Flattest, Most Neutral IEMs For Recording, Mixing, and Mastering
Feb 19, 2015 at 11:01 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

StudioTan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Posts
29
Likes
10
I currently own the JH13, but after using them more for this purpose, I'm finding that they're hyped a little in one way or another and wondering if their are IEMs out there that are truer to the source, which is important in my work.  I have a one-room studio and am constantly micing instruments while listening with the JH13s, as they provide great isolation in order to hear mostly what is coming through the mics.  But, what I'm hearing will dictate mic position and mic choice.  If, for example, the IEMs are slightly hyped at around 8K, then I'll tend to gravitate toward a mic that's a bit darker to compensate.  In the end, come mixdown while listening to my studio monitors, what I thought I was hearing in my IEMs sometimes isn't what I thought I was hearing at all.
 
Because of this, I'm wondering about other IEMs that don't hype anything in the frequency spectrum, relatively speaking.  Something really "flat," but very fast, quick transients.  I know in these forums "revealing" is mentioned quite a bit, but I believe some may feel this way because their is a bit of hype going on, which can reveal things better, if not being entirely accurate.  I don't want this; I'd rather have flatness at the expense of this "fake" revealing.
 
Some other IEMs/phones I own, and my descriptions of their sound...
 
Focal Spirit PRO:  These are the flattest phones I own, but they lack a lot of transient information in the highs above 6K or so.  They seem to struggle in that area.  They're very "boring," but boring is a good attribute for what I'm looking for.  These also lack a lot of "air".
 
DT880 (High Impedance Version):  A little lean in the bass overall, and slightly hyped above 8K (elevated), but faster transients than the Focals.
 
Etymotic ER4S:  Very smooth in the highs but sounds like a high pass filter to me (the bass rolls off gradually - so the frequency response is relatively flat, but the whole thing is tilted upwards).
 
HD600/650:  A friend of mine owns these, and I have access to them, but never liked them for my work, as they both sound muddy to me in the upper bass.
 
Note that the headphones I mention above are to only give you my perception of their sound.  I'm looking specifically at IEMs.
 
Thanks!
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 12:09 PM Post #2 of 13

kokushu

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Posts
208
Likes
21
You can try the custom Jerry Harvey Layla.  They promise for it to be the flattest iem they create and it also design to accommodate mastering.  Try to see if you could sample the universal layla first and that would indicate the sound that you like.  I recently try the universal Layla at the burbank california site.
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 12:21 PM Post #3 of 13

germanturkey

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Posts
611
Likes
29
from what I hear, the NT6 is pretty neutral, apart from a slightly elevated treble.  
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 1:37 PM Post #5 of 13

StudioTan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Posts
29
Likes
10
Layla sounds promising but wonder how Angie would compare? Also, UERM seems like it could fair well, too, and is way less than Layla! However, the option to alter frequency balance would be a boon. What type of control does the Layla offer? Just bass?

I have the ER4S, but they've broken too much to warrant paying $80+ every time they break. Plus, the foam tips work best for me, but irritate my ears after a couple of hours. I much prefer custom ear molds.
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 1:53 PM Post #6 of 13

jelt2359

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Posts
2,925
Likes
712
Subbed.
 
Other options:
 
Canalworks LQ05, but also a bit bass light. UERM. Angie and Layla- treble doesn't seem as smooth as the previous two. Hidition NT6 has a midbass hump and a peak in the treble that makes it not as flat imho.
 
Apparently the Aclair Reference and the 1964 A10 are also tuned to be reference, but haven't heard them.
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 2:09 PM Post #7 of 13

StudioTan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 12, 2009
Posts
29
Likes
10
  Subbed.
 
Other options:
 
Canalworks LQ05, but also a bit bass light. UERM. Angie and Layla- treble doesn't seem as smooth as the previous two. Hidition NT6 has a midbass hump and a peak in the treble that makes it not as flat imho.
 
Apparently the Aclair Reference and the 1964 A10 are also tuned to be reference, but haven't heard them.


Thanks.  By "smooth," I'm assuming you mean relative lack of peaks and dips in the treble.  By treble, I'm guessing you mean anything above around 4K?
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 2:19 PM Post #8 of 13

jelt2359

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Posts
2,925
Likes
712
 
Thanks.  By "smooth," I'm assuming you mean relative lack of peaks and dips in the treble.  By treble, I'm guessing you mean anything above around 4K?


Yes, treble evenness. The cut-off for treble is a bit fuzzy to me, some people call it anything above 2-3K, others 4-5K. Specific to the Layla and Angie though, 4K works fine as a definition.
 
Feb 19, 2015 at 2:24 PM Post #9 of 13

jelt2359

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Posts
2,925
Likes
712
Checking the Alclair website, the RSM may be the reference one. Not sure.
 
Jan 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM Post #11 of 13

steffanan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Posts
29
Likes
12
I'm interested too. Headphones in ear or over ear typically aren't great for working on a final mix, that's typically the job for bookshelf monitors. Unfortunately, the best custom in ears are still not anywhere near as capable as a decent set of bookshelf speakers set up properly
 
Jan 11, 2017 at 8:39 AM Post #12 of 13

crinacle

Member of the Trade: In-Ear Fidelity
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Posts
2,393
Likes
3,230
Location
SG
Here are my votes for neutrality:

Etymotic ER4XR
Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors
Ultimate Ears Referenxe Remastered
Jomo 6R
Perfect Seal Deca
Empire Ears Zeus-R
Ultimate Ears UE4 Pro
Alclair Reference
FitEar 333
FitEar F111
64 Audio A10
Hifiman RE-00
VSonic GR07X

EDIT: just realised this thread is almost two years old. Hahahaha
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top