May 17, 2016381 views

Custom In-Ear Monitors

Quick check:
  • How many of you have a pair / pairs of CIEMs (and what are they)?
  • If you don't have a pair, what is stopping you from buying one (inconvenience, price, fitting procedure, sound quality, etc...)?

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They lose out on the badassdom factor :)

These, on the other hand, don't:
I have a pair of JH-13Pro CIEMs (w/freq phase, but not v2). They sound amazing (clarity in particular) and have great isolation. However, most of my listening is at my desk at work, so I prefer to use full-sized headphones because they are more visible (so people can see that you are listening to headphones when they come to talk to you), and easier to put on / take off.
Price and fitting procedure ranks highly. Then there's the low resell value.
I bought a pair second hand, and then had a service re-shell them to my ears. Much more affordable that way!
I don't have a pair, price is about the only barrier as I've auditioned some and would definitely get a pair if I had the means.
Mainly cost. I don't have enough money.
Got a pair and they constantly need repair when all that teeny tiny wiring gets dislodged. I need a second pair as a backup for when the main ones are getting fixed, but it's a lot of dough for a quality set.
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They ain't the greatest (Tunz brand from Starkey hearing aids). First it was detachable cables always falling out or losing connection at the ear piece. Got them remade with fixed cables. Now the fixed cables continually crap out, either inside the hard molded enclosure or at the plug.
It's a hearing aid company. They probably make great hearing aids, but they're new at making CIEMs. If you buy from any reputable CIEM manufacturer, I'm sure you'd be fine.
I would love a pair but what's stopping me from getting some is getting impressions done and having to get them shipped to the manufacturer for a mold, so technically living overseas is what's stopping me.
What are they?
Was going to get a Noble 5 CIEM but the price in Thailand is way more than the universal one, so I bought the Fostex TH-X00 instead!
I have a reshelled pair - a combined UM UK 3x and SM3v2.
I have custom ear plugs for riding that i bought at a convention/event so i am familiar with the fitting process (i still wouldn't know where to go if i wanted to do it again). I also understand the performance benefits of IEMs achieving 'perfect' seal vs maybe not so perfect universals. There were times this year i thought about pulling the trigger on CIEM and these are things that i thought of that prevented a purchase:

There are many new manufacturers and models. Balanced armatures and dynamics and multiple drivers. Don't know what any of this stuff sounds like before i drop big $. I might be able to go to a store and audition/demo $3,000 Stax at least before i buy. Need to know that my custom product could be serviced in the future if something went wrong. Stax highly reputable and been around long time for example. I have had mixed experiences (borrowed or bought) with universal IEMS, some are just bad and some are acceptable/good - i wouldn't have had any idea if i didnt try it universally first. I would feel more comfortable getting a custom version of a universal IEM that i liked.

Another issue is the inconvenience of dealing with multiple parties/vendors to complete the transaction (massdrop purchase, going to impression maker, finding time to ship impressions to manufacturer, getting shipped from manufacturer that might not even be in this country, massdrop to ultimate customer). Personally i'd rather deal with one person to get the impression done and pick it up when it's ready in person. This is a personalized product.

Not sure what the solution is at this point.
I've been wanting to get a set of custom earplugs myself for travel. (Stay tuned for your last concern ;) )
Try going local, you can audition universal versions of most CIEMS, possibly get an impression there, and pick it up there. Unless you don't live close enough, then most manufacturers will let you get a test kit.
Finding someone to get impressions with, and price
No customs here but more universals than I care to list. What is stopping me:

1) I get a really good fit with the vast majority of my collection... except the RHA MA750..... wanted to love it... but I didn't. : (
2) Price is a concern as my portable gear doesn't get near as much use as my home gear.
3) Price again - relative to aforementioned resale potential
4) Damn happy with the IE800's + E12A pairing, paid less for new than some used pairs sell for.

What continues to tempt me:
1) Noble
those finishes tho!