How great are the TOTL Custom IEMs?
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RadioHamster

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Before delving into researching IEMs, I never thought those little pieces could ever have the SQ and sound stage of the over ear headphones. But it seems that I was entirely wrong...

I always thought my end game gear would be something like HD800S or SR900, an over ear headphone. However, I read a lot that TOTL custom IEMs like Kaiser Encore and JH Layla outperform/match HD800S. This blew my mind completely, because I always valued isolation quite highly. I sit in front of a desk a lot, and there's always ambient noise coming out of the computer, which kinda interferes with my listening and immersion. I tried closed ear headphones, but the sound signatures just didn't cut it for me.

I was saving up for a new computer, but this really makes me just splurge instead on a pair of TOTL custom IEMs. Now I'm aware that those IEMs don't have as great of a sound stage as something like HD800S, but people say it's good enough, and if it is, then I don't see myself chasing for that extra bit of sound stage. So I'm wondering how great the TOTL custom IEMs are. Are they actually that great? Would it be great enough for me to consider getting a pair of TOTL custom IEMS instead of a new computer? (of course, this is a subjective question, but I'd love your input)

Please share your experience with me, thanks!!

Edit:
If I'm not splurging on a pair of TOTL custom IEMs, I'm just gonna use HE4xx/HD6xx with Schiit stack and keep saving up for my new rig. I will then gradually upgrade my gear towards those summit-fi headphones.
 
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theveterans

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To me, an intro to great sounding IEMs are the ones you mentioned and the CA Andromeda that I use. I do not agree with IEMs being as good as the best open back headphones due to their physical constraint. Keep in mind, no matter how technically good an IEM can sound, in the end it still is an IEM and you'll never have that open huge sound that you can only experience with full size headphones. There is only 1 IEM to me that can get close to open back experience and that's the LCDi4 with Cipher V2 cable. Then again, it's an semi-open back IEM so isolation is mediocre.
 
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RadioHamster

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To me, an intro to great sounding IEMs are the ones you mentioned and the CA Andromeda that I use. I do not agree with IEMs being as good as the best open back headphones due to their physical constraint. Keep in mind, no matter how technically good an IEM can sound, in the end it still is an IEM and you'll never have that open huge sound that you can only experience with full size headphones. There is only 1 IEM to me that can get close to open back experience and that's the LCDi4 with Cipher V2 cable. Then again, it's an semi-open back IEM so isolation is mediocre.
Hmm.. I'm not sure if It's just me, but I have this cheap CX3.0 IEM, and while its sound quality can't compare to my HD598, I think the isolation kinda makes up for the lack of its soundstage (just comparing the overall immersion). Maybe I'm overly sensitive to ambient noise, or other people listen to music in a quieter setting, but just thinking how much better it would be with a custom fit + better SQ hypes me up. Am I being overhyped? When people talk about sounds of those high end over ear headphones, do they also have ambient noises like computer fan noise and car/insect sound from outside? Thanks for replying to my post again theveterans :)

edit:
Because of the importance of noise isolation to me, if they sound close enough(not by audiophile standards), I feel like custom IEMs would be an improvement for me over over-ears. Or are they different sounding enough even by non-audiophile standards?
 
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Hmm.. I'm not sure if It's just me, but I have this cheap CX3.0 IEM, and while its sound quality can't compare to my HD598, I think the isolation kinda makes up for the lack of its soundstage (just comparing the overall immersion). Maybe I'm overly sensitive to ambient noise, or other people listen to music in a quieter setting, but just thinking how much better it would be with a custom fit + better SQ hypes me up. Am I being overhyped? When people talk about sounds of those high end over ear headphones, do they also have ambient noises like computer fan noise and car/insect sound from outside? Thanks for replying to my post again theveterans
It's not just you. That's why I chose to spend my money on IEMs since my AC in my room pretty much ruins the sound of my AKG K712 (my first and last open back). With my Andromeda, I cannot hear the AC noise with my music and it beats my AKG K712 in everything except for soundstage despite Andromeda being known for its wide soundstage for an IEM. As you can see, I chose the Andromeda as my IEM so I don't miss a lot of soundstage from my AKG. Best of all with Andromeda, you can pair it with my iPod Touch 6G (yes it's my one and only DAP for Andromeda) and get its full sound potential unlike headphones where you need an amp to do so.

To me, if you're going customs, I would go with 64-Audio A12T, 64-Audio A18T or Jomo Flamenco since I've demoed their universal versions and their sound signature/tuning is very engaging.
 
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It's not just you. That's why I chose to spend my money on IEMs since my AC in my room pretty much ruins the sound of my AKG K712 (my first and last open back). With my Andromeda, I cannot hear the AC noise with my music and it beats my AKG K712 in everything except for soundstage despite Andromeda being known for its wide soundstage for an IEM. As you can see, I chose the Andromeda as my IEM so I don't miss a lot of soundstage from my AKG. Best of all with Andromeda, you can pair it with my iPod Touch 6G (yes it's my one and only DAP for Andromeda) and get its full sound potential unlike headphones where you need an amp to do so.

To me, if you're going customs, I would go with 64-Audio A12T, 64-Audio A18T or Jomo Flamenco since I've demoed their universal versions and their sound signature/tuning is very engaging.
Ah, so some IEMs do have decent soundstage as well. I don't expect to have abundance of soundstage in IEMs but just no noticeable shortage of it. I'm going to wait until my HD6xx arrives, and double check if I can actually live out with this level of ambient noise. If not, I will definitely look into getting those TOTL custom IEMs. I did indeed hear that the A12T's and A18T's are great too, many people said it's better than the Kaiser. Thanks for reminding me that!
 
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Ah, so some IEMs do have decent soundstage as well. I don't expect to have abundance of soundstage in IEMs but just no noticeable shortage of it. I'm going to wait until my HD6xx arrives, and double check if I can actually live out with this level of ambient noise. If not, I will definitely look into getting those TOTL custom IEMs. I did indeed hear that the A12T's and A18T's are great too, many people said it's better than the Kaiser. Thanks for reminding me that!
Owning either of those 64-Audio custom would pretty much give you the current best in the IEM market has to offer. Keep in mind that the A12T is mild-V shaped tuned while the A18Tzar is neutral warm. If the HD6XX sounds neutral, then you might prefer the A18T sound signature over the A12T
 
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Owning either of those 64-Audio custom would pretty much give you the current best in the IEM market has to offer. Keep in mind that the A12T is mild-V shaped tuned while the A18Tzar is neutral warm. If the HD6XX sounds neutral, then you might prefer the A18T sound signature over the A12T
The only V shaped vs neutral comparison I have right now is between DT770 and HD598 (which are not that high end). Though, I liked HD598 significantly more than the DT770. I'm not entirely sure if I'm just not liking the DT770's sound signature, but I think forward mid is something I've learned to appreciate and love from listening to HD598 for a long time. So I'll probably go with A18T if I'm choosing between the two :p
 
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