What are my options for earbuds?
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:46 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

DarkScythe

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Hello everyone,

I'm new here, but I've been recommended to try this place from a friend, and I've spent the past couple days looking up information from these forums.

It's about time I replaced my trusty 3rd gen iPod (with dock connector! gasp!) since it's been about 5 years and the battery can barely hold a 2 hour charge. I've been thinking about getting a new iPod Classic 120GB some time soon.. maybe around Black Friday this week, or some time around Christmas if deals aren't that great.

Anyway, I've never found myself to be too huge of an audiophile since I felt I probably could never tell a difference anyway between a $50 system and a $5000 system - sound is sound, right? I currently use $17 earbuds. Back then I was just looking for a decent cheap pair that wouldn't break the bank and wasn't a huge loss if I lost them or if they got destroyed somehow. So, I ended up with the Sennheiser MX500's. I thought they were fine, and kept replacing them with another set of MX500's when they broke (cables broke.)

Ignorance may be bliss, but unfortunately for me, I happened to try out my friend's PX100's the other day. Now my MX500's sound muddy as hell after hearing the PX100's comparative clarity. I'm wondering if I should try upgrading my pair. I could get the PX100's, but I just don't think I want to walk around with them on all the time. Earbuds feel less intrusive to me, and that's what I prefer, which also means my choices become limited.

I don't want any IEM's or noise cancelling stuff, as I will be walking around town and pretty much everywhere with them, and if I can't hear any noise from my surroundings, I may end up under a truck one day, lol. I would prefer to pay as little as possible, given my track record, but if it's inevitable that I spend more than, say, $50 I would like it to be definitely worthwhile. I would also prefer that there be a volume control in-line so I don't have to whip out my iPod all the time to change volume (which I do when I meet up with friends, or someone asks me a question, etc - turn it down, answer and turn it back up.)

Going by these requirements, it seems the MX660 would be a logical choice, but I don't think it would really be an "upgrade." I can still use my MX500's instead, probably. Unfortunately, this forum didn't have too much information about the sound quality of these buds. What did find was usually recommendations for the Yuin PK/OK series (hellishly expensive for the "2" models) and sometimes the $10 JVC F130 or something. Sound is probably a very subjective thing, so I'll probably need to actually try these out rather than read recommendations, but I would like an idea of where to start.. Buying the OK2's for instance, and disliking them is a huge loss of money, even if I were to re-sell them.

I apologize for the extremely long post, but I tried to provide as many details as I think would be needed. Thanks in advance!

Edit:
I forgot to mention, I will be using these 100% of the time with those little foam pads. I dislike how they don't usually stay in place in my ear without them. I recall reading some people saying that changes the sound somewhat, so if that changes anything, it's there. I think I also forgot to mention what type of music.. lol. I usually listen to J-pop 99% of the time. I do have a couple rock songs strewn about, but I don't really care for huge amounts of bass, as long as it is accurate bass and with clear vocals/instrumentals.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 5:24 AM Post #2 of 14

Gollie

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Most of the equipment that we will recommend on this forum will either offer very good isolation or cost way more than $50.

"Sound is sound" does not hold water here on Head-Fi. With the right system, you will definitely hear the difference in the music/SQ. It might take time to fully grasp and pick out all of the sonic differences that you are hearing but over time you will get there.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 6:13 AM Post #3 of 14

4sound

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The Yuin PK3 is $39 on Head-Direct.com. If thats out of your price range, its difficult to find decent SQ below that for earbud type phones IMO.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 1:52 PM Post #4 of 14

Azathoth

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+1 for Yuin, you can't go wrong with either the PK1 (though you will need an amp to make the most of it), PK2 (what I have, really fun and engaging sound) or PK3 (their budget model).

The SQ on my Yuin PK2 easily blows away any Senn, Sony or JVC earbud i've tried.
biggrin.gif
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 1:53 PM Post #5 of 14

member1982

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humm doesnt Yuins needs amping?
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 1:57 PM Post #6 of 14

DarkScythe

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Thank you for the replies guys.

I am aware of my predicament with wanting a low priced, good sounding pair of earbuds, but I'm not sure what is a 'good' price - I don't want to overpay. Likewise, I'd like anything I buy to be a definitive, or even huge, upgrade from my current pair. Essentially I'd like the PX100's in earbud form, but that may cost a fortune.

I was looking at the PK2 (which is slightly expensive) but I have also read that they have been 'replaced' by the OK2's (even more expensive.. over $100!) and most reports indicate that it is a lot better than the PK2's. Both '2' series are reportedly better than the budget '3' series. So I'm not sure which one to go for.. straight for the top? But that's expensive..

I would like to stay away from the '1' series and anything that requires an amp, as I don't have the money for something like that in addition to this. The only thing powering these earbuds will be a new iPod Classic.

Are there any other suggestions, or are the Yuins pretty much it, for earbuds?

Thanks again.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:13 AM Post #8 of 14

DarkScythe

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Thanks for the tip.

Which ones should I look for, exactly? I tried to look on their web site, but their only 2 "ear buds" that aren't in-ear are over $200 or so. For that, I may as well go for the OK2's lol.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:56 AM Post #10 of 14

member1982

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Judging by the impedance and the sensativity. the OK3 would have no problem running unamped.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 1:58 AM Post #11 of 14

Moocher

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First of all, if I were you, I'd change the battery in the iPod. I did it in mine and it's not too hard. There are a number of sites that sell the batteries and provide the tool you need. It's a cheap fix for a loved iPod. Look at this site: iFixit: iPod, iBook, & PowerBook Parts and Accessories for instance.

The others can and have recommended buds. Not my area.

Mooch
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 3:13 AM Post #12 of 14

DarkScythe

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Thanks for the input guys.

The OK3's seem a bit more expensive than I'm used to, but they're at least under a hundred so far. From what I have read though, the OK2's are still better (judging from the price tag, it had better be!) but I'm not sure by how much. People seem to talk about 'soundstage" but my friend (with the PX100's) seems to say there is no such thing as a soundstage for something as small as earbuds. The OK2's can also be run without an amp, but is it really be worth the more than 2x cost? Also, if the OK3's are supposedly equal to the PK2, then that would rule out the entire PK series entirely, right?

Moocher, I have thought about that quite a number of times. I didn't mention it since it was somewhat irrelevant, but I have already changed the battery in my iPod once already. It was about a year ago, I bought one from J&R in NYC. I tried to follow the instructions, but failed miserably - I couldn't figure out where to stick the screwdriver in to crack open the case, and ended up scuffing it slightly instead. So I decided to have J&R do it for me, which ran me I think around 75-80 bucks total for the battery + service (the latter was $50 IIRC.) Even then, the 3rd Gen iPod battery only got me about 6-7 hours on a fully charged, new battery. I figured buying a new iPod with 36 hours on a battery would be much more cost effective down the line. If I replaced this battery a couple more times, it would've costed more than a new iPod which would have a longer run time.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 2:13 AM Post #13 of 14

DarkScythe

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Hmm, maybe I'll rephrase a bit lol.

Are there any earbuds that sound basically like the PX100's do?
Assuming I do get the OK2's, I don't know how any of them sound in relation to an actual headphone.. all I can gather is something about "soundstage" that I don't really get. I assume it means how close or far away the instruments sound in relation to you, and if so, I'd prefer something where it doesn't sound like it's smashing up the inside of my head.

Also, I haven't read anything about any of these having an in-line volume control. Do any of these "good" ones have it, and if not, is there any way to add one? I'm not sure if it would be make or break, but it is rather convenient in my opinion. Should I even bother with the MX660's?
 
Nov 30, 2008 at 11:03 PM Post #14 of 14

DarkScythe

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Well, I ended up biting the bullet and ordering the OK2/3s and the PK2s from Head-Direct. It doesn't seem like there are any other viable options, and since I can't tell which one to pick, I'll have to listen to all of them and decide which one to keep.

I did end up heading over to a friend's place though, and I've listened to his headphones for a couple hours. All told, I've listened to my MX500's (my reference pair since I'm upgrading off them, hopefully) the Koss KSC-75, Sennheiser PX100, Sennheiser HD580, and the Grado SR225.

Does anyone have any idea where they would rank the Yuins in comparison to these headphones?

I've been told that the SR225 and HD580 are pretty much "complete opposites" of each other, but I didn't really mind both. The only issue I had was the Grados felt a bit more fatiguing than the HD580, but I'm not sure if that's due to its inherent brightness or if I just simply got used to the Sennheiser sound after 6 years of using the MX500.
 

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