Decline of (old model) JH Audio 16pro; want advice re best replacement.
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GrandNagus50

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Confession: I am not regularly present in Head-fi any longer, as I got to the point where I was happy with the gear I had and felt no need to keep reading about what else is out there. What I mostly have used for years now are custom JH Audio 16 pro IEM's. These are really good and only occasionally have I felt a need even to use any of my other IEM's or full-sized headphones that mostly sit idle in storage boxes. But now My 16 pros are showing their age and from lots of use I can tell they are not sounding quite right. I could send them back to JH Audio for diagnosis and repair, and in fact, I probably will. But now I am wondering if there might be something newer and shinier and better. Especially while mostly sheltering in place, I have lots of time to listen to music, so why not spend some money on audio gear for the first time in a while? I mostly listen to bass-heavy EDM and minimal/techno, and also ancient rock music like Grateful Dead (live concerts) and Beatles. I sometimes listen to classical, but mostly via actual speakers, not so much with IEM's.

I have my eye on JH Audio's Roxanne model. They seem great for the kind of listening I do. I actually am likely to get a universal version of an IEM this time, not only because of the difficulty of getting earmolds made at the moment, but also because I am older now and I think in terms of possibly handing these IEM's down to one of my sons--something that custom earmolds make difficult-to-impossible.

In addition to Roxanne, I have read about the 64 Audio 12t model. And of course, there are the newer version of the JH Audio 16pro. And what else? I guess what I am asking is, with price as (almost) no object, as this is a once-in-a-long-while purchase, what might be consider the best high-end IEM's for listening to my music?
Thanks for any opinions.

Doug Greenberg, Berkeley, California
 
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Welcome back. In that price range, there are many great options. You described the music that you typically listen to. The JH16 is know to have a good amount of bass, but is an all BA set. Do you still want an all BA set, or would you also consider a hybrid IEM. 64 Audio does have a lot of great products, and the U12t would be good for the type of music that you listen to. They also just came out with the new Neo, which is a hybrid, with a DD, and 8 BAs. A very popular hybrid IEM is the Sony IER Z1R. The one caveat with that IEM is it’s size and weight, but it depends on your ear anatomy. If you want a high-end V-shaped sound signature, look into the Empire Ears Legend X. It has a LOT of bass. There are also some new IEMs from Campfire Audio to look at. So far, I’ve only mentioned IEMs from more famous brands, but there are some stellar IEMs from some Eastern brands as well. The QDC Anole VX is a TOTL well-balanced IEM, from a reputable brand. A more budget friendly IEM with a lot of bass, and a V-shaped signature is the ThieAudio Legacy 9. They come in hand-made wooden shells.

The Roxanne is also a great IEM, but I didn’t know if you would want to try something different from JH Audio.
 
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Thank you for your thoughtful and friendly answer. It actually overwhelms me in that there are so many great IEM's out there. I really like(d) my JH Audio (original) 16 pros and it would be easiest just to get the newer version of the same model and be done with it. But I am drawn to "just as good and maybe even better." If there is something I would like different it would be this: I actually have earphones and headphones that provide a huge bass response. I love bass and certainly want a generous bass sound, but what I want more of this time is clarity and detail. What I mean is that (for example) when I listen to live recordings of the Grateful Dead I like to be able to pick out Bob Weir's rhythm guitar and have a decent sense of the spacing of instruments on the stage. Live recordings tend toward muddiness, and I would like an IEM that minimizes this tendency. Meanwhile, I apparently am very sensitive to shrillness in the high end. Sometimes I EQ the upper frequencies downward. I will offer that once upon a time, I really loved my Etymotic ER-4Ps because of the detail they offered. What was lacking, of course, was a strong bass presence. I know they have a newer model with more bass and I might even try it, but I assume there still is not nearly the bass that I have gotten used to with the JH Audio 16 pros.

I have no allegiance to any particular technology in terms of driver types.

I have now looked at the Campfire Audio page and their Solaris 2020 looks intriguing. The price seems reasonable, as well. Of course, it goes without saying that what I would ideally like is to have an array of possible IEM's before me to audition and compare. That does not seem possible, however, so I must rely on verbal descriptions and comparisons. Let me ask: with all of the IEM's you have owned, do you have a number one favorite?
Doug Greenberg
 
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If you really want a well balanced sound, with excellent detail retrieval, and prominent bass when desired, I think the QDC Anole VX would really fit the bill. One of it’s great features is that it has switches, so you can adjust the sound as desired.

The Sony IER-Z1R is an exciting, slightly v-shaped tuned IEM, that has excellent sounding bass, and very extended treble. For some, the treble can be a bit bright, so I don’t know if that may be an issue, along with the size/shape of the shell itself. The Sony IER-M9 is a warm neutral IEM, who’s tuning actually matches the JH16 quite well. It is designed as a stage monitor, just like the JH16. One of the big advantages of these Sony models, is that you can probably find a retailer to try them out before you buy them, or find one with a good return policy.

If wanting to stay with JHAudio, the Roxanne would probably be best for you, with a very nice warm tuning. The cable with the adjustable bass response is also really nice.

@toranku is a great resource, and has listened to numerous IEMs, so he may be best to give you advice. This is his thread, where you can post the above question.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/tor...ws-and-target-eq-filters.895832/post-15722551
 
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GrandNagus50

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Thanks again. I had no idea there are so many excellent IEM's out there, a lot more than the last time I was in the market (a while ago).
I confess that I have two preferences in narrowing the choices: first, I guess I would like to stay under $2000, and second, I would prefer to buy an American-made product, if possible. I am NOT any kind of extreme America First type nor am I anti-Chinese at all, but for products where there are good choices that are American-made I am inclined in that direction.
I guess I have some reading to do.
Doug Greenberg
 
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Thanks again. I had no idea there are so many excellent IEM's out there, a lot more than the last time I was in the market (a while ago).
I confess that I have two preferences in narrowing the choices: first, I guess I would like to stay under $2000, and second, I would prefer to buy an American-made product, if possible. I am NOT any kind of extreme America First type nor am I anti-Chinese at all, but for products where there are good choices that are American-made I am inclined in that direction.
I guess I have some reading to do.
Doug Greenberg
Those preferences make perfect sense, and do simplify things. 64Audio is definitely one of the most renowned and respected brands in the US. They used to provide IEMs for customers to try at home, but I’m not sure right now, due to COVID. In that price range, with the JH16 being a template of your preferred tuning, that does seem to narrow it down to the 64 Audio U12t, 64 Audio Neo, JHA Roxanne.
 
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GrandNagus50

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What do you think of Campfire Audio IEM's, which are a bit less expensive than some of the alternatives? And if I say that my most commonly used music source is an iphone with Red Dragonfly DAC should that steer me towards or away from certain IEM's? I confess I am intrigued by the QDC Anole VX. Will that deliver good performance from relatively simple music sources?
 
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What do you think of Campfire Audio IEM's, which are a bit less expensive than some of the alternatives? And if I say that my most commonly used music source is an iphone with Red Dragonfly DAC should that steer me towards or away from certain IEM's? I confess I am intrigued by the QDC Anole VX. Will that deliver good performance from relatively simple music sources?
I’m honestly not that familiar with Campfire Audio IEMs. There are some that are finicky with sources, like the original Andromeda, but I’m not certain exactly which current ones are. There have been a lot of recent updates. The Solaris may be good for you. It’s a great IEM, but it doesn’t have nearly as warm of a tonality as the JH16. The Atlas is a very bassy and v-shaped sounding IEM. Perhaps you can ask for advice on one of the Campfire Audio threads, since surprisingly, no one else has been contributing here.

My main source for my IEMs is a Dragonfly Cobalt. The Anole VX should work well with your DF Red.
 
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GrandNagus50

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Well I totally appreciate your replies. Maybe I don't have enough posts to my credit to be considered part of the "conversation."
 
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IEMusic

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Well I totally appreciate your replies. Maybe I don't have enough posts to my credit to be considered part of the "conversation."
That shouldn’t be an issue. Here is a general thread for 64 Audio.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-official-64-audio-thread-apex-tia-technologies.826606/

It seems that threads for JH Audio and Campfire Audio are specific for each individual IEM. Maybe some other members like @baskingshark, @surfgeorge, or @CrocodileDundee can provide better information.
 
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Thanks for the suggestion. I have not been present in these forums much for a while and don't know my way around.
Doug
 
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I had a thought, and perhaps just for fun, or for a spare IEM, have you ever looked into the Final Audio E3000? It is a very warm sounding IEM, similar to the JH16, and it’s only $45. It has a dynamic driver, as opposed to BAs. It requires a good amount of power for an IEM, so it would be best to run them off of your DF Red at least, if not off of an amp.

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GrandNagus50

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$45? Well, that wouldn't break the bank, would it? ATM I am strongly drawn to 1) Sony IER-ZIR; and 2) Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, with the somewhat lower prices compared with some other alternatives being a factor. There are so many really good IEM's out there, I don't know how people decide what to purchase. Sometimes in situations like this I end up buying three different things instead of one. My wife doesn't care for this trait, as you can imagine :).
 
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$45? Well, that wouldn't break the bank, would it? ATM I am strongly drawn to 1) Sony IER-ZIR; and 2) Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, with the somewhat lower prices compared with some other alternatives being a factor. There are so many really good IEM's out there, I don't know how people decide what to purchase. Sometimes in situations like this I end up buying three different things instead of one. My wife doesn't care for this trait, as you can imagine :).
I don’t need to imagine. My wife reminds me. :L3000:

If you are so inclined, make sure whomever you purchase the IEMs from, that there is a good return policy. The fit of the Z1R can be tricky, and both the Z1R and the Solaris are quite a bit brighter than the JH16. For the Sony’s, the best thing would be if you could find a store to try them out. If you find one, definitely try the M9, and even the M7 as well. Don’t let their prices fool you. Many members here consider them their “end-game“ IEMs. They are also known to fit really well for most people.

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