IEMs or canalphones? (~$100 budget)
Nov 21, 2008 at 3:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


100+ Head-Fier
Jun 16, 2008
I've had a pair of Denon 1001s since the summer and love the clarity and detail of the sound compared to my Sony MDR-EX71 buds. However, the Denons are just too large to wear around while I'm on campus or wandering around.

From what I've gathered, IEMs take a little more care inserting to get the best sound, which may not be ideal for me since I put in and remove my buds many times during a day when I walk to class or a colleague pops into my office to talk. Will I be giving up much sound quality by using a pair of canalphones as opposed to IEMs?

I can see myself budgeting about $100-$125 to get a pair of portables phones. I usually carry my iPod un-amped, but may consider picking up the Fiio E5 when it becomes available. What options should I be considering in my price range? I listen to rock, jazz (mostly female vocal) and orchestral/symphonic stuff. I've been looking at:

Klipsch Custom 2, maybe the X-5 if I really want to stretch my budget.
Westone UM1
Denon C551
Edited to add Jays j-Jays or a used pair of Q-jays if I can find them.
Anything from Shure?

It's also getting damn cold here, so I'd like something with a slim profile that won't bulge out under a beanie/touque.
Nov 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM Post #2 of 4


New Head-Fier
Nov 11, 2008
I was in a similar place. i wanted something small for work, and often have to take them out/off to speak with people. Deep In-Ears were out.

I went with the Denon C551 and have been impressed so far. I am listening to them un-amped and think for the money they work just fine for what i wanted.
Nov 21, 2008 at 5:35 PM Post #3 of 4


500+ Head-Fier
Nov 12, 2008
If you're in the U.S. and can justify $125 (you definitely should), get the Klipsch X-5s, which are 50% off right now at (until Nov. 30th) with free shipping.

Getting anything else right now at that price range would be illogical, IMO.

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