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< $200 non-isolating earphones?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

What's a good pair of earbuds that I can find (probably online) for less than $200 (preferably in the $70-$100 range)?

 

I'd like a pair that:

 

- is comfortable to wear

- does NOT isolate (partly for 'openness')

- doesn't really have an emphasis on bass or treble (aka. a "flat"/neutral response)

- will sound good un-amped (even though there MIGHT be times I'll run through an amp/dac)

 

I'm thinking of MAYBE in the near-future replacing my YUIN PK2 earphones I bought from ebay 2 years ago.  I found that their mids and highs sounded pretty good, the bass sounded alright but lacked extension unless I am holding/pushing them further into my ears.  They are starting to wear out now as the left speaker started to become slightly quieter than the right, and the right speaker distorts with moderate bass volume.  I'm sure most of the short-life problem may of been caused from the fact that I used to be a little careless of where I put them a year ago (they've gone through the wash a total of 3 times!)

 

My ears are not really that big for my age (18), so I want to make sure I get something that also suits my ear-size.

 

Any suggestions?

 

PS: For general home usage, I own a pair of Sennheiser HD518 open-back headphones (I'm aware that the 518s have some bass emphasis), connected to Samson GoMic's headphone output.

post #2 of 20

Earbuds that doesn't isolate?
Check out Apple EarPods, not an Apple fan but admittedly was impressed by its sound quality coming out of a $30 earphone. Its the latest model from Apple, don't confuse it with older versions, they're crap.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/629335/apple-earpods-appreciation-thread

post #3 of 20

Or maybe you can check-out HiSoundAudio PAA-1Pro. Compared to the sony headphone I got from Xperia, these are far better. The best I heard from a earbud so far.

post #4 of 20
The closest-to-neutral earbud I've tried is the Creative Aurvana Air. It is a clip on earbud, though I found them to be very comfortable.

There are a couple earbud comparison threads on this site that may also help steer you in the right direction, including an excellent one by ClieOS.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fnkcow View Post
 

Earbuds that doesn't isolate?
Check out Apple EarPods, not an Apple fan but admittedly was impressed by its sound quality coming out of a $30 earphone. Its the latest model from Apple, don't confuse it with older versions, they're crap.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/629335/apple-earpods-appreciation-thread

I've listened to the earpods from a friend's ipod before.  I found it is indeed a significant improvement from the ibuds, the mids are present, the treble caused it to have a dark sound, and the bass seemed a little artificial to me.  It's still an idea I was thinking about, I like how it fits on me.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zamorin View Post
 

Or maybe you can check-out HiSoundAudio PAA-1Pro. Compared to the sony headphone I got from Xperia, these are far better. The best I heard from a earbud so far.

Hmm very interesting.  Is there anywhere I can find a frequency response graph for that model?

 

Here's a measured frequency response graph of the Yuin PK2s (the model I got that is starting to die out):  http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=1093&scale=30

 

Also my main concern is how good would it be (fit-wise and sound) with my small ears?..  The Yuin PK2s already didn't have a great fit for me.

 

Keep the responses commin'!


Edited by ray890 - 9/13/13 at 3:32pm
post #6 of 20

I don't have the frequency graph of PAA-1Pro. I don't actually understand graphs but the ear buds themselves are a little big so fit could be an issue.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've read more on the PPA-1 Pros, and I've seen people mention that its sound is "consumer-friendly/fun", "warm with a mild emphasis on bass", and "non-analytical".

 

As much as I want a pair with great sound, what I meant by neutral is for the sound signature is to also be accurate and not be really colored and masking of poor-recordings or boosted in bass.  I'll be using them to listen to high-bitrate music, but at the same time I may be occasionally be editing audio recordings/memos on the go (not for critical song mastering purposes however).  Again, I have small ears, so I'd like some input on how a pair would fit and if it would be a problem. 

 

With what I said above, would you still recommend that pair, or could there be other options for me to look at?


Edited by ray890 - 9/13/13 at 2:53pm
post #8 of 20

I can't give you a proper opinion on it because I've only tried the sony and the PAA-1Pro ear buds. However ClieOS has done a comparison of 20 ear buds which will give you a lot more info.Here's the link:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/441400/earbuds-round-up-update-june-28th-2013

 

This is his opinion on the PAA-1Pro: 

  1. HiSound Audio PAA-1 Pro - Rich, warm but most neutral, smooth and relaxing. A bit slow and flat in dynamic.

Edited by zamorin - 9/13/13 at 6:50pm
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

anyone else with a direct answer for me?

post #10 of 20

I haven't listened to this pair myself, but why not go for the Sennheiser MX 985? Some may sell it for a bit over $200, but some reviews here say that they sound great.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray890 View Post
 

anyone else with a direct answer for me?

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/592098/the-hisoundaudio-live-my-new-favorite-earbud

 

i like the Hisoundaudio LIVE very much, very neutral imho. Very often i used it with a cheap sansa CLIP loaded with WAV music..

i can enjoy classical pieces with this earbud, no problem with clarity.

 

If u wan more bass ( i didnt need that ) ...just double sleeve the earfoam, with a hole cut out from the outer foam. it filled out the earhole thus giving u abit more bass.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

Both interesting suggestions.  I found the Sennheiser MX 985 and Hisoundaudio Living (which appears to be the Live with a different cable tip, I didn't see the Live) on ebay for around $150.  (if you guys recommend that I don't buy from ebay, tell me what website where the pair(s) can be bought at)

 

But now my concern is back to the fact that I have small ears.  How will either of those two fit on small ears like mine, and would it be problematic? (with or without the foam)


Edited by ray890 - 9/28/13 at 10:45am
post #13 of 20
Try Amazon. I dunno the size of the 985, but the Living is on the larger side with 16mm drivers. The 985 has better build, IMO, and is more ergonomic.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by re41verse View Post

Try Amazon. I dunno the size of the 985, but the Living is on the larger side with 16mm drivers. The 985 has better build, IMO, and is more ergonomic.

 

 

I'm Canada btw, and there are no results for Sennheiser MX 985 on the Amazon Canada website.  (while the USA Amazon site has 1 pair of these for uh.. $400?!)

 

Oh and, with my previous earbuds Yuin PK2 (not using the foam pads), while they were in my ears I felt the need to have the earbuds pushed constantly in my ears in order to get proper bass (people say, and a frequency response graph shows that the PK2 lack bass reproduction and have quite a roll-off anyway tho), which is probably a sign of them not fitting in my small ears properly.  With that in mind, would you assume the MX985s would have a problematic fit for me?


Edited by ray890 - 9/28/13 at 1:45pm
post #15 of 20
I can't speak for the 985, but given my auditioning of a low-end to entry-level MX earphones, I can say that the MX series is pretty large in general, save for the "for women" earphones, such as the 581. You may have fit problems with the 985, but it's better to try them on yourself.
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