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I'm really not a headphone/in-ear guy, but I need something to isolate myself at work so I can get some work done. I generally listen to death, thrash and groove metal through a Sansa Clip+. I decided to go on a quest to replace my 8-year-old muddy Sennheisers. I'm cheap, so I really didn't want to go over $100. The following is not a recommendation in any way, shape or form. From my experience with newer head- and earphones, I suspect people have become more expectant of an artificial bass boost and that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for clarity. Keep in mind that I'm not the basshead that many on this site are. Even though I have a total of five subwoofers in various rooms, movie theater level bass is just fine with me. After extensive research on that large headphone site, among other places, my path was as follows:

1. Monster Turbine - These were deemed by many people to be ideal for metal. My take ... muddy bottom end. OK mids and highs, but not great detail. I used them daily for a couple of months. Finally, I just couldn't take the muddy bottom end anymore.

2. Thinksound TS-02 - Hyped for clarity. The drummer from Lamb of God endorses the company. Got them for a good price. The left earpiece never worked. Sent it back.

3. Paradigm Shift E1 - I have Paradigm Signature speakers, so for $15, I thought I'd give their earphones a try. Turned out to be a lesser version of the Monster Turbine. Good for $15, but I'm looking for better clarity and less "boom".

4. Klipsch S4 - Some people say these are too sibilant. I understand why they'd say that, but they aren't sibilant. I just think everyone is getting used to excessive bass boost in their earphones. If anything they are lacking in bass, not treble-boosted. They aren't bad, but they don't stand out in any area. They are fairly balanced, but I wouldn't exactly call them "detailed". Without the excessive bass, they were easier to listen to than the Monsters. The wire near the plug started to cut out the left ear. Seems to be a common problem with the S4. Sent it back.

5. Klipsch X5 - Now we're talking. Exceptional balance and clarity across the whole spectrum. Those who like an artificial bass boost need not apply. These only play what's there. Great detail. These are the keepers.
 
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