Need Help Chosing New IEMs
Jul 19, 2017 at 11:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 24, 2014
New York
Hello all,

So I am currently considering buying a new pair of earbuds/IEMs and don't know what to get. There are numerous options out there and so many of them seem to just barely fit what I need while others not so much. I currently use a pair of RHA MA750s (no "i") with Comply foam Sport tips (the new ones) as my daily driver and absolutely love(d) them (past tense because the left audio channel crapped out on me after two years, I'm currently going through the RMA process for them, I'll probably sell the replacement pair without even opening the box). The bass is loud and punchy but not overbearing (though at the upper limit of what I like, bass-wise), the mids are clear and definitely there, if maybe a tiny bit recessed, and the highs are crisp and clean, though a bit sibilant at times (damn you, Hi-hats, I love you so much but you make my ears bleed sometimes). The RHA MA750s are definitely a 'fun' sounding pair of IEMs.

I am looking for a solid upgrade to the MA750s for ~$250 or less (maybe $275~$300 if I sell the replaced/repaired MA750s) and really can't decide on anything.
I personally know I want a pair that go over the ear like the MA750s do (I really hate microphonics and also find this to be much more comfortable due to how the weight is supported) and preferably doesn't have an in-line remote (I don't need one and it makes the weight balance between left and right just slightly off. Though it isn't necessary that it be absent).
I definitely like a crisp, warm sound with a bit of punch (MA750s in a nutshell). E.g. electronic music with brass instruments really exemplify these characteristics in headphones. Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man and I Need a Dollar by Aloe Blacc are good examples. Though the MA750s are probably at the upper limit of what I like in bass; any more would be excessive (sorry, T10s :/ ). I'm not really a basshead, but I do like my bass present and forward slightly more than natural (tried Etymotic hf3s for a week, I know someone who owns a pair and loves them, I personally couldn't stand them because they were just too boring. Clarity, precision, detail, and lifelike sound is nice, but damn is it boring.).
Isolation is also important; I prefer not being able to hear my surroundings too much when listening to them, though a little bit of awareness is nice (NYC, so awareness is also important, but I can always take one ear out for that).

Sorry If I sound a bit demanding, I always have had trouble formulation these kinds of posts.

Addition (edit): I am not looking for "value" IEMs (ie. ~$100 and below). While the MA750s certainly have great bang for the buck, they did cost a pretty penny (at the time) at $120 retail, which for a UIEM is basically the upper limit of anything that could be considered "value" with IEMs (at least in my book, story would be much different if we were talking cans though). I really would like an appreciable upgrade, not just a good value purchase to replace the MA750s; at that point I'd just buy another pair.

I mainly came here because I'm sure there are options I have missed that others in the audiophile community adore and would like to suggest. all opinions are welcomed!

Below is a list of IEMs I am currently considering (I will continue to update this as the thread progresses)

•Sennheiser IE80 (normally out of budget but prices decrease frequently)
•RHA T20
•Fender FXA5 Pro (at the very edge of my budget)
•Final Audio F4100

Help is very greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Jul 19, 2017 at 9:19 PM Post #3 of 16
Perhaps I missed it but what is the budget for these IEMs? Oops--missed it. Sorry.
No worries,
~$250, maybe $275~300 if I sell the newly replaced MA750s from the RMA process.
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Jul 19, 2017 at 9:25 PM Post #4 of 16
If you can stretch your budget a bit, what would really be nice would be a Campfire Orion. You might read about it and see what you think. It is possible it could work for you. The other IEM that comes to mind is a Dunu DN-2000(J), which is closer to your original price range.
Jul 19, 2017 at 9:30 PM Post #5 of 16
If you can stretch your budget a bit, what would really be nice would be a Campfire Orion. You might read about it and see what you think. It is possible it could work for you. The other IEM that comes to mind is a Dunu DN-2000(J), which is closer to your original price range.
Thanks for the suggestions!
The campfire orion is probably gonna be out of my price range for a while (id love to get IEMs from campfire one day but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) but I'll still keep it in mind.
I will put the Dunu DN-2000j on my list though; looks interesting. Can it be routed over the ear well? I really like over ear style IEMs, but it's not like it's required.
Jul 20, 2017 at 12:17 AM Post #9 of 16
One more I forgot to mention that is over-ear and in your price range is the IE80. You might check it out as well.
Thanks for the suggestion!
I had completely forgotten about that. I've seen the IE80s go up and down in price a lot (I saw them at $150 on and fulfilled by Amazon with prime a few months back). I'll definitely consider it if it goes back down in price.
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Jul 20, 2017 at 12:22 AM Post #10 of 16
hi I just purchased Fiio ex1 2nd gen iem have a nice balanced sound and decent bass reponse

and also forgot to mention they are under 100 bucks
Thanks for the suggestion.
IMO I personally would rather spend the extra money on a better pair if possible (frankly at <$125 I'd just buy another pair of MA750s). I have a budget of around $200 and my old pair was worth $120 at retail when I bought them, and I really enjoyed them, so buying a pair like the Fiio ex1s would likely be a considerable downgrade. If I have the funds I may as well put them to use, no point saving if I'm just gonna spend it again to upgrade within a year.
Really, thanks for the suggestion though, I really do appreciate you taking the time to give me your opinion.
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Jul 20, 2017 at 7:45 AM Post #11 of 16
Anyone have any thoughts on the Fender FXA5 Pro? I can't seem to find any reviews (well, I've found like two) anywhere about them.
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Jul 20, 2017 at 5:40 PM Post #12 of 16
So I decided to go to my local audiophile store today (Audio46, really love these guys). I tried a few pairs of IEMs (a few Shures, a few Westones, the Final Audio F4100, the Sennheiser IE80s, DUNU DN-2000Js) to get an idea how they would sound.
I will be making most of my comparisons to the RHA MA750s, so sorry if this doesn't really help other people looking at this thread to make a decision.

Let's start with the Shures; definitely not my cup of tea. Definitely too dark compared to the MA750s which I love dearly. Also, THEY'RE MASSIVE! How are these supposed to fit comfortably when the housing is that big?

Westone ADV Alpha:
Bass was kinda sloppy and clarity definitely took a backseat. They were comfortable, but I can't understand how they cost more than the MA750s (damn you RHA and your amazing pricing)

Westone W20 (Not the new one):
They sounded pretty close to the MA750s, if not maybe slightly brighter. One issue I personally had with them though is the bass was tight but it felt like there was a lot of pressure generated, I now understand why bass ports exist. They certainly sounded good, but the MA750s sound similar and fit my tastes more. Again, MA750s cost less than $150, I'd rather buy another pair.

Dunu DN-2000j:
Sibilant. I really can't say more. People love these things and I can understand how, but they just sounded sibilant to me. Maybe it was because it was an in-store test and they need to be burnt in but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sennheiser IE80s:
These are definitely at the top of the list. They have much better mids and highs IMO than the RHA MA750s (and I love the mids of the MA750s). The bass was also really nice, but they were really boomy (I think the pair they gave me had the bass dial turned up a bit too far for my liking, but if that's the case they can definitely be adjusted). The sound pressure issue wasn't anywhere nearly as bad as the Westones (the power of bass ports), but it was existent on the IE80s, but this could probably be fixed by turning down the bass dial. Additionally, the IE80s are probably the only pair of IEMs I have ever used where I didn't hate the silicon tips! I've always had problems with silicon tips between sizing, general feel, isolation, etc. But the IE80's silicone tips were great (but as expected had the isolation of silicones, but who cares if you're using silicones by choice).

Final Audio F4100:
Not enough bass. Comfy and a good fit, though. I was able to bring it up through EQ but how high I needed to put it really didn't sound great. Additionally they were kind of sibilant. They were close but not quite. I will probably try them again the next time I'm in.

I'll probably take another trip to audio46 next week to try some new things and compare back to back to my RHA MA750s (I also forgot to pay attention detail and instrument separation, two huge strong points of the MA750s, when I was there because I'm an idiot and only payed attention to Fidelity and relative volume. Oops)

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, everyone.
Please feel free to send more suggestions. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.
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Jul 22, 2017 at 9:45 AM Post #13 of 16
Jul 24, 2017 at 5:03 PM Post #14 of 16
I decided to go with the Sennheiser IE80s.
I personally felt that the other IEMs I tried didn't fit what I wanted as well as the Sennheisers and I couldn't find enough information on the FXA5s or T20s or anywhere to try them, so I decided not to take the risk. Thanks to everyone who helped me to make this decision.
Jul 24, 2017 at 11:04 PM Post #15 of 16
You might want to take a look at the 1More Quad Drivers have the Triple Drivers and the Quads are just more of a good thing.

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