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Old 01-31-2009, 01:25   #1
Daeregaol
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Yes A Compilation of Information on High-End Leading IEMs/Canalphones

PLEASE NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT TRIED ANY OF THESE HEADPHONES, I HAVE ONLY COMPILED INFO ON EACH WHICH I HAVE SHOWN BELOW, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR ANYTHING!(unless you so choose )

Hi,

In the past few weeks I have been looking at getting myself a pair of high-end IEMs, but couldn't really find any info about the most popular ones side-by-side. So, I decided to create my own little compilation of info about all five of the leading and most popular IEMs on the market right now.

*Note: I live in Australia so all the prices are in AUD$, sorry if this creates any inconvenience! You could always convert the prices though

Anyway, here it is, hope this helps you guys :

-> Westone 3 (3 BA Drivers)
-> Sennheiser IE8 (1 Dynamic Driver)
-> Shure SE530PTH (3 BA Drivers)
-> Etymotic ER4P (1 BA Driver)
-> UE Triple.FI 10PRO (3 BA Drivers)


Westone 3 - RRP approx. ~AUD$600 (Usually not sold in Australia, can be found on some online stores)
The Westone 3, along with pretty much all of the other popular IEMs named all have Balanced Armature drivers (the W3 has 3), which simply put means that they have a narrower frequency response but can be made much smaller than Dynamic drivers, rely on the seal (made by the sleeves/tip) to produce good sound, and they don't require burn-in! Anyway, they're really popular right now, having just been released around Nov '08, and according to some user reviews, are really comfy with comply tips & and suit pretty much any music. The sound clarity is apparently amazing (has better separation than IE8 + SE530) and unlike the UM1 + UM2 the W3 is designed for personal use rather than on-stage use, ect. The cord is extremely sturdy, it's two wires coated in rubber then braided together, according to Westone, this makes the cord a) more durable b) less likely to tangle c) more comfortable when cord goes over the ear (so basically more comfortable on the skin).

Sennheiser IE8 - CHEAPEST: AUD$378 (Will not include link, 'coz that's mean to Headphonics, was wondering price if you guys got them in?)
The Sennheiser IE8 unlike the rest of the named IEMs, uses a single Dynamic driver, this basically means that it has a wider frequency response at the expense of size, meaning that it is slightly bulky/heavy compared to some other IEMs (let's say Sleek Audio SA6), but size is similar to the named IEMs as they more than one driver in each earpiece, also they need burn-in (apparently 200+ hours)!! These are Sennheiser's flagship IEM model, like other Senn's they sound somewhat darker than other IEMs and after burn-in are also suitable with most music genres. There is a bass tuning knob on the side of each earpiece but apparently doesn't affect the bass that much, after burn-in the bass gets tighter and less boomy and highs and mids sound much better, but treble never really sounds too brilliant. The included tips apparently don't give a really good seal AND the comply tips do not work very well on the IE8s according to some users, a successful and largely used mod can be found here: http://www.ahkang.org/audio/IEM_foam_mod.html This makes a much better seal. Has a very natural sound due to the extremely HUGE soundstage, the cord (REPLACEABLE!!) is kevlar reinforced BUT the plug (L-plug) is silver not gold ;( Sound clarity is apparently not brilliant, but still very good.

Shure SE530PTH - RRP approx. ~AUD$650 w/PTH ~AUD$600 w/o PTH
Uses 3 BA drivers like the W3, and thanks to Marcus they're just a renamed version of the E500. The sound is very consistent, these excel in the mids. The earpieces are smaller than the W3, the Shure Olives seem to be one of the most popular tips used (comfort is apparently great too). Apparently they suit Jazz and Rock best, and I think I like the SE530's accessories the best (except maybe the ER4P). Like the IE8 the sound clarity is not super, but still very good, the soundstage (along with the ER4P) is pretty average compared to W3, IE8 and TF10. Another con with these is the cable is thicker and more stiff than the other models named, and there are cable problems especially when you're wearing them over the ear (the part of the cable which is over-the-ear) as somehow the cable seems to react to your skin and starts cracking...? Anyway, some solutions are to get the Sennheiser Ear-hooks (provided with the IE8 as well some other models) which you can attach to the cord so that your skin touches the rubber hook rather than the actual cord, otherwise (if you don't have a ear-hook) you can regularly clean the cable (okay this may not be true, but since there is hydrochloric acid on our skin, MAYBE *I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS* you could use methylated spirits to clean the cord *PLEASE NOTE AGAIN I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS!!*). Best value for price so far.

Etymotic ER4P - RRP approx. ~AUD$550
Now you may be wondering what the difference between the Ety ER4P and ER4S and ER4B is, the ER4P is exactly the same as the other two, but made for portable devices. The ER4P uses a single BA driver, and is said to be the 'King of Detail' I'm not sure, but some people argue 'for' and some 'against'. The ER4P are probably the most detailed of the named IEMs, and is also the most neutral of the named IEMs, the sound clarity is great (especially the highs) and these are best suited for Classical music. They have a replaceable cord (yay!) and have really good build quality, oh yer, and bass is fairly weak on these. The cable is not designed to go around your ears, not much else to say except that these are the oldest of the named IEMs.

Ultimate Ears Triple.FI 10PRO - RRP approx. ~AUD$615
Wow, long name. Anyway, these are the flagship of UE headphones, :O wow. Do they sound good? No. They sound great. How are the lows? Great. How are the mids? Great. How are the highs? Great. How detailed?? Very. Soundstage? Wide. Build Quality, how's the cable? Replaceable, 'nuff said. Separation? Very good. Okay then, what about your comfort and design, how are they? Sucks. Apparently, of course. Now to stop with the stupid questions and with my info: The TF10's use 3 BA drivers like W3 + SE530, and have amazing sound quality, but like I explained at the beginning of the W3 short info section, BA drivers require excellent seal in your ear canal in order to achieve the best sound-quality possible. Unfortunately, the TF10 is large and bulky, and sticks out ugly-ish from your ear, this also 'helps' in making the seal worse, so in other words, achieving a good seal with these is hard to do, but once you do, they're great! *Sorry all TF10 fans, please don't hurt me..

OKAY...
So now I've shown you the info I've gathered. If you are looking for cheaper alternatives you can always buy them secondhand! ;P

So now I've told you all about them, here's what I would probably recommend:

-> Sennheiser IE8 (Covers all genres of music, and has a humongously WIDE soundstage which is great for movies)
-> Westone 3 (Again covers all genres of music, has better sound quality than IE8 at expense of soundstage, which is still wide)
-> Phonak Audeo PFE (..wait wah??)


Phonak Audeo PFE - RRP approx. ~AUD$200 (NOT SOLD IN AUSTRALIA YET -- Can be bought from overseas vendor)
The Phonak Audeo PFE (Perfect Fit Earphones) are approx. ~AUD$200 and as the name suggests extreme comfort and fit. It is very very new, and before making these IEMs (the first they've ever done) they did hearing aids. The PFE is much cheaper than the other five IEMs that were commonly known as the best you could buy in IEMs, but the new-comer is receiving rave reviews and much warm attention from audiophiles everywhere :O (I sound like a newsman ), and is said to sound better if not just as good (or maybe a little teensie bit worse) as the Westone 3 and Sennheiser IE8, now are they really that good? I have no idea, but everyone seems to say so. Best buy for ~AUD$200, yes.



--END

Hope that helps you peeps,


Will. ^^
__________________
||AUDIO|| Sennheiser MX-W1 | Sony MDR-Q58LW | Sennheiser IE 8 | -------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------- | Cowon Q5W 80GB ||Source|| iPod Nano 3rd Gen. 4GB | ---------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Shure SE530/E500PTH | Westone 3 ||WANTED||
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:12   #2
Muskstick
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Oh thanks, this'll be a big help to people, especially love the australian pricing, so annoying trying to work out the exchange rate for pounds euros and american dollars all the time.

Feel free to do the same for slightly cheaper IEM's as well as most of these are out of my price range Just kidding.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:50   #3
Daeregaol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muskstick View Post
Oh thanks, this'll be a big help to people, especially love the australian pricing, so annoying trying to work out the exchange rate for pounds euros and american dollars all the time.

Feel free to do the same for slightly cheaper IEM's as well as most of these are out of my price range Just kidding.
Thank you! Glad to know my work is being appreciated! Anyway, I GOT MY SENNHEISER IE8'S TODAY!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, they are brilliant, they really grow on you

Please feel free to ask any questions! ^^
__________________
||AUDIO|| Sennheiser MX-W1 | Sony MDR-Q58LW | Sennheiser IE 8 | -------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------- | Cowon Q5W 80GB ||Source|| iPod Nano 3rd Gen. 4GB | ---------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Shure SE530/E500PTH | Westone 3 ||WANTED||
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