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Old 01-03-2012, 06:11 PM
aleex aleex is offline
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Default Concerns regarding durability and practicality of wearing IEMs over ears

Lately, I've been checking out quite a few IEMs, mostly under $100.

Firstly, I have some doubts regarding wearing IEMs over-the-ear. I want quick insertion/removal, but it feels impractical wearing them like that, especially if you have trouble with fit/seal.

In general, I just want them to be practical. Easy to stuff away, no fiddling with cable, easy to get a decent fit/seal. Comfort is included here.

My second concern regards durability. My last three IEMs have broken in a matter of months. I've used them in school, so nothing special. Obviously, I'm doing something wrong. So, how do I take extra care of my IEMs?

TL;DR:
Would wearing over-the-ear be suited for use in school, where I need to insert/remove them quickly?
How do I take care of my IEMs? Sounds dumb, but obviosuly, advice is needed.
Tips on especially "practical" and durable IEMs are welcome. Pref <$100.

I already have about 10 in mind, but I don't know much about their durability and I constantly hear conflicting reports. Also, manufacturers upgrade them from time to time, so posts barely a year old can be obsolete.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2012, 06:20 PM
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tienbasse tienbasse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleex View Post
Firstly, I have some doubts regarding wearing IEMs over-the-ear. I want quick insertion/removal, but it feels impractical wearing them like that, especially if you have trouble with fit/seal.
Over-the-ear is specifically what makes fit/seal better with a lot of IEMs having "weird" shapes, not to mention it negates most of microphonics with bad cables.

And since the IEMs are supported by the cable looping over the ear, they can be put back in place faster because they don't fall 30cm down when you remove them.

In the end, comfort is what's most important, so wearing IEM down or over the ear will depend on your own ears, try both and judge by yourself.

Concerning durability, no IEM will last long if you don't care of them, but as you say, it varies a lot from one model to another, so please provide us with a few models and we'll try to give you some feedback.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:35 PM
aleex aleex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tienbasse View Post
Over-the-ear is specifically what makes fit/seal better with a lot of IEMs having "weird" shapes, not to mention it negates most of microphonics with bad cables.

And since the IEMs are supported by the cable looping over the ear, they can be put back in place faster because they don't fall 30cm down when you remove them.

In the end, comfort is what's most important, so wearing IEM down or over the ear will depend on your own ears, try both and judge by yourself.

Concerning durability, no IEM will last long if you don't care of them, but as you say, it varies a lot from one model to another, so please provide us with a few models and we'll try to give you some feedback.
Ok, thanks.
It's just that one IEM I have been considering especially, Fischer Audio Eterna, must be worn over-the-ear. It'd be a shame if I don't find that way comfortable for some reason.
Same applies to SoundMagic PL50.

Regarding durability, I'm mostly concerned about Fischer Audio Silver Bullet, HeadDirect RE0, Hippo VB and MEElectornics CC51. I've heard that these especially are prone to break in different ways. Also, doesn't Sunrise XCape IE/XCited use the same housings as RE0? If so, I'd be glad to hear any comments on them.
Apart from these, I've looked at Brainwavz M2/M4, Beyer DTX 71 iE/101 iE, MEElectronics A151 and Fischer Consonance. Haven't heard anything bad about their durability, except for maybe the last. Also, the above mentioned PL50/Eterna, though I haven't heard anything bad about them either.

I know that all these differ greatly in sound signature, but durablity, practicality and comfort is number #1 for me.
And just FYI, I've had CX300-II, Denon AH-C360 and Xears N3i. I had problems with fit in one ear with the N3i.

Last edited by aleex; 01-03-2012 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:52 PM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
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The over the ear thing really depends on the IEM. I have no problem putting in the MEElectronics M6 or A151. But like the MEElectronics M9's design prevent them from being worn over the ear easily.

I have only owned two of the IEM's you've listed, the MEElectronics CC51 and A151. The CC51's build is questionable. I would suggest you avoid it. The A151 however has been my most used IEM for about 6 months now and is still going strong.

How are are you taking care of your IEM's? Are you doing anything that would be harmful to them like wrapping them tightly around your player or tossing them in a backpack without a case?
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
The over the ear thing really depends on the IEM. I have no problem putting in the MEElectronics M6 or A151. But like the MEElectronics M9's design prevent them from being worn over the ear easily.

I have only owned two of the IEM's you've listed, the MEElectronics CC51 and A151. The CC51's build is questionable. I would suggest you avoid it. The A151 however has been my most used IEM for about 6 months now and is still going strong.

How are are you taking care of your IEM's? Are you doing anything that would be harmful to them like wrapping them tightly around your player or tossing them in a backpack without a case?
I used to wrap the IEMs around my DAP tightly before putting them away but then I got IEMs that came with cases, and from then on I would roll them up and put them away whenever I wasn't using them.

I don't find the CX300s very durable by the way. The strain relief on one of the earpieces have snapped off from the housing and is currently sliding up and down the cord.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:20 PM
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If you EVER wrap a cable tight then you are possibly damaging it. Maybe its the strain reliefs or possibly just putting to much pressure on the cable itself.

Always wrap them up loosely around your fingers then you can stuff them in a case or even your pocket and they will last longer than tightly warping it around a DAP.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2012, 10:17 PM
aleex aleex is offline
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I used to wrap my CX300 and CH-360 around my iRiver E30/Sansa Fuze. I did that too with N3i, but I always unplugged it, wrapped it around loosely and tried to not put too much strain on other weak points. Sometimes, I wrapped the cable around my fingers and put them in a pocket togheter with my Fuze (tried to avoid too tight jeans pockets).

In the end, the cable broke where it connected to the 3.5 mm connector.

I've done some more research, and I think I'll settle on the Brainwavz M4. No matter my pick though, I'll try to use the accompanying case more.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:23 PM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
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Good idea. Even if you do not use the case all the time, at least do like Syndrome said and wrap them loosely around your fingers and put them in your pocket instead of wrapping them around the player. Should last longer that way.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2012, 06:30 AM
aleex aleex is offline
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Of course, when I awake a few hours later after thinking "I'll order them tomorrow. The deal's been on for some time, it'll be on at least one day more", the $44.5 deal is gone, lol.
I'm still considering them(M4) or the M2 though.

Anyway, any comments on the durability of Fischer Silver Bullet, Hippo VB and Sunrise XCape IE/XCited?
Or general suggestions/comments on IEMs which could suit me. I've been thinking about going up a bit in price, my threshold ought to be around $150.
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
The over the ear thing really depends on the IEM. …
I agree, there are just some IEMs that I’ve not been able to wear over the ear easily or not at all. I prefer over the ear as this greatly reduces or eliminates cable microphonics and helps keep the IEM in place during ruff activities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
… The A151 however has been my most used IEM for about 6 months now and is still going strong. …
I’m a little surprised as when I first started using A151s I thought the stress relief on the IEM housing would give sooner or later, but it hasn't. Also, as much as I like their cables (very microphonic free), I see them as a bit thin and light weight so I thought there could be a possible fail here, but none yet. I've been using mine as my main beater IEMs now for around 9 months and they’re still going strong, so I guess they're more durable than they look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbamg View Post
… I don't find the CX300s very durable by the way. The strain relief on one of the earpieces have snapped off from the housing and is currently sliding up and down the cord.
I couldn’t say for sure but your cx300s could be fake, aside from all my dislikes about them, build quality isn’t one. They’re built like a tank, my original cx300s must be 8+ years old now and after I put them through some heavy use my 13 year old son has been using them the last 2 years now. He doesn’t take care of them at all, just throws them in his backpack and they’re still going strong to this day …

How do you take care of your IEM's?
Here's what I do:
  • Handle with care
  • Keep IEMs clean, look here
  • Wrap the cable loosely and not tight
  • Use a case when not in use
  • Keep a fresh bag of desiccant in case
  • Avoid tugs, pulls, catching the cable on door ways or other items that can tug them out
  • In general one should use care and be cognizant that your using IEMs while out and about and they should last longer …
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  #11  
Old 01-04-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
I’m a little surprised as when I first started using A151s I thought the stress relief on the IEM housing would give sooner or later, but it hasn't. Also, as much as I like their cables (very microphonic free), I see them as a bit thin and light weight so I thought there could be a possible fail here, but none yet. I've been using mine as my main beater IEMs now for around 9 months and they’re still going strong, so I guess they're more durable than they look.
I think the most likely place for them to give is the jack. I really wish they had gone with a L jack. My cable has developed some kinks, but it is still holding up. Given that I have not gone easy on them since making them my primary beater last summer while doing a lot of traveling, I am pleasantly surprised about how well they have held up. I am pretty tough on them at times.

Second what you said about the CX300.
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnhardwick View Post
I think the most likely place for them to give is the jack. I really wish they had gone with a L jack. ...
The stress relief has held up fine on my straight 3.5mm jack but I second your wish on having a right angled plug, IIRC I mentioned that when I reviewed the A151s. In almost all the IEM applications I use with a portable rig a right angled plug works better to keep my portables more streamlined and I also prefer them.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:58 AM
aleex aleex is offline
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I'm interested in the A151, but they seem to be out of stock everywhere and I'd rather not order from their site in case of customs.
Thanks for the tips though.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleex View Post
I'm interested in the A151 ...
If you broke the tanks in a few months, I’m afraid the A151s may not last you as I stated the cx300s are very durable and should be the standard for build quality. That stated, there’s not much else I like about them (hate the cable, muddy sound and lack of mid & treble extension or lack of). Also if you are use to and like the bass from the cx300s you may be let down with the A151s bass, but the A151s certainly sound better to me across the sound spectrum compared to the cx300s, you can check my review on them here and no offense as I’m only guessing but they might not be for you.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:00 AM
aleex aleex is offline
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Yeah, I know their signature and all but I don't mind testing something new.
I'm used to bassy but they're not that expensive, so I think I can appreciate their other qualites, despite its lack of bass.

I have no delusions regarding build quality. My Denons held up for about 8 months, and I'm glad if I can beat that. I'll take care of these much better than the CX300, which were my first IEMs.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleex View Post
Yeah, I know their signature and all but I don't mind testing something new. ...
Beyond the lack of deep bass extension, they’re designed to be worn over the ear and I wasn’t sure if you can live with that, if so then you may just enjoy them. Although they may be hard to find in Sweden at a good price (I just don’t know). I know that MEE ships internationally and they do have some good discounts from time to time (haven’t seen one since the holidays). I just did a quick check and the price seems to have gone up again here in the states the best price I now see is $50.00. BTW keep in mind that none of the included tips work for me any more, I was fine with the double flange tips in the beginning but they're not fitting as good any more so I use after market tips. I've been experimenting with foam inside the single flange but the smalls are too small for me and the mediums seem a little large for me, at least I have tips I'm fine with as I have become use to their sound sig and am happy with it for now for beaters ...
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:49 AM
cnhardwick cnhardwick is offline
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WalkGood, what tips are you using with the A151?
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
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WalkGood, what tips are you using with the A151?
A pair of shure foamies designed for the se530s IIRC, the seal is great but they're expensive IMHO.

Edit: they fit tight on the nozzle which is 3mm, also there's a little ring on the nozzle which stops them from seating all the way back unless you file it. But you can remove them and the originals fit fine still.
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Old 01-04-2012, 12:41 PM
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I just got Meelectronics M2, ordered for $18 including shipping from the US to EU. While very low-end, their build is excellent. They really don't seem like they're going to fall apart, or the cable gets damaged easily, like in most IEMs I've seen (especially at this price).

Since durability is my no.1 concern in portable phones, I think I'll go with this company again when I'll want to move up (probably soon, the sound is nothing to write home about). Maybe M6 next time. I guess if the phones are designed to be worn over the ear, they should be pretty quick to get in and out.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the input. The 151 is 47 EUR at frogbeats, don't think it'll get cheaper than that. I've mailed and asked them about stock.

Apart from that, the Eterna is 6 euros extra, and while A151 caught my attention, I'm drawn to these too. I know they offer different signatures, that's why it's so hard to decide. They seem to have average build quality, but I guess I'll have to be satisfied with that.
I've also mentioned Brainwavz M2, but they weren't available at frogbeats(found a german retailer though).

Lastly, I've looked at far more expensive HiSound Audio Crystal. Going to read some reviews, then we'll see if I can decide.
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