Best earphones under £100 (mostly) for hip hop // usefulness of amp
May 13, 2015 at 8:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

andylaw3107

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Hello,
 
A few years ago, I bought a pair of Shure SE315s. They've broken and been replaced about three or four times now (usually the left earphone sound randomly dropping out, entirely dropping out, or becoming muted). I'm now looking for a replacement, but don't have the same budget right now, and I'm also not sure about spending quite as much in case I encounter the same issue with another pair.
 
My tastes are probably 80% hip hop, 10% R&B, 5% jazz and 5% other, so I'm looking for a pair that meets those needs (mostly hip hop).
 
I've searched various sites, but never really know whether reviews are reliable or not - except on here - so I'd like to ask for advice! So far, I've come across the following, so would appreciate any thoughts on these or any other, better recommendations for under £100:
  1. beyerdynamic DTX102
  2. Bose IE2
  3. Klipsch Image S4A-II
  4. Nuforce Ne-700X
  5. Plantronics BackBeat GO 2
  6. RHA MA750
  7. Velodyne vPulse
 
Thanks in advance!
 
Andy
 
May 13, 2015 at 9:02 AM Post #2 of 17

SteveHiFi

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I'll assume you want a bit of a bass lift, and not too much on the treble. Also that you're using a phone or similar without a separate amp.
 
The RHA will be good - they have a 3 year warranty which is a nice plus. The beyerdynamic DX120iE is one to look at instead of the DTX102iE.
 
My pick is to move down the Shure range and look at the SE112. It's not everyone's cup of tea due to the rolled-off treble but for your genres it's what you need. I have these for my workaday IEM and often have a lunchtime siesta with them in, they always sound good despite having access to superior (and much more expensive) IEMs. For under £50 you'll be laughing.
 
May 13, 2015 at 10:46 AM Post #4 of 17

SteveHiFi

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The Titan 1 is best for soundstage - I tried a pair for review and went home on my motorbike - big mistake. They don't isolate very well due to the extra porting but if you're in a quiet place they're very good indeed. Look at them sort of like an open-backed in-ear! Also you will have to reverse left and right if you want to wear the Titans as you would the 315s - they're designed to be worn with the cable hanging down from the ears.
 
May 13, 2015 at 12:17 PM Post #6 of 17

cel4145

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If you like what you are reading about the vPulse, the Donscorpio Bass Colours are the first generation vPulse: http://www.head-fi.org/t/736539/don-scorpio-bass-colour-an-in-depth-look

And you can get them for $30: http://penonaudio.com/brands/DONSCORPIO%20/DONSCORPIO-Bass-Colour

I like them because you get sub bass emphasis, but not upper midbass emphasis. So on something like hip hop, the bass can kick in pretty hard. But on music that doesn't have a lot of deep bass, they sound more neutral.
 
May 13, 2015 at 3:21 PM Post #7 of 17

andylaw3107

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Okay so I've looked at all four recommendations. The beyerdynamics seem to be prone to breaking. The vPulses look a little cheap to me - not really aesthetically pleasing. The Shure SE112s look decent and I could get a pair for £39, but the RHAs look the nicest to me. I can get them at £79.95.
 
One question - would getting an amp and line out dock cable improve sound quality when using IEMs in this price range? I'm looking at the FiiiO F3 line out dock cable priced at £7.99 and then either the FiiO E06 amp at £20.99 or the PA2V2 at $65 (around £40). Any thoughts? Any alternatives (assuming it would be useful)?
 
Thanks!
 
May 14, 2015 at 7:12 AM Post #9 of 17

andylaw3107

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Okay I'm now looking at the FiiO E11K with a FiiO L9, to complement the RHA MA750s, but I'm reading that they don't really benefit from an amp. Is this correct? Is it still worth using a line out dock if you aren't connecting it to an amp?
 
May 14, 2015 at 9:06 AM Post #10 of 17

SteveHiFi

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Hi Andy, sorry we've been busy here. A line-out dock is not useful without an external amp as it feeds out an audio signal at a set level and will be LOUD! with in-ears.
 
If the consensus lends itself to going without an amp then just go with the headphones from the headphone socket.
 
May 14, 2015 at 9:11 AM Post #11 of 17

andylaw3107

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Thanks Steve. There are a few sources saying it doesn't need one, but that's not necessarily the same as saying it won't benefit from one. There was one source that definitively said the E11K did help, but there are some that say an amp (in general) won't make much difference. Do you have any particular thoughts, or would it be difficult to know without testing?
 
May 14, 2015 at 9:15 AM Post #12 of 17

dazzerfong

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  Thanks Steve. There are a few sources saying it doesn't need one, but that's not necessarily the same as saying it won't benefit from one. There was one source that definitively said the E11K did help, but there are some that say an amp (in general) won't make much difference. Do you have any particular thoughts, or would it be difficult to know without testing?

If you have a source that's high in output impedance, damping may occur, thus compromising the sound. However, your iPod Classic won't have that problem: there's really only few devices which have this problem.
 
The MA750's are brilliant, but take a bit of time to getting used to. My ear hurt for a month before Stockholm Syndrome set in, and now they're my to-go pair. Plus, their support is superb.
 
May 14, 2015 at 9:20 AM Post #13 of 17

andylaw3107

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So you're saying damping is an issue that would require an amp to resolve, but this isn't the case with an iPod Classic and the MA750s are great as they are anyway, so no need for an amp? (Sorry, not familiar with all the audiophiliac language!)
 
Thanks!
 
May 14, 2015 at 9:22 AM Post #14 of 17

SteveHiFi

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I prepared a reply to your question regarding an amp on our own forum as I saw you posted there - but here it is here (it's not been upped on our forum yet due to a glitch where I can't post on it!) -
 
Regarding an amp such as the E06 (or E11K), this will offer the option of 'bass boost' so will give you more bass if you require it, and with the bass boost off the amp will give a little more authority and detail to your chosen headphones. Whether it's worthwhile is up to you, as you'll have more to deal with in terms of gadgets, but the E06  is a very low-cost introduction into what an amp can do for headphones.
 
Why not hedge your bets and get the E06/L9 as well? They won't cost much extra. We only have the L3 in stock but can send out that and the E06 if you fancy. We've got the RHA750 too so can do all three in one package, and we'll throw the L3 cable in for free.
 
Edit - I'm taking a late lunch and will be back after 3-30
 

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