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

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

  1. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    So I want to try out some JVC Spiral Dots. I normally use the CA Compy Mediums on my IEMs. Which size from JVC I should hunt down? Any good stores to get on Amazon?
     
  2. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Hard to say for sure but here would be my recommendations:
    Spiral Dots M
    Spiral Dots+ ML

    For medium depth:
    The + version is softer and mold more to your ear canal, so the ML works good for me. But the regular are a little stiffer, so regular M works better in that case.

    I’ve never tried the Spiral Dot++
     
  3. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    @shotgunshane appears to like the $270 Tanchjim Oxygen and @james444 likes to reversibly mod budget-priced single DDs to sound better. I can offer the best of both worlds: a $40 single DD that was tuned by the Oxygen's tuner. Both sport the same DLC dynamic driver: introducing the Blon BL-03 (Blon stands for "Believe, Let the music burn, Opportunity, Never give up").

    OOTB, they sound bottomless: the nozzles are too short (even for Asian ears I was told) so that there is no sub-bass, be it with the included tips or any other third-party ones I tried. I had some luck with fat dual-flanges: yep, principally worked but made the sound somewhat tuby. One guy "extended" the nozzles by adding a keyboard dampening o-ring at the back-end of the nozzle and then used an Azla SednaEarfit silicone tip above it to get a full sound. My issue: didn't have Azlas or o-rings. Hence I cut my own rings from the inner tube of an "old" eartip and created a long, fat eartip by inverting a starline tip (which you can buy by the bucket on ebay).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What does it sound like: somewhere between Harman target and diffuse-field neutral (but closer to Harman). Tonal balance and accuracy are incredible and so are the technicalities (realistic dynamics, authentic stage). I got addicted to listening to Beethoven octets/nonets, Brahms symphonies, and Dudamel's latest John Williams recordings...as it feels like being in the concert hall. The Blons are not treble forward as the modded HifiWalker A1, and they don't have the elevated upper midrange of the modded Blitzwolf ES1. The Blons also sound better (more balanced) than the $180 Moondrop Kanas Pro to my ears. Can't say much about pop/rock music yet but am blown away by the Blons' authentic reproduction of orchestral music.

    Trying to organize some Azla tips, which apparently are only available in Asia. In the meantime, here's how I inverted the Starline tips to make them longer and fatter.

    TOOLS NEEDED
    [​IMG]

    PROCEDURE
    [​IMG]
    Stick eartip on a nail or screw like this. Make sure the head it wider than the bore.

    [​IMG]
    Pull the umbrella over the nail's head...then pull the nail carefully through the bore (=to the left).

    [​IMG]
    Looks like this now.

    [​IMG]
    Stick the inverted eartip onto that squarehead screwdriver (or similar).

    [​IMG]
    Pull the canopy over the bore to the left and then pull the ready inverted eartip off the screwdriver.

    RESULT
    [​IMG]

    Original Starlines on the left and the longer and fatter inverted ones on the right.

    This process, as invented by "Slater" will be receive his full treatment on the audioreviews blog soon.

    Conclusion: Voila, we may have a ? $200 plus earphone at $40.





     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  4. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    You can get Azla eartips from Amazon Japan via swift and inexpensive AmazonGlobal international shipping. I just bought some Azla SednaEarfit Light tips along with the 2-pin adapter for my Fostex TM2. They are very good quality.

    I'll probably give the Blons a try later this year. Currently swamped with other things, but thanks for the modding suggestion!
     
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  5. Augmentin

    Augmentin MOT - DUNU IEM Company

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    Second the AZLA SednaEarfit Light --- they're great

    They're secure, seal well, and usually don't affect sound much compared to ideal tips (usually ends up with a very slightly thinner brighter coloration compared to optimal sound with other tips)
     
  6. Brause

    Brause Acquaintance

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    Thanks. I swindled myself into some Azla review units, unintentionally. After inquiring on their website where to buy, they saw my blog and asked me for reviewing their eartips. I am frankly excited: they receive good reviews and obviously have a huge (market) potential in Europe and the Americas. And they are currently sold out...new production coming in at the end of the week.

    Similar story with Spinfits: I inquired about the authenticity of mine as the didn't spin (they swivel, but I had pulled the rubber too far down on my Etys...said the actress to the bishop). The guys also saw the blog and...same result.

    Rest assured, these reviews will be entertaining...I already wonder how to correlate the sound changes with the taste of these things.

    And I purchased some JVC Spiral Dots: in the case of the TRN V90, and replacing similarly shaped tips with the Spirals, the latter add air and depth...the equivalent of opening your windows at home. Intriguing. Finally, I also bought some Ostry's, which are still packaged.

    Last but not least, I was pointed to a premium earphone shop/manufacturer around my corner: has anybody ever heard of plungeaudio.com in Calgary? May have to cycle there.
     
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  7. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Have we reached peak IEM? This place is dead and a few glances at HF don't turn up anything exciting either.

    The most exciting IEMs coming out recently seems to be a modded version of 2 year old IEMs.
     
  8. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Good gear doesn't turn into shit because new stuff came out.
     
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  9. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    That wasn't my claim. I'm just pointing out that it seems a while since there's been anything new and exciting IEM wise (the most exciting thing isn't even new.)
     
  10. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    I'm pretty sure dipping into the Asian portable audio market would reveal a huge stream of incoming products. Question is whether one is willing to pay in the thousands for new stuff, cause that market doesn't seem like it wants to trickle down any time soon.
     
  11. Yerim

    Yerim Acquaintance

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    I say yes, the market is too saturated with IEMs specially with the flooding from Chinese companies. Also everyone seems to want to dip their toes on TWS.

    I just don't find any excitement anymore on the new portable products with the ridiculous prices and all.
     
  12. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    TWS is getfing more and more popular so the biggest focud is, naturally, that.
     
  13. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    I feel like we could use a dedicated TWS thread. With a first post of recs from @shotgunshane and @james444
     
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  14. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Is that a distinct category from IEM? It's just an IEM without a cable, right? I would think anything with TWS that was competitive SQ wise would be posted here or in the IEM subforum at HF.
     
  15. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    The two hot trends right now are TWS and piezo tweeter triple hybrids.

    Yeah, dynamic, armature and piezo tweeters. Consider me not interested In a rainbow of tech hybrid combinations in one unit.

    TWS on the other hand interests me greatly. I haven’t had the expendable cash lately to try very many but have some pretty strong preferences based on my personal use case, which may be different from others. Mainly I’m not very interested in armature based TWS. I prefer a vented dynamic driver for reduction in footfalls (plus the improved timbre and openness). However that venting is a trade off of isolation, which might be more important to others.
     
  16. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Acquaintance

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    As someone with little experience but lots of time spent reading – thank you for this thread and for all your recommendations, @shotgunshane – perhaps there are a couple of contributing factors at play, beyond TWS. I wonder if one of them has something to do with advances in driver technology. Some innovations, such as planar or piezo IEMs, have either not worked all that well or have been eye-wateringly expensive. (I’d be interested to see what people think of the oBravo Cupid). Meanwhile, only a few hybrids have been widely praised, and to judge from its popularity here and elsewhere, the Solaris has set a high standard for what hybrids can achieve, especially at its price. Does anything come close? I see there’s a new Noble hybrid at $1,299 (the Tux 5). But I’d rather that people on the street or subway not look at me and mistake me for gandalf.

    A second factor, I suspect, is that the market seems to be well covered with excellent IEMs at various meaningful price points. There’s no shortage of decent budget offerings, of course, and the Massdrop Plus and now the Drop/JVC HA FDX1/FD01, among others, cover the $300 range nicely. If you want to upgrade, is there anything worthwhile until you get to the Andromeda? There aren’t many IEMs in the $300-$1100 range, to judge from this thread’s first post. I wonder – if like full-sized headphones such as the Elegia, LCD2C, Aeon, and others – there are opportunities for new releases in this range. And as someone late to the party who has been saving up assiduously for it, has anything else come along that rivals the Andromeda? According to early descriptions of its sound, the Meze Audio Rai Penta seems to have a very different tuning. Am I missing any other offerings?
     
  17. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    For a while it seemed every time I checked HF for new products 8 or 9 out of 10 were IEMs. The flood seems to have slowed down now but prices are getting crazy expensive.

    I would not spend over $1500 on a custom IEM on general principles, others may feel different. For my use case where a decent head stage and 26 dB isolation are important the Decas are more than adequate for me. Actually I might have been as happy saving $500 and just going with Mike's AR6 customs. I also like the sound of balanced armatures.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  18. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Totally agree on not shelling out big money for a CIEM. My first heavy-hitter IEMs were customs (Noble K10s) and while I loved them for a while, my tastes evolved (partially based on exposure) and then I was stuck with something that was very difficult to sell. I now stick almost exclusively with universals. Not only can you sell them if you need to, you can also trial them in their actual use case. The universal versions of CIEMs I've tried were only moderate estimates of what the actual CIEM would sound like due to differences in insertion depth, fit, etc. Finally, taking CIEMs out a lot can be painful. On a plane if you need to talk to the flight attendant or such and need to pop them in and out it can irritate your ears and then the swelling can change the fit and comfort. Cheers
     
  19. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    I understand your point but I think most people who are in the market for TWS are looking for that only and it's not going to be a case of coming down to, say, the Melomania vs. the Noble X or whatever.
    I think it's also a bit difficult to search the thread for only wireless. At the very least it would be great if we could compile a section of wireless recs section At the beginning of this thread. I wish I were qualified to do as much because I hate to ask people here to do more work. Just throwing thoughts out there.
     
  20. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    My wife's colleague asked me for TWS recommendations just yesterday, because she bought a Note 10 that has no headphone butthole. So I had to quickly scour the wasteland that is my organic memory bank for what I've read here to come up with some suggestions. I also think a TWS index at the beginning of the thread as @DigMe suggests would be a great reference. Not sure a separate thread is warranted as there are overlaps in use cases such as BT earhooks that will turn any MMCX/2-pin IEM into TWS IEMs.
    Same goes for me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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