IEMs have unfair advantage over Headphones?
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:11 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 44

Nocturnal310

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IEMs have been around for more than 4 years now. When they came out not many of us including me paid that much attention to it. i mean they just appeared to be an evolved form of earbuds apparently.

I bought couple of the mid-priced IEMs including the ones for my mobile phone. They do sound much better than the Earbuds. But if u actually listen to them everyday u soon grow little fed up mainly because of the emphasis on bass and the lack of real soundstage.

I just thought of them as a secondary option and hoped they ll never overtake headphone market.

2008!.
Suddenly IEMs are the in-thing. Everyone on Head-Fi and in consumer market is craving them. the Sony EP90's price tag gives a message to most of us that IEMs are not toys.
Also the most shocking thing was when some DJ's on youtube actually recommended IEMs over DJ-grade headphones because they block noise in the club.

apart from the fact that they are sooo compact & convincing-to-skeptic-audiophile they are also overshadowing the headphone market.

Now i am just a wannabe audiophile with a little heightened sense of things (lol) hence i felt it to share with u guys.

Dont u think that they just have an unfair advtantage over headphones? due to their amazing Frequency response, passive Noise cancellation trait & promising sound quality.

I feel like they are just killing the headphone market slowly & already most shops are going for stocking IEMs instead of Headphones.


This is a discussion thread so u are free to give your opinion & vote!
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:33 AM Post #2 of 44

penger

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Well I guess in terms of mainstream exposure, the nod would probably have to go to IEM and other more portable solutions. With regard to some of the other things you mentioned, I think it really depends on the person and what they're expecting out of a set of headphones/IEMs.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:37 AM Post #3 of 44

LnxPrgr3

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nocturnal310 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Dont u think that they just have an unfair advtantage over headphones? due to their amazing Frequency response, passive Noise cancellation trait & promising sound quality.


Seems like fair grounds for competition to me!

Though I must say, I prefer my HD595 to the TF10s I just got when I can listen in quiet. In noise, though, the TF10s seem to be doing their job and still sounding great
smily_headphones1.gif


Speaking of frequency response though, can no one get balanced armatures decently past 16kHz? I know it's not the worst chunk of spectrum to lose, but does no one wish we could have it and insane isolation at the same time?
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:46 AM Post #4 of 44

nickdawg

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I don't necessarily think it is an "unfair" advantage. It's just a difference in technology and which fits your tastes/situation.

IEMs do have an advantage over cans when it comes to portability. You cannot beat an IEM that you can carry in your pocket and have music wherever you go in a small, unobtrusive package.

On the other hand, some may find that full size cans have an advantage ove IEMs in soundstage and overall SQ.

And on another had, the IEMs cannot be beaten in terms of isolation. But cans can isolate well and even use noise cancelling technology.

Plus cans have the advantage for those who do not like sticking things in their ears and can't stand that earplug feeling.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 7:56 AM Post #5 of 44

-NaCl-

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I think not. At least in the entry level of the two, headphones still sound better than IEMs of the same price. Examples may be ksc75 and maybe some grados? It really depends on the user. If the users need isolation and portability, then they would choose IEM. If the users don't need isolation, then wouldn't headphones still win? If you don't need isolation, I suppose you wouldn't need much portability.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:27 AM Post #6 of 44

frozncore

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nickdawg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
But cans can isolate well and even use noise cancelling technology.


Noise cancelling technology has a negative effect on sound quality. Whereas noise isolation has no negative effects
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 8:51 AM Post #7 of 44

Singapura

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You have a somewhat naive worldview. The IEM and headphone market is just like any other. The best product will be sold and the best selling product will be developed further. If that were not the case there would be no progress and we'd still be hunting mammoths and listening to Grumph playing the boomboom. I think cans or even better loudspeakers offer a better experience at home but IEM's are the way to go when listening to mobile sources.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:06 AM Post #8 of 44

Nocturnal310

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step out buddy.

go to electronic stores & consumer level shops.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:15 AM Post #9 of 44

Uncle Erik

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Nocturnal310, how many full-sized headphones have you listened to? Which ones? If so, did you listen to them with a non-portable desktop amp with a decent source?
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:41 AM Post #11 of 44

nor_spoon

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Another amazing thread...
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:50 AM Post #12 of 44

Agnostic

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If you're into raping your ears with a piece of plastic they might have an advantage.
biggrin.gif


Iems will never be able to compete 1 on 1 with full size supra or circumaural when it comes to sound quality imho. For one there's no representation of soundstage to speak of. Some people may like that inside your head sound but it's a huge technical limitation nevertheless. The only reason to go iem is isolation.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 9:54 AM Post #13 of 44

progo

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This is in the wrong forum. IEMs are toys compared to men's stuff, yeah! And by that I mean the men's headphones! Those you can actually call cans!

Okay, that's enough. The forum choice is imo still wrong. You (IEM) people seem to prefer IEMs just because you happen to listen to them in noisy environments. In those environments the noise attenuation will give a nice boost what comes to dynamics. I haven't heard any decent IEM so I can't but presume the full-size phonies will own iems of any kind in quiet environments.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 10:00 AM Post #14 of 44

ClieOS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Nocturnal310 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
..
2008!.
Suddenly IEMs are the in-thing. Everyone on Head-Fi and in consumer market is craving them. the Sony EP90's price tag gives a message to most of us that IEMs are not toys...



Do you mean EX90? AFAIK, EP90 is a receiver of some sort IIRC.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nocturnal310 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
apart from the fact that they are sooo compact & convincing-to-skeptic-audiophile they are also overshadowing the headphone market.


Headphone market with Head-fi'er in general, or consumer in general?

Your average music listener (which I am referring to ipod users) will most likely stick to the OEM earbud and care very less in investing into headphone that cost more than half (or maybe several times more) of the mp3 player they own. Headphone companies only wish to sell more headphone, as to which kind of headphone is overshadowing the other kind isn't particularly important as along as the sell figure is up.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nocturnal310 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Dont u think that they just have an unfair advtantage over headphones? due to their amazing Frequency response, passive Noise cancellation trait & promising sound quality.

I feel like they are just killing the headphone market slowly & already most shops are going for stocking IEMs instead of Headphones.



Unfair advantage? Amazing frequency response, passive noise cancellation trait & promising sound quality? Ain't you just over emphasizing and misunderstanding some of these concepts?

Many big cans have freq. resp. up to 35kHz and beyond, I haven't seen any in IEM with that kind of spec. Noise isolation is only good if you need it, what advantage will it gives the users when they are in quiet rooms? Getting good isolation often means stuffing thing deep into the ear canal, do you think that will be more comfortable than wearing big cans? As for SQ, only some of the best IEM can rival the SQ of a dynamic headphone with half the price, does that sound promising at all?

If there is anything gets killed in the process, it will most likely be cheap sounding, pseudo looking canalphones killing cheap sounding, fancy looking earbuds and lousy clip-on in your local Best Buy. I have no problem with that, cause I don't shop there for audio gear.

Our world works by developing product that fills the demand, not by holding on to one product and hope that world will always need it. More IEM are in the market cause more people want it, but it doesn't no one want big cans anymore - Just because some people buy IEM does not necessary means the same group of people won't want a set of HD600. Big cans and IEM fit into different group of the market, and each fulfilling different kind of demand.

There was once a belief that the era of vacuum tubes is ended, but now because a few of us love our tubes amp, it is actually going pretty strong. Whether it is big cans or vacuum tubes, same rule applies - as long as people still want to pay big bucks for great sounding cans, there will be companies making them.
 
Jul 9, 2008 at 10:05 AM Post #15 of 44

Float

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hmm, I think in-ears serve different needs from headphones, so dependent on your needs, the correct / superior equipment would be the one that meets your needs.

I don't think it's a in-ears vs headphones debate...

due to the different needs of the users.

if iem meets your needs better than headphones, then iem is superior for you.

smily_headphones1.gif
 

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