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An issue I seem to have with IEM's.

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello,

I have a bit of an issue and feel as though I may be doing something wrong.

 

I've tried to get into IEMs a few times, but every time I do the sound quality seems to be really lacking compared to equivalent full-size headphones. The two major IEMs I've owned are the Westone UM2 and now the Hifiman RE-600 and each time I try to get into IEMs, I'm turned off by some major issues in sound quality that I haven't heard of anyone else experiencing.

 

To me, every IEM I've tried sounds muffled and nasally, almost like I'm listening to music with a cold. Often they lack anything above the lower treble and don't have much bass extension. There's also a general lack of clarity, detail, punch, and realism to the sound as well as general speed and transients.

 

I must be doing something wrong, I haven't heard anyone else with the same issue and often hear how IEMs can easily sound as good as full-size headphones in a similar price bracket, but to my ears I've never heard an IEM that I would consider worth more than $100.

 

Is there anything I could possibly be doing wrong? I don't produce much earwax and have fairly clean ears, and I've tried numerous types of tips (I'm sitting next to 13 pairs of them right now).

 

I'd appreciate any help, I'd love to enjoy IEMs considering how convenient they are when on the go.

post #2 of 18

This is such an over generalisation and is completely untrue IMO. I personally like IEMs a lot and headphones not so much. Sure, some IEMs DO sound nasally and just plain wrong, but definitely not the majority. 

 

Maybe you don't have a good seal, which can cause vocals to sound thin and shrill as well as having little bass impact. The overall sound can be very tinny. 

post #3 of 18
Got my first IEM last week and I know now that a proper seal is crucial to get the bass,treble etc.
Otherwise it does sound thin and nasal!
Deep as possible into your ear and wiggle them around to get the best result.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post
 

This is such an over generalisation and is completely untrue IMO. I personally like IEMs a lot and headphones not so much. Sure, some IEMs DO sound nasally and just plain wrong, but definitely not the majority. 

 

Maybe you don't have a good seal, which can cause vocals to sound thin and shrill as well as having little bass impact. The overall sound can be very tinny. 

 

Either way, I'm pretty sure IEMs are not supposed to sound like what I'm hearing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversurfer616 View Post

Got my first IEM last week and I know now that a proper seal is crucial to get the bass,treble etc.
Otherwise it does sound thin and nasal!
Deep as possible into your ear and wiggle them around to get the best result.
 
I do believe I have a good seal, but I'll try harder. Though with the Westone I had such a good seal that it was actually difficult to remove them without breaking the seal first, and when pulling at them the suction actually hurt my eardrums quite a bit.
 
I'm using comply tips with the Hifimans right now.

Edited by Taowolf51 - 10/27/13 at 11:03pm
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry to double post, but I've tried fitting them as deep as possible into my ears with as much seal as possible and I seem to still be having issues. It seems to be the same problem that I had with the Westones, a bad seal gives no bass and okay highs, a good seal gives okay bass and no highs.

 

I did a back and fourth between the Hifimans and my Sennheiser Amperiors (which I think are merely okay sounding but very convenient) and they easily sound 2-3x better than the Hifimans. This is why I think there has to be something going on. If there wasn't such a monumental difference in sound, I would think that my preferences lean more towards larger headphones, but the sound difference is so stark that I can't imagine that I'm hearing the same thing out of IEMs as most other people.

 

Does anyone else have any insight on what could possibly be happening?

post #6 of 18

Is it possible that your IEM ports are blocked? Most of the time my IEM sounds dull, there is some blockage.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

There are filters in front of the ports, but that's how they're supposed to be stock (they even come with replacement filters).

post #8 of 18

Maybe it's just that your ear profile cannot take in an IEM. Probably you should try an IEM with the lowest diameter or an IEM with an angled design to see whether that helps with the fit.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

It's very possible. What do you mean by an angled design?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taowolf51 View Post
 

Sorry to double post, but I've tried fitting them as deep as possible into my ears with as much seal as possible and I seem to still be having issues. It seems to be the same problem that I had with the Westones, a bad seal gives no bass and okay highs, a good seal gives okay bass and no highs.

 

I did a back and fourth between the Hifimans and my Sennheiser Amperiors (which I think are merely okay sounding but very convenient) and they easily sound 2-3x better than the Hifimans. This is why I think there has to be something going on. If there wasn't such a monumental difference in sound, I would think that my preferences lean more towards larger headphones, but the sound difference is so stark that I can't imagine that I'm hearing the same thing out of IEMs as most other people.

 

Does anyone else have any insight on what could possibly be happening?

You tried a lot of tips but you tested the foam tips? For me the problem is the seal. Indeed, For me IEM's sound different than over the ear or on ear cans, but not THAT different, nasally or bad.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by juan1894 View Post

You tried a lot of tips but you tested the foam tips? For me the problem is the seal. Indeed, For me IEM's sound different than over the ear or on ear cans, but not THAT different, nasally or bad.

+1

I have fit problems, too. I get a great fit from Etymotic ER4Ps because of their unique foam tips. Big and spongy smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 18

Angled meaning, the design of the housing is not straight. I curves at an angle. e.g:- like the Hisound audio E212 in my signature.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by juan1894 View Post
 

You tried a lot of tips but you tested the foam tips? For me the problem is the seal. Indeed, For me IEM's sound different than over the ear or on ear cans, but not THAT different, nasally or bad.

 

I tried all the tips that the RE-400's came with at least once. The ones that sounded the best were the comply tips, but I'm still having the same issue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


+1

I have fit problems, too. I get a great fit from Etymotic ER4Ps because of their unique foam tips. Big and spongy smily_headphones1.gif
 
Are the foam tips different from comply tips?
 
And I don't really have fit issues, they fit and seal fine, I just don't get good sound.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zamorin View Post
 

Angled meaning, the design of the housing is not straight. I curves at an angle. e.g:- like the Hisound audio E212 in my signature.

 

 

Would the Westone UM2's count as an angled design? They are angled from where the drivers are to the port.

I had a pair of those awhile back and still had a problem, though I can't say if the problem was at the same level as what I'm experiencing now.

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taowolf51 View Post

Are the foam tips different from comply tips?

The Ety larger sized tips (I need the big ones) are more cushy and spongy kind of feel:



So they fit me different. Plus, the ER4Ps have a long, thin narrow shaft on the end. So I get a different insertion depth than with some other headphones. Don't know if that would help you or not.
post #15 of 18

Westone UM2's has an angled design but the angles are not the same as the E212. The E212 angles at about 65 degrees while the UM2's look like a 80-90 degree angle.

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