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Looking for a new pair of IEMs in £300/$350 range

  1. Smackymander
    As the title suggests, I'm looking for a new pair of IEMs in the £300/$350 range, I currently live in the UK, but I'm set to be moving statestide for a considerable ammount of time (visiting New York, then heading to the west coast for work), and I'm looking to upgrade my se215s

    Current source is Fiio k3, used both with my desktop and portably with my S8

    I listen to a variety of music genres, but generaly Rock/Alt rock/Math Rock/ Hip hop/ Indie, with some weirder stuff mixed in.

    Examples of music;

    Yves Tumor

    Death Grips,


    Vampire weekend,

    King nun


    Still Woozy

    Nothing but theives

    I also use my iems for general everyday activities, so youtube, and films, as well as music, and playing games (mainly fps).

    I currently have SE215s, but I want to go for an upgrade which has a wider sound stage, and better instrument seperation (is this imaging?) as well as a slightly more even sound? I feel like the 215s are quite warm, I don't necessarily dislike this, but my main experience with IEMs and headphones have been cheap earphones that come with phones. I had KZ ZSR, but they fit terribly for me, and hurt my eyes, with the nub. Generic Samsung earphones have fit fine for me, both the newer AKG style, and the older samsung own brand style.

    I don't particularly have a great idea of what I like and don't like. Where I live I don't have a huge ammount of options for trying new headphones (one big box retailer in my city which mainly stocks fully wireless earbuds as their high end audio), other than amazon, which is a touch of a hassle to buy and then send back if I don't like them. I would like as little sound leak as possible, since I'm planning on using them on my commute, as well as at work, so I don't really want the person from the next cubicle to be hearing my music.

    I use small spinfits to get the right seal, small eartips fit fine, but anything beyond that is too much for me, and tends to fall out.

    Currently, I'm looking towards;

    FLC 8s/n/p (not sure of specific model to get -> n is an upgrade of S, but P is a cheaper version of n, with a plastic body instead of a metal body, worried about fit, S has a good ammount of reviews, but the n is less reviewed) I'm not sure about any UK/EU distributors, if any exists, but I can get them on amazon in the states, or from musicteck I'm worried about the long term longevity and any issues with repairing them if they do break, since I have heard stories of LMUE being annoying to deal with for repairs.

    Etymotic ER4XR, worried about fit, never really used tripple flange, and the issues I had with my shure's fitting me. Sound seems like good, though I'm not 100% sure about the sound stage instrument separation upgrades.

    Massdrop plus, EU Taxes rule this out for getting in the EU, though still feasible to get in the states. Worried about fit and then having to send them back if they don't quite fit right for me, seems to be a similar shape to the kz zsr in terms of having a bump on the earphones. Sound and Imaging(?) seem to be a good upgrade, but again, the fit has me worried.

    Sony MDR EX 8000ST, fit could be weird, might be too bassy for me, and I'm not sure about the sound leak. Otherwise seems good.

    Final Audio E5000, not sure either way twith theese. I've seen good things and bad things, but overall I'm not too sure.

    I'm more likely to prioritise better long term support and/or warranty, if an earphone sounds slightly worse, which slightly puts me off about the FLC earphones vs the rest, but like I've said, I'm not too sure what to buy. Any other recommendations for earphones in the price range would be highly appreciated.

    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  2. serman005
    You might also read about an IT04 and see if it catches your fancy. It's a solid offering in your general price range in my opinion and I think iBasso is a good company that backs up its products.
  3. surfgeorge
    Ok, let me summarize you are looking for an IEM that:
    * is maybe a little more neutral than the SE215
    * improves on separation and soundstage
    * has better clarity
    * isolates well/leaks little as you'll be using it for commute and in the office
    * and you have small ear canals - using small Spinfit tips

    I own the EX800ST and it's the leakiest IEM I know of with a big back vent. Isolation is also very weak. And to be honest, while it is very capable, the flat frequency response is not as easy to enjoy as a harman response with elevated bass and mids. For office use I would not recommend that one.

    The ER4XR needs deep insertion, they really have to get inserted into the ear canal. I have small canal too, I would not bu them because I know they'd be very uncomfortable if not unuseable for me

    Can't say anything about the Massdrop Plus and the FLC8 series, except that they get very good feedback and that the FLC8 might be a good choice since you can play with filters to change the frequency response.

    In that range, the Moondrop Kanas Pro and the Tanjim Oxygen are also interesting contenders I know (I owned the KPE and briefly comared to the Oxygen)
    KPE has very good clarity, detail and separation in the mids and big sub bass. Treble was good, mid bass could have been a bit more present for my taste but most people love it.
    Oxygen improves a bit on the KPE and is more balanced but costs more.

    I briefly listened to the Final Audio Ex000 series and found them all to be very well tuned IEMs of different flavor, took a mental note about them to keep them in mind as safe recommendations for friends or maybe get the cheaper ones as low cost solution myself. Not sure though if the E5000 won't be even thicker and warmer than the SE215...

    My personal choice in that price range is the JVC HA-FD02 (modded) which sounds very good and should fulfill all your criteria, but I am not sure if you are willing to buy from Amazon Japan and play with a modification. In stock it is rather bright, but with a simple and reversible tape mod it becomes a very clear and capable IEM with weighty and controlled bass, excellent vocals and a smooth but extended treble that allows cranking up the volume without hurting your ears. If that's of interest all the information is here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/jvc-ha-fd01-class-s-solidege.868414/page-13#post-14870966

    And finally you might look at crinacle's list, that's a really good reference.
    The Sony XBA-N3 is high on that list, and I liked it a lot when I auditioned it, smooth in mids and treble, good bass
    That one could be an option for you too
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  4. Smackymander
    Thank you for your resposnes

    I'm not too sure about the IT04, it seems to fall out of my price range from what I've seen so far, so I'm not quite sure it's the right choice for me and my budget

    Looking into the HA-FD01/2 now, not sure if the price differentials are worth it, vs just buying an aftermarket cable, but otherwise, I am tending more towards it than most of the others I have listed.
  5. assassin10000
    E5000 probably won't work well with your s8. Iirc it is power hungry.

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