Good Morning Gentlemen,
I'm looking to upgrade/change my current portable IEM setup and was hoping for a few suggestions or opinions on some models. I've owned the Sennheiser CX300's for the past 3-4 years and while they've served me well in that time I think its time to move on.
- These will be used primarily out of an Ipod while I'm at work or traveling. Music genres I frequent are metal/indie/classic rock.
- Comfort is probably the most important thing. Bass needs to be present but is not a huge factor. They need to be durable.
- Price is can be anywhere from $50 - $400ish. Though $400 would be pushing it. Hoping to stay around $200.
I've been considering some of the following models:
I hope you realize that IE8 and ER4P are completely different IEMs? Can't comment on the other IEMs as I haven't heard them. If you like analytical, detailed sound and willing to sacrifice bass, then ER4P is your friend. The IE8 are somewhat muddy in my opinion since the bass can overpower the other frequencies. Other than that, in general, you're looking at the Sennheiser house sound. You should be familiar with it, you own the 650.
Why I'm recommending the e-Q5 is this: I really liked the Denon D5000 and was looking for an IEM that matched its sound signature (that means overall presentation). Of course, it's practically impossible to get anything like the D5k in a sub 400$ price range for IEMs - if at all. To cut to the chase, I was unsure whether to choose the Westone 3 or 4 or the e-Q5/7. These IEMs are different, but each has strengths that I thought were comparable to the D5000: esp. W3 had good bass and was a fun IEM to listen to, although going from the D5k it does lose a lot of detail and transparency. W4 is actually quite balanced and I would probably have bought them if it were not for the fact that I couldn't justify the cost, especially compared to the Ortofons: These IEMs are completely different, lack some bass compared to full sized cans, but the detail, presentation and transparency is amazing and could possibly match that of the D5000 (hope I'm not going to get flamed for that haha).
Take everything I said with a grain of salt, since any comparison of a full sized can with an IEM is bound to fail at some point, and my writing is somewhat incoherent (yes it's late), but my recommendation stands nonetheless!
I have the CX300’s and find that the IE8 is a very significant improvement. In fact the longer I have owned the IE8’s the more impressed I am with them, they are expensive though. I have not heard the others, so can’t comment.
It seems to me that (and this I suppose depends on audio experience and musical taste) above a certain level of SQ the sound becomes ‘good enough’. That is, for when one starts to be able to enjoy the music rather than noticing obvious shortcomings of the equipment. For me the CX300’s have some obvious issues, and while on a casual listen say from my phone they will do if nothing better is around. However, the IE8’s on the other hand are easily ‘good enough’ for serious listening. Some say they have too much bass, but I have found that bass output is very dependent on the portable player used and the impedance of the phones/IEM’s is is driving. So having the adjustable bass feature can to some extent compensate for different players.
Most of my headphone listening at home these days is done on Senn. HD650’s, and on the IE8’s with an Ipod Classic when out and about. I used to use a portable amplifier with previous players, but since buying the Ipod Classic find that the IE8’s work very well without an amp (unless you want to damage your hearing).
My friend had CX300s, and after I let his borrow my earphones for a few days, he seemed to like the DBA-02's and the Ortofon eq-5's.
DBAs are a bit cold and analytical, but might be suitable depending on the sound sig you're looking for. They have plenty of detail, and offer good value for money.
Ortofons have a bit more mid-centred presentation, and are quite warm. I find their bass timbre excellent for their price, but falling behind the EX1000s. Some find their bass quantity a bit lacking, but it is find with me.
TF10s are a fun phone, and some consider 'aggressive'. A nice mid-bass slam, but the mids are a bit lacking after listening to the eq-5.
Personally, I don't like the Klipsch series, but that's just my opinion.
You might also consider UM3x, which is more a 'stage monitor' style phone, if that's what your looking for.