Budget IEM for use with smartphone & laptop - under £20 (max £25)
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jollyo55

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Hey guys, 
This is my first post here, I've been a long time reader but now I've got an issue that I hope you can help me with.
 
My earbuds have failed me a few weeks ago and I've been trying to do some research and see what I can buy that is fit for my listening needs, within the budget of £20-£25. I've looked at many reviews and checked out a lot of websites but I can't seem to find anything that is conclusive all-over, regarding quality and a good review score. Some places a pair of IEMs will get a 5 star rating and in other places it would get a 2 star. So I'm pretty conflicted. I'd like a pair of headphones that are pretty balanced, with a good mid-range sound, good with bass but without it taking over the other instruments. I usually listen to a lot of progressive rock, math rock, industrial, classical music, classic rock, but there's the odd pop/trance/dubstep song in there that I'd like to get the best out of. I use an enhanced HTC Sensation (by enhanced I mean I unlocked it and put a custom ROM which makes it a Sensation XE with a few more settings in regards to audio quality, EQ and so on). I previously owned a pair of CX300-II but they failed me after a couple of months, because I'm the active type and give my 'phones a lot of wear and tear. So generally, they all last a maximum of 5-6 months, and I'd like to get a pair that is a bit more resilient, without compromising sound quality.
 
I have found a couple of possible candidates but don't know which to choose. I know the Brainwavz Beta Mark 2 offer a great sound for their price range but I read that they're a bit flimsy when it comes to construction so I started looking in other places. I've got the option of a JVC HA-FX67, and I found a pair of Sennheiser CX-400 II for £20 on ebay, but I know there are numerous fakes out there so I'm a bit skeptical on those. I've also heard good things about the JVC HA-FX35, that they are a good budget buy, but I really want someone's opinion before buying them. I've tried searching for some Audio Technica, some budget Klipsch or some AKGs, but nothing popped out to really "wow" me. Some other possible options I found were DUNU Trident, althought they're a bit out of my price range, and Philips SHE3750.
 
So which one would you go for? I'm also interested in getting a pair of Comply Foam Tips for them, if you would say that the sound quality would be improved, or if it would make some of their cons disappear. 
 
Sorry for the long post, if you have any recommendations of your own, please let me know, I'm open to anything, as long as they're in budget (or a bit over).
 
 
 
LATER EDIT: I forgot to mention I'm interested in something with low microphonics, because I'll be using them while jogging and that would be a pain in the backside.
 
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AstroTurf

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jollyo55

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Quote:
Etymotic Etymotic Etymotic...
 
What more can be said? Etymotic MC5 IEMs.
 
50 Bucks, 8mm Dynamic Driver, 2 Year Warranty, Tunable for Nut Rattlin Bass, or left as is for an accuracy score of 85%
 
Good Stuff, Very Good Stuff.
 
Jim
 
NRB Mod Info Here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/626457/nrb-mod-nut-rattlin-bass-from-an-ety-yes-yes-yes-how-to-nrb-mod
 
Etymotic Website here: http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/mc5.html
I completely agree with you and I've looked at a number of Etymotic IEMs but unfortunately, at the moment I can't afford them (they're over double my price range). I will invest in a pair though, as soon as I get some more funds together.
 
Thank you for your input anyway!
 
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AstroTurf

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Hey, No Prob...

Hope you get something that works for you!!!

Happy Listening, Jim
 
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jollyo55

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Anyone else have any recommendations? I'm tending to lean towards the DUNU Trident but I'd really like some kind of confirmation that I'd be making the right decision. 

 
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acitydweller

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Hi Jollyo,
 
I've recently put faith in our fellow reviewer members and placed an order for the Philips 3570 and the 9700 ($7 and $22usd respectively) on e-bay. The 3570 (& and newer 3580) have really impressed many at that price point and the 9700 (older out of production model) was a slight upgrade above the 3570. If either fit your budget, i'd recommend reading some of the forum reviews on these two and decide. I am devoted user to my shure E5c's from many many years ago but find them impractical to use anywhere i need to quickly insert or remove them. sound quality is still superb even to today's standards but convenience these out weight the need for premium audio. Hope either of these two models help you out a bit. good luck.
 
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jollyo55

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Wow, I seriously neglected the SHE9700. I gave them a once-over a few days ago, but for some reason I had removed them from the list by the end. They definitely look like something I'd like and enjoy playing, plus I can find Comply Foam Tips for them, so it's perfect! 
Order placed, I'll wait for them to get here, burn in some 40h audio on them and then give my feedback, and my thanks to the community 

 
Thanks very much for your advice, I'll probably pick up some JVC HA-FX67 and the HA-FX35 for comparison purposes in the future.
 
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conkerman

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jvc fx101 are cheap as chips and quite well regarded. 11 quid on amazon.
 
the other stone cold bargain are the vsonic GR02BE and GR99.
 
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Philips 3580
Jvc fx40 for more detail, clarity, they have a lot of treble but they got the bass.
Jvc fx101. Bass heavy, but IMHO the 3580 has a better sound overall.

All better than the fx35 and fx67
 
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jollyo55

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Time for a thread revival.
 
Well, update on my endeavours, I am sad to say that after heavy usage over the past 5 months, my SHE9700 have officially given in. The right one has lost about 80% of its volume and it's giving me literal headaches because of the lack of balance.
 
As an overall review, the sound is very very good. I did not have Comply Foam Tips but my rubber tips were OK as well. Pretty bad microphonics is a big minus, along with the fact that they would keep getting pulled out of my ear if I wore the cable under my clothes (because if its' texture). Wearing them over-ear is not comfortable at all and looks very awkward, but they hadn't been designed for that anyway so that's fine.
 
So, search for the next best budget earphone is back on, I think I'll go for a JVC, Radiopaq or vsonic. Possibly, I might look into getting a pair of DUNU Tridents, but the only downside to that is there's no foam tips for it (are there, or is there a generic model I could use?).
 
I'll keep you updated and return with a review of the new ones.
 
If anyone has any further recommendations, or if they would like me to test some budget phones they want to get, please let me know and I will look for them, test and review them.
 
Thanks!
 
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jollyo55

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Have picked up a pair of JVC HA-FX67B today just because they were on sale (£12) and I wanted to try them out. Plus, my other earphones have officially given in this morning so I needed a pair of something. I'll give them about 30h burn-in and then give them a little more detailed review.
 
So far I'm using the foam tips supplied (there is one pair I think medium size), I can safely say that they're not great for long-term usage (e.g. while at the office during the day) because of comfort reasons. Furthermore, the foam seems a bit too ... un-maleable, to put it bluntly. Microphonics are low to medium so that's a plus from me. Not a great amount of noise cancellation but that's OK for me because I still want to hear what's going on in my surroundings.
 
Will update on sound quality in a few days time.
 
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Quote:
Philips 3580
Jvc fx40 for more detail, clarity, they have a lot of treble but they got the bass.
Jvc fx101. Bass heavy, but IMHO the 3580 has a better sound overall.

All better than the fx35 and fx67
 
 
Quote:
jvc fx101 are cheap as chips and quite well regarded. 11 quid on amazon.
 
the other stone cold bargain are the vsonic GR02BE and GR99.
 
These probably would have been better buys. 
 
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famas48

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i would recommend 3580 for jogging or doing sports or something but not really for laptop use. Bass is very strong, but the mids and vocals are recessed (muffled, not clear). The microphonics are also really bad these when worn straight down. Over ear its not a problem as far as i can remember. Maybe look into soundmagic e10? 
 
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