Earburd reccomendations?
Jan 13, 2015 at 3:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

NoxNoctum

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I'm looking to spend $100-200 on earburds for listening at work. I've been using some cheap $30 but find that it just is not good enough since I've become accustomed to only listening to my Sennheiser HD595s. Now I'm looking to upgrade both but I'm starting with the earbuds since I'm going to spend less on those. 
 
Like I said it's mainly for work, so I prefer ones where I can turn it low enough so that I can still hear my surroundings (i.e. boss calling out). I listen to music much lower than most people but I've never owned noise cancelling headphones/earbuds so I'm not aware of how strong the effect is (gotten a taste sometimes when with a music engineer friend)
 
I listen to a pretty wide variety of music... rock, metal, trance, drum n bass, some classical. I'm not very experienced so it's hard to say what I like exactly. I do know that whenever there is a "bass boost" option I usually turn that on as it makes whatever I'm listening to sound "richer" (though I don't listen to any music that you would typically think of as "bassy" i.e. hip hop etc.) The only other high end-ish earbuds/headphones I've tried were some IE80s that sounded way too shrill to me. I much prefered my HD595's sound to it.
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 1:44 AM Post #3 of 12

NoxNoctum

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Wow, great thread, digging into that now :).
 
On a separate train of thought... what is the opposite of "thin/tinny" soundwise? I got some Sony MDR-XB90EX to try out and while the sound is incredible for bass driven electronic music and some rock it sounds a bit thin/tinny for some of my very trebly black metal. What would the opposite of that be called? (looking for that in a sound)
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 1:55 AM Post #4 of 12

billybob_jcv

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Usually the opposite would be "warm" or perhaps "lush". If you go even farther that direction it might be described as "dark", which is the opposite of "bright".
 
Jan 15, 2015 at 9:25 PM Post #5 of 12

NoxNoctum

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Ok so I took the Sony earbuds (or IEMs?) to work to try them out. Unfortunately they started to get uncomfortable after 2 hours or so and downright painful after 4. Also, I found I had to keep the volume really low to be able to hear coworkers calling out for me in the office. Do any of the ones listed in that megathread have weaker outside noise reduction and are maybe more comfortable? Or are those issues going to appear pretty much everywhere with high end earbuds?
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 12:10 AM Post #6 of 12

billybob_jcv

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Comfort is a very personal thing. It depends on the design of the IEM, the type & size of the ear tips and your own personal preferences & tolerances. Just changing to a different ear tip can have a significant effect in the comfort - but so can simply getting used to the IEMs. I think expecting to wear IEMs for the first time for over 4 hours is simply not reasonable. I think *anyone* would need to build up to that. Even then, wearing any headphones, whether they are on-ear, over-ear or IEMs for 4+ hours at a time is going to be a challenge - or at least it is for me. I know many people that can wear Apple iBuds all day every day, but I could never do that - I couldn't last 15 minutes with those white plastic torture devices.

So, I don't know what to tell you. Some people are more tolerant of that than others. Some can get used to it, some can't.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 2:41 AM Post #7 of 12

NoxNoctum

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Good points, thanks. Maybe I should take it as a sign that I probably shouldn't be listening to music that many hours on end anyways :wink:?
 
Any thoughts on the noise isolation aspect? Am I SOL if I want mid-high end earbuds/IEMs that don't have it? (or have it in a weaker form)
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 9:47 AM Post #8 of 12

billybob_jcv

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That's harder. Most IEMs require a good seal in your ear to get deep bass response, and that also makes them have high isolation. What you might do is use this list: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone-list/

Sort the list by the "Isolation" column, then look in the "Sound" column for those with higher scores.
 
Jan 17, 2015 at 6:04 AM Post #9 of 12

NoxNoctum

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Awesome, thanks! Really appreciate all the info you've provided... Now I just gotta sort through it all.
 
I got in the mail today a Hifiman RE-600 which I tried out --- after a few hours my thoughts are that while the detail and sense of being "with" the band (soundstage I guess right?) is awesome, there's something about the tone that I really don't like, similar to the aforementioned IE80. It's very grainy/twangy sounding especially it seems with some heavier rock and metal. It really undercuts the power of some of it and makes it feel too thin -- it's like the bottom end is gone. It actually almost makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. I should mention that I'm playing all this through a total bithead amp. Anyways , despite being very detailed it also feels strangely blanketed. But perhaps I'm describing it incorrectly because it's definitely detailed -- I'm hearing things in songs that I have never heard before - even tracks I've played literally hundreds of times. 
 
If anyone has HD595s and can put that on "spectrum" somewhere that'd be great. But I guess I'm looking for something very warm/dark? 
 
Jan 17, 2015 at 12:07 PM Post #10 of 12

billybob_jcv

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I have never heard the RE-600, but I have seen reviews that have called the RE600 neutral, leaning toward the bright side. It doesn't surprise me that the Sennheiser HD595 would be more warm sounding. I suspect that's going to be your challenge. IEMs that have more open sound might also tend to be more treble-leaning. The better isolating IEMs will sound more closed-in, but they will probably also have better bass and a more warm sound. IEMs don't have the flexibility of design that full-size headphones have.

To be honest, I'm pretty much "soundstage deaf" - the soundstage has just never been a very important attribute to me, and the differences in soundstage between headphones (even very open and very closed full-size headphones) has never been dramatic to me. I have some tinnitus issues, and I've wondered if that might be interfering with my ability to perceive soundstage.
 
Jan 19, 2015 at 9:01 AM Post #11 of 12

NoxNoctum

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Hmm... so are there any other high end "out of ear" earbuds other than those OK1s from that link? I'm starting to realize that noise isolating IEMs are just not an option at work. From reading about about the OK1 it seems it's on the bright end so probably not what I want.
 
Jan 19, 2015 at 10:08 AM Post #12 of 12

billybob_jcv

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Hmm, I was going to say that the Sennheiser IE800 (which I have not heard) are often praised for their open sound, but your thinking that the IE80 was "shrill" tells me you probably would also not like the IE800. That also confuses me, because the IE80 are usually considered pretty bass-heavy and to have a very wide soundstage. Many reviews also talk about the IE80 being very sensitive to fit, and the included eartips making it not very easy to get a good fit. Perhaps that was part of the issue?
 

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