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Are IEMs generally bright? What should one expect from IEMs?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

First post here, so greets to you all!!


I am looking to buy a pair of IEMs for both on-stage monitoring and entertainment.


I'm used to full-sized headphones (not very good ones) and studio monitors (decent ones), which are easy on the ear and give me a decent picture with good instrument separation. Live sound is always fluctuating so I don't base my assessment on it.


Today I tried IEMs (Shure SE215) for the first time, and my preconceived notions were absolutely SHATTERED. I am reading everywhere how "warm" and pleasant these earphones are, but my experience has not been farther from that. To my ears, the SE215 sounded:


- with pronounced upper mids: present, but too edgy for prolonged comfortable listening/monitoring

- bass was there, but certainly pulled back compared to the mids (please note that I don't like bassy speakers) 

- little instrument separation with all the mid-range sort of converging into a point

- not too bright to be sibilant, but definitely brighter than warmer


As pro equipment, I was expecting IEMs to be both clear and easy on the ear. I'd say the SE215 were clear and present, but certainly not easy and well-defined.


I don't want to jump to conclusions, but:


1. Can IEMs (with their size and limitations) even imitate real-world acoustics to create an enveloping sound?


2. Are they only supposed to emphasize instruments that are frequently monitored (e.g. vocals) or should they give you a great overall picture like studio monitors?


3. All in all, are balanced, warm and well-separating IEMs even a worthwhile goal?




post #2 of 4

Welcome to head-fi

Sorry about your wallet.


First, can you mention the source, which others headphones/IEMsyou used before? Maybe you're used to something else.


Second, I wouldn't suggest using the se215 for monitoring. Im kind of surprised reading your words. Bass is present in those, definitely not mid centered... 


Third, IEMs are limited to deliver a proper acoustic presentation if that what you're after. Full sized are better in that regard.


I had some troubles with the seal. Are you sure they sealed well? It does work only if you manage to get a decent seal...

Edited by squallkiercosa - 12/17/13 at 2:22pm
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

The source wasn't optimal, I'm afraid. I had to try them in a store, so I used an mp3 player. Even though that would certainly contribute to the poor result, the same source sounds far superior on studio monitors. I A/Bed before and after I went to the store.


I'm used to KRK RokitG2 monitors, which are not ideal, but are quite warm and detailed; very easy on the ear. Like I wrote, bass was certainly present in the SE215 but not primary. I don't complain about the bass. It's the overly emphasized mids and lack of separation that are discomforting.


I HAVE NEVER USED IEMs until today so this may be causing my bias, but I don't push my ears beyond comfort and high mids & highs seem deafening to me after a while. Maybe guitar players and seasoned musicians are acclimated to such sound, but to me it's too bright and impossible to listen to for long periods of time.


About the seal: well, I tried positioning them in multiple ways. They definitely isolated me from the outside completely, so I don't think that was the problem.


I just want to know if it is the SE215's or just IEMs in general. I simply don't know what to expect/look for.

post #4 of 4

I would say different IEMs have very different characteristics. Among the IEMs I have, all of them sounds different. Anyway this is a comment from a forumer who has both the Vsonic GR07BE and the Shure SE215:


I have both and the Shure don't even come close. The SE 215 are good for what they are, fun headphones for people that want a warm, not critical listening. They are outclassed by the V Sonics on pretty much everything, is not even a contest. In fact, they are not the best in their price bracket, and in fact even headphones that are cheaper, like the Dunu's Landmine, are better. Of course, personal preference plays a huge part in our selection, and you might prefer the Shure's sound signature. So they are not better but you might end up enjoying them more.
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