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Old 11-21-2011, 07:28 AM
great_badir great_badir is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 31
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.


EDIT - things I've not covered (closed/open, circumaural etc) are factors I'm not overly concerned with.
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