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Help with choosing IEMs

  1. loremipsum
    Hello Head-Fi. This will be my first time posting here. I'm sort of new to choosing proper headphones (as in, before I always just bought $20 dollar things at the drugstore), but I've narrowed down my choices a little bit. I'd prefer to keep the prices less than $75 if possible, but I can be a little flexible if need be.First of all, I was looking at the Soundmagic PL50 ($65 on Head-Direct). I also checked out the MEElectronics M6, but I've heard complaints that vocals are somewhat tinny and the highs aren't too great. I listen to a wide selection of genres, so I don't really feel good buying something that seems to be geared more towards one or two specific ones. As well as these, I also looked at the Apple Stereo earbuds, since they only cost $1.59 and I could order 40 pairs for the same price as the PL50s... just kidding [​IMG]. The main source I'll be using them from is an iPod Touch, 2nd gen, currently without any amp. Also, the Multi-IEM Review says that the preferred tip for the PL50s are the "Sony Hybrids"... any idea where I could get these? (I live in Canada). Would you guys suggest any other IEMs in this price range to someone who's new to them?
    On a somewhat related note, is there any real advantage (sound quality-wise) to wearing them with the cable over your ear as opposed to straight-down? I personally find over-ear to be somewhat uncomfortable.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. jacobap100
    the klipcsh s4 are 80$ and let me tell you they are great I have had them for over a year and I am 100% satisfied with them very natural sounding and the bass doesnt overpower the music
  3. loremipsum
    Hi jacobap,
    I've heard some people say that the bass on the S4 can be excessive, and the highs can be somewhat harsh as well. I think I'd prefer something a bit more neutral soundingI also read that it's "revealing of a poor source", which I suspect includes my library which consists mostly of 320kbps and VBR .mp3 files, as well as my amp-less iPod. What audio source do you usually use with them, and how would you compare it to an iPod?
    Thanks, and sorry for the excessive amount of questions, I just want to be sure before I purchase
  4. cowsled
    I looked into getting hybrids for my RE-ZEROs while they were in transit but couldn't find them in Canada (I'm also Canadian, tech hates Canada T-T). Turns out that the stock buds that came with the IEMs fit me just fine. You might want to try the stock buds for yours hunting down hybrids. For IEMs, I've only tried the head-direct brand (aside from ipod buds, and other generic earphones) and I've been quite pleased with them considering what I paid ^^. If you're looking to spend just a little more, you could give the RE0s a shot (though I'm not sure how well ipods would drive them) or you could go for the RE2s for 39 USD shipped. As for over the ear, it's pretty much for micro no? I got used to it and don't really notice it anymore (I can't get wires to stay put when I wear over-ear). It's a shame you missed NCIX's black friday sale, they had HD555s (<3) for like 79 CAD.
  5. carnival

    My roommate has the S4s. I wouldn't say that the bass is excessive, and I didn't really notice any problems with the highs.. They're more neutral than you would think, tbh. Also, it's been a while since I've listened to the s4s (might have to wake the roomie up and steal them) but I remember them working pretty well with 320 bitrate songs (back before he and I switched to FLAC). I don't think they benefit from an amp either. My roomie runs them straight from an iPod and they sound fine
  6. sunspot

    Well, if you're going to get the PL-50 and don't mind waiting a bit longer, check houseofdap.com, it seems to be in stock and it's quite a bit cheaper there.  You may also have good luck with mp4nation.net, although I'm not sure they have it on hand, and if they don't it can take forever to ship...
    Personally, I'd check out the Xears stuff (http://www.xears.com) if you're looking for a "smooth" headphone; you'll get it slightly sooner, and they have good specials right now, but this is up to you, and depends on whether you value sound quality over accessories.  If you want a full package, the SoundMagics are very good value. I'm still using accessories from my PL-21 for my other earphones [​IMG]  Or another set to consider would be the Brainwavz M1/ViSang R02 (former on mp4nation.net, latter on ebay, just search for it), it's slightly cheaper, well built, comes with a lot of accessories, and has a well regarded sound signature (the M1 is slightly more balanced).  Though this is just from what I read here, I don't actually have one of those.
    Note that the SoundMagic tips tend to be pretty good.  Sony Hybrids are kind of expensive, so you may want to consider the clones which you can find on ebay: 
    http://stores.ebay.ca/lostearbuds (look for Sony EP-EX10A replacements, category is Sony Earbud replacement tips).  It'll take about a week and a half to get them through letter mail.
    I'm from Canada as well (Montreal, specifically), so if you have any questions about shipping times etc., let me know.

    Hmm, personally, I find it's easier to insert over-the-ear, so I get a better seal.  Also, it cuts down cable noise.  But if you get a good seal cable down, and get an earphone with low cable noise, there's no advantage I know of.
    Note, however, that the PL-50 can only be worn cable over the ear.  It comes with cable guides that make it easier.
    Good luck in your search for a good IEM, and sorry about your wallet. [​IMG]
  7. SavageRehab
    I'd say that the s4's are quite forgiving to not so great sources. down to 192 kbps. They sound great with 320's and lossless. I use my klipsch s4's and my 2nd gen iPod Touch to walk with and for short travels and they really do sound great. Go for them, they won't let you down.
  8. loremipsum
    Thanks for the responses guys. I'll look into the S4 as well.
    How would you rate the S4 (and the PL50) in terms of comfort and isolation?
    Also, how signifigant are the differences in sound quality? I'm still leaning a bit towards the PL50s due to the price difference.

    @sunspot: thanks for the site links!
  9. loremipsum
    I've narrowed it down to the PL50s, the Ety ER6i, and the Westone 1. I know the W1 is a little bit more but I suppose I can bump the budget up a little more for them.
    What do you guys think?
    EDIT: Decided to spring for the Westone 1s. Upgradeitis has already set in, and I haven't even had a decent pair yet! My poor wallet [​IMG]
  10. sunspot


    Haha, I was right to pity the wallet!
    Westone 1s look like a very decent choice, I wouldn't have suggested those I did had the S4 not been mentioned; I assumed you were interested in somewhat bassy headphones.
    Well, I hope you'll enjoy them [​IMG]
  11. loremipsum


    Thanks! What would be a good site to order from? Would earphonesolutions.com or Westone's site be good choices, or is there somewhere I can find them for less?
  12. jacobap100
    amazon.com or onecall.com
  13. loremipsum


    onecall.com doesn't carry the W1, and on Amazon they cost $30 more ($169.99 on Amazon vs 139.99 elsewhere)
  14. ljokerl Contributor
    Earphonesolutions is a good bet. They're the official Westone retailer and one of Head-Fi's sponsors. Use coupon code 'FALL' for another 10% off and make sure to choose 5-7 day shipping at checkout if you're not in a rush.
  15. loremipsum


    Will do, and thanks for the code!

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