I have been doing a lot of research for this for the past few weeks and nailed it down to pretty much to these two IEMs. Before you say they are vastly different, let me explain.
I want to upgrade from the Bose MIE2i that I have been using. I will use these IEMs exclusively with my iphone 5s and using Spotify 320 kbps. They will rarely see any other device. My question is, for someone like myself who is not a professional music producer, can my untrained ears see the difference between these two IEMs? I know they are $400 apart in terms of the price, but is that difference very visible?
I am a firm believer of paying top dollar for something that is worth. I have no problems spending $549 for the 535 LTD if I believe that it's worth the price - to my "unprofessional/untrained" ears:) The reason why I have 215 in the mix is because I am either going to get something entry level and be okay with it and if not, I will get the best money can buy and enjoy it. I would like to know how different these two IEMs sound and how much of an improvement 535 is over the 215.
That being said, I'm a bit worried that I will pay a lot of money for the expensive IEMs and not realize the difference. The problem is, I have been to a lot of shops, including B&H, Adorama, and J&R, and none of them allow you to try these on. The only thing I can do is to come here and ask for advice.
I mainly listen pop, rock, country, and metallica. My ears are a little big, so the size of the 535 is not a problem.
I also want to add that I did consider Westone's W4, IE80, and even PF232, but they all had their shortfalls. Quality control problems and not so good seal (or at least, not as good as 535's 37 db seal) were a few of the problems. That being said, feel free to recommend another brand. I am willing to pay up to $500, as long as it's justified.
I am using my AMEX card for this purchase and I hope to double the 2 year warranty to 4 which is a good amount of time to keep these headphones.
Thanks for your time.