Is it time for a change??? An IEM odyssey...
Nov 20, 2008 at 6:42 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

the_dong146

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Hello everyone, so as the title above hints - I think it might just be time for a change in my earphones. The situation is as follows:

I have just RMA'ed my SCL4s (which were RMA'ed from E4gs) - based on phone conversation/Shure's amazing return policy I am expecting a new set.

So here's the question: Should I keep these SCL4s, or is it time for change? I am definitely a fan of these phones, yet this is definitely a chance to try something different. I am asking you guys (the experts) if you have any particular suggestions/comments. My musical tastes are pretty solidly in rock, with across much of the genre, with Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Black Keys, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton etc. in there...

The options I am currently considering:
- Ultimate Ears Sf5 Pro
(anyone know what the deal is with the newly released models, the SFvis, I have noticed that despite being the same price they are only single driver)
- Klipsch Custom 3
Can anyone confirm these are compatible with the Shure Olive foamies - love those things...
- Klispch Image X10
Just based on the the sudden huge amounts of posts/huge sale - am a little concerned about overwhelming bass
- Sleek SA6
Just throwing these on here based on the # of posts - know very little about these phones
- Shure SE310

Basically consider maximum budget to be ~$200 - though as usual, anything less is better. Please feel free to throw any other suggestions in the loop as well.

I have to say I do not consider myself a basshead - however I would definitely prefer a phone with a little more in the low end than the SCL4s, though I love/greatly enjoy the midrange/clarity that they have. Definitely found them to offer great isolation/comfort - and despite the durability issues (probably too many trips to the gym (see PS)) - well built. It is fairly important that my new phones last and/or have a good warranty policy behind them.

Thanks!

PS: Anyone know of some decent gym phones ~<$20 - just looking for passable audio quality (my gym source is terrible anyways) and decent to good isolation. Thoughts on Amazon.com: Sennheiser MX55 Twist-To-Fit In-Ear Stereo Headphones: Electronics vs the marshmellows?
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 6:58 PM Post #2 of 15

Taikero

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The Custom 3 from Klipsch and the Sleek Audio SA6 are probably your two best bets out of the ones you've listed (considering you don't think you're a basshead, which probably rules out the X10, which has a very rich, deep bass sound).
 
Nov 20, 2008 at 8:13 PM Post #3 of 15

Calexico

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I've heard a lot of good things about the SA6, but I noticed a lot of reports of them breaking in the SA sponsor forum. Of course, a higher percentage of people with faulty earphones will post about them breaking than people with working ones posting about them being fine, but there's still a lot of posts about durability.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 3:11 AM Post #4 of 15

the_dong146

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How would one compare the Custom 3 and SA6 for my purposes - I have been checking into it and the deal on the Custom 3 definitely seems hard to pass up... Are they really that much superior to the Sf5s though?
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 9:44 AM Post #6 of 15

Azathoth

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To my ears, the custom 3 sounds very close to the the se530. I'd say it has around 90% of the se530's capabilities. And yes, the shure olive foamies do fit on the custom 3's. They're an absolute steal at $150!
biggrin.gif
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 5:32 PM Post #7 of 15

Taikero

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Quote:

Originally Posted by the_dong146 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
How would one compare the Custom 3 and SA6 for my purposes - I have been checking into it and the deal on the Custom 3 definitely seems hard to pass up... Are they really that much superior to the Sf5s though?


I haven't heard the Custom 3, but I have the Super.fi 5 EB (same treble driver, better bass driver than the 5 Pro), and I would say that the Custom 3 would certainly destroy the 5 Pro's. The X10's I just got in supposedly have a little less clarity than the Custom 3's, yet they blow my 5 EB's out of the water for clarity, even with massive EQ adjustment on the 5 EB's to squeeze as much clarity as possible out while still holding on to a high level of bass (I use an audio resampler to 32 bit/192 KHz, and iZotope Ozone with Winamp for most of my listening). I guarantee with dual drivers (the X10 is single driver), the Custom 3 will have oodles of good sound to offer.

The only real advantage the Sleeks might have over the Custom 3's is the ability to swap out the ports on the sides of the IEMs to customize the music (e.g. bass+, treble++ is possible in order to give a more detailed experience).
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 7:28 AM Post #8 of 15

ChicagoPhil

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I have owned the UE-10 Pro custom IEMs for a few years, and in the past year sampled a few universal fit for playing straight from my ipod, and now iphone, sans amp for true portability.

I started with the UE Super.Fi 5 Pro and thought of them as reasonably balanced sounding, pretty nice overall. But I was never able to get a truly comfortable fit, perhaps due to the size of the earpiece, which includes the diameter of the nozzle.

I also tried the vmoda vibe, which was somewhat more comfortable, but extremely bass heavy, to the point where it overwhelmed the rest of the music. I'm not a fan of EQ, at least in the ipod, but tried to use it to cut the bass, increase the treble, or some combination thereof, but to no avail. So those went back.

In the last couple of weeks I've been listening to the Klipsch X10, and am extremely impressed. Given the single armature, I was expecting some sonic compromise, but purchased anyway given the reputation for comfort. Well, they are the most comfortable IEMs I've tried, and in some ways, they're more comfortable than my UE-10 pros. The sound is really, really good. Don't be misled into thinking these are for bassheads... they do have a nice, punchy, low end, but it does not get in the way of the midrange, which is some feat given the single driver. The highs may not be quite as extended as my UE-10s, but they do not really sound rolled off either. Listening to them, you don't feel like you're missing anything... it's only if you go back and forth with something ultra-detailed that you hear more.

I'm trying to find fault with these, but they just sound so damn good. They can get a little congested sounding with really complex music, but that's true of most.

Given the sale price, and ability to return if you're not happy, it's worth a shot.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 7:38 AM Post #9 of 15

toxic888

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I have heard the X10's aren't the IEM's with the highest bass (don't get me wrong - they must have some insane bass response!), but theyre able to control the bass, keeping it very clear and controlled.

Just a sidenote - I'm ordering the X10's on Monday. I've done my research :p
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 7:39 AM Post #10 of 15

Taikero

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I can agree with ChicagoPhil here in his analysis of the X10 (with exception to his personal experience with UE-10s, since I don't have those
tongue.gif
). While they can get a little congested with complex music, it matters very little in my overall experience so far. I spent 4 hours in a car recently with a Sansa View and my Image X10s and I listened to virtually every genre imaginable, and only in a very few cases could I nitpick a problem with the sound coming from the X10s. This is all with a very small EQ tweak to lower the treble somewhat to ensure my ears didn't fatigue over the drive.

I only wish I could contrast these to the Custom 3, as I really don't know for sure what their differences are other than "dual driver vs. single driver" and "analytical vs. warm + more bassy".
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 7:42 AM Post #11 of 15

Taikero

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Quote:

Originally Posted by toxic888 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have heard the X10's aren't the IEM's with the highest bass (don't get me wrong - they must have some insane bass response!), but theyre able to control the bass, keeping it very clear and controlled.

Just a sidenote - I'm ordering the X10's on Monday. I've done my research :p



The award for highest bass goes to either the Super.fi 5 EB or the Future Sonics Atrio M5, IMO. I haven't heard the M5 (yet), but I know the 5 EB doesn't hold a candle to the X10s for clarity (without MASSIVE EQ adjustment with special software). I've heard the M5 has good clarity, but I haven't bought them yet to compare to the X10/5 EB, which is what I'd like to do in a couple months (Probably January/February).
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 8:24 AM Post #13 of 15

ChicagoPhil

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There is one downside I forgot to mention... the cable material/size of the X10 leads to much more microphonics than that of the UE Super.Fi 5 Pro. I had the same problem with the vmoda vibes... my solution, when necessary, is to flip the earpieces around, and run the cable around my ear, and cinch up the little thing on the cord. While the cables don't have a memory wire, they will stay in place for the most part, and this dramatically cuts down on any cable noise. I'm still not sure how anyone would go running with these, but for walking around, I think it's good enough. If I was responsible for designing these though, I'd go with a slightly thicker cord, or whatever it is that makes the UE cord relatively silent in comparison.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 8:36 AM Post #14 of 15

Taikero

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I do have to admit I find the UE cord material infinitely less annoying than most other cords I've had with a variety of technical components, including my X10s.

Over-the-ear or not, it's just a much easier cord to work with (And of course the microphonics are much better as well).
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 4:49 PM Post #15 of 15

the_dong146

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Thanks guys for all the responses - this place is amazing
smily_headphones1.gif


Based on everyone's input/other reading I've narrowed it down to the Custom 3s/X10s. My thoughts below (based on my reading):

Custom 3
+ Durability
+ Detail
+ Balance
+ Dual Driver
* Cheaper!

X10
+ Portability/Style
+ Comfort
+ Bass
+ Soundstage

Too bad it seems that virtually no one has done a side by side review... Anyone have any thoughts on which, given my music preferences/tastes - would be preferable, also keeping in mind that I'm coming from the SCL4s. Currently leaning towards the Custom 3s - although all the threads popping up are shifting me towards the X10s as those seem to be the popular choice between just the two. Really most interested in audio quality/musical signature, the X10s styling really doesn't do all that much for me...

In the Klipsch lineup - what are the roles these 2 phones are supposed to play? C3 = professional, X10 = top end consumer???

Finally - anyone know how Klipsch would take it if I bought both, demoed them, and returned the one I'm less impressed with?
PS: It's interesting on the Custom 3s have a much larger presence on Ebay than the images
 

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