So, I've been looking for a pair of IEMs for a while...actually a few pairs, but that's beside the point. I've gone through a few of these things and the best I've thought about any of them is "hey, this isn't bad" which is not exactly a glowing endorsement. Anyway, I thought y'all folks might want to argue over my impressions or maybe just call me an *******. Enjoy.
Philips Dynamic Bass (SHE3590), stock tips are actually a fantastic pair for the price and perform really well, probably one of my favorite pairs ironically. The bass is big, low and tight with really great extension. The detail through the midrange and treble is stunning at this price point, although the top end can be a little harsh and tinny at times. One of my biggest complaints is the recessed midrange, although for $10 I don't really complain.
Sony MH1c, Comply foam tips just fell flat on its face in terms of expectations. I do not understand the hype around these! The bass is good and strong but IMO not as good as the $10 Philips. The midrange has nothing for me to complain about per se, but the treble is just...flaccid. I feel about zero percent engaged in the music with these headphones; it's just not natural or realistic or lively. I refer to these as the "Sony meh-1c" because 'meh' is exactly how I feel about them. Making matters worse is the fact that the cable is incredibly stupid, which results in the fact that these things do not stay in my ears with silicone tips given even the slightest turn of my head. (Sony, if you're reading this right now, the J-style cable is really ******* stupid and you should ditch it.)
Meelectronics M6, Comply active foam tips Could someone explain to me why these headphones get recommended, ever?
Brainwavz M2, Comply tips Besides the fact that most of the tips don't fit, the lower midrange on these things is so far forward that I can't really describe the bass or treble. If you want the Brainwavz M2 Experience, just turn up 200 - 600 Hz up about 4 db and voila! This thing comes with a bunch of tips and somehow none of them fit except Comply.
Zero Audio Carbo Tenore, Meelectronics triple-flange tips is a pair that lives up to the hype to a certain point. I thought these things were awesome until I put them up against my other IEMs then I began to notice how bloated the lower mids are, and how disastrously recessed the treble is. Don't get me wrong: these are good IEMs and I would actually recommend these to non-audiophiles or to the type of audiophiles who cringe and weep at the sound of frequencies above 10kHz...you know, the type who claim that Grados are trying to kill them? Anyway, these are actually engaging and somewhat natural sounding, unlike the Sony MH1c, but now I can't help but hear the heavy roll-off of the top end and the bloated lower mids.
Etymotic HF5, stock triple-flange tips I haven't had these for long so take my impressions of these with a grain of salt, but they're the polar opposite of the Carbo Tenores in that they have a gorgeous high end and midrange, with some bloating in the upper mids, but the low-end is terribly recessed and has no real body or presence. The fit and isolation are awesome, though! Great with the right kind of music, but I don't want to be swapping headphones out every time I want to listen to a different genre.
Klipsch x10 (traded away), stock double-flange tips: These were actually a pretty decent pair of headphones; they had great bass and surprisingly smooth treble for being a single-BA-driver IEM. My complaint with them was that the midrange was recessed enough that vocals and guitars sounded restrained, and as a result the music was not nearly as engaging as it could have been. I do not like a recessed midrange, especially given that music that I listen to is usually heavy on the guitar and/or vocals, so while I don't regret trading these off... they were still a pretty decent pair in retrospect.
Westone 2, Future Sonics dual flange tips are a pretty okay pair of headphones as well. My issue with them is that THERE IS A WHOLE DRIVER IN THESE HEADPHONES DEDICATED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE BASS, SO WHERE THE **** IS IT?! The treble on these things can also be really harsh depending on the recording quality, but with the right recording the midrange and treble on these can be very natural and pleasing.
I'm also happy to do a more detailed review of any of these, more detailed side-by-side comparisons or remark on any other aspect of them that I might not have mentioned here such as soundstage/imaging, comfort, durability, etc. Thanks for reading!
EDIT: Added the Brainwavz M2 because I forgot about them. That's how good they are.
Edited by ohcrapgorillas - 6/24/14 at 1:07pm