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The New Age of Portable Audio - Page 3

post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

 

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. 

 

 

 

Yeah, I was never a true-believer of the custom hype even at it's most popular.  I'm not saying they weren't worth it for people, but just that they never appealed to me personally.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't really wish for a pair of JH13s when they first came out, though.  

 

Jerry Harvey had indicated at one point that he was going to introduce a universal-custom version of the JH13pro, but that was years ago.  It's neat to see how competitive the landscape has become since I first became interested in IEMs back in the day.  The downside is that this section of the forum has become overrun by teenagers, IMO. 

post #32 of 40

As a side note to this interesting thread, keep in mind that many established custom iem companies, and some newer ones, have their primary market in pro-audio and stage musicians. Head-fi is a tiny, tiny, tiny slice of a large audio market with many facets. There's a custom company which has a small presence on head-fi and they are absolutely flooded with business--pro-musician business, that is. I'm not naming names, but there are even custom companies who don't care a bit about hf because their business is doing very, very, very well and they know very well that trying to over-grow could lead them away from the high-quality service and attention to detail that their rockstar clients expect. We've seen that last outcome happen several times on hf.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, Skullcandy is actually the largest sellers of earphones in terms of sales, but has little presence here. Think about that.

 

So, yeah, it's nice to see the new custom companies. Aurisonics, for example, is here to stay (although head-fi and everyone outside of pro-audio is tiny, tiny percentage of their customer base) and it's nice to see high-end universal fit iems, too. Just as people have noted, universal fit can be much more convenient in several ways, although they aren't for everyone. One important point with customs is that even with perfect fit--the fit still isn't perfect! Like a universal tip that fits your ear, a custom that fits right still needs adjustment, occasional prodding/pulling/etc. in the ear. Also, some people have weird and wrong ideas about "perfect isolation" with customs when a deeply inserted foam tip can get even better isolation, if that's what one is looking for.

 

Customs will always have their place and the end fit can be worth the inconvenience (three refits and a rebuild for me--I worked with companies in the U.S. in the beginning, so it was far easier and I strongly recommend working in-country to start with customs). For stage use, customs are mostly the way for more successful bands. A custom shell universal fit like the Tralucent 1plus2 is seriously clumsy for stage use, for example.

 

So, a new age on head-fi, sorta.

post #33 of 40

To be honest with you the trend I'm witnessing isn't fewer customs.  In point of fact the number of companies serving that market has grown by leaps and bounds.

 

What has happened is that the portable audio market has eclipsed the home stereo/audio market.  Apple changed the world; people today prefer to listen on the go and the rapid proliferation of cell phones, tablets and progressively lighter and smaller computers has made that the norm.

 

The real trend right now is hybrids.  The high end universals making waves (Tralucent 1+2, AKG 3003, Aurisonics ASG-2 etc...) all share that property.

post #34 of 40

Another stray thought: Some people are posting about customs and focusing on a 'huge financial risk.'  This may be the case if you're aiming for something from the top of the product range but the truth is there are a lot of companies offering customs for much, much less.  It's not  much of a risk to dip your toe in the lower end of the market to learn if the custom route is right for you.  Personally I think customs are a great use of portable audio dollars.

post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviltooth View Post

 

What has happened is that the portable audio market has eclipsed the home stereo/audio market.  Apple changed the world; people today prefer to listen on the go and the rapid proliferation of cell phones, tablets and progressively lighter and smaller computers has made that the norm.

 

Sorry, off topic, why must apple be brought into this?

I was using mp3 players before ipods, listening to mp3 music on pc's without itunes, and my first cell phones had nothing to do with apples. Never liked Macs...

Actually, never used a crappy apple earbud.

 

But, the fine world of Grados, Sennheiser, Denon's, AKG, etc have all changed my world for the better...

 

Anyway, sorry for the rant.

 

Back to the thread topic.

post #36 of 40

Another point is that most people elsewhere don't buy an earphone so they can sell it later. In fact, the idea that people on hf are dumb enough to buy things used for very close to new price is a bit bonkers. I've often talked to well-regarded people on hf saying they sold high-end things which were defective but they didn't mention it --oops a driver is busted, too bad for the buyer, etc.

 

Getting a lower-end custom and taking the time to make sure you get a great fit that's nicely comfortable and you can kiss head-fi good bye and enjoy a very nice sound for years if you treat them right and keep away from moisture, monster trucks, ball-peen hammers and sulfuric acid.


Edited by Kunlun - 6/16/13 at 7:31pm
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlsan View Post

 

Sorry, off topic, why must apple be brought into this?

I was using mp3 players before ipods, listening to mp3 music on pc's without itunes, and my first cell phones had nothing to do with apples. Never liked Macs...

Actually, never used a crappy apple earbud.

 

But, the fine world of Grados, Sennheiser, Denon's, AKG, etc have all changed my world for the better...

 

Anyway, sorry for the rant.

 

Back to the thread topic.

 

That may be the case, but apple revolutionized what people want from their devices. Nowdays, one's camera, mp3 player, gameboy, phone, and a plethora of other devices are all integrated within one small handheld. Every modern candy bar style phone is a result of their change.

 

His point is that people no longer want monolithic systems to enjoy audio, as evidenced by the decline of old-style receivers.

 

Love them or hate them, you have to respect them.

post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

 

That may be the case, but apple revolutionized what people want from their devices. Nowdays, one's camera, mp3 player, gameboy, phone, and a plethora of other devices are all integrated within one small handheld. Every modern candy bar style phone is a result of their change.

 

His point is that people no longer want monolithic systems to enjoy audio, as evidenced by the decline of old-style receivers.

 

Love them or hate them, you have to respect them.


Exactly so.  I'm not an Apple fan and over the past few years have only owned one Ipod; I don't like Apple's 'walled garden' approach and I don't personally utilize their products.  That doesn't stop me from recognizing their obvious influence.

 

I do adore home audio and proper surround sound with a quality receiver (or separates) and great big speakers that makes women say: "Why do you need speakers that take up so much space?"  Having said that, of late all my audio dollars are going towards portable equipment.  I'm traveling a lot and living in smaller spaces.  The quality of portable audio has increased by leaps and bounds over the past few years and the bang for the buck is currently very impressive.

post #39 of 40

Don't get me wrong, I love home audio - but you kinda have to sit in one place to get the best sound - pick something off the coffee table and your L/R balance is shot to hell - the soundstage goes screwy. Portable audio stays the same no matter where I go. That was one of the things I love about mobile audio - If you spend enough on high end equipment (and they have been taking into account the driver seat phase situation for almost 20 years) you can make that car sound like a concert hall, a jazz club - a living room. So yeah - there is still a lot of untaped potential in portable audio. The Apple situation is an interesting one - you can take them or leave them - but people now demand their portable device work well and be screwed together properly - and if it happens to look stylish - super. Just think if all the people who demand a quality device, demanded quality sound? Hoo-boy.

post #40 of 40

this may be of interest to the digitally challenged or those wanting to learn...

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/668456/chord-qutehd-dac-pulse-array-teconology-discusion-thread

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