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IEM, CIEM and DAP Search (and some Hong Kong Audio Show Photos)

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  1. Rayzilla
    I am interested in getting my first CIEM [edited - and now adding first DAP]. I've tried a few brands of CIEMs [but not DAPs yet] here in Hong Kong and I think I am down to my final decision but I just wanted to see if I have missed some brand that I never thought about. I have no clue where to start on my DAP search yet other than a few suggestions from my friends that know more than me.

    CIEM Search Begins Here:

    Current IEM Inventory - Intime Go and Sora. Shure SE535.

    I've always been a headphone guy and not much of an IEM guy but recently I started thinking about using IEMs instead when the weather gets hot here (and it really does). So I recently purchased two pairs of budget IEMs that I love, the Intime Go and Intime Sora. I will get into my preferred sound signature next and the usual type of music I listen to on a daily basis. I also have a pair of SE535's as my first real IEM but they do not have the sound that I have come to crave recently, which is a little more bass and sub bass than before. Before buying the Intime IEMs, I was set on getting the Radius HP-NX100. In the end, I chose the Intimes because I was in Tokyo and they would not be as easy to get once I returned to Hong Kong.

    Daily Music Selections - Diplo, Rap, Big House EDM.
    Lately I have been listening to a lot of Diplo and Friends (and no friends) stuff on Global-Sets.com. Sometimes it will be rap flavoured, techno, and a mix of other styles. Most of the time, whatever he plays, I usually like it. So I am rarely listening to a particular track or artist over and over again. I know it is not the highest quality but it seems to be good enough for me. Mainly because I don't know where I would be able to find higher quality with the same mix and variety that I get from there. Some of the music hits very low and with my home set up, I hear that rumbling bass as well as the detail all over. That is what I want in the CIEM too.

    Sound Signature I Seek - Rumbling sub bass, punchy bass and all the treble I can handle. Details.
    As a result of listening to a lot of the Diplo stuff, I have recently started to crave deep and rumbling sub bass. I've always had a preference for good tight/punchy upper bass and clear, detailed strong highs without any veil. I'm not too concerned about the mids as I do not listen to a lot of vocal intensive songs.

    Source - Huawei Mate 10 to BL or Hugo or AK XB10.
    I will mainly be using the CIEM with the ifi iDSD BL and Hugo (v1). My friend also recently picked up the AK XB10 for me that I may use as well (I haven't gotten it from him yet).

    CIEMs Auditioned and Final Decision
    To get the deep rumbling sub bass, I have limited my auditioning to CIEMs with at least one dynamic driver. Here is what I have tried so far:
    Flicker Norma
    Flicker Fornax
    Sony Just Ear
    Empire Ear Bravado
    Empire Ear Nemesis
    Empire Ear Legend X
    Senhear V10
    Asen AE-X4
    Lear (a few models)
    UE 6 Pro
    UPDATE August 24th: Top on my list now is the 64Audio N8 CIEM

    It came down to the final three of Empire Ear Bravado, Sony Just Ear and the UE 6 Pro. The Legend X would have been my first choice but I was told that I shouldn't go so high for my first CIEM, just in case it doesn't it's not my thing.

    The Sony Just Ear did not deliver the rumbling sub bass that the Bravado and 6 Pro did. The Bravado was not as clean sounding as the 6 Pro. So in the end, my first choice right now is the UE 6 Pro.

    Anyone have any recommendations based on the above? Is there anything else I need to consider?

    I plan to go get an ear impression on Wednesday (HKT, which is about 12 hours ahead of most of you in the US and Canada).

    [Edited to add my search for a DAP]

    DAP Search Begins Here:

    I'm not sure where to start because I know so little about them and how they function and capabilities.

    Here are some of the things that are important to me with regards to a DAP:

    Be able to Download Music and Store on DAP or SD Card slot
    I think my main concern with getting a dap was the ability to play the kind of music that I listen to. As mentioned in my OP, "Lately I have been listening to a lot of Diplo and Friends (and no friends) stuff on Global-Sets.com. Sometimes it will be rap flavoured, techno, and a mix of other styles." so most of my listening comes from these DJ websites that allow you to download their music. On my phone, it is easy to do because all I need to do is go to the website and click the download button. It stores the music in ZippyShare, which then downloads directly in my phone and then all I need to do is open the file in my player, which has been the Hiby player lately. Will I be able to download music from these types of website on a DAP? I am afraid of needing to use the phone to download onto the SD card and then transfer the SD card into the DAP because in the past, I found that the SD card becomes unusable on another device when I had files in my Samsung and BlackBerry Android phones.

    Touchscreen and Easy to Use
    I'm not sure if I need it to be Android based. As long as it is easy to use.

    Battery Life
    Minimum of a day's worth of listening, minimum of 6-7 hours.

    I would like to keep it below $650 but if something is highly recommended for a little more, I can stretch it.

    Not too picky about:
    Balanced (unless I am told that I am being a fool not going that route but then I would need to change all my cables on my HPs and IEMs)

    I'll add to the above as I learn more about them.

    Just from my day's worth of reading and suggestions from my friends I am thinking about:
    1) Hiby R6
    2) iBasso DX150 (or should I consider buying a used DX200 for about the same price?)
    3) Pioneer XDP-300r
    4) Fiio X7 Mk2
    UPDATE August 24th: Top on my list now is a (used) DX200 with Amps3, 4, 7 OR 8. Second option is still a (new) ss Hiby R6. May wait for the new Shanling flagship.

    I appreciate any help I can get from you guys here. Please let me know if you any questions.

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
    Quasimodosbelfry likes this.
  2. Quasimodosbelfry
    I'd always been a headphone junkie myself, and kept a pair of Sony XBA-A2 as a mobile beater. They're all scratched up and onto their third cable now but still kicking fine.
    Have you had a listen to Dita? Picked up a pair of Dita Brass in Tokyo, second hand from E-earphone, and I must say they're pretty good in the bass dept and pretty lush in sound. Not as dark as the Witch Girl Pro but I do enjoy a richer, filler signature. I listen mostly to jazz, but I'll try some EDM tonight and let you know if the bass moves me.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  3. cantsleep Contributor
    if youre going for ciem, maybe you should consider totl
    a12t, zombie, w900, legend x are well known for good bass
  4. Rayzilla
    The Witch Girl Pro was on my list to try. I gave it a quick listen when I was at e earphone and it wasn't quite what I hoped it would be based on the number and types of drivers in it. I thought with the dynamic drivers that it would reach deep down low. Especially since they also have another version of the Witch Girl, so I thought one to have strong bass and the other to cover the other extreme.

    If I see the Dita Brass at the shop when I put in my order for the UE6 Pro, I'll give it a listen first. And thanks for doing a check for me.

    The other thing I forgot to mention and contributes to me wanting to try a CIEM is that with the universals, I often get an itching irritation in my ear. I don't know if it is the material of the tips (maybe I'm allergic to it) or if it is the shape but it gets pretty annoying. I recently purchased two pairs of 2 flange Spin Fit (I think that's the name brand) and it gets really itchy quite often. In this case, it seems like it has more to do with the shape of tips. The old tips caused this itchy feeling too but nowhere as much as the new tips.
  5. Rayzilla
    I didn't want to go for TOTL because this will be my first ever custom. I have been warned that it is not for everyone so I should try a lower priced one first and see if I like it.

    Also, does the shape of the ear canal change over time that the custom does not fit the same after a period of time? And do any of you that have CIEM live in very hot and humid areas because it gets that way here in the summer? Thanks

    BTW, when I tried the universal Empire Ears Legend X, they must be the most comfortable IEM I ever put on. I'm not sure how it would feel after an hour or so but for the 10-15 minutes or so, it was very comfortable.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  6. cantsleep Contributor
    i okay with comply tips and symbio tips.
    i prefer ciem over universal for the hygienic reason.
  7. Wiljen
    I'd suggest opening the search up to all BA arrangements as the best Bass iem I have is an all BA. You don't have to have a dynamic to get rumble.
    I'm loving the Eartech Music Quint I recently had made and it sounds like from your preferences the Hex would be near perfect.
  8. Quasimodosbelfry
    Occasionally I get a little itching in my ear with an IEM, but usually I just need to take then out for a short while and reinsert them and they're fine.
  9. Tential
    Do it! Get what you want first.
  10. cantsleep Contributor
    assuming that you have ears for high end gears already, if you get a non totl ciem, it will sit in your closet/drawer after a while, or very soon.
    Rayzilla likes this.
  11. Redcarmoose
    I think some of us like to go out and about with $500 IEMs. At least I do? I always leave my best stuff at home. Plus, I don’t know about all but I have a hard time getting used to 3K-plus for an IEM, though I have heard them and they are sublime!

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  12. warrior1975
    Couldn't agree more on the fit and comfort of the legend x. By far, the most comfortable and easy fit I've ever experienced with a universal, hands down the best. Sound is pretty good too. :wink:
  13. totte
    Ive also been contemplating getting my first ciem. Been to 4 different headphone stores several.times here in bangkok over the past few months demoing pretty much everything I could sort of guess I would like from looking at measurements(big shout-out to crinacle for his lists) and impressions. Ive still got to go listen to the 64 audio stuff and I suspect the n8 and the a6t will be right up my alley. So far the ones at the top are vision ears ve8(almost perfect for me except the price yikes), qdc 8ch(might be too fatiguing) and ultimate ears 18+ (2nd gen, not available anymore:frowning2:).

    All of them are pretty much totl and cost as such a ****ton of money. Feels pretty hard as a first time ciem purchase but then again it would suck to buy something that you are not happy with and therefore wont listen to all that much. Or even worse you force yourself to listen to it anyway even though it's very fatiguing and flares up tinnitus.

    My budget options were jomo 4v2, custom art fibae 2, qdc 3ch but all of them had faults for me that I would constantly pick up on and therefore stopped enjoying the music.

    I would like to thank the stores in bangkok for being patient with me and letting me demo so many ciems! Bangkok is a great place to demo ciems!

    Still havnt decided since Im in limbo atm with health problems that needs to be sorted before any major purchase that isnt related to health can be justified. Although if everything turns out alright Im going for the ve8, life is too short and unpredictable to hesitate then.

    Im going for customs mostly since I have very hard getting a comfortable good seal with universals. Therefore I also feel hesitant about the fit issue but only one way to find out.

    Good luck in your search!
    Net700000 likes this.
  14. Rayzilla
    Thanks for the suggestion. Now to see if there are any shops around here that carry that brand.
  15. Rayzilla
    A Swede in Bangkok. Any chance you partake in the ice hockey leagues in the mall on Rama 9? I go there for the international hockey tournaments whenever the timing lines up with my work schedule. Boy I love going to Bangkok, the food is so good and cheap and variety in shopping is amazing. I can't wait for my next trip there, maybe we can meet up for a drink and check out some shops. Where are they and I wonder how the pricing compares with Hong Kong.

    What sound signature are you after? Since you seem to have a problem with fatigue and flare ups, I wonder if we are not after the same signature because I generally do not have a problem with those things. I described the sound signature that I am after in my opening post. How is yours different than mine so I will know whether I should be checking out the ones you mentioned or not.

    I thought I had it good here in Hong Kong when it comes to testing out HPs and IEMs but man, you everyone on here REALLY needs to go to check out the e earphone shop in Tokyo. I don't think any other shop can compare to that. I've been very happy with the budget IEMs that I picked up from there and the UE6 Pro surpasses them quite handily that I am quite confident that I will enjoy them and use them when I'm in the mood for CIEM over IEM and portable HP.

    I hope your health problems will be gone in a short while so that you can go ahead with your VE8 (or think of it is V-8, the healthy drink. :) )

    I also have a hard time getting a good seal on a consistent basis. One ear canal is pretty straight but the other one is not so. So I sort of have to fit each side a little differently from each other. I hope the custom fitting will solve all my fit and itch problems too.

    Thanks for your input and good luck with your search too!
    totte likes this.
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