May 31, 2016

Why/When to upgrade from stock buds?

What made you want to upgrade from your stock or department store earbuds?
For me, this was many many years ago, the main purpose was to block out outside noise without having my ears ring after listening off my phone. A necessity when commuting to and from school without losing my mind on the bus and subway! My first was the Klipsch S4i, which blocked out a ton of noise especially with comply and shure olive foam tips
whats yours? and why?
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I received the Ostry KC06A from Massdrop a few days ago. They sound very good to my ears. I can't really compare since i haven't had much experience with high-end earphones. I am using it with my xperia Z2 phone and already I can say that the sound quality is much better than with the earbuds that came with my phone and which are also noise cancelling.

The sound isolation is good. When I am working on my computer, my colleagues now have to wave at me to get my attention in the office :)

Only issue so far, is that the size of the tips which are not very comfortable for my ears but that may be just me.
I will try swapping with my Sony eartips to see if there's any difference.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the sound & build quality.
My reasoning for upgrading from stock buds was that the left ear piece would always die out and I just got tired of spending less than $15 each time to replace. Once I got my first job, I saved up to buy the Sennheiser CX 300 II back in 2010. It was a good investment as I still use them at home whenever I need to just grab a pair of earphones for a quick listen when washing dishes or doing laundry. There have been many moments that I thought I broke them, but they still work after all these years.
My first true upgrade occurred with the original Bose Triport. I wanted to replicate my Dad's excellent home stereo as best as possible and my at-the-time current earphones/headphones...well...they were bad (Air Canada specials! Still have them AND they work :P). I went to Bay Bloor Radio in Toronto with 150 CAD in hand and spent some time listening to their wall of headphones, finally settling on the Triports. I knew they were not the greatest earphones in the world, but I really enjoyed the combination of sound, design, and comfort.
Once I heard music from a pair of high quality headphones when I was a kid, I knew I just needed some. It was so long ago I can't remember the model, but they were circumaural and made in the 80s, I think they were Panasonic possibly Technics. Distinctively, I remember they had 1/4 inch plug only and and 1/8 adapter!
I remember thinking that it sounded like I was right there with the musicians, like an auditory hallucination. From then on I knew I needed cans that were honest and pure.
Fidelity.
Long car rides as a kid led me to my first couple of headphone purchases (cheap sony "monitor" headphones <$40). As far as portable audiophile tendencies that was a direct result of travel for work and already being pretty in to my home stereo for many years. UE Triple-fi 10's on super-sale paired with a Cowon J3/my phone got me hooked on portable hifi.
I attend a music school for piano, so I spend a lot of the day wired in to some electric instrument for practice. After chewing through 4 pairs of cheaper headphones/buds in 3 years, I decided to step it up with m50xs; they've lasted 3 years on their own. To replace my old earbuds I went with the MEElectronics M-dous (from Massdrop). I really liked them, but they got stolen so I gave the m6 pro's a try. They were ok, but not the right sound I was looking for in my IEM's. I recently got some Soundmagic e80s's to fill the time before my RE-00s ship in this August!
I got a pair of the £6 Panasonic earphones and had a revelation compared to my previous cheap pair. Later when the first massdrop grab bag with meelec came up I entered because I could andgot a pair of m-duos and they really opened my eyes to how good music can really sound. I still use the m-duos to this day. Meelec support is really good, I had to send back the first pair as the woofer died leaving everything sounding squeezed in the left earphone, and I lost an eartip and reached out to meelec again and they sent me a replacement pair of eartips.
I had the same reason as you. Riding BART around was drowning out my music, making me turn up the volume (too much), and I could still hear everything going on around me. So I grabbed a pair of earbuds that were much better at isolation, allowed me to listen at reasonable levels while sounding much better, and helped block the annoying BART screeching. I don't remember off hand what they were and I still haven't found the perfect, inexpensive pair yet. (I love them with built in mics and remotes for controlling the music and taking calls while walking around SF so I can leave my phone in my pocket.)
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