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Why am I not satisfied with my IEM's?

  1. Tiop
    Okay so I usually just lurk here but I decided to go ahead and make an account and ask. I don't have much experience in the headphone world but I do consider myself to be very picky about how my music sounds. I'm big on my home theater setup but I've just really never had a set of good IEM's. I've owned countless cheap ones that I couldn't list if I tried, both versions of Monster's beats tour and tour 2.0 (Both gifts) and now the TDK ie800's.
    My favorite of everything I have ever tried? The Apple earpods that came with my iPhone 5s. 
    I hear the difference and clarity in the mids and highs between the earpods and the ie800's, and I love the ie800's for that, but the bass is just not present at all...  with the earpods it's much more present and has better impact to my ears. It's not the seal either, I have multiple sets of tips that I've tried and no combination makes them sound better. I also don't think the beats have much bass either yet everyone claims that the bass is overpowering and they have a signature bass sound blah blah.
    What is wrong? Am I doing something wrong? I would jump to the assumption that I just need IEM's that produce much more bass than other people like, but that doesn't explain why I'm satisfied with my $30 set of ear pods. Am I looking for the wrong thing?
    If anyone is going to suggest IEM's that I take a look at, my budget would be under $200 - but I'm more curious as to why I haven't been satisfied with any of these and always end up just throwing in the earpods. Thanks 
    Also is burn-in real or is it a mental thing? I've had the ie800's for a few days now and have been listening or just running them for 5+ hours a day but it's hard to keep listening to them because my dissatisfaction just keeps increasing. They just sound so hollow without enough low end 
  2. truckdriver
    I had two earphones that came with tips that didn't fit me. I couldn't understand (10 or 11 years ago) what the big deal was about the bass of the UE SuperFi 5 (Extra Bass Edition) with the 13.5mm driver. I didn't hear much bass at all. Years later, I found a tip that fit me (Oh, there's the bass they were talking about).
    I had a similar problem with the IE8 (which came with a large assortment of tips). None of the tips fit me because (like with the SuperFi) the nozzle was too big for my narrow ear canals. I knew I had to find a tip from another vendor as with the SuperFi situation.
    If you don't think the Monster earphones have bass, that's pretty much a sure sign that you're not getting the proper seal. No in-ear will have bass without the proper seal. It would be like removing a side panel from your subwoofer enclosure and expecting the same bass.
  3. Gilly87
    If you want something that sounds similar to the Earpods but better, try the Shure SE215. If you're ever looking at portable on-ears, you might like the PX100-II, too :)
    I don't blame you, though. The earpods sound great for the price.
  4. Kaffeemann
    If you are happy with your earpods just use them and forget everything else.
    Gilly87 likes this.
  5. Gilly87
    Best advice in the history of head-fi.
  6. truckdriver
    Well, yeah it is, if your goal is simply to enjoy your music. But, how will the vendors and marketers eat if you don't get worked up about buying the next great thing?
  7. Tiop
    What's the best way of going about figuring out if I really have a good seal or not then? When I put the earbuds in they most definitely do their job with noise isolation, and they are not loose or move/wiggle at all. When I try them with silicone tips as well sometimes they are so well set that I feel a small amount of suction when I pull them out. Would these things not indicate a proper seal?
    I mean I can definitely hear the bass in all of the ear buds, it's there and it sounds good but there it's just not nearly enough. And as happy as I am with the earpods I just want more. I've always felt like if I'm this satisfied with earpods I can only imagine how good a solid IEM could sound
  8. truckdriver
    I use the triple-flange tips deeply inserted.
    I pulled my earpods out of the case (for the first time ever) and gave them a listen.  The Monster Beats should sound a whole lot more bassy than the earpods.
  9. Tiop
    Okay so I spent way too long messing around with different tips and literally for a few seconds I did hear the bass that I should be hearing this whole time with the beats but it only lasted for a few seconds and I couldn't really get it to come back. I'm sure my problem is getting a seal and I think it has to do with the fact that I have pretty small ears. Any recommendations on getting a better seal with small ears? You said triple flange tips? Are these pretty universal terms? Thanks 
  10. Gilly87
    Disagree completely...got my Tours a few years ago from Best Buy and they somehow sounded warm yet thin, and had really poor bass extension. They were just bad, noticeably worse than the $40 Sonys from RadioShack I was replacing, which I find the Earpods superior to.
  11. xaddictionx
    Try out ATH IM50/70.
  12. H20Fidelity Contributor

    Sometimes (more than usually)  provided tips in IEM packages are not suitable, in theory they're meant to fit and seal (at least one size) though if you ask many people here they often put the stock tips aside immediately and rummage through their tip collection (something you gain many of if you stay here to long). If you're absolutely sure it's a seal problem then start finding some alternatives on eBay to experiment with.

    Here's a starting link: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p4738.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xearphone+tips&_nkw=earphone+tips&_sacat=0&_from=R40

    There's many cheap tips to try so buy $5.00 worth and experiment with them.

    There are other reasons  bass can be absence such as your source effecting low impedance IEM's and causing bass roll off, though if you're confident you heard  bass properly temporarily then I'm leaning towards a seal problem. There's another link I can give you for seal testing.


  13. zabzaf

    I agree with the SE215 suggestion if looking for new IEMs. As you are discovering, with IEMs, it's all about the seal to strengthen the mid and low frequencies. I found that the sleeves found below worked best for me. I know this will sound weird, but I would sometimes moisten the sleeves slightly before inserting. This created a great seal for me.

  14. JackKontney
    +1 on the Sensaphonics Seal Test, Tiop. That's your starting point for an an accurate read on the "is it me or are these things a piece of crap" question.
    It will tell you categorically if you're getting full seal, which is critical for getting ANY decent bass response from balanced armature in-ear devices. (Things are different with dynamics like Apple buds.)
    Everyone's ears are different, and "universal fit" is a marketing term. No more than 70% of IEM buyers are correctly fitted "out of the box." If you're not getting a full seal, different, correctly fitting tips can be a revelatory upgrade.
  15. SomeGuyDude
    I keep seeing people claiming the Earpods have good sound. Are we talking about the same Earpods? As in, these things?
    Under NO circumstances should these have better bass than ANY in-ear phones. If that IS the case, there is some CATASTROPHICALLY wrong with the seal.

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