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So, can someone sell me on IEMs that cost more than $200? It's tough for me to mentally justify IEMs costing so much. Perhaps why the cost can be so high when I'd expect frequency range response to be worse than your typical 40mm+ since bass tends to need larger drivers to get better sounding low range (and of course more power and more some for a home theater subwoofer). I also personally dislike the feeling of IEMs, but I get the practical ideas behind an in-ear option (I just can't handle it well).
I'm willing to admit my thinking/reasoning is wrong, just curious as to what makes such small devices cost so much?
me too actually, the cost seems a little high
it's probably the same argument for some headphones though
Tuning and materials. It's not easy to cram multiple tiny drivers in something the size of a grape and then tune them across frequency ranges for each driver. The type of driver also comes into play: in-house, knowles, dynamic, etc. The housing materials and shape also have a play on acoustics and very wildly as well, just like the nozzle.
I don't know why you'd expect frequency range to be worse when IEMs can and have been delivering TOTL quality for ages now. If anything, I consistently find fewer and fewer cans that can match the speed and imaging of IEMs a vast majority of the time. Usually, at a MUCH higher cost. The one thing open cans do well for me is soundstage, but that's to be expected. Although IEMs are coming along nicely in that area as well.
And just like the amount of drivers in an IEM (or speaker really), headphone driver size is not indicative of bass quantity/quality. That has more to do with the driver housing and materials than anything else otherwise every planar would have more bass than any other headphone since their drivers are massive by comparison.
I dunno, I enjoy IEMs so much more than closed cans nowadays as I feel they're a perfect complement to my open-back cans. They're highly portable, typically don't require much power to drive whatsoever, and just have a level of musical intimacy I can't get anywhere else.
Not sure if size is relative. There are lots expensive small things and lots of expensive big things.
I'm just thinking typically for home theater you have a 10+ inch subwoofer to fill the room with bass, I know there's some scalability with size considering it's in your actual ear canal, but still I guess I've figured bass would suffer in size scaling in IEMs. Mids and highs I've heard to well with smaller drivers anyways, so that's why I focused more on bass.
And yeah, I get the small drivers being difficult to make and tune, I figured that's about right for that. I've just never really understood why people would get such expensive IEMs when a bad day stepping on them or a chair rolling on them could ruin them (I work with kids that slam cheapos against desks, walls, the floor, etc because they swing them around, so I've never really liked the idea of having them outside of travel or exercise)
And of course I just don't like how it feels to have IEMs in so I'm probably biased against it in the first place. Just curious about why people like them, and if certain ones can compare to your Senn Hd 600+ line, Beyer 880-990, T1 250+ ohms, Denon X000/fostex X00, focal clear/elex, etc.
It really boils down to driver type, honestly. balanced armature's are getting better at delivering bass but are still typically bass-light compared to a dynamic driver. Hency, why they have hybrid IEMs that utilize both. Audeze has even brought out a planar IEM, which is pretty bonkers when you think about it. They make some IEMs that are focused on the low-end and it feels like it's going to rattle your eyeballs outta your head. I'm a closet basshead but it's too much for me. I have a Atmos setup that has 2 subs (front and back) with 7 floor-standing loudspeakers so if I need a ton of bass I use my home stereo system.
IEM durability is also pretty good nowadays. With more and more housings being made all out of metal, they can take more abuse than most cans. I have dropped and stepped on my fare share (even washed a pair once) and they have held out well. I can't begin to tell you how many yokes, sliders, and headbands have broken on my over-ears over the years.
In terms of comfort, it really boils down to finding the shape for your ear. I prefer anything tear-drop shaped as anything else rubs and is beyond comfortable. Same with tips. I normally use a triple-flange but prefer silicon over foam most of the time. Foam puts more pressure in my ear and just gets uncomfortable for long sessions.
Personally, IEMs these days compare very well to headphones. There's so many variations and configurations and exotic designs not to be. And just like most headphones, they offer their own unique sound just like dynamic vs. orthos/planars vs. electrostatic in headphones. The same tech exists for IEMs but with IEMs you get multiple drivers reminiscent of a loudspeaker so their frequency ranges can vary wildly. That's the fun in it, really is sampling all the new and evolving tech as I feel headphones aren't in the same way unless you're in some ridiculous boutique price bracket.
Don't buy it unless you really enjoy music A LOT. If you really really music, any slight upgrade would means a lot to you.