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Suggestions for a decent $40-$70 IEM for electronic and rock music

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hello! My name is [Kishmond]!


A simple query for a suggestion directed me here to "do some research." Well, several very informative days later I think I need some live advice. I am as far from an audiophile as you can get; I just love to listen to music. I've stuck to cheap headphones all my life. Just now I'm using what I think are Panasonic RP-HJE120s that I literally picked up off the ground. I listen to my music on my computer or laptop (and rarely my phone) and I take these IEMs with me everywhere I go. I think it's time to put at least a little thought into quality.


I use my headphones to listen to a lot of rock, house, dubstep, EDM and so forth with a little PC gaming on the side. I really like bass but I don't want it to overwhelm everything else. I really don't like it when things sound muffled or like they're underwater.


When I listen to music I like to try to separate and visualize the instruments/sounds. I don't know if this is only something you'd find on higher quality equipment but I would prefer good distinction (that's what you call it, right?).


Oh, and I don't think this is normal, but these cheap headphones pick up radio signals from a tower nearby my dorm. I would rather my new set doesn't do that...


With zero previous experience a Soundmagic E90 or Audiofly AF56 seem to be sticking out. I wish I had a place I could do some listening and personal comparisons, but I live in a small town.

post #2 of 6




Audio Technica ATH-CKM500


I actually own both of these and I get pretty regular use out of them in spite of owning more expensive stuff. Both are on the bassy side of neutral and have very good resolution, headstage and blackspace around instruments. Both have huge dedicated threads at head-fi with lots of banter about strengths/weaknesses. Both are older designs by major Japanese audio companies and are selling pretty far below their introduction price. 


I like the JVC FXD70's a bit more, but they are a bit of an acquired taste.

post #3 of 6

Check out the MEElectronics A151P. I just reviewed them and they are great. 

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I should have mentioned that an inline microphone is a big plus.

The interference won't be a problem with a decent pair, right?


I see now the ATH-CKM500 has a version with a microphone. That's nice.

Edited by Kishmond - 11/7/13 at 9:34am
post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post

Audio Technica ATH-CKM500



post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

I should post a follow up now that I've used my ATH-CKM500 for a few months. I suppose you could consider this a novice review.


First thing, the L-adapter that came with the pair was defective. The stereo is messed up if it's plugged in firmly. If you unplug it just a bit it sounds okay. I didn't bother returning it since I don't really use the adapter anyway. On topic with accessories, I must have very small ear canals because the smallest size is the only one that's comfortable for me. The cord has a strong memory; I don't think it's ever been perfectly straight since I got it. The microphone works well and sounds clear as long as it's not bumping against things.


Honestly, at first I didn't really like the sound of it. My previous pair, and the only IEMs I've ever used, were super cheap. The difference was the CKM500 sounded "harsh". Comparing them it's clear my previous pair produced a good, but more muffled and less defined sound. Over time I think I got used to the sound of my new pair and I can't imagine going back now. Getting this made me realize I'm more of a bass head than I thought. The bass has about the same impact and clarity as my last pair and I find myself wishing for more sometimes. In addition, if a song is poorly mastered and has harsh highs (S and SH sounds) these IEMs only amplify that and make listening to them literally painful.


Good things! I really like that I can pick up more details in songs than I could before. Though I was hesitant at first I like the clearer and more defined sound. Reading that up there it seems like a lot of complaining but it's all pretty small stuff and overall I'm very happy with these.

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