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A fun exercise (I hope): Which IEMs best define each sound signature?

  1. Mayordean
    Hi folks.  Let me freely admit that I come to this question with more than a casual interest.  My firm designs and installs custom listening and viewing environments in homes.  Joining this site has led to a brainstorm with my partner about how to help our clients understand what sort of sound they are looking for.  We're thinking of stocking up on some IEMs to loan out to clients that they can use with their ipods with their favorite music to help them talk with us about what kinds of qualities of sound they want.  What we do now is have them spend a couple of hours listening to different speakers in our studio, but sometimes this just isn't enough, we feel.  Of course IEMs just aren't going to do certain things that full sized speakers in a dedicated listening room can, but we think that inviting our clients to spend more time listening will help ensure that they are really satisfied when their project is complete.
    So, following ClieOs categories for sound signatures, which IEMs would you say define the class for
    a) analytical
    b) balanced (or bass and treble)
    c) mid-forward
    d) bass-forward
    e) warm and sweet?
    This is not the same as asking which are the top of the class, by the way. So, what are your thoughts?
    Many thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  2. i2ehan
    If I may...
    a) analytical: ER4S
    b) balanced (or bass and treble): TF10
    c) mid-forward: CK100
    d) bass-forward: IE8
    e) warm and sweet? SM3
    Of course there are others, but those would be the very first that come to mine.
  3. ZARIM

    a) RE272, RE0,
    b) EX1000, GR10
    c) UM3x, CK100
    d) JVC FX700, FXT90
    e) Image X10, IE80
  4. proedros
  5. iRoux
    a) analytical: ER4S
    b) balanced (or bass and treble): EX1000 FX700
    c) mid-forward: CK100 UM3X
    d) bass-forward: FX700(?)
    e) warm and sweet? RE262
  6. noxa

    Hit the nail on the head with the first reply
    i2ehan likes this.
  7. Mayordean
    Great stuff.  Thanks for the replies so far.  Seems the CK100 are a consensus choice for the defining mid-forward signature.  I certainly have enough to go on here, but does anyone else care to weigh in?  Sheesh, I thought there might be some high-minded, esoteric debate sparked here![​IMG]
  8. mark2410 Contributor
    mid forward i would say shure is king there as a rule. 
    a) analytical   (bright and trebly)  RE-272 or CK10
    b) balanced (or bass and treble)  (V shaped sound witha a treble emphasis)  TF10
    c) mid-forward  (mid centric) Shure, not the 215, maybe even the westone UM range.  or the PL-50
    d) bass-forward  (V shaped with a bass emphisis) IE8
    e) warm and sweet? (bassy and middy)  IE7, maybe the se530 or215, the RE-262
    and im adding an F
    f) ruler flat  (everything in equal abundance)  UM3x or the perfect RE-252
    assuming since your talking about custom installs budgets not really an issue
  9. Mayordean

    Yes--thanks for the refinements of the sound signature categories, and adding a sixth.
    As to budget: while cost is not an issue for some of our clients, purchase of these IEMs is out of our pocket, not theirs.  That said, we'll spend what is necessary to make the exercise worthwhile.  A nice side benefit is that I'm an incredible cheapskate when it comes to spending on myself but now that I'm buying for the business, my mental calculus has changed.  And, after all, these things aren't going to be out on loan that often (insert Dr. Evil laugh here).
  10. nikp
    a) analytical (neutral and detailed)- Ety ER-4S
    b) balanced (or bass and treble) - TF10
    c) mid-forward - Shures (se425, se535)
    d) bass-forward - Senn IE7, IE8
    e) warm and sweet (generally recognised for being "nothing wrong") - ADDIEM
  11. jbsteeves
    bump, this is a great topic
  12. what?
    it is a great topic,
    can we do all 5 types of sound but also add a pricing guide, ? 
    1-5 $50,
    1-5 -$100,
    1-5 -$150 
    $250+ ranges??
  13. Mayordean
    I guess there weren't any takers, but let's see if anyone cares to chime in, if not with a comprehensive list, then with good examples in the various price ranges?
  14. jay-w
    This is a very good topic especially for people that haven't had a lot of different IEMs. It helps to categorise and define at a glance brands and models that we may know of but have never owned.
    I'm looking at these for my next purchase. Any experienced IEM headfier's willing to divide them into sections? I don't care about price but more so the sound.
    Shure SE425
    Westone UM2
    Heir 3.Ai
    Heir 4.Ai
    Vsonic GR07 MKII
    Ortofon EQ5
    Phonak Audeo PFE 112
  15. Ypoknons Contributor
    When you say "analytical" do you mean flat or detail orientated (i.e. treble bias)? Also "balanced (or bass and treble)" would be V-shaped or close to neutrality but not quite?

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