After getting to a level with headphones that I am pretty happy with (Atticus and Lawtons), I am looking to step up the IEM ladder. I am planning on upgrading my DAP too at some point, but I thought it’d be a better idea to have a look into IEMs first to get a better idea for pairing etc.
Currently I have a rather long “shortlist” of IEMs that I am looking at:
UM MEST (MK1 or MK2)
64 Audio Tia Trio
64 Audio U12t
Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020
MMR Gae Bolg
In terms of signature, you can probably guess based on my two main headphones that I tend to favour bassy signatures, but I do also really enjoy having good highs/mids too.
I’d also really like a lot of detail if possible, as I love that about my lawton emus. I have found recently that I also don’t mind whether they are relaxed or very engaging as I am happy to have two sets that are similar but present the music in different ways like between my atticus and Lawton’s.
In terms of IEMs I already have the FH3, SSR & BL03, my favourite by far is the SSR, I just love the way it sounds for how cheap and small it is despite its lack of bass. The FH3 definitely has better technicalities but I find it so temperamental with the music that I like, that I just really can’t get on with it. I find that the FH3 needed my tube03 connected between the BF2 & RNHP to sound consistently good.
I’m currently looking at IEMs that are roughly around £1k (which would be $1130 shipped) but if I found something that tempted me enough I could probably push the budget a bit, but that’ll take some funds from a DAP upgrade.
The only things that make me unsure about the z1r are weight and cost, since from what I’ve seen theyre a bit more expensive than I’d like, but if I know they’re gonna be perfect for me then I’d be willing to wait a bit longer
Deffo a try before you buy (I didn’t lol) as fit can be an issue? but not for me they’re super comfy and I’m happy wearing them for 4+hrs no probs, if you like Lawton’s/Fostex then their bass is where you like it, also the treble is spot on, there’s a slight dip in the lower mids but that’s never bothered me…an absolutely banging set
I’ll try not to shill too hard, but if you can get them below retail, I love the tuning of the Meze Rai Penta. I also have the Trinity SS, which is great, but I probably use the Pentas more in part due to also being extremely comfortable (Final E tips). I also highly recommend the Jomo Quatre. Might have a hard time finding that one without buying retail, though, which is above budget. Another potential option in the range you’re looking at might be the NCM Bella V2. Just sold mine, but they’ve got really good linear extension with plenty of sub-bass and a somewhat in your face presentation.
I did really like the Z1R, but just couldn’t get the right fit for my ears through the tip rolling I tried.
I have actually been looking into the meze’s today, they might be a signature that’s more suited to a secondary set for me personally from what I’ve seen about them. I did manage to find them new for just under £1k, but I know they tend to sell second hand for a bit cheaper than that.
I’ve been pretty interested in pretty much every Jomo IEM that I’ve seen so far so they’re always on my radar for any deals that come up.
Yeah, the Jomo house sound seems pretty nice. Both sets I have are great for timbre with good technicalities. I’m actually probably going to send in my Quatres to have reshelled custom and have driver repairs done if needed. Gives a year warranty and make me the ‘original’ owner. Not cheap, but doesn’t seem outrageous either, given I know I like the tuning.
I think a lot of people shy away from higher tier IEM’s because of perceived value or lack of…how come that little transducer costs the same as my ZMF’s?..ok the delivery both in the way it’s presented and received is different but the enjoyment, detail and musicality trade blows once you come to terms with both types of transducers.
I’d prob pass on the sarda and u12t in your case imo, in the case of the sarda that could be too v shaped and slightly lean leaning, and with the u12t the midrange might be too recessed for your preferences, but both those iems have really great bass and treble
I also think a final a8000 could be a consideration imo
No, they are a more neutral bright signature but bass is very clean tight and textured, still really great bass, but it’s not going to slam like Lawton’s will. For that matter most of the sets like the 64a, jomo, campfire, and earsonics won’t have bass similar to lawton (when it comes to impact mainly along with having different attack/decay and texture)
I should mention, the set I go for doesn’t have to have lawton/atticus levels of bass, I’d like to find something like them if I can but its not an absolute requirement. I’m fine with something that isn’t endgame bass yet as I know that I’ll probably have to step a bit higher up to get something like that.
Recently I’ve more been wowed by detail from some of my gear rather than purely bass quantity, but I would like something that is more leaning on the bass focussed side of things.
I agree with what @M0N said about Sarda. It probably has the best bass texture I’ve heard from an IEM, but it is definitely very V-shaped. Super fun and engaging though. Lots of bass and tons of sparkle.
With that said, my recommendation is tia Trio. It keeps a lot of that quality bass, but is much more well-rounded everywhere else. It has a lot of detail and the presentation will be very open and stage-like. It is a pair that will just work in all situations, forgiving with source, and comfortable enough that you can wear all day. Everyday carry level of functionality.