I need high quality custom fitted IEM for mixing and producing
May 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

coosticks

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I know there's every bit of info here somewhere... only I can't afford to spend all the hours it would take!
 
I've just joined up here having spent the last few hours reading all the great stuff on this forum.
 
I'm a musician/producer and I spend a LOT of my time working on my productions (lots of styles from dance, pop, rock, classical, jazz, soundtrack etc etc) on my macbook pro. Much of the time I'm on a train or a plane or somewhere else noisy.
 
I've been muddling through with some inexpensive sennheiser buds which have been ok, but I really need more truth in the sound.
 
So, I need some serious quality in ear monitors (I have 4 high end sets of over-the-ear phones for when I'm in my studio, but I don't want to take the space carrying these with me on the go).
 
I've decided that having them properly fitted is the way to go for me having tried (and not liked) several canal phones with generic fitting.
 
I don't think I can stretch to Ultimate ears, but I have been looking at ACS, Minerva, Unique Melody as possibilities. I guess my budget won't go beyond about £400 ($600 - 650).
 
I'm after:
 
1. Ease of insertion
2. good isolation
3. Easy to drive (i.e. no additional amp)
4. flat, neutral, honest sound rather than "hi-fi" hyped.
 
I've had etymotics in the past and didin't like those much, so I want better than that if possible without breaking the bank.
 
I'm UK based if that makes any difference.
 
I hope you don't mind a first-time poster asking what must be a very (very!) common type of question.
 
I think it's mainly because I know that if I have customs then by the time I've bought them there's no going back!
 
Very many thanks in advance for any thoughts,
 
best,
 
Paul
 
May 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM Post #3 of 14

coosticks

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My studio Headphones are:
Sennheiser HD 650, Shure HD25, Audio Technica M50, AKG 701
 
I've just been looking at JH audio (given that these are essentially Ultimate Ears) - what are the JH7 and JH5 like as relatively cost effective solutions in comparison to, say, ACS, Minerva...?
 
May 20, 2012 at 1:30 AM Post #6 of 14

average_joe

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Quote:
My studio Headphones are:
Sennheiser HD 650, Shure HD25, Audio Technica M50, AKG 701
 
I've just been looking at JH audio (given that these are essentially Ultimate Ears) - what are the JH7 and JH5 like as relatively cost effective solutions in comparison to, say, ACS, Minerva...?

 
Do you prefer any of those studio headphone over the others?  The 650 is on the darker side and the 701 on the brighter side.
 
Check out the Alclair Reference, and I have some other reviews as well.
 
May 20, 2012 at 5:42 AM Post #7 of 14

coosticks

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Hi Joe....
 
I've been reading all your stuff (in fact I was going to try to contact you directly; seems you're quite possibly the world's best authority on CIEM!)
 
You must be one of only a very few people with experience of quite a few different ones.....
 
My studio headphones are different for different types of music production/use; the Sennheiser HD25's i use for dance type things and when I DJ, the AKG and other Sennheisers for jazz classical/ambient etc (less bass orientated). In fact even though they're the cheapest, I tend to think that the AT M50's are the best of all of them for overall general use (Bob Clearmountain swears by these!)
 
Of course, I mostly use monitor speakers in the studio anyway.
 
I've decided to try to narrow down by price, AND go for a UK company (thus avoiding probs with customs/shipping/time etc).
 
although Livewires seems to be a good option even though US-based, plus I've been having a look at JH audio (the lower end of the range)
 
so, Minerva, ACS, Puretone Music, Hearwave and Unique melody seem to be my main options. It would come down to Mi3 v UM Aero v ACS T2 (more expensive with 2 instead of 3 drivers) v  PT micromonitor 1 (1 driver rather than 2 or 3 and more expensive) v Hearwave S2 (cheaper, perhaps not "pro" enough for my needs)
 
I think Minerva would suit, except I don't like the idea od non-removable cables... so ACS have silicon AND removable cables (bit more money though). Unique melody offer the removable cables, plus I don't really have a preference between silicon and acrylic (I don't think!)
 
I know you haven't tried all of these Joe, but I've been reading all the mountain of info you've posted and using this as a reference.
 
What are you thoughts based on what i've written here?
 
Very many thanks,
 
Paul
 
May 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM Post #9 of 14

Gofre

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Quote:
Hi Joe....
 
I've been reading all your stuff (in fact I was going to try to contact you directly; seems you're quite possibly the world's best authority on CIEM!)
 
You must be one of only a very few people with experience of quite a few different ones.....
 
My studio headphones are different for different types of music production/use; the Sennheiser HD25's i use for dance type things and when I DJ, the AKG and other Sennheisers for jazz classical/ambient etc (less bass orientated). In fact even though they're the cheapest, I tend to think that the AT M50's are the best of all of them for overall general use (Bob Clearmountain swears by these!)
 
Of course, I mostly use monitor speakers in the studio anyway.
 
I've decided to try to narrow down by price, AND go for a UK company (thus avoiding probs with customs/shipping/time etc).
 
although Livewires seems to be a good option even though US-based, plus I've been having a look at JH audio (the lower end of the range)
 
so, Minerva, ACS, Puretone Music, Hearwave and Unique melody seem to be my main options. It would come down to Mi3 v UM Aero v ACS T2 (more expensive with 2 instead of 3 drivers) v  PT micromonitor 1 (1 driver rather than 2 or 3 and more expensive) v Hearwave S2 (cheaper, perhaps not "pro" enough for my needs)
 
I think Minerva would suit, except I don't like the idea od non-removable cables... so ACS have silicon AND removable cables (bit more money though). Unique melody offer the removable cables, plus I don't really have a preference between silicon and acrylic (I don't think!)
 
I know you haven't tried all of these Joe, but I've been reading all the mountain of info you've posted and using this as a reference.
 
What are you thoughts based on what i've written here?
 
Very many thanks,
 
Paul

 
Unique Melody aren't a UK company, they just have a UK storefront. I almost went for them myself but decided to go Minerva because I also wanted a UK company in case of issues. Case in point, my Mi-3s arrived with a fault with one of the drivers, so I sent them off and they're being dispatched back to me on Monday, a week later. The turnaround time for an international company would obviously be a lot longer.
 
I obviously can't comment on the sound quality yet, and wouldn't be able to do as good a job as Joe anyway, but Minerva have been a pleasure to deal with since putting in my order.
 
May 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM Post #11 of 14

DefQon

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Was going to recommend the UE Ref and the ES5, till I saw the mentioned budget. That being said, I think the Miracles or 4A will more or less suit your needs (as well as enjoying them for regular music listening) and they do fall within your budget. I don't own neither except the ES5 (know people who both the Miracles and 4A) and there impressions pretty match the ones you read from appreciation threads here.
 
May 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM Post #12 of 14

average_joe

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Quote:
Hi Joe....
 
I've been reading all your stuff (in fact I was going to try to contact you directly; seems you're quite possibly the world's best authority on CIEM!)
 
You must be one of only a very few people with experience of quite a few different ones.....
 
My studio headphones are different for different types of music production/use; the Sennheiser HD25's i use for dance type things and when I DJ, the AKG and other Sennheisers for jazz classical/ambient etc (less bass orientated). In fact even though they're the cheapest, I tend to think that the AT M50's are the best of all of them for overall general use (Bob Clearmountain swears by these!)
 
Of course, I mostly use monitor speakers in the studio anyway.
 
I've decided to try to narrow down by price, AND go for a UK company (thus avoiding probs with customs/shipping/time etc).
 
although Livewires seems to be a good option even though US-based, plus I've been having a look at JH audio (the lower end of the range)
 
so, Minerva, ACS, Puretone Music, Hearwave and Unique melody seem to be my main options. It would come down to Mi3 v UM Aero v ACS T2 (more expensive with 2 instead of 3 drivers) v  PT micromonitor 1 (1 driver rather than 2 or 3 and more expensive) v Hearwave S2 (cheaper, perhaps not "pro" enough for my needs)
 
I think Minerva would suit, except I don't like the idea od non-removable cables... so ACS have silicon AND removable cables (bit more money though). Unique melody offer the removable cables, plus I don't really have a preference between silicon and acrylic (I don't think!)
 
I know you haven't tried all of these Joe, but I've been reading all the mountain of info you've posted and using this as a reference.
 
What are you thoughts based on what i've written here?
 
Very many thanks,
 
Paul

 
Hi Paul, thanks for reading my reviews and info!  If you are going to buy only from the UK your choices are limited.  I have only heard products from ACS and Minerva, but from the UM demos I have heard, the sound of UM products is different than that of the ACS and Minerva products.  Actually, I think silicone sound is different than acrylic sound, with silicone being warmer and thicker in general.  I can't say anything about the PT or Hearwave products, but between the T2 and Aero, I would think the Areo is going to present the details in a clearer way while the T2 will focus more on the overall presentation.  The Minerva is thick and not something I would recommend for pro use, but more for fans of tube equipment.  Let me know if this answers your questions and if you have any more.
 
May 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM Post #13 of 14

Gofre

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Quote:
good to know, thanks! 
 
Yes, I know that Unique melody aren't UK as such, but the faxt that they deal from here should mean no issues I would have thought?

 
It's not so much that you'll have issues with international companies per sé, rather that if you do have issues there's obviously going to be a much larger span of time between reporting the issue and having it resolved when your headphones are flying their way across several continents. As an example, if I remember correctly Unique Melody's site suggested a 6-8 week turnaround time after the initial order because their manufacturing takes place in China, Minerva are located in Wales and they estimate turnaround times of ten days (Mine arrived in eight), I expect there's the potential for large spans of time in terms of getting any problems fixed, plus there's international shipping costs unless UM cover them. I guess it depends on your priorities, I personally favoured having the security of getting everything done in the UK so in the event of a fault, I wouldn't have to risk being without my headphones for upwards of a month =P
 
May 21, 2012 at 12:02 AM Post #14 of 14

coosticks

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Quote:
 
Hi Paul, thanks for reading my reviews and info!  If you are going to buy only from the UK your choices are limited.  I have only heard products from ACS and Minerva, but from the UM demos I have heard, the sound of UM products is different than that of the ACS and Minerva products.  Actually, I think silicone sound is different than acrylic sound, with silicone being warmer and thicker in general.  I can't say anything about the PT or Hearwave products, but between the T2 and Aero, I would think the Areo is going to present the details in a clearer way while the T2 will focus more on the overall presentation.  The Minerva is thick and not something I would recommend for pro use, but more for fans of tube equipment.  Let me know if this answers your questions and if you have any more.

Thnaks for this Joe, very helpful.
Interesting what you say about Minerva; I THINK they have a 'musicians' option for tuning, which I assume means that the sound WILL be more 'real'/pro.
 
I'm wondering whether i should step up the ladder a bit to the UE or JH.....
 

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