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ear buds for a newbie

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Desperate for some sage advice here…..

 

I’m a newbie to the headphone market (that is to say that I’ve typically been wearing a cheap pair of airport gift shop purchased headphones), and now want something more.

 

I’m a technophile, and after seeing my brother’s pair of Parrot Zik’s, had to get my own pair. Loved the wireless, ANR, ear can touch controls, etc.

 

Having now worn them for a couple of weeks, have found a few things that make their $350 price tag seem not worthwhile.

 

- begin hurting my ears and the top of my head within an hour or two of wearing (I have a large head)

 

- horrible battery life (with horrible sound quality if you listen to them unpowered)

 

- fully opened, the cans don’t completely reach around my ears, and I don’t want to bend them to try to achieve that, if that’s even possible (again, I have a large head)

 

- sound was pretty good, but could have been better (and I’m no audiophile, so I can only imagine what an audiophile would think of them)

 

So...I’ve begun thinking of in-ear buds as they would address battery life and big head issues. I’ve never liked them before, but had only been considering the cheap things that come included with music players, which are garbage. After reading some online reviews, and seeing the prices for some of these things, I’ve begun to realize what they’re capable of.

 

I would be grateful for any recommendations for ear buds (or wired over the ear cans built for large headed people) that can do the following….

 

- budget $300-$400

 

- noise isolation that rivals the ANC found in the Ziks (or other over-ear cans with ANC) - such as on an airplane, or background noise from kids in the house

 

- comfort - can wear for hours without realizing they’re there (I’ve never used buds before and don’t know if many of them end up feeling like a doc is shoving an otoscope into your ear after a few hours use, but I could imagine that might happen)

 

- durability (don’t require high maintenance storage in order to last)

 

- usable with an iPhone, listening to lossless (ALAC) and high bitrate mp3 music (i.e., don’t need a special driver - can run well off of the iPhone’s output)

 

- and, of course, good quality sound

 

Thanks for any thoughts!

 

J

post #2 of 4

Any Shure or Westone or Etymotic IEM will isolate better than your Parrot Zik's, believe it or not. This is because they are literally like high-end earplugs (passive cancellation), rather than the active noise cancellation found in your Zik's. 

 

"Earbud" is technically not the correct term... Earbuds are usually cheap (found with your new iPhone), and don't go into the ear canal. IEM's (in ear monitors) go into the ear canal, resulting in better sound quality and much better isolation. 

 

Suggestions:

 

Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 (some people find comfort issues with these though, but they are the best on the market imo <$400)

 

Shure SE420/SE530 (Don't get the "newer" SE425/SE535, they have a worse fit for most people and use pretty much the same drivers)

 

Etymotic ER-4 PT (isolates the best of all them, but has a neutral sound that might not cater to all tastes. Good for mixing)

 

Westone UM2 (Very good sound quality for the price)

post #3 of 4
Polk audio ultrafocus 8000
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

gradofan1, zunehdrocks,

 

thanks! am checking those models out now.

 

really appreciate the help - i'm really very new to the high-end personal audio game.

 

j

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