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Single Sided Stereo IEMs, which one should I get
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Single Sided Stereo IEMs, which one should I get

Hello all, and thank you for taking the time to consider my situation.

I am profoundly deaf in my right ear thanks to a genetic condition- I have never heard anything from my right ear and never will. I love music, but basically every piece of music in existence is mastered in Stereo, for my entire life I have either had to sum to mono (with the corresponding loss of fidelity) or just miss out on half of the music in any situation I had to use headphones.

I just recently discovered that both Sensaphonics and Ultimate Ears offer single sided Stereo IEMs, which is very exciting to me- I'll finally be able to listen to music in Stereo! I cannot afford both however, so I have been researching both companies as best as I can to pick, but am not having much luck.

My question then, is this: how do Sensaphonics and Ultimate Ears stack up on

1. Sound quality,
2. Durability, and
3. Comfort?

All of the IEM comparisons I could find were a decade old. The only discussion I found about single sided IEMs basically focused on how bad they are for your hearing balance... which doesn't apply to me at all, because of the single sided deafness. I also read about these "Yuni" headphones, but I get the impression that the build quality is abysmal and the sound is just okay so I'm not really considering them.

So should I go for the Sensaphonics 221? the Ultimate Ears UE-1 Pro? or is there some other Single Sided Stereo IEM out there that I should look at instead?

Thank you again for considering my question, I hope you have a lovely day!
Old 6 days ago
  #2
js1
Lives for gear
 

Same hearing as you, though mine was nerve deafness from measles. Yes, people give me their headphones that have one side broken.

You're not going to hear stereo - it will be like listening to two speakers right beside each other. I can't see how it would be much different than sending a mono mix to a single IEM - you're mixing the channels acoustically in your ear rather than electronically. Because the drivers have a small physical space between them, there will be some difference from electronic summing, but your one ear won't hear it as anything but mono. Sorry...

But I can see why the product exists. Some people prefer to use only one IEM so they can hear their voice in the real space (same reason that singers often take the headphone off of one ear). With stereo cue mixes, that would be a problem.

I do have an Ultimate Ears IEM. They'll happily sell you a single earpiece, and they price it as you would hope.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PickledJack
... Sensaphonics and Ultimate Ears offer single sided Stereo IEMs
Quote:
Originally Posted by js1 View Post
...Yes, people give me their headphones that have one side broken....

You're not going to hear stereo - it will be like listening to two speakers right beside each other. I can't see how it would be much different than sending a mono mix to a single IEM ...They'll happily sell you a single earpiece, and they price it as you would hope.
Unless I am completely missing something, it seems to me they would be simply sending both the left and the right channels to the one earpiece. If that's all it is, you could roll your own with just a little rewiring of the plug. And then you could take advantage of the hand-me-down broken ones.

Quote:
The only discussion I found about single sided IEMs...
again, unless there is some totally science-fiction technology that I am unaware of, these single sided products are probably just the same IEMs that are sold to stereo people, but with both channels ganged to one earpiece. If that is the case, and I bet it is, then the reviews of the regular IEMs will be just as relevant to you as to anyone else. Sound quality, frequency response, comfort, fit etc.
Old 4 days ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Thank you both very much for taking the time to respond.

Quote:
Originally Posted by js1 View Post

You're not going to hear stereo - it will be like listening to two speakers right beside each other...
...
I do have an Ultimate Ears IEM. They'll happily sell you a single earpiece, and they price it as you would hope.
js1, I am hoping there is enough of a difference to notice- this is something like a last ditch effort after all haha. Plus there a many situations where mixing to mono electronically is simply not feasible, and many programs do a terrible job of it.

How is the UE IEM that you have? Does it seem pretty durable? how is the sound quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Unless I am completely missing something, it seems to me they would be simply sending both the left and the right channels to the one earpiece....
....
...reviews of the regular IEMs will be just as relevant to you as to anyone else. Sound quality, frequency response, comfort, fit etc.
joeq, the two IEMs in question both have two separate drivers, one for left and one for right, both channeled into the same ear. That being the case, it should be quite different from rewiring the plug and summing to Mono (I hope)

I'm certain you are correct that review generally comparing the IEMs from the two companies would be just as relevant to me, but perhaps I'm just an idiot but I can't seem to find any such comparisons that aren't many years old. Are there perhaps any that you could point me toward?

Thank you both again!
Old 4 days ago
  #5
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PickledJack View Post

joeq, the two IEMs in question both have two separate drivers, one for left and one for right, both channeled into the same ear. That being the case, it should be quite different from rewiring the plug and summing to Mono (I hope)
Wow, that's a new one on me. I would never have predicted that! I guess it might be somewhat "different". I wonder what the advantage is to having the "summing" done by your eardrum instead of summing with a single driver? It's not like it involves your pinna, so there's no directional information. Both drivers are still plugged right into your ear canal, right?

And also, with 2 drivers it's probably going to be full price- or more. You could grab someone's broken set out of the trash, rewire the plug, and have one-ear "stereo" for free.



Quote:
I'm certain you are correct that review generally comparing the IEMs from the two companies would be just as relevant to me
well, I said that thinking that they were just giving you one driver and pre-wiring the plug for you! If they were just using one of their "regular" drivers then the reviews of the normal models would be relevant.

Since I don't understand the reasoning behind the 2 drivers, it could be there are issues about 'implementation' that make a difference. For example, with 2 drivers crammed into one earpiece, maybe one company does a better job with the "fit" of the earpiece etc. So maybe you do need actual reviews of the "one-ear" version.
Old 4 days ago
  #6
js1
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PickledJack View Post
js1, I am hoping there is enough of a difference to notice- this is something like a last ditch effort after all haha. Plus there a many situations where mixing to mono electronically is simply not feasible, and many programs do a terrible job of it.

How is the UE IEM that you have? Does it seem pretty durable? how is the sound quality?
The situations where it's not feasible to mix to mono is where I think it would be useful.

Mixing to mono programmatically is one of the easiest things to, and I haven't run into any cases where it is done badly. In fact, because it's done properly, and people often don't mix for mono compatibility, things in mono can sound weird - perhaps that's what you're hoping the dual driver IEM will address. I can't see how, but I'll be interested in how you like it.

I have the entry level UE-5. It sounds quite good, though a little on the bright side. Since it's a custom fit, isolation is excellent. They are built durably, and the cable is really good. I did have the connector snap off in the earpiece, and I'm not sure how I did it, which meant that I had to send them in for repair.
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