High quality in-ear monitors (IEMs)

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by henders, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. henders

    henders Dynamic Driver

    Sep 5, 2008
    I just posted in the other forum about full size headphones, but am also after some advice about good quality in-ear monitor earphones. I travel on a train for 2 hours a day, so am prepared to invest is a decent pair.

    I'm looking for earphones with the following features in order of highest priority to lowest:

    1. Good quality sound (preferably a little bit warm)
    2. Comfort/portability.
    3. Privacy (both blocking out unwanted noise and keeping music in).
    4. Priced less than £150.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. ShaunG

    ShaunG Guest

    Best IEMS for less than £150

    Two excellent IEM earphones are the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro and the Klipsch Image X10. I know the Klipsch goes a bit over budget.

    Both earphones give excellent bass response (once you get the ear tip fit right) and provide good sound isolation.

    The Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro has an excellent over the ear fit system - the cable moulds over your ear and holds the earphone in. However, the earphone is relatively large, compared with the Klipsch.

    I would say the Klipsch Image has an even better fit than the Super.fi Pro as it's absolutely miniature, making it much less of a fiddle to get in your ear. The Klipsch Image is a very good earphone for extended listening sessions due to it's comfort.

    Sound quality wise they are both excellent. The Klipsch has a particularly well defined bass response - it's not just heavy bass, it's very accurate bass. The mids are a little recessed on the Klipsch, compared with the Super.fi 5 Pro.
  3. BloodSugar00

    BloodSugar00 Well Balanced

    Sep 11, 2008
    For 150 or below, I don't think you can beat the Sleek Audio SA6! Small (depnding on depth of insertion, these disappear in your ears and are only a bit larger than images X10's); highly comfortable (particulary with foam tips but stock flanges are very comfy also); customisable via VQ system (by physically interchanging components called treble tubes and bass ports you can customise the SA6's sonic character to your tastes); replaceable cables; cables swivel so SA6 can be worn either over ear or traight down; no microphonics (over-ear style); wireless compatibilty (adaptor due for release later this month); absolutely second to none customer service from Sleek Audio and/or Hi-fi headphones; last, but not least;), awesome SQ!

    I'm litening to my SA6 right now (with brand new replacement cable; thanks Shaun!) and wow! Yeterday, I would of said the SA6 were fantastic, particulary given their price comparative to other competetive IEM's, but that, next to the Shure SE530's and the Ultimate Ears Triple fi 10's, both of which I also own, the Sleeks lacked some-significant bass quantity, significant if not massive clarity, resolution to sound and instruement separation, and some body and weight to their sound. I can only imagine its new cable, but listening now I'm floored again like I was when I first got these gems!!:D They are gorgeous sounding hp's!

    Firstly, they are very balanced headphones with all regions of the frequency distribution recieving great attention. The bass, if, maybe, not as emphasised as some would like it to be, is, nonetheless, detailed, defined, extensive and punchy and does carry weight/you can feel it. Listening now, albeit with an 120 ohm resitor adaptor in my portable rig and some EQ on the go, it is very satisfactory to me. There are also simple mods that can be performed on the bass = and bass + ports respectably, which, though I havn't performed or tried myself yet, reportedly have a noticeable and quality affect on bass quantity.

    The high end of the SA6 sound reproduction is also impressive! Detailed, bright,sparkly...excellently portrayed! They are extensive and defined but not harsh or sibilant at all (a lie only if using treble ++ tube wen slight harshness and sibliance can occur). They glitter and shimmer and augment the musicality and energetic quality of the SA6 sound sig, predominantly layed down by the mids.

    The mids have to be cited as the main weapon in this IEM's sonic arsenal! Lush, warm, smooth, yet clear and defined. Vocals are lovely,best I've heard on an IEM! The mids are presented slightly more forward than the bass and highs, but, to me (and most others who have tried and/or own the SA6 I have encountered), very considerately and tastefully chosen! This sound presentation works a treat!

    All in all, a fantastic achievment by Sleek Audio! Their hardwork and careful thinking has paid off ten-fold! A marvelous creation and they have set the bar high! (both for themselves and their competitors).


    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008

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