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Old 11-03-2012, 06:29 AM
melat0nin melat0nin is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Help Best IEMs for 100-150 (upgrade RHA MA-350s)

Hello all

I recently decided to try some on-ear cans to replace my RHA MA-350 IEMs, thinking I could get better sound out of a 130 pair of on-ears than a 30 pair of IEMs. How wrong I was. I bought some AKG K451s and tried ATH ES55s, various Bose and Sennheisers (including some much more expensive ones), and none of them had the same crispness in the trebles as the MA350s. I suspect I might be conditioned to liking a 'V' shaped sound signature now because of the MA350s and other cheap IEMs I've had before, but there we go. All those over ear cans just sound muffled to me (perhaps they are more neutral and therefore more accurate, but I just found the music totally lacked the sparkle and punchy precision of the RHAs).

Anyway, after that brief dalliance with on-ear cans I thought it might be worth investing in a better set of IEMs instead. I really like the RHAs but I have a bit of cash to spend and I'd like to see what sort of sound I can get for my money. I'd also ideally like a J-chord pair, since I find the Y chord very irritating when all the weight is put on my ears and the buds don't stay in right. I walk a lot and find myself constantly having to adjust the position of the wire under my jacket to give enough slack that the weight isn't pulling on the buds.

In terms of sound characteristics I'm looking for really punchy but precise bass (I listen to a lot of electronica and drum-heavy music) and really crisp, but not shrill, highs which aren't drowned out by the lows. I'm not really sure when it comes to mids -- as I say I think the RHAs have a very 'V' shaped sound, so I might have been missing out a bit on them.

I'll be powering them from a Rockboxed Sansa Fuze, listening to mostly mid-to-high bitrate MP3 (256+), Q5 OGG and FLAC.

I've come across a few suggestions like the VSonic GR07s or the Phonak Audio PFE 012s. Both sound good on paper but I've been a bit burned by my experience with the on-ears -- the K451s got rave reviews but I hate their sound, so now I'm loathe to trust anything I can't hear for myself (but nobody lets you test IEMs in-store!! )

Any suggestions would be much appreciated
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