Cheap/Budget IEMs
Sep 8, 2009 at 11:59 PM Post #16 of 49

ljokerl

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I did not recommend the Im-590s or the RE2's because of the fact that the OP said to *LOVE* bass. Both provide accurate and punchy bass, but it is not the deep rumble that you will find in the NE-7M's and Ai-M6's. The Im-590's are the best-built though and a good all-around phone. RE2's will need an amp to get ample bass out of them.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 12:11 AM Post #17 of 49

Avanish11

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After some thought, I've decided that $50 is just too much for throw-around headphones, even if the iM-590s are amazingly made, it's just too much for headphones.

I'm sticking with my original $30 dollar budget.

Which IEMs have the best build quality out of these 3:

V-Moda Bass Freq, SoundMagic PL21, or MEElectronics Ai-M9?
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 1:31 AM Post #18 of 49

weendex

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For under $30 you really can't go wrong with the JVC air cushions. While the sound quality is very reasonable for the price, what I really like about them is the design. The air cushion is very comfortable, eliminates most cable noise, and puts the weight on your ear instead of the canal.

Build quality is what you pay for. I've gone through 4 pairs of them over 3 years and only just recently upgraded. I still use them when I'm going out and know that I'll be sitting on them in my pocket all night.

They definitely need some time to burn-in... which I discovered a couple years ago long before I knew anything about burn-in!
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 2:37 AM Post #20 of 49

ljokerl

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Air Cushions failed to impress me TBH. While a reasonable upgrade from the Marshmallows, they are few steps below the Ai-M9 and the Soundmagic PL21/PL30. The Soundmagics are also very comfortable, even with stock silicone tips. I had trouble getting a good seal with the M9's.

Oh and the V-Moda Bass Freqs are pretty mediocre in everything but bass - if you want big bass see if you can hunt down a set of Lenntek Sonix - an old big-bass budget fave of mine (Edit: SmallDog.com has em for $19.99+ship).
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 4:36 AM Post #21 of 49

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Avanish11 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sound-quality wise, I think it's fair to assume that the NE-7Ms, iM-590s, and RE2s are nearly equal.

Out of those 3, which ones have the BEST build quality? These will be my daily throw-around headphones, so they should be able to take a beating. I don't want to have to deal with getting them repaired every few months like I had to with the skullcandies.

Also, I do not have an amp, nor do I have a sound EQ in my MP3 player. Will this make much of a difference at this price point?



You said you like bass, so the RE2 are out unless you add a Fiio E5 amp (The $49 for RE2/E5 combo was a good deal and I reported that the combo worked as well as the NE-7M did with no amp. But the RE2 will not be as warm and bassy without the E5.

I saw you would still consider the JVC Aircushion and I like those a bit more than Marshmallows. Unfortunately I haven't heard a lot of the IEM you are considering and can't say if the others are better. I know I didn't think they sucked and beat most cheap earbds, but they were a little better with the "acoustic" EQ turned on the iPod - since you don't have EQ you might think the mids are slightly recessed. There was a thread on them about a year ago that I posted in about them, but forgot the link.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ljokerl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Air Cushions failed to impress me TBH. While a reasonable upgrade from the Marshmallows, they are few steps below the Ai-M9 and the Soundmagic PL21/PL30. The Soundmagics are also very comfortable, even with stock silicone tips. I had trouble getting a good seal with the M9's.


Can you describe a little more detail for the OP what the PL21/30 or Ai-M9 do better than the Aircushion when you say they are a few steps up?
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 4:54 AM Post #22 of 49

ljokerl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Can you describe a little more detail for the OP what the PL21/30 or Ai-M9 do better than the Aircushion when you say they are a few steps up?


Sure. All three are more refined than the JVC's. The bass is tighter and the high-end extension is better. I like detail across the range, including the low end. The OP did say he *loves* bass (and I did discount unamped RE2's because of that), but I took it to mean bass quality, not just quantity.

The harshness shared between the Marshmallows and AirCushions is absent in the Meelecs and Soundmagics as well. TBH I actually prefer the Skullcandy Ink'd to the Marshmallows (for which I have caught some flak) and the AirCushions have a similar (but admittedly better) sound overall.

The Meelecs are the most balanced across the range but, like I said, I have trouble getting a good seal with them. Cables are annoyingly microphonic on them, too. The PL30s are great all-around, but the PL21s are stronger and the bottom end and sound fuller overall because of it.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 5:13 AM Post #23 of 49

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ljokerl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sure. All three are more refined than the JVC's. The bass is tighter and the high-end extension is better. I like detail across the range, including the low end. The OP did say he *loves* bass (and I did discount unamped RE2's because of that), but I took it to mean bass quality, not just quantity.

The harshness shared between the Marshmallows and AirCushions is absent in the Meelecs and Soundmagics as well. TBH I actually prefer the Skullcandy Ink'd to the Marshmallows (for which I have caught some flak) and the AirCushions have a similar (but admittedly better) sound overall.

The Meelecs are the most balanced across the range but, like I said, I have trouble getting a good seal with them. Cables are annoyingly microphonic on them, too. The PL30s are great all-around, but the PL21s are stronger and the bottom end and sound fuller overall because of it.



How much burn-in did you give the AirCushions?

BTW, my daughter also prefers the Skullcandy to the Marshmallows, so I suppose I need to steal them from her to listen now that she's burned them in by now. She says her new Skullcandy are about as good as her old AirCushion which after 17 months have a dead left driver and the "cushions" are totally shredded/torn.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 5:25 AM Post #24 of 49

ljokerl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How much burn-in did you give the AirCushions?


Cushions were well-burned in (I'm assuming). They were a friend's and he'd had them for a while at that point. And yeah, the harshness on the 'Mallows did decrease a lot with burn-in, but unless they need way over 200 hours they are still way harsher than some of the others. I get fatigued in about an hour of marshmallows (about the same for the Ink'ds but for other reasons). No chronological impressions of the Cushions since I didn't burn them in.

I am currently on vacation but the JVC HA-FXC50 "Micro HD" should be waiting for me when I get back. Very curious about those since I like most JVC ear/headphones for the price. I liked them a lot more before I got the Ai-M9s (long before the PL21 came out).
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 5:50 AM Post #25 of 49

Andrew H

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ljokerl /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I did not recommend the Im-590s or the RE2's because of the fact that the OP said to *LOVE* bass. Both provide accurate and punchy bass, but it is not the deep rumble that you will find in the NE-7M's and Ai-M6's.


Joker, I wonder if you have personally confirmed this? I'm currently comparing my NE-7M to an iM-590 with 808-heavy music as well the UNSW Hearing Test page (at 30 and 45hz against 500 and 1khz reference), and the iM-590 is definitely not losing.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 5:57 AM Post #26 of 49

weendex

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I think it took about a two or three weeks before I stopped being upset with my replacement Air Cushions the last time I had to get new ones. Assuming probably 1-3 hours a day typical usage for me, it was at least 35-50 hours for a decent burn-in.

This was sometime last year before I learned about burn-in... I thought they were defective since the difference between my previous VERY well burnt-in pair of identical air cushions and the brand new ones was so drastic. Which in the end is really just an improvement from "not that great" to "pretty good for $19". Take it for what it is worth.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 7:10 AM Post #27 of 49

ljokerl

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew H /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Joker, I wonder if you have personally confirmed this? I'm currently comparing my NE-7M to an iM-590 with 808-heavy music as well the UNSW Hearing Test page (at 30 and 45hz against 500 and 1khz reference), and the iM-590 is definitely not losing.


I am doing this from memory of the NE-7Ms, but their bass was more forward and present in low-bass-heavy tracks than the Im-590s' bass was. I am not saying that the Maximos are incapable of producing the notes - they very much are, but they don't emphasize them in the same way the Nuforces do when other stuff is going on on the track. Try something that features distinct low-bass notes, such as the Black Eyed Peas' "Missing You" and you will see what I'm talking about.
 
Sep 9, 2009 at 10:29 PM Post #28 of 49

Avanish11

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If the Air Cushions are just slightly better than the marshmallows, then I'll have to pass on them. The marshmallows just did not impress me at all.

The Lenntek sonix look very promising. I like the fact that the buds are metal and the cord is made out of nylon, so they're fairly durable. The reviews are great about them. Have a lot of bass, which is good. They're 10 dollars cheaper than my budget too. The only gripes I have with them is that they don't come with a carrying case, and they're red. I can just use an old tin as a case, but I don't like red... Oh well. I might just have to go with it anyways.

I think that I'm done looking at the NE-7Ms, RE2s, and i590s. They're just too expensive for me.

If the only 2 options I have are skullcandy's or marshmallows, then I'd go with the SkullCandys again. They sound good, but I'm fed up with having to replace them within a few months of buying them.

A good seal is quite important, so I think the Ai-M9's are out.

So that leaves the Lenntek Sonix and the PL21. I'm heavily leaning towards the Lennteks right now, but is there anything that the PL21s have that would change that?

Edit: I want to order my new headphones within 3 hours from now. Being headphone-less is terrible, even if you're not an audiophile...
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 2:18 AM Post #29 of 49

Avanish11

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alright I've just ordered the Lenntek Sonix from:

Lenntek Sonix Earphones SX800-R - Red - Originally $79.99! | Small Dog Electronics

The price was good, but shipping was ridiculous. It was $8 from Vermont to Pennsylvania! And these headphones can't weigh more than 1 pound.

Oh well. Still better than waiting a week for the PL21s to ship from Korea.

These better be good
biggrin.gif


Edit: Thank you all so much for your help!
 
Sep 10, 2009 at 3:37 AM Post #30 of 49

ljokerl

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Well, congrats on your purchase. I hope you like em - they sure were a favorite of mine a few years back (when they were still sold at Costco for $25 a pop). There is a black version as well just so you know, but I can't seem to find the black ones for cheap.
 

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