IEM that sounds as good as great headphones?
Apr 3, 2019 at 8:20 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

poikkeus

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I have Sennheiser HD800 headphones, and want a similarly good IEM. I know, that's a big field, so I'll narrow things down:
1. I like treble detail, and detest bass boom. In other words - good balance.
2. Comfort is a big concern. I've tried Etys, and they felt almost painful. (And the sound was disappointing, too.)
3. Head space. I'm not sure if that's possible even with multi-driver IEMs - but I like a spatial sound.
4. Longevity. I'd like the IEM to last as long as my HD800s - and even longer, if possible.

Can you point me in the direction of an IEM - if indeed it exists?

Thanks!
 
Apr 5, 2019 at 1:05 AM Post #5 of 12

serman005

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I don't know about other people but I am sort of scratching my head to come up with an IEM in your price range that could really compete with your Senn. I personally think you would have to spend more, and then it would still sound like an IEM rather than a spacious, excellent, open headphone. That's my 2 cents--sorry. There's just nothing like a good open headphone IMO. Maybe others have a a better idea...
 
Apr 5, 2019 at 8:48 AM Post #7 of 12

surfgeorge

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I think @serman005 made the right point - I don't think it's physically possible to have an IEM that sounds as open and spacious as a good, open headphone.
That said, I find some qualities in IEMs that make me listen to them more now than my AudioQuest NightHawk and NightOwl.

I recently got a pair of IEMs which meet some of your requirements.
The EX800ST, and the JVC HA-FD02 (with a tape mod)
The EX800 meets most points, but is not super robust, and treble is on the sparkly side, not relaxed.
The modded FD02 is very sturdy, has beautifully detailed and realistic and smooth treble, but has the typical "in your head" soundstage, albeit a good one (with Nobunaga cable)
More about those 2 options here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/jvc-ha-fd01-class-s-solidege.868414/page-13#post-14870966
Price point of each of them is around $200 + shipping and import from Amazon Japan, for the FD02 consider another $100 for the upgrade cable.
 
Apr 6, 2019 at 12:13 AM Post #8 of 12

Rockwell75

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The Fiio FH5 might interest you.
 
Apr 8, 2019 at 9:00 PM Post #9 of 12

phthora

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Apr 8, 2019 at 9:18 PM Post #10 of 12

ProtegeManiac

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I have Sennheiser HD800 headphones, and want a similarly good IEM. I know, that's a big field, so I'll narrow things down:
1. I like treble detail, and detest bass boom. In other words - good balance.
2. Comfort is a big concern. I've tried Etys, and they felt almost painful. (And the sound was disappointing, too.)
3. Head space. I'm not sure if that's possible even with multi-driver IEMs - but I like a spatial sound.
4. Longevity. I'd like the IEM to last as long as my HD800s - and even longer, if possible.

Can you point me in the direction of an IEM - if indeed it exists?

I use an HD600 with an EQ profile to bridge the gap to the HD650 (very low end boost, trim 3500hz peak) and use the Aurisonics ASG-1.3 with low shelf EQ to trim everything below 1000hz (its curve is similar to the HD650, but stronger below 1000hz). So it's possible to get an IEM that comes close to a circumaural, but it depends on what the circumaural headphone in question is. In this case the HD6xx doesn't have an expansive soundstage, so that's one thing that is easy to compromise on to get isolation and low amplification requirements since the IEM is only slightly worse.

I haven't been trying newer CIEM in UIEM shell demos these days but off the bat none of what I've tried up until a couple years ago can't go anywhere near the HD800's soundstage size. The closest was the Stax earbuds, which are earbuds not IEMs, and they're electrostat so if you get them you're carrying the amplifier for them.

That said Shure has electrost IEMs so you might want to look into that one.
 
Oct 13, 2019 at 10:47 PM Post #11 of 12

exdmd

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Consider Perfect Seal AR6 or Deca custom IEMs. Custom fit IEMs are more comfortable than universal fit. I can wear mine all day without problem. Longevity is not a problem. Balanced armatures should give you ten years service.

However you aren't going to find an IEM that has as open a sound stage and images as well as the HD800S, just as the HD800S will never give you the musical enjoyment and realism a good two channel speaker system can. I think the point of diminishing returns on custom IEMs is between $900 and $1500. Paying more than that in my opinion and you are buying audio jewelry.

What IEMs do well is allow you to enjoy music on the go from your DAP or phone. I would never pay $3000 for a pair of IEMs. At that price you are paying close to what I consider an ultimate open headphone, the Raal SR1a ear speakers. I use my Decas on the go or when I need -26 dB isolation from noisy neighbours.

Do the Decas sound as good as my HD800S? Nope, but they are about 85% there quite acceptable. Also consider the Decas only need a Vali 2 amp to sound excellent. HD800S need much more expensive tube amps to really sing.

I just advise my friends not to spend ridiculous amounts of money on IEMs when their budget could better be spent on great phones like the HD800S and a two channel system. No headphone is going to give you the satisfaction that a good two channel system can. However a great two channel system may not be an option for some due to money, space limitations or noise complaints from neighbours.
 
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