IEM/Canal phone with awesome soundstaging capabilities?
post-7363667
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
 
 
First off, hi! :) It's been quite a long time since I've made a post on these forums, over a year I think. I usually post in the full size forum, but I am in dire need of something smaller now.

As a background, I am an avid gamer. I travel around the US going to gaming events, usually attending 9 or 10 a year. I play Counter-Strike:Source competitively, and if anyone here reading this has done that, you know how much good directional sound can help you perform.

I've always typically used full sized headphones to compete, but due to the rigors of travel, I have gone through more than my share of nice equipment (we're talking Denon d2000s, Beyers, AD700s etc. broken over time). Today, I was playing a game from home using my only pair of canal phones (I own a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-CKM50A) because I needed more sound isolation, when it hit me - I've owned these for far longer than any of my full-sized cans have survived, and they have excellent sound quality! The only issue I have with these are the soundstaging capabilities. While they are good enough for normal circumstances, they just don't have the depth for me to feel I can rely on to know where my opposition is.

So, naturally, this has put me on a mission of sorts - find a set of IEM or canal phones that have the soundstaging I'm looking for. In a nutshell, what I need is:
 
- As open  a soundstage as I can find
- Easily driven (Most events use tournament computers, and I would be using onboard computer audio to plug into)
- Moderate to light bass if possible
- Preferably under $200 (If there is no alternative to spending more, I will save, I would just prefer to spend as little as possible

I am willing to sacrifice just about anything SQ wise to get the kind of soundstaging I need, as these AT canal phones are excellent and would fulfill my music needs. =)
With all that said, can anyone lead me in the right direction? I am looking at the lower end Shures, the Ultimate Ear line, and Etymotic right now. I'm not sure what to pick, because this definitely is not my domain.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7363699
Post #2 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
I suppose I should add that I know I'm not likely to get the kind of soundstaging I have had in full sized headphones. I'm not looking for the kind of imaging that the 880 provides, as long as its seperated enough that if someone is behind me, I know they are behind me.

 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7363700
Post #3 of 22

yello131

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Messages
1,218
Reaction score
21
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
1,218
Likes
21
I think you may like something like RE252 or Fisher Audio DBA02
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7363745
Post #4 of 22

pekingduck

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
2,281
Reaction score
163
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
2,281
Likes
163
If you don't mind earbuds then take a look at the Yuin OK1's. I haven't used them for gaming but it sounds like they fit your requirements (except the price is $229..)
 
They are 150ohm but sound great straight out of my iPhone 4.
 
Cheers

 
     Share This Post       
post-7363989
Post #5 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10


Quote:
If you don't mind earbuds then take a look at the Yuin OK1's. I haven't used them for gaming but it sounds like they fit your requirements (except the price is $229..)
 
They are 150ohm but sound great straight out of my iPhone 4.
 
Cheers

How is the volume out of the iPhone? That's the real concern I would be looking at with a higher impedence set such as that. Although, the OK line comes with adapters to turn them into canal headphones dont they? That might be a pretty nifty feature, I might need to look into those more. I had totally forgotten about the Yuin line.
 
$30 won't deter me from them if they are a good option.
 
A couple of things I found: http://www.amazon.com/Acoustics-Enhanced-Definition-Gaming-Earphones/dp/B000X3SJZC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1301124203&sr=1-1 <- EDGE acoustics GX400. After some research I found out that EDGE is a branch of Etymotic. The look and price of the set would make me think this is an ER4P with a mic and an inline control. I know the ER4P have a reputation for being a little light on the bass, which would be a great thing for me in this regard. Has anyone who has read this thread tried the ER4P in a gaming environment? I'd likely go for the ER4P itself and use the desk microphone I've always used instead of going for the all in one, but the fact that they made a gaming headset based on the ER4P makes me real curious.
 
Another thing I didn't know was that Ultimate Ears is made by Logitech. Now this is going to be a *huge* stretch, but I have used logitech headsets and they delivered on the positional audio front. So based on the flawed logic that if they make full-sized headsets that do what I need, their portable line might be able to do it for me too?
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7364327
Post #6 of 22

pekingduck

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
2,281
Reaction score
163
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
2,281
Likes
163
I usually listen at around 50-60% of the max. volume.
 
About the canal phone adatper, I've never tried it but review is not favorable... http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Head-Direct/Yuin/OK1/3.html
 
P.S.: Ultimate Ears was acquired by Logitech sometime ago (last year, I think)
Quote:
How is the volume out of the iPhone? That's the real concern I would be looking at with a higher impedence set such as that. Although, the OK line comes with adapters to turn them into canal headphones dont they? That might be a pretty nifty feature, I might need to look into those more. I had totally forgotten about the Yuin line.
 
$30 won't deter me from them if they are a good option.
 
A couple of things I found: http://www.amazon.com/Acoustics-Enhanced-Definition-Gaming-Earphones/dp/B000X3SJZC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1301124203&sr=1-1 <- EDGE acoustics GX400. After some research I found out that EDGE is a branch of Etymotic. The look and price of the set would make me think this is an ER4P with a mic and an inline control. I know the ER4P have a reputation for being a little light on the bass, which would be a great thing for me in this regard. Has anyone who has read this thread tried the ER4P in a gaming environment? I'd likely go for the ER4P itself and use the desk microphone I've always used instead of going for the all in one, but the fact that they made a gaming headset based on the ER4P makes me real curious.
 
Another thing I didn't know was that Ultimate Ears is made by Logitech. Now this is going to be a *huge* stretch, but I have used logitech headsets and they delivered on the positional audio front. So based on the flawed logic that if they make full-sized headsets that do what I need, their portable line might be able to do it for me too?
 


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365277
Post #7 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
Do you have decent isolation with the Yuins when you have them in? Not with music going, but just in your ears... The events I go to can get VERY noisy, and while it won't matter much when theres action during the rounds, those crucial moments where it might be me left on my team versus one or two on the other, I need to be able to hear small nuances such as a smoke grenade popping, or footsteps. Being able to focus solely on the action is very important in this  regard, and the one reason I would be hesitant to use earbuds for this. It's also the reason something like a PX100 or Portapros aren't great for it - I've actually used the PX100 at an event before, and while the actual sound was excellent, I was not able to hear those details, which cost me a few rounds and ultimately a top 3 placing at that particular tourney.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365526
Post #8 of 22

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
8,565
Reaction score
633
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
633
I suppose I should add that I know I'm not likely to get the kind of soundstaging I have had in full sized headphones.

 

Quite correct, you'll get better soundstaging.. by far.

I listened to HD600 for a long time and enjoyed them. Bought a HE-6 and it sounded better in every respect. Bought some $20 MEElectronic IEMs for disposable portable use... WOW.. soundstage like I'd never heard before. I've since upgraded to the RE-262 while I wait for CanJam @ RMAF to roll around so I can pick out in person the high end customs I want.

I would guess some IEMs have poor soundstaging, but both of mine are eerily realistic. The imaging is 3D feeling like you can just reach out and touch it. I've never experienced this level of imaging and space with any normal headphone setup. I've tried quite a nice sampling of higher end gear including Stax O2, HE-60, K1000, my personal HE-6, HD800 with supporting gear of equal caliber. These to me are junk for a pure listening experience. They sound nice, but they don't sound right. My HE-6 had better sound quality than I have currently (RE-262) in regards to clarity, timbre, etc in all respects except for soundstage and imaging. I'm hoping to replicate that same level of quality sound in a high end IEM once I'm able to attend RMAF, while retaining the amazing soundstage and imaging I've come to love.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365562
Post #9 of 22

pekingduck

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 16, 2009
Messages
2,281
Reaction score
163
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
2,281
Likes
163
I'll let you know tomorrow when I am back to work (they are my office phones).
 
Quote:
Do you have decent isolation with the Yuins when you have them in? Not with music going, but just in your ears... The events I go to can get VERY noisy, and while it won't matter much when theres action during the rounds, those crucial moments where it might be me left on my team versus one or two on the other, I need to be able to hear small nuances such as a smoke grenade popping, or footsteps. Being able to focus solely on the action is very important in this  regard, and the one reason I would be hesitant to use earbuds for this. It's also the reason something like a PX100 or Portapros aren't great for it - I've actually used the PX100 at an event before, and while the actual sound was excellent, I was not able to hear those details, which cost me a few rounds and ultimately a top 3 placing at that particular tourney.


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365587
Post #10 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
You have my attention. I know good IEMs are capable of having a great soundstage but I didn't expect it to be reachable in my budget.
 
If I might ask, what MEElectronics model  did you buy for so cheap that had this amazing soundstage? For that price they are definitely worth a try.
 
Peking - Thanks, I look forward to hearing about your...ability to not hear...

Quote:
Quote:
I suppose I should add that I know I'm not likely to get the kind of soundstaging I have had in full sized headphones.

 



Quite correct, you'll get better soundstaging.. by far.

I listened to HD600 for a long time and enjoyed them. Bought a HE-6 and it sounded better in every respect. Bought some $20 MEElectronic IEMs for disposable portable use... WOW.. soundstage like I'd never heard before. I've since upgraded to the RE-262 while I wait for CanJam @ RMAF to roll around so I can pick out in person the high end customs I want.

I would guess some IEMs have poor soundstaging, but both of mine are eerily realistic. The imaging is 3D feeling like you can just reach out and touch it. I've never experienced this level of imaging and space with any normal headphone setup. I've tried quite a nice sampling of higher end gear including Stax O2, HE-60, K1000, my personal HE-6, HD800 with supporting gear of equal caliber. These to me are junk for a pure listening experience. They sound nice, but they don't sound right. My HE-6 had better sound quality than I have currently (RE-262) in regards to clarity, timbre, etc in all respects except for soundstage and imaging. I'm hoping to replicate that same level of quality sound in a high end IEM once I'm able to attend RMAF, while retaining the amazing soundstage and imaging I've come to love.


 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365616
Post #11 of 22

mastershake2393

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
889
Reaction score
31
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Posts
889
Likes
31
If you want to spend a little more than $200, from what I've heard the IE8's are amazing for soundstage. I will be receiving a pair on Monday, so my impressions are reserved until I've listened to them for at least a couple of days.

 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365623
Post #12 of 22

Maxvla

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
8,565
Reaction score
633
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Posts
8,565
Likes
633
You have my attention. I know good IEMs are capable of having a great soundstage but I didn't expect it to be reachable in my budget.
 
If I might ask, what MEElectronics model  did you buy for so cheap that had this amazing soundstage? For that price they are definitely worth a try.
 
Peking - Thanks, I look forward to hearing about your...ability to not hear...



 

M9. Besides soundstage and bass don't expect much though. They are pretty horrible otherwise. Decent disposable IEMs though. Ones you won't be too crushed for losing by accident.
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365627
Post #13 of 22

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
271
Reaction score
10
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
Luckily, soundstage is really *all* I absolutely need for what they will be used for. As long as they can isolate decent, and they have a good soundstage, I'm set. I think I'm going to order a pair right now, if they don't work, well, its not a lot of money lost. :)
 
The IE8s have caught my attention as well, though I would be more inclined to go towards the IE7 if they would get the job done as well, due to their cheaper cost. Although from what I have been reading, it looks like I may have some solid choices in the RE-262, the M9 if they work out, the ER4P, and potentially even the ER6i, which I have owned before I took my initial absence and fit very well in my ears (I used to go on 10+ mile runs with those, so I know they are durable). This is shaping up to be a very nice problem, too many choices!

 
 
 
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365674
Post #14 of 22

calipilot227

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
1,876
Reaction score
50
Location
San Jose, CA
Joined
May 3, 2010
Location
San Jose, CA
Posts
1,876
Likes
50
I would suggest the Triple.fi 10. It has probably the best soundstage I've experienced in an IEM (better than my Grado SR80's), and the isolation is more than adequate. Plus, it sounds great with music too
 
     Share This Post       
post-7365701
Post #15 of 22

12345142

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
823
Reaction score
43
Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Posts
823
Likes
43
The Phiaton PS200s have a nice, wide soundstage and good imaging capabilities. They're currently under $150 at amazon.com.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top