Top 3 Universal IEM's (details in message)
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BTGHeadphones

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Hi head-fiers, finally got around to making an account since this seemed to be a very friendly and informative forum. I was wondering what you guys (personally, solely based on your own experience) find the top 3 Universal IEM's that match my criteria. I am looking for one universal IEM I will be using daily at home and sometimes out and about. (You could just list them 1,2,3 or give a detailed explanation, it really doesn't matter)
 
Home Listening IEM:
-balanced eq or fun (either is fine); in a way I kind of want the best of both worlds, like a balanced eq that is still very fun to listen to and not just cold/excessively analytical
-solid build quality
-very good isolation 
-works with complys/olives
 
Additional Info: My ears are small to medium size, and I use small or medium size ear tips. Triple flanges do not seem to work at all with my ears. I am very used to/very pleased with Comply Foam Tips. (TX400) Budget is not too much of an issue since I will work hard to save up for whatever IEM I choose to get. 
 
The best universal IEM's I have researched in this forum that seem to match these specs I believe is the Westone UM3X. 
 
Thanks in advance and really looking forward to the feedback and comments I recieve. I'm a noob in this forum and audiophile-y stuff so please do leave me suggestions/advice unrelated to my question if you wish. :D
 
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TCD1975

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You'll never get a general consensus on the top 3 universal IEMs, as everyone has different opinions on this forum, but the UM3x is a worthy contender. and it matches your requirements. Balanced armiture IEMs are likely to suit your requirement for isolation better than an IEM with a dynamic driver so you could also consider the Shure SE535 and the Earsonic SM3.
 
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BTGHeadphones

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Yeah, I already expected that. I just wanted to see a variety of people's top 3's and overview it as a collective. Thanks for the input, and I've noticed that the UM3X and some other BA headphones seem to have high impedence. ~50 ohms. Is it likely I would need to invest in an amp as well? 
 
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kiteki

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The [limited] general consensus is that the Sensaphonics J-phonic K2 SP/MX (www.j-phonic.com) is the best universal IEM.
 
Sony EX1000 has climbed very high recently but I don't think it works well with Shure Olives/Complys, and has wind-noise when you're outside.
 
Final Audio offer very exquisite universal IEM's.
 
Those are my top 3 picks, but I liked the Shure SE425 a lot when I demoed it as well.
__________
 
For amp's, I like to recommend the Yulong U100 as a desktop amp.
 
For portable use, 50 ohms isn't an issue in my experience if you have a decent DAP.
 
 
 
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dweaver

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I think you have picked a good one already. If you can live without the Oliver tips you might want to take a long hard look at the VSonic GR07 as I think it will give you the best of both worlds you mentioned. For me I prefer the GR07 over my SM3 by quite a wide margin. From what I have read the GR07 will also be similar to the UM3X but a dynamic based solution. Personally I find them to be extremely comfortable and pretty darn isolating (not as good as my Shures but I am using them with the stock silicone tips versus a foam tip). They seem to offer the best features of a dynamic IEM but have many of the characteristics of a BA phone in regards to detail.
 
The J-Phonic IEM also looks good but I can only go by what I have read. Having said that Clios loved the GR07 and has even higher praise for the J-Phonic saying they are a progressive step up from the GR07 (or something to that effect) so they might have the tip form factor your looking for along with a signature I think you might like.
 
On an aside. I will try one more time tonight to see if I can expand the core of a pair of Olive tips to fit my GR07, if that works I will post back my results as it might allow you to try the GR07 and also use your favorite tip.
 
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LegendaryLvl1

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-balanced eq or fun (either is fine); in a way I kind of want the best of both worlds, like a balanced eq that is still very fun to listen to and not just cold/excessively analytical
-solid build quality
-very good isolation 
-works with complys/olives
 
It is almost impossible to get a general consensus on the 'top 3 IEMS' mainly because no one has had the fortune of purchasing all 3. (at the top tier range, prices vary from $500 - 1.5k+).
 
However, I offer my opinion (take note that it IS subjective) and say that the CK100's are definitely a contender.
They have good isolation (very good in fact), it's built like a tank and the sound signature seems balanced (though many would argue).
 
I have no idea if it works with olives though =<
 
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ZARIM

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Westone 4(very detailed, balanced), Sony EX1000(poor isolation but very detailed yet fun to listen), UM3x(superb instrument separation, imaging, placement, amazingly detailed across the whole frequency spectrum),
 
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Phifer

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Westone 4
J-phonic K2 SP/MX
Maybe Shure SE535 for 3rd.
 
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Poimandres

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Another vote for the Vsonic Gr07. As dweaver I also prefer over any of the other phones that I have owned. I think it would be hard to find a better iem for the money (155 us). Good luck and I am sure that you will enjoy whatever iem you decide to go with.
 
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Chris_Himself

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TF10
UM2/UM3x
SM3
 
 
 
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shureThing

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EX1000 - but they have don't have greater isolation
DBA-02
TF10 - good all rounders
 
Just a few suggestions. Hope your satisfied with your choice.
 
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dweaver

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OK I took a cheap soldering iron and after heating is up and letting it cool a bit I easily passed it through a pair of Shure Olive Tips softening the core. From there I was able to easily expand the tip and fitted it on my GR07 and all I can say is wow. My only complaint about the GR07 was that cymbals were ever so slightly to silvery sounding versus brassy sounding and the Olive Tips changed the signature just that tiny bit. These now have as close to the perfect reproduction of cymbals I have heard. It has also ever so slightly changed the sound stage (this might also just be the difference in seal) making it slightly smaller so I am going to modify another pair of Olives and use a pair of small needle nose pliers to expand the ear side of the tip making it more horn shaped and then fit the tip on the IEM while it's still warm and pliant to see if that helps the sound stage a bit.
 
In any case it's ptretty darn easy (I am a true clutz with a soldering iron and I was able to do this...) to fit Olive Tips on the GR07
 
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AngryBaconGod

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The GR07 kinda fails on the "very good isolation" requirement, being that it's vented.

I would stick to non-vented BA 'phones if isolation is paramount.
 
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kiteki

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Vsonic is vented? I didn't know that, nice to know Shure Olives fit on it.
 
After looking at his requirements again
 
"-balanced eq or fun (either is fine); in a way I kind of want the best of both worlds, like a balanced eq that is still very fun to listen to and not just cold/excessively analytical
-solid build quality
-very good isolation
-works with complys/olives"
 
 
I'll say Shure, Etymotic, Westone, Earsonics or Sensaphonic J-phonic K2.
 
His ideal IEM must be in one of those brands.
 
 
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dweaver

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I found the venting to only affect isolation marginally though and with he Olive tips it's even a bit better. But a solidly closed IEm would give a bit more isolation.

BTW expanding the ear side of a second pair of tips did help the sound stage open back up to the same as the original tips. So now I have very close to the perfect IEM in my opinion.
 
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