in-ear earphones, advice please

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by ROB_GTR, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. ROB_GTR

    ROB_GTR Well Balanced

    Jul 10, 2010
    Hiya Guys,

    this is my 1st post and it looks to be a very helpful forum, anyway im Rob and dont know a great deal about in-ear earphones so looking for a pointer in the right direction if possible

    i enjoy music the way its meant to be heard and in good crisp quality. i generally use my iphone for mobile listening. i dont go jogging etc so i wont require any ultra secure fitting, but i would like some comfortable nice looking ones.

    i have (in my opinion) small ish ears for most earphones etc (ear buds generally are too big and fall out and are uncomfortable). i am looking for a good quality set of in-ear earphones that will be a good fit and that are not too bulky.
    i dont want to go buy some that "i think" are good and turn out to be useless for me.
    i have looked at the usual comet etc and was quite keen on the Bose ones but after reading reviews from people in the know i will be staying away from what "i thought" was a good set.

    i like the look of these (the way they fit neatly in the ear) pic at the bottom of the page in the link Sleek Audio SA6 Earphones

    i dont have a budget as such but dont want to go mad and be paying 100's if i can get what i need for alot less.

    i listen to loads of types of music but i would say mainly house, dance, trance and hip hop
    so i like lots of well defined and punchy bass with good mid range and trebles too.
    i think i want a good all rounder in the earphone dept with good bass.

    i love the styling and the looks of these Sleek Audio SA1 In-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones in Rosewood

    So what would you guys suggest?

    thanks in advance, Rob
  2. ROB_GTR

    ROB_GTR Well Balanced

    Jul 10, 2010
    after a little more research i am begining to narrow things down a little....

    i like the idea of the SA6 having the wireless option but no idea if i would use it?

    i am liking the reviews and comments on Phonak Audéo PFE 112 Perfect Fit In-Ear Monitor Headphones (PFE-112) - IEM but are they as good as the other top brands in the price range?

    i will be using them via iphone for various music and maybe PS3 for gaming.

    whilst searching i noticed most tend to use a amp of some description... what are the advantages of this? is there a big difference?

  3. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    Hi Rob,

    I always find giving advice to Dance music fans a little difficult as it is hard to judge how much bass you will want. There is no such thing as the perfect Headphones or Earphones - just the perfect ones for you. So how do pick? Well each manufacturer (and then some individual models) have their own signature sounds and picking a model and manufacturer who share your sonic persuasion is the answer to getting it right.

    I really love the Phonak Audeo Perfect Bass 012 / 022 but although I'm not completely de-recommending them the Perfect Bass on offer gives them an excellent balance for contemporary music rather than a bassy leaning.

    Here are 3 earphones that in one way or another suit your brief - I will put then in order of brightest (with least bass) to darkest (most bass) but they are all known for working with your favourite genres, lets try and keep it under £150 too.

    Sennheiser IE7 In-Ear Noise Isolating Earphones in Black (IE 7)

    £139.95 - Great sounding warm earphone - although not overtly Bass heavy these work well with music that is powerful at the bottom.

    Ultimate Ears 700 Sound Isolating Earphones

    £139.95 - These work really well with Dance music Chunky emphasised bottom end and sweet bright highs.

    Ultimate Ears 5 EB Extended Bass Earphones White

    £116.95 - Massive Bass but the mids suffer - these are only for real bassheads!

    If we up the budget slightly, these two are the one's to pick from - both have BIG warm bass and sound great with Dance music.

    Sennheiser IE8 In-Ear Noise Isolating Earphones (IE 8)


    Klipsch Image X10 In-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones (Image X 10)


    or this version with iPod/iPhone controller and mic

    Klipsch Image X10i Sound Isolating Earphones (Image X 10i)


    Most of the time in ear monitors don't really require amplification - so if they are loud enough that's the end of it, right? Not entirely!

    So you have an iPod / iPhone and you have read that the jack socket is not as good as the connection inside the bottom dock How can you get at this better signal and what do you do with it then as it takes the volume on the device out of the output loop? Well you could use this excellent tiny amp which powers directly from your iProduct giving you a remote volume, track change, play and pause.

    FiiO E1 Headphone Amplifier for iPod/iPhone in Black


    Or go further and get a separate dock connector...

    iBasso CB07 High Purity Line Out Cable for iPod & iPhone Black

    £31.95 - This one is oxy sealed pure copper and has a bassy warm feel

    ...and amp -

    FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier in Black



    iBasso T4 Ultra Portable Headphone Amplifier in Grey & Brown



    iBasso D10 DAC & Headphone Amplifier in Black


    Hopefully this gives you ideas but let me know if you need more advice once you've had a look at these.

  4. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    As Robin mentioned earphones don't normally need much extra power (although balanced armature designs like the Phonak PFE do benefit a little), but the fact that you can take the line level signal from the dock connector on an iPod means you start with a cleaner signal.
  5. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    In-ear earphones advice

    The Phonak PFEs are definitely as good as the leading brands in respect to sound, comfort and built quality - in fact they are a favourite of ours. Phonak is the World's largest hearing aid manufacturer, so although you may not have heard of them they do have a long heritage (company began in 1947) making devices that go in your ear.

    As Robin said the Phonak PFEs definitely don't lean towards heavy bass. I would describe them as very well balanced, e.g. punchy, well defined bass and lots of clarity.
  6. ROB_GTR

    ROB_GTR Well Balanced

    Jul 10, 2010
    thanks so much for your replys guys!

    i am kinda steering off the heavy bass from what i have learned. i do like bass dont get me wrong but i think too much may ruin it a little for me.

    as Shaun just described in the last post is pretty much what i had decided was right "punchy, well defined bass and lots of clarity". in other words a good all-rounder. coming from the standard iphone earbuds im sure nothing would disappoint

    but the biggest choice for me comes down to fitting, comfort & size (due to small ish ears)

    ideally if i can avoid a amp i prefer it as adds more bulk

    Klipsch Image X10 In-Ear Sound Isolating Earphones
    i like the sound of these very much too but i have to say i am put off a bit by the way they look. they just look like your getting very little for your money (even though your not)
    the size of them sound goog and the option of wearing over or under ear is nice too

    the Sleek Audio SA6 Earphones as said before fit very well and appear hidden from being so small.
    i also really like the option of going wireless if ever i decide to.

    the Phonak Audéo PFE 112 Perfect Fit In-Ear Monitor Headphones (PFE-112) - IEM are tempting due to the fit qualities, comfort and good all-rounder. but they look a little "cheap" or is it just how they look in the pictures?

    ps, whats the differences in the PFE 112 & PFE 012? the price for one but what else? the 112's get very good reviews aut are they worth the extra money?
    i figure the 112 and 111 are just colour different?

    thanks again for your advice
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    The Phonak Audeo PFE 112 comes with Comply tips, a cleaning tool, ear guides, three pairs of different sound filters (Black, Grey and White) and a changing tool, a carry case and three sets of silicone tips. The Phonak Audeo PFE perfect bass 012 comes with one pair of Green sound filters and three sets of silicone tips. I think Phonak's idea was to produce a version with a more contemporary sound and get the price down (by removing accessories) as it probably has a bigger mass market appeal than the 112. The headphone bodies and guts are basically the same making the 012 a bargain.

    If you can afford the SA6 with wireless pack I would seriously consider spending the money on the Westone UM3X - unbelievably nice 'phones. Power, ballance, detail and bass. Be warned though, you will not accept anything short of brilliant headphone wise again!

    At their piece point the Audeo PFE perfect bass 012 cannot be beaten, they are really balanced and detailed without becoming aggressive, they are definitely an "all rounder".
  8. ROB_GTR

    ROB_GTR Well Balanced

    Jul 10, 2010
    Right after thinking long and hard, spending hour upon hour researching and asking advice left right and centre i decided to take the plunge and this is what i ended up with:

    Phonak PFE 112's in black / silver.
    Separate "green" filters.
    FiiO E5 Earphone Amp.

    I phoned "HiFi headphones" and initially spoke to John who was very helpful and gave really good advice. I then spoke to Robin and the advice was solidly backed up. Both had vast knowledge about every product i asked about and spent a fair amount of time explaining things to me in layman's terms (as i am no expert in this field whatsoever). also it was good to put a voice to a forum name!

    I then proceeded to pick what i was going to have and placed my order (& got a little discount for being cheeky and asking lol)

    i placed my order around 15:00 on Tues and Received everything today (Wed) at 12:00 which i could not believe how fast the delivery was!!

    i am currently listening to various tunes to try find which sounds best and what settings etc to have.
    so far i am using the green filters with "flat" selected on my iphone and using the "bottom" 30 pin connector with amp.

    i was not massively impressed with the sound straight away and if im honest a little disappointed..... but, after a hour or so fiddling with different settings and types of music varying in quality, i got the set up which suited me and now they are begining to shine!
    the sound is crisp, defined, punchy and just the right amounts in the right places.
    the bass is fairly mild as i had read about in the reviews etc but it is not going to spoil these at all. there is just enough to balance out the entire experience! they fit like a glove too which is a massive bonus!!

    i assume there will be a "running in" period with these as with most audio??? so i guess they will get even better over time!

    so all in all a fantastic service from John & Robin!! Thanking you very muchly! but............................. WHERE IS MY FREE LOLLY??????? :-(

    i will add a review after spending a few weeks with these and how i find them!

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