IEM with detailed and impactful bass. (Etymotic vs Thinksound vs Head-Direct vs Xears)
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cruizin caleb

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My old iem's (Thinksound Rains) went through the wash after a couple years of use, so it is time to buy new ones. My budget is about $100 which somewhat sucks because when I'm at home I listen through Grado RS-1s -- but I have to make do...
 
One of my favorite things about my RS-1's that makes them unlike any other headphone I have heard is how the bass is both detailed/clean and impactful. Most IEM's (and even headphones) I find that have detailed bass, also seem to have weak anemic bass (very unlike the bass in a live setting.) But then most IEMS i find that have a strong bass, also have a muddy/dirty bass...(very unlike the bass in a live setting) or they are in some lame middle ground (very unlike the bass in a live setting). Whereas my RS-1's have both impact and detail (very much like the bass in a live setting). I also feel as if when impactful bass can remain tight/clean/detailed, it would be less likely to intrude/overpower the mids/highs....
 
Granted, its not fair to compare sub $100 IEMS to $500+ open headphones, but I need to make do with the best match I can find. So this is what is on the table for my next IEM:
 
Etymotic HF5 - $95
Head-Direct RE0 - $80
Head-Direct RE-Zero - $99
Thinksound TS02 - $80
Xears TD III Blackwood V2 PRO - $55
 
any opinions?
 
EDIT: these will be UNAMPED through a 64gb iPod Touch 4th generation. also the music on my iPod is convered down to ACC 128kbps so I can fit more on... it remains lossless on my laptop.
 
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tinyman392

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Out of those, I'd say the RE0 has the most impact (but least body), the TS02 with a close second (V/U-shaped sig though; recessed vocals) with the added bit of texture and warmness in the bass; this bass may be a bit much for some people (it did get dirty every so often for me).  I haven't heard the RE-ZEROs, but I hear those have more of a bass body while retaining the impact.  As for the HF5 (I have the HF2), they have decent body, but not as much impact (I think this is due to the fact that it's a BA), the bass is clean on these though and really direct. 
 
I have yet to hear those XEars, so I can't comment.
 
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cruizin caleb

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Out of those, I'd say the RE0 has the most impact (but least body), the TS02 with a close second (V/U-shaped sig though; recessed vocals) with the added bit of texture and warmness in the bass; this bass may be a bit much for some people (it did get dirty every so often for me).  I haven't heard the RE-ZEROs, but I hear those have more of a bass body while retaining the impact.  As for the HF5 (I have the HF2), they have decent body, but not as much impact (I think this is due to the fact that it's a BA), the bass is clean on these though and really direct. 
 
I have yet to hear those XEars, so I can't comment.

It seems then that the RE0s fit the bill then..... What do you mean by 'body'?
Any other opinions?
 
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rangerid

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I personally would not get the RE0s, impact with little body kind of bass is like a stick on tin can, which is what the RE0's bass sounds like realistically. I would get the HF5s and use Shure Olives as tips. The Olives not only adds body but also improves impact and as a result, bass is far superior to the RE0s. Not to mention Ety's king of isolation and has better built quality
 
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The SoundMagic E30 has strong, decent quality bass, but it's a tad boomy at times. They have a good sound for the price though, though some sibilance turned me off.
The Meelectronic A151 has a similar sound in many ways to the Sennheiser HD558, if that's your thing. The bass isn't the most detailed, but it's warm and extends well. You can almost "feel it" in bass heavy songs.
 
I would take the RE0 off the list, while they have quality bass, its extension is weak and will leave you wanting more.
 
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xtasi

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Ummmm i thought etymotic and head-direct were bass-light...
 
Try and read |joker|'s 186 IEM review thread.  That should help you a lot.
 
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tinyman392

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Quote:
Ummmm i thought etymotic and head-direct were bass-light...
 
Try and read |joker|'s 186 IEM review thread.  That should help you a lot.

They are, the Etymotic more than the RE0s from what I've heard.  Neither of these would fit the OP, they both lack to create detailed, impactful, powerful bass.  RE0s lack body (texture, thickness, detail) while the Etys lack impact (I actually got a really good seal with the RE0s and they have the most impact of the three up there). 
 
I honestly, even though I haven't heard them would be going towards the TS02 or XEars.  Heck, for bass, I'd even throw in NUForce and DUNU (Hephaes or Trident) into the bag as well.
 
 
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Quote:
My old iem's (Thinksound Rains) went through the wash after a couple years of use, so it is time to buy new ones. My budget is about $100 which somewhat sucks because when I'm at home I listen through Grado RS-1s -- but I have to make do...
 
One of my favorite things about my RS-1's that makes them unlike any other headphone I have heard is how the bass is both detailed/clean and impactful. Most IEM's (and even headphones) I find that have detailed bass, also seem to have weak anemic bass (very unlike the bass in a live setting.) But then most IEMS i find that have a strong bass, also have a muddy/dirty bass...(very unlike the bass in a live setting) or they are in some lame middle ground (very unlike the bass in a live setting). Whereas my RS-1's have both impact and detail (very much like the bass in a live setting). I also feel as if when impactful bass can remain tight/clean/detailed, it would be less likely to intrude/overpower the mids/highs....
 
Granted, its not fair to compare sub $100 IEMS to $500+ open headphones, but I need to make do with the best match I can find. So this is what is on the table for my next IEM:
 
Etymotic HF5 - $95
Head-Direct RE0 - $80
Head-Direct RE-Zero - $99
Thinksound TS02 - $80
Xears TD III Blackwood V2 PRO - $55
 
any opinions?
 
EDIT: these will be UNAMPED through a 64gb iPod Touch 4th generation. also the music on my iPod is convered down to ACC 128kbps so I can fit more on... it remains lossless on my laptop.

You need to clean up your music and leave it at 320kbps as there is no point of getting good headphones as you won't get close to a good quality with 128kbps its all about the quality not the quantity man... Lets get back to your question the headphones which I would say fit your description would be: 
 
Brainwavz M2 IEM Headphones 
Nuforce NE-700M 
Etymotic MC5 In-Ear Earphones 
DUNU Trident
Sennheiser CX 870
 
 
 
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I would love anyone to post ABX tests of 128vs320 in a portable setting. 128kbps is close to being transparent to most ears, throw in a portable setting where the last thing you should be focusing on is music, and 128 is fine.
 
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ZARIM

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I will highely recommend the Sony new Dome type Dynamic IEMs like EX510(very detailed across the whole frequency spectrum with impactful deep punchy bass) and if you raise your budget bit then EX600 are amazing (shows hidden details in music with deep punchy bass) for the price. BTW from above list Etymotic HF5 are very detailed, more volume than RE0 and offers good bass response with tight in ear seal.
 
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cruizin caleb

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Quote:
I personally would not get the RE0s, impact with little body kind of bass is like a stick on tin can, which is what the RE0's bass sounds like realistically. I would get the HF5s and use Shure Olives as tips. The Olives not only adds body but also improves impact and as a result, bass is far superior to the RE0s. Not to mention Ety's king of isolation and has better built quality


Where can I buy/find the Shure Olives? If I got the HF5's, the idea is that i would get the ACS custom tips sometime down the road... but i'd be interested in the olives...

 
Quote:
The SoundMagic E30 has strong, decent quality bass, but it's a tad boomy at times. They have a good sound for the price though, though some sibilance turned me off.
The Meelectronic A151 has a similar sound in many ways to the Sennheiser HD558, if that's your thing. The bass isn't the most detailed, but it's warm and extends well. You can almost "feel it" in bass heavy songs.
 
I would take the RE0 off the list, while they have quality bass, its extension is weak and will leave you wanting more.

I definitely don't want a boomy bass. I don't even want a bass emphasis. I want bass quality/detail, but also with some impact/separation. Something very realistic sounding. 
 

 
Quote:
Ummmm i thought etymotic and head-direct were bass-light...
 
Try and read |joker|'s 186 IEM review thread.  That should help you a lot.

 |joker|'s 186 IEM thread really is what is making me interested in the etymotic... he seems to really like them... same with the Xears TD III.
 


Quote:
They are, the Etymotic more than the RE0s from what I've heard.  Neither of these would fit the OP, they both lack to create detailed, impactful, powerful bass.  RE0s lack body (texture, thickness, detail) while the Etys lack impact (I actually got a really good seal with the RE0s and they have the most impact of the three up there). 
 
I honestly, even though I haven't heard them would be going towards the TS02 or XEars.  Heck, for bass, I'd even throw in NUForce and DUNU (Hephaes or Trident) into the bag as well.
 

From what i've read... the Xears will have the most bass out of the bunch. I don't know how the quality would compare. i'm leaning towards the TS02 right now... or maybe the etymotics with olives...
 
Quote:
I would love anyone to post ABX tests of 128vs320 in a portable setting. 128kbps is close to being transparent to most ears, throw in a portable setting where the last thing you should be focusing on is music, and 128 is fine.


I honestly have a hard time telling between 128 and higher with my RS-1's..... unless i focus on some obscure distant part of the music I just can't tell. and even if i do look for it, i can only find it on some recordings... and even then barely..... i figured it would matter less with IEMs?


Quote:
I will highely recommend the Sony new Dome type Dynamic IEMs like EX510(very detailed across the whole frequency spectrum with impactful deep punchy bass) and if you raise your budget bit then EX600 are amazing (shows hidden details in music with deep punchy bass) for the price. BTW from above list Etymotic HF5 are very detailed, more volume than RE0 and offers good bass response with tight in ear seal.

It seems as if I'm leaning toward the Etymotics with some olive tips.... anyone know where they can be bought?
 
 
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rangerid

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The "Olives" can be bought from many different places. Google Shure Black foam and take your pick, they are $15. 
 
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xtasi

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Quote:
 |joker|'s 186 IEM thread really is what is making me interested in the etymotic... he seems to really like them... same with the Xears TD III.
 

Well if  you read it, then you should know that they dont have impactful bass.  Joker states many times that sound signatures and preferences vary, so what joker likes may not be your cup of tea.  If you want hard hitting bass, try for some atrio X's.  They are the atrio m5 in joker's thread, and they are selling for $50 at JR.com.  They, however, may not have the clarity youre looking for, but as for the bass, it definately has it.
 
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