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IEM Thoughts From a Basshead & a Purist

  1. johnnyboulders
    Hey Head-Fi'ers!
    I love this forum, it has been my go-to for a while, so glad to see so many audiophiles in one place! I want to contribute my thoughts on my journey on finding a new IEM. I've yet to find one that I'm 100% sold on, but here are my thoughts of what I've tried. I would love your opinions on what I should get!
    P Diddy Beats
    Fit: Decent enough. They tend to stick out quite a bit from your ears, and they feel awkward. The cable is heavy too so you can feel the tension in your ear canal.
    Isolation: Decent enough
    Bass: It's there, but lack any sort of presence. It sounds like a car with a subwoofer from 7 meters away.
    Mid: Not very 'attentive'. No detail.
    High: No sparkle. Lots of sibilance and harsh treble above the 4K mark
    Who are these for: Teenyboppers who love Diddy or don't want to "splurge" on Beats.
    Genres: If i had to choose, I'd say they'd be best suited for R&B.
    Soundstage: Subpar - it sounds like you are far away from the music, and 
    Summary: I've had a pair of cheaper Sennheisers that sounded at least three times as good. Stay away. Far, far away. The cable is tacky and too think imho.
    Dr. Dre Beats Tour
    Fit: Same as Diddy Beats. A lot of reviews say "they go very deep in your ear canal", which I didn't find true unless you use the biflanges.
    Bass: Pretty damn good actually. Tight, mostly controlled, lots of quantity.
    Mid: Very present and in your face, though it may be too exciting. I found the mids quite fatiguing after an hour commute
    Treble: over emphasized, which caused sibilance and more fatigue.
    Who are these for: People who want the Beats sound in a portable package. However, these are nowhere near the Beats Studio sound. 
    Genres: Rap, rap, and more rap. Not hip-hop a la ATCQ, but more like 50 Cent type of music.
    Soundstage: Very shallow and sharp. Doesn't go far.
    Summary: The Beats Tours are like a good looking prostitute - might look good from the outside, but inside they are loud and cheap.
    B&W C5
    Fit: Great. The wire that goes around the inside of the ear is a bit tiring, but you can relax it if you don't need a tight fit. I have bigger ears, and the large silicone tip was a bit too large. However, it makes up for it in other areas.
    Bass: Quantity. Lots of it when needed, but It is very slow and for a lack of a better word - floppy.Not much subbass, and I never wanted more bass or less. The headphones do a good job of balancing the bass with the rest of the song so it isn't too overwhelming.
    Mid: Great, definitely the peak of this headphone. Lots of detail, rolls off around 2.5K
    Treble: On the warmer side, but you never feel like you're missing detail. Could use more sparkle
    Who are these for: Those who like their music, own an iPhone, and are on the go.
    Genres: They succeed very well at old school rock, jazz, and do a decent job at hip hop.
    Soundstage: incredible wide and precise
    Summary: A nice thing about these IEM's is their loudness - you can play the C5 at headphone loudness with no distortion. A very solid go-to IEM under $200. No one will be disappointed. 
    Klipsch X10
    Fit: I have bigger ears and I decided on the biflange's - all the other one's kept falling out.
    Bass: Solid like a rock. Quantity and Quality. Speedy (could be a tad faster, but I'm just being picky now_
    Mid: Good. 
    Treble: Lacking.
    Who are these for: Want small IEM's, own an iPhone, don't know about Shure or Senny.
    Genres: Rap, hip-hop, dance, DnB.
    Summary: Very good in ear. The size is very misleading - these things are TINY. Thus my biggest issue: loudness. They do not go loud without distortion. MAX 8/10 volume on an iPhone, and even that is pushing it. Returning them tomorrow :frowning2:
    Shure SE535
    Tried briefly in store.
    Fit: Excellent!
    Bass: What bass? Maybe I didn't get a good fit at the store even though there was affirming suction, but I didn't hear anything under 350mhz. Kick drums were barely heard.
    Mid: Best of breed. Very warm and delightful. Slightly tube-y (that good vintage tube).
    Treble: Again, best-of-breed. Sparly wtihout being fatiguing.
    Who are these for: Audio purists who understand the EQ on these bad boys.
    Genres: Anything that doesn't need bass. Jazz, classical.
    Summary: I own about a dozen expensive over-ears, and these put a few to shame.
    Sennheiser IE80
    Tried briefly in store.
    Fit: Great. A bit heavier.
    Bass: Whoa. Lots of bass and especially midbass. Going to the store now to try them again and to tune the bass down.
    Mid: Very good. Present. 
    Treble: lacking in part
    Who are these for: People who like bass-heavy, LOUD music. These things can blow your eardrums!
    Genres: hip hop, rap, metal, rock, dance, rock. Very good allrounder.
    I will be updating this list as I go on, but Head-Fi'ers I would love your input on what I should try! My requirements:
    - Sub $200 (flexible... I am an audiophile afterall).
    - Comfy
    - I like accuracy, with tight, plentiful bass, but without sacrificing quality and sparkle in mids and highs.
    - Can go loud!
    - iPhone controls and mic (volume +/-, another button)
    Genre's: 65% hip hop, the rest is jazz, blues, rock, audiobooks & podcasts. I also watch quite a few video's.
    Been considering the Shure SE215's, SE315's, TF10.
  2. willpayne
    Definitely should try out the Atrio MG7. They are anyone's ideal "basshead" iems, IMO. Also, try out the UE Triple.fi 10s, they're supposed to be great (some issues with the fit, though).
  3. DGoreck
    In the generic sense, I agree about your bass/mid/treble descriptions, but the not going loud without distortion?  I never heard of anything changing, but on 50% volume on my x10's off my iPhone 4 yields a constant 90db(I remember that from reading the blog off the klipsch site, that I eventually referenced in this thread http://community.klipsch.com/forums/p/125032/1279267.aspx).  I might crank it to 6, but any louder and my ears ring.  how you listen to it up at 8...i can easily see distortion, but I think I would have hearing lose.... i guess everyones mileage may vary.
  4. JonnyRocket
    I own the Diddy Beats.  IMO they have a fun club sound to them, over extended somewhat bloated bass and a spike in the upper treble with mutted mids. Build quality is good on mine. The control talk seemed a little flimsy, but ive had them a year now with no problems.  They are HEAVY though, a whopping 26.1 grams to be exact and to compare, my IE8s are only15.9 grams. Don't expect any type of natural sound with these. Price wise I'd pay about $40 for the sound $20 for the control talk and $15 for the style, after all I'm a guy who bleaches his hair lol.
    I agree with your opinion of the tours except for me the treble  was way too over extended and very artificial.  It felt like Dre took a $40 sound and over extended the hell out of the mids and especially the highs to make them sound clearer and more expencive, but the process gave them a very artificial and ear fatiguing sound sig.  I got a headache within 10 minutes of listening to them.  I played around with the EQ on my iphone and experimented with a lot of supertips I have from my MTPGs and couldnt get rid of the ear fatigue.  I finaly gave up and returned them.
    I Own the IE8s which I think are close in terms of the sound sig and fit to the IE80's.  These are my favorite!  They fit well, the wire I think is on of the best you can find anywhere.  Ive noticed no microphonics due to the way its designed to be worn behind the ear.  It doesnt tangle and its replaceable.  The bass is fantastic after a 40 hour burn in.  They have a massive soundstage with sparkle in the highs.  The only bad thing Ive found was a little bit of a mid bass hump after the burn in and a rolloff in the sub bass when i compared them to my MTPGs. THe bass hits harder than the MTPGs.  The IE8s are online for around $200-250 USD which I think is a steal.
  5. johnnyboulders
    Hey all,
    Sorry to revive an old thread, but wanted to finish it off as well as respond.
    JohnnyRocket: I agree with everything you said. The mid-bass hump really bugged me on the IE-80's. And even though Senn is my go-to brand, I ended up with something a bit fancier even (imho)...
    I splurged. Like the true audiophile and techie that I am, I bought the Shure SE535 in transparent. Best. Purchase. I've. Ever. Made. I wear headphones for a good chunk of the day, and don't want to think about distortion, quality, or anytihng. I just want to plug in my headphones and escape into another dimension. The 535's let me. I'm astounded by the sheer quality of the mids, highs, and the bass is a bit lacking, but the overall sound sig rarely makes me yearn for anything better. These beat out my Beyerdynamic DT 990PRO any day. 
    I am using them with large-olives and the iPhone cable, which is much more comfy than the kevlar coated that comes with the pair originally.
    Sure, I spent a large chunk of money (equivalent to a car payment!) on headphones, but these are worth every dollar imo.
    Next step, get them customized.
  6. johnnyboulders
    Meh. The only time my ears ring is when I go to clubs or concerts. 6 is way too low.
    But thanks for the advice and the link. I've been watching how high I crank my earphones and headphones for the past while. Mucho respect.

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