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Help needed in finding a portable headphone/IEM for 400 Euros.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

I'm new on the forum but I've been looking around for quite some time actually. I've been looking for a portable headphone/IEM which I can use with my phone (HTC One X). A bit about myself. I'm 21 years old, living in Holland and slowly starting to become quite the audiophile and with a good set at home you'll need something good for on the road too.

 

The use:

On the road (read: public transport). But also during the late hours when my loudspeakers can't play as hard as I'd sometimes want too.

 

The music:

I'd say 75% of this is hip-hop (please don't recommend me Beats by Dre). The other 25% would be other genres like R&B, singer/songwriter and also movies/series.

 

The looks:

I like a simplistic headphone and can only cheer at the use of nice good quality materials. No big headphones for me, no flashing colors. Perfect headphone: Aëdle VK-1. Why is it important? I work in fashion (I can't even decide my own haircut) so they would have to be representable. Beats by Dre were recommended but no, just no.

 

The sound:

I am looking for a mostly neutral but leaning towards warm sound. The bass can be present (more than usual) but not bloated. Now I don't have much experience in (higher-end) headphones/IEM's but these are my experiences with some, just to get an idea of how I perceive sound.

 

B&W P3: Sounded very muffled, especially compared to the P5 which sounder better but a bit boring.

B&W P5: Very musical sounding but not really good compared to the Yamaha EPH-100.

Grado SR325is: A bit aggressive and not suitable for portable use because of the open design.

KEF M500: My phone can't drive it properly. Or sounds very thin, either way. I've always found KEF loudspeakers thin sounding.

Philips Fidelio M1: Sounds good, not much more to add. Haven't really auditioned this just a quick listen.

Sennheiser CX-300 II: Oke sounding, can't expect too much for the price. Really hate the asymmetrical cable.

Sennheiser Momentum: Sounds good, but not 300 Euros good. Rather go with the Philips M1 then.

Yamaha EPH-100: Great sound, really great sound but just doesn't match with my ears. My ears are quite small and these things hurt quite a bit after I insert them.

 

Now I've been looking for some headphones but most of them are really hard to find inside the Netherlands. Import is also an option (any EU country). Of course will I try to audition as many headphones as possible. This is my shortlist:

 

Aëdle VK-1: Just love the look of this headphone. And according to the only (English?) review I could find also a great product. Problem is he calls it a dark-sounding and I can't audition this myself, but I'm in love with it already :(

Beyerdynamic T51p: New so I'll have to audition this one myself, no problems with that.

B&W P7: Should be substantially better than the P5.

Fischer Audio TBA-04: Not out yet but could be a winner, I'll just wait for some reviews first.

Final Audio Design Heaven IV: What I've heard about the midrange attracts me.

Final Audio Design Pandora IV: On the expensive side but looks amazing, also see above. 

Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs v3.2: Might be a bit too large tho. Reviews are really amazing.

NAD VISO HP-50: I like the NAD amplifier sound, so why not give them a go.

Sennheiser IE-80: Not much too say, want to audition them that is all.

 

These are the products that did not make the cut, there are more but not in the 400 Euro pricerange, these are just some I wanted to point out:

 

B&W C5, P3 & P5: Just not good enough after hearing the Yamaha EPH-100's.

Fischer Audio DBA-02 Mk. II: I just expect the TBA-04 to be better, not the sound signature, just better.

PSB M4U1: 

Shure SE535: Horrific fit for my ears. Didn't even want to listen to them.

Yamaha HPH-PRO 500: It's the looks that ruined this thing. They look exactly like Beats, I don't like it.

 

So, the main question here is: Am I missing some brilliant (and good looking) headphones/IEM's?

post #2 of 15
I'd look more into the FAD line up, maybe the Heaven VI, or apparently the new Heaven II (more budget) are excellent for the price.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ostewart View Post

I'd look more into the FAD line up, maybe the Heaven VI, or apparently the new Heaven II (more budget) are excellent for the price.


The Heaven VI (which I believe) has a much better bass weight might be a bit too expensive (600 Euros). But if the difference in sound is worth it I can always reconsider.

 

According to a review (can't find it right now)  the differences between the IV and V are quite small but they cost twice as much. But I'll listen to all three. But seeing I am in the U.K. quite often (mostly in London) I could look for a (cheaper) store and audition them there.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

A bump, also do the portable headphones benefit a lot from a DAP? Rather not carry 2 products. Think iBasso DX50, FiiO X3 or Cowon Z2. Another interesting product (which contradicts my previous statement) is the FiiO E18, but I can't find much information on it. 

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rage038 View Post
 


The Heaven VI (which I believe) has a much better bass weight might be a bit too expensive (600 Euros). But if the difference in sound is worth it I can always reconsider.

 

According to a review (can't find it right now)  the differences between the IV and V are quite small but they cost twice as much. But I'll listen to all three. But seeing I am in the U.K. quite often (mostly in London) I could look for a (cheaper) store and audition them there.

 

On the contrary, the Heaven V and VI are more similar in performance and are noticeably better than the IV, based on MuppetFace's review of the Heaven V on MusicaAcoustics.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

By bad, some distortion in my memory. I thought the IV and V are closer related, because this was the review I was talking about. Then the Heaven V sounds like the better option. I'm not a basshead but I do like some power/weight to the bass. The Heaven V at € 359 fits nicely in my budget.

 

Still my question remains, are there headphones (apart from the obvious ones) that aren't on this list. The new Sony hybrid series looks interesting too, as does the TDK BA-200 (lower budget option, but the remaining money could fund a FiiO E18). I just want to venture the unknown.

post #7 of 15

To be honest, I'm not sure if the Heaven V will suit your tastes if you're looking for power/weight in the bass. I've had two people who tried my Heaven V and thought that it was a bit lacking in the bass. I actually had the same impression when I first got it, but then again I was coming from the CKS1000. I ended up getting used to the weaker bass presence so I don't mind anymore but I just thought I should give you a heads up. On the other hand, the mids are absolutely magical and soundstage and imaging are top notch. I would say that out of all of my headphones and IEMs, the Heaven V is the only one that still gives me chills every time I listen to them, even though I've had them for a couple months now.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

That would be a shame because I am really curious after this headphone. Everyone that talks about FAD products talks about the magical midrange. Do you have experience with the Yamaha EPH-100, this IEM has enough bass for me? Or do you have experience with the Pandora line headphones from FAD and then the Pandora IV. However I'm not limiting myself to FAD products only, but how every review describes the mids, I just got to have one.

post #9 of 15

Unfortunately, I haven't heard the EPH-100 so I can't help you there. I haven't been to any headphone festivals so no experience with the Pandora series either, but I'm already set on getting the Pandora VI, which I've heard is coming the end of October or November. I would highly recommend trying FAD's products though, esp the Heaven V/VI, the mids/imaging and just overall coherency of the music is worth it. They have a strange ability to make me forget about listening for the technical aspects of the earphone and just immerse me in the music. I'm pretty sure I'll never replace my Heaven V, unless it's with the Heaven VI haha.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

In that case I should just suck it up and buy a FAD product. Thanks for your help! However I can listen at the Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs at the same store that sells FAD so it's still a bit open.

 

Also still really curious if anyone has or has heard the Aëdle VK-1

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Again a bump, I'm really curious after the Aëdle VK-1 but really can't find much. Also the T-PEOS H-200 looks like a great IEM. But does it really need a dedicated amplifier?

 

I would consider something like the Nuforce MMP, or any other products of the same size (FiiO E6 or Fireye Mini Plus). I contemplated about buying a iBasso DX50 but I stream all my music with Spotify.


Edited by Rage038 - 10/21/13 at 7:51pm
post #12 of 15
I would recommend the Dunu DN-1000 over the T-Peos H200
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Man, another IEM :( there is just too much choice and worse is that since I live in Holland I have to order my stuff because most things aren't for sale here.

 

But would you also recommend the Dunu DN-1000 over the Heaven V. I feel like the Heaven V might lack bass impact, but the Fireye Mini+ does give me a bass boost option just for that extra thump.


Edited by Rage038 - 10/22/13 at 6:47am
post #14 of 15
Heaven doesn't lack bass punch. The Dunu will have more bass compared to heaven, but heaven has a more lush natural sound. The dunu is well detailed, but I prefer the FAD presentation
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'll stick with picking between the FAD Heaven V or Aëdle VK-1 then, thank you. Your blog was the reason I wanted an FAD in the first place by the way. Does the Heaven V gain something when amped by a small portable amplifier like the Nuforce MMP, which is more neutral sounding or the warm sounding Fireye Mini +. They aren't powerful by any means but they do offer more power than my HTC One X does.


Edited by Rage038 - 10/22/13 at 7:47am
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