Audio A Compendium of Audio Zone Reviews and Rankings: IEMs, Headphones & Sources

krisballa

Active Member
Disciple
Feb 8, 2012
184
5
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I would also like to share my rankings as per my personal taste :) All the IEMs listed below except Klipsch S4 bought from fellow TE members.

1) UE TF10
2) JVC FXT90
3) UE Super Fi 5 Pro
4) Fischer Audio Eterna Rev. 1
5) Brainwavz M2
6) Klipsch Image S4
7) Vsonic GR06
8) SoundMagic ES18
9) Hippo VB
10) Brainwavz M4
11) Brainwavz Alpha

Would like to get my hands on Yamaha EPH 100, JVC FX700 & Sony EX1000 or any other good IEMs. ;)
 

santhoshr

Active Member
Disciple
Nov 17, 2011
117
18
32
37
Chennai
santhoshr.posterous.com
My ranking here,

1) Klipsch S4i / HiSoundAudio PAA-1
2) Shure SE535 Limited Edition
3) Shure SE215

Here I would like clarify something, this should be one crazy list to have $19 paa-1 above $399 SE535, there is nothing wrong with SE535 it performs admirably well on any song you throw at it, the above list based on 'fun' factor alone, I loved S4 missing it everyday they have bad build quality, just got Paa-1 I want to try those crazy earbuds that sounds good like Yuin, after reading reviews I want to try the cheaper & better option, received my Paa-1 didn't even burn-in, it sounds crazy fun, only negative would be on high volumes the sound leaks and since it reverberates your ear wall other person can perfectly hear want song you play!
There are other headphone not worth mentioning just because I have it, still the 'worst' list below:

1) Senn CX300
2) Brainwavz R1
 

sufyan86

New Member
Disciple
May 12, 2009
17
0
1
32
[h=2][/h]
Looking for an IEM under 6k
Primary use:with the Sansa Clip +
Was using Sennheiser CX 400 II earlier so i would want a better set with good bass.
What are my best options?
 

santhoshr

Active Member
Disciple
Nov 17, 2011
117
18
32
37
Chennai
santhoshr.posterous.com
I want to update my Rankings, as I'm still learning about my IEMs. There are many things about sound source and gears

Some points based on experience with SE535/J3 plus other gears like smartphones:
i) You need to get 'acquired' to the sound source (j3/PC/clip+/etc) and earphones. Over the period the same earphone/source which you hated can surprise you, they remain same, but you are learning and start appreciating the nuances
ii) If you happen to drive earphones at high volumes, it can surprise you to see, some high end earphones (particularly SE535) can surprise you with level of details, soundstage, layering which gets improved when you drive them at low volumes. Try low volumes than you used to to see if it improves your earphones
iii) Sound that headphones produce has many attributes audiophiles can tell you warm, liquid, attack, decay, etc but you can keep it simple, categorize into Soundstage, Bass, Mid-Forward, V-shaped, there are threads in Head-Fi by ClieOS, which would be very helpful, this is not end there are other attributes like Neutral, Detail-retrieval/Clarity, Transparency, etc but you don't have to dig too much to 'actually' enjoy music.
iii) Mid-Forward, which was Shure's strength and often labeled as Shure house sound, initially did not get me excited at all, but when you realize meaty part of most song lies in Mids, you will start appreciating how Shure earphones particularly SE535, was amazingly tuned to deliver Mids, you will be addicted to that sound, and would not like to part away, it is non-fatiguing sound, I can't wait to hear those!
iv) Most important, If you hear any gear or combination, forget there is better out there, or don't pinpoint when listening 'I can see a huge lack of this here', etc, just enjoy what you get out of it, start appreciating and DON'T COMPARE otherwise you will kill yourself :)

My updated ranking (actually this doesn't mean anything, S4i is not just below SE535, there are so many out there between and above of SE535, out of what I have this is how I will list, this goes for any ranking, so when you see a ranking don't jump to get one ranked above your preferred, take it with pinch of salt of any rankings):

1. Shure SE535
2. Klipsch S4i
3. PFE012 with Green filter (only filter I have!)
4. Shure SE215
5. SA-C12
6. Brainwavz R1
7.CX300

I'm not including earbud PAA-1, it was novel factor when I purchased it! and the excitement long gone due to practicality of using them everyday and having good IEMs didn't help as well. Still for earbud it is Fantastic I would heartily recommend it.
Other than this, I purchased Koss-KSC75 from fellow techenclave member, what should I say, if perfection can be achieved it is KSC-75 (note here I'm not comparing them to anything else) the sound is amazing from these, and they are unbelievable value.
List without ranking one I use everyday, if you are planning to buy them I heartily recommend them:
Headphone - Denon AH-D1100
Neck band - KSC-75
Earbud - PAA-1
5.1 PC System - Logitech Z906
2.1 TV System - Sonodyne PQube 2.1 (this one they are closing down the dealers, so check the manufacturer if you are planning to get one)

DAPs
Cowon J3
Sansa Clip+
i917 (windows phone)
iPhone 4

DAC
FiiO E11

Soundcard
Asus D2X using Unisonar drivers
 
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fLUX

Active Member
Adept
Nov 21, 2009
932
47
42
30
Bangalore
I would rate the IEM's i had in the following order
1) TF10
2) RE262(With amp)
3) Brainwavz M3 / SA C12
4) RE262 (Unamped)
5) Brainwavz R1
6) Nuforce NE-7
7) Sennheiser CX-180
8) Brainwavz M1
9) Soundmagic ES-18
10) Soundmagic PL-11
11) Creative EP630

Among the headphones i owned so far
i) Sennheiser HD 598
ii) Denon AH-D1100
iii) Audio Technica AD700
iv) Cooler Master Sirus
v) Sennheiser HD 280pro
vi) Sennheiser HD 202

Sources
i)Sansa Clip + / Sansa Clip Zip
ii) Cowon S9
iii) Ipod Touch 4g
iv) Samsung Galaxy S2

Dacs
i) Fiio E17
ii) Nuforce Udac

Amps
iii) Fiio E11
iv) Fiio E6(amp)
v) Fiio E5(amp)
 

esanthosh

Well-Known Member
Veteran
Jan 3, 2010
2,041
260
123
Coimbatore
I tried adding the rankings to the first post and wanted to begin the not so easy task of updating links. But, I encountered an error saying that a post cannot exceed 10,000 characters - too much for some, too less for me :wideyed:
 
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hzant6681

Active Member
Disciple
Jun 5, 2012
95
26
32
Mysore
Bought the Superlux HD660 from @wyeyip


My first ever impression using Clip+,BB playbook,Sony experia Mini HD with SoundMagic A10: SUPERLUX HD 660​
They are good earphones for the price,Build quality is good and they are just comfortable to wear for 2-3hrs at a stretch.Cable is coiled & length is just adequate and makes the headphone portable. Except for the high 150 ohm impedance (complain-thin sounding without an amp)but as such OOTB,they sound very balanced , bass is textured,soft and goes deep without any mid bass, mids maintain a little distance and have enough details,highs have enough energy, average extension(not roll-off) and can be smooth to slightly harsh depending on the track( complain-slightly artificial sounding highs).Soundstage is above average with less depth and more width , separation & layering is between good & excellent & it never felt congested.​

All sub-genres of rock ranging from soft 80's rock ,Indie to Death, Trash metal sound good and surpisingly revealing though them, its like a made for rock headphone other genres of music are also good but not enough bass for EDM & hiphop. They are also sincere to exposing bad recording and low Kbps files. FLAC recordings on them make you smile. Inspite of all the good things,without amping them & listening to them can be boring and you get this feeling of constraint .​
Amping really makes them shine, its like waking up and gentle giant and watching him rise tall and big but never aggressive. With my warm sounding very simple amp SoundMagic A10, the synergy is good.This simple amp brings in extra depth,better bass body & tightness, smoothness in highs and makes it musical, and less monitor like. But still these require more power and i'm sure a better amp would definitely improve them further bring out more from them.@esanthosh hope the rocco-power helps me here :p
And also finished modding them a little :D the mids were a little distanced & a hence veiled to me so i dampened the back of the driver leaving the holes intact and the inner side of the headphone casing,by pasting thick aluminium foil and insulation material,and put extra foam inside the earcups as my ears when touching the inner foam.​
The result mids are crisp and slightly forward,highs are more pronounced with slight improvement in extension, bass is a little tighter, little gain in sound-stage,comfort and slightly less volume because of the silent background. Hope you liked reading this :)
 
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hzant6681

Active Member
Disciple
Jun 5, 2012
95
26
32
Mysore
Unable to edit my IEM ranking list so here an updated one:) (B-Broken,X-sold,gifted,gone)
1.DBA02 MkII
2.Hifiman RE-262 (B)
3.JVC HA FXD-80 -z
4.FUTURE SONICS ATRIO MG7
5.Hifiman RE-ZERO
6.SONY XBA-1
7.Vsonic GR06 (x)
8.SOUNDMAGIC E30 (x)
9.MX580 (Earbuds)/ Hisound PAA-1 white (Earbuds)
10.SOUNDMAGIC PL50 (x)
11.BRAINWAVZ R1 (x)
12.PHILIPS SHE3570 (x)
13.SENNHEISER CX270(x)
14.SOUNDMAGIC PL30
15.ULTIMATE EARS 200 (x)/SENNHEISER MX470 (Earbuds) (x)
16.TEKFUSION TWIN WOOFERS (x)
17.SONY MDR EX-57LP (B)
 

lepermessiah

Member
Disciple
Jun 2, 2013
3
5
7
Here's my little list of favorite iems (the notable ones that I remember) -

1) Westone 4
2) Etymotic ER-4S (Stolen- would like to meet that jerk who did that :mad: - still miss them badly)
3) Panasonic HJE900
4) Sony EX600 (I do not own one- had used my friend's pair for over a month and loved it)
5) Ultimate Ears 500 (been a disappointment- might sell them off)
6) Creative EP630 (gave away)

Would be getting a JVC FXT90 from @krisballa soon- I think it'll rank in between the Panas and the EX600- will have to try & see. Not much experience with full size cans except for a Grado SR60i (which is a beast with rock/metal) that I use at home.

Sources-
-Sandisk Clip Zip (rockboxed)
- LG Optimus 4X (extremely crappy with stock music player, good on CM 10.1 with 3rd party players)
- Sony Vaio with Foobar 2K.
 
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Ritvik

Well-Known Member
Adept
Mar 30, 2008
609
62
117
Madras/Singapore
When it comes to the IEMs I've owned I'd rate them in the following order, based purely on what I enjoyed the most and not "technical superiority".

1) Head-Direct RE-1 (4 pairs owned, all failed, last one was bought two weeks ago and lasted about 3 hours)
2) Jerry Harvey's JH-13 Pro
3) Yamaha EPH-100
4) Sennheiser IE7
5) Monster Miles Davis Tribute
6) Sennheiser IE8
7) Sony MH1C (or was it Sony Ericsson?)
8) Triple Fi 10 vi
9)Sennheiser CX400 and Creative EP630
10) Brainwavz R1

IEMs in the mail currently
1) Hifiman RE262
2) Hifiman RE-400

IEMs that tempt me at this point in time

1) FitEar ToGo 334 (heard and really really want but can't justify buying)
2) Sennheiser IE800

Headphones - once again owned

1) Hifiman HE-4
2) Audeze LCD2 (sold it a few days ago) - great bass and best mids I've heard. Lacks soundstage for a open set of cans and that sparkle in the highs that Hifiman spoilt for all other headphones.
3) Fischer Audio FA-011
4) Grado RS2 (Balanced)
5) Sennheiser HD25-13 II

DAC
1) Currently using the Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo -dB (portable and desktop)
2) HRT MS II
3) Hippo CriCri +

Amps
1) Titana's old EHHA
2) Ray Samuels Audio SR71-B (current amp)
3)Ray Samuels Audio P-51 Mustang
4) Ray Samuels Audio - The Protector

Portable Sources
CLAS -dB + iPhone 4
Clip + (in the mail)
 

Phan7om

Active Member
Disciple
Jan 17, 2011
77
45
31
IEMs

1) Sony MDR ex600
2) Meelectronics m9
3 ) Sennheiser CX 685
4) Soundmagic PL50
5) Etymotic Research MC3
6) MDR-EX60LP

Headphones

1 ) Sennheiser RS 220
2 ) Audio-Technica ATH-M50
3 ) Razer orca
 

Arjan

Member
Disciple
Aug 6, 2013
42
25
21
Hello everyone
I am quite new to this forum and to this crazy world of Audio Perfectionism, which empties your wallet, unlike anything I have experienced before!! Even my girlfriend isn't so demanding :p
I have owned some IEMs, and seldom sold them, expect for the low-tier ones. I take utmost care of my IEMs and have maintained them well over the years...
Though I may be nowhere near in experience or expertise, as most of you posting on this thread, I will take a dig at ranking the IEMs I own.

1) UE Triplefi 10
2) VSonic GR07
3) Sennheiser IE8
4) Shure Se215
5) Brainwavz M2
6) Bose IE2
7) Klipsch S4
8) Klipsch S3

My rankings are based on the following criteria, in this particular order :
Clarity > Instrument separation > Soundstage > Bass
 

PristineNote

Well-Known Member
Dealer
Oct 22, 2010
495
53
67
Navi Mumbai
www.pristinenote.com

sardar17

Active Member
Adept
Dec 16, 2013
209
43
41
Re: A Compendium of Audio Zone Reviews and Rankings: IEMs, Headphones & Sources

DBA-02 at #2?? Really?

My pick.

1) Earsonic SM3(EQ on Electronic)
2) Westone W3
3) UE TF10 (recabled)
4) AT Ck10 (Comply tips)
5) Westone UM3x
6) UE TF10 (stock cable)
7) Ortofon EQ7
8) Re0
9) Re252
10) Radius ddm
11) Re1
12) Brainwavez M2
there is no way brainwavz m2 even touches the gr07
its just a bassy iem
 

sardar17

Active Member
Adept
Dec 16, 2013
209
43
41
Re: A Compendium of Audio Zone Reviews and Rankings: IEMs, Headphones & Sources

My rankings (Based on personal preference; YMMV):

1. HeadDirect RE262

2. Radius DDM

3. Brainwavz M3

4. UE TF10

5. HeadDirect RE0

6. Brainwavz ProAlpha

7. Brainwavz M2

8. Nuforce NE6

9. HeadDirect RE2

10. SoundMagic PL11

11. Creative EP630
i have got both brainwavz m3 and gr07 mk2....................m3 looses to gr07 comprehensively in bass,soundstage and highs
mids are more or less same
 

sardar17

Active Member
Adept
Dec 16, 2013
209
43
41
[h=2][/h]
Looking for an IEM under 6k
Primary use:with the Sansa Clip +
Was using Sennheiser CX 400 II earlier so i would want a better set with good bass.
What are my best options?
sony xb90
yamaha eph 100 if price drops
hifiman re 400

just stay away fro sony xba series
 

sardar17

Active Member
Adept
Dec 16, 2013
209
43
41
mine would be
1)DBA 02 MK2=VSONIC GR07 MK2
2)BRAINWAVZ M3
3)SHURE SE 215
4)SONY MH-1C

BASED ON WHAT I HAVE OR HAD
 

esanthosh

Well-Known Member
Veteran
Jan 3, 2010
2,041
260
123
Coimbatore
Updated the first post with Rankings in this page.

Slight changes here and there in my rankings due to new IEMs and slightly shifting tastes.
 

sardar17

Active Member
Adept
Dec 16, 2013
209
43
41
Updated the first post with Rankings in this page.

Slight changes here and there in my rankings due to new IEMs and slightly shifting tastes.
i think ur placement of mh-1c way above brainwavz m3 is just wrong.
i have listened to these 2 for past 3 months now and m3 is better in everything.

also u have placed xba-1 above m3!!
xba-1 has 0 bass and as a result is totally useless for pop and rap.

let me ask u a question
i have burned gr07 mk2 for 40 hours now,but treble is so painful that i cannot hear these for more than 10 minutes??!!
will it def improve after more burn in
 

esanthosh

Well-Known Member
Veteran
Jan 3, 2010
2,041
260
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Coimbatore
i think ur placement of mh-1c way above brainwavz m3 is just wrong.
i have listened to these 2 for past 3 months now and m3 is better in everything.

also u have placed xba-1 above m3!!
xba-1 has 0 bass and as a result is totally useless for pop and rap.
If you think yours is the only 'right' way to evaluate IEMs, then I'd say that opinion is the only thing that is plain wrong. The purpose of the thread is not to find 'right' or 'wrong'. Ranking is an individual opinion and everybody is free to have one. Everybody has their own ranking based on their own musical tastes, subjective preferences, hearing ability, listening experience, gear and so on. One of the intentions is this way, others will find someone who aligns with their own preferences better.

The disclaimer in the first post highlighted for your perusal

Disclaimer: This list is purely based on my listening preferences. It ignores things like build quality, comfort, isolation and is solely based on my subjective opinion of sound quality. This is not entirely based on technical abilities either, though they do play a part. Since individual preferences differ, my ranking could be entirely unsuitable for somebody else. Just take this as one man's opinion. I'll maintain this list updated as far as possible. My Blog post includes a more verbose version of this list.
I have answered your query in the Random thread :)
 
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