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Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm in the market for a pair of high end IEMs, and would appreciate some help in choosing the correct headphones.

My current setup is a Samsung Galaxy S4 driving a FiiO E18 DAC / Amp digitally through its USB port. All my music is ripped to 320 Kb’s MP3 or FLAC formats, and I have a small collection of 64 bit recordings. I listen to jazz fusion, folk, classical and R&B. A fair amount of the music I listen to is bass guitar led (Stanley Clarke / Marcus Miller). I’m not a ‘bass head’ by any means, and I’m looking for accurate, articulate and balanced sound.

I used to own a part of UE TF10 Pro’s but I managed to break them accidentally before I bought the FiiO so I don't have an IEM reference point to compare with. My current headphone is the Sennheiser Momentum (over ear). They sound very good for a closed back headphone but they strangely fail to extract that last bit of emotion from my music. This is despite ticking the individual bass, mid and treble boxes.

The problem with IEMs of course is that you can’t audition them so I’ve read all the reviews I could find. The three contenders I’m considering are the Grado GR10, Shure SE535 and UE900. All three are very capable headphones but the general (negative) comments that commonly come up are:

UE900 – Better than the UF TF10 Pro’s but can distort at high volumes. They are perceived by some to be overpriced.
Grado GR10 – Look like a cheap pair of ear buds. They need a long burn-in period and can sound overly bright if the right tips are not used. Some have called them ‘bass light’.
Shure SE535 – Lacking in bass (relatively speaking) and seem to have reliability issues judging by the comments on Amazon.

In terms of perceived value, the Grado GR10’s come last because of its basic looks, packaging and lack of accessories. However, they seem to be ahead of the other two with respect to sound quality. I’m also nervous about their brightness because the FiiO E18 has an ‘in your face’ sound unlike other FiiO’s.

Nevertheless, I’m leaning towards the Grado GR10’s, with the UE900 coming in second because I’m familiar with their predecessors (UE TF10 Pro).

I would appreciate any help or advice anyone can give before I pull the trigger.

-- Thanks