New IEM/Closed Headphone Advice
Nov 20, 2019 at 11:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18


New Head-Fier
Nov 20, 2019
Spokane, WA
Trying to decide an upgrade path for my headphones, currently I use Bose QC25 headphones and work at an office where open headphones would be a disturbance to workers around me. I have decided that I want to get the Schiit stack V3 to drive whatever headphones I purchase because they seem to be the best bang for your buck.

Music will be the majority of the listening and is mostly classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles etc.) but I also listen to a fair bit of electronic music mostly melodic dubstep and chillstep from time to time as well as a bit of classical music when I am in the mood.

My question is should I go with something like the DT 1770 Pro or Meze 99 Classics for closed back or should I spend a little more and get something like the Fiio FH7 IEM?

I like a neutral to a little warm and am coming from a Bose set to they run a little bass heavy.

Budget <$500
Nov 21, 2019 at 6:50 AM Post #2 of 18
Personally, I do not like IEMs in the office. That may seem counter to what is ususally most desired - noise isolation. However, the noise isolation with IEMs is complete, so you are embarrassingly disconnected from the office environment. Further, most IEMs are a bit touchy on the ear seal, so you are constantly fiddling with it in-between interruptions. It's also helpful to your office mates when they see a pair of headphones on your ears. IEMs are often hidden, not easily seen by anyone who approaches you, and frustration with you and the other person often results.

IEMs are just not the way to go unless you want to send a message to everyone in your office that you want no interaction with them, JMHO.
Nov 21, 2019 at 12:15 PM Post #4 of 18
Hi @Enginerd19,

Just my two cents,

Here are some head gear you can look at in no particular order :

Neumann NDH 20
Sony MDR 1AM2
Audio Technica MSR 9
Audio Technica MSR 7B
Shure SRH 940
Coolermaster MH 751
Meze 99 Classics (Need Pads change for better comfort)

Custom Art Fibae Black
iBasso IT 04
iBasso IT 03
iBasso IT 01s
iBasso IT 01
Audio Technica E70
Sony IER M7
Periodic Audio C
Meze 12 Classics
Vain Sthlm Originals

The only one I don't have on this list is the MSR 7B but subjectively & personally, it is the same as the original MSR 7 which I do have.

Feel free to ask me more if necessary.

Hope you have a great day !
Nov 21, 2019 at 11:45 PM Post #6 of 18
Do you have any experience with Fiio, is there a reason you didn't comment on any of the ones I have been looking at already?

Sorry @Enginerd19,

If you're asking me this question then yes, I have extensive experience with Fiio.

Honestly, subjectively & personally, while they make decent, highly affordable interconnect cables & some of their head amps (head amps are my thing) aren't bad, there are plenty more out in the world which sound subjectively better, especially for comparable prices.
I also don't like Fiio's sound for various reasons & once again, for the money, both less & more, there are better IEM options as well as amps out there which is why I don't own or ever list Fiio as recommendations.
Also, subjectively & personally, ALL iBasso IEMs have better staging, Imaging, Clarity & Detail, especially in the midrange with good extension and impact in the bass & Highs compared to anything Fiio has.
This is abundantly clear on good qaulity sources, especially with well recorded music, regardless of format.
There are better IEMs, of course but for your budget, at least from a technical standpoint, iBasso is hard to beat though I'm sure there will be others who argue the point just because though I question how many have actually not only demo as much as I have for any length of time & with an extensive range of media, not just music.

Hope this answers your question, feel free to ask more if you need.

Hope you have a great day !
Nov 22, 2019 at 12:43 AM Post #7 of 18

What would you recommend coming from Bose headphones between the ibasso IT03 and IT04, I like a little more bass forward headphone but these will be my first IEM coming from over ear headphones for most of my life? Also any opinions on the Audiosense T800?

Last edited:
Nov 22, 2019 at 5:24 AM Post #8 of 18
Based on your opening post the Meze 99 sounds like a good option for a closed HP. If I am not mistaken Drop is selling them right now for $200.
I've had the Bose QC35 and while it has great noise cancelling I sold it after getting into more serious portable audio.
It just can't keep up, in terms of SQ there's a big difference.

Contrary to tomb's experience I prefer IEMs in the office. I started with AudioQuest Nightowls, and felt akward.

In terms of IEMs, there are soooo many models out there it's really not that easy to decide.
Generally, BA IEMs will have more isolation compared to DD, and tips can make a big difference in sound, comfort and secure fit. So if you get IEMs, you might want to try different tips.

Your reference to the bassy Bose (sounds like you like it) make me think of SONY XBA-N3, also because those are really comfortable IMO.

The Audiosense T800 is getting a lot of hype now, but I'd caution you, they are also said to be a little treble heavy, and Toranku, who's opinion I greatly value, has had some issue with the bass quality.

Maybe check out Crinacle's list at
Excellent reference, and most comprehensive overview I know of.
Even better if you have a chance to go to a shop where you can actually listen to the headphones or IEMs!
Last edited:
Nov 22, 2019 at 10:44 AM Post #9 of 18
Thank you for the suggestions, I have checked out Crinacle's list but like you said there are so many models that it is overwhelming very fast. I have really never had a "great" pair of headphones and am looking to step up my game but don't really know where to start. I have looked at the Ibasso IT03 and IT04 models but there are so many options under $500 that its really hard to choose. Also there is really no place local to try out a nice pair of IEMs so I am relying on reviews and feedback from here to make my decision.
Nov 22, 2019 at 1:55 PM Post #10 of 18
Yes, it is overwhelming and it’s not just about good or bad, but really about what you enjoy.
IMO it depends what type of shopper you are, if you can buy one thing that you know is “very good” and just enjoy it.
Most people here, including me, are on a journey, and enjoying trying new things.

If you belong to the latter group and are looking for an IEM I would reduce the budget to $200 to $300 max, because you can get excellent sound in that price range.

Going by Crinacle’s list and picking the top IEMs around 300 reduces it to:
Sony EX800ST
The Etymotic models
Massdrop Plus
Sony XBA-N3
Tanchjim Oxygen

With the Etymotic you need to consider that they are deep insert IEMs, which I cannot wear because my ear canals are too narrow, but thats personal
The Sony EX800ST is really good but has a weird shape and does not isolate well, its also more detail focused, slightly intense, not the most relaxing
FDX1 is the more fun and relaxing, smooth, more sub bass, smoother highs. Tunable with the 3 tips
XBA-N3 I heard only briefly, has full bass and detailed, sparkly but well controlled treble
Tanchijm Oxygen I also only listened to briefly, I remember it to be a little brighter, more neutral but also smooth and clear

on the cheaper side, you could also look at Moondrop Kanas Pro or KXXS, they are below 200
You can also check used IEMs and sell if you don’t like them.

I’m sorry that my list is so different from @PaganDL, I have only heard the Sony IER-M7 and they kind of paled against the M9, so I have not much to say about them.
...too many options but maybe this was useful.
Last edited:
Nov 22, 2019 at 2:12 PM Post #11 of 18
I am more of a buy one and call it good kind of person as I don't like to keep upgrading but it might be easier to get into the hobby that way. If you were to choose 1 set of IEMs under $500 what would you choose? I just saw a post by DUNU about a sale they are having, are their IEMs any good?
Last edited:
Nov 23, 2019 at 2:00 AM Post #12 of 18
Congratulations to that "buy one call it good" ability! I admire that!
Interesting question...
Based on the IEMs I personally know very well, it would be the JVC FDX1. That one has the advantages that it's mechanically very robust and can be tuned with the 3 included nozzles.
IMO a very safe bet.
Check out this page, the Moondrop and Tachijm are also interesting.

Based on Crinacle's list and my experience with Moondrop, their Blessing would be the next candidate as a slightly more balanced-neutral candidate, the Fearless SF6Rui with a little more V-shape (focus on bass & sparkly highs) and the Sony XBA-N3 as the warmer, bassier one with safe treble.

I have never heard Dunu IEMs, so can't say anything.
Nov 23, 2019 at 11:35 AM Post #13 of 18
Thank you for all of the advice right now my short list is as follows in no particular order;

ibasso IT03
ibasso IT04
Moondrop Blessing
Fearless SF6 Pro
Fearless SF8 Pro
Fearless SF6 Rui

According to Crinacle the best one off this list would be the Fearless SF8 followed by the Moondrop Blessing. Now the last question is what online retailer would you recommend for this purchase, I use Amazon a lot but I know there are specialty retailers for audio gear that might be a better fit?

Thanks again.
Nov 24, 2019 at 11:58 AM Post #14 of 18
Thank you for all of the advice right now my short list is as follows in no particular order;

ibasso IT03
ibasso IT04
Moondrop Blessing
Fearless SF6 Pro
Fearless SF8 Pro
Fearless SF6 Rui

According to Crinacle the best one off this list would be the Fearless SF8 followed by the Moondrop Blessing. Now the last question is what online retailer would you recommend for this purchase, I use Amazon a lot but I know there are specialty retailers for audio gear that might be a better fit?

Thanks again.


Honestly, depends on you & what kind of sound you looking for as aside from budget, is hard to say.

Also, keep in mind, IEMs aside, your source quality & recording quality, regardless of format, will play a signifciant part, synergy wise as well as how long you initially listen to an IEM you're interested in.

I have the IT 03, IT 04 & S6 Pro & they all do different things sonically.

IT 03 & IT 04, as far as the triple BA drivers are concerned, sonically, are more or less the same though IT 04 has better impact & extension in the bass with the 4th dynamic driver intimate staging but simultaneously gives a great sense of space & height.

S6 Pro has a more linear, close to neutral but not necessarily flat tuning as people confuse neutral & flat though I suggest if you are sensitive to highs, S6 Pro is quite piercing unless you use double flange tips, at least in my experience.

Some other options in no particular order are as follows :

CustomArt Fibae Black
iBasso IT 01s
Tipsy Dunmer (Subjectively & personally, better than S6 Pro which is kind of ridiculous given price difference)
Periodic Audio Carbon (5 year warranty gives peace of mind on non detachable cable)

Hope you have a great day !
Nov 24, 2019 at 1:53 PM Post #15 of 18
Thank you @PaganDL and @surfgeorge for the help I think I have narrowed it down to a final 2, I like a little warmer sound and I think both of these from the reviews and advice I have seen are the way to go;

IBasso IT 03
Fearless S6 Rui

I am just waiting for the black Friday sales to see if either will go on sale more than the other.


Users who are viewing this thread