android
  #1  
Old 05-11-2011, 10:19 PM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default Earbuds vs. IEMs

I hadn't tried IEMs until recently. I tried out my friend's Shure SE530 (balanced armature IEM) and, today, Senheiser IE6 (dynamic IEM). To me they both sounded worse than the stock earbuds that came with Sansa Clip+. Not to mention the over-the-ear monitors.

At first I thought it was something about the balanced armature in the Shures, so I ordered the Senheisers for comparison. But I don't like them, either, for the same reason: the highs seem too strong and unnatural. I tried playing with a 5-band EQ a little bit (this is what's available in the native firmware of the Sansa Clip+). That does not help, I can't get the sound that I like.

I can try a parametric EQ next, or more bands, or maybe a multiband compressor, but before this turns into another useless research project, I wanted to ask if anyone had a similar experience with the IEMs?

I kind of like the idea of using IEMs, and want to like the way they sound, but so far I don't like it.

Last edited by sergivs; 05-12-2011 at 12:14 AM.
Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]

  #2  
Old 05-11-2011, 10:35 PM
Lagoo56's Avatar
Lagoo56 Lagoo56 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SI,NY
Posts: 737
Default

Maybe its a good idea to start off with beginner IEMs so you can get used to them,the first listening experience isn't always going to be perfect,they are something you have to get used to in order to appreciate them.
__________________
DAPs I own: Rockboxed Sansa C250 2GB+64GB MicroSDXC
Tablets I own:Rooted 8GB Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 running Sungsonic 2 HD JB 4.1.2
Rooted 80GB Asus Memopad HD 7
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old 05-11-2011, 10:45 PM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default

Thanks for the advice, but I don't really want to get used to something I don't like. The question is whether other people had this experience. You, for example.
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old 05-11-2011, 10:47 PM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 287
Default

It just sounds like to be that neither of them suited your taste. Maybe you need to look for an IEM with a sound signature you like. And for what it is worth, the first time I heard high end IEM I did not think they sounded that much better than cheap ones. The more I listen to them though the more my mind changed. Now it is hard to go back to budget IEMs.
__________________
Players: 4 GB Sansa Clip | 32 GB iPod touch (4th generation)
Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50 IEM: MEElectronics A151, M6 and M9P
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old 05-11-2011, 11:55 PM
Confispect's Avatar
Confispect Confispect is offline
Ultra Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Hell
Posts: 1,291
Default

Either your ears are shot or you just don't agree with their signature.
__________________
Some people are just more stupid then others, no no no what I'm talking about is the people always being affected by whats going on around them.
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old 05-12-2011, 12:23 AM
nathan nathan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 260
Default

Are you sure you are wearing them properly/ getting a good seal? The drawback with IEM's is that sound quality is highly dependent on weather you have a good seal or not. The unnatural/strong highs could be a result of improper seal. How do you find the bass with both phones? A lot of IEM's sound quality is also highly dependent on the location of the bud (how deep you put them in your ears). It might help to try moving them gently back and forth to see if the sound quality improves.
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old 05-12-2011, 03:15 AM
lestatar's Avatar
lestatar lestatar is offline
Ultra Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hong Kong now, but NYC always
Posts: 4,657
Default

@OP, while we all hear things differently, I would tend to think that there are very few humans who would find that the 2 IEMs you sampled sounded "worse" than the stock earbuds with your Clip+. In fact, most likely the opposite.

Indeed, check for proper fit and seal. This is perhaps the single biggest factor determining perceived IEM sound quality. Essential really.

Questions:
- what kind of sound DO you like? Are you a bass monster? Want something more analytic and neutral? Want something bright, punchy and fun? Yes, even vague descriptions like these can help alot.
- what kind of gear do you have [Clip+ and what else?]
- what kind of music do you generally listen to?

Help us help you...if you are interested to pursue IEMs that is. If not, not sure what else to tell ya.
__________________
DAPs:2xRBFuze8+16GB|SonyE345|ZenV+,Micro,Xtra40GBx2|RBG igabeatFX|RCAOpal
IEMs:PanaHJE900|Nuforce 700x|HippoVB|iMetal590,i490|SM PL-21|CX300|EP630,Aurvana
Guitars:IbanezS540,JS1200|Ovation
PoolCues: a bunch
A Glossary for Newbies
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old 05-12-2011, 04:31 AM
WalkGood's Avatar
WalkGood WalkGood is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 12,579
Default

Both nathan and lestatar hit the nail on the head, seal and positioning are critical to me. No matter if I use high end or low end IEMs - if I don’t have a proper seal I do not hear any bass, IEMs just sound tinny, shrilly and sibilant. If I can't get a good seal I try one of various other spare tips I have, with some I have to even use two different sizes, small on one side and medium on the other. Seal, positioning and comfort are everything to me, if one is not right it will negatively affect the whole experience.
__________________
WalkGood,
Ramón

abi >> | Forum Rules | Glossary | Why Rockbox | FLAC or MP3? | irc
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 05-12-2011, 10:53 PM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default

Hi,

Thanks for your replies. Apparently, my problem is not very common.

I think the seal is fine. The bass and mid-range are fine. Actually, Senheiser IE6 sounds too boomy, Shure S530 is fine. I don't like the high end in either of them, it just sounds irritating somehow. Reminds me of those big cassette boomboxes with shiny plastic speaker grills they made in the late 80's.

I'm guessing these two models are pretty different from each other. Maybe IEMs are just not for me?

Beyerdynamic DTX100 look interesting, at least I like the brand. Any thoughts on those?


@lestatar:

I'm not a "bass monster".

About my gear -- this is the stuff I have and use fairly regularly and like:
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, AKG K240 DF headphones
M-Audio BX5 monitors, sometimes with an active crossover and a VOX bass amp as a subwoofer.
The stereo in my VW Jetta 2004 sounds pretty good. Someone told me it was made by Blaupunkt.

As far as portable players, I use the Clip+ mostly. It sounds good, although not ideal. My iPod 5.5 died recently. I thought it sounded pretty good with the Beyerdynamic headphones (80 Ohms). I also have an old Philips GoGear, which also sounds OK.

Concerning the music I listen to, let's see...

I don't listen to trance, electronica, hip-hop, rap, or "contemporary R&B".

I do listen to baroque music, "classic rock" like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, 20th century classical music, especially Shostakovich. I have a few favorite jazz musicians, like Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Mulatu Astatke. Balkan brass music. Choral music. Some contemporary Russian stuff like Volkov Trio and lots of other bands.

Thanks,

Sergei

Last edited by sergivs; 05-13-2011 at 06:10 AM.
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old 05-13-2011, 01:50 AM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default

P.S. in case IEMs are just not for me, is there such a thing as decent and comfortable earbuds with decent isolation?
Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old 05-13-2011, 05:23 AM
nodirectionhome nodirectionhome is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Salisbury UK
Posts: 677
Default

Stock earbuds - or almost any type of earbud - sound lousy.

There's something the matter with your hearing.
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old 05-13-2011, 05:46 AM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nodirectionhome View Post
Stock earbuds - or almost any type of earbud - sound lousy.

There's something the matter with your hearing.
Thanks for that insight.
Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old 05-13-2011, 06:01 AM
nodirectionhome nodirectionhome is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Salisbury UK
Posts: 677
Default

Well, practically no-one on here uses earbuds so there is nothing to recommend.
Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old 05-13-2011, 06:08 AM
sergivs sergivs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 67
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nodirectionhome View Post
Well, practically no-one on here uses earbuds so there is nothing to recommend.
Then perhaps you could suggest something useful or refrain from commenting altogether.
Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old 05-13-2011, 08:37 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 5,204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sergivs View Post
Then perhaps you could suggest something useful or refrain from commenting altogether.
Not a bad idea. Because someone doesn't share your taste in listening equipment doesn't mean your hearing is defective or you're not entitled to an opinion as to what you like. I said this not too long ago
Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
A good example is earbuds. I can't stand them. I've never been able to get even fairly expensive ones to stay in my ears or sound right. I have a friend though that can literally turn cartwheels with them in and swear they sound better than my best in ear canalphones. Much of finding what's right for you involves spending a bit of money. You don't have to break the bank experimenting though. There's decent, inexpensive headphones around if you shop wisely.
There's certainly nothing wrong with my athletic friend's hearing. I have a decent home setup, his blows mine away. He's also the person that introduced me to Sennheiser over the ears headphones.

He also prefers his Yuin earbuds to the best IEMs I have. The only reason he's ever given me was the isolation of IEMs bothers him. Hearing his own breathing and the internal sounds of his running bugs the heck out of him apparently. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to that but he says he tried once for a couple of months and never adapted. He went back to earbuds because that's what works for him.

The Yuins he uses are the PK2. He says the PK1 are better but difficult to get decent volume due to the higher impedance. He doesn't want to carry an amp, says it makes things too bulky.

I'd also look into some reviews on the upper end of the Sennheiser line. He's mentioned a couple of models in their sport line and higher he likes. Sorry, I never bothered to get any details as I'm not interested personally.

Last edited by skip252; 05-13-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: duplicate phrase
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old 05-13-2011, 09:37 AM
lestatar's Avatar
lestatar lestatar is offline
Ultra Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Hong Kong now, but NYC always
Posts: 4,657
Default

@sergivs: I am no fan of earbuds but I have also hear very good things about the Yuin brand. And of course Sennheiser makes some very good quality overall headphones, including earbuds.

As for isolation: IMO/IME, inherently, earbuds cannot provide nearly as much isolation as IEMs. As a result of the design, earbuds are intended to sit ON your ear, resting at the opening of your ear canal. IEMs however are designed to be inserted slightly into your ear canal. Thus, as I have found, no earbud can possibly offer as much isolation as nearly any IEM out there.

There is also another "benefit" to IEMs - generally with earbuds, there is both a lot of external audio bleed [sound that others around you can hear given sufficient volume] and for many, a tendency to raise the volume up much higher than is probably safe for one's long term hearing.

If you can keep these things in mind re: earbuds you may very well find them more to your liking vs IEMs.

Wish I could offer more suggestions re: earbud options, but I can only speak about stuff I know/have experience with.

FWIW, the stock earbuds that came with the Sandisk Fuze for instance, sounded pretty OK, IMO noticeably better than most, including iPod buds. Not sure if the Clip+ ones are the same as the ones on the Fuze though.
__________________
DAPs:2xRBFuze8+16GB|SonyE345|ZenV+,Micro,Xtra40GBx2|RBG igabeatFX|RCAOpal
IEMs:PanaHJE900|Nuforce 700x|HippoVB|iMetal590,i490|SM PL-21|CX300|EP630,Aurvana
Guitars:IbanezS540,JS1200|Ovation
PoolCues: a bunch
A Glossary for Newbies
Reply With Quote

  #17  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:00 AM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 287
Default

I am not familiar with he sound signatures of either the S535 or the IE6, but is possible they are just too bright for your taste? (I thought Sennheisers usually have a dark sound, but I am sure their could be exceptions.) Maybe you just need something with more laid back treble?

I would not rule out a fit problem either. Just because you are getting a good seal does not mean you are getting fit. In fact, I have noticed that with some of my IEM's that is they are inserted too deeply the bass becomes boomy and the treble starts becoming distorted to the point it just sounds like an obnoxious ringing. Not saying that is the case here, just that a good seal does not always mean a good fit.
__________________
Players: 4 GB Sansa Clip | 32 GB iPod touch (4th generation)
Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50 IEM: MEElectronics A151, M6 and M9P
Reply With Quote

  #18  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:34 AM
nodirectionhome nodirectionhome is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Salisbury UK
Posts: 677
Default

---
Reply With Quote

  #19  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:55 AM
diechipmunk's Avatar
diechipmunk diechipmunk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 117
Default

I have a Clip+, also, and two IEM canal phones, both of which I found to be an improvement over the OEM. Creative EP-630 ($20) were good, but recently I bought NuForce NE-6s ($40), and was amazed at the sound I was missing even with the Creative upgrade. I'm definitely not a base junkie, but the NE-6 have clear distinct base that does not overwhelm the mids and highs. The highs also are clear without being piercing.

I would recommend experimenting with the fit, even if you think it's perfect now. I started the NE-6s with the small (grommet?), it was comfortable and sounded decent, but then I switched to the medium and got better sound isolation, a more secure fit and cleaner sound. I admit that the medium got uncomfortable after about 1/2 hour the first couple of times I wore them, they are fine now.

Good luck, it was a real eye opener for me when I upgraded the canal phones.
Reply With Quote

  #20  
Old 05-13-2011, 02:14 PM
danx55 danx55 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 544
Default

hi guys,

i recently made the move from buds to IEMs and it was a fairly complicated one for me as i have funny shaped ears....or so im told

started off with cheap creative ep630s which were nice - then went for hippo VBs - much better sound but i could get on with the size and weight of them - so then gave in and went for senn cx300iis - these are great iems for me - nice and light with good bass

...but have now just got some buds! yes buds bose IE2s - awsome!

cheers
dan

ps: forgot to mention that i hate too much trebble - and niether cx300iis or ie2s disappoint on that score
Reply With Quote

Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:15 PM.