I can't decide on an IEM
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:31 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

EhJayKim

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I'm leaving for China in 2 weeks and I know that I will need some music during the flight. I have ksc 75's and hd 580's, but neither has enough sound insulation and I don't want to bring my amp to China either. So, what is a good IEM to get to play directly out of my X5L?

I listen mainly to classical music. What is the best one around 100 or less and the best around 150? Less money is probably better because I just need a phone that will sound good, not amazing, and keep sound out. Thanks

-A
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:37 AM Post #2 of 14

Jasper994

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In that price range probably the best for classical would either be the ER6i or maybe the Super.Fi 3 Studio. The Shure E3 should fall in this category as well, but I haven't spent a lot of time with it. You may also see if you can pick up a Shure E4 used for around $150.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:56 AM Post #3 of 14

TheMarchingMule

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Yes, for sure aim to get a Shure E4 used; imo best bang for buck on the Shure line, and the low price would make it irresistable.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:06 AM Post #4 of 14

nirvanalvr12

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Again for the Shure E4c's. They are a great IEM for their price. Often you will be able to find them used here on the forums for around $140, but even if you don't want to buy used, I feel buying them new (usually found around $180) is still a great deal for such an IEM.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:07 AM Post #5 of 14

souladdikt

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Shure E4 if you can swing it. But if you can't, I think you'd be happy with the ER-6i for the price--and if you want isolation, it delivers.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:16 AM Post #6 of 14

Sinwerm

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If you want to go on the lesser side of price I would say the Shure E3 and spend the extra on some Comply tips for them , very comfortable and for me it's like a sound blackout , very isolating. I have the E3s and the Super 5 fi.pros but I prefer to listen to classical and older country music (40s and 50s Johnny Cash ect..) on the Shures they are much more articulated , for my ears.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 7:08 PM Post #7 of 14

LaBreaHead

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I like both my Shure E3C's and Etymotics ER-6's a lot for airplane listening. But for the price of both, I probably should have gotten the Shure E4's (and had money left over).

If you absolutely don't want to spend the extra money on the E4's, I can attest that the Etymotics are a good value and they isolate very, very well on airplanes (the E3C's isolate "just" very well). If you think you'll be experiencing Head-Fi Upgrade-itis in the next year, maybe you should try to get the E4's now ...

Whatever you get, experiment with flanged and foam tips, and fit, before you leave, to get an initial idea what you want and so you don't have to fuss with different ear pieces for your earphones for the duration of your very long flight.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 7:11 PM Post #8 of 14

jagorev

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I would go for the Altec im716. It's basically a rebranded Etymotic that's a step above the er-6i - and the Etys sound great with classical. The er-6i is probably the best $100 choice.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:10 AM Post #9 of 14

EhJayKim

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OK, so I have it down to the er-6i and the Altec im716. Which gives better sound, and which gives better insulation? The price seems to be close enough that I would rather just look at the details of the phones and not have price be too big a factor b/t these two. Thanks.

-A
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:23 AM Post #10 of 14

jagorev

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Quote:

Originally Posted by EhJayKim
OK, so I have it down to the er-6i and the Altec im716. Which gives better sound, and which gives better insulation? The price seems to be close enough that I would rather just look at the details of the phones and not have price be too big a factor b/t these two. Thanks.

-A



Isolation should be about the same - quite high for both, since they use similar triflange tips. Everything I've read leads me to believe that the im716 has better sound. There was a pretty long thread about it a while back - a forum search for im716 will turn up lots of impressions.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:44 AM Post #11 of 14

EhJayKim

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Some reviews complain about them being so power hungry that I need an amp to drive them. How much volume should I expect? Are these just people complaining who enjoy blasting music, or is this a legitimate concern with the Altec Lansing's? I am driving them out of an x5l Thanks. I wish it wasn't so hard to decide on these kinds of things....

-Alex
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:55 AM Post #12 of 14

jagorev

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Quote:

Originally Posted by EhJayKim
Some reviews complain about them being so power hungry that I need an amp to drive them. How much volume should I expect? Are these just people complaining who enjoy blasting music, or is this a legitimate concern with the Altec Lansing's? I am driving them out of an x5l Thanks. I wish it wasn't so hard to decide on these kinds of things....

-Alex



They're power hungry on HD mode, but lower-impedance (and easy to drive from a portable) in bass boost mode.

The er-6i is basically an er-6 with the lower-impedance and bass-boost built in by defualt. With the im716, you get both modes.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 6:11 PM Post #14 of 14

jSatch

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Quote:

Originally Posted by EhJayKim
OK thanks, well, my brother is getting the er6i's and I am getting the Altec Lansings, so I will be able to try out both. Thanks for the help.

-Alex



Not all drivers are equally efficient.

That said, if we are to assume equal efficiency between the Ety drivers and their clones, the Altecs, the impedances compare as follows*:

Ety ER4S: 100 Ohms
Ety ER4P: 27 Ohms
Ety ER6: 48 Ohms
Ety ER6i: 16 Ohms

Altec iM716 HD: 68 Ohms
Altec iM716 Bass: 37 Ohms
Altec iM616: 16 Ohms

If the efficiency of these drivers were the same, or even if the iM716 is a tweaked version of the ER4 series (as originally reported, but still unresolved), it would appear that the iM716 would be a bit less efficient than the ER4P- everything else being equal. But it should be more efficient thant the ER4S, which is known to require home amplification, or an additional amp with a DAP, to sound its best.
The ER6i and it’s purported clone, the Altec iM616, are reportedly easier to drive, as the numbers would suggest.
Keep in mind it is not uncommon to find home phones, such as my Senn HD580s, at or above 300 Ohms.

Numbers are not everything; as for experience, the iM716s could use a little more headroom, but they go plenty loud for me. IMHO, adding an amp between an iPod and the iM716 did ever so slightly improve the sound, but surprisingly not by much. I did not have the opportunity to listen directly to the phones out of a home amp, like Gino reported, where the limitations of the iPod are avoided.

I do like the sound of the iM716 directly from the iPod, although I have not had the opportunity to compare them with the highly-regarded ER6i. I hope you will write back with your impressions of these two phones. Please keep in mind, they may (will) sound better after a week of burn-in, and remember to adjust the volume levels accordingly when A/B’ing them.

Enjoy your new phones!!
etysmile.gif



* Ety values from Etymotic’s web site; Altec iM716 values measured directly and corroborated by others at Head-Fi.
 

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