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New to high end IEM's, and a little disappointed

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

New guy post...Finally :)

 

Been a long time lurker on here, but finally decided to make an account and rant/inquire about higher end IEM's.

 

So, I always used a Bose QC15 when out and about because of the noise cancellation and decent sound quality, although as most of you know it's not that great when it comes to that. So I looked at IEM's and after reading for hours on these forums, I decided to pick up the Westone UM Pro 30, which is essentially the same was the UM3X. For £310, I expected to be blown away.

 

With my home cans being either the Philips Fidelio X1 or V Moda M100, I'm not stranger to mid-fi to top tier mid-fi sound. I especially like the X1 for its detail, bass and overall warm sound signature. It's a really nice headphone which I can listen to for hours.

 

Anyway, having picked the best tips for my brand new and expensive as hell Westones (True Fit foams) I gave them a listen out of my PC with the Fiio E17 and later the E6. I was disappointed. The clarity just wasn't there when compared to even my Beyer DT770. Bass doesn't seem to extend very deep. The highs are slightly veiled even when using the silicone tips (and I'm used to slightly veiled highs from the X1). The mids were nice, but I don't really spend £300 for good mids. I am sure I have a good fit before you ask and I do not believe the fit to be a problem for me. They are comfortable and isolate well, the only problem is the sound itself, which isn't bad, but I would compare it to sound that a £100-£150 can would offer. This is even more strange when my Fidelio X1 cost me £150 and are as good as the HD 650...

 

My question is this: Should I expect comparable sound quality from a higher end IEM to a headphone, or should I face the fact that an IEM will never be as good as a headphone and stick with the Westones? Also, should I burn in the BA drivers? Because from what I heard, BA doesn't burn in.

 

Sorry if this sounded like a rant for my first post but I am a little disappointed.

post #2 of 33

I don't know enough about the Fidelio, but I own the UM3X and have owned a bunch of higher tier IEMs and headphones.  The UM3X has recessed highs and that can take away from some of the air and excitement.  Interestingly, I like their bass for a BA IEM. 

 

My strong suggestion is to try a dynamic driver IEM with solid bass as your next purchase.  The DUNU hybrid is getting a lot of good reviews and will probably represent the best of what's available in the price range of the Westone. 

 

 

Wanted to add more generally, I'm convinced there's no better value in sound than some of the more recent value budget IEMs.  They're a more fun way to experiment with an introduction to IEMs, IMO.  I picked up a couple of TDK's high end IEMs here used for very cheap as they've been discounted way under their MSRP but were high value even at that price. 


Edited by roy_jones - 2/21/14 at 5:12pm
post #3 of 33

I have the X1s as well and to be honest, you will have a hard time finding an IEM that can match them for sound quality (I formerly owned the HD600, Sr225i and the AT AD900X, and the X1s are much preferred over that group). I mean, especially at that price. I have heard the Westone W3 and W4 and both were fine (returned or sold both), but have not heard the W30 or W40. I have some entry level customs and they are close to the X1s, but I still reach for the Fidelios when I want to enjoy home audio with headphones (I use a humble iPod Classic 160GB with a C&C BH amp as source, or my iPhone 5). On the go, I use the customs. I agree with the above poster that the current crop of expensive universals may not be worth their price tags. I have not heard them all, so that may not be fair. But I am not surprised you prefer the X1s over the W30s, not at all.  Now if you get into the $800-$1,200 range for new phones, that could be different. But really, I got the X1s for $150 on Amazon and it's an amazing deal to me.

 

The Dunu hybrids are getting a lot of love here. So may be worth a try and and a lot less than the W30s (can you return them?).

post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks much for the suggestions. I will look at some dynamic driver IEM's as long as they isolate well which for me is one of the most important things when considering them. Will also take a look at some cheaper options too.

Never heard of the Dunu hybrids. Can you even get them in the UK? Also, returning the W30's for me is not an issue as I bought them via Amazon. I still love their isolation and comfort. Maybe the sound will grow on me.
post #5 of 33

I would give the UM Pro30 a chance to be honest, I was never blown away by them at first, too dark for my tastes, but they do grow on you. 

If you just use the E17, give them a slight treble boost (level 2 or 3) and they will sound great, their bass decay is superb for a BA driver, it's what they excel at. Also the mids are lovely, the highs are lacking but with the Fiio devices EQ they are fine. Or the JDS Labs C5 is a great match.

post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the suggestion to boost treble. It does actually help a lot, especially with electronic stuff like trance etc. I also see what you mean about the bass decay. I reckon I can come round to the sound of them. Just need a couple of weeks. It's just so comfortable and practical for everyday use.

post #7 of 33

I have the Westone 4r's and I, personally, don't have an issue with the highs, they seem quite extended. Mids are really nice, bass is pretty good, but I'm not a bass head (not saying you are), I have a problem with the tips causing pain, however.

post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzychaos View Post
 

I have the Westone 4r's and I, personally, don't have an issue with the highs, they seem quite extended. Mids are really nice, bass is pretty good, but I'm not a bass head (not saying you are), I have a problem with the tips causing pain, however.

Which tips are you using? The foams seem to be really comfortable for me. I'm not a big bass head, but I do like some nice deep rumble on electronic tracks. The Westone isn't that bad in that department, just not sure if it's £300 worth, that's all.

post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramtox View Post
 

Which tips are you using? The foams seem to be really comfortable for me. I'm not a big bass head, but I do like some nice deep rumble on electronic tracks. The Westone isn't that bad in that department, just not sure if it's £300 worth, that's all.

I was using the foam tips, even the smallest would eventually give me pain in my ear canal. 

post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzychaos View Post
 

I was using the foam tips, even the smallest would eventually give me pain in my ear canal. 

Strange that. Have you recently got them? For me at first it would be a little painful, but I think over time the foam softened up and I never get pain anymore.

post #11 of 33

Give the longer silicone tips a go, i use the green ones, just as comfy and the sound isnt as warm as when using foams.

post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramtox View Post
 

Strange that. Have you recently got them? For me at first it would be a little painful, but I think over time the foam softened up and I never get pain anymore.

Yeah, I have had them for about three weeks and wear them everyday at work. After an hour or so, my canals get very tender and I start to get headaches. I think I'm going to sell them and get some more over the ear, I really like the PSB's I heard locally. 

post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzychaos View Post
 

Yeah, I have had them for about three weeks and wear them everyday at work. After an hour or so, my canals get very tender and I start to get headaches. I think I'm going to sell them and get some more over the ear, I really like the PSB's I heard locally. 

Damn that sucks. Shame really because IEM's in general are so much more portable and are less of a hassle to have around than an over ear. Not to mention isolation. But if you can't fit them properly, you might as well sell them. Maybe try a different pair?

post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tramtox View Post
 

Damn that sucks. Shame really because IEM's in general are so much more portable and are less of a hassle to have around than an over ear. Not to mention isolation. But if you can't fit them properly, you might as well sell them. Maybe try a different pair?

Yeah, it does. They sounded great. 

post #15 of 33

Pro30 would be a bad choice for first high end IEM coming from headphones.  Its a dramatic change being very closed in and inyourface sounding.  I bet you would have a whole different outlook with something more open and much larger soundstage like W40

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