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In-ear Portable Headphone Recommendations

  1. stevenashva
    I am in the market for a new set of IEMs.

    I’m 57, I’m probably missing hearing at the higher frequencies, and oddly, higher frequencies tend to irritate me now. I’ll often turn down the treble some and turn up the bass.

    My current pair crapped out the other day. They were DUNU 1000. I was happy with them, but when I bought them, I wasn’t as happy with them as I was with the headphones before them, which I can’t recall what they were.

    A primary concern is sound isolation and comfort. I get the Comply T-100s foam tips.

    I play them using my iPhone 6 right now, I’ll probably stay in the iPhone ecosystem in the future, so I’d need to have route for using a wireless adaptor.

    Most of my listening is blues and rock, no classical or opera. Most of my listening is in an environment that is noisy, though occasionally I will enjoy them in a peaceful quiet location.

    My questions:

    Is the technology of portable headphones changed at all in the past 5 years? Is there something new that they have done to make them better or higher quality?

    Has the technologies of the higher priced headphones filtered down to the mid-price ranges?

    Is there much data about build quality of particular brands or models?

    Based on my background above, What would be the current recommendations in the under $300 range?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  2. serman005
    If you are talking about in-ear monitors (not exactly sure what you mean by 'portable'), then yes, I would say sound quality has improved a bit for some manufacturers. In your general price range and looking for something extremely well-built, I would look at a Campfire Orion personally. It is built like a tank and sounds terrific--better than your Dunu, IMO. Maybe read about it and see what you think. It is possible it could work for you.
    stevenashva likes this.
  3. stevenashva
    Thanks for responding!

    I checked out a review of the Campfire Orion on this site and what concerns me is this:

    “As the fit is relatively shallow, noise attenuation is just average.”

    For much of my listening the noise attenuation may have an outsized impact on the quality of the music that hits my eardrums.

    The rolled off treble and zero sibilance though is right on the money for me.

    I guess I can use the Campfire Orion as a starting point and find similarly driven IEMs but with more comfort.
  4. BunnyNamedCraig
    There has been a big jump in sound quality from headphones to in ears in the last 5 years for sure. Even in the last 3 years it been pretty big in my opinion. Something that is getting really popular is how many drivers they are capable of cramming into an IEM. To me it is imprssive that they can have 12+ drivers in an IEM, but I also don’t feel that it’s 100% necessary to attain great sounddoing it that way. So take that with a grain of salt.

    One that I really like for the price was the Cozoy Hera c103. It’s $170 so it’s around half of your budget. I found them to be crisp and clear sounding with good separation of instruments.

    There are so many out there and you can easily get lost in them all ha I wish ya luck!
    stevenashva likes this.
  5. stevenashva

    It looks like you have listened to and compared a lot of IEMs. I am overwhelmed with the number of options out there and there is no way for me to preview them.

    If someone twisted your arm (nicely) and asked you to name your top selections that meet the following criteria would you do it?

    Compatible with iPhone 6 output impedance (around 4.5 - 5 ohms).

    Better than average sound isolation (using foam tips)

    Not too forward treble, no sibilance.

    Under $301

    Another thought just came to mind - you recommended the Campfire Orion, I am concerned about what I read regarding the sound isolation and the IPhone output impedance, but perhaps my concerns are unwarranted if they actually do really good, just not as good as the best. Better than average will be good enough for me.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  6. ammthe
    have you tried listening to Etymotic ER4XR ($280), 1More Quad Driver ($200) or Hifiman RE600S ($100)?
    etymotic has the best noise isolation of the bunch.
    stevenashva likes this.
  7. serman005
    If you are concerned about isolation being solid, then I also like either Etymotic (as mentioned) or Shure. Both have good fit and isolation for most listeners IMO and experience. You might look into them and see what you think. It is possible one could work for you.
    stevenashva likes this.
  8. theveterans
    I don't miss my 5BA Campfire Andromeda (home use only) with my iPhone 6S + CA Comet (single BA) on-the-go. It gives enough bass to satisfy my pop-hip-hop listening genre as well for a single BA. Comet has good extension (when compared to Andromeda) without being harsh or sibilant with iPhone 6S at 4.5 ohms. I also added a shirt clip to minimize microphonics as well as to keep my IEMs securely by not putting cable tension to it as I wear the cable downward and not over the ears.

    stevenashva likes this.
  9. stevenashva
    Thanks for responding - What is "BA"?

    edit - I guess it is Balanced Armature.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  10. stevenashva
    Ah yes, it was Shures I had years ago. I'll check out the Etymotics and Shures.

  11. stevenashva
    I'll check them out - Thanks!
  12. banana456
    In a similar boat and was wondering about the Westone UM-Pro 10s or the Mackie MP-240s. Does anyone have a view?

    I tried out some Shure SE535s and really didn't like the fit or the sound (listening was tiring).


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