Another Headphone Advice Request Involving Several Issues and a £100 Budget...

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Sorry guys, know it must be frustrating at times with a number of threads going along similar lines! Hope someone will take the time to read this though.

I currently use Klipsch s4's primarily through my Galaxy S2 mobile but, having got back into writing music, I've found I've been using them through my X-Station keyboard during late night sessions and this isn't ideal.

I have a couple of problems at the moment. Firstly, I'm actually starting to find the s4's to be a little, well, boring and flat. I loved them to begin with but over the past 5 or 6 weeks I've grown a little tired of the sound. I did recently switch from an iPhone so perhaps that might have changed the sound but the source of the music (primarily Spotify and 256kbs AAC) has remained the same.

My second problem is that I find the s4's to occasionally be irritating to my ear canals at times - especially in rare hot Scottish weather. I'm using comply tips which do fit very well. The oval Klipsch tips just don't seal anywhere near good enough.

The final problem is to do with my music writing sessions. Using headphones is never ideal for this but with two young kids and a missus who all need sleep I need to battle on with headphones. Using the s4's is not the easiest or most comfortable for a few reasons and on/over ear would be preferred.

So, with a budget of about £100 max, do you think I am best to replace the s4's with a better "do all" solution with a more "fun" sound or would something like a Fiio amp improve the s4's sound leaving me with £80ish to sort out my home use? Not an easy question to answer and I'm not looking for the definitive solution headphones wise but having 4 or 5 to audition would be great.

I had primarily been focussing on on/over ear headphones but a little wary that I will look a bit suspect on my daily commute! I've read much to get me interested in Sony's MDR ZX700's and Denon's D1100's but they might be a little big. The ATH-ES55 are better sized but then not sure about how good a seal I'd get on the train. I had even considered the Klipsch Image One's but I've grown a little concerned about how I'd enjoy the sound from these from my s4 experiences.

I haven't completely written off IEMs, just not researched them as much. They certainly suit more for the cummute but ear canal irritation is a concern and something for me to decide on. Have my doubts whether they would satisfy for computer music production too. But, suggestions in this area would be welcome as would any help overall. Fully accept it's a bit of a stretch to read through the above but hope some kind soul manages the time!!!

Thanks
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks Benny, but prob a bit out of reach. Though would be willing to stretch if worth it.

I think part of the problem is that I had initially thought I could bag a set of phones that would deal everything - home music production, listening to tunes in the house, listening when commuting - which is why I was initially drawn to the larger over ear cans like Sony's ZX700's and the Denons. But while in no way fashion conscious I am averse to getting ripped on the train for the koala look! I know, vain.

So, if a reasonably priced amp will improve the s4's sound enough into "funner" grounds then that would leave me with £80ish to source an at home pair of cans. No reason why I can't own multiple ear/headphones afterall!

But, like I say, if there was a set of IEMs or on/over ear phones that could satisfy the home use and commute then I'd be more tempted to sway that way. Have my doubts that a portable amp would improve the s4's in the direction Im hoping for.
 

Lee H

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I think you need different pairs really. When playing/recording with my guitar, I have a pair of over ears that never leave that room, let alone the house. I would have thought you'd want your music writing ones to be fairly neutral?

Have you tried different music players on your SII? Poweramp is a cracking app that has a lot of customisation options. As for the amp; I have a little Fiio E5, and yes it helps and for around £15 it's worth a shot. You can always sell it on for minimal loss if you don't like it.
 
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Anonymous

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J0n35y said:
Thanks Benny, but prob a bit out of reach. Though would be willing to stretch if worth it.

I think part of the problem is that I had initially thought I could bag a set of phones that would deal everything - home music production, listening to tunes in the house, listening when commuting - which is why I was initially drawn to the larger over ear cans like Sony's ZX700's and the Denons. But while in no way fashion conscious I am averse to getting ripped on the train for the koala look! I know, vain.

So, if a reasonably priced amp will improve the s4's sound enough into "funner" grounds then that would leave me with £80ish to source an at home pair of cans. No reason why I can't own multiple ear/headphones afterall!

But, like I say, if there was a set of IEMs or on/over ear phones that could satisfy the home use and commute then I'd be more tempted to sway that way. Have my doubts that a portable amp would improve the s4's in the direction Im hoping for.

Actually - ignore my recommendation. I had forgotten the RE262s are 160ohm impedence, meaning you'd need a headphone amp for portable use.

I dont think you'd benefit from a portable amp like a Fiio or equivalent with the S4s - they are too low impedence and as long as you can drive them to sufficient volume via your portable device, an amp won't help. All it will do is boost the signal pretty much - thats the point of an amp, after all.

One idea for portable might be the Etymotic HF5s - I can attest they are great iems, with trademark Ety clean, detailed sound quality and incredible isolation.

Or, on a much cheaper punt (havent tried them myself) you could go for the new Soundmagic E10s, which seem to be garnering great reviews

[edited by mods - house rules]

As for over-ear cans and vanity - I am with you 100% on that. Has to be in-ear for me, all the way. There's sound quality and there's looking like a plank.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks guys.

Lee - suspect you are right for the headphones. Budget could stretch to something like Benny's Soundmagic suggestion and, say, Sony's MDR ZX700's. Over ear would definately be preferable for home music work. I have tried a few music apps on the Galaxy s2 but my problem is that many of them don't read the AAC tag info which is a pain as I prefer listening to albums rather than playlists. Might revist this though and see if I can EQ a player into something more "lively".

Benny - will check those IEM's out. As per the above, the Soundmagics plus over ears might be a better option. But per Lee''s suggestion Im going to spend tonight testing EQ settings on my phone to see if that helps with the s4's.

If I do go down the cheaper IEM replacements and over ears route I guess I'd be looking for a fun pair of cheaper IEM's. Not overly bassy like my old Sennheisers (dont trust their build quality to be honest) but not as blandish as the s4's. Suppose his comes down to personal taste. Suggestions welcome though!!!
 
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Anonymous

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Had yet another night of research (went down well with the other half...) and starting to think that a dual purchase might be my better route. I'll give the s4's a chance over the rest of the week on an EQ setting but to me they just sound a little tired and lacking. Im not good at articulating the sound so "tired" and "not fun" seems the best words.

I do fancy the Sony zx700s for home use. They look ideal and a nice cheaper IEM replacements look like either Soundmagics E30s or Meelec's A151s. Both well thought off but personal tast dependent from what I can tell. I did adore the more analagoue sound of my Fatman Carbon iPod dock (before I had to sell it for a pram - very un Blues Brothers!) so perhaps the A151s would suit best but I do like a bit more of a bassy sound at times. Tough call.
 

Che1

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Hi,

I've been using S4 with a 3rd gen iPod touch for a couple of years now and the best EQ settings I've found by far (of course the iPhone4 may sound a little different) are either no EQ or bass reducer. Bass reducer definitely adds some clarity and brings the bass into line with the level you'd expect from more serious earphones while no EQ sounds a little fuller (but you realise how bloated the bass can be). Give it a try a while on these settings and let your ears adjust and see what you think. One thing I would have to say is that the S4 earphones are probably some of the most fun and alive sounding earphones there are while retaining decent clarity etc (to the extent that when i read you describe them as 'tired' and 'lacking' my first thought was that you must have either fakes or a faulty pair.) I really don't think you'll be too impressed by changing earphones, especially if you go for a balanced armature pair. I guarantee they'll have a lot lot less bass and be a lot less fun (by the very nature of balanced armatures), and you'll be straight back to the S4!!!!!
 
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Anonymous

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Cheers Che

Well, I don't think they are fakes! Hope not! They are the white model that Amazon had been selling for £40 odd quid. Had them since about Christmas. Possibly faulty though - or maybe damaged. I remember enjoying the sound for its cliarity and spaciousness when I firts got hold of them but recently things have been lacking. One ear was starting to crackle occasionally so maybe theyve taken a knock and aren't working too good. Can't say I ever remember them to be a little heavy on the bass though (like you and plenty others have suggested) but that could just be my ears. Or maybe I just got unlucky with a set.

I dont have an iPhone any longer but on my Galaxy s2 I have tried enhancing the bass - to me it sounds much better. Preferred EQ on the stock Samsung player was to use the "clarity" effect along with "Pop" EQ settings. Everything immediately sounded sharper and with a more satisfying kick in the lower ends. Just a shame that 75% of my commuting use is via Spotify which has no EQ ability.

Suppose there is always the possibility that Ive convinced myself I need a new set of 'phones but I generally think I've lost a little enjoyment out of my tunes over the past month or so.
 

Lee H

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You could use a Fiio E5 to get a bass boost, even with Spotify. I think it's worth a shot as you could always sell it on if you didn't like it
 
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Anonymous

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Tempted to go down that route Lee. Bought PowerAmp this morning and for a good chunk of my music, I feel they definately benefit from a slight bass boost. Thought things sounded better with a little more trebble too.

There are still a number of songs of mine that sound a little distant (for want of a better word). With the EQ tweak most remain clear enough and a bit more "fun" but there are still plenty that sound almost like I'm listening at a distance if that makes sense. Hard for me to explain - kind of lilke listening to a band at a gig (ableit with better sound quality!) when being well from the front. I suppose this could be a problem with the source but nothing is any worse than 256kbs AACs.

I'll give the s4's on the new EQ settings a little longer see if my ears take to the newer sound. Do have my doubts that either the A151s or the E30s would take me in the direction I would like but open to new IEM suggestions as always. And like you say, a Fiio amp like the new one coming out soon might just be the ticket to improve things enough.
 
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Anonymous

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Quite possible something wrong with them Che. All I can say is that to my ears the S4's seen bloated and overwhelming in the bass department for much of the music I listen to. Could perhaps be something to do with the comply tips I use but none of the oval Klispsch tips form a good enough seal for me. Tweaking the EQ did help a lot but I dont like farting around with EQ to be honest - I don't use it on my hifi set up and would rather not have to use it on the go. Besides, I'd b e constantly tweaking it to get the best out of various genres.

I've had the chance to check out Sennheiser HD25s and I really enjoyed the sound of them straight from the box. Despite them being significantly over budget I think I might be headed down that route. The bass seemed just about right for me - clear, punchy, and with a good mix with the mids and trebles. Isolation and comfort was also superb and with IEMs occasionally irritating my ears it would solve that problem some what.

Im still a little wary of splashing £150 notes and would prefer to keep this to £100ish but with the alternative Sony MDR zx700 headphones costing about £60 that would leave me with only £40-50 for IEMs and I have my doubts I could nail a pair that would perform better than the Klipsch's. I've also considered the RE0s and Soundmagic E30's but with nowhere to audition them I'm kind of flying blind just now.
 

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