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Looking for my End Game IEM, confused :-( (pro/experienced help needed))

  1. nimorose
    Hello Good People

    First must say I love this forum, up until now just as a reader and enjoying the threads.

    I really need some help from the IEM experts here, where I live, there is not much reference to listening to, so
    when thinking about buying, I cannot try before, so I know what I'm looking for in quality and sound definition, and need to hear some opinions to help guide the way.

    Today what I have is HD800 + AMP. I use it at home and love them, but I feel the bass is not there, and there is no energy.
    Having said that I do love the layering, the depth, the sound stage, separation, amazing!
    These days I'm looking to take my listing experience on the go, I have babies at home, lost privacy, and looking for the best setup for the ultimate escapism.

    So what am I looking for and why I need your help.
    Budget wise, NO LIMIT! I mean, I don't want to buy the most expensive just because they are, I want to buy the best that I can get for what I'm looking for, and willing to invest in IEM, Wires, DAC's, AMP's, whatever it takes.

    I'm looking to get a sound that is close to the hd800+bass in an IEM.

    I like discovering layers in songs, the more arrangement is complicated in the song, the better, today pop songs quickly have more than 100 channels in a song, and I love finding new layers discovering new technique or hooks in the songs., I also like tech house or techno, even Pink Floyd, Zepplin, rap, and trap. All genres but I don't see myself as bass head; I do love rap, rap, EDM, house, techno, and bass is super essential for the FEEL and ENERGY, but.. it is crucial that bass or sub-bass will not overtake the mids. As rock, pop is the main factor as well.
    Trebles are also essential, but I don't want to get fatigued from them. So as said earlier, the dream will be HD800 sound stage depth and separation with good and deep bass with and good energy and feel and not flat dull.

    I will also prefer a setup that is as easy to carry as possible, for example, some of the choices I looked into was the kse1200, they come with an amp, and when I consider a DAC as well they are not as portable as just a DAC with amp build in and earphones. However having said that,
    The most significant factor is:
    * sound
    * comfort after
    * and portability after.
    price and design are later.

    by the way, if what I'm looking for is not possible, I can also consider 2 IEM's:
    1.more fun but with good quilty, separation, depth
    2. more surgical.

    up until now I think I read about every IEM'S on the market, and have some options on the table, but I am completely open for different opinion, so if you think there is one, please share.

    my options as I see them: (

    sony WMA1 dac/amp / CAYIN N8 / + KSE1200. (affraid of the lack of energy i read people write about)
    sony WMA1 dac/amp + PWADUDIO 1950 balanced cable + EMPIRE X LEGEND X (costume/universal) (afraid of the bass i read is very presence)
    sony WMA1 dac/amp +AUDIO 64 A18 / FOURTE univarsal + blanced good cable.
    sony WMA1 / CAYIN N8 / + EMPIRE EARS PHANTOM + PWADUDIO 1950 blanced cable
    sony WMA1 + VISION EARS ERLKONIG / VE8 + good cable
    sony WMA1 + SPIRAL EARS SE5/SE6 + PWADUDIO 1950 blanced cable.

    other options i looked into:
    IEM'S: noble audio kahn / campfire solaris/andromada / weston es80 / Lark studio lsx / Layla v3 / DITA XLS
    DAC'S /DAPS: ibasso dx200 w/amp4 / mojo / astell sp1000m .

    Sorry for the long post.
    hearing pro opnion is the best guidenss i can have without listing to all options.
    andsaid I am open to hearing new opinions as well,
    THnks for the help!!
  2. mattiav
    My personal expensive-but-not-insanely-expensive solution to a similar conundrum was the iBasso DX220 with the stock amp + Amp8, and campfire Andromeda S and Atlas IEMs. I suspect Solaris would also be a good fit for what you’re describing sound-wise but have never heard them.

    The Andromeda is the sparklier, more refined, wider soundstage, listen-to-the-details of the two I have. As I understand it the Andro S is a little more mid forward than the ‘original’, which I have not had the pleasure of auditioning. I took a chance on the Andro S based on reviews vs the original (summary: most found a slight difference, and like both, S a little more body/smoothness; the original a bit drier and more sparkle). But the bass ‘slam’ can be a bit lacking for some tracks that seem to call for it. In came Atlas with a very different tuning but equally capable all-rounder, just a different flavor. Just got it so am still getting used to it and enjoying the ride. The Solaris seems to try and blend the best of both - dynamic driver oomph in the bass and the sparkle and articulation of the BA. The price, size (Andro just fits me) and looks (do not like gold as a look) on the Solaris steered me towards the ‘stainless steel twins’.
    nimorose likes this.
  3. theveterans
    Just my opinion: HD800 has a neutral sound and Andromeda, CA Solaris sound a lot different than the HD800. If you want HD800 sound on an IEM, I can think of the A18 custom or QDC Anole VX (think of it as HD800 with bass boost). Andromeda and EE Phantom have warm neutral tuning with Phantom sounding even warmer than Andromeda. In Ear Prophile 8 is also a good candidate for the neutral sound. Chord Hugo 2 + KSE1500 combo for one of the most transparent sound in an IEM form.
    kendosperling and nimorose like this.
  4. nimorose
    KSE 1500 is dac+amp, so if using chord isn’t the 1200 (1500 without dac) is better, and also, how both amps work together (1200 amp is a must use from what i read)

    A18 and QDC would
    You use an WMA1 with balanced input?

    Have you heard the empire x?
  5. theveterans
    You can toggle between Amp mode or DAC/amp mode with KSE1500. 1200 doesn't have an amp and you must use the amp module to power the IEM

    I use the NW-WM1Z back when I demoed those IEMs at my local store.

    I've demoed the Legend X and IMO it's very L-shaped / V-shaped which is opposite of the HD800's signature. the KSE1200 or 1500 has a narrower soundstage compared to other TOTL IEMs like the A18 and QDC and even Andromeda.
  6. propellerhead
    SE6 - these may be the the droids you are looking for. Should be receiving my pair soon.
  7. nimorose
    problem with the SE6 is that the only option to buy is via tier website and only money transfer, there is almost no mentioning of them online, not on reviews, not on youtube.
    and they did a 40% price cut because people didn't buy, so it seems they tried to get as much as they could but landed in reality. even the price is written in zloty (polish company)

    if i didnt read a little info on 2 threads here i would have thought they are scamming.
  8. Michael103
    I've heard very expensive sony+campfire and other iem's. But sounded much too cluttered/murky compared to HD650/HD800. Not sure if it's personal preference or the objective performance of gear
  9. nimorose
    I have been told that the only IEM’s that comes close, are the kse1500. Never heard them.
  10. mattiav
    I think one big issue is that a lot of IEMs (certainly Campfire Andromeda and similar) are picky about the source (particularly output impedance) and above all fit, with different ear tips leading to very different tonal balance. I find the Andromeda S I have - when driven properly - has bags of detail and sparkle. Not at all cluttered or murky. It is a very different experience to an open backed headphone though. No question.
  11. starfly
    One tip, either way, is be wary of custom IEMs. Because they have to customize the fit for your ears, they have to change the size of the housing, length of the sound tubes, creating bends in the sound tubes, etc, which will all affect the sound. So what you demo in a store or at a show may not end up being the same sound you'd get with your own pair of CIEMs. It's "cool" to you have your own CIEM, but if you want the ultimate sound, best to stick to universals and demo those and find the right tips to go with those.
  12. BananaOoyoo
    On the other hand, I much prefer CIEMs to universals though, so YMMV. I agree that it's risky to jump straight to a custom IEM (especially if you can't audition beforehand), but having tried both, I'm taking the CIEM every time.

    @nimorose Advice on the forums is always nice, but if you don't have a budget limit and have the time, I'd use some of it to take a trip somewhere where you can audition a lot of gear (assuming there isn't a place nearby where you can do so). Some IEMs I'd recommend taking a look at are the Jomo Flamenco, QDC Anole VX, Vision Ears VE8, and 64Audio U/A18t. The Shure is great as well, but I'd personally hate to carry it around.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  13. Law87
    price does not equal performance
    comfort over sound

    thats all I'm gonna say....this thing is going to be in your ear, why would you want comfort as secondary? that is just nuts.....

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