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Old 11-21-2011, 08:28 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Default £100 'phones recommendations needed (AKA - banging my head against a brick wall)

Hi all -

Having been an avid iPod hater for a LONG time, I've been lurking this site for ages. First time I've joined and posted, though.

I’m after some recommendations/pointers for my next in-ear buds (preferably noise isolating, but not a major deal breaker), please. Although I have reasonable experience with numerous makes at the low to mid range price level, I generally have a history of being a bit of a slave to mid-range Panasonic buds (always limited with what I could afford) and was always basically satisfied. My most recent buds were Sennheiser CX55s, which I absolutely loved but, unfortunately, they succumbed to the usual Sennheiser problem of a faulty jack after a couple of years’ relatively light use. The cable noise could get a tad annoying too.

So, my audio source is an iAudio X5 with Rockbox installed (I’m hoping to upgrade to an X7 after christmas, funds permitting, but let’s work on the X5 for now on the basis that the sound shouldn’t be too different). I’m a bit of an awkward customer in that I like bass, mids and treble all set quite high on the EQ (preferring custom settings over pre-sets), almost to the point of where they’re competing with each other, but still like to hear individual instruments and background ambience as well. I get massively frustrated when the levels bleed or distort (something that was never a problem with the CX55s). I know – I’m my own worst enemy…

My most HATED feature would be flat, or lack of decent bass, so I think the most important factors to consider would be centred on bass, but not at the expense of the mids and trebles. I also don’t like muffled or distant sound – I like things to be quite close and up front.

My favourite/most listened to genres are prog rock and modern jazz, but I do otherwise have quite an eclectic mix on the iAudio which also includes pop, classical, English folk, acoustic, soul, blues and funk. I also like live music – I would say at least 60% of my collection is live stuff. Very little of all of that is any later than late 90s, with most of it being 60s and 70s.

I’m an audiophile to the extent that I can easily tell the difference between MP3 at 128 and Ogg at 160 or higher and that iPoos are one of the worst sounding players on the market, but not to the extent that I can tell much of a difference between £300 Monster Turbine or Grado ‘phones and £200 Shures (having demoed all three in the past).

I would generally be using them during my walk to work (which goes by busy main roads) and in the office, occasionally on a train or bus commute.

I now find myself in the position of being able to afford up to £100. If best recommendations are less than that, then that’s fine too – it doesn’t HAVE to be £100 or near as possible. I could probably stretch a little bit over £100, but it would have to be really special for me to do that.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching and reading reviews on websites, and reading through numerous threads on here, but every time I think I’ve found THE one, I then come across a review or two which mentions something that puts me right off (Brainwavz B2 being the most recent example) and I am at the end of my tether. RHAs are at the top of the list at the moment but, with up to £100 to spend, I can’t get past that sub £30 price and refuse to accept the possibility that they are that good (that and the fact I can't find any mention of them on here).

I realise that Panny RP-HJE900s tick an awful lot of those boxes, and push me back into familiar Panny territory, but with the ridiculous prices I'm seeing for them at the moment, I'm not sure they're an option.

Thanks.

EDIT - things I've not covered (closed/open, circumaural etc) are factors I'm not overly concerned with.
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2011, 09:57 AM
bennyboy bennyboy is offline
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Bargain of the century for me is the new price of £99 for the Hifiman RE262.

http://www.ampcity.co.uk/brands/hifi...eadphones.html

I'm using the RE272 myself, as they are a step up in my view, but the 262s give you a lush, fluid and beautiful midrange with expansive soundstage that's more like a headphone than an iem. I used them every day to and from work, via my Cowon J3 and was happy as larry until the 272s came out and I got bitten by the upgrade itch.

Do your research on the 262s though - there's lots of positive stuff on them online.

Not sure exactly how much of a basshead you are though, from what you say, so take my comments with a pinch of the proverbial.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:34 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Thanks bennyboy.

Funnily enough one of my initial options was the Head-Direct RE0, which has got unanimous 5 star reviews on Amazon. But then I read a "professional"'s review (can't remember where, though) which slated it for poor handling of bass, which put me right off.

As for whether I'm a basshead - well, two of my favourite bands are Genesis and King Crimson (specifically early-mid 70s line-up). With Genesis you've got a double header of thunderous bass pedals and Mike Rutherford's intricate guitar-style bass playing, and with 70s King Crimson you've got the monster of John Wetton. And I like to hear it all quite distinctly from the rest of the instruments, as opposed to a mashed up rumble. On the other hand, I'm not into drum 'n bass or dub, or anything like that, so I'm not sure where that puts me on the basshead scale.

It sounded like my perfect pair of buds would have been the Hippo VB, but I've never managed to find any in the UK, and they now seem to have been discontinued.

I'll certainly look into those 262s though (I think the 272s are out of my price range).
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:52 AM
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If you were looking and the VB go straight to Jaben, though my order with them never completed (I cancelled and was very promptly refunded due to gift concerns) their customer service is excellent, they take paypal so you are safe, and I've heard they label the packages nicely to avoid customs issues

I'm waiting until feb to order myself a pair as I'm learning to love bass when its done right, hopefully their stocks will last ;D
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:48 PM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
If you were looking and the VB go straight to Jaben, though my order with them never completed (I cancelled and was very promptly refunded due to gift concerns) their customer service is excellent, they take paypal so you are safe, and I've heard they label the packages nicely to avoid customs issues

I'm waiting until feb to order myself a pair as I'm learning to love bass when its done right, hopefully their stocks will last ;D
Yeah, I've heard good things about Jaben. Unfortunately the VBs have been out of stock there for ages. I keep checking, but nothing doing at the moment.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:24 PM
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I can't imagine they would discontinue them, there are some packages up with the hippo VBs in them so they are probably waiting another batch. My order was a preorder special at the time so they may have just run out of them for now. Depends how soon you want the headphones really
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:44 PM
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Did you check Uncle Wilson's new site to see if the VBs are available? http://www.unclewilsons.com/ear11.html
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:35 PM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Did you check Uncle Wilson's new site to see if the VBs are available? http://www.unclewilsons.com/ear11.html
Never heard of Uncle Wilsons - reputable?
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:49 PM
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Same dude who runs Jaben iirc
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:59 PM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Ahhhh, ok - so that'd be a yes then!
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:07 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Well now…

So last night, after hours of deliberating, I had it narrowed down to the Hippo VB from Uncle Wilson’s, the HifiMan RE262, the RHA MA-350 (still niggling away there) and the Audeo PFE 012. I was about to pull the trigger on the VBs when I strolled over to the ‘Bay to answer a question on one of my auctions and decided to have a quick search on there to compare the prices of my choices. And up popped a pair of brand new Panny RP-HJE900s for £89.99 (from a reputable 'Bay merchant). Not as cheap as they have been, but a lot cheaper than everywhere else that’s got them in stock at the moment (the official UK Panasonic online shop is selling them for over £200!).

So that’s what I’ve gone for. I may have shot myself in the foot when it comes to the mids, but it’s the only set of ‘phones that I’ve not been able to find a single negative review for and ticks all (well, pretty much all) of the right boxes. And, to be honest, aside from the general good all-rounder comments, the build quality and durability and the ability to replace the cables sold it.


I still may get a pair of RHA MA-350s (I’m so intrigued about these, it’s untrue – I can’t remember the last time I spent less than £50 on a set of ‘phones), or a set of VBs as well (depending on funds) as backups, or fall back to the VB if me and the Panny’s don’t get on.

So we’ll see what happens…
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:41 AM
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Amazon black friday has the audeo PFE's you listed due to come up today at 11.30am, you might be tempted there too, just to be a pain
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:49 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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(sinks to knees)

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!! !!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:01 AM
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Ahahahaha I'm so sorry xD
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:10 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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£39.99 IS a hell of a deal...

But, reading back some of the negative Amazon comments, I remember why I decided not to go for them in the end.

Still, tempting...
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:23 AM
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I went for them, couldn't resist it, negative comments aside I can always send them back if they don't suit me, going to end up with an overdraft bigger than me.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:48 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Well, Addicted, you got yourself a bargain - they've all gone

Actually, I'm not that upset really cos I am looking forward to trying out these Pannys and, like you said with the Audeos, if I don't like them I can always send them back and get something else. Well done you, though - report back on how you get on with them.

In the meantime I'm hoping that the iAudio X7 may be part of Amazon's Black Friday.

Hopelessly hoping, of course!
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Old 11-22-2011, 09:00 AM
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Yeah, kinda wish I had the money for some panas too, but hey, only so many headphones you can use I guess
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by great_badir View Post
Never heard of Uncle Wilsons - reputable?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
Same dude who runs Jaben iirc
Addicted is right, he's part of Jaben so it's reputable and should have the same service IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Addicted View Post
I went for them, couldn't resist it ...
Nice find and enjoy

Edit: BTW I meet him at an audio/headphone show, here's a pic of Uncle Wilson with his famous bear that travel around the world, just incase you need to put out a hit on the bear

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Last edited by WalkGood; 11-22-2011 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:39 AM
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Off topic I know but is it just me or does that bear look seriously depressed?
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