No ordinary IEM post!
Mar 27, 2022 at 4:58 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

royalshadow

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Hi everyone,

Ok perhaps that was a cheeky title, but I want to ask for opinion on something that affects us all differently.
I’m nearing 50 years old, and consider myself to have good hearing despite lots of abuse over the years. Last year I purchased my first pair of custom IEMs in the UK. At first I loved them, they unlocked the door to better sounding audio, and I don’t mean just the isolation they give. However, as time has gone on, I’ve been really critical of the heavy bass loading, this is even despite the fact I mostly listen to heavy rock!
My music is mainly flac via A&K player.

My question is this. In your opinion, is it worth investing in a reference set of custom/ IEMs to see just what the producer/ engineer intended you to listen to? I hate thinking that the iem manufacturer may have limited this in how their product was made.

And finally, and I know this is subjective, have you noticed a great leap in quality when substantially increasing your budget to buy upgraded IEMs? I’m looking now at spending around 1500GBP which is double what my first ones cost, but I’m aware that double the cost doesn’t necessarily mean double the quality. Looking at both JH audio an 64 audio now.

Thanks for your time
 
Mar 27, 2022 at 8:23 AM Post #2 of 6

mt877

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I'm not going to answer the questions you posed. Are you generally happy with the sound signature of your customs except for some bass bloat? If so, maybe try equalization to tame the bass? Do you have other IEMs, flat-head earbuds (yes, there are high quality "old school" earbuds available) or headphones you can switch to for a while? Switch your head gear for a couple weeks, then revisit your customs and see if the magic you experienced when you first got them returns. Anyway, just some things to think about.
 
Mar 27, 2022 at 12:08 PM Post #3 of 6

royalshadow

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I'm not going to answer the questions you posed. Are you generally happy with the sound signature of your customs except for some bass bloat? If so, maybe try equalization to tame the bass? Do you have other IEMs, flat-head earbuds (yes, there are high quality "old school" earbuds available) or headphones you can switch to for a while? Switch your head gear for a couple weeks, then revisit your customs and see if the magic you experienced when you first got them returns. Anyway, just some things to think about.
This is very sage advice my friend. Yes, I certainly have fall backs, and you are right, you sometimes don’t appreciate what you had until it’s taken away. I’m probably guilty of being unnecessarily critical, and instead of trying to better that lot, I head for another big spend.
The wallet shall stay closed for now at least.
Thankyou 🙏
 
Mar 27, 2022 at 12:57 PM Post #4 of 6

Ohmboy

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Mar 27, 2022 at 2:40 PM Post #5 of 6

mt877

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Just a few thoughts on "reference sound" and "sound as intended to be listened to".

Someone else's reference is not your reference, it can never be. Most references are only guide posts, averages taken from numerous samples to get the most common "reference", whether it be sound or anything else. It is a majority rules thing where you may be in the minority or at the edge. For the majority of people the "reference" fits with a few tweaks here and there. It is like handwriting, the teacher shows you how to write in perfect school script, so you emulate it, only to find later that you have your own penmanship style. Your writing is legible and you have perfect written communication, so you have set your own unique style or "reference" / standard.

As far as "sound as intended to be listened to". Most if not all recorded music meant for purchase / consumption by the general public is mastered by a "Mastering Engineer". This mastering engineer will apply many different audio filters, adjust the volume, pan the instruments, etc., to get a sound which will playback acceptably on many different playback devices and playback environments. Of course the flavor of the mastered sound also depends on when the music was produced / mastered as sound references that the mastering engineers use also change as the times change. So what is the point of this? Well you'll never have the exact same listening environment or for that matter the same trained hearing of the mastering engineer who did the mastering. So left to your own devices you will need to adjust the balance, volume, bass and treble to you own liking for your own listening environment whether it be open air (loud speakers), headphones, IEMs...
 
Mar 31, 2022 at 3:00 AM Post #6 of 6

royalshadow

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Ok, I think that points have been very well made here, and perhaps I was under the illusion that there exists an audio utopia. Also perhaps a bit delusional in thinking that spending money on more expensive gear = greater listening pleasure.
Also, I think that the comments made about “reference” sounds are very true. Whose reference? What if I don’t like that reference? Would I sit and listen to something that I wasn’t enjoying just to say I’m listening to the peak of audiophilia? No, I wouldn’t. Ever.
I would imagine that ears inside and out are as unique as fingerprints, and so if a dozen of us listened to the same music with the same equipment at the same settings, we’d all hear it differently. I think this is where watching too many YouTube videos on audio can lead you down the wrong path, it certainly had me.

I know I’ve been at friend’s houses before and listened to music they were playing, and they had EQ settings all over the place. Now that sounded awful to me, but they loved it that way. I don’t need to please anyone but myself, and I certainly need to be more appreciative.

Thankyou for being honest in your replies. I can almost say categorically that if I spent a lot more money on what I was looking to achieve, then I wouldn’t be any happier (probably less so) than where I am now.
 

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