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Earphones watch

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    :hi:

    I currently have a pair of Bose SoundTrue earphones (had them for a year), but now I'm looking for an upgrade in terms of sound quality.

    By "upgrade", I don't just mean a slight upgrade, but I'm looking for the best earphones that don't require an amp or anything

    I've heard good things about the Shure SE535s, but do you have any other suggestions?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    :hi:

    I currently have a pair of Bose SoundTrue earphones (had them for a year), but now I'm looking for an upgrade in terms of sound quality.

    By "upgrade", I don't just mean a slight upgrade, but I'm looking for the best earphones that don't require an amp or anything

    I've heard good things about the Shure SE535s, but do you have any other suggestions?

    Thanks
    What's your budget? Because "the best earphones" can get pricier than you may realise.

    What sort of music do you listen to?
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    (Original post by Gofre)
    What's your budget? Because "the best earphones" can get pricier than you may realise.

    What sort of music do you listen to?
    Wow. Well, I'd say that £2k is definitely too much for a pair of earphones :shock:

    Budget-wise, let's say £500.

    Also, since I listen to a wide variety of music, I'm just after a pair of good all-rounders
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    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    Wow. Well, I'd say that £2k is definitely too much for a pair of earphones :shock:

    Budget-wise, let's say £500.

    Also, since I listen to a wide variety of music, I'm just after a pair of good all-rounders
    For that sort of budget I would personally go for the Westone UM Pro 50 on the universal fit side of things. The Shures are great, but the Westones benefit from being a lot newer and being able to take advantage of new innovations in driver tech, and Westone tend to have a more balanced tonality that plays well with a wider variety of music, and their soundstage/imaging will also be a big area of improvement.

    The other option is custom fit IEMs, and your budget is plenty to get a great pair. They won't be quite as good as a universal fit in terms of sheer driver fidelity, but you get absolutely the best fit and isolation of any headphones possible, which have acoustic benefits of their own. Noble Audio and Unique Melody create excellent products with direct UK storefronts in place to make ordering as simple as possible, which is a big plus for the often quite complex ordering process behind customs, and they're generally among the best companies making CIEMs on the market. Be sure to reserve about £50 of your budget to get ear impressions made, you can do it at home with DIY kits but when you're spending a large sum on CIEMs it pays to get the best fit possible by getting them made professionally. Unique Melody have two potential options for your budget, the triple balanced armature Aero and the triple dynamic driver 3DD (if you aren't aware of the difference, a tldr explanation is that BA drivers provide better clarity and accuracy while dynamic drivers get you a more "physical" experience, particularly when it comes to bass), and Noble Audio have the Noble 4C.
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    (Original post by Gofre)
    For that sort of budget I would personally go for the Westone UM Pro 50 on the universal fit side of things. The Shures are great, but the Westones benefit from being a lot newer and being able to take advantage of new innovations in driver tech, and Westone tend to have a more balanced tonality that plays well with a wider variety of music, and their soundstage/imaging will also be a big area of improvement.

    The other option is custom fit IEMs, and your budget is plenty to get a great pair. They won't be quite as good as a universal fit in terms of sheer driver fidelity, but you get absolutely the best fit and isolation of any headphones possible, which have acoustic benefits of their own. Noble Audio and Unique Melody create excellent products with direct UK storefronts in place to make ordering as simple as possible, which is a big plus for the often quite complex ordering process behind customs, and they're generally among the best companies making CIEMs on the market. Be sure to reserve about £50 of your budget to get ear impressions made, you can do it at home with DIY kits but when you're spending a large sum on CIEMs it pays to get the best fit possible by getting them made professionally. Unique Melody have two potential options for your budget, the triple balanced armature Aero and the triple dynamic driver 3DD (if you aren't aware of the difference, a tldr explanation is that BA drivers provide better clarity and accuracy while dynamic drivers get you a more "physical" experience, particularly when it comes to bass), and Noble Audio have the Noble 4C.
    Having now done some research, the idea of a "perfect fit" does certainly appeal to me (I wasn't aware of that possibility beforehand).

    I've had a look o the Unique Melody website and I was wondering if it'd be worth getting their flagship 'Miracle' for use without an amp? Basically, I'm not too keen on the idea of carrying a portable amp around with me, so I'd want them to perform to their best without one.
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    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    Having now done some research, the idea of a "perfect fit" does certainly appeal to me (I wasn't aware of that possibility beforehand).

    I've had a look o the Unique Melody website and I was wondering if it'd be worth getting their flagship 'Miracle' for use without an amp? Basically, I'm not too keen on the idea of carrying a portable amp around with me, so I'd want them to perform to their best without one.
    What device do you intend on plugging them into?

    If you're going to be spending £700+ on a pair of headphones, you really should consider getting some decent source components both for their own acoustic improvements and because the miracles benefit from the extra power that no smartphone/MP3 player can produce.
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    (Original post by Gofre)
    What device do you intend on plugging them into?

    If you're going to be spending £700+ on a pair of headphones, you really should consider getting some decent source components both for their own acoustic improvements and because the miracles benefit from the extra power that no smartphone/MP3 player can produce.
    Smartphone.

    Ok, so are there any non-intrusive things that you'd recommend to supplement those earphones? I'm mostly going to be using them when I'm out and about,
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    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    Smartphone.

    Ok, so are there any non-intrusive things that you'd recommend to supplement those earphones? I'm mostly going to be using them when I'm out and about,
    I would consider something flat and unobtrusive that could be stacked with your smartphone, like the FiiO E18 or iBasso D-Zero. Both are under £120 and work with various Android phones, and will provide a large improvement over the audio quality of your phone on its own when used with such a resolving pair of CIEMs as the Miracles (which were among the absolute best CIEMs in the world back in 2011/2012). Just be sure to google the name of your phone and "DAC compatibility", as support varies heavily among different phones and OS versions. For a very general breakdown;

    *iOS devices: Apple require DACs to receive Apple certification to draw audio digitally from iOS devices, and most certified devices will cost hundred of pounds and generally aren't very pocket friendly. The workaround is buying a Lightning>30pin converter which, while it won't let you bypass the DAC, it will bypass the amp which arguably has a larger impact on audio quality in most cases. So using a 30pin converter with FiiO L7 cable will let you use any amp with your phone. If you have an iPhone 4S or older, you already have the 30pin so you won't need the adaptor.

    *Android devices: This varies wildly from phone to phone and between different Android versions, but the E18 supports a large number of newer Android phones from major companies. Just have a Google around to see what your phone has going for it in terms of "DAC compatibility". If you find your phone doesn't support digital output, then just using a standard aux cable to go from the phone's headphone jack to the analogue input of a portable DAC/amp will be your best bet, but this is not ideal as it leaves both the phone's internal DAC and amp still in the audio chain.

    *Windows Phone & Blackberry devices: You're completely out of luck on DACs, so feeding external components via the headphone jack as described above is your only option.

    The other alternative is buying a small, pocket friendly audiophile media player, which will pack high grade audio circuitry into a dedicated body. Again I'd recommend iBasso and FiiO here, this time with the iBasso DX50 (the player that I personally use) and the FiiO X1 or X3. It's less convenient in the sense you have to carry two separate devices to control, but more convenient in that all your high end audio is bundles into a device dedicated to playing music well without stringing cables between two different units.
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    (Original post by Gofre)
    I would consider something flat and unobtrusive that could be stacked with your smartphone, like the FiiO E18 or iBasso D-Zero. Both are under £120 and work with various Android phones, and will provide a large improvement over the audio quality of your phone on its own when used with such a resolving pair of CIEMs as the Miracles (which were among the absolute best CIEMs in the world back in 2011/2012). Just be sure to google the name of your phone and "DAC compatibility", as support varies heavily among different phones and OS versions. For a very general breakdown;

    *iOS devices: Apple require DACs to receive Apple certification to draw audio digitally from iOS devices, and most certified devices will cost hundred of pounds and generally aren't very pocket friendly. The workaround is buying a Lightning>30pin converter which, while it won't let you bypass the DAC, it will bypass the amp which arguably has a larger impact on audio quality in most cases. So using a 30pin converter with FiiO L7 cable will let you use any amp with your phone. If you have an iPhone 4S or older, you already have the 30pin so you won't need the adaptor.

    *Android devices: This varies wildly from phone to phone and between different Android versions, but the E18 supports a large number of newer Android phones from major companies. Just have a Google around to see what your phone has going for it in terms of "DAC compatibility". If you find your phone doesn't support digital output, then just using a standard aux cable to go from the phone's headphone jack to the analogue input of a portable DAC/amp will be your best bet, but this is not ideal as it leaves both the phone's internal DAC and amp still in the audio chain.

    *Windows Phone & Blackberry devices: You're completely out of luck on DACs, so feeding external components via the headphone jack as described above is your only option.

    The other alternative is buying a small, pocket friendly audiophile media player, which will pack high grade audio circuitry into a dedicated body. Again I'd recommend iBasso and FiiO here, this time with the iBasso DX50 (the player that I personally use) and the FiiO X1 or X3. It's less convenient in the sense you have to carry two separate devices to control, but more convenient in that all your high end audio is bundles into a device dedicated to playing music well without stringing cables between two different units.
    Ok, thanks for that Well, I have the 6s+, so I think that the converter will probably be the best option for me in terms of space-saving.

    I think I better get the ball rolling now
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    (Original post by Indeterminate)
    Ok, thanks for that Well, I have the 6s+, so I think that the converter will probably be the best option for me in terms of space-saving.

    I think I better get the ball rolling now
    Ooh I'd completely forgotten, if you have a little extra to spend then the Oppo HA-2 is absolutely excellent (I got to try one a couple of months ago and remember being very impressed) and works with your phone without needing an adaptor. It looks great too :yep:

    https://www.oppodigital.com/headphone-amplifier-ha-2/
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    (Original post by Gofre)
    Ooh I'd completely forgotten, if you have a little extra to spend then the Oppo HA-2 is absolutely excellent (I got to try one a couple of months ago and remember being very impressed) and works with your phone without needing an adaptor. It looks great too :yep:

    https://www.oppodigital.com/headphone-amplifier-ha-2/
    That's perfect, thanks
 
 
 
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