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blownsi

Is it just me or do all IEMs sound inferior?

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I've tried the IE800, RE600, the ER4PT, Triple-Fi, and at least a dozen others.  At the end of the day they all sound just slightly better than something like the stock earpods that come with an iphone.  My most recent purchase was the isine 20 which is not even really an IEM and still they pale in comparison to an over ear $100 phone such as the HD598.  Maybe my ear canals are deformed or something.  Should I try customs? 

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10 hours ago, blownsi said:

I've tried the IE800, RE600, the ER4PT, Triple-Fi, and at least a dozen others.  At the end of the day they all sound just slightly better than something like the stock earpods that come with an iphone.  My most recent purchase was the isine 20 which is not even really an IEM and still they pale in comparison to an over ear $100 phone such as the HD598.  Maybe my ear canals are deformed or something.  Should I try customs? 

Yes.  The good ones should sound more detailed than full-size headphones, and the bass should be outstanding, although that bass will vary with most IEMs due to different eartips.  Maybe customs will solve the eartip issues - don't know.

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10 hours ago, blownsi said:

Maybe my ear canals are deformed or something.

 

Same experience I had and same conclusion I came to (not about your ears, but my own lol).

 

I'm very happy with the HD800S and although the price was/is eye watering, I'm super happy with the sound and the fitting/comfort around my big ears.

 

If you're able to try customs risk free, that would be the next thing. But in all my shopping around, the only guarantee I found was if they didn't fit, they would cover the costs to re-fit until they were right. But I never saw any offers for a full refund if you weren't happy with customs. Definitely ask around though.

 

 

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You probably need tips with better isolation. Good IEMs cannot compete with over ear headphones on soundstage (much smaller drivers, no interaction with pinna), and bass slam (they don't displace that much air), but should be much better in the clarity department than any headphone due to being directly in your ear canal.

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I've been searching for a replacement for my Etymotic ER4P and Cardas 5698 for a while, also.   I got to try a couple different brands at AXPONA again this year, and until you get into the $1-2K range you just don't get there.  The Nobles were some of the best I heard - at $1800!  I have smallish ear canals so the smallest tips were necessary but man did they sound awesome when properly fitted.   Custom fit would be even better.  

 

Search CA and find @The Computer Audiophile 's thread on replacing his IEMs after his were stolen.   Some good recommendations there.  

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On 12/2/2017 at 12:29 PM, Solstice380 said:

I've been searching for a replacement for my Etymotic ER4P and Cardas 5698 for a while, also.   I got to try a couple different brands at AXPONA again this year, and until you get into the $1-2K range you just don't get there.  The Nobles were some of the best I heard - at $1800!  I have smallish ear canals so the smallest tips were necessary but man did they sound awesome when properly fitted.   Custom fit would be even better.  

 

Search CA and find @The Computer Audiophile 's thread on replacing his IEMs after his were stolen.   Some good recommendations there.  

 

Noble Audio have nice discounts on Black Friday and some other occasions. I purchased my Encores for much less than $1800. This year they also bundle Encores or Katanas with free mid-price Savants.

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On 29.11.2017 at 1:35 PM, blownsi said:

Thanks everyone.  I own but have never tried comply tips.  I will give them a try.

 

You should (or perhaps you have already), highly recommended for their price.

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At one point I owned about 12 pairs and 6 more universals 

custom is better for two reasons 

one is far better isolation and this leads to more details and ambiance 

the second is aound chAnges no matter what ear tip you use it effects the aound and far in or out or materials used Also greatly effects the sound both positive and negative. 

Customs give you a consistent fit 

as for bad fittings this does happen both for the mold used and the company doing it. Some makers do a far better job than others. Jerry Harvey is bad lol. 

But many others some posted above are Stella in fit and quality as well.  

As for sound an IEM has parts it does better and parts it does worse it’s just what they are. 

Hesdphones are better in someways and worse in others.  No IEM comes close to hi end speakers and only plAnners sound like good speakers. 

Staging the hd800 is still on top but must be driven well hence the love of the hd800s that to me looses the clarity of the original 

 

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On 12/2/2017 at 5:29 AM, Solstice380 said:

I've been searching for a replacement for my Etymotic ER4P and Cardas 5698 for a while, also.   I got to try a couple different brands at AXPONA again this year, and until you get into the $1-2K range you just don't get there.  The Nobles were some of the best I heard - at $1800!  I have smallish ear canals so the smallest tips were necessary but man did they sound awesome when properly fitted.   Custom fit would be even better.  

 

Search CA and find @The Computer Audiophile 's thread on replacing his IEMs after his were stolen.   Some good recommendations there.  

Noble is a great brand 

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The issue with IEMs is ear canal resonances creating peaks in treble energy.  As others have suggested, the foams are miles ahead of silicone as they prevent reflections that exacerbate the resonances.  Also, once you have foams, experiment with insertion depth.  The closer to the ear canal, the higher up in khz the resonance will occur, which may sound better/worse based on your preferences.  What's worse is that these resonances tend to happen right at the sibilance region and create fatigue.  

 

I have the best results with the large comply foam (authentic).  I've tried many others, and there's just something special about the comply surface that maintains a great seal while limiting reflections.  

 

Having said all of that.  I have yet to find an over ear that avoids the resonances as well as a TOTL IEM fitted with foams.  Over-ears create resonances too, even the open ones.  Even an over ear like the HD600, known for smooth treble, has to be worked on in an eq program before I can get it as smooth and linear sounding in the treble as my JH Angies.  When going to IEMs you give up on width, but boy can you get an amazing FR if you keep at it.  

 

for 45USD you can try the zero audio carbo tenore + 15 more bucks for the foams and you'll know just how good IEMs can sound.

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