Hello everyone and welcome to Cal’s Corner Store! I have been a pretty active member of the forums here for some time and have done the odd review here and there. I have been trying to get more organized and structured with my reviews in search of my “endgame” IEM(s). Some of you have seen my recent reviews and asked me to make a topic to put them all so I figured why not! Below is some background on me, my search and my preferences which I think will help people understand my reviews better.
My first experience with music was playing the trumpet in elementary school. I wanted to play the guitar but that wasn’t an option so I somehow found my way to the trumpet. From there I listened to a lot of popular music of the time including hip hop and R&B (90s & 00s). One of my fondest memories in High School was burning mix tapes to bump in my Chevy Impala and cruising around our town with my friends.
In college I was introduced to Coheed and Cambria and Guitar Hero which ended up getting me into learning the guitar. From there I started to dive into different decades of rock and Pink Floyd became one of my favorite bands. I also started to get into electrical engineering and modding guitar amplifiers, one of which I still have today!
Once I graduated from college real life took over and music took a back seat to everything else going on. I would still frequent festivals and shows but I didn’t start caring about audio quality until about a year ago when my company gave me a headphone stipend for working from home. Needless to say I ended up spending way more than that in audio equipment in the last year and really started figuring out what I am looking for in my audio experience.
This now leads to where I am today. For IEMs my search is to find something that can:
- Replay the songs of my youth, which require goobs of bass and a more intimate soundstage to really get the vibe.
- capture the euphoric nature of my vocal centric library and transport me to another world
- can play everything well enough without being too distracting to help focus me at work
In a perfect world all three would be accomplished by a single IEM but since that seems improbable my search is to find my endgame for each of those points.
Tonally I prefer a neutral replay with a pretty hefty bass boost. There needs to be enough treble extension so things don’t feel suffocated and the bass needs to be pushing serious air when it comes into play. Outside of those things a lot of little changes depend on the genre. I don’t focus too much on technicalities because my bar is kind of low. Its cool to have so much detail that you can here the singer smack their lips however that gets old really fast for me. The only thing in the “technicalities” space I care about is staging and imaging as that has a much greater affect on the musicality of songs than detail retrieval does.