How do good custom IEM's compare to good 'normal' headphones?
Oct 23, 2008 at 10:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

Mr_magicfingers

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I'm looking into buying my first high end headphones. My budget means that I can stretch to either something like the hear yourself double or triple drivers, or I could go for a larger headphone like the k701 or AT w1000 which are all around the same sort of price when searching the internet.

I've auditioned some grados (sr80 & sr125) and the AT 700 & w100 so far. I know that I can use the IEM's with the ipod but that's not always the way I listen, I'm spending more time with cans on at home than before.

Is sound quality comparable at that sort of price range? If anyone has experience with both types of headphones I'd appreciate your advice. For the record I listen to most kinds of music but listen to more dance/trance and acoustic vocals/rock than any others.

Cheers,

J.
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 10:31 PM Post #3 of 12

montell

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If I comparae a mid- to top-end IEM like the SA6 with the yuin PK1 wich is suppose to be mid-fi. I would say the PK1s flat out wins and its not even a headphone to begin with. I cant go in to details about the sound right now but thats how big a difference it is. Music in general sounds much fuller, more airiness and just have much more clarity and details to it.

Now compare it with the Koss KSC35 or up..
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 11:45 PM Post #4 of 12

Gatto

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if you get a set of K701s you will need to spend at least another $200 on an amp.
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 12:43 AM Post #5 of 12

dookiex

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I vote for RE1s, Atrio m5s, and of course my favourite, Sony EX700s. The RE1s I would definitely run through an amp. The m5s definitely benefit from an amp but is ok without one. The EX700s, extremely efficient and runs great with anything you plug them into (as long as that anything is of good quality).
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 1:00 AM Post #6 of 12

hockeyb213

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Gatto /img/forum/go_quote.gif
if you get a set of K701s you will need to spend at least another $200 on an amp.


the number is not 200 my d2 can decently run them but they shine with a very powerfull amp but the number is not 200
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 1:09 AM Post #7 of 12

myinitialsaredac

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I personally own the k701s and the se530s. The difference is unspeakable. IEMs just lack the soundstage and seperation that larger sized cans give you. Whilst if I did a review on just the highs lows and mids they could be in comparable leagues there is just so much to the sound missing in IEMs. Don't take my words the wrong way, I love my 530s but I refuse to listen to them when I am at home.

As for the 701s they do get my recommendation as they have the largest soundstage I have ever heard combined with their aireness and liquid mid-range they are quite enjoyable. I would recommend them for acoustic, jazz, or vocals, but they tend to be a bit cold, analytical and basslight and dont get my recommendation for dance trance or metal. For classic rock people tend to recommend grados. If you do go with the 701s you will need to fund an amp, they are super power hungry and fair well with tubes. You may want to look into the little dot offerings or a millet hybrid if your into DIY.

So bottomline ->
Headphones and IEMs are uncomparable.

Dave
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 1:16 AM Post #8 of 12

Rav

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I don't think i'm alone when i say that livewires have a similar sound signature to Grado headphones (in my experience, the livewires are slightly flatter and more rolled off at the high end) but they're not as expansive sounding. It's quite probably a limitation of the technology though, the drivers are sitting inside your ear, so you don't get the bright, open, airy sound that Grados give you.

On the other hand, if you use public transport with any regularity then you really owe it to yourself to get a decent set of IEMs. I can literally have a screaming kid sitting behind me and hardly hear them when the music is playing.

If you're mostly going to be listening in quiet places/at home, then i'd probably go for a set of full sized cans, but if i could only have one or the other, i'd have to think long and hard before giving up my IEMs.
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 2:30 AM Post #9 of 12

andychen

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I agree to every point you mentioned.

enjoy music at home: full size cans
on the go, but also enjoy music: IEM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rav /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I don't think i'm alone when i say that livewires have a similar sound signature to Grado headphones (in my experience, the livewires are slightly flatter and more rolled off at the high end) but they're not as expansive sounding. It's quite probably a limitation of the technology though, the drivers are sitting inside your ear, so you don't get the bright, open, airy sound that Grados give you.

On the other hand, if you use public transport with any regularity then you really owe it to yourself to get a decent set of IEMs. I can literally have a screaming kid sitting behind me and hardly hear them when the music is playing.

If you're mostly going to be listening in quiet places/at home, then i'd probably go for a set of full sized cans, but if i could only have one or the other, i'd have to think long and hard before giving up my IEMs.



 
Oct 24, 2008 at 2:57 AM Post #10 of 12

TacticalPenguin

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As for the screaming baby thing, I can add to that - my ety's with some special foam eartips and the volume at 10/30 on my walkman would require extremely loud and invasive sounds to get my attention, people shouting and talking would be completely unheard.
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 6:21 AM Post #11 of 12

Navyblue

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I haven't heard the customs, but for the top end universal IEMs like the Triple.fi 10, they just can't touch full sized cans like HD650, K701 or DT880 in a proper set up. As mentioned, the details, sound stage and layer separation just doesn't compare. My K501 easily beat ER-4 in detail. ER-4 is reputed to be one of the most detailed IEM out there. K501 is detailed, but probably isn't going to win any award among full sized headphones in that department. IMO they aren't even in the same league.

But if you are listening in a train, a good open headphone is going to sound crappier than a well isolated IEMs. They have their own use and you gotta decide what you want.
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 7:23 AM Post #12 of 12

Mr_magicfingers

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Thank you every one for your coments. I'm just finishing off building an amp which should run just about any phones without a problem:

Rock Grotto Audio Forum - Jaycar Headphone Amp Kit

With the tuning mods in place this is being compared to amps costing several hundred dollars.

I'm leaning towards IEM's as I do travel a fair bit, but will go and demo some more full size cans such as the akg's and dt880's.

Gatto- I'll be very interested to hear how you find your new IEM's when comparing them to your 701's, hope they arrive soon.

J.
 

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