Reference IEM question
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blackgreen15

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Could someone please help me with this? What is considered the most neutral, clear, detailed IEM made? I read a little about the Ultimate Ears Reference IEM, and I am very intrigued by that. Everything I like thus far has been more towards the neutral end, but I am very curious to know, is there a particular IEM (custom or universal) that is considered to be the ultimate reference benchmark?
 
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Could someone please help me with this? What is considered the most neutral, clear, detailed IEM made? I read a little about the Ultimate Ears Reference IEM, and I am very intrigued by that. Everything I like thus far has been more towards the neutral end, but I am very curious to know, is there a particular IEM (custom or universal) that is considered to be the ultimate reference benchmark?
(apologies if the following is pedantic or already familiar)

It seems to me that there is no such thing. 'Neutral' encompasses a pretty wide swath of sounds depending on who you ask, and in practical use 'reference' appears to be rather individuated as well (probably especially with IEMs due to the fit/anatomy's effect on their sound).For my ideals, most likely answer I can think of is ER4- not the 'ultimate' 'clear, detailed' iem (though it is clear and detailed),but due to longevity, consistency, ubiquity and relatively moderate cost, probably as close as it gets to a benchmark.
 
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blackgreen15

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(apologies if the following is pedantic or already familiar)

It seems to me that there is no such thing. 'Neutral' encompasses a pretty wide swath of sounds depending on who you ask, and in practical use 'reference' appears to be rather individuated as well (probably especially with IEMs due to the fit/anatomy's effect on their sound). This even shows up among reviewers who have heard a lot of the same gear, they tend to have their own distinct selections for what they most frequentlly make comparisons with.

There are a some "schools of thought" that take shape in ranking threads like Crinacle's grading thread linked above, but these too are ultimately based on one person's taste and methodology or taste in methodology (see also Vitu Fortuna's IEM SCORE CHART, Jelt's Fit For a Bat, Flinkeniks' Ranking the Stars,ShotgunShane's iem thread, ljokerl's ridiculously massive Multi-IEM Review thread/databse, etc....).

I think there are also popularity or history-based "reference cults" that form around particular headphones. The Andromeda seems to fit this bill currently, as the UERM once did (the current version UERR seems to be regarded differently). The ER4 has been around seemingly forever in various forms. I probably belong to the Cult of ex1000 (excommunicated after the reformation, condemned as a disreputable warren of Sony fanboys with knives in their ears).

Another approach is the quasi-objective 'target curve' approach. There are a few IEMs that explicitly strive for frequency responses developed through scientific research- most notably the Diffuse Field, Etymotic and Harman curves. Off the top of my head the Etymotic ER4S/SR based on their research, and AKG recently released the N5005 which supposedly has been developed in conjunction with their parent company Harman's research.

For my ideals, most likely answer I can think of is ER4- not the 'ultimate' 'clear, detailed' iem (though it is clear and detailed),but due to longevity, consistency, and relatively moderate cost, probably as close as it gets to 'universal'.
Thanks, I think I am more the 'clear, detailed' fan. I appreciate whjat you are saying about fit and other things being huge variables!
 
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Raketen

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Edited my post down to try and be more concise, sorry you had to read all that blather :p
 
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Could someone please help me with this? What is considered the most neutral, clear, detailed IEM made? I read a little about the Ultimate Ears Reference IEM, and I am very intrigued by that. Everything I like thus far has been more towards the neutral end, but I am very curious to know, is there a particular IEM (custom or universal) that is considered to be the ultimate reference benchmark?
To me, the absolute reference IEM is the Shure KSE1500. For a budget level, Empire Ears Studio Reference has a very good reference tuning implementation
 
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To me, the absolute reference IEM is the Shure KSE1500. For a budget level, Empire Ears Studio Reference has a very good reference tuning implementation
I've heard the Shure mentioned in a few places, I wouldn't think it's out of the question price-wise. I'd rather have one amazing thing than 3 really good things. Can you comment on Crinnacle's observation that it is bass-boosted?
 
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The default foam tips gives it a more midbass presence than the olives. Nonetheless, it’s not as elevated as the 64-Audio U18 Tzar and Campfire Andromeda to my ears
 
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The default foam tips gives it a more midbass presence than the olives. Nonetheless, it’s not as elevated as the 64-Audio U18 Tzar and Campfire Andromeda to my ears
Thanks, I have Andromedas, so I can relate to that comparison. Definitely need to give this one a listen, thank you.
 
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