IEM general discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Griffon, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. Raadic

    Raadic Rando

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  2. GreekinSingapore

    GreekinSingapore Rando

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    Hey guys, considering that I've seen a lack of super budget iems here, I decided to go ahead and review all of the super budget (all under 50 USD) earphones that I have accumulated to compare and contrast.Fair warning, I have not done any written review before so forgive my lack of measurements and experience.
    To listen to these earphones I used a Xiaomi A1 with 75 ohm impedance adapter to get rid of amp hiss, and a 2013 Macbook air, both using Spotify Premium
    The current earphones I have are: KZ ZS3, KZ ATE, DZAT DF-10,Rock Zircons, TRN V20 and the TIN Audio/Hifi T2.
    If I were to rank them in order of preference (in terms of sound) from least preferred to most it would go
    KZ ZS3 --> Rock Zircons --> KZ ATE --> DZAT DF-10 --> TRN V20 --> TIN Audio/Hifi T2.

    KZ ZS3: The biggest issue I had with these earphones is the fact that they constantly felt congested, veiled and lacked any real sort of transparency, tonally it is all there and does not sound distorted but I personally could not shake the feeling that I was listening to earphones, rather than the music itself.

    Rock Zircons: Despite it being ranked second to lowest in terms of sound, these earphones are incredibly comfortable and small, so I pack them whenever I leave on trips to do voice calls and light video watching on my phone.In addition to this the silicone tips that come with it are by far the best silicone tip I have ever used. Sound wise, these earphones are heavily V shaped, and are slightly overpowering in the bass, but due to a weak midrange lacks energy.

    KZ ATE:These earphones can be easily compared to the Rock Zircons due to their similar sound signature. I prefer these over the Zircons because they feel as if they have a greater sound(head)stage, and sound juicy in their bass rather than overpowering. Even though these earphones are not suited to a lot of genres, I often come back to these with bass heavy electric as they perform really well in it.

    DZAT DF-10:In terms of use, this earphone would go under the KZ ATE because despite what it does well, I do not have any real reason for picking it up as the next two earphones are both superior. This pair compared to the previous are much clearer in the whole range of sound, but seem to lack all life to them, I would say that this is due to a weak midrange and very very slight sharpness to the sound, instead of a V shape response I feel like it ends up more like a tick (√)

    TRN V20: Now we get onto the best pair. These two earphones are very similar in sound to my slightly modded T2s. The pair is extremely clear, bass is punchy but not overpowering. Sadly the soundstage is non existent, meaning the sound feels like its right in your head, and because of this it does not have a natural sound. the fit is also incredibly fiddly as well, and even if it starts out well, movement can sometimes cause your ear to block the opening of the earphone

    TIN Audio/Hifi T2: These earphones are an absolute steal, when listening to this I was slightly frustrated as I lacked a better sounding earphone to compare it to. without adding bluetack to the bass ports, these earphones are super transparent and neutral, I did not notice any range that was emphasised or recessed. I would recommend using foam tips with them at all times, the ones provided are decent but broke within two weeks of using them, so I replaced them with a pair of Complys, with the silicon tips (A pair of zircons) they had enough sibilance for me to get fatigued after a while. the one modification I did was block the bass port, which turned this neutral pair into a very 'fun' iem to listen to. Surprisingly the sound quality, transparency and clarity was not degraded by the modification. The only problem I have with this pair is the connector on the left side has gotten loose, so sometimes (not often at all), the sound cuts out when I'm moving my head. This can be blamed on me as well as I was quite cavalier with plugging and unplugging.

    Conclusion:
    The TIN Audio/Hifi T2 are currently the best sounding thing I own, and I really cant find any faults with the sound, price excluded.
     
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  3. Shutterbox

    Shutterbox Rando

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    I tried the 1551 cu, driven by Vali2 n buy cellphone.

    It has a nice warm sound, coherent through from bass to treble,laid back, called for no attention.
    Bass wise, deep n full, but not as fast as that of Andromeda or Polaris.

    I find it a very easy to listen to, however not as detail, as energetic, n evoking as much emotions as the other candidate(ibasso IT04Il) I was listening together with.

    I eventually paid for the ibasso
     
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  4. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Has anyone here heard EE Legend X? I ordered the universal yesterday and will be arriving tomorrow...bought blind. Read some reviews on head-fi, not that that means much, but there was one person I trust that absolutely loves them, so feel very confident I will as well. Hoping someone here can offer some comparisons with some other basshead/bassy iems. Maybe vs Campfire Vegas.
     
  5. Nordpol Anton

    Nordpol Anton Rando

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    I heard both. Legend X is on another level compared to the Vegas. It’s just a lot of bass. But also quite surprisingly enough mids and plenty of treble.
     
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  6. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Lot of bass... Just what I want to hear!! Thanks. Any other comparisons between the two you can share?
     
  7. Panohm

    Panohm Almost "Made"

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  8. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Thanks bro ,great to be back!
     
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  9. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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  10. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    welcome back @Warrior ... the EE line of hybrids (nemisis is least impressive) along with N8 really impressed. the quantity is basshead level fo sho but the bass texture and resolution is really remarkable.
     
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  11. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Thanks guys!! I'll definitely have to check out the N8 and the Atlas. 2 new iems on my radar already..
     
  12. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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  13. Zerolight

    Zerolight Rando

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    Hey folks. I'm going back and forth on ordering the Noble K10 from mass drop. Seems such good value and I always wanted a pair. Last pair of IEMs I had were Angies which I used with a Chord Mojo and iPhone X. I don't want to carry so much this time so I want to use straight out of the iPhone X with the lightning dongle. This kinda rules out the Andromeda which I gather doesn't fair so well with that dongle. I believe the K10 works fine there.

    I got out of the high end headphones last year having sold my Ether C Flow and LCD2. Trying to talk myself out of going back in again.
     
  14. LVF1

    LVF1 Rando

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    If you like the ether c flow and lcd2 sound, you might not like the k10. It seems you like musical and a bit more v shape sound signature right? And listening without any dac/amp might sound very underwhelming.

    I also had my eye on the N8, but the description made me think that it wouldn't be good for hard rock music so I checked it off my list. But all of the user experiences here makes me think that it could match with the types of music that I like. The bass seems like it can keep up and not be muddy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  15. Zerolight

    Zerolight Rando

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    The C Flow and LCD2 are completely different sounds. The Angies probably sat in between the two, which is where I think the K10 sits. The Flows were kinda neutral with very little bass boost, I liked the tone but something was missing. LCD2 was great for what it does but sometimes too much bass. It was way too heavy to wear for long. The Angie was always terrific, but uncomfortable. I like neutralish with a little elevated bass.
     
  16. LVF1

    LVF1 Rando

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    I thought the k10 was too neutral for me and the lcd2 pre fazor was too bass heavy. But if you like neutral, then maybe you'll like it. I thought you wanted something with thump in it. Good luck with your search.
     
  17. TurbinoZ100000

    TurbinoZ100000 Acquaintance

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    If anyone is looking for a capable, dark but cheap IEM, I'll throw a recommendation to Zhiyin Z5000. It's around 40€ without a cable on Aliexpress. It's advertised as having a Tesla driver similar to Beyer's products and I don't have the technical knowledge to doubt or even know what that means in practice. But it sound good hurrrr!

    By default, with the bass vents open, the sound is actually pretty dreadful. Muddy bass that goes all the way to the mids and covers everything in a thick layer of syrup. There is also some serious driver flex with the vents open, no matter how carefully one tries to enter it into the ear, you'll always be greeted with loud popping and muffled sound until the driver settles back.

    Block the vents completely (I used thin porous tape, not sure what it's in english... masking tape?) and things get interesting. The bass is MUCH better controlled, good extension into subs with a bit of midbass emphasis. North of neutral, but not excessive. Good impact, punchy.

    Mids have issues; the lower mids can still be a bit too warm and there's some peak around 1khz that makes the sound all honky, but with that EQ'd out everything sounds pretty even, no huge peaks or valleys to my ears.

    Treble isn't without issues either. It's dark-ish, but pretty smooth and loud enough that you don't have to pump the volume to hear details. There's a bit of a rise at around 9khz. Probably to add some sparkle, but it's a really narrow sounding peak that ends up making the treble sound pretty thin. Not a major issue, I don't mind it enough to use EQ. More bothersome in some songs than others. No sibilance whatsoever.

    Soundstage/imaging/separation/etc... all good. Not great, good. Yep.

    Build quality seems pretty good. The body is a solid metal cylinder so should be able to take good amount of abuse. Comfort is so-so, the edges are not rounded so might chafe a bit against the ear. The insertion doesn't have to be deep so should be ok for most ears.

    TL;DR: Good, cheap IEM with removable cables and warm-ish, dark-ish, slightly V-shaped sound (with EQ and vent closed). Ripe for modding? Driver might be more capable in a better casing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  18. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    I purchased one of the Kz's from Amazon. They were fairly cheap and I was pleasantly surprised. Just checked, they were the es3. One gripe was/is, that damn cable. Rubber shit. Tangles, and is a bitch. Otherwise, a nice budget bassheadish iem.
     
  19. Alaarx

    Alaarx Facebook Friend

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    Can anyone give me an idea of how much better top end iems sound from lossless & DAP compared to say wired (or even wireless!) from my phone. I remember clearly when I went from just plugging my HD650s into my computer to Gungnir Multibit > T3 for instance and I would describe it as night and day.

    I've tried Andromedas from an iPhone 7 and thought that they sounded relatively good with Spotify, would I get a similar experience going to a ZX300 with good masters and files as I did with my desktop rig? The convenience of streaming + not carrying another item cannot be overstated but I wouldn't mind making the jump if the difference was striking.

    I ask this as I'm weighing up on the CFA Atlas, I've tried a pair out of my phone and it sounds great, just not $1700 AUD great. I'm not going to get to try them balanced out of a Sony any time soon and would probably have to make the quite decent investment myself.

    At the moment I feel like the jump in quality when just using these super iems straight out of my phone isn't worth the hassle of not using AirPods or cheap (excellent) Chinese DDs with a BT cable. If upgrading my whole chain could get me closer to my desktop rig, I''d be interested.
     
  20. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Depending on how difficult the iem is to drive, it can be a huge difference. Not sure if the Atlas is like the Vegas, but if so, it would be a huge improvement with a dac/amp. Easy to drive iems, I feel are a big upgrade over cheap iems that come with phones. Not sure out airpods never heard, sorry.
     

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