Need recommendations for most neutral/accurate yet musical and enjoyable IEM in sub $1,000 range (going over is okay if it's really worth it)
Jan 31, 2016 at 10:27 PM Post #76 of 87

canali

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  Not yet. I'm a bit worn out from all the researching, purchasing, testing, returning, selling, etc. I did in my last round, and I am not optimistic at all about the possibility of finding a truly neutral/accurate pair of IEM. Some people like to claim that it exists, just like some people like to claim that it exists in full-size headphones too, but usually when I look into those claims, they do not live up to reality, and it's highly doubtful people who claim such things have ever heard a truly accurate/neutral sound system before in their lives (and by that, I mean a high-end professional mastering facility that measures perfectly flat at the listening position from 20Hz to 20KHz, or a home studio equivalent of that). 
 
For now I'm just going to stick to the RE400 with my custom EQ curve. It's cheap and my EQ curve makes it sound really good, and it's also not offensive sounding when not EQed (I can live with it being boring sounding when not EQed far more than I'm willing to live with an IEM that's severely colored).

 
good luck..hopefully some of the more senior members with advanced knowledge of audio (etc) and such will chime in, along with some of the makers of gear on here... you've also made some pretty bold statements, refuting the claims of many audio makers and their supposedly 'neutral' products in the marketplace....so any replies from these parties, or others, could lead to some great discussion, exchange of ideas, etc.  maybe they're using different measures. i don't know
 
popcorn.gif

 
unfortunately for me it's beyond my scope, being a newbie to audio after being away 8 yrs, but it's piqued my interest to research more, nonetheless.
 
Feb 1, 2016 at 4:37 AM Post #77 of 87

castleofargh

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  I just updated the HD650 EQ curve, bringing 8KHz down since it's too prominent compared to the relative amplitude of 6.3KHz and 10KHz. 
 

 
 
Here's the actual setting copied from the .xml file
 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Equalizer PatchFormat="2">
  <Band Mode="Low Shelving" Frequency="44.7744228" Gain="6" Bandwidth="2.44"/>
  <Band Mode="High Shelving" Frequency="14000" Gain="5" Bandwidth="1.92"/>
  <Band Mode="Low Shelving" Frequency="119.132429" Gain="5" Bandwidth="1.82"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="1200" Gain="3" Bandwidth="2.5"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="8000" Gain="-6" Bandwidth="0.25"/>
</Equalizer>


hey, I'm posting here, but maybe I should have stayed on the other topic about how to EQ?
here is my hd650 kind of almost neutral to my ear. it's my "unveiled" hd650 not sure it pleases hd650 lovers as we lose the lush mids, but it sounds to me more neutral.


here is the xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Equalizer PatchFormat="2" GainRange="12 dB" GlobalGain="-4">
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="49.5" Gain="2.47" Bandwidth="0.710555"/>
  <Band Mode="Low Shelving" Frequency="58.3" Gain="2.49" Bandwidth="3.139424"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="195.2" Gain="-1.13" Bandwidth="1.803788"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="1609" Gain="1.88" Bandwidth="1.388484"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="3742" Gain="1.68" Bandwidth="0.604305"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="6064" Gain="4" Bandwidth="0.72831"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="8754" Gain="-2.59" Bandwidth="0.599319"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="12337.6866" Gain="1.6969697" Bandwidth="0.795846"/>
</Equalizer>
 
the suspicious parts is the 50hz bump, that I only add because ... well I like 50hz ^_^. it has nothing to do with sounding neutral or anything. but I guess just the low shelf alone a little stronger would do better if I was looking for better balanced sound.
the other one people will want to tweak it the 6khz one, to sound neutral to my ear I would boost it even more, but then I'm annoyed by sibilance, so somemay want more, some may want no boost at all at that frequency. the trebles are always a trouble because of how easily 2 people can get a different result.
 
I hope it works ok, I copied the values from my other EQ and used an online converter to go from Q factor to bandwidth for easyQ. I hope easyQ is ok with values it didn't decide upon by itself.
 
anyway we have differences, but I find interesting the similarities. we both push the low end, we both have a minimum in the bass at around 200/250hz, we both push at around 1.5khz, and seem both to be annoyed by something in the 8000/9000hz area.
this is from M.R.O's blog, showing the measurements from different websites.

Here's a simple peer-review on EURI's HD650 measurements(Blue/Orange) compared to other simulator data. While the red graph is of GRAS 43AG of Stereophile, the cyan plot is of B&K 4128C of Samsung Electronics. And as expected, Innerfidelity's Head-acoustics HMS.II data (light gray) don't quite add up here somehow.

they all seem to measure a spike close to 10khz, but we both seem to hear something closer to 8khz on our respective models. maybe it's random luck, but I'm curious as to why I don't have a problem at 10khz.
 
 
now your massive boost in the low end, I understand it but don't agree with it. first because there simply is no good way to get the bass of speakers with headphones, even though speakers in practice roll off way before headphones. the body feeling the bass is something unique . secondly, most music has little content below 50hz, so boosting 4 or 10db will still most likely leave it all below what we can hear because of how low it is and because of fletcher munson. so I doubt it has too much actual impact on the music.
 
 
 
PS: I have to say I use crossfeed, so maybe the low end would need a little tweaking, as crossfeed changes the way stuff are perceived, not just with imaging. but I feel like overall it's not too bad even with the EQ alone.
 
Feb 1, 2016 at 3:26 PM Post #78 of 87

Lunatique

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hey, I'm posting here, but maybe I should have stayed on the other topic about how to EQ?
here is my hd650 kind of almost neutral to my ear. it's my "unveiled" hd650 not sure it pleases hd650 lovers as we lose the lush mids, but it sounds to me more neutral.


here is the xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Equalizer PatchFormat="2" GainRange="12 dB" GlobalGain="-4">
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="49.5" Gain="2.47" Bandwidth="0.710555"/>
  <Band Mode="Low Shelving" Frequency="58.3" Gain="2.49" Bandwidth="3.139424"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="195.2" Gain="-1.13" Bandwidth="1.803788"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="1609" Gain="1.88" Bandwidth="1.388484"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="3742" Gain="1.68" Bandwidth="0.604305"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="6064" Gain="4" Bandwidth="0.72831"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="8754" Gain="-2.59" Bandwidth="0.599319"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="12337.6866" Gain="1.6969697" Bandwidth="0.795846"/>
</Equalizer>
 
the suspicious parts is the 50hz bump, that I only add because ... well I like 50hz ^_^. it has nothing to do with sounding neutral or anything. but I guess just the low shelf alone a little stronger would do better if I was looking for better balanced sound.
the other one people will want to tweak it the 6khz one, to sound neutral to my ear I would boost it even more, but then I'm annoyed by sibilance, so somemay want more, some may want no boost at all at that frequency. the trebles are always a trouble because of how easily 2 people can get a different result.
 
I hope it works ok, I copied the values from my other EQ and used an online converter to go from Q factor to bandwidth for easyQ. I hope easyQ is ok with values it didn't decide upon by itself.
 
anyway we have differences, but I find interesting the similarities. we both push the low end, we both have a minimum in the bass at around 200/250hz, we both push at around 1.5khz, and seem both to be annoyed by something in the 8000/9000hz area.
this is from M.R.O's blog, showing the measurements from different websites.

they all seem to measure a spike close to 10khz, but we both seem to hear something closer to 8khz on our respective models. maybe it's random luck, but I'm curious as to why I don't have a problem at 10khz.
 
 
now your massive boost in the low end, I understand it but don't agree with it. first because there simply is no good way to get the bass of speakers with headphones, even though speakers in practice roll off way before headphones. the body feeling the bass is something unique . secondly, most music has little content below 50hz, so boosting 4 or 10db will still most likely leave it all below what we can hear because of how low it is and because of fletcher munson. so I doubt it has too much actual impact on the music.
 
 
 
PS: I have to say I use crossfeed, so maybe the low end would need a little tweaking, as crossfeed changes the way stuff are perceived, not just with imaging. but I feel like overall it's not too bad even with the EQ alone.

 
 
hey, I'm posting here, but maybe I should have stayed on the other topic about how to EQ?
here is my hd650 kind of almost neutral to my ear. it's my "unveiled" hd650 not sure it pleases hd650 lovers as we lose the lush mids, but it sounds to me more neutral.


here is the xml
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Equalizer PatchFormat="2" GainRange="12 dB" GlobalGain="-4">
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="49.5" Gain="2.47" Bandwidth="0.710555"/>
  <Band Mode="Low Shelving" Frequency="58.3" Gain="2.49" Bandwidth="3.139424"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="195.2" Gain="-1.13" Bandwidth="1.803788"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="1609" Gain="1.88" Bandwidth="1.388484"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="3742" Gain="1.68" Bandwidth="0.604305"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="6064" Gain="4" Bandwidth="0.72831"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="8754" Gain="-2.59" Bandwidth="0.599319"/>
  <Band Mode="Peak/Dip" Frequency="12337.6866" Gain="1.6969697" Bandwidth="0.795846"/>
</Equalizer>
 
the suspicious parts is the 50hz bump, that I only add because ... well I like 50hz ^_^. it has nothing to do with sounding neutral or anything. but I guess just the low shelf alone a little stronger would do better if I was looking for better balanced sound.
the other one people will want to tweak it the 6khz one, to sound neutral to my ear I would boost it even more, but then I'm annoyed by sibilance, so somemay want more, some may want no boost at all at that frequency. the trebles are always a trouble because of how easily 2 people can get a different result.
 
I hope it works ok, I copied the values from my other EQ and used an online converter to go from Q factor to bandwidth for easyQ. I hope easyQ is ok with values it didn't decide upon by itself.
 
anyway we have differences, but I find interesting the similarities. we both push the low end, we both have a minimum in the bass at around 200/250hz, we both push at around 1.5khz, and seem both to be annoyed by something in the 8000/9000hz area.
this is from M.R.O's blog, showing the measurements from different websites.

they all seem to measure a spike close to 10khz, but we both seem to hear something closer to 8khz on our respective models. maybe it's random luck, but I'm curious as to why I don't have a problem at 10khz.
 
 
now your massive boost in the low end, I understand it but don't agree with it. first because there simply is no good way to get the bass of speakers with headphones, even though speakers in practice roll off way before headphones. the body feeling the bass is something unique . secondly, most music has little content below 50hz, so boosting 4 or 10db will still most likely leave it all below what we can hear because of how low it is and because of fletcher munson. so I doubt it has too much actual impact on the music.
 
 
 
PS: I have to say I use crossfeed, so maybe the low end would need a little tweaking, as crossfeed changes the way stuff are perceived, not just with imaging. but I feel like overall it's not too bad even with the EQ alone.

Have you tested your EQ curve with the log sweep test tone and the pre-rendered sinewave test tones I posted in the EQ thread? I just did and your EQ curve cause some moderate spikes and dips in the upper-mids. On musical material, it's slightly bright but within tolerance, although prolonged listening will likely become fatiguing, especially with tracks that are mastered on the brighter side. 
 
The dilemma with boosting the sub-bass to make the headphones sound more like full-ranged speakers is one I don't think we currently have a solution for yet. What I did with my EQ curve for the HD650 was to first look at the measurement (from InnerFidelity), then first boost the dips in the sub-bass to flat. Then I boost it to match the Harman Target Response Curve. 
 
As for musical content below 50Hz--have you analyzed a very wide range of musical genres with a spectrum analyzer (like I showed in the EQ thread)? Lots of music have ample content below 50Hz. You hear it in movie and game scores, electronic music (pop, industrial, EDM, IDM, electro, house, techno, etc.), classical, jazz, hip-hop, RnB, and so on. A very simple example is the extremely popular theme music for the original Halo game. It has ample sub-bass energy all the way down to 20Hz right in the intro. Many other film and game scores have a lot going on in the low sub-bass range.
 
Feb 2, 2016 at 12:14 AM Post #79 of 87

castleofargh

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nope not yet. I'm a little bit overrun with stuff to do and devices to test right now, doesn't mean I'm not interested in your topic. I will try ... soon. ^_^
 
but my EQ is indeed a bit bright at some points even for me. but it gave me a feeling of having most instrument better defined, so I left it. but it may very well be a case of brightness mistaken for resolution. there is also the unknown of the crossfeed changing many things. and I need to record both my EQs and try to abx them, it felt to me like easyQ with the values I entered was a little harsher, but again it may be wishful thinking to let me justify paying for the other EQ ^_^. so I will test that and come back when I really know.
 
but don't you feel like there is a need for some boost (maybe not as much as I used) in the 4 to 6khz area compared to your EQ? the 200 to 1500hz helps with that old "veil" idea a little, but it really sounds to me like I also need some boost above that to get a more defined mid.
anyway, I'll be back when I have more than just subjective ideas !!!!
cool.gif
 
 
Feb 2, 2016 at 12:49 AM Post #80 of 87

Lunatique

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  nope not yet. I'm a little bit overrun with stuff to do and devices to test right now, doesn't mean I'm not interested in your topic. I will try ... soon. ^_^
 
but my EQ is indeed a bit bright at some points even for me. but it gave me a feeling of having most instrument better defined, so I left it. but it may very well be a case of brightness mistaken for resolution. there is also the unknown of the crossfeed changing many things. and I need to record both my EQs and try to abx them, it felt to me like easyQ with the values I entered was a little harsher, but again it may be wishful thinking to let me justify paying for the other EQ ^_^. so I will test that and come back when I really know.
 
but don't you feel like there is a need for some boost (maybe not as much as I used) in the 4 to 6khz area compared to your EQ? the 200 to 1500hz helps with that old "veil" idea a little, but it really sounds to me like I also need some boost above that to get a more defined mid.
anyway, I'll be back when I have more than just subjective ideas !!!!
cool.gif
 

Nope, I don't hear any need to boost the 4KHz, unless your HD650 sounds different from mine (is that possible? Has Sennheiser ever changed the HD650 and didn't announce it publicly?). 
 
If you play the pre-rendered sinewave test tones I posted in the EQ thread, going up sequentially near the 4KHz region, you will hear if it needs a boost or not. Unless 4KHz sounds audibly quieter than 3KHz and 5KHz, there's no reason to boost it. If you do it you're just coloring the sound based on your own taste, and whether you feel your taste is informed/refined, or could use some leveling up, is a whole different discussion. 
biggrin.gif
 
 
Feb 5, 2016 at 11:47 AM Post #81 of 87

OMGLadyGaga

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I too am on the lookout for a neutral iem, currently happy with my eq'd hd650 and NAD Viso hp50 for full size but iems are a completely different story. I thought the new pinnacle p1 might be a contender but preliminary impressions have used the magic word: "bright" which has me staying far away from it. The re-400 does lack deep bass which is unfortunate , maybe the Carbo Tenore or Aurisonics Rockets would do the trick. They seem affordable enough, right now I'm using the Pistons 2 with accudio hi fi eq as my iem and it sounds incredible but the lack of isolation is a bummer
 
Apr 10, 2018 at 4:06 PM Post #82 of 87

Lunatique

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I just want to quickly update this thread, because I have finally settled on an IEM I'm happy with, and it's not one of those ultra-expensive ones.

The one I settled on is the Klipsch X6i. It is very reasonably priced ($179) and sounds closest to my ideal without having to spend stupid diminishing returns kind of money. It has no excessive brightness, have enough authoritative bass power but not muddy or bloated, have enough detail and not too dark. It's not perfectly neutral (on the warmer side with slightly emphasized bass, but it's very well within acceptable range that it doesn't bother me at all), but it's the only IEM I've ever heard that doesn't require any EQ to sound satisfying and non-fatiguing. With all the other IEMs I've ever had or tested, every single one of them required EQ to either tame or increase the brightness or bass, and the X6i is the only one I don't apply any EQ to. I can also sleep on my side with them on--they're that comfortable. The only thing I don't like is it's prone to microphonics, but clipping it to your shirt helps a lot.

I highly recommend this IEM to anyone who wants to get satisfying sound that's both neutral enough and fun enough (when it comes to bass), and without having to spend too much money. I honestly prefer the X6i over the other IEMS I've had that cost over a thousand dollars (they all have problems with the upper-mids, sounding too bright in that region). I'm not looking for the last word on stunning detail or soundstage or whatever--I just want an IEM I don't need to EQ and still sound satisfying and neutral, and X6i gives me exactly that.

Thing is, I've accepted the fact that the most amazing aural bliss I can experience is when I use my professional monitoring speakers ans sub (Klein + Hummel O 300Ds and Neumann KH805 sub) in my acoustically treated studio while running IK Multimedia's ARC System 2. I'm never going to achieve the same level of dimensionality with any headphone system, so I'm not going to chase after it by spending silly amount of money (which I've already done in the past). I just need my headphones to be good enough so when I need the privacy, I can have something that's acceptably neutral and satisfying.
 
Nov 18, 2018 at 1:39 AM Post #83 of 87

kirthik

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Screenshot_Foxit_PDF_20181118-121615.png
I've used hd598, having b3 pro 1, gr07, hd 449 with dx90 and e12. I feel like having b3 pro 1 is neutral and very transparent. Am not a bass head and don't care much after 11 khz. B3 pro 1 as I can say is pretty nuetral upto 11 khz with divine mids and accurate bass. I can't still hear good treble details. Unfortunately build quality is very bad and cable and housing keeps breaking no matter what I do. And now nothing satisfies me as they did. So thinking of buying a new Iem with such natural transparent and neutral signature with less than typical but controlled and accurate bass. Any recommendations is much appreciated. (Note : Used b3 pro with custom 7n single Crystal cable which took sound to diff level from stock cable.
Looking at the graphs attached I never felt any dip in 7,8,9 khz region using these infact using other iems only made me feel that am missing something. er4xr seems like a good alternative but I have no idea on how it sounds.
 
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Nov 19, 2018 at 1:08 AM Post #86 of 87

PointyFox

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Campfire Andromeda is much much better than the ER4SR. Get a used one for like $650-$750.
 

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