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IEM buying help......

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

Hello there, I am looking to buy a pair of IEMs to replace the one's that broke down recently. My budget is set somewhere around $150.:o


The trouble is I'll be buying them through a friend, so I've only got one shot at buying the right pair. At the moment I've got my eyes on a pair of Etymotic HF series earphones, which i read are very good and has a balanced and accurate sound, impeccable isolation capabilities and good build. However I'm not entirely sure whether they'll be a safe investment because I've also read that the sound signature of Etymotics is a hit or miss for first time users. So I have a couple of questions regarding it.

 

Firstly are the lows really weak as most say it is???  I myself am not a big fan of boomy bass (dunno if that's the correct way to describe it), but I do like a bit of punch and forwardness on the lows with certain tracks. Second, are these earphones really unforgiving to the source quality? I'm asking because I'll be using a smartphone as a portable source and I have a handful of tracks on mp3s. Lastly, is comfort going to be a big issue even if I use them with Comply Foam tips?

 

I use a Nexus 5 as my portable player and an Asus DGX soundcard for my PC audio, though I'll be replacing it for a FiiO E07K soon. All of the tracks I have are in FLAC, with some of them being 24/96, 24/192 rips. As for the music genres, I listen to almost all of them ( as long as its good, I dig) however preference lies in folk, blues, alternative,metal, techno, electronica, jazz, old school rap/hiphop, and reggae + related genres.

 

I also have a few alternatives lined up in case the Etymotic sound signature doesn't seem favorable.These include the Shure SE215 and, if I can get one for cheap, the UE Triple Fi 10s. How will these fare with my musical and other preferences? Any other suggestions within the budget are also welcome........:o

Thanks in advance

post #2 of 51
I wouldn't go as to say the Etymotics have weak lows, but they're certainly on the tighter side (to my ears). First, could I have a reference to your previous IEM?
post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slashfury99 View Post

I wouldn't go as to say the Etymotics have weak lows, but they're certainly on the tighter side (to my ears). First, could I have a reference to your previous IEM?

The last pair of IEMs I owned was a pair of Ultimate Ears UE200s. To my ears it was a pleasant sounding pair, which was mostly mid-centric with fairly detailed but flat highs. As for the low end, it was a bit punchy but I wouldn't exactly call it tight. Bass quantity was low, but it didn't bother me very much though after burn-in. In fact this was the best pair i could get for $20 and I've used it as a benchmark for comparing other earphones, though most were either below that price or Beats :P

I hope that should be a good enough description of the sound sig..... smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by WasMan - 4/11/14 at 12:39pm
post #4 of 51
Hmm, the Etymotics might actually be hit or miss for you too. The last time I auditioned the Etymotics, it made my Shure SE215 sound very warm. I'd recommend you to test them first, but judging from your first post, I guess that's out of the case huh?
Edited by Slashfury99 - 4/11/14 at 10:53pm
post #5 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slashfury99 View Post

Hmm, the Etymotics might actually be hit or miss for you too. The last time I auditioned the Etymotics, it made my Shure SE215 sound very warm. I'd recommend you to test them first, but judging from your first post, I guess that's out of the case huh?

Pretty much, yes...... Did you try the Etymotics with/without an amp/dac and EQing by any chance? I also read that the bass issue can be solved by some slight EQing.....but to what extent I cannot tell...

 

post #6 of 51
EQing the Etymotics makes them smoother, and it doesn't affect the sound quality as much as the other IEMs, due to them having a more neutral sound sig. So I guess you could do that to makes them a touch warmer.wink.gif
post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 

If I may ask, how would you describe the sound sig of the UE 900? Apparently, the sig of the Triple Fi 10s is almost similar to the UE 900 and Logitech apparently issues them as replacements for in-warranty Triple Fis. Also how would this compare to the UE 200 based on my description? (yes, I know that sounds real stupid comparing two stuff from opposite ends of the spectrum :P but just curious.)

post #8 of 51
Hmm, the UE900 is like a refined version of the TF10. Comparing to the UE200 is an interesting thought. First I would say the bass is tighter and faster, though they still pack punches. The trebles have much more sparkle. The mids sound much more natural, though some say they are slightly laid back, I personally don't think so. I'm sorry if this doesn't make much sense but the price difference is quite great and I admit I may be a bit bias towards the UE900.

Compared to Etymotics, the UE900 have a much more full-bodied bass, albeit less detailed.
post #9 of 51
Thread Starter 

Well, then... I guess the Etymotics seem like a risky venture, especially in this case :/ I guess I'll have to let it go for now :(

How'd you compare the SE215s to the UE 200s btw?

post #10 of 51
I consider the SE215 to be punchier on the bass, just very slightly. But it doesn't overwhelm the mids or highs. Mids from the SE215 just outright beats the UE200, even other similarly priced models, Shure's forte. The trebles however, are a bit 'meh', which sort of happens on all Shure IEMs, though they are still better when compared to the UE200.
post #11 of 51
Thread Starter 
So you're saying the Shures will be a much safer investment then? I guess I can live with that, considering the overwhelmingly positive responses I have seen so far smily_headphones1.gif Will opt for the Etymotics if I can find someone who owns a pair over here and can lend me for testing , though it'll be like looking for a needle in a haystack considering only a handful of people heard about that brand here... frown.gif

The replaceable cables in the Shures seem like a bonus..... How much does a third party cable with mic go for online and what brand should I look out for?

And lastly, can you suggest any other good earphones within my price range? smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by WasMan - 4/12/14 at 1:05pm
post #12 of 51
Well, out of all the people I've seen who bought Shures, about most of them love Shures, with a few wishing they had more treble sparkle (I'm in the 10%). It's much safer than taking risks on the Etymotics.

Third party cables can cost as low as $50 (remember seeing one this low), but usually around $100. Never seen a custom cable with mic, can't help you there sorry.

For IEMs around your price range, I can still recommend the RHA MA750 or Sony MDR-EX600.

You can also read IjokerI's IEM review list for reference, if you have not already (he's way more experienced than I am), link: http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-313-iems-compared-t-peos-tank-added-03-31-14-p-889
post #13 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for your suggestions..... I was also considering the RHA too, but backed out since i dunno how long it will take to ship out ( time constraints). I guess I may stick with the Shures (for the replaceable cables) or the EX600s (not too enthusiastic though, since my last pair of Sonys had awful build quality) for the time being, depending on their availability in retail stores.... And yes, I did consult with that list earlier, so lets just see how it goes. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 51
Okay, good luck on finding the perfect ones! smily_headphones1.gif

If you have anymore questions, just fire away. I'll try and answer them to the best of my knowledge and experience.
post #15 of 51
Thread Starter 

Just out of curiousity, how would you compare the RHAs to the Shures? I remember reading that the RHA is an all-round good performer and it has a mic plus solid build....... And how would those two fare against the Brainwavz B2? :)

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