IEM's (in-ear-monitors)

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by LucasFur, Jan 10, 2019.

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  1. Jan 10, 2019 #1

    LucasFur

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    Anybody have experience with IEM's? Willing to trade them for a knife?

    I've been looking around, wow there is so much out there.

    Anybody introduce me into the Head-Fi Forum?

    WOW - there are some Japanese guys that are insane Audiophiles.



    Thanks Youtube and Wall Street Journal for forging a new addiction.
     
  2. Jan 11, 2019 #2

    WildBoar

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    IEMs are much more reasonably priced than headphones. Yo can get a nice pair for only $1,500 - $2,000, vs needing to spend #,900 for a decent pair of headphones :D



    Cue Panda :p
     
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  3. Jan 11, 2019 #3

    esoo

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    Take a look at Shure. I've had a couple of pairs - currently SE210. I've found them to be quite good. You could also look at Etymotic and Ultimate Ears. The sky is really the limit, especially when you start considering custom ear moulds .

    I'd could probably consider a trade for SE210, as I haven't used then in quite a while as I switched over to using a set of Sony over ear noise cancelling due to work.
     
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  4. Jan 11, 2019 #4

    JBroida

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    i've gotten into this quite a bit over the years... ultimate ears, 64 audio, lime ears, etc. I use my custom art harmony 8.2's more than anything else currently.
     
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  5. Jan 11, 2019 #5

    refcast

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    superbestaudiofriends is a place. kinda insular, and they don't cover some smaller iem brands, but they have usually have good info. they really like this brand called campfire audio for iems. but they seem to keep improving and coming out with new models every year or two (and the forum says theys is better), so its up to you when to jump in.
     
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  6. Jan 11, 2019 #6

    panda

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    this is one rabbit hole where personal preference comes into play even more than knives.
    these are a good starting point though https://www.bang-olufsen.com/en/earphones/beoplay-h3
    really easy to listen to but most importantly, hella comfortable! my biggest issue with IEM is i cant stand wearing anything in my ears, the bang & olufsen have been least irritating for me. they sound pretty good, not exceptional at any one thing but very workhorsey like a mazaki.
     
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  7. Jan 11, 2019 #7

    ACHiPo

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    Etymotics with custom molded inserts are great. Unfortunately I left mine on a train in China never to be seen again. I miss them. So much better than Bose noise cancellation headphones.
     
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  8. Jan 11, 2019 #8

    ynot1985

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    I use Shure SE525. Wish I can justify customs at double the price minimum. I love the compactness of IEMs.

    It's funny how I noticed that in western countries, people prefer headphones over IEM but in Asia, its completely the other way around due to the lack of space so compactness is a very important factor.
     
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  9. Jan 11, 2019 #9

    ob-gym

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  10. Jan 11, 2019 #10

    DamageInc

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    Get into headphones sure, but steer clear of vinyl. That's a deep pit.
     
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  11. Jan 11, 2019 #11

    ACHiPo

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    Umm, I'm kinda into both. Plus tubes. Oh and watches. Did I mention woodworking, cars, knives?:oops:
     
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  12. Jan 11, 2019 #12

    DamageInc

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    I was into tubes. Got rid of all my tube gear and will only be doing solid state from now on. I got watches too, as well as chairs and lamps and knives. So many deep pits.
     
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  13. Jan 11, 2019 #13

    ACHiPo

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    I loved my custom Etymotics. The biggest issue I had with Etymotics is the wires would go after a couple years of daily gym use and monthly airplane use. Repair/replacement was inexpensive initially, but after a few years it got to be basically a $20 discount from a new pair. I switched to their less expensive unit with Kevlar reinforced wires and they lasted me 2 years before I lost them.

    I think it cost $200 for an audiologist to make a custom mold which included one pair of silicone pieces for the Etymotics. I bought a second pair for ~$100 at the time for musician's (-15dB) ear plugs (I still have those and wish I'd bought a couple more sets just to have).
     
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  14. Jan 11, 2019 #14

    esoo

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    I luckily stayed clear of the most of the IEM craze. During my time when I was cruising Head-Fi, I did end up with a pair of HD650s and my name attached to a few DAC designs....
     
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  15. Jan 11, 2019 #15

    Matus

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    I have also Custom IEMs from TheCustomArt (Jon is responsible for this!) One older pair that is not in production anymore (Music Two) and I expect delivery on their new Fibae Black. I use the at work and in my workshop when wirjiton knives. I need two pairs :)

    Edit: just to clarify. I would not say that CIEMs are the ultimate way to experience recorded music. They can produce fantastic sound though and under certain conditions they can by the only way to listen to music. Not only they offer a very decent passive noise suppression, they are also absolutely inaudible to anyone around you even in a quiet room. And - since they basically do not stick outside of your ears - one can wear a hearing protection on top if them what allows to listen to music while working on a grinder and having the belt running at 30 m/s :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  16. Jan 13, 2019 #16

    minibatataman

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    Once you go down one rabbit hole it's a lot easier/faster to justify falling down another :p
    I share the exact same ones, sadly. Vinyl and audio gear, watches, and knives.
     
  17. Jan 13, 2019 #17

    LucasFur

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    Thanks for the input everybody!

    What sparked my interest was my boss soundsports falling apart after 3-4 years of use at the office. I quickly found out that there are earphones with replaceable cables! Then I learnt about the whole world of Iem.

    I'm really debating about either going to the extreme (buy one and done) or being more modest (buy, try, justify to buy, try etc)

    I'm thinking about going the first one.
    (blue 1 Honyaki style!)

    Right now looking at the insanity:
    Ambient acoustics AM7-LAM
    Earsonics S-EM9

    Crazy:
    Campfire Andromeda or vega

    Nuts:
    Shure se846
    Beyerdynamic Tesla

    Reasonable:
    Isine10
    Audiofly Af140/160


    Also looking to buy off the forums, so kinda researching what's available at the moment there.
     
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  18. Jan 13, 2019 #18

    minibatataman

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    As for the audio, I much prefer headphones over in-ear. I have a pair of B&O H6 and HD6XX.
    But if you really want an IEM, I'd second the B&O H3, or etymotics, or RHA. Not a fan of Shure IEMs, most feel too flat, too accurate. Like panda said, it's very dependant.
    I'd steer clear of Bose. If henckles are the beats of headphones, Bose are the shuns.
    I'll throw in somethting very different, the Monolith M300 (if you don't want to shell out for audeze)
     
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  19. Jan 13, 2019 #19

    minibatataman

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    Good list, campfire makes some of the nicest I've ever seen
     
  20. Jan 13, 2019 #20

    WildBoar

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    For inexpensive, RHA makes some decent stuff. I picked up a pair for my wife a couple years ago because it gave me the heebie jeebies every time I saw her use the CrApple ones. They are a huge improvement, although not close to what I would consider for my own use. But then again she is happy with poorly made mp3s, etc., and I generally avoid those files like the plague as they hurt my brain.
     
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  21. Jan 13, 2019 #21

    Matus

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    If you do want to try IEMs I would strongly recommend to get some of the entry level acrylic CIEMs that will be made to fit your ear. The difference in comfort is considerable. I only have experience with The Custom Art, but there are many other companies. My understanding is that TCA offer a very good price to performance ratio. If you were to go to TCA than I would consider FIBAE 2 for thick bass and very rounded, juicy signature (I have tested them), FIBAE 3 for a more neutrally balanced sound and also FIBAE Black - these I have ordered already (I was on the list to get a demo to test, but they would have arrived too late and I did not want to miss the dicsount) and should have them in about a month.
     
  22. Jan 13, 2019 #22

    kdeleon

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    Just to add on, IEMs can be fantastic. I have custom ones from JH Audio and the sound quality is excellent. The fit feels a little funny at the beginning. But you get quickly used to it. And it is a truly portable solution. There is much less bulk than the over the ear headphones and doesn't need power to be noise canceling. The custom fit blocks out quite a bit of the outside world. I recommend it to anyone. But as noted above, go custom. I had the generic in the ear headphones from Shure and did not like the very much. Given the JH Audio were much more but the fit of custom is a whole different level.

    One thing not mentioned, at the high end for both IEM and over the ear is that the IEM is easier to power. To truly get the benefit on high end over the ear, you usually will need some kind of amp to properly power them (of course there are exceptions).
     
  23. Jan 14, 2019 #23

    LucasFur

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    Yea, well I'm defiantly going for IEM. I want to own a pair first to see what i want before going custom. (I feel its like ordering a custom knife only using a generic stainless)

    I also don't know how I feel about something going that deep in my ear. Im also worried about hearing loss, creating pressures in my ear canal, resonances, IDK.

    I'm meeting up with a guy in toronto off the Head-Fi Forums for a set of Ambient Acoustics AM7-LAM-U's. They have adjustments right on the pieces so I can see what I like, I'll see how they work for me.

    One thing is weird, that whole world really listens to Classic Rock, Rock, Maybe some Jazz. Where im on the opposite spectrum Listening to Ambient, Chill, Lounge, Trance, maybe 90's dance, and some soft Jazz.

    I dont want starting point LOL ... I want ending point ... Blue 1 Honyaki Style ... I cant turn IEM's into another knife/stone addiction. I don't need a 25 earphones... I will regret this post. :p

    Why Steer clear of Bose? - I get the Shun reference, Now i can get a pair for $70Cad, my last pair are hanging on by a thread after 4 years ... not too bad. Anything decent is 2.5x the price.
    Beats are garbage, ive broken so many pair not even funny, luckily Future shop had the replacement program after a year, every 6 months i was back getting another pair. (2 max, then start the process again)
    I guess like a henkles, you use it and within a couple hours its dull, sharpen, dull, sharpen, remove bolster .... use as a beater knife.

    Probably pick up a pair of Audeze Isine in the near future, if I don't like it i can sell them for a loss. I know i want the 2-Pin style to match the AM7-LAM that have the availability for 2 pin.
    I haven't got anything yet, talking like a pro JUST from reading reviews and forums ... Guess I'm like some other people I know LOL.
     
  24. Jan 14, 2019 #24

    panda

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    you cant jump to end game product without knowing your preferences first.. however if i were in market for a high end one (not into customs too much hassle), i would take a hard look at ortofon e-q8 for its clean unforced sound. just know that you need to factor in cost of a dedicated amplifier to go with it, think of it as like having to get a nice cutting board to go along with your honyaki.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  25. Jan 14, 2019 #25

    minibatataman

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    Or stones..
    But +1 to not jumping into the deep end too quickly. If you've only used victorinox knives, youre better off trying out a few mid range items before you commit
     
  26. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:10 AM #26

    LucasFur

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    I guess there is no way of getting into this without buying and trying?
    Gotta try Armature / Dynamic / Hybrid ... Varying amount of drivers ... Cables, Sources, etc. ... its like this knife world.

    We'll see how things pan out.
     
  27. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:15 AM #27

    minibatataman

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    You don't have to go through every time imaginable but they're different to cater to different tastes.
    Some people love the general Sennheiser sound profile, for example, others find them way too dark and veiled (especially the HD650)
    and I personally find the whole cable thing BS, but YMMV.
     
  28. Jan 15, 2019 at 12:17 AM #28

    bennyprofane

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  29. Jan 15, 2019 at 1:27 AM #29

    LucasFur

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    LOL I like the Bose Signature?? Even when we are in restaurants or bars, I say "music sounds great" .... and I then see they are bose Speakers ... this has happened on a number of occasions.

    And yea ... it seems like (After research) .. Cables might only change the resistance of the headset slightly. Giving the illusion of more Highs, when really its just giving more volume.


    I dont know if im ready for this project yet. LOL but thanks ill defiantly go through it.
     
  30. Jan 15, 2019 at 1:40 AM #30

    mille162

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    Home audio is def a bigger hobby for me, knives were a cheaper hobby to distract me from audio upgrades lol! Plus, I can justify multiple knives in the kitchen but it’s really hard to justify multiple speakers in the same room!
    IMG_2395.jpg

    My current IEM’s (and favorites) are Futursonics MG5’s. I will say that its a high cliff you just have to jump off of to get started; unless you go to an audiologist and have your ear mold taken to send away, you’re just using basic ear buds. That perfectly sealed fit and aligned driver in your ear is what makes IEM outperform almost any reasonable priced over the ear (as well as cancel out noise). Ive tried dozens of options and even with swapping out foam or rubber size, those models don’t perform as well as models that are molded to your ear.

    Personally, a “monitor” to me should be neutral and analytical. It should not color the music in anyway and yet still be easy to listen to. I’m very sensitive to metal tweeters so I am really hard to please in any speaker. I ended up with egglestonworks because of the esostar silk dome tweeter they used was the easiest for my ears to listen to. When listening, pay attention to your body. If your ears/shoulders/neck tense up, make a note of what components you were using and start eliminating what you dont like. You should be able to listen to something for 4-6 hours with ease. Read reviews and use that as your starting point only; just cause it looks good on paper doesnt mean its good for you. On paper, berylium tweeters “perform” the best but you couldnt give me a pair of speakers using them!

    Step 1: what is your source? Listening at home on an amp or portable player? If on the go, what player do you have? using a portable amp? File type and size?

    If you’re going to invest in decent IEM’s, you gotta feed it from a decent source! My ipod is for the gym with Monster in ear sport headphones I dont care about and used to drown out the treadmills only. When doing any focused listening I’m using As tell & Kern AK380 with dual DAC, and a connected amp. I have a mix of flac, aflac, and dsd files copied directly over from SACD (the reason for the ak380 was it’s unique ability to store and play dsd files). There are cheaper hi-res portable players but equally important to what you put in your ears is what DAC you’re using. The ak380 is def worth the investment!

    Step 2: what types of speakers do you generally like? What over ear headphones give similar sound? What do you like as far as driver material and technology? Audeze gets amazing reviews, considered an industry standard for performance but I found the electrostatic speaker creating slight pressure in the closed back models (and really, why bother with open back headphones! If you dont mind others in the room listening to your music, just use speakers!), and the presence of a buzz (not an actual hum but that noise floor your can sense when you turn on an average amp/speakers but don’t play anything) Offered a pair of Focal Utopias for $1800 from same AD (retail is $4k), but after a night of auditioning, I confirmed 100% I’ll never be happy with Berylium drivers, no matter what the price. I ended up with Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon’s. In addition to the most comfortable headband system I’ve ever tried on, the bio-cellulose drivers were very easy to listen to and most like the silk domed tweeters in my home speakers I already favored. Needless to say, I know from their headphone demos that I don’t need to waste my time tracking down and auditioning the IEM’s.

    Step 3: start auditioning headphones. Find a good retailer you trust. Bring in your own source material, listen to your music...3-4 songs minimum before switching between models. A good AD will let you take home and return/exchange if not happy after demoing at longer interval at home. It’s worth paying a little more for this level of service and building a long-term relationship. High-end headphones are not common and most shops carry only a small selection from the same brands they already carry speakers from. I’m spoiled because World Wide Stereo is local to me and what they don’t have in-store, they have in their warehouse and will bring in for me to demo. The only top recommended brand I have not tried is Hi-Fi Man. It’s on my list to try in near future, just had other recent priorities.

    Step 4: plan out the rest of your system upgrades. As you listen more, your ears become more trained to pick out nuances. Adjustable impedance on your amp or player to match your headphones, upgraded cabling, better source material (QUALITY source material gets really expensive!) are all things that will let you further enjoy your mobile listening experience. Little things like adding an amp/external DAC to your ipod is a very worthwhile upgrade (Oppo HA-2SE can be had used for ~$200) and is a night and day difference!

    There are many audio forums for more info but take it all with a grain of salt, audio geeks are some of the most closed minded, stubborn and prejudiced hobbyists I’ve ever met. Most of them are loyal to a particular brand no matter what their ears tell them, so no matter what you do, just close your eyes and LISTEN and let your ears decide.


    Oh yea, and when you’re ready for true audio nirvana, let’s start talking about getting you into vinyl
     

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