer term commitment, but the paradox is that the same people that are inclined to shell out big money for customs are the same demographic that has an especially short attention span when it comes to keeping equipment. 

post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post

 

They believe that there are a lot of people out there that went for customs that probably would have gone for a universal if there'd been a competitive alternative. 

 

x2   I think that's entirely a large part of it, whether it was intentional or not. 

 

You're right. The customs jumped on the mid-tier gap first. But universals will fit that roll so much more aptly. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post

I think the faster product cycle of universals is decreasing the appeal of customs.  A custom is a longer term commitment, but the paradox is that the same people that are inclined to shell out big money for customs are the same demographic that has an especially short attention span when it comes to keeping equipment. 

 

Ha! perhaps. The best universals will always be in style tongue.gif And you can rotate your inventory to stay on the game with universals. Customs, you're all outta luck. 

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