or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › My IEM Problem... help me find a pair I like? Six pairs in my posession now and I'm just "eh" with all of them.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

My IEM Problem... help me find a pair I like? Six pairs in my posession now and I'm just "eh" with all of them.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So, I've been looking for a pair of IEMs for a while...actually a few pairs, one for travel/work with an inline mic, one for home listening and a pair of beaters for the gym. Of all the pairs I've heard, I haven't found a sound signature in any of them that really clicks with me. I was hoping that one of you fine folks could suggest a pair or two that might fit my preferences? Maybe I'm just being too picky, but any input would be much appreciated.

 

My musical preferences are anywhere from death metal to classical to americana to experimental hip-hop... basically anything except EDM. My favorite pairs of headphones are the Koss KSC75 and the HD650, but I'm also a big fan of my Grados. Ideally I think I want something linear with a little extra boost/kick on the low end. Sources are generally Nexus 5 and rockboxed Clip Zip.

 

Well, here's my collection so far and how I feel about each one:

 

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?

 

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.

 

So...sorry for the huge block of text, but I'd appreciate any recommendations as to a pair of headphones that I might actually enjoy. I'd also be happy to do a more detailed side-by-side comparison of any of these for anyone who's curious, or any other aspect of the sound that I didn't touch on such as soundstage/imaging, comfort, etc.


Edited by ohcrapgorillas - 6/23/14 at 12:49pm
post #2 of 12
Have you checked out the Dunu DN-1000. Sounds like you would enjoy them.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ostewart View Post

Have you checked out the Dunu DN-1000. Sounds like you would enjoy them.

I have considered them, but I've also read that they tend to have a V-shaped sound signature which is really something I'm trying to avoid. Like I said in the original post, my music tends to be pretty mids-centric so I tend to want to stay away from anything that hints at recessed mids.

post #4 of 12

DN-2000?

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ostewart View Post
 

DN-2000?


The reviews sound awesome but unfortunately $300+ for a pair of IEMs is not something that I can stomach... I think one of my issues is that I'm just looking in the budget range... at least <$200... and maybe there isn't anything in this range that's really that good.

post #6 of 12

i realy liked my klipsch image s2 before the dog got ahold of them:angry_face:

they are very mid and high centric though they lack bass

post #7 of 12
I think we have a similar preference in sound. We've own/owned 3 pairs in common and generally seemed to have similar impressions for them. (SHE3590, MH1 & HF5) I do differ with the MH1s. I generally liked them a lot but with the stock tips. I think the complys would diffuse whatever treble there was to be had in the MH1s and turned the highs into a dull and veiled borefest. Agree with the cable tho. Horrid junk.

I just recently got the Fostex Te-05 and they check off everything for me. With the stock tips, the treble can be a little harsh but it goes away totally with complys. It's smooth but with sparkle and there's more than enough bass/sub-bass. Currently going for $150 or around $110 if you can snag a used pair. I'm satisfied with them as my everyday pair. The plus side is that the cable is removable so if you break one cable, just buy another. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohcrapgorillas View Post

 

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.

 

Actually it's not just a bass driver, it's also for some of the midrange. Think of a small cabinet standmount/bookshelf speaker with a 5in midwoofer that goes all the way up to 2.5khz or so, then everything above that is the tweeters' job. That being a small 5in driver and it isn't a nearfield monitor, bass response kind of drops off a bit below 100hz, then the -3db point somewhere at 60hz to 70hz. BA drivers don't have a wide enough range, or even if they do, the sound might still trail off enough, which is why you can see many BA IEMs using many drivers per ear. Before you spring for 4-driver IEMs just because they have dual bass drivers covering a narrower range (less of the midrange, if any), be aware though that some are actually designed to sound flatter, like the Westone W4, compared to some other IEMs where they might have a bump between 80hz to 150hz as that is the most audible bass range and enhances the audible (not necessarily the kick on the chest) impact of hard bass hits like kick drums.

 

From all my listening dual drivers really tend to be light on the bass, so on my music the kick drums might be relatively harder to hear (compared to the UM3X for example) but the treble extension on the SE425 and the W2 are great for lead guitars. I find the treble to be significantly sweeter and not painful if you use the compatible foam tips - the Olives for the SE425 and the grey foams included with the W2. Bass won't be audible but don't expect it to make Lil Jon as enjoyable on IEMs as on some drug dealer's SUV with a really loud Audiobahn sound system.

 

If you want good fullrange sound with very audible (if not forward) bass as well as treble, you might want to read up on the Westone UM3x as well as the Aurisoncs ASG-2.

post #9 of 12

Yeah the UM3X/UM Pro 30 (same but cosmetically different) have great midrange and lows. The highs are lacking a little.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

Actually it's not just a bass driver, it's also for some of the midrange. Think of a small cabinet standmount/bookshelf speaker with a 5in midwoofer that goes all the way up to 2.5khz or so, then everything above that is the tweeters' job. That being a small 5in driver and it isn't a nearfield monitor, bass response kind of drops off a bit below 100hz, then the -3db point somewhere at 60hz to 70hz. BA drivers don't have a wide enough range, or even if they do, the sound might still trail off enough, which is why you can see many BA IEMs using many drivers per ear. Before you spring for 4-driver IEMs just because they have dual bass drivers covering a narrower range (less of the midrange, if any), be aware though that some are actually designed to sound flatter, like the Westone W4, compared to some other IEMs where they might have a bump between 80hz to 150hz as that is the most audible bass range and enhances the audible (not necessarily the kick on the chest) impact of hard bass hits like kick drums.

 

From all my listening dual drivers really tend to be light on the bass, so on my music the kick drums might be relatively harder to hear (compared to the UM3X for example) but the treble extension on the SE425 and the W2 are great for lead guitars. I find the treble to be significantly sweeter and not painful if you use the compatible foam tips - the Olives for the SE425 and the grey foams included with the W2. Bass won't be audible but don't expect it to make Lil Jon as enjoyable on IEMs as on some drug dealer's SUV with a really loud Audiobahn sound system.

 

If you want good fullrange sound with very audible (if not forward) bass as well as treble, you might want to read up on the Westone UM3x as well as the Aurisoncs ASG-2.

 

Thanks for clearing that up for me, I didn't realize it was working with the midrange too. That makes a little more sense.

 

I actually don't mind flat bass, although if I got my way it would be slightly emphasized over flat. That being said, I do not enjoy recessed midranges...all of my experience with v-shaped sound signatures causes the midrange to sound restrained and too far back, and I lose all sense of engagement with the music. Every experience that I've had with three-driver IEMs has a restrained and weak midrange, too. Thanks though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEleventy View Post

I think we have a similar preference in sound. We've own/owned 3 pairs in common and generally seemed to have similar impressions for them. (SHE3590, MH1 & HF5) I do differ with the MH1s. I generally liked them a lot but with the stock tips. I think the complys would diffuse whatever treble there was to be had in the MH1s and turned the highs into a dull and veiled borefest. Agree with the cable tho. Horrid junk.

I just recently got the Fostex Te-05 and they check off everything for me. With the stock tips, the treble can be a little harsh but it goes away totally with complys. It's smooth but with sparkle and there's more than enough bass/sub-bass. Currently going for $150 or around $110 if you can snag a used pair. I'm satisfied with them as my everyday pair. The plus side is that the cable is removable so if you break one cable, just buy another. smily_headphones1.gif

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into these for sure! I agree that the Comply foam tips probably aren't doing the highs of the MH1c's any favors, but the stock silicone just doesn't stick in my ear at all. Getting the foam rolled up and letting it expand in my ear is the only way to get a good seal that doesn't come out with the slightest movement.


Edited by ohcrapgorillas - 6/24/14 at 11:49am
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
duplicate

Edited by ohcrapgorillas - 6/24/14 at 11:49am
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohcrapgorillas View Post

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into these for sure! I agree that the Comply foam tips probably aren't doing the highs of the MH1c's any favors, but the stock silicone just doesn't stick in my ear at all. Getting the foam rolled up and letting it expand in my ear is the only way to get a good seal that doesn't come out with the slightest movement.
Yeah, I guess I got lucky with the stock tips, they suction themselves in place and stays except on the remote end. I'm going to recable those things one day but I don't have the urge anymore after getting the TE-05s. biggrin.gif
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › My IEM Problem... help me find a pair I like? Six pairs in my posession now and I'm just "eh" with all of them.