IEMs or not - please help
Mar 10, 2006 at 5:07 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

MartinDB

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Posts
13
Likes
0
I am shortly to go on a long flight and want to buy some headphones to use with my Creative Zen Touch on this and future trips.

I am torn between a number of options. I am interested in Shure E2c and Etymotic Er-6i - sub £100 represents my price range. My reservations about IEMs are about fitting. I have narrow ear canals - something remarked upon by physicians who checked out a slight hearing loss several years ago.

If I go with IEMs, this inclines me to think about foam tips. In turn, this pushes me toward the Shure E2cs because of the possibility of small foam tips. In addition, foam tips for Shure seem more widely available than tips for Etymotic.

But I am anxious about IEMs overall because of the fit and wonder whether I should instead go for a sealed ear headphone about the same price range as the Shure or Etymotic IEMs. Two considerations here are (a) look (I am approaching middle age and don't want to look too foolish to my fellow flyers!) and (b) sound. I listen exclusively to classical music where the dynamic range is invariably wider than for popular music and many passages might be drowned out by the sound of a flight. In addition, I believe many classical recordings are made at lower volumes. I worry that sealed ear headphones won't provide enough insulation.

Perhaps I should go for a third option - noise cancelling headphones such as Sennheiser's PXC 250.

In case it provides any useful background info, in ordinary circumstances I am delightfully happy at home with my Grado SR 325i and my Sennheiser MX 500 for listening to my MP3 player on London buses. A final consideration is that work and a young family mean that practically I can't scour shops and try out - I need to buy online.

Can anyone offer me any advice, please?

Thanks
Martin
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 5:16 PM Post #2 of 11

Michael Crespo

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 5, 2004
Posts
121
Likes
10
I have small ear canals and the foam tips or the smallest sleeves on the Shure E4c work fine for me. IEM's are truly amazing on flights and subway rides and I love the fact that they weigh nothing and I can just put them in my pocket when not in use. I used to use Beyerdynamic closed cans for plane rides and they were great, but just too big and cumbersome in the long run.

Michael
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 7:00 PM Post #5 of 11

souladdikt

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Posts
155
Likes
10
Etymotic's ER-6i's are also nice starter IEMs and, when in your ears, don't look much different from regular earbuds. Etymotic also has excellent customer service. They will send you out a sample of their various sized tips for free if you email them and tell you have small ear canals.
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 7:06 PM Post #6 of 11

xtr3me

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Posts
445
Likes
10
Location
Portugal
I think you could safely enjoy IEMs use (in that case I'd recommend you the etys er6i. they will be really good for what you want, specially considering the music style you listen to). However if you don't fell like taking any chance, there are good closed cans portable enough for you to use when traveling or comuting (senns, at, etc).

I have a small ear canal and I use the etys everytime on the go, but that's just me ...
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 7:19 PM Post #7 of 11

LaBreaHead

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 2, 2005
Posts
1,847
Likes
11
Both the Shures and the Etymotics should sound nice with your Creative player. An advantage of IEMs, beyond their portability, is that they can reduce the overall noise fatigue you can experience on a long flight ... even if you just leave them in without playing any music. You'll really notice it when you take them out. One reason I have concentrated on IEMs more than "real" headphones is that I make regular five-hour flights.

I prefer the foamies (I have Etymotics ER-6's and Shure E3C's) for comfort and consistent fit, and would think that they would provide a degree of adaptability regarding fit -- narrow ear canals or not. But if you get the Etymotics, consider trying their two-flanged tips, to see if they isolate even more (I think they do, but your mileage may vary). I will say I find the Etymotics' configuration much easier to use when using the foam tips -- easier to take in and out.

Oh -- would you think the bassy, realtively boomy E2's would be OK for classical? From what I've read, they might be more of a rock/pop/hip-hop earphone. Plus, they're physically larger (the Etys are really tiny) -- depending on the dimensions of your external ear, that could be a factor, too.
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 9:34 PM Post #8 of 11

thestumper

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Posts
49
Likes
0
Well, as far as the narrow ear canals are concerned, they can be widened. It requires a bone drill, a delicate, patient surgeon, anywhere from 6-8 hours on an operating table, and ***loads of pain when you wake up. Ask me how I know
basshead.gif
The upside is that I can hear extremely well now; my ears don't clog up, and my canal on the right side is REALLY wide...
biggrin.gif


Assuming you don't want to go that route (I didn't but I was 12 y/o at the time...), the ety's are nice, as are the Westone UM1's. The narrow canals shoulnd't be too much of a hinderance regardless of what you purchase.

It depends on what you like: Bass? Dynamics? Detail? For classical, I'd be tempted to say ety 6i with their detail, but the others have their merits. UM1's are super comfortable with good bass. E2C's are nuetral, with lots of bass (not necessarily GOOD base, but plenty of it), and are relatively inexpensive. Not the most comfortable for most people though.

Best of luck and let us know what you choose!
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 10:31 PM Post #9 of 11

teemi

Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 24, 2005
Posts
63
Likes
0
I don't have them but the shure e2s have slightly wider a barrel than the other shures or the etymotic headphones. They use different tips. While plenty of people have found them comfortable, they're also (I think) the ones I've seen most often in statements like, "I tried the e2s but they were uncomfortable, the * ones were much better." If you're particularly concerned about small ear canals, I'd choose something else.

My advice -- to be taken with a grain of salt, because I have neither a wide experience of actual use of headphones or an audiophile's sensitivity, is to go for the ety 6is or to check around on the forums and see if you can get one of the other models used and cheap.

(This is what I did, and I'm SO happy; I'm quite pleased with my $80 e3s, and I was also happy at the time that if I hadn't liked canalphones I wouldn't lose much more than shipping if I decided to sell them again.)

That said, go for canalphones; they're really nice on planes. They're more effective at damping engine noise than the active noise cancellation, with the added benefit of also nixing crying babies, obnoxious teenage conversations, and so on.
 
Mar 11, 2006 at 2:07 PM Post #11 of 11

MartinDB

New Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 24, 2005
Posts
13
Likes
0
Many thanks for the replies. They are very helpful.

I feel I am heading for the Etymotic after reading these comments, with a handful of extra small foam tips to start with.

I was not heading in this direction before this thread - I was likely to plump for the Shure. Hope I am right to change course!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top