Newbie to IEM's...I just have a general question about them
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Jesse40902

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I know IEM are mostly used for outside use and sound isolation. But how do IEM compares to open/close headphones ?

Do they have a different type of sound? Is the quality not as good or something?
 
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stewtheking

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IEM's are essentially limited by their very nature. Tubes running into the ear canal mean that the sound tends to feel as if it's located inside the head and no further out. The "soundstage" of the music is what suffers most.

Other than that, the sound "quality" (inverted commas, because quality is such a vague term) can be great...

Stew
 
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luckybaer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jesse40902
I know IEM are mostly used for outside use and sound isolation. But how do IEM compares to open/close headphones ?

Do they have a different type of sound? Is the quality not as good or something?



I have Shure E4c, and they have really nice mids - clear and detailed. The bass is nice and tight, but it isn't boomy like my DT 770. The highs are nice, but I think they are rolled off a bit - probably to compensate for the proximity to the ear. If they didn't curb the highs, the E4c might be really fatiguing.

Soundstage is OK. Nothing spectacular, and not wide open like the DT 770. I certainly don't want to be using them for gaming because they don't have the powerful bass and the soundstage isn't wide enough to really help me with sound placement and such.

There are other IEMs that have "more" bass - like the Superfi EB. But, I've heard that you gain bass at the expense of the other parts of the spectrum.

Like regular headphones, there are low-end "IEMs" mid-range, and high-end stuff. Sound quality goes from "that kinda sucks" (Sony EX-71) to "hey, this is pretty nice and detailed" (Shure E4c). However, I think that from a bang for your buck perspective, full-sized cans are more likely to provide more enjoyable sound for most people - especially bassheads and those that like expansive soundstages and detail throughout the sound spectrum.

Also, IEMs (IMHO) get kind of irritating to wear for longer periods and require more maintenance - keeping the buds clean from cerumen, buying new foamies, etc. Of course, I own DT 770 and KSC-75, which are two very, very comfortable headphones, so I may be jaded in the comfort department.
 
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LaBreaHead

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With headphones, you're in the studio with the band. With IEMs, the band is in your head. The tradeoff , of course, is the isolation and portability that IEMs offer.
 
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Lsportline43

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My take is that you should buy IEMs for one reason. That is to listen to music in a loud environment. In such an environment, IEM have NO competition. But if you are interested in enjoying your music in a quiet environment I would suggest full size cans.

I bought the UM2 hoping that they would be the only headphone/IEM that I would need. Then I bought the $20 Koss KSC 75 and everything changed...
I couldn't believe $20 headphones could sound SO much better than $250 IEMs!

After this experience I sold the Westone UM2s and now I am IEM-less. Don't get me wrong I LOVE IEMs. But not for quiet listening. On a bus/train or any loud environment IEMs are AMAZING!
Other than that they serve NO purpose, IMO. (Well maybe for musicans...) I am planning on buying some IEM again, but nothing over $150. Maybe some Westone UM1s...

So basically buy IEM for use in loud environments and use headphones when trying to enjoy music in quiet environments.
 
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Screamager

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Read my thread:

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=166078

I was less than impressed, really expected them to sound great after all the reviews I had read about IEMs. I´m beginning to doubt many of the opinions on this site, this is the second time I buy recomended phones to find that I am very dissapointed, yet the HD280pro which many seem not to like turned out to be great for me.
 
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drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jesse40902
I know IEM are mostly used for outside use and sound isolation. But how do IEM compares to open/close headphones ?

Do they have a different type of sound? Is the quality not as good or something?



Click on my links below in my signature.

Shure has rolloff in the treble (high pirtch sounds are weaker) can be mor epleasing with portables.

Etymotic do not - more revealing and resolving which can bring out harshness in sources/programs with harshness.

I love mine in a car when driving - eliminates ambient road and car noise - as well as for portable use. Illegal in most states but no more dangerous than a good car stereo system played at proper volume levels.
 
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scatteredshadows

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Quote:

Originally Posted by stewtheking
IEM's are essentially limited by their very nature. Tubes running into the ear canal mean that the sound tends to feel as if it's located inside the head and no further out. The "soundstage" of the music is what suffers most.

Other than that, the sound "quality" (inverted commas, because quality is such a vague term) can be great...

Stew



I'm glad I'm reading this thread because many of the IEM recommendations on this site seem to be made without qualification. If you're new to hi-fi portable audio (I have a lot of experience with home systems, but little with portables), it's easy to take a lot of the IEM descriptions at face value.

Of course, being familiar with home systems, I know that placement and spacing can make or break a set up, no matter how good the components are, so it makes sense that something that delivers sound from outside of your ear would sound more natural than sound delivered by something inside.

The distinction you made between the soundstage's impact on ones perception of music and the delivery of accurate (My interpretation of your reference to "quality") sound is key I think.

Isolation is all important to me since I estimate that 80% of my music listening is done while on the go. Much of this is on the El, so even with the volume at maximum on my current headphones, much of the music's detail is drowned out by the racket. Still, I blanche at the idea that I'll have invested $200 and still not get excellent sound quality even with background noise no longer available as an excuse. It's definitely a bit of a relief that you offered that IEM sound quality can still be great, relatively speaking, since I just laid down over $200 for a pair!
 
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Spyro

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Yes, it really depends on your listening environment. Portable, on the go listening, listening while working out, etc is popular so IEM's serve a real purpose.

Keep in mind that if you were to spend $200 on a pair of IEM's the sound quality will be better than what 95% of the general public is using regardless of the type of headphone.
 
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Lsportline43

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Quote:

Originally Posted by unlimitedx
would they fall out while running, etc?


I've never run with IEM, but I would imagine they would stay in place. But I wouldn't suggest running with IEM with car traffic around you.
 
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PeeeMeS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Screamager
Read my thread:

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=166078

I was less than impressed, really expected them to sound great after all the reviews I had read about IEMs. I´m beginning to doubt many of the opinions on this site, this is the second time I buy recomended phones to find that I am very dissapointed, yet the HD280pro which many seem not to like turned out to be great for me.



Yea I find that my experiences differ *wildly* with what other head-fiers find out.
In the end though...
Buying blind and relying on the reviews on this site is not a good idea
At least you found this out through $150 IEMs... imagine if you were me and found this out after buying $900 IEMs
 
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unlimitedx

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lsportline43
I've never run with IEM, but I would imagine they would stay in place. But I wouldn't suggest running with IEM with car traffic around you.


I mean on the treadmill and such, working out.
 
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creyc

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Quote:

Originally Posted by drarthurwells
I love mine in a car when driving - eliminates ambient road and car noise - as well as for portable use. Illegal in most states but no more dangerous than a good car stereo system played at proper volume levels.


Oh dear god, and somehow I predicted this was another FL driver!


No offense meant there mate, but given the horrible driving conditions here with all the snowbirds and grand marquis piloted by fearless grandma who strains to see over the steering wheel: be careful!!


Then again, i use my super.fi's biking...
but thats only dangerous till i get off the streets and hit the trail. Then I'm the largest danger to myself!
 
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Mahoro

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Quote:

Originally Posted by creyc

Then again, i use my super.fi's biking...
but thats only dangerous till i get off the streets and hit the trail. Then I'm the largest danger to myself!



Wow
, listening to music while biking is already dangerous enough , you even wore IEMs w/ you
....you do have a death wish, don't you
 
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