Advice: higher-end IEMs with BIG bass, but clear mids and highs?
May 1, 2010 at 1:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28


New Head-Fier
May 1, 2010
So, I've decided to upgrade my listening experience by looking into my first set of higher-end ($250-400) IEMs.

Currently, my everyday workhorse set is a pair of 5 EBs. I do listen to quite a bit of electronica, industrial, and some beat-driven (i.e. no or few vocals) hip-hop and jazz-rap. However, I also listen to probably an equal amount of rock, particularly indie and alternative rock. The EBs deliver an amazing bass punch and fairly tight highs, but of late I've started to miss the midrange where the EBs are recessed.

I don't generally like the sound of the Shures because of the roll-off at either end, and I don't like the brighter (harsher, to my ears) sound of the other UEs, Etymotics, or even the Westone UMs. I suppose I do like a bit of a "vee" in the EQ of the phones. So, I've narrowed things down to a few options, and from anyone who has tried these phones and has a taste for deep, powerful bass but with a crisp response in the other ranges, I could use some advice:

- Sennheiser ie6/7/8s
- Westone 3s
- Atrios

The W3s have gotten rave reviews; I'm leaning towards them, but I'm concerned that they won't be able to pump out the sort of rattling bass that the EBs do and that I've been spoiled by. Any thoughts/ideas? Thanks!
May 1, 2010 at 2:26 PM Post #2 of 28
The latest buzz around - the JH16, would set you back approx 3 times your budget.
May 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM Post #3 of 28
Westone 3 bass is one of the best. You will not be disappointed with it.
But W3 mids slightly rolled off compared to Shure SE530.
And treble is sibilant with some music.
It is WOW IEM overall.

Sennheiser 8 - have less detailed ,less transparent,dark sound with not less deep but softer and boomy bass(may be it is better for bad or old records). Bigger soundstage. More natural sound signature. Isolation is weak.

I was blown with custom molded dual channel Shure SE530. I never heard anything better.
It is like night and day stock Shure SE530 compared.

May 1, 2010 at 7:28 PM Post #4 of 28
Shouldnt MTPG MTPC be on your list?
May 1, 2010 at 7:36 PM Post #5 of 28
Big bass and good midrange and high end automatically make me think of the IE8. The IE8 is actually quite well balanced, but the light/medium, wide bump around 100Hz tends to overshadow the midrange some and make it sound bass heavy. However, it responds really well to EQing and balances out wonderfully. Even with the midbass hump, it sounds well balanced because the rest of the response is smooth and extended. The only gripes would be that the sound stage is massive (you'd think a good thing) and the notes are a little too smoothed over on the top end (lacking some level of detail). The big sound stage is nice, but EVERYTHING is far away, and you lose layering and distancing with sounds. You always get this concert hall type presentation with most music.

It's interesting that you suggest the custom molded SE530. I was rather disappointed by the SE530 in stock form. I could see capability there, but it just came across as a poor implementation of a 3 driver earphone, pretty much as good as a well refinded single BA earphone, and that's pretty sad.

I'll add in another very budget minded option, the Fischer Eterna. The bass response of this earphone is quite remarkable, and the midrange and top end are quite good. It's just $60, but I'd take it over a lot of the top tier earphones I've used. The main limitations with this earphone are pretty limited overall SPL and a lack of finer detail. It's not smoothed over like the IE8, but rather the micro information simply doesn't stand out versus some other options. The sound stage, location, and separation is excellent.
May 1, 2010 at 8:28 PM Post #7 of 28
Sennheiser lacks low frequency bass, so they're sort of out of the question. High frequency bass has good authority and presence, but it rolls off way early.

I've used the UM3X but not the W3, although from reviews/comments, the W3 is the better one for bass and treble while the UM3X is more balanced.
May 1, 2010 at 8:35 PM Post #8 of 28
Monster Miles Davis hands down is what you seek.
May 1, 2010 at 8:56 PM Post #9 of 28
Try the Klipsch X10.

If you want budget, aside from the Eterna check out the Metro.Fi 170 which suits your description. For around $40 I take these over a lot of high end IEMS as well.

I haven't heard the Turbine Pros but those also look like something you'd want.
May 1, 2010 at 9:24 PM Post #11 of 28
You should put Monster Turbine Copper/Gold/Miles Davis Pro into your list. And the FX-700 too. Although the mid bass hump tends to overshadow the mid on IE8, the smoothness of its mid and mellowed high(well extended, no sibilance) is something special that you wont find easily on other IEMs. I'd say IE8 not a perfect IEM, but it's pretty darn good at doing what it does. With the right tip you can tame the midbass quite a lot, and bring the vocal more upfront.
May 1, 2010 at 9:50 PM Post #13 of 28

Originally Posted by pbag /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hadn't even thought of the MTPG/MPTC. Definitely will consider these, from most reviews, it sounds like they might be right in the zone I'm looking for.

Oh believe me, I cant comment on Gold and Copper, but I have heard the Miles Davis. The bass on MD is tighter and goes down lower than the bass on IE8, it's pretty addictive.
May 1, 2010 at 9:59 PM Post #14 of 28
I agree with others. Monster Gold/Copper/Miles Davis sounds like what you're looking for.

Although I haven't had any personal time with it, I've heard a lot of good things about Ortofon E-Q7 too so you might wanna look into that as well.

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