Welcome to The Headphone List

various earphones Welcome to The Headphone List, where you will find one of the most comprehensive resources on headphones and earphones, from entry-level through top of the line. The site is based on several review lists in table format, with filtering capability to help narrow down your options. If you are just getting started in your search, one of our concise Buyer’s Guides can help find the best set for you. Please use the comment sections on the articles to let us know if you have any questions!

Review Lists

In-Ear Monitor (IEM) reviews

Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM) reviews

Portable Headphone reviews

Buyer’s guides:

2014 Earphone Buyer’s Guide by sound signature

Custom In-ear Monitor Buyer’s Guide

The Best Earphones Under $50

 

Recent Reviews

News & Articles

Hidition Viento-R 05

Hidition Viento-R custom in-ear monitor review: Tunable reference

Hidition is known for their detailed, clear, and precise CIEMs that are on the brighter and analytical side. Find out how their latest release, the Viento-R, stacks up to the other well regarded Hidition products and many more.

2 comments
Minerva Mi-Artist Pro accessories 01

Minerva Mi-Artist Pro custom in-ear monitors review

The Minerva Mi-Artist Pro custom in-ear monitors utilize the Sonion AcuPass dual balanced armature driver, but the differentiator is the ease of purchase, with a one-stop-shop approach, simplifying the process of getting a CIEM.

0 comments
Fidue A83

Fidue A83 Review

The Fidue A83 combines great attention to detail with a punchy, slightly v-shaped sound, solid build quality, and good ergonomics.

10 comments
JVC HA-FR301 Xtreme Xplosives

JVC Xtreme Xplosives HA-FR301 Review

The HA-FR301 is an earphone for bassheads, pure and simple; its v-shaped sound signature, while not without drawbacks, maintains better-than-expected clarity throughout.

4 comments
Lear LCM BD4.2 custom in-ear monitors

Lear LCM BD4.2 custom in-ear monitor: Ultra-high performance 6 driver hybrid

Spacious, natural, and detailed with the ability to adjust the amount of bass from a little to a lot with ultra-high level performance. What more could you want in an in-ear monitor? Check out the Lear LCM BD4.2 review for more info on an instant classic.

16 comments
Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro

Brief Review: Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro & Pro 330v2

A brief review of two silicone-shelled custom in-ear monitors from Custom Art – the Harmony 8 Pro and Pro 330v2

6 comments
Rock Jaw Alfa Genus

Rock Jaw Alfa Genus Review

Rock Jaw scores a value win with their very first official US release, the variable-tuning Alfa Genus.

0 comments
VSonic VSD3S

Brief Review: VSonic VSD3S, Ostry KC06 & Havi B3 Pro I

A head-to-head review of three popular sub-$100 earphones – the VSonic VSD3S, Ostry KC06 and Havi B3 Pro I

43 comments
Tekfusion Twinwoofers

Tekfusion Twinwoofers Review

The Tekfusion Twinwoofers are competent bass-heavy earphones that suffer from a spot of bass bloat but still offer up good midrange presence and a smooth, inoffensive top end.

4 comments
Perfect Seal Sportbud Silver canal only custom in-ear monitors

Perfect Seal SportBud Silver canal sized custom in-ear monitors for sports

The Perfect Seal SportBud Silver is a high-end workout earphone that provides the perfect fit and audiophile quality sound at a reasonable price.

0 comments
HiFiMan RE-400 Black Friday advert

Deal Alert: HiFiMan RE-400 $79 + free US shipping (head-direct.com); Updated: now on Amazon

HiFiMan is running a “pre-Black Friday” sale on the fantastic RE-400 in-ear monitors through their official website at Head-Direct.com. Normally $99, the RE-400 is currently $79.

7 comments
Knowles_Earbud-exploded-Labeled

Guest Post: The “Re-Evolution” of Sound

Guest article from Tim Wickstrom of Knowles describing the evolution of sound reproduction through the years and highlighting how balanced armature technology can benefit the listener.

1 comment
BrainwavzR3

Deal Alert: Brainwavz R3 Dual Dynamic earphones + Brainwavz AP001 Amp $89.50 or less + free shipping (mp4nation)

Brainwavz’ flagship dual dynamic earphone, the R3 version 2, can temporarily be had for $89.50 including shipping (down from $130) with a free mini-amp and free shipping

9 comments
DIY Impressions with resulting CIEM

Ear self-impressions for custom in-ear monitors – what you need to know

Taking self-impressions can save time and money or waste it. Here’s what you need to know about making your own ear impressions for custom in-ear monitors.

6 comments
EarWerkz Legend custom in-ear monitors

New CIEM manufacturer: EarWerkz

EarWerkz is a new custom in-ear monitor manufacturer with complete lineup ranging from a dual driver CIEM to a 8-driver, 7-way design.

6 comments
EarSonics Velvet universal custom in-ear monitors with sound tuning

EarSonics Velvet: 3-in-one universal IEM announced

The EarSonics Velvet universal custom in-ear monitor has been officially launched, offering sound tuning and fitting in the lineup between the SM64 & S-EM6.

0 comments
1st-birthday

The Headphone List: A Year in Review

The Headphone List officially launched last September. We wanted to thank all who have come along for the ride so far and share some statistics and takeaways from our first year.

20 comments
custom-wrap-on

Comply Custom Wraps – foam wraps for custom in-ear monitors

Comply Custom Wraps are a new product designed to improve the seal with CIEMs.

6 comments
BuySonic

Introducing BuySonic – daily deals on headphones and earphones from Sonic Electronix

Introducing BuySonic, a new, members-only daily deal site focused on headphones and earphones worth keeping an eye on

0 comments
Beat Audio Prima Donna Custom In-Ear Monitor Cable

New Beat Audio Webpage: Aftermarket cables that don’t just look good…

Beat Audio Cables have a new website where you can buy their cables direct. Check out their eye-candy.

0 comments

 

82 comments


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  1. Dera TheHeadphoneList,

    any news regarding the review & comparison of the aluminum iem fighter by ubsound?

    cheers

  2. Great site, full of extremely insightful and helpful commentary. I’ve graduated from Shure SE 215 to Westone 3 to Westone 4, which recently broke. Have the opportunity to get them replaced for W40′s at $250, but open to trying something new. Challenge is to find something as good on a wide variety of genres, at similar price range.

    I listen to a pretty wide range of music, but in order of frequency and preference I’d say the list is:

    -Latin- salsa (many instruments at once, lots of percussion), etc.
    -Singer/songwriter acoustic (Jack Johnson, Jose Gonzalez)
    -Medeski, Martin & Wood
    -Hip-hop (De La Sol, Lupe Fiasco, Gangstarr)
    -Electronic (Gramatik, Gotan Project)
    -Rock (Sting, Led Zeppelin, Norah Jones)

    Thanks!!!!

  3. Just wondering what rating you would give the RE-600s? I may have an opportunity to acquire some but was wondering how they compared to the Westone 4. Side grade? Upgrade? Downgrade?

  4. Anders Dam Vestergaard

    Great site!

    one thing that could ease our everyday life is finding a good in-ear solution that allows pairing up with our roof mounted DVD player (in the car). Today we are using the “No name” bulky headphones which came along 1) they are quite poorly built, 2) lots of white noise, 3) they don’t fit our kids well and makes it hard for them to sit properly in their child seats.

    Now having read a lot of reviews – it would be great to get a hint on whether one of the better solutions out there would have some likelihood of effectively pairing up wiht this two channel bluetooth DVD player. We are using 3 bluetooth set at the time (one for each kid in the back-seat).

    Would the Sony SBH80 do that? or do you have any other reco’ I should look into.

    thanks for any support on this matter.

    best,
    /Anders

    • Bluetooth headphones aren’t really known for white noise or 2+ simultaneous connections – it sounds like the ones your system uses might utilize RF or IR wireless technology rather than Bluetooth. I would suggest checking the manual or just googling the exact system (not sure if aftermarket or stock) to confirm before trying to find a Bluetooth headset for it.

      If you can confirm it to be Bluetooth I’m happy to brainstorm some BT headphone options.

      • Anders Dam Vestergaard

        Hi – thanks for the swift reply. I was told by the car dealer it was bluetooth – but sure will check up googling the system / reading the manual and get back to you if we indeed are talking about a bluetooth setup.

        thanks,

        Anders

        • Anders Dam Vestergaard

          Hi again

          Now browsing through various pages /posts I believe you’re absolutely right that the system I’m referring to is running on IR. However there is an analog out from DVD where we potentially can take the sound and put into a bluetooth converter.

          Do you know if there are any bluetooth solutions supporting this, i.e., getting a 3.5mm jack input – converting it to bluetooth signal?

          then I am also curios to understand if there is a good in-ear solution to which the bluetooth signal can be sent. we need to be able to have 3 in-ear sets running simultanously and with individual volume controls.

          thx.,
          Anders

          • You can definitely plug a Bluetooth transmitter into an analog audio output. However, Bluetooth works through a pairing process, which means that typically you get 1 receiver (headphone) per 1 transmitter. There are some transmitters that are set up specifically for two simultaneous connections, but these are fairly rare. Never seen any that support 3 or more connections – that’s just not an intended application of the technology. Bluetooth is not like RF where you just tune as many receivers (headphones) as you want to the appropriate band and they all pick up the signal.

            There is a digital technology that supports multiple headphones – it’s called Kleer and is used, for example, by Sennheiser’s higher-end TV headphones, which are all full-size. I am not very familiar with Kleer and have only used it a handful of times. Don’t think any in-ear earphones use it.

          • Anders Dam Vestergaard

            Hi – great answer thanks!

            I think then the “easiest” solution is to forget about wireless transmission and then hardwire the analog out to a “1:3″ splitter in which I plug-in 3 individual stereo in-ear headphones. They just need to have individual volume adjustment.

            Thanks again for sharing your insights. Much appreciated.

            /Anders

          • Yes, that would definitely be the easiest and most reliable solution. There are some splitters that already have individual volume controls built in but it would probably be more convenient if the volume controls are on the cable of the earphone itself.

            Keep in mind that you need earphones with analog volume controls and not digital ones for this – for example the current MEElectronics M6P or Audio-Technica CKX5iS. Also keep in mind that these volume controls work by increasing resistance, so when hooked in parallel through a splitter lowering the volume one one will (slightly) raise the volume on all the other sets connected to that splitter (electrical current being diverted and all that).

  5. Hi,

    I’m seeking help in getting a pair of earphones and a pair of headphones.

    My Current Gear:

    Klipsch Image S3:
    I like the sound but I feel that the mids are suppressed and that the bass is over emphasized. The highs also feel under-extended. The isolation is sufficient. I’d like a little more warmth and wider soundstage. I’m looking for a pair of budget earphones (about 50 to 60$). Preferably with an inline mic and of decent build quality.

    Audio Technica ATH SJ11:
    I know that this is a very basic pair of headphones but before buying these I tested Sennheiser HD201 which felt very laid back and lacking the “energy” that the SJ11 has. In comparision I felt that the SJ11 has nice warm and full bodied sound which is fun to listen to.The mids highs and lows are all clearly audible however presented. I’m looking to get the Audio Technica ATH-M50x as an upgrade.

    Creative Soundblaster E1:
    I’m totally new to amping and DACs. So all I could notice and observe (when using the SJ-11) was an increase in the quality of bass (depth, tightness and clear definition). Would this DAC/Amp be compatible to the M50x?

    There’s no particular type of music that I stick to. I listen to a little bit of everything and the source is a Galaxy S3 (international version) and my laptop for watching movies.

    I’d like to know if the sound signature and presentation would be similar to that of SJ11. I’m from India and there are no retailers in my locality where I can test a pair.

    If there is a better alternative, I’m willing to consider it provided it is in the same price range as the m50x. I’m looking for an all-round performer with a balanced sound with a slight bass emphasis and warm tonal balance and lesser emphasized treble.

    Also could someone mention a good store(US) in the state of California/online to buy this stuff which might give discounts for black Friday/thanksgiving.

    Thanks in advance

    PS: This is my first post regarding audio experience. Hope it made sense. Constructive feedback appreciated.

    • Lot of questions there. For basic stuff like amps and DACs for the M50 the appropriate thread on Head-Fi might be more helpful – I have no idea what the Soundblaster is capable of, though the M50 is not a particularly demanding headphone so it should be fine.

      For IEMs in that price range I would recommend the VSonic VSD3S: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-vsd3s-ostry-kc06-havi-b3-pro/ at about $50 without mic. With mic is tougher but I guess the SteelSeries Flux would be a good bet. It’s a little on the quiet side so make sure your listening volume with the S3 is not at max – otherwise you’ll run into a volume issue with the Flux.

      I don’t have any hands-on experience with the SJ11 but I like the M50 series enough to recommend them without reservations at their price point. Maybe someone on head-fi has compared the two at some point.

      As for sales, you really don’t see a lot of the niche audio stuff being discounted. The VSD3S is already cheap enough as is at $45-60 – see the post I linked above for direct links to retailers. The M50x you might see a deal on – just keep an eye on slickdeals as it’s a popular enough model to generate some buzz in case of a promotion. Also, BuySonic.com has them on sale every once in a while. They ship within the US for about $2 so you should be able to save a good chunk of change over retail stores and even Amazon.

  6. Hi, ljokerl
    Thanks for the lists! They’re really good!

    Currently I am using Vsonic GR02 bass edition and I love them, but, sadly, the left side stopped working today (Accidentally, I dropped them on the floor two months ago and my sister stepped on them. Only the left side was damaged, but I managed to repair them and they worked perfectly. I suppose that’s why they stopped working after just five months of buying them). So, I want to buy a new pair, but I don’t know which one to get. I was thinking about Vsonic VSD1S or JVC HA-FDX80-Z, but I’m not really sure. What do you suggest? I listen mostly to hard and progressive rock.

    Thank you very much!

    • The VSD1S would make for a nice upgrade from the GR02 heading in a more “Hi-Fi” direction. It still has a v-shaped sound signature but just more balanced and refined overall while maintaining some tonal resemblance, being another VSonic product. The FXD80 is also v-shaped but moves towards a thinner, brighter sound that might be too much of a change from the warmer GR02, so the VSD1S is the one I’d go for. If you don’t want to risk the slight decrease in bass quantity that comes with moving to a higher-end VSonic product, you can also check out the Brainwavz S1 or the recently-reviewed Rock Jaw Alfa Genus, which make for pretty good GR02BE replacements with plentiful bass.

  7. Dear TheHeadphoneList Team,
    First of all congratulations on the reviews I find them really good and very detailed.
    I wanted to ask, as I’ve read many articles lately, if you’re going to review the UBSOUND Fighter aluminum IEM and if they will be tested against the competition?
    Thanks,
    William

    • Yes, the Fighter is in the queue for a review. So far I’m finding it pretty good but a little light on value at $80+. Then again, IEM prices are definitely higher in Europe where it’s from, so maybe it makes sense there. In any case, a full review will be up in due time.

  8. @ljoker, average_joe

    Visiting 2014 CanJam @ RMAF?

  9. Hi ijoker
    I really like and admire your reviews. As I am short on budget,so looking for some budget iems with descent sound. I came across a hongkng based brand called Awei with iems Es900i. I want your expert openin on these as people really seem to like their bass and soundstage.

  10. Can anyone recommend some of the pink noise videos on Youtube to use for breaking in? The longer the video the better.

    I am not sure if some are of higher quality than others or if that matters at all?

    Thank you.

  11. Hey ljokerl!

    Not sure how easy of a question this is gonna be, but I’d appreciate any feedback you can muster. I’ve been going insane reading and reading, and more reading about what to buy. Problem is, no matter how hard I try to understand all the “terms” of sound signatures, it’s getting me nowhere. I do realize that makes a recommendation harder for you to give, with me not understanding the differences in just simple sub bass/midbass terminology, or twin BA, hybrids, analytical, and so on so on. I’m looking into getting some IEM’s, or earbuds, I know there’s a difference but can’t remember what they are now. I’ve never tried these kind before, but am looking for something more discreet to walk around the streets with. I do know that I don’t want the kind that go over the ear, I think they’ll eventually annoy me in the same way on ear headphones irritate my ears. Also, they’d have to be able to use some sort of the memory type foam tips, because I also think that any sort of non secure rubber tip would irritate my ears.

    As far as the type of music I listen to, it’s very very simple – I listen to every last genre of music there is – Punk to Folk, Classic Rock to African, Pop to Really Friggin’ Weird. As far as sound signature goes, obviously that’s where the hard part comes in. My listening habits in my house with earphones are kinda totally different than walking around outside with my iPod. ***I would never say that I’m a basshead – BUT – when I’m outside amongst wind and noise, I definitely turn my bass up considerably to counter the elements.*** With that being said, if I were to describe what I like soundwise “inside” the safe environment of my house, using very non technical terms, lol – balance is definitely the most important thing I like. I don’t want any one thing overshadowing another thing. I “think” I like warm. If something is brickwalled, it’s usually the treble and mids making it so I would imagine, so overly bright would not be something I’m after because of ear fatigue. So I’m guessing this might be what warm is(?). I also use Rockbox with it’s EQ, to add or subtract a little here and there.

    Please feel free to ask me anything, I know that was a little vague in describing what I like soundwise. The most important thing is I live in a sometimes windy, noisy beachtown, and my bass and mids need to be able to overpower these elements while still trying to not overblow the balance of the mids and trebles. I have no idea what a “thick” sound would encompass, but I gotta believe I’d like it – cause if the opposite is a thin sound – well that just doesn’t good at all if one is listening to music. I guess “meaty” would be a good term when I think about a balanced sound. Thanks, hope you can help some.

    CT

    • One thing you didn’t list is your budget but something from the warm-and-smooth category of our buyer’s guide (http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/) – whatever is in your price range – would be a good start (especially with Rockbox EQ on hand). No previous experience with in-ears and no set sound signature preference means you’ll probably have to try a couple of sets firsthand before you can zero in on exactly what you like, but getting there is half the fun. You can read all you want, but you’ll need a reference point for your ears to start making sense of it all.

      Most in-ears will take foam tips of some kind so if you need those just leave room in your budget for a pack of Complys (about $15). Also, certain IEMs have a problem with windy environments where the wind will create noise as it passes over the earphone body, so for your purposes one that’s flush in the ear would be best. The Shure SE215s might be a good one if you can spend $100.

      • Excellent page, thanks! Had I been a bit smarter and listed it, my budget woulda been under $200.

        • Well, in that case the SE215 is well within budget. You can also just explore a few different-sounding in-ears to see what you like best – for example, for the same $100 you can pick up a Sony MH1C ($30), VSonic VSD1S ($40), and Philips SHE3580 ($10). From there you can either stick with one (and pick up foam tips for it if you need them) or figure out an upgrade path based on which one you like best.

          • Thanks, I’m gonna try and narrow it down to about three, order, and hope for the best!

          • Hey ljokerl – was wondering if any on this list sound atleast somewhat close enough to one another that I could cross some off. I’m trying to get down to only three, so if some of these are almost doubling up on one another, that would help me out.

            1. Fidue A63
            2. HiFiMan RE-400
            3. VSonic GR07
            4. Fischer Audio Silver Bullet
            5. Sony MH1C
            6. Yamaha EPH-100
            7. RHA MA600

            Don’t even ask how I picked these out over others – I still don’t really know what I like in a sound signature – I’m just kind of guessing here, lol! I did kinda take one thing into consideration that I hadn’t thought of when I mentioned the needing of bass for outdoor use, and that was that these IEM’s basically plug into your ear, which probably has better noise cancellation than the on ear phones that I’m using now to walk around in. Thanks for the help.

          • Those are all over the place and the only one out of them I wouldn’t recommend is the MA600 – it just doesn’t sound that good for the price. If you want me to narrow it down for you, I think the MH1C (crappy cable aside) and EPH-100 would make for a great bass-heavy first IEM and the GR07 Classic (the $99 version discussed here: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-gr07-classic-plus-warning/) makes for a great accurate/neutral one.

          • Damn, and I thought they were all sorta similar, lol! I’m just gonna order those three, and atleast from there I’ll be able to tell you what I liked and didn’t like incase there’s a “next” IEM down the line. Just a couple last things…….can you guide me towards an Amazon link for those Comply memory foam tips. I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds. Like a mixed pack with different sizes. Also, will the complys fit on all three of those IEM’s? That’s a definite must, I have sensitive ears, and I think the memory foam are gonna be way better suited for me than whatever comes with ‘em stock. Thanks alot, I’ll come back in a month or so and let ya know which one I ended up with.

          • I don’t have all Comply sizes available to me so I am not sure which fit. They come in multiple inner diameters (100, 200, 400, 500). The VSonic GR07 already comes with Comply-style foam tips in the box but if Complys are a must for whatever else you buy, just cross-reference your potential list with the models listed on their website (http://www.complyfoam.com/). The HiFiMan RE-400 and Silver Bullet are on there, for example, listed as being compatible with the 400 size (you can find the T400 sampler on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1rCz4Gv).

          • OK, thanks. I’ll see what’s available.

          • Hey ljokerl! Ok, finally got ‘em…….and I couldn’t be more fricken bummed. Oh so so bummed. I bought three pair – Shure SE215 – VSonic Classic – and SoundMagic E10. I have no idea what I have, but I’m guessing either super shallow ear canals, or super small?? But I tried every last configuration – small, medium, large, foam, upside down, backwards, straight, over ear…….everything! The Shure’s and Soundmagic could have never worked. The VSonics when I first tried all of them seemed like the worst fit, but ironically, were the only ones that in the end “may” have been do able. With the smallest silicone’s on, and wrapping it around my ear, a part of the square shaped ear piece seems like its big enough to kinda hook onto a piece of my ear to maybe stay put. With that being said, I’m not sure if my ear canals are just too shallow to use an IEM – and I really want to use an IEM. Is this common for some people – having shallow ears that no matter what just won’t keep it in place?? There’s no way in hell the Shures or Soundmagics, or even the VSonics used straight down would have ever stayed in my ear for more than 5 seconds of standing completely still.

            Soundwise it was really hard to judge, given that I had to hold them in place, and wasn’t really sure just how far I shoud push them in and hold. The one thing I noticed was that they all seemed too trebly. I like to use Rockbox so I can tweak the bass and treble a little bit beyond the horrible settings that an iPod has. I tried both Rockboxed and without, and with and without any EQ on both. Surprisingly just the iPod was less trebly than an un EQ’ed Rockbox. So I guess my only two questions would be – in your knowledge of such things, are there any IEM’s built with shallow (or small, not really sure which I have exactly) ear canals in mind, or are IEM’s just probably not in my future? And if there are, any recomendations on something with far less treble, but still having very good bass with a balanced sound signature. Thanks for any advice you can give. I REALLLLY wanted this to work out – I listen to a ton of music outdoors – and over the ears are just too damn big, and on ears bug the heck out of my ears. Thanks.

          • So I’ve played around with them a little more, and I could more than likely live with the way they fit. The over the ear guides help with keeping them in place, but its the design of the actual body of the VSonic that is really what helps it keep it in. I think the fact that its so square and chunky, I can kinda lodge it into place. So if you can think of anything with a similar sorta design with a sound signature that I just wrote above that would be great.

          • While the GR07 is by no means dark sounding, overbright treble is one of the most common indicators of a poor sea with in-ear monitorsl. My guess is that you’re not hearing the sound of the earphone just yet. With in-ear earphones it’s really not enough to have them stay in your ears – you need a good acoustic seal to create that closed system with the driver and your ear drum or you’re mostly going to hear the top end.

            I don’t know if it’s the physical size/shape of your ear canals or something else giving you the problems you’re having with fit – it really sounds like you don’t have a lot of experience with in-ears and there can be a learning curve. We have a guide to earphone fit here: http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-fit-guide/ and even though it’s been on the list for a re-write for a while now, it might be useful.

            As for actual physical incompatibility, the GR07 is pretty tolerant of different ear sizes and shapes. The only things I can think of are your outer ears getting in the way of the body of the earphones or your ear canals being too narrow for the ~3mm nozzle. I guess one last earphone you could try would be one with a really thin nozzle and a housing that can’t possibly get in the way of a good fit. You can do that for $30 with the Fidue A31s. It’s not a great-sounding earphone but it is extremely small and also has the dubious benefit of rolled-off treble, which could be an asset in this case. It also takes foam tips (my favorites are Shure Olives, which you can get in a small size)

            Someone recently had a fitting issue with another earphone and I recommended the Rock-It Sounds R-20 for pretty much the same reasons – see here: http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/soundmagic-pl50/#comment-20923 . The R-20 sounds a lot more balanced than the A31s but in this case it sounds like audio quality should really take a back seat to just getting the fit figured out first.

          • Ok, I spent some time yesterday with the VSonics – I can definitely get these to fit and seal in my ear without much hassle. But now I’ve run into another problem. I wouldn’t say I listened for a long period of time, but my inner ears really started to hurt. Not sure if this was from either having something wedged into them, or some sorta pressure that maybe the music produces when something is that far in. So now I’m kinda back to being in a dillema – I may have to go back to looking for some on ears again. I hate to ask again, but atleast this time I have a somewhat better idea of what sorta sound signature I may be after – but could you recommend some on ears with good bass and less treble. I really wish I knew which kind of bass I was after – from what I understand there’s different kinds, maybe mid-bass and sub-bass? Even though I do listen to Hip Hop and Techno, and would like something that won’t falter in that department when called for – I’m more interested in bass more geared towards rock – something that kinda spreads out the bass more evenly towards the bass and mids, if that makes any sorta sense. And even though I just read somewhere on Head Fi that a balanced sound is somehwat V or U shaped – to me that kinda doesn’t make much sense – I would’ve thought balanced means that the vocals, or a snare drum, or a guitar are kinda equal in what you hear from them, meaning nothing is more recessed than the other. Either way, that’s kinda what I’m after – the vocals and instruments being relatively equal. I know you must be pulling your hair out with my posts, seeing as most of your people on here seem to understand what their talking about – and for that I’m sorry – but I do have a passion for music and things sounding “good” or “right” to what I’m listening too – so I do appreciate you helping me. As far as money, it has to be under $200, and obviously since this is kinda trial and error and I’m ordering multiple things at a time, anything much less would be fantastic. I’ll take as many different types of on ears as you can come up with (different size ear cups is a huge plus since I’ve had issues in the past with how some of them can uncomfortably sit on your ear – even really small over ears is perfectly fine.) Thanks a whole lot. I’m still gonna bookmark the Fidue’s and Rock Its, just because their cheap enough to still say what the hell, I’ll give em a try.

          • Oh sorry, one last thing – I can’t help but think because I said the GR07′s were “trebly” that you may think I like my music to sound like it’s being played on the AM dial. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I had them in right – but I’m more than willing to say that I did – if they were in a millimeter more I heard basically no sound, and if I pulled them out a millimeter they became obviously to trebly. I played with them in every direction and came to the point of where I really believe they were in right. I never meant to give the impression that they didn’t sound good – they did sound good, and with some EQ’ing I probably coulda found a decent enough sweetspot – just not exactly what I’m after – and a little too much EQ’ing for Rockbox to function well. With that in mind, I never would’ve thought to say I don’t like treble – I want my snare drum to sound like a snare drum, and my high hat to sound like a high hat, but the word bright is what I definitely believe I wouldn’t like. So I guess dark and warm, but with realistic sounding treble along with the balance of the instruments I was speaking of. I’d like to be able to EQ it a little bit, because even though I’m looking for something to be able to produce some nice thick bass, I’m only looking for it because of the elements when I’m outside – I turn the bass down to a much more “average” level when listening to music inside.

          • I’m not real up to date on on-ears these days. The absolute best I can think of around that price range that is comfortable is the Audio-Technica ESW9: http://amzn.to/12YLYVh . It’s a little v-shaped in signature but mostly just balanced, with strong performance throughout. Real nice-looking too.

            Another good one that I tried recently is the Harman Kardon CL: http://amzn.to/1nLWAjm . It comes with two headbands so you can vary the earcup pressure a bit. For some reason it doesn’t work super well with glasses, but otherwise is more comfortable than average, though not as much as the audio-technica. It has a warmer sound signature and lacks some of the resolution of the ESW9.

            All the rest of the on-ears I’ve tried lately are fatiguing after a few hours, even to me (and I’m quite used to wearing on-ear cans).

          • Thanks alot – I’ll see where all this takes me!

  12. Hello Joker,
    are u planning to reviewing the new iem Fighter by Ubsound?
    It seems to be a cool Italian brand as per other reviews online.
    Go well

  13. Will you be reviewing the RHA T10i anytime soon?

  14. are u planning on reviewing havi b3 pro I/II?????

  15. Hi joker and joe! I’m not asking any questions.

    As two of my most trusted reviewers in portable audio gear, THL has become my to-go audio website, whether it is for buying guide or just merely informative stuff about gears I could not afford :P I have also referred THL to friends who want trusted insights on certain products or just general info on portable audio. So, THANK YOU and keep up the awesome work!

    • That’s great to hear! This site has been a long time coming and we’re very thankful for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received from the headphone community. Thank you for sharing us with your friends, and keep an eye out for more website functionality (and more reviews, of course) in the near future!

  16. Joker, for the average listener. rha ma750 sounds too bassy, hifiman re400 not enough bass for many, brainwave b2 not enough bass and analytical instead of musical in many reviews. I am trying to choose from the vsonic gr07 cce, brainwave b2 and a used custom art music one which may not have enough bass like the hifiman re400 which i really wanted, but decided on the gr07 cce because of the lack of bass. Can you break it down for me. I listen to soft rock and classical for 90 percent of the time. not a basshead but i do enjoy a good tight bass.

    • The B2 doesn’t have any more bass than the RE-400 or Custom Art Music One. Your best bet would be the GR07, which is between the MA750 and the RE-400/B2/Music One in bass quantity. The GR07 Bass Edition is an even safer bet as it gives the GR07 a little extra in the bass. There’s some on eBay at $129: http://bit.ly/1rO41Uw

  17. Hi Joker, thanks for the reviews, it’s very informative, currently I’m using soundmagic PL30, and I’m loving it, airy, analytical but smooth at the same time, but I got a problem with isolation, I can’t use it in a noisy environment, the best tips that works for me is the stock single flange, the double flange make the treble too prominent and the foam tips make it too mid centric.
    If I want to upgrade to something with the same sound character but more refined with better isolation & fit what are your suggestions?
    Thanks.

  18. Hi Joker,

    Would you consider reviewing the JVC HA-FXZ200? It’s similar to the design to the HA-FXT90 using the same dual carbon armature element but in adding the extra subwoofer component and changing the tuning of the sound signiature I’m interested in how much that changes or imporves over the HA-FXT90 model, which I’ve got. I’ve read through Head-Fi forums but I’m interested in your opinion of them given that you have so much experience and your website being a reference point.

    Thanks, Jason.

  19. Hello! Do you have plans to review the SE846? Have you heard them yet? I’ve read a bunch of reviews and am really curious 1) if they justify the cost compared to values like the VC1000 or expensive ciems and 2) if they make any pretense at neutrality.

    • So far I’m not a huge fan of the SE846 as an overall package. They sound good and are well-made but the housings are enormous even compared to something like a Westone W40 or EarSonics SM64 and put pressure on my ears. If it was my $1000 I wouldn’t risk it without trying them out first just for the potential comfort issues.

      The bass seems to be noticeably enhanced even with the most “Balanced” filters (the slightly v-shaped white ones), but not in a bad way. There’s no bloat and they don’t sound unnatural. Still, a direct VC1000 upgrade they are not.

      • Thanks a ton!

        I really like the VC1000. Its just so balanced, musical, detailed and neutral at the same time…its tough to find anything wrong with it! That being said, I’d like to find an upgrade but I don’t know if I will before going to UERM or JH13, etc. Not a bad problem to have.

        Any stones left to overturn before getting into customs? Maybe the Primo 8? (Do you have plans to give that a listen?) I honestly prefer the VC1000 more than the ER4S; that additional bass really helps on some tracks though I do miss a little the vividness of the ER4S.

        The VC1000 is like a going to get a presciptions for glasses. You think it’s perfect, until the optometrist flips the switch one last time, and you see there is one last step.

        • I’m a big fan of the VC1000 as well. I don’t think I will get to hear the Primo 8 any time soon but can’t be sure. I would also add the Noble 4S to your list of neutral $1000 customs :)

  20. Hi, just as a general question, how do you manage to remember the exact sound of every headphone you have reviewed? Do you have to look back at your reviews or do you manage to remember them off the top of your head? Keep up the outstanding work, thank you!

    • I don’t look at the reviews, but I do have detailed notes just on the sound, including more A:B comparisons than are published in the review. Those help a lot. Occasionally, if it’s been a very long time, I’ll take a look at the measurements.

      • That’s very insightful, thank you. Your site is definitely one of the few review sites which give full and accurate reviews. Keep it up! :-)

  21. hi there..
    ijoker you have not talked about a very capable headphone brand called SOMIC in your list. Any specific reasons?coz i am using cans by somic, an older model cost me only $5, but i must say its awsum with nice bass and good overall performance even better than beats cans.

  22. wana ask about aliexpress.com, are they secure source of buynig headphones? as their add is on your site.
    thanx

    • The ads on this site are served by Google and not in our direct control. Aliexpress is just a marketplace, like eBay or Rakuten/buy.com, so your experience will ultimately depend on the individual seller you’re purchasing from. For Chinese brands, it’s probably fine. For Western brands, especially those with known counterfeits, it’s always best to buy from a retailer like Amazon rather than from a marketplace.

    • No. aliexpress.com is materially likely to rip you off.

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