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Best in-ear for smartphone under 300$

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, 

I'm trying to choose a new pair of in-ears.

Most of the music I here is on my smartphone (nexus 5) and desktop computer with Spotify (best quality) or mp3 320kb.

What I'm trying to understand is how much it is worth to invest in a good pair of ime using this sources, if a product like the Sennheiser IE80, or Shure SE245 should be used with higher quality sources, and a cheaper product would not make such a diffence.

What do you think? What products should I consider? 

Now I'm using the"t-jays four" for everyday use and the meelectronics sport-fi m6 for running, bud I'd like to increase the quality of listening.

Thank you!

post #2 of 8
Howdy!

I personally use Heir Audio 3.AI S's for mobile listening... Which were about $300 when I got them. IMHO, I wouldn't worry too much about the source... Though this price point is generally where I would start considering one. But that would mean $300 + $ of a DAC/amp, not everything for $300.

As far as headphones go, what sound signature are you looking for? Warm, analytical, bassy, neutral, fun...?
post #3 of 8

If the Nexus 5 is anything like my Nexus 4, you're going to want to start considering an amp and DAC with most headphones at this price range. That said, IEMs don't quite meet the same criteria (most are easy to drive).

 

Anyways, there is no "best" in-ear for a smartphone under $300. The sound quality and comfort factor can very much change whether or not something is the "best." I could give you some good suggestions, but I have no idea what kind of music you listen to.

 

Etymotic ER4S, Dunu DN-1000 and RHA MA750 are a few good choices. You could even try Etymotic HF5 with custom tips. Quite a bit more expensive, but cheap relative to custom IEMs and you get the isolation and comfort of a custom. Plus, it improves the sound quality a little.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

First of all, thanks for yours replys!

It's the first time that I approach the audiophile word and maybe I haven't yet a clear idea of what I'm looking for in terms of sound signature, or just associate my idea of sound to the correct definitions.

For what I can understand now, maybe I'm searching for a balanced sound (or maybe analytical?), because my sensation with my current setup is that I'm missing a lot of details, with a "messy sound", prominent to the bass. I'd like a more "clear" sound, where I can appreciate more the details of the sound of each instruments and the vocals.

I hear mostly rock (from Led Zeppelin to Foo Fighters), indie rock/alternative, a bit of electorinc (like Daft Punk) and classical music.

About the comfort, I'm using the Comply Foam and I'm really happy with them.

About DAC, could a product like FiiO E11 be a good starting point? Or what else? (considering an extra budget, other the one for the iem)

About the ime proposed, I could have some difficulty to buy them in Europe (I'm from Italy), I've not found the Dunu, and the Heir Audio for example, but I will search better.

What about more "known" brands like Sony (i.e. XBA-3ip), Shure, Sennheiser, others i should investigate?

Thank you!

post #5 of 8

Aha. Alright, I know what you want. If analytical sound is what you desire - at the expense of some of the bass - then the Etymotic ER4S (or really anything from Etymotic). I'm not sure if you should pair an amp/DAC with them, but some people do. Another fantastic option would be the HiFiMAN RE-400, which won't cost you an arm and a leg, and those don't need a dedicated amp or DAC unless the source is so ridiculously awful (I'm guessing the Nexus 5 won't be). The Philips Fidelio S2 is also a fantastic option if you want slightly less isolation, and doesn't need an amp/DAC at all. Some of the best IEMs actually don't cost that much.

 

A lot of IEMs will actually include Comply foam tips; some come with robust lists of accessories, such as those from VSonic. In your price range, you have a ton of fantastic options for IEMs. I'd almost go as far to say that if you don't want a cheap custom IEM, just buy two pairs of IEMs if $300 is your budget and you don't mind spending the bulk of it. But that's just what I would do since I like multiple sound signatures.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for your suggestions, I'll definitely look into those models.

What about AMPs? If I want to increase the quality from my old notebook, for example.

Between the portable ones, is something worth it in the 200$ zone? I read a good review for the FiiO E12...

Thank you!

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparviero123 View Post
 

Thank you very much for your suggestions, I'll definitely look into those models.

What about AMPs? If I want to increase the quality from my old notebook, for example.

Between the portable ones, is something worth it in the 200$ zone? I read a good review for the FiiO E12...

Thank you!


You don't need an amp for that, you need a DAC for that. Even a dedicated DAC without an amp like the ODAC would work. Costs only $100. It'll carry the signal away from the computer's innards. Most people buy DACs for computers because either the onboard audio isn't that great or they want the noise away from the inside of their system. PCs can be noisy environments.

post #8 of 8
If u are using the nexus 5 as your primary portable source, make sure to install viper4android on it. It helps with the SQ a lot. You will need to be rooted. I have the N5, and I currently use my BA200 and UE900(customs) with it. I had the stagediver2 but I sold it. I really regret it now because it is so far the best sounding IEM I have heard. (I know there are better options out there.) The N5 drives all of them just fine. If you are looking for an amazing iem, do check the sd2. I wouldn't get the ue900, because of the QC issues its facing. The BA200 is really good too, neutral, detailed, and clear. But IMO, sd2 is the best. If you can afford it I would recommend that. There is also a sd2s version. The "s" stands for small; smaller ears.
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