shotgunshane’s IEM (custom and universal) recommendations, favorites and classics

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. IndecisiveLemur

    IndecisiveLemur Rando

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    Hello all, I'm here from the main Audio Advice thread. I'm looking for a recommendation since there are so many IEMs on the marker right now.

    General Purpose listening. I dip into most music genres
    -Up to 2k Budget
    -Will primarily use it from my phone
    -Want sturdy, decent build quality
    I have had two Periodic Audio Mgs go bad on me in around 8 months total
    I have also had issues with CA Vega (three returns, no driver/significant damage but the black plastic piece kept ungluing from the from the metal shell. I tried the CA comet and it arrived DOA
    (So I'm avoiding these two brands, not saying they're bad at all, I'm just less interested in them due to my experience. All of my other audio gear has lasted fine)
    -https://periodicaudio.com/product/mg/ the sound signature of the PA Mg is one of my favorite out of things I have tried.
    - Something similar with detachable cables could be great! But I'm also very open in what I will consider.
     
  2. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Unfortunately I haven't heard the Periodic Audio models; would love to as I understand there are some worthwhile mods to try.

    Since I'm familiar with Vega, can you say what you like and disliked about the Vega sound and what you'd want to change?
     
  3. IndecisiveLemur

    IndecisiveLemur Rando

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    I like the Vega for the most part but it had slightly too much bass for my liking. Outside of that I liked the sound all around but it didn't wow me. That and all the continuing unglueing issue with my particular pair frustrated me enough to not want other CA IEMS

    (I'm not claiming CA don't make great sounding IEMs) I just had a negative experience there and was looking for other options.

    I like decent bass but I'm not a bass head.
     
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  4. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Some models at all varying price points:

    JVC FD01 for under $400 at Accessory Jack. It’s a single dynamic driver. In stock form the treble is too strident but fellow member here James444 has developed a super simple and reversible mod that turns into fantastic sounding iem. Mod is here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...w-contender-for-best-dd-iem.6500/#post-213883
    Build on the FD01, like most JVC’s, is excellent. That thread has lots of impressions and I think I added mine here in this thread too, if I recall right.

    Unique Melody Martian currently on sale for $500 at Musicteck. The Martian is a hybrid with dual micro-dynamics for bass. It’s actually fairly neutral-warm, which surprises people expecting a basshead iem. The shells are pretty bulky and look fairly pedestrian. Despite bulk, I was able to get a comfortable fit pretty easily. I have a review of the Martian on Cymbacavum.com.

    Dunu DK4001. This is a brand new hybrid and I’m not sure if it’s officially released on the USA just yet but is $900 on Penon Audio. Build is fantastic. The cable looks boutique quality and has a modular plug system for all the various portable balanced connection options. Tuning is not far from a neutral sig but I’d define it as slightly V shaped. I’d recommed picking up Final Type E tips for it. The narrow bore lowers treble presence a little which also gives it the feeling of adding a little extra note weight. I’ll be posting some comparisons with this iem in a few days.

    Lastly is the Campfire Solaris. I know you want to stay away due to your past experiences, but I’d be remiss not to mention such a stupendously good sounding iem. It’s $1500. It looks a little on the blingy side and probably has similar build to all the other CA offerings; I’ve had a great experience with my Andromeda, which is going on almost 3 years old now. My impressions of Solaris can be found in this thread. The sense of space is ridiculous for an iem. It ups the ante on Andromeda with better resolution and separation as well.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  5. Augmentin

    Augmentin Friend

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    It might be a good idea to check out the FAudio Major and Passion. It’s hard to find them outside of HK or Japan, but I had a listen of the Major a few months back during a brief trip to Hong Kong and I found the Major to be quite a relaxing earphone that may be good for all around listening. However, it smooths out details way too much, and thus is not really all that revealing, especially for its price. I have not heard the Passion, but it seems to be a lower priced variant with slightly brighter tuning. The housings are relatively comfortable.
     
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  6. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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  7. IndecisiveLemur

    IndecisiveLemur Rando

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    @shotgunshane
    This is a huge help, thank you!

    In the other thread someone mentioned the IBasso IT-03 and IT-04. Just wondering how you think these two stack up vs the JVC and Unique Melody Martian.

    I am strongly leaning towards the Dunu with the FInal E eartips, but these all look like great options. It's a bit hard to decide. So many good options!

    That said, and I can't believe I'm saying this after my experience with the Vega and Comet, is that your post makes the Solaris look tempting as well... Do you think it's something that would perform well off of a Galaxy Note 8, or would I have to get a better source(DAP/External DAC) to fully get the sense of space and resolution?
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I run the Solaris off my POS dongle from my Pixel 2. Sure, it sounds much better, blacker blacks, more resolving, tighter more articulate from the ZX2, but Pixel 2 does good enough if I don't want to haul a piece of heavy metal around.

    The Campfire stuff has had a tendency to have their nozzles fall out. The thing is, they take care of you. Yeah, it's kind of PIA to ship back and wait, but IME, they have been responsive and quick to send back. (I don't know if your experience was different). In one instance, the IEM was even slightly past the warranty period. Of course, being super nice to people really helps!* Also, other brands can't break too (cracked shells, dead drivers, etc.). I guess what I am saying is don't discount CF, unless they actually took 6 weeks to get back to you on your Vega/Comet.

    *Decision tree: 1) Post on Internet forums how your IEM broke just 2 weeks after the warranty and voice your outrage at the poor quality; 2) Call the manufacturer and explain what happened to see if they can accommodate you (don't bullshit the starving student thing, because the starving student can't or shouldn't afford these things.)
     
  9. IndecisiveLemur

    IndecisiveLemur Rando

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    I had the nozzle fall off my Vega 3 times in around 1 year time overall. I spent around $300 shipping it back and had to wait 2 to 3 weeks each time for a replacement. I'm over on the East Coast which is what I think made it cost more. Some of the cost is on me as well since I sent it priority because it was my main headphones/iem at the time and I wanted them back ASAP.

    Everyone I spoke to at campfire audio was nice and professional. I fully returned it after the 4th time it fell out. I eventually came back to try out the Comet but the one I ordered was DOA which was very frustrating. I returned it and started looking elsewhere even though I like the CA sound.

    Since then I tried Flare Audio iems, the KZ campfire look alikes (these were terrible to me lol), a ton of cheap iems, and finally settled on Periodic Audio Mg but they didn't last and I couldn't replace the cable... Then I decided I needed to get some advice!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  10. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I haven’t heard the IT04 but used to own the IT03. The bass on the IT03 is really good. The signature is a relatively minor V shape. Some complained of thin mids but I didn’t really feel that way. Some just like a lusher, fuller lower mid, which imo can detract from female vocals. The weak point is the treble timbre. It’s not harsh or anything like that, it just has a plasticky timbre. Depending on how important treble is to you, this may or may not matter. I tend to be very critical of treble. For instance, Comet treble is much worse sounding with its metallic timbre. Fit was hit or miss imo. I could get a little fatigue on longer listening sessions but some find the fit very comfortable. All in all it’s a vert good iem and made my list in the first page of this thread. If the IT03 is any indication, iBasso seems to make solid iems.

    Solaris sounds great from my iPhone dongle imo. It’s less picky than Amdromeda on source. Of course it scales with better sources. But I’d be perfectly happy using it on my iPhone. Convenience and broad usability is pretty important to me.

    Regarding the Dunu, I would suggest reading this thread for more impressions and in-depth analysis from tomscy2000: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/dunu-dk-4001-discussion-impressions-thread.888107/
    I hope to have my full impressions and comparisons up here in about a week.
     
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  11. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    Looking for something like Campfire Orion or MDR-EX1000. How do these compare to HD650M or HD800M?
    Problem is I haven't heard a lot of good sounding IEMs really (mostly in 100$ range before)... Currently, my favorite is Shure SE215, because they sound ok to have decent bass and soundstage. Vocals aren't super detailed but have nice timbre. I like the build quality.

    I like punchy bass with realistic soundstage, HD650M size stage would be okey.
     
  12. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    I wouldn't mind if they had more bit than HD650M
     
  13. Augmentin

    Augmentin Friend

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    While I agree that the Dunu is a very nice choice (I am tomscy2000 on that other forum, in the interest of full disclosure) it should be noted that the shells for the DK-4001 are coming from the same factory as the Vega (because there's only one factory in the world that makes Zirconium alloy shells, so even the shells of the Sony IER-Z1R comes from the same factory) so while the Vega is assembled in the US and the Dunu is of course assembled in China, it's entirely possible that you run into the same nozzle falling off issue as the Vega. I've had the 4001 for nearly 8 weeks now, though, and I've had zero issues with respect to build quality. However, someone who did buy the 4001 told me they ran into connectivity issues with the MMCX connector cutting in and out. Honestly it's all a toss up. There are plenty of expensive brands with terrible build quality and plenty of affordable brands with great build quality. It's just too bad you ran into issues with the Vega.
     
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  14. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    @shotgunshane I have stumbled onto a Campfire Audio Atlas for sale here on a local forum. Have you heard this and if so, how would it compare to the Adromeda and PP8 you used to own?
     
  15. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I heard them on tour here with the Comet and didn’t much like either of those. I only posted the briefest of thoughts.

    Both Vega and Atlas have a ton of bass. From memory, Vega’s was tilted more towards sub bass, so it responded to a front tip mod pretty well. A front tip mod reduces bass, particularly deeper bass. A front tip mod with foam tips made Vega pretty decent sounding. I didn’t bother attempting any simple mods on Atlas. They are both hard passes for me and should really only be considered by bassheads imo.
     
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  16. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Most prevalent about those seems that many feel they are bass-heavy, so I would probably not bother. I will probably be better served by a PP8 or Andromeda in this case.
     
  17. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    @shotgunshane If I‘d want to buy a Hybrid IEM that has the mids of the PP8 but with DD bass and better treble extension, which one would you recommend?

    I already heard the Tia Fourte (nice bass, too much treble, somehow hollow mids). A few days back I listened to the new Noble Khan, whose FR reminded me of the PP8 with both switches on, but of course here I heard too recessed mids (although it was a fun signature nicely done - maybe similar to the Solaris, which I haven’t heard yet, but I guess it’s also not for me when considering I want evenly balanced mids without dips - also the treble could be too much for me, because once I heard the Andromeda and it was way too much treble back then - although I know that Solaris has fewer treble sparkle, but maybe even so too much for my liking). Then I also tested the Legend X, which was a bit of a mid bass shock, but apart from that „problem“ it was surprisingly clean sounding. Alas that the bass killed everything else.
    Haven’t heard the new Sony IER-Z1R but from early impressions the mids are the problem, too. Then there are the new Jomo hybrids (quatre I think, or trinity?), but considering I didn’t like the Samba and Flamenco I guess I wouldn’t be really happy with their tuning either.

    The thing is, I love the mids of the PP8 (I know, many prefer meatier mids, like those of the VE8, which I didn’t like either), but most of the DD IEMs seem to have recessed mids. I also tried Xelento, which was ok, but also didn’t trigger the „buy“ button inside my head. So, as said above, the mids of the PP8 are perfect for me, but a rounder DD bass would be great. Also of course a better treble extension because it feels a bit narrow after a while. That’s all. Hahaha. Maybe I should ask the InEar team to build that IEM for me.
     
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  18. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    @Nordpol Anton, haha, I don’t think your described hybrid exists yet, at least from those that I’ve heard. Of course there are many I haven’t heard.

    UM Martian and Dunu DK4001 do not have recessed mids (although the Martian is a little W shaped) but I don’t think they give you any improved treble extension, and the Dunu is a good bit brighter in lower treble than the PP8.

    Solaris probably has the more linear mids but takes a pretty sizable dip in lower treble (4K-7k). I don’t find it’s treble bright at all.

    I don’t think any of these mentioned is what you are looking for. An InEar hybrid is a fantastic idea!
     
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  19. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    Thanks, I will definitely listen to the Martian and the Dunu if I have the chance. And of course the Solaris! And as I‘m contact with the Head of Monitoring guy of InEar I will asap tell him what we want from them to be their next flagship IEM! Maybe, since Marco Rämisch left the company, they don’t really know what to do next anyways (they presented two new versions of the PP8, but with the only variation of making the housing of wood, which shouldn’t alter the sound of BA’s, as well as removing the switches).
     
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  20. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    while not a hybrid, the sd5 retains a goodly amount pp8’s mid with a harder hittting bass and more slightly more intense lower treble yet remaining siblance free. i found its upper mids, like that of the pp8, to be more forward than my own preference but its bass really impressed.

    As for hybrids, Trio is much better balanced with rather more present mids than the Fourte
     
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