IEMs for Rock/Metal - Confused.
Apr 5, 2011 at 10:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 45

evanatch

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Sorry for the rather long post.
 
   Recently I've been thinking about getting new headphones because I don't think I bought the right ones the first time around. I listen to mostly metal and rock, and currently have Turbines, M50s, and the M6. My problem is mainly that they can end up sounding overly bassy and muddy on some tracks (the M50s are definitely the best, but even they can start to get muddy during fast rhythms and solos).
 
    I decided on IEMs mainly because I'll be using them out and full-size headphones are annoying to bring along or carry. Isolation will definitely help on the bus. I also don't want to have to worry about the extra cost of an amp. I don't have a lot of money to spend, and I want a pair of IEMs that I can use everywhere for everything, without getting the urge to upgrade. Ideally I want something to last me through high school and college, and if I have some money after that I may look into customs - that's quite a ways off though. My budget is about $250, as I really can't justify spending any more at the moment.
 
    I read joker's entire comparison thread and thought that either the Audio Technica CK10 or Fischer Audio DBA-02 would be my best bets. Each are supposed to be fast, clear, and detailed without overemphasized bass. I debated and went back and forth for a while, and looked at other threads to help. The threads did not help. I saw everything from the CK10 to IE8 and MTPC recommended for metal, and I really got confused. I think I will prefer the signature of the CK10/DBA-02 to other bassy alternatives, because I don't like the overemphasized bass of the Turbines.
 
   So now, my question: What is the best sub-$250 universal IEM for Rock/Metal that can present the music clearly, quickly, and realistically and can serve as an end-all be-all headphone for the time being and the foreseeable future?
 
Apr 5, 2011 at 11:29 PM Post #2 of 45

RADI0HEAD

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I listen to a large amount of rock/metal as well. From what you are describing I think you are on the right path between the CK10 & DBA-02. The build quality of the CK10 is excellent. The very stout and super quiet cabling should give long service with reasonable care. Bass is tight, fast, controlled and never over emphasized. Good luck and let us know what you decide on.
 
Apr 5, 2011 at 11:48 PM Post #3 of 45

WisdomListens

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Just to make sure: you are listening to lossless or high quality MP3's yes?
 
As for IEM's I have the Ultimate Ears Triplefi 10's and they are very clear and bass is not overemphasized. Highs are great.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 1:11 AM Post #6 of 45

Ankit1010

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Hey, I want exactly the kind of headphones you do. Rock/metal music, and I'll be listening to average quality MP3's off my iPhone or my macbook. After a bunch of research, I ended up buying the Klipsch X5's off a member here. I'll be receiving them in a few days, so I'll post back here then, but I recommend you check them out.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 2:19 AM Post #7 of 45

Yggdrassilious

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+1 CK10s. 
 
Boo to TF10s. They are really only worth the $90 that amazon sold them for around Christmas. I bought one at that price and not for one moment felt that I got them "for a great deal".  Unamped, a good single dynamic driver easily beats their triple-BAs. These things need amping to bring out whatever little potential they have.
 
"256/320kbps or VBR" is totally unacceptable if you want to improve the sound you are getting. More likely than not you get the "muddy" sound from listening to low bit rate files. A lossless song has 900+ kbps. 3 times of your 320kbps files. Go do yourself a favor, rip a favorite CD of yours with whatever lossless format you have access to, and try your M50s. 
 
Also, the CK10s, or any other IEMs in that price range, will not likely improve too much from the M50s. Regular turbines and M6s aside (they have low grade drivers, can't be helped...), the M50s are awesome, and headphones deliver sound that competes with IEMs one or two price ranges above, just because of their sheer driver size. Although, getting a pair of quality IEMs gives you the mobility and quality at the same time, and the sound from balanced-armature drivers will be a refreshing taste. You may find you prefer BA sound better than big drivers.
 
I'm rambling, so in conclusion, you can't go wrong with CK10s. They are popular, have a rich history, are durable, and can be easily exchanged (like cash...or gold!) if you end up not liking them. 
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 9:39 AM Post #8 of 45

mastershake2393

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Quote:
+1 CK10s. 
 
Boo to TF10s. They are really only worth the $90 that amazon sold them for around Christmas. I bought one at that price and not for one moment felt that I got them "for a great deal".  Unamped, a good single dynamic driver easily beats their triple-BAs. These things need amping to bring out whatever little potential they have.
 
"256/320kbps or VBR" is totally unacceptable if you want to improve the sound you are getting. More likely than not you get the "muddy" sound from listening to low bit rate files. A lossless song has 900+ kbps. 3 times of your 320kbps files. Go do yourself a favor, rip a favorite CD of yours with whatever lossless format you have access to, and try your M50s. 
 
Also, the CK10s, or any other IEMs in that price range, will not likely improve too much from the M50s. Regular turbines and M6s aside (they have low grade drivers, can't be helped...), the M50s are awesome, and headphones deliver sound that competes with IEMs one or two price ranges above, just because of their sheer driver size. Although, getting a pair of quality IEMs gives you the mobility and quality at the same time, and the sound from balanced-armature drivers will be a refreshing taste. You may find you prefer BA sound better than big drivers.
 
I'm rambling, so in conclusion, you can't go wrong with CK10s. They are popular, have a rich history, are durable, and can be easily exchanged (like cash...or gold!) if you end up not liking them. 



I really don't understand why everyone is suggesting the CK10; from what I've heard it's really lacking in bass, a component the Metal genre really needs to sound its greatest...
 
You meantion the fact that he's using 256/320kbps as a bad thing, then go on to suggest lossless codec. I agree lossless is better, but it's very, very stupid to encode [most] Metal albums in lossless format as most are recorded pretty terribly. Making a terribly recorded metal album lossless would do nothing to the quality of sound
confused.gif

 
Getting back on track, I would suggest the IE8 or MTPC/MD Tribute.
 
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 10:13 AM Post #9 of 45

utkusu

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I think good bass is needed, not quantity wise necessarily. Some songs sound great and fun with a little bit of thump, but especially complex stuff, say like Mastodon, requires more speed, detail and tightness as opposed to sheer quantity of bass. The speed is essential for entire spectrum, but more so for bass.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 10:16 AM Post #10 of 45

Juiced

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you can't go wrong with the easonics sm3 :) .. but a little over budget so i would suggest sm2
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM Post #11 of 45

RADI0HEAD

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To my ears the CK10s are definitely not lacking in bass. As a comparison they have just slightly less impact than my q-JAYS and I've never heard anyone call the JAYS bass light. I think the people who described the CK10s bass light are either true bass heads or where using the supplied ear tips which are very poor imo. When sealed with aftermarket triple flange tips they sound like completely different iems, so much fuller.

Can the mega bass iems separate Dave Lombardo's lightning fast double bass notes? I know the CK10s can.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM Post #12 of 45

evanatch

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Quote:
+1 CK10s. 
 
Boo to TF10s. They are really only worth the $90 that amazon sold them for around Christmas. I bought one at that price and not for one moment felt that I got them "for a great deal".  Unamped, a good single dynamic driver easily beats their triple-BAs. These things need amping to bring out whatever little potential they have.
 
"256/320kbps or VBR" is totally unacceptable if you want to improve the sound you are getting. More likely than not you get the "muddy" sound from listening to low bit rate files. A lossless song has 900+ kbps. 3 times of your 320kbps files. Go do yourself a favor, rip a favorite CD of yours with whatever lossless format you have access to, and try your M50s. 
 
Also, the CK10s, or any other IEMs in that price range, will not likely improve too much from the M50s. Regular turbines and M6s aside (they have low grade drivers, can't be helped...), the M50s are awesome, and headphones deliver sound that competes with IEMs one or two price ranges above, just because of their sheer driver size. Although, getting a pair of quality IEMs gives you the mobility and quality at the same time, and the sound from balanced-armature drivers will be a refreshing taste. You may find you prefer BA sound better than big drivers.
 
I'm rambling, so in conclusion, you can't go wrong with CK10s. They are popular, have a rich history, are durable, and can be easily exchanged (like cash...or gold!) if you end up not liking them. 


 
I decided I did need to try lossless, so I ripped Red - Until We Have Faces to WAV (not really metal, but it's one of the few albums I actually have in CD Format (I get most of my music from Amazon MP3), and I listen to a lot of rock like this too). Honestly, I couldn't really tell a huge difference. The song I was A/B-ing was "Feed the Machine", one of the more complex song on the album. I went back and forth a few times and I *thought* the WAV sounded a little bit better, but I couldn't be sure - it was a small enough difference that it could easily have been placebo. I tried an A/B/X test and failed. I don't know if the problem could be the source (iPod Touch 2G - Clip+ is lost currently
frown.gif
) or maybe my ears just aren't great. Between the expense and inconvenience of trying to obtain the files, the amount of space they take up, and the results I'm getting, it really doesn't seem worth it.
 
As for the Triple Fi's, I'll have to look at them more but when I was considering them before (was trying to decide between them and the M50), reactions seemed varied and polarizing. Some say they're too bass heavy, too treble heavy, neutral, poorly built, durable, uncomfortable etc. etc.
 
Thanks for the responses so far everyone, they have been very helpful. Right now I'm kind of leaning towards the CK10. By the way, I have plenty of time to decide - I probably won't be getting whatever I choose until this summer.
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM Post #13 of 45

Enanthate

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I've been on this very same search for a long time, too long it seems.  I listen to a wide variety of music but primarily Metal.  What I look for in an IEM dedicated for this genre is staggering due to the complexity and sheer amount of instruments involved as well as vocals.  I enjoy listening to this specific genre as if I were at a live concert....ie. Loud enough to not cause ear damage. 
L3000.gif

 
My laundry list includes:
 
-Tight, accurate and slightly forward mid bass to complement drums (double bass).  Sub-bass not really needed, so lower extension isn't critical.
-Liquid, detailed and slightly forward midrange for crystal clear vocals that aren't lost behind instruments.
-Extended, controlled and slightly forward highs that are effortless but do not cause sibilance. 
-Enveloping, wide soundstage that isn't to the point of disbelief or sound like your in a concert hall.
-Excellent instrument separation that puts every instrument in its own distinct area.
-And lastly correct timbre amongst these instruments to keep an accurate life-like translation.
 
Like I said I'm still on the hunt, no IEM is perfect but some come very close.  The CK-10 is an amazing iem and worth the money,(Disclaimer:IMHO) but it lacks the hard hitting mid bass and slightly forward midrange that I prefer in earphones for Metal even with a proper fit and seal.  Well that's my 2cents, I'm off to decide whether to buy the FX700 or Westone 4...
confused_face_2.gif
  
 
Will it ever end...
 
Apr 6, 2011 at 6:42 PM Post #15 of 45

Enanthate

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^  Good luck.
wink.gif
 
 
 If you're comparing the Coppers to the W2's I'd love to hear your impressions between the two.  From what some have stated the Westones are another great IEM, especially for the discounted prices you can find them at.
 

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