My IEM quest began in 2010 with my purchase of the Shure SE215. There were a few things right off the bat that didn't feel perfect with the SE215, aspects of the sound that didn't quite fit my tastes, but they impressed me so much compared to the Sony, Beats, and VMODA IEMs that I had been using that I immediately clung to them mentally and assumed whatever I would like in the future would be an upgraded version of the same sound. The SE215 have been with me for the last 4 years, and so I've had a lot of time to realize what I like and dislike about them.
The main thing I like about the Shures is the enhanced bass and presence regions of the spectrum. I love that Shures emphasize vocals, but ultimately the SE215 are a bit warmer sounding than I really like; ideally I would like to have something with a bit less bass presence and more neutral midrange.
I've tried a bunch of IEMs and the two that have come closest to my preferences are the Earsonics SM3 v2 without filters, and the TF10. I like the sparkly, emphasized treble, and slightly enhanced bass from both. And I have to say, as much better as the SM3's midrange really is, I'm a bit done on warmth and any kind of veiling in the midrange. What I really want from a pair is earphones is fun from the bass and treble, and strictly business from the midrange; I like vocals to be full and forward, but not overly lush or warmed up, and I want instruments to be clear and neutral, and properly spaced.
I really enjoy my DT770s for full-sized cans, and I've thought about going back to Westone 3s for on the go listening, just because I remember them having the clear, neutral midrange that I really like, despite being overshadowed by the bass. By looking at frequency graphs for IEMs I've enjoyed, I've concluded that part of what I liked about the SE215, despite being overly warm and the bass not having exceptional control, is the boost in the 2khz and 5khz range that gives vocals and some instruments more presence and realism. I've noticed the W3 has emphasis at 2k but not 5k, possibly why the midrange seemed a bit recessed to me. The biggest reason I never went for the W4 was hearing that it is "warm" and seeing the dip at 5k on its FR graph. Same goes for SM64. The one set I've seriously considered is the PFE232, but I'm not keen on buying something that won't have warranty support and cable replacements available. I'm currently looking at either saving up for W30s, or getting a pair of W3s reterminated by BTG Audio with an MMXC connector so I can use my beloved Shure Android mic cable.
Anyways, I'm just curious if any helpful souls have any suggestions based on these anecdotal meanderings :)
Edited by Gilly87 - 4/23/14 at 7:22am