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Earphone or IEM buying advice, casual listening, low budget
aztec_mystic
post Apr 30 2013, 10:44
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Looking to get new earphones or IEMs. I will use these for casual listening on my commute which is quite long (75 min one way) so comfort is important. Primarily, I will be listening to electronic music of all sorts (electro, synth pop, industrial, disco, new wave, house, ambient, etc.).

Right now, the playback device is a Nexus One. It will be replaced by a more modern Android smartphone soon but audio quality will only be one factor among many in my purchasing decision. I'm in the EU so my next smartphone will be volume limited to be compliant with regulations. EDIT: secondary playback device is laptop's on-board audio, STAC92xx (Intel HDA).

Budget is EUR 100 max (based on my experience, that corresponds to ~ USD 100 max as electronics is relatively cheaper in the US). I have read some threads here on HA as well as gone through a few links (NwAvGuy, head-fi). People seem to suggest that trying out headphones yourself is important. Unfortunately, I can't personally test a bunch of gear as of right now--I was planning of just ordering something online.

I'm still not really sure what to get. Fwiw, I used Sennheiser MX 470 previously (I lost them). They were okay but not great. Not very high volume on my Nexus One and background noise was an issue. These days, I'm taking my sennheiser HD25-IIs or my beyerdynamic dt 250 on the train ride. I'm happy with the sound of both but they're not portable enough for the longer run.

Any suggestions?

This post has been edited by aztec_mystic: Apr 30 2013, 10:55
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DonP
post Apr 30 2013, 13:03
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I recently got a pair of Memorex IEM's with noise cancelling for US$23. Plenty more NC choices in your price range, and I think worth having for commuter use.

For comfort, they work for me anyway.
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markanini
post Apr 30 2013, 14:24
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Etymotic HR series
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DonP
post Apr 30 2013, 14:54
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For IEM's that you aren't going to try before buying, some things to look for:
Do they come with multiple size seals?

Seal material? IMO latex are the most comfortable and flexible as to size, silicone the most durable, foam the least durable and get less compressable with age.
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andrew_berge
post Apr 30 2013, 14:55
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I have the Shure SE215. They lack a little bit of treble, but they're great otherwise. Amazing isolation.
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Nessuno
post Apr 30 2013, 17:37
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QUOTE (markanini @ Apr 30 2013, 15:24) *
Etymotic HR series

HF series, maybe? wink.gif
Or MC series, cheaper and in your 100€ budget.

I second this advice, expecially if you can't listen to many headphones or don't like the ones you listen: Etymotics are designed to be "neutral" and low distortion, so that it's not too difficult to give them a different sonic signature using a graphic equalizer app.

Edit: and following DonP advice, they come with different size and material tips.

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Apr 30 2013, 17:41


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 30 2013, 18:19
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QUOTE (aztec_mystic @ Apr 30 2013, 05:44) *
Looking to get new earphones or IEMs. I will use these for casual listening on my commute which is quite long (75 min one way) so comfort is important. Primarily, I will be listening to electronic music of all sorts (electro, synth pop, industrial, disco, new wave, house, ambient, etc.).

Right now, the playback device is a Nexus One. It will be replaced by a more modern Android smartphone soon but audio quality will only be one factor among many in my purchasing decision. I'm in the EU so my next smartphone will be volume limited to be compliant with regulations. EDIT: secondary playback device is laptop's on-board audio, STAC92xx (Intel HDA).

Budget is EUR 100 max (based on my experience, that corresponds to ~ USD 100 max as electronics is relatively cheaper in the US). I have read some threads here on HA as well as gone through a few links (NwAvGuy, head-fi). People seem to suggest that trying out headphones yourself is important. Unfortunately, I can't personally test a bunch of gear as of right now--I was planning of just ordering something online.


http://en.goldenears.net/GR_Earphones

More specifically the Sony XBA-2
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aztec_mystic
post Apr 30 2013, 18:28
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QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 30 2013, 14:03) *
I recently got a pair of Memorex IEM's with noise cancelling for US$23. Plenty more NC choices in your price range, and I think worth having for commuter use.

Thus far, I didn't look at NC options at all but will do now. However, Memorex specifically seems a bit hard-to-find around here. Probably won't pull the trigger on Memorex as I might not be able to return them easily.

QUOTE (DonP @ Apr 30 2013, 15:54) *
For IEM's that you aren't going to try before buying, some things to look for:
Do they come with multiple size seals?

Seal material? IMO latex are the most comfortable and flexible as to size, silicone the most durable, foam the least durable and get less compressable with age.

Thanks, will check for those things. I've actually had durability issues with foam in the past so this is something to avoid. As always, HA points me to dimensions of problems I hadn't taken into account.

QUOTE (andrew_berge @ Apr 30 2013, 15:55) *
I have the Shure SE215. They lack a little bit of treble, but they're great otherwise. Amazing isolation.

They're almost too expensive for me. But they do look good and provide multiple-size seals.

QUOTE (Nessuno @ Apr 30 2013, 18:37) *
QUOTE (markanini @ Apr 30 2013, 15:24) *
Etymotic HR series

HF series, maybe? wink.gif

HF series is above budget.

QUOTE
Or MC series, cheaper and in your 100€ budget.

Thanks. If the impedance and sensitivity numbers Etymotic provides in their specs for the mc5 are reliable, then they meet the recommendations by NwAvGuy. They also promise strong noise isolation. Not sure how comfortable they are.

I'm still a bit confused about all the different tip options on IEMs. I might just give the Etymotic MC5 or similar a shot.

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 30 2013, 19:19) *
http://en.goldenears.net/GR_Earphones

More specifically the Sony XBA-2

I can't find a review of the XBA-2 on the review site you mention. But I am considering them. They seam to come with silicone tips in four different sizes which I like. And again, assuming tech specs on impedance and sensitivity are to be trusted, they promise to be sufficiently loud.

This post has been edited by aztec_mystic: Apr 30 2013, 18:29
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markanini
post Apr 30 2013, 18:58
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QUOTE (aztec_mystic @ Apr 30 2013, 19:28) *
HF series is above budget.

Not if you look around.
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