IEM general discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Almost "Made"

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    Well, I don't remember what I ended up using for the JVCs, as this was a few years ago. I think they were just the same black round silicone tips that I've gotten with multiple pairs of IEMs.

    With the KXXS, I settled on some double flange tips I think I got from a pair of MEElectronics IEMs from back in the day, something cheap and forgettable. Wish I could find more than one of the triple flange... but the doubles have really good isolation and I don't feel they hold the KXXS back at all, very warm and clear and smooth with decent air and space for an IEM. I feel like at first I might have accidentally put on BLON tips? I really mean whatever I was doing was murdering my ears with treble, it was giving me headaches, yet with more than a few other tips, they are some of the smoothest and most unoffensive IEMs I've heard by far.

    With the Aurisonics, I typically use either spinfits or I think the tips that came with the Tin T2. The stock tips sound good but don't fit my ears well, the (I think) T2 tips fit better and are similar in that they're very short and barely protrude from the barrel, however they In all these cases, the tips can significantly change the treble response, shorter = darker and longer = brighter. The bore width also has a big impact, I think the wider the better but don't quote me on that since I don't exactly take notes. I think the Aurisonics are the most sensitive to tip rolling for sure. They are also the best IEMs I own, with a rich, creamy, dreamy mid-range somewhere between LCD2 and HD650, but fit the wrong tips on them and they are just very "meh", and that very dynamic mid-range can be kinda messy and muddy.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  2. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Look at what showed up today! This is the Fitear Titan which, as far as I know, is the only CIEM constructed out of solid titanium. Fitear creates these by building up a rough mold with metal 3d printing, machining out the internal contour and then hand polishing them down to tolerances required for the custom fit. It's so much of a PITA that they discourage people from ordering them, and there's a literal handful of these in existence.

    Sound wise they sound pretty similar to the Fitear Air2 which has the same driver layout (1BA, 2DD's in an active-passive configuration), airy, bright, fast with extraordinary bass density and energy. The Titan takes it up a couple notches by affixing the DD pair directly into the titanium shell itself. It's definitely an acquired taste, although there's method in the madness. The signature actually works surprisingly well with big orchestral pieces.

    These are also the only CIEMs I know of that can't be reshelled. Repairing means putting in fresh drivers, and if the fit doesn't work Suyama and co. will either offer a refund or a universal pair. Fortunately it wasn't an issue for me because I had molds on file with them.

    And now, finally, I'm getting off the CIEM train for good :)
     
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  3. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Wow - those are really cool looking! Kind of looks like chunk of a T1000 that you put in your ears!

    [​IMG]

    What's the $ damage for such a pair of "beautiful yet discouraged" CIEMs? Cheers and enjoy
     
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  4. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    It came out to a hair over $4,000 with the fancy cable bundle that Suyama recommended. I'm a little skeptical about this stuff but I figure if I'm going forward with this, I might as well listen to it in his recommended configuration. It's a lot to pay for any headphone, sure, but I'm hoping to get a lot of action out of these since I travel a lot and often with only CIEMs.

    I ordered them in early November, the initial conversation was that they would try to get them through for Christmas but obviously that didn't happen. Still not the longest wait I've had for customs though.
     
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  5. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    So FitEar sells to customers outside of Japan now?
     
  6. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    No, limited availability in Hong Kong/Shanghai subjected to local residency requirements. I split my time between HK and the US and have a permanent address in HK that fulfills Fitear's requirement. Same deal with my XJE-MH2.
     
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  7. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Current...and hopefully final state of the rotation :)
     
  8. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Total CIEM porn...
     
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  9. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

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    Rock Concert
     
  10. Aelms

    Aelms Acquaintance

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    Swung by e-earphones today to give their demo stations another trial. Used my iPhone 10 with a lightning adapter, tips might not be a good fit and I have to constantly hunch my back towards the display stands so take everything with a grain of salt.

    tl;dr: Campfire Audio's C/2019 Q4 seemed to be perfect portable IEMs for non-dedicated setups and potentially the best trickle down version of the Andromeda.

    Usual chain is phone>Hifi Walker A1, which I prefer over pretty much everything <$100. Usual dealbreakers are uneven instrument/vocal clarity in the same track (would trade lower overall resolution for this), sudden volume spikes (mostly vocals/violins) and channel imbalance. With my chain, I wasn't compelled to mod the A1 as is recommended.

    JVC FD01 I tried once before in similar conditions, and I didn't really get their appeal. Unfortunately, they also didn't impress this time around. Most likely they don't play well with low quality sources since YouTube piano moans and grumbles all over the place. Since everything else sounds problem-less, I do feel that its another case of needing a better source and a chain delivering more and better power.

    FW01 expounded the same issue, but comes with louder (not necessarily more extended) bass.

    Didn't bother trying FD02.

    CFA C/2019 Q4 was the only positive surprise and the reason I bothered posting this at all. Like the Andromeda and unlike FD01, simple YouTube jazz were resolved as well as I can expect a non-dedicated portable setup to; absolutely no deal breakers for me and has some of the Andromeda secret sauce for imaging/speed.

    Comparing directly with the Andro next to it, I wouldn't be surprised if absolute extension/resolution takes a hit when other parts of the chain scales up. The obvious benefits of both over other IEMs were emphasised during complex passages when individual instruments usually tend to melt together. I found when listening to the keyboard solo here ( ), the C/2019 was preferable as granular changes in volume did not factor into my enjoyment.

    At a third of Andro's market price in Japan, I'd love to see more impressions of the C/2019. I've sampled the Vega and other mid-tier options CFA offers and none quite capture the core appeal of the Andro. It's currently marketed as a limited release, but it really should be a staple option within its price range.

    PS. Also tried a full-sized setup with Benchmark DACamp>HE6SE. It was crap with vacuumed mids.

    Edit: Did not occur while writing that this might be a limited edition release within Japan. A quick sweep through the English catalog only shows the IO to be at a similar price range, but the listed specs are significantly different. The C/2019 is a three-way BA at around 96db SPL/mW sensitivity (Andro: five-way/112.8).
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  11. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Almost "Made"

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    Hi everyone. I’d like to take the opportunity afforded by next weekend’s Canjam to try out some IEMs. I’m looking for something that might rival the CA Andromedas. My current IEMs are the Massdrop Plus, which I like very much, but I’m looking for something that has better clarity and detail than the MD+ and that has the lovely texture and engaging quality of the Andros, which I have heard previously and very much like (I’m inclined to go with the Andros but want to make sure I’ve done my due diligence before making a final decision; these are likely to be the last IEMs I'll purchase for many years).

    My question has to do with test-driving IEMs with only an iPhone 7 (playing lossless music files). I don’t have a DAP yet. I understand that some IEMs, like the Andros, can be finicky with output impedance, and for this reason wanted to get the IEMs first. Would any of the following, which I’ve tentatively identified as possible contenders, be particularly badly served by a test with my iPhone and its standard dongle?
    • CA Solaris
    • Empire Ears Vantage, Valkyrie, and Phantom
    • Final Audio FI-BA-SS
    • InEar Prophile 8
    • Meze Rai Penta
    • Noble Audio Tux5
    • Sony IER-M9
    • Westone W60 or W80
    • and QDC Anole XV (if a pair make it to the show, given the current travel restrictions)
    Also, am I missing any “must-hear” IEMs under $1500? Many thanks in advance.
     
  12. waynestractor

    waynestractor Rando

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    I personally think the FiiO FH7 are a must hear. I have them and the CA Andromeda, and after some back to back testing I prefer the FH7. I find them far more comfortable, and very close soundwise with the FH7 edging out the Andromeda in the bass department slightly. I think you may be impressed considering the price point!
     
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  13. dormantsheep

    dormantsheep Rando

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    Don't have an iPhone and dongle to carry out a direct comparison for you, but the Empire Ears Phantom will likely suffer not because of the output impedance (using an iematch on high out of an ECP DSHA-3F at the moment), but rather from compression resultant of a lesser-performing source. For context, I am basing this on a comparison between a Samsung S7 Edge vs Bifrost 2 + DSHA-3F vs WM1A.

    For better or worse, the Phantoms are quite a lot warmer than both the Plus and the Andros, and comes with a rather intimate cubic-sized stage and relaxed treble. A source that doesn't open up the space in the Phantoms will give the impression that the Phantoms are too pillowy in the bass with staging too close for comfort.

    In any event, even if you had a DAP ready to test, big "test and test before you purchase" warning on the Phantoms, especially judging by your preference for the Plus and Andros. A DAP will open up the Phantoms, but its inert traits such as a intimate stage and warmth will not go away. As a person who owns the Phantoms, I would not recommend the Phantoms for a "one and done" IEM purchase, more so if you purchase it custom fitted (which absolutely tanks resale value).

    In respect of the other IEMs on the list, based on my short separate demos with some of them (so take with a grain of salt), in my opinion, the contenders with the Andros will likely be the Solaris, Prophile 8 and IER-M9. All will provide a different flavour from the Andros, but I didn't listen long enough to comment on their detail retrieval viz the Andros. The Westone lineup never wowed me the last time I tried them, especially when compared to the great-performer in the Andros.

    As for "must-hear" IEMs, I would say don't discount the IEMs the Chinese companies have been putting out recently (Fearless, Moondrop, FiiO etc.). Some of their models are great performers at their price points, but as always, as far as possible, try before you decide.

    Hope this helps!
     
  14. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    1. Please don't waste your time on the Phantom. It is just a bad IEM. Especially if you are looking for an IEM with good clarity, this is just not it.

    2. All multi-BA IEMs are going to be susceptible to high OI, unless they use tech like Custom Art's FIBAE tech (Fibae series IEMs only) or, 64Audio's LID tech (not all their models have LID though). That said not all are as prone to skewing of FR like the Andro.

    3. Anole VX is better than the Andro in all non-tonal aspects except the staging. It is better in clarity, depth, layering and separation. The tuning is going to be different and it's going to be a matter of preference, so I'll let you be your own judge about it. Also unlike the Andro which is very sensitive, and prone to hiss, Anole VX is not as sensitive and yet plays very well out of a smartphone. While VX is also prone to high OI of sources, it isn't as worse as the Andro. Even out of the 10 Ohm OI of my Hiby R6, it wasn't far off from its original tuning. So it should play fine on your iPhone. I really think you’ll like this one since you are seeking clarity and texture.

    4. Also consider 64Audio's U12t. This one has the LID technology and is not as sensitive, so no hiss, but plays just fine out of a smartphone. Just like the Anole VX, this is one is superior to the Andro in all non-tonal aspects. But unlike the Anole, U12t is also superior in the staging with a more airier and deeper staging, even though the width is probably in the same ball park. It sounds clearer than the Andro in the mids, but is smoother in the lower-treble than the Andro. So that might come across as dull or boring if you prefer a more lively sounding lower treble.

    5. I haven't tried the Solaris and is high on my must-try list. And I have a feeling I will like it. But Solaris is just like the Andro in terms of hiss and Impedance matching issues. I also hear some people complain about the fit. But since you will have a chance to try it personally, you'll know for yourself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  15. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Thinking of diving into iems, problem is i’m a complete noob... Full size headphones i like are the Focal Clear, HD600 and modded HD650’s so neutral or a bit south really. Source will be an iphone with lightning adapter or maybe a dragonfly or something. No dap because portability is key though if it can scale to one i won’t shun it. Might even be used on my full size rig.

    Anyway, so I’ve been reading etc and it’s all a bit overwhelming tbh. Budget is about 1k give or take but cheaper is of course welcome.

    So far i’ve been considering the Meze Rai penta and the Andromeda’s, I don’t like peaky or bright treble nor obnoxious bass, i want balance and i want it smooth.

    More contenders to consider would be very welcome!
     
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  16. Zhanming057

    Zhanming057 Friend

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    Votes for Anole VX (I have the qdc 8 hifi), the Prophile 8 (and the prophile 10 if they have one), the Solaris and the Tia Trio/Fourte. I think that the VX might actually do the best with an iPhone and give you the most resolution for the buck.

    Although if you want to go there, the KSE1500 seems like the obvious resolution-maximizing option.
     
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  17. animus

    animus Acquaintance

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    Based on your headphone preferences you seem to like at least a slight warmth to your neutral. Consider the IER-M9, or if that’s just a little too V-shaped, the IER-M7. Alternatively, the oft discussed FDX1 is a worthy contender as well. Don’t let the price fool you, I’d argue it performs better than either of the options you listed.
     
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  18. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    @Riotvan the FDX1 could indeedbe a good budget solution for your tastes but not straight out of a phone - at least, not either of mine (S4, S8) there's a metallic sheen that's imparted to the X1s that I haven't heard with other IEMs. Good with Dragonfly black though, I just did a 14 hour flight and that that combo in my ears (with the 'middle' tonality tips) for pretty much all of it & no listening fatigue or discomfort.

    Would probably work even better with the ifi nano black (you said no DAPs, but this has a smaller footprint than a phone), and they do scale nicely with my Vali 2 and MCTH.
     
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  19. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Sony IER-M9 should be a good fit for you and in your budget. I personally never heard of it, but @SoupRKnowva and @netforce have and they raved it. Bass is tilted in it's favor but neutral as you go up.

    Edit: I second the M9.
     
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  20. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys!

    Unfortunately I'm EU based and the Sony's are nowhere to be found, maybe they are too new?
    As for the ones from drop that is also tricky since they closed their EU shop...

    Not going to buy overseas it's too much hassle with warranty etc.
    Been thinking though why not save up a bit more and go for the inEar prophile-8? Seems to tick all the boxes and it's not blingy which is a plus. Also cheaper here by about €150.
     

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