Recommend me Neutral IEMs under 130 $
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meurglys0

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I've been using an Earsonics SM3 for a year now and I am very happy with it. A firend of mine is to go into the IEM world with a budget of about 100 $ (130 $ max). He uses a 6th Gen Ipod Classic (un-rockboxable, so no EQ, just crappy presets). We need to get him neutral IEMs. I've used his Ipod with my SM3 and I've seen they don't get along well: SM3 is a bit bassy to use with them; that is without EQ.
 
So I need reccommendations for an IEM that
- provides good isolation (this is his priority)
- needs no amp to sound good
- is Comfortable
- is fairly neutral and transparent, has detailed highs and balanced low end (neither bassy, nor anemic)
- has Good instrumental separation and wide soundstage
- is firmly built
- has no microphonics (suitable for mostly mobile usage)
 
I know all of these qualities are hard to find in an IEM at this price range, but I would like to be able to catch the closest IEM to the described ideal. So I resort to your recommendations.
...
 
I have to mention that Phonak PFE, Clipsch Custom 3, Clipsch Image S4 and RE0 are on my shortlist only because I can purchase them here in Turkey, even though I am not sure if they would fit the above description. But purchasing from abroad is also an option. So apart from your recommendations targeting the description above, if you comment on these models also, I'd really appreciate it. 
 
Thanks in advance...
 
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ZARIM

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The Etymotic HF3, HF5 are highely recommended.
 
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kmhaynes

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PFE and RE0 are very neutral; S4 is far from neutral (boomy bass, sizzling highs); not sure about the Custom 3.
 
Another neutral IEM in that range is the Etymotic MC5 -- built like a tank, whereas RE0 has long-term build quality problems.
 
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Soundshot13

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SoundMagic PL-50 balance armature drivers gives you clear and detailed highs and mids, bass was just right which makes it a very neutral or above neutral sets of monitors their great sounding, very comfortable and cheap makes it a very good choice.. 
 
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sulkoudai

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Stretch the budget a bit and get the Vsonic GR07??
 
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yipcanjo

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Etymotic HF5 (HF3) would definitely fit the bill for "neutral", "needs no amp", "comfortable", "built-well" and "very good isolation".  Soundstage is only so-so, and the microphonics are relatively high unless worn over the ear, which works fine.  Same should be true of the Ety MC5, but the HF5 would sound better.
 
Absolutely NO on the Klipsch S4.  Trust us on this.
 
Stretching your budget to the VSonic GR07 is a great idea, though isolation has been fairly poor for me.  Incredible IEMs otherwise.
 
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arcticears

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X2 on the HF5.  Very good detail, neutral and do not sound bass lite as some people say.
 
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meurglys0

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Thank you all for your replies.
 
Quote:
The Etymotic HF3, HF5 are highely recommended.
 
     Quote:
PFE and RE0 are very neutral; S4 is far from neutral (boomy bass, sizzling highs); not sure about the Custom 3.
 
Another neutral IEM in that range is the Etymotic MC5 -- built like a tank, whereas RE0 has long-term build quality problems.
 
Quote:
Etymotic HF5 (HF3) would definitely fit the bill for "neutral", "needs no amp", "comfortable", "built-well" and "very good isolation".  Soundstage is only so-so, and the microphonics are relatively high unless worn over the ear, which works fine.  Same should be true of the Ety MC5, but the HF5 would sound better.
 
Absolutely NO on the Klipsch S4.  Trust us on this.
 
Stretching your budget to the VSonic GR07 is a great idea, though isolation has been fairly poor for me.  Incredible IEMs otherwise.
 
Quote:
X2 on the HF5.  Very good detail, neutral and do not sound bass lite as some people say.
 
 
I once auditioned Ety er4s and the volume was low and insufficient; does that mean it needs an amp? Anyway I want to be sure that would not happen with the HF5. An Ipod can drive it easily, right? Also that triple flanges are scary. I myself use double flanges with my SM3, but the HF5 with its long body and triple flanges look scary, as if one can never insert it into his ear. Does it need deep insertion? It will be my friend's first IEM, so that concerns me.
 
What's the difference between HF3, HF5 and MC5?
 
   
 
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arcticears

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The HF3 and the HF5 are the same earphone with the HF3 having a mic and push to talk function to be use with iphones while the HF5 does not.  The HF5 is tuned to sound close to the 4s but is easy to drive from an ipod, they will play very loud using the ipod.  As far as the triple flange tips, I had trouble with them to start but are now my tips of choice for my HF5.  I have used SM3 bi-flange tips on my HF5 and they work just fine, I am sure other tips can be used as well, I just have never experimented much with tips and the HF5. 
 
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ronrad

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Quote:
PFE and RE0 are very neutral; S4 is far from neutral (boomy bass, sizzling highs); not sure about the Custom 3.
 
Another neutral IEM in that range is the Etymotic MC5 -- built like a tank, whereas RE0 has long-term build quality problems.


I have compared the MC5 to my HF3 and there is a huge difference.  Since the HF3 / HF5 fit in his budget, I'd totally step it up.
 
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meurglys0

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GR07 seems to have sibilance and isolation problems, from what I've read... HF5 seems to be deep-insertion IEMs. Not that I'm taking these off the list, but are there any other models I could consider? I might go for used EQ-5 for 180 $ if I stretch the budget. What do you think?
 
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sulkoudai

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or the UE 700 which goes for about 150 bucks.
 
and the Brainwavz B2
 
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yipcanjo

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Quote:
GR07 seems to have sibilance and isolation problems, from what I've read... HF5 seems to be deep-insertion IEMs. Not that I'm taking these off the list, but are there any other models I could consider? I might go for used EQ-5 for 180 $ if I stretch the budget. What do you think?

After break-in *AND* with the right ear tips, the GR07's have no sibilance to speak of.  Sony Hybrids are popular (and easy-to-find) ear tip options.  They also isolate fairly well, though not as good as the HF5s.
 
 
 
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imackler

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Send your friend to the Etymotic HF5! Agree w/ above comments.
Perhaps for a wider soundstage go to the Audeo PFE 112. But then you'll have less noise isolation.
 
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