Disillusioned

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by krismusic, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. krismusic

    krismusic Member

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    Hi. I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I have lived with a pair of IE8's for several years and finally became exasperated with their very coloured sound.
    I then bought a pair of ACST15's. On their own I find them rather "dry" or thin. With a Digizoid bass enhancer they sound great. But I am back to a coloured sound.
    I am now seriously thinking of going for broke and buying a pair of Earsonics SM64's.
    I did briefly hear these when I came to Hi Fi Headphones with a friend for a demo.
    For the price I would hope that the 64's are something pretty special.
    My thread is titled disillusioned as that is what I am becoming with higher end IEM's.
    I understand that nothing is perfect and compromises are made when creating the headphones but I am very surprised by the rather extreme nature of these compromises.
    It is as if the designer expects us to accept some pretty terrible shortcomings in exchange for high performance in a particular area.
    Are the Earsonics likely to be another "Marmite" experience?
    Is it too much to ask that a pair of headphones at this price point has no obvious flaws?
    Sorry for the long post. I have bought all my headphones from you and will continue to do so. Unless I decide to give up and start collecting thimbles or something!
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I've had 2 IEMs that cost around £1000 and £900, and also a couple that were about £100 to £150. Unlike headphones, the differences in these IEMs were subtle. But that's just talking about the sound quality differences as I understand them. On the other hand, the signatures or frequency response in terms of 'flat' or 'neutral' or 'warm' and all of that, those were all over the place.

    So whether it's because our ear canal shapes are so much different and our ear pinnae are very different, and IEM's bypass much of that to put the sound directly in instead of filtering the sound that comes from outside like speakers and headphones - maybe that has something to do with it, but I don't know.

    If you're pretty sure you know what the IEM is supposed to sound like ideally, then my advice is to get a good flexible equalizer and don't overdo it - just EQ the most obvious irritations and leave the rest alone.

    Some of the IEMs I've had did sound a little thin, but I suspected that mostly that was due to not getting a perfect eartip seal. I think the most important thing with IEMs is the physical aspect, because they're very intimate to your auditory system. Once you find the perfect fit in a premium quality IEM, see if you can make a simple EQ for it.

    What are your thoughts on that?
     
  3. krismusic

    krismusic Member

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    Hi Dalethorne. Thank you for your kind and perceptive reply. In fact for both the IEM's that I have I have custom sleeves to try and at least get an optimum seal. I'm using Spotify Premium on an iPhone 5S. Unfortunately there is no EQ available AFAIK. There was a beta EQ on Spotify but they removed it!
    In any case I find EQ very difficult to get right. I know when something sounds wrong but all the tiny adjustments that add up to correcting problems are too subtle for me.
    The main issues I have with the set up I have now are the top end sparkle and soundstage. I doubt that EQ would address those areas.
    I am very interested in what you say from your experience of high end IEM's. I have considered going the £1000 route but disposable income is a bit of an issue.
    From what you say even there perfection is elusive.
    Maybe I should content myself with what I have achieved at this point rather than throwing money around in the hope of improvement.
    Thanks again. If you had recommended the Earsonics I would have probably headed in that direction.
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The right EQ would address those, but how to get it? I have an app that gets me there with any earphone in 30-50 minutes, but doesn't do streaming. If I were using Spotify a lot, I'd capture the sound and then run the captured files through something I could EQ, but that's almost a different subject here. Anyway, maybe John or one of the other staff will pick this up and offer some advice on the earphones you mentioned.
     
  5. krismusic

    krismusic Member

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    Sounds like an interesting app. If it helps I'm not streaming Spotify. With Premium you get to keep the music on your device. As long as you continue the subscription.
     
  6. john-hifi

    john-hifi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Kris,

    I wrote a review on the SM64 - I'm a fan! The only downside (if you can call it that) is that they require more power than the average IEM. The overall sound is very well balanced. I generally have a problem with in ears being harsh in the upper mids, my ears seem to be sensitive to sibilance. The SM64 with the right ear tips had no problems in that area! Read the review here.
     
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    That's a great feature. John's reply regarding getting the right eartips is very encouraging.
     

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