Having no time to read through 48 pages of info, I believe that there are simply no other IEMs with dual balanced armature below $100. People probably overlook this because of the excellent reputation that the freebie white mushrooms have gained.
:hating my ears for incompatibility with IEMs, earplugs, and just about anything inside the ear canal except wax:
I've had mine for a few days now, they're excellent sound wise. The included tips suck. I tried the Sony hybrid ones which are much better as far as rubber/silicon. I have some Shure black foam ones on now, they're a little small in diameter but they easily stretch to fit on the ADDIEM's tubes with a slight push. With the Shure tip's great seal they're definitely going to be my go to iPhone headphones since the remote/mic makes them extremely versatile.
I do agree that the tips suck. I've had my ADDIEM for a few months now and have been reluctant to use them at school because they keep falling out. However, I just received some Comply tips in the mail. What a difference! They are much more secure now! I am really liking the sound of the ADDIEM. The mids aren't suppressed like the Bose headphones I used to use. Bass isn't boomy and the highs are detailed. The mic and clicker are pretty nice too.
When i got my ipod touch I thought they were ok, but the noise cancellation headphones(which didn't even sound as good as Sonys $100 MDR 7506/V6) sounded better than the apple IEM's so to be quite honest I don't think they were THAT great.
Could also be that I have trouble getting those things in my ear properly. I can't even seem to use ear plugs properly at night when they are needed, kind of sucks. (googled into this thread)
I think the only IEM's for me would have to be molded for my ears, it could also be that I am expecting something more than I should out of little ear buds.
The problem with the Apple in-ear IEM's is their fit, even when are are inserted correctly, there is not a proper seal which leads to sound leakage, so therefore less of an audio experience. For their size they are amazing. I then jumped to Sennheiser IE7's and what a massive difference. Here in Australia they cost $AU 110, so not cheap, but my IE7's were around $400.
I'm not audiophile, I just like good sound. I especially love my Grados, but I only have the SR60 -- so obviously my audio tastes are juvenile.
I've had my eye on the Grado GR8 since they were announced. When the Sleek SA1 was announced, my attention wandered. Great price, detachable cord, and a wireless option (Especially appealing for portable audio mixing work I do. Cut the tether between me and the camera or me and the audio recorder).
Well once reviews of the GR8 and the SA1 started to trickle out, it became clear to me that I didn't have the budget for either [The GR8 or the SA1+Wireless].
I have some Maximo earbuds for the gym and my Grados for home, so I was just getting by with the stock iPhone headphones at school/on the move. I would use the Maximos sometimes, but they hiss quite a lot when connected to my MacBook Pro.
Anyway, long story short, found this thread, decided to give the ADDIEMs a try. They came today, and I'm really really quite pleased. I have real small ears and so far, I'm finding the stock "S" tips to work fine (Jony Ive must have small ears too, or something). I did order some Sony Hybrids anyway, so I'll give those a try when they arrive -- on Monday.
My only complaint so far, if a complaint must be made, is that these are not as open as my Grados...but then again, if any headphone could be as open as my Grados without disturbing the person next to me when I'm working in the quiet of the library, then we'd really have something!
Also, if nobody has mentioned this yet, the remote is compatible on the Macbook Pro and i'm going to guess on all other Apple computers too.
It can control volume and play/pause iTunes.
Microphone also works fine too.
EDIT - Just went to the Sony Centre at World Square and picked up a pack of white Hybrid tips. Definitely an improvement in bass. Sounds alot better for electronic music now. $22.90 for the 4 pack tips though...
Well I've now got over 320 hours listen time on my ADDIEM's and overall I'm loving the them, however all is not great.
Firstly the Apple medium tips slide off and get stuck in your ear canal after a couple of hours of listening, mainly due to the silicon compound becoming too soft. A microscopically small dab of aquarium silicon sealant sorted that issue (on the metal section after the screw on filter). It's still easy enough to remove the tip for cleaning and prevents it from falling off in your ear canal.
My second problem is with the rubber finish to the strain relief at the end of the IEM's, the surface finish is beginning to peel of, at first it just looked like a smudge of dirt; so I licked the tip of my finger and gently rubbed.
To my horror the surface finish started to peel away. I must stress that it was only a microscopically thin layer, so I took a piece of 1500 grade wet / dry sandpaper to the rubber; sanding lightly (wet, one direction) avoiding the plastic and had this issue sorted out within 2 minutes. It hasn't happened since.
As for the sound quality after 320 hours of listening, I'm loving them, they just keep getting better and better. I've listened to them amped and unamped using a LOD, Fiio E5 amp and either my 4th or 5th gen Nano. In all honesty there's nothing to be gained by using the ADDIEM's with an amp, if fact if anything you lose functionality of the remote by using them an amp.
IMO Apple really did a good job with these, producing dual armatures at a 'budget price'. If you own a Apple DAP have small ear canals (as I have) and are looking for a comfortable fitting, great sounding IEM, you could do a lot worst. Finding the correct size tips is really important with the ADDIEM's, I wouldn't describe my pair as being bass shy, in fact their perfect too me, the clarity is where they really shine.
But be warned, they aren't perfect and as I'm beginning to find out the build quality isn't 100%. If you can get them at a cheap price of Fleabay & can live with the build issues I've highlighted above, then go for it!
Despite by above issue's, the bottom line is when my pair finally bite the dust, would I buy another pair?
Yes, for the money (I paid less than £45 delivered) they are by far the most comfortable, best sounding IEM's I've ever plugged into my Nano.
P.S. As for the cable, I had zero issue's with the cable to report, it tangles no less than original apple buds or any other IEM I've ever used for that matter.
I recently purchased these from a fellow head-fier and I think I have finally achieved a somewhat decent seal using the small stock tips. The bass is just a bit deficient (out of my iphone 3GS) and if I use the bass boost equalization it is too much. Do you the complys or Sonys give the bass a bit more heft?