Ideal IEM for office environment under $100?
Nov 16, 2008 at 6:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

rnr4ever

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Hi guys,

I am going to be interning at a software company that sits everyone in cubes, so I am looking for a pair of budget IEMs I can use to keep myself focus at work. I am looking for IEMs instead of headphones because I feel really uncomfortable when I wear something tight around my head :/

I am a college student, so the most I can spare for a pair of IEM is $100 tops. In fact, I have never really owned a pair of IEM before. The closest thing I have to IEMs is my pair of Philips SHE5910, which are basically earbuds with the "in-ear" plastic piece. So, I really don't want to throw hundreds of dollars at IEMs just yet.

I tried searching the forums, but I didn't really find anything that matches what I want. Basically, the requirements below sums up what I am looking for in the order of importance:

- Isolation (closed IEMs): I need to filter out conversation noises so I don't get distracted. At the same time, I don't want sound to leak out and annoy people in the cubes next to mine.
- Comfort: Basically, I need to be able to wear them for a couple of hours straight without pain. With my current pair of Philips SHE5910, my ears start to hurt after an hour or so.
- Detachable cables(?): It would be awesome if the cable can be detached, like the Sleek SA6 or the Panasonic HJE900. Of course, those are WAY out of my budget, and it seems the feature is only available to IEMs that are out of my league T_T.
- (Average) Sound Quality: SQ isn't the biggest factor here...but hopefully something better than say, laptop speakers.


Any help would be MUCH appreciated. I am not an audiophile at all, but I have heard the Head-Fi community is very knowledgeable about these things. Just want to say, thanks in advance!
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:11 AM Post #2 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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If laptop speakers are your standard, you dont need to worry about SQ on anything. For isolation, look at the Etymotic ER 6i, but it is a bit hit or miss for comfort (although more hit); many people love it but some hate it. The Westone UM1 is known to be comfortable and isolates noise pretty well but uses comply foam tips which wear out quickly; youll have spent as much on tips for it in a year as you did on the phones. Id take the gamble on whether the ER 6i's fit you well; if they do, they'll disappear in your ears; If they don't, give them 2 weeks to get used to them; if they still don't, bad luck.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:46 AM Post #4 of 17

AudioDwebe

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"If" you're going to be leaving the IEM in your ears for hours at a time and not have to take them out everty 30 minutes or so, as co-workers come into your cubicle and ask questions, etc, then I, too, would recommend the ER6i.

But, if you'll have to take them in/out when other folks come around, then you might consider an earbud, like a PK2 or something, as removing and inserting your IEM's will get old quick. And for me, if I do that (remove/insert) my Etys more than 4 or 5 times within a couple of hours, they start to hurt my inner ear. I'm assuming it's the suction and pressure of insert/remove.

My $.02.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:02 AM Post #5 of 17

rnr4ever

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Thanks TacticalPenguin and AudioDwebe!

I was able to dig up a $100 Best Buy gift card I got from a raffle, and I am going to use the sucker to get the IEMs. Unfortunately, Best Buy doesn't carry any Etymotic T_T.

I checked out the Best Buy website, and I narrow it down to these:

$100
V-MODA Vibe
UE Super.fi 3
Denon AH-C551K
Shure SE110K

$80
UE Metro.fi 2

$50
Denon AH-C351


Which one would you guys recommend? Once again, thanks for the help guys...really appreciate it!
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:25 AM Post #6 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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None of those are exactly known for their isolation, but the C551s are good sounding phones. From the time that I used the vibes, I think they are definitely comfortable, but they do not isolate much at all. The SF3 has a decent sound and replaceable cables but you might not like the fit.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 9:17 AM Post #7 of 17

jonathanjong

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Sadly, the 551s don't isolate that well, and when you get them to, they're not the most comfy things in the world. A few hours (say...2?) should be OK, but more than that, and I go crawling to my D1001s.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 12:25 PM Post #8 of 17

rnr4ever

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Hmmm...

Since all of those are not good at providing isolation, will applying earmuffs on top of an IEM solve my problem? I have a pair of really comfortable earmuffs for the shooting range that I can wear for hours at the range, so I can probably wear them working with no problem.

I am wondering if there is any known bad side of IEM + earmuff... (Yes, I tried searching for IEM + earmuff already. It seems people have done it before...but it doesn't seem to be popular...)

My current concern is that the IEM can't stick out too far, else the earmuff will press against it. If so, it seems the Denon AH-C351/551 is the best contender.

Opinions? Thanks!
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:15 PM Post #9 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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Out of the ones you listed, the UE phones MIGHT stick out too far, but all the rest should be fine (unless theyre the very small lowprofile electronic ones, I have used them but I forget the brand, not peltor, peltor ones are plenty big enough)

However, chances are, out of that list the SF3 would provide the best isolation anyways and you wouldn't need the earmuffs, if they fit you well.

You could also buy some headphones like the Sennheiser HD280, which is a fullsized headphone but cups over your ears and isolates.

Also, the only downside I could see to it is possible microphonics between your skin and the earmuff.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:33 PM Post #10 of 17

ThePandemonium

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Most people would disagree but I say go for the SE110... You get good isolation (if you use the foams), very good comfort (if you use the foams) and I really do like the sound that comes out of these puppies. Although the sound is not for every one, I think it is better than the Denon 551. The Denons did not really impress me at all...
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 3:52 PM Post #11 of 17

yumigator

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TacticalPenguin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
However, chances are, out of that list the SF3 would provide the best isolation anyways and you wouldn't need the earmuffs, if they fit you well.


I definitely recommend the SF3. Isolation is excellent, as is sound quality. And you can get them <$80. They're also easy to quickly remove and insert because they're so huge. Detatchable cables, too.

If you do the flip flop mod, they become more comfortable and don't stick out as much (enough that you could lay down comfortably on the side of your head), but it becomes slower to insert them.

If you stretch your budget a little, the Westone UM1 are very well received.

And both of these IEMs will provide enough isolation without earmuffs. I have used my SF3's on planes and on school buses with a bunch of loud middle school students, and I did not have to turn the volume up from my normal listening level.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 4:01 PM Post #12 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ThePandemonium /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Most people would disagree but I say go for the SE110... You get good isolation (if you use the foams), very good comfort (if you use the foams) and I really do like the sound that comes out of these puppies. Although the sound is not for every one, I think it is better than the Denon 551. The Denons did not really impress me at all...


The 110 does have some of the comfort shure is known for, and the higher end isolation, but I simply didn't like the sound when I listened to them, not enough detail and the bass was just.... hmm... Also, its cables and the phone itself are huge.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 4:10 PM Post #13 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by yumigator /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I definitely recommend the SF3. Isolation is excellent, as is sound quality. And you can get them <$80. They're also easy to quickly remove and insert because they're so huge. Detatchable cables, too.

If you do the flip flop mod, they become more comfortable and don't stick out as much (enough that you could lay down comfortably on the side of your head), but it becomes slower to insert them.

If you stretch your budget a little, the Westone UM1 are very well received.

And both of these IEMs will provide enough isolation without earmuffs. I have used my SF3's on planes and on school buses with a bunch of loud middle school students, and I did not have to turn the volume up from my normal listening level.



He can't get the UM1, bestbuy doesnt sell it. And I agree with what you said about the SF3, but some people simply can't get them to fit right. I would still take the risk and get the SF3, though.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 10:42 PM Post #14 of 17

LBC

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How about iM716? Good value, tri-flanges or foamies for good isolation, and quite good sound. ($85 at Amazon - might find 'em cheaper elsewhere - but that gives you an idea.)
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 11:33 PM Post #15 of 17

TacticalPenguin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LBC /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How about iM716? Good value, tri-flanges or foamies for good isolation, and quite good sound. ($85 at Amazon - might find 'em cheaper elsewhere - but that gives you an idea.)


Look at his list... he wants to use his giftcard to best buy
 

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