Canal phones without massive bass?
Jan 7, 2008 at 8:13 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12


Headphoneus Supremus
Oct 31, 2005
Been using CX300s, would really like something with a bit more detail and balance. Had some Metro-Fi 2s which I liked but the cable was very cumbersome.

Can anyone suggest something else to consider (not IEMs). Prefer cheaper end of the scale but would appreciate all recommendations.

Jan 7, 2008 at 9:03 PM Post #2 of 12
I believe canal phones = IEM's. At least I refer to them as same.

Anyway, if you are looking for one without massive bass and great detail, Etymotic ER6i or ER4P are the logical slam dunk choices depending which one fits your price.
Jan 7, 2008 at 9:46 PM Post #3 of 12
if you don't like bass then er-6i would be a nice ticket cause they aren't very expensive either. Er-4p's are nicer of course and sound better but of course more $.
Jan 7, 2008 at 10:19 PM Post #4 of 12
Yeah, ear canal phones are inner ear monitors. They both are meant to insert into the ear canal to some extent to stay in, this is what separates them from ear buds. The difference is how far in they go. Etys tend to have to go very deep, but they provide great isolation because of it and with the er6i you get an accurate bass response that is in no way overwhelming.

The etys sound like the best option for you, except you sound like you may not want one that goes into the ear canal very deeply. Is that the case?
Jan 7, 2008 at 10:27 PM Post #5 of 12
The answer is simple. Canalphone with good detail/no massive bass= CK7. Also cheaper end at ~$67 dollars I believe.
Jan 7, 2008 at 10:27 PM Post #6 of 12

Originally Posted by Solodarn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The etys sound like the best option for you, except you sound like you may not want one that goes into the ear canal very deeply. Is that the case?

Presumably this is the distinction he is drawing between canalphones and IEM's.

Out of interest, redrich2000, why particularly don't you want a true IEM?
Jan 7, 2008 at 10:32 PM Post #7 of 12
I wouldn't consider something such as the ER-4 to be a canalphone. Canalphones are more along the lines of the CX300 and EX-71. They just close up the ear canal opening, but don't actually go in your ear canal phone.

I'll give a hearty recommendation for the ATH-CK7. Very detailed on the high end and a more than acceptable amount of thump in the lows. Isolation should be on par with your CX300. They typically go for around $70 on audiocubes.

Edit: jant71 beat me to it, but that's only because I was finding a link for ya.
Jan 7, 2008 at 10:51 PM Post #8 of 12
A real issue I have is that IEM, in general, is a bad term. The canal is all portions of the tube up to the tympanic membrane. The inner ear is past the membrane. Anything with the title of canal phone, then, would refer to something that enters any portion of the ear canal no matter how far back. I don't like using the term IEM, I use canal phone to literally mean any phone that enters the canal at all. Spyro seems to be on the same page.

I am also guessing that he is intending something that doesn't go deep, like the cx300, so I agree with you three posters above. I just have run into too many problems trying to assume what someone is saying, even something as potentially simple as this, lol.
Jan 8, 2008 at 12:54 PM Post #11 of 12

Originally Posted by stewtheking /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Presumably this is the distinction he is drawing between canalphones and IEM's.

Out of interest, redrich2000, why particularly don't you want a true IEM?

I had some E3Cs but I found them uncomfortable and annoying difficult to insert and get out. I want the CX300 form factor but with better sound.

I thought it was generally understood here that canal phones = CX300 etc. IEM equals the Shures, Ety's etc.?
Jan 9, 2008 at 1:26 AM Post #12 of 12
Canalphones and IEMs are generally synonymous. I'm not sure if the term "IEMs" is a subset of the more general term "canalphones" and implies a deeper fit, but that I wager is too technical for most consumer publications anyway.

Most lower-priced consumer canalphones are intended for younger listeners and for portable players, where they will be playing rap or rock. They're tuned to compensate for an mp3 player's typical brightness and to give the type of big boomy bass consumers prefer.

Once you get into higher-end canalphones, you won't have to deal with this. They're usually tuned to be a lot flatter. Professional canalphones are tuned pretty flat as well, though they're usually used with EQ, and portable players usually don't have any quality EQ worth mentioning.

Etys (ER-4P or ER-4S + amp) do sound like the answer for you, though I do have to warn you that they overhype the treble something fierce. I couldn't deal with it, though if you listen to primarily classical music, jazz, or ambient electronica, you probably won't mind an aggressive treble as much as if you listened to rock, metal, trance, and the like.

If you really are concerned about comfort, then custom molds are the answer. You don't need to get full custom molds, just a custom sleeve for the Etys or something of that nature would do. If you want to go full custom, the Livewires sound very attractive though I haven't heard them. I have the ES2 and I like it a lot, but I don't know if it's the sound you're after. It is very full, very lush and liquid sounding, flowing and organic. It's still very detailed and is fairly flat(ish) in frequency response but it could use some more treble extension and presence. For the money it's stellar, but I'd wager Livewires would be an even better value.

There's also the 10 pro, which doesn't go as deep into the ear canal as most traditional canalphones. It should sound pretty flat as well, though I wouldn't really know as it is one of the very, very few canalphones that I've never heard.

If you don't need the isolation, there's the Stax SR-001 system. I seriously doubt you'll find something that sounds even remotely as good for the money. It doesn't isolate and it requires you to carry the amp around, which itself will last about 2-5 hours on an average set of AA's (more on li-ion batteries). It has a warm full sound with some serious bass, but being an electrostat, it's a very tight bass and everything is very very detailed. It's a very different sound from most balanced armatures, much fuller and more headphone-like, though different from traditional dynamic headphones as well. It can be bloody uncomfortable, though.

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