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IEM that sounds closest to HD600

  1. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    What IEM - universal or customs - sounds closest to a de-foamed HD600 for around $300 or less?* I need a portable better than my JLab J3,** which doesn't fit me right (so basically I'd prefer a nautilus-shaped universal) and also I'd like to get something better, specifically, sounds close to the two cans I have at home. Sold my iPod Video recently, but I'm looking to use this unamped with a J3 that I'll get soon.*** I sometimes bring the SR225 out but it's a transportable for the most part, not to mention the tropical climate has prevented me from attempting to walk around with those earpads.
     
     
     
     
    *Or a universal that will sound that way with certain tips, or when re-shelled
    **Kinda happy with the sound; wide stage on most instruments but sometimes
    **Will also get an X3 and E11 but these aren't out yet so no reviews; plus I need the J3 to be more portable with this - thin size fits in pants pockets with a plastic hardcase, but isn't as bare-bones as audio-only players, specifically the ultra-portables. Need these for commuting and any time I have to be anywhere waiting or cueing up.
     
  2. dragonfyra
    Have you heard ie8?
     
     
     
  3. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Yup, but I'm not sure if its the source or the amp but it reminded me more of the HD650. Or it could have been the tips. (And I just read right now that the bass is tune-able; should have tried that!)
     
    Someone did advise me before that I should get the IE7, but I haven't heard it and I did not come across an observation in the reviews as to how close they were to the HD600. Although my main concern with it is the shape. Aesthetically I like it better than the rounded diamond housing on the IE8, but ergonomically, I read that corner on the housing poked on some people's ears. Since I haven't tried one, I'm wary about spending $199+shipping to $339 (local retail with 2 year warranty at the local distributor) only to find out that pointy thing is a problem. 
     
  4. dragonfyra
    Ergonomics is indeed a concern for all the Sennheiser iems'.  I've read of users with such problems for both ie8 and 7.  I haven't tried ie7 personally, so I won't comment on that, and I also agree with your comment about hd650 = ie8.  ie8 sounds a lot better with an amp to tighten up the bass, I noticed a big difference between plugging it straight into my iphone 4 or ipc120 with headstage arrow, but HD600 will still be a bit more neutral compared to ie8 then.  
     
     
     
  5. dirkpitt45
    I found the DBA-02s to be fairly similar to my hd600s, with the foam and a smurf cardas cable. Though they decided to die two days after I received the hd600s sooo I wasn't able to compare them extensively.  
     
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    @dragonfyra,
     
    That's also why I prefer the nautilus-shaped IEMs that direct teh cable over the earlobe, ie, Westone and Shure. But this time I'd like to really match my portable to my Reference system, except of course I want it simplified to just a DAP and a $300-ish IEM. Just want to cut the compromises I used to take with the portables, but without going all-out financially or lugging an amp around.
     
     
    @dirkpitt45,
     
    Thanks for the tip. I think someone in our local forum might get one; will look around but I hope I can get to try these myself. The shell doesn't seem to have the issues on the Sennheisers.
     
  7. james444 Contributor
    I haven't heard the HD600 and it isn't my quote. But I just remembered this post:
     
    Quote:
     
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Thanks for the tip! I'm gonna read up on the reviews on that, too.
     
  9. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Update: I passed by a Mac dealer a few days ago and some Shures were on a demo rack. Had my S9 with me and about an hour to kill so I decided to have another go.
     
    Listening with the EQ, BBE and STE set to Normal (Flat), the SE420 is a lot like my AKG K66: flat sounding almost to the point of boring with some harshness in the treble. Except this is an IEM and it's easier to drive, so it still had noticeably better "oomph" from about 250hz down. SE530 was markedly easier to drive: at the same volume level, 20, I'd go deaf, so I lowered it to 15. I loved the sound: fairly balanced save for some emphasis on the lower freqs,Lacked the treble of de-foamed HD600s BUT were never harsh.
     
    I was in the same mall today and again with some time to kill, this time I tried it with the EQ, starting off with my default for my JLabs J3* then using what I remember from the comparative response graph from Headroom,** try to make one sound like the other. At the initial EQ settings, guitars on the SE420 were definitely more detailed and warm, and had that "crunch" without sounding like a palm-muted 7-string all the time. SE530 really did well with Jazz and some faster but less lead guitar-driven Blues-influenced Jazz, but the 420 was the best for Metal and closer to the de-foamed HD600 without the depth. Focus was actually better though, no doubt because the S9 had enough power for the SE420 vs what my CD60 was giving the HD600s. Tweaking the EQ as best I could, I still couldn't get the same treble on the SE530, while the 420 only needs a little more boost centered at 300hz and 70hz, Wide, to gain some ground on the SE530s.
     
    And while the SE425's with the detachable cable are about to be released locally, pretty much anywhere online they go for $299. The 420s here used to be around $399 (which is why I didn't demo them til now, and why no one I know in the local audio forum-communities has one) , they're now on sale for about $210.
     
    Now it's a toss up between that and just getting the DBA-02's online, although I've yet to listen to that one.
     
     
    *Band 1 = 0: Band 2 = +2 at 250hz, Wide; Band 3 = +3 at 780hz, Wide; Band 4 = +3 at 2.4khz, Normal; Band 5 = 0; BBE= OFF; STE=OFF
    **I know it doesn't really represent the performance, but it's the best I had for today
     

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