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Need help picking IEMs budget $100-$500. Impressions of past used iems included. Please someone help me out, I'm close to giving up and buying airpods.

  1. dwil
    I need to buy an iem that I'd hope will be the last IEM I buy for at least a few years.
    So far, I've tried:
    1) Shure se215, se425, se535: Love the comfort fit, but sound quality isn't up to par. None of them have any impact on the subbass nor any treble extension. Se215 is decent for the price and I'll probably hold on to it as backup.
    2) Sony XBA10,XBA3,XBA30,XBA4,XBA40,Z5: All of them had weird tinny grainy treble and garbage imaging. No subbass. Bloated midbass on some. Didn't like any. At all.
    3) Fiio FH5: Very good, very close to perfect, but uncomfortable, fit is too shallow. Also, treble lacks detail, there's some. Subbass is perfect, very clean and very impactful/physical. Midbass/upperbass is too recessed for my liking. Upper mids/lower treble can get fatiguing. Upper treble lacks detail/air.
    4)MassdropPlus Universal: Good subbass, tolerable midbass (but a bit too polite for my taste), recessed lowermids, shouty upper mids, fatiguing lower-treble, and lacking in extension/air.
    5)Vsonic GR07 bass: Way hotter in the lower treble than i'd like. It has the "fake EQ'd detailed". Harsh, almost grainy in certain areas. Considering how well reputed these are, it kinda killed my ability to trust my own ears to like the things that the rest of you guys like. Maybe I'm really into colored sounding balanced armature iems.
    6)Fiio FA7: Perfect in terms of comfort/fit. Way too bassy. Fast bass, not very "textured", and theres there's straight up way too much of it. Midbass overshadows subbss and also bleeds into the lower mids. Rest of the mids are great, clean, fast, detailed, holographic. Upper mids need more presence.
    7)Etymotic ER3xr: garbage fit and comfort, close to intolerable. subbass lacks impact. midbass is almost bloated but only almost. Still lacks all sense of physicality or texture. Weird imaging. Mids are good, but upper mids are shoutier than I'd like, very in-your-face upper-mids. Perfect treble.
    8)Westone um3xrc: weird veiled treble. inoffensive lower mids and bass, but the weird treble kills it, makes everything sound off. I want to say that the lower treble/upper mids need more presence, but its just weird. Subbass isn't particularly well textured either.
    9)Campfire audio comets: Subbbass lacks texture/physicality but its still nice and fast. Bass could overall use a bit more presence and impact. Otherwise its a very natural innoffensive tuning, but still feels very colored. Lower treble seems emphasized. Not fatiguing at all, but sometimes songs just sound wrong.

    Also, just joking in the title about the AirPods.

    Also, I'm nowhere close to this picky with headphones, I can use the hd6xx or CALs or PortaPros for hours at a time. Any of these iems listed, I can't tolerate for 30 minutes without reaching for the EQ. And I don't always have eq, nor do I want to depend on it.

    My next options seem like the Final Audio E5000 (but I think i'll find them lacking in comfort and lowermid presence), and maybe the iBasso line (which seems quite perfect from measurements, but i've been disappointed enough times that I've given up trusting my ability to look at a graph).

    TL;DR, I'm absolutely exhausted, please guide me into buying something I won't want to return/resell.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  2. Raketen
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  3. TooPoorForHiFi
    Have you try tested the Final E5000?
  4. surfgeorge
    It's kind of hard to recommend anythig since you tried such a large range of IEMs already and can't tolerate them.
    You seem to like a lot of high quality bass, with a focus on sub-bass, and you want your highs to be extended and present but smooth.
    Makes me think of the Sony XB-N3 or the XBA-Z5 which I heard in shops and compared to my Sony EX800ST.
    Generally sounds like a hybrid might have a better chance to fulfill your needs.
    But don't take that as recommendations :) A recommendation would be to really find a shop where you can try a lot of IEMs and spend time there to try to find one that fulfills your expectations.
  5. serman005
    Some more to possibly consider, though I doubt you will like any of them (due to your overall difficulty finding something you can enjoy) :frowning2:: Moondrop Kanas Pro, Campfire Orion, IT01, IT01S, IT03, IT04. Used: Campfire Polaris, Noble Sage, SE846. Lastly, you might also consider the Senns. Maybe one of them would suit you. Some thoughts for you. Best of Luck. Also, not to be insulting in any way, but just curious whether you have tinnitus or any kind of hearing loss? Or if you know.
  6. dwil
    Nope, seems like what I should look at next. I really don't like the one barrel design, I would really prefer something more ergonomic.

    XBA n3 seems well reputed and affordable enough, might check it out next.

    No hearing loss or tinnitus, and I don't usually have this much difficulty picking headphones, just iems. And even that, i feel like I'm capable of EQ'ing the fa7/fh5/md+ into the iem that I want.
    serman005 likes this.

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