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Which top-level universal IEM?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi guys. I’m looking to upgrade my Panasonic HJE900 to a top-level universal IEM, but I’m finding it hard to make a choice, especially given how hard it is to audition all the candidates. Hopefully some of the knowledgeable people here can lend me some of their experience. I had been thinking of the Shure SE846 or the Earsonics S-EM6 but there might be others (available in the UK) I should think of too. The 1plus2s sound like they're great, too.

 

Main source is an unamped Cowon J3 (to also be upgraded down the line – ‘phones first though) and FLACs.

 

Music ranges from hard/classic/progressive rock (Zeppelin, Floyd, Beatles, Dream Theater to pick four big and fairly differing ones) to classical (orchestral, chamber and in particular solo piano)  to showtunes to various other things.

 

They need to be hard-hitting with stuff like Zep and DT while also detailed across the range, with treble that is smoother and less fatiguing than the Panasonics while still providing the requisite energy and sparkle required for those violins and electric guitars, with mids that bring out the best in the vocals in something like Les Mis.

 

I really liked my Ortofon e-Q7s before they broke (particularly their detail), except that they were just a bit too relaxed. I mitigated this to an extent with the J3’s EQ but I know I can do better. I like what I hear about the Sony EX1000, but the apparent isolation issue puts me off them, as I will do a lot of walking with these in and would have problems with wind noise.

 

I am actually open-minded about different sound signatures, but I guess an ideal might be close to a very mild V. Enough bass to give a good kick and sense of body without getting to basshead proportions, and enough treble to justice to the energy and top-end detail of the music without getting too bright and tiring. And ideally no recession in the mids. A nice compromise between analytical and musical.

 

Asking a lot, but at this kind of price point I don’t think it’s unreasonable to do so. But where should my money go? Help me please Head-Fi!

 


Edited by TheHound - 1/22/14 at 3:06pm
post #2 of 8

For that money, why don't you look at custom?

post #3 of 8

I just got the SE846's and I can say that the bass impact is definitely more pronounced than my old SE535's and my Westone UM3x's.  When I listen to the SE535's and UM3x's now it just sounds like something is missing.  I was really amazed at how much fuller bodied the SE846's sounded since I was a bit skeptical about whether or not they'd sound THAT much better.  Anyway, I'm not sure if that helped or not but I am really impressed so far with the SE846's.

 

I also have a pair of used Sennheiser IE800's coming in the mail since I have heard that they sound fantastic and more like open air cans so I'm excited to try those out as well and think that they actually might pair well with the SE846's for different uses.

post #4 of 8

I dont listen to a lot of older rock, but I really enjoy my Noble 6.  Detailed throughout, great non-fatiguing but not lacking highs, bass I find depends on the player and amp.  I used to have the J3 and loved it but now I use the Corda PCStep at work and I feel sometimes its a tad too much bass on some songs but I use my DX50 and O2 at home.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by adupree View Post
 

For that money, why don't you look at custom?

 

A few reasons really.

 

1. I want decent isolation for walking outside; at the same time, 100% isolation such as I imagine you get with customs might be dangerous when walking by the canal with my dog off his lead or generally around streets. It's one reason why I'm considering the MDR-EX1000 again. Maybe the isolation isn't quite as bad as some seem to claim; maybe they would actually suit my needs quite well.

2. I can't be bothered to go through the rigmarole of getting the casts done, sending them probably abroad unless I settle on a UK custom, then sending them off again if there any fit problems as I have read sometimes arise.

3. Resale options

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangfj View Post
 

I just got the SE846's and I can say that the bass impact is definitely more pronounced than my old SE535's and my Westone UM3x's.  When I listen to the SE535's and UM3x's now it just sounds like something is missing.  I was really amazed at how much fuller bodied the SE846's sounded since I was a bit skeptical about whether or not they'd sound THAT much better.  Anyway, I'm not sure if that helped or not but I am really impressed so far with the SE846's.

 

I also have a pair of used Sennheiser IE800's coming in the mail since I have heard that they sound fantastic and more like open air cans so I'm excited to try those out as well and think that they actually might pair well with the SE846's for different uses.

 

Sounds good. One thing that puts me off the Shures is the different filters; a great idea in theory, but for someone like me I'd always be concerned that I might prefer one of the other filters, and would be forever fiddling without making up my mind. Not a dealbreaker, though, if they really are that good.

 

Do you find the bass to compromise the mids or highs at all? Do they convey a lot of detail and energy to go with the bass impact?

 

What kinds of music have you been listening to through them?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by caracara08 View Post
 

I dont listen to a lot of older rock, but I really enjoy my Noble 6.  Detailed throughout, great non-fatiguing but not lacking highs, bass I find depends on the player and amp.  I used to have the J3 and loved it but now I use the Corda PCStep at work and I feel sometimes its a tad too much bass on some songs but I use my DX50 and O2 at home.

 

I will give them a look, thanks.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I like the sound of the HiFiMan RE-600s too, though I don't know how well they would suit my requirements?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHound View Post
 

 

A few reasons really.

 

1. I want decent isolation for walking outside; at the same time, 100% isolation such as I imagine you get with customs might be dangerous when walking by the canal with my dog off his lead or generally around streets. It's one reason why I'm considering the MDR-EX1000 again. Maybe the isolation isn't quite as bad as some seem to claim; maybe they would actually suit my needs quite well.

2. I can't be bothered to go through the rigmarole of getting the casts done, sending them probably abroad unless I settle on a UK custom, then sending them off again if there any fit problems as I have read sometimes arise.

3. Resale options

 

 

Sounds good. One thing that puts me off the Shures is the different filters; a great idea in theory, but for someone like me I'd always be concerned that I might prefer one of the other filters, and would be forever fiddling without making up my mind. Not a dealbreaker, though, if they really are that good.

 

Do you find the bass to compromise the mids or highs at all? Do they convey a lot of detail and energy to go with the bass impact?

 

What kinds of music have you been listening to through them?

 

 

I will give them a look, thanks.

 

I actually have not switched filters at all on the Shures.  The balanced filters that come with them sounds great to me as is.  Also, I don't feel that the bass compromises the mids or highs at all.  The bass really is a low frequency bass that almost sounds like a subwoofer.  It's present but I don't feel that it's overpowering at all.

 

I listen to all kinds of music... pop, rock, alternative, and hip/hop.  Everything has sounded spot on to me.

 

If you can find somewhere to audition the SE846's I highly recommend you do so or find a place where you can buy them with a good return policy in case you don't like the sound.

post #8 of 8

You actually get about a 26dB decrease, the same as a universal.

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