IEM recommendation - what are the current favorites?
Jul 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

EmptyTalk

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Although I've been a member for awhile, it's unusual for me to actually post anything related to headphones these days, because I've been very content and satisfied with my gear.  That said, I'm looking for some reasonably priced (around $70.00 budget) IEMs that satisfy the following criteria, and was hoping for some quick recommendations.  I'm basically looking for something like this:  unamped source (most likely a Sansa Clip or my Cowon J3); worn straight down; little to no microphonics (I realize this might be tough considering my worn down preference); decent bass but not aggressively overpowering.
 
I plan to use these at the gym so the low microphonics is important.  I don't listen to much hip hop, rap, or bass heavy music; pretty much just progressive rock, metal, punk, post-rock, post-metal, and Shpongle.
 
I own the first generation Future Sonics Atrio, and like them a lot, even though they are supposedly bass heavy.  Perhaps this is why I hated the Etymotic MC5, which I returned.  I have Sennheiser 650 at the office and Sony MDR-ZX700 at home, and I really like both of them.
 
There are so many IEMs now, and the brands and technology have passed me by.  I've been reading a lot about MEElectronics stuff, and was about to buy the M21 model from Amazon (only $20.00, so not much of an investment).  Before I pull the trigger on these, I was hoping for any quick advice, such as:  "DON'T BUY THEM, THEY SUCK", or "I would get __________ instead" or "the microphonics are not as low as they say" or "dude, just use your Atrios, dumbass," or "_____________ are way better than the M21."
 
Thanks in advance.
 
Jul 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM Post #3 of 21

dnullify

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Some of the cheaper fads right now all perform quite well and can probably be picked up at your local electronics store for a decent price. As far as personal experience, i seem to only own cheaper ones ($25-35) and then expensive IEMs... What i've got experience with and do suggest if you haven't already considered are:
 
JVC HA-FX101 - if you liked the atrios there's a fair bet you'd like these too. Excellent bass, yet they have the top end to balance it out and add some air and detail.
 
JVC HA-FX40 - extremely articulate, detailed, yet can dig down where there is bass no problem. requires a ton of burn in (120+hrs) and slightly sibilant to sensitive ears (like mine). The detail and sound signature will leave your jaw dropped.
 
UE200 - I bought a second pair because i liked them so much. The nothing-wrong kind of sound signature, almost neutral but laid back. can be had at amazon for $17 (older version, same phones different packaging/accessories. older comes with better accessories, i have both)
 
 
 
Other phones worth checking out are the Vsonics, which i have yet to try but have read a lot about. The GR06 is in your price range and is pretty highly favored, as well as the GR02 Bass edition (just the newer edition, not skull crushing bass as the title would suggest).
 
It also might be worth checking up on the deals thread, where i believe someone posted a deal on the ceramic housed mee headphones.
 
Jul 31, 2012 at 9:02 PM Post #5 of 21

BRCMRGN

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Wait a while for Meelec to have a sale on the A161P. 
 
Jul 31, 2012 at 9:06 PM Post #6 of 21

jasonb

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why do people always make such a big deal about microphonics? i mean a simple shirt clip completely eliminates that issue. 
 
Jul 31, 2012 at 9:33 PM Post #7 of 21

AstroTurf

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Quote:
why do people always make such a big deal about microphonics? i mean a simple shirt clip completely eliminates that issue. 

It, Microphonics, takes away the pleasure of listening to pure music.
 
Think Vinyl LPs vs CDs.
 
Oh, and if it were only true... We would all be wearing shirt clips. It may reduce it, But it does not completely eliminate it.
 
Cheers, Jim
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 1:08 AM Post #8 of 21

stevenlongs

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over-the-ear for the win...can't go back now 
rolleyes.gif

 
Aug 1, 2012 at 9:26 AM Post #9 of 21

EmptyTalk

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Thanks all for the recommendations.  ^ Regarding over the ear, the Atrios don't seem to fit properly that way (I removed the memory wire from mine), and to be honest it's more of a hassle putting the IEMs in place over the ear.
 
I don't understand how this eliminates microphonics.  Are you supposed to drape the cords behind your neck, down your back, and then around your waist or directly in your pocket?  Or do you bring the cords from behind the ear, over the shoulders, and back in front of your torso?  If the latter, don't the cords eventually rub on your shirt anyway?
 
I was actually considering the MEElectronics A151, until I read that they go over the ears.  Maybe I should give them a try?
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM Post #11 of 21

AstroTurf

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you're a big fan of etys. are they really that perfect?


I think that they are a very successful total package.

V-Moda is another up and comer to watch though.

Cheers, Jim
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM Post #12 of 21

dnullify

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Quote:
Thanks all for the recommendations.  ^ Regarding over the ear, the Atrios don't seem to fit properly that way (I removed the memory wire from mine), and to be honest it's more of a hassle putting the IEMs in place over the ear.
 
I don't understand how this eliminates microphonics.  Are you supposed to drape the cords behind your neck, down your back, and then around your waist or directly in your pocket?  Or do you bring the cords from behind the ear, over the shoulders, and back in front of your torso?  If the latter, don't the cords eventually rub on your shirt anyway?
 
I was actually considering the MEElectronics A151, until I read that they go over the ears.  Maybe I should give them a try?


I wear most of my IEMs behind the back. It does do well for microphonics, as well as maintaining a good fit/seal during activities. I'd definitely give it a shot.
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM Post #13 of 21

tinyman392

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Quote:
It, Microphonics, takes away the pleasure of listening to pure music.
 
Think Vinyl LPs vs CDs.
 
Oh, and if it were only true... We would all be wearing shirt clips. It may reduce it, But it does not completely eliminate it.
 
Cheers, Jim

 
If you find a sweet spot, it actually completely eliminates them.  However, this sweet spot is probably one of the hardest things to get, let alone get it each time you use the IEM.  That said, if someone says they don't like an Etymotic, don't tell them to go back.  It won't help in any ways.  It'll actually just end up disregarded.  Especially when he states he liked a bass-heavy signature (Atrio MG5s I think were the first gens).  
 
Quote:
 
you're a big fan of etys. are they really that perfect?

 
Fan is an understatement.  The guy said he didn't like the Ety signature, and the guy tells him to go back to it.  
 
@OP: what's your price range.  I saw that you were looking at the M21s from MEE which you stated was 20.  Is that your price range of is it a little higher?  I can't make any good suggestions until I have a solid price range.  You may want to look at the Brianwavz M4 or Dunu Trident though for this price.  I would recommend the EtyKids, but that isn't your cup of tea.  Check out those two models, they are very strong for the genres you listen to (especially the M4 despite it's bass-heavy nature).  The M4 can be found for around 30 dollars when on sale (patience is a virtue) while the Dunus are generally found close to their MSRP of 40.  At times can be found for 35.  Both very well regarded IEMs.
 
If you can stretch your price range, I may be able to find something that's a little better.  
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM Post #14 of 21

tinyman392

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Quote:
Thanks all for the recommendations.  ^ Regarding over the ear, the Atrios don't seem to fit properly that way (I removed the memory wire from mine), and to be honest it's more of a hassle putting the IEMs in place over the ear.
 
I don't understand how this eliminates microphonics.  Are you supposed to drape the cords behind your neck, down your back, and then around your waist or directly in your pocket?  Or do you bring the cords from behind the ear, over the shoulders, and back in front of your torso?  If the latter, don't the cords eventually rub on your shirt anyway?
 
I was actually considering the MEElectronics A151, until I read that they go over the ears.  Maybe I should give them a try?

 
There are a few ares where microphonics generally occurs.  The main one is that the chords after the Y-split rub up and hit your face/skin.  This is the most amplified microphonics as there is little to resist the sound.  If you use a clip where it causes the cable to not touch your skin (it bubbles up in a way), then this will reduce most (if not all) microphonics.  This requires a sweet spot as going too far can cause the cables to hit each other, not enough and you don't stop your skin's contact.  The second area is below the Y-split where sound is amplified enough to get to your ears.  Generally speaking, a clip anywhere will reduce this as the Y-split will generally resist most of the sound.  
 
Aug 1, 2012 at 12:41 PM Post #15 of 21

shockdoc

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I second the CKM 500 and FXT90. Also, maybe check out the NuForce options. I know they don't get a lot of love here on head-fi but I've found they can really sing with my E6 and Nano gym rig.
Also Panasonic RPHJE355 for a budget option.
 

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