3.14 MR3 Music Headphones, BA Balanced Armature Headphones with 3 Moving-iron Units - Reviews
Pros: Comfortable, best cable in my review field (14 units), clear and concise sound quality. Build quality of a tank.
Cons: Lack of hard case, lack of foam tips.
Pai Audio MR3
Shenzhen Paiaudio Electronics Co. Ltd
‘Our company is specialized in manufacturing high-end earphones. Its PAI digital sound team has the elites from national audio field, who devote themselves to earphone's acoustic research and development. Based on constant hard work on the design, material purchase, production, product test and quality control, we are proud to present the best products.

We have gained a great amount of recognition in digital, computer and earphone field since our 3.14 series products were launched. The company's business concept is "Top quality exchange for best reputation", the concept follows our faith "Customers' need comes first" when we provide clients with excellent products and after-sale service.’
PaiAudio is a rather young company founded in 2014 and based in Shenzhen, China and is growing in both reputation and quality.
When I first received the IEM’s I noted that the packaging is very professional with a nice strong box purpose built to protect the unit from the daily bangs and bumps of shipping from China (please note shipping from China to the UK does incur an import cost).
Inside the package:
1.π3.14 DR1  EARPHONE
The only disappointment in the contents were the lack of a good case. Don’t get me wrong it’s the best fabric case I received for review (14 units) but the lack of a hard case means I will be supplying my own. Also the earbuds were not what I would have wanted. I now use memory foam inserts and as most manufacturers supply at least one set of these I feel Pai Audio could supply the same, it increases the seal and betters the bass response.
Now to the unit itself. I received the red colour (I believe there are four available colours). It’s see through which is what I like and although at first I didn’t feel like the fit was as nice as other units my ears did adapt to allow very comfortable fitting.
As mentioned the seal would be vastly improved with expanding foam inserts but I was impressed with what I could hear. They are clear through the frequency range and I’d love to hear the improved bass response with my preferred ear buds. 
Removable cables allow replacements which at this price bracket (approx. £105) is a must (as for me cables are the first thing to go). I must say this for the cable, with IEMs ranging from £40-£320 in my possession for review the Pai Audio cable is the best I’ve received. It is strong and feels reinforced, the connection to the IEM is also very robust and I feel this all has a very long life span.
Special-handcrafts-made mold outer shells  meets all different sized  and shaped ears, which   gives you the most wonderful listening experience.

No need to worry its damage or abrasion whether you place the earphone carefully or put it in your bag/purse randomly.

It brings the enjoyment of fabulous tone defeating world's top earphones.

To ordinary cords,no matter how well you keep them, the cords and pockets seem never get along. Therefore, we designed the cord, making sure its softness and avoiding entanglements.

‘There are countless manufacturers for dynamic coil speakers in earphones. However, due to their miniature size, the number of balanced armature receiver makers is far lower. In the past, the market for BA manufacture has been (and still is) dominated by two companies: Knowles and Sonion. However, as the market for in-ear earphones has expanded, global demand for “premium sound” has propelled more and more companies to get into the game for manufacturing balanced armature drivers. While both Sonion and Knowles continue to dominate, earphones using balanced armatures in the future might not necessarily use their products.’ So the Pai Audio MR3 does not use cheap Chinese components (American Knowles original binding moving iron units of balance armature type, 3 inner-set moving iron units, 1 high-frequency unit and compounding middle-low-frequency one,) but quality market leading components that leave the unit in a competitive field.
All in all for the price I would buy these with no problem, I have used them as a sound engineer at FOH (Front of House) and also as a musician. As a sound engineer they were comfortable and gave a nice balanced sound. As a musician when playing the guitar in a band I have found them to give a nice balance of on stage noise and IEM mix depending on how hard I pushed them, they didn’t distort at on stage volume and I like to keep a nice mix of on stage noise and IEM Mix. As a drummer I didn’t really get on with them as I felt the seal (or the main body of unit) allowed too much sound to get through. This I suspect would be greatly improved by foam tips. As an audiophile I would be happy to use them as earphones on the move due to the comfort and weight. They are some of the lightest two drivers (in each ear) that I own.
alex atPaiaudio
alex atPaiaudio
it's MR3 instead of DR1 in the package,thanks.
And the price should be 199 usd for MR3
Pros: Build, value, fit, comfort, clarity, resolution for the price, reaction to simple EQ, removable cable, overall frequency balance
Cons: Cable has a lot of memory and prone to tangle, light on accessories, can be peaky in lower treble, and slightly bass light
For larger views of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images


I didn't really know about PaiAudio at all until very recently when I was approached by Alex Fan from Pai about reviewing a couple of their in-ear monitors. I hadn't heard a lot about Pai, but I remembered reading one of HiFi Chris's reviews earlier, and thinking at the time that the overall shape looked pretty interesting. Alex later informed me that Penon Audio had suggested she get in touch with me, so thank you to both Alex and Penon for reaching out. Alex asked me what I'd like to review, so I told her my preferences and asked her to pick something she thought would be appropriate. She obviously knows her product range pretty well – and thus I was introduced to Pai Audio's triple BA MR3.

PaiAudio was formed in September 2014, and has a workforce of 16 people currently. They are small but dynamic and growing. Their catalogue at the time of writing consists of 6 earphone products – 1 earbud, 1 dynamic driver IEM, and 4 different BA based IEMs (ranging from single to quad BA). Within these categories are options for personalisation with colour and style. In their own words, PaiAudio specialise in the manufacturing of high-end earphones, and their small team has assembled some top designers from their national audio field for research and development.

They are based in Shenzhen China, and have a growing on-line presence including a website, Twitter feed and Facebook presence. When I asked Alex for a little more information she actually sent a catalogue which included independent audits of their facilities, and even photos of their facilities and testing equipment. Its really nice to see a relatively new company going about things with a great deal of focus on getting everything right from the outset, and not cutting any corners on QC and follow up testing.

We have gained a great amount of recognition in digital, computer and earphone field since our 3.14 series products were launched. The company's business concept is "Top quality exchange for best reputation", the concept follows our faith "Customers' need comes first" when we provide clients with excellent products and after-sale service.

I was provided with the PaiAudio MR3 free of charge for the purposes of reviewing for Head-Fi. PaiAudio does not expect the earphones back, so I acknowledge that they are freely given and I thank them for the opportunity. I am not otherwise affiliated with PaiAudio in any way, nor do I make any financial gain from my contributions, and this is my subjective opinion of the MR3.

I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5, L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.

I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.
For the purposes of this review - I mainly used the MR3 straight from the headphone-out socket of my FiiO X3ii + E17K, and also used (at different times) my iPhone 5S, and a variety of the other DAPs I have around me. Although I tested them with an amplifier, I do not think they benefit from additional amplification (I use mine mainly for consistency when reviewing and also to extend battery life on the X3ii). In the time I have spent with the MR3, I have noticed no changes in the overall sonic presentation, but am aware that I am also becoming more used to the signature of the MR3 as I use them more often (brain burn-in).

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


The MR3 arrived in a small black book style box with a matt black retail outer sleeve. The sleeve has the “pi” symbol in silver on the front, accompanied by a simple slogan “3.14 Audio – mastering quality sound IEM”. 3.14 of course represents the mathematical constant of pi. The rear of the sleeve is similarly sparse. The dimensions of the sleeve/box are 90 x 145 x 53mm.


Front of the retail box

Rear of the retail box

Outer sleeve and inner book style box

Removing the sleeve reveals the book style inner box which has the lid or flap held closed by two magnets. Opening this cover unveils the MR3 safely nestled in a simple foam top layer with appropriate cut-outs for each ear piece. Under this foam layer is a quite nicely built velvet pouch (83 x 130mm – so it is relatively long/large),a small bag with a set of 3 silicone tips in S, M, L (includes the pair on the MR3) and a short clip. There is also a fold out owner's manual.


The "book style" box

First look at the MR3

Full package including accessories

So overall a pretty sparse accessory package, and I do wonder if PaiAudio could improve their offering a little more with some more tip options and perhaps a semi-rigid carry case which is more protective and pocket-able. I do like the velvet pouch though, and I'm pretty sure it will spend a lot of time protecting one of my portable amps as it is going to be almost the perfect size.


The velvet pouch (left) vs a more sensible carry case (right)

Velvet pouch perfect for other devices though!

Tip selection and shirt clip

(From PaiAudio)

USD 199 at PaiAudio e-bay store
Triple Balanced Armature IEM
Frequency Range
20 Hz – 20 Khz
32 ohm
120 dB @ 1kHz 1mW
120 cm copper core with TPU sheath
3.5mm gold plated, right angled
Approx 20g with included cable (and Shure Olive tips)
IEM Shell
Polished transluscent Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.

Because I hear so many claims of burn-in, where possible I take a measurement of the IEM straight OOTB and then another one when I'm actually reviewing (some weeks or months later). There can sometimes be slight differences due to variations in coupler seating (usually in the very high frequencies) – but it should give an overview as to whether the frequency response has changed after many hours. Since I started doing this, I am yet to find an IEM with any appreciable change. Claims of night and day differences or even noticeable differences attributed to burn in with this IEM are (IMO) pure fantasy. As you can see by the second graph, any changes would be inaudible.


Frequency response and channel matching

CSD plot

Burn in comparison/test

What I’m hearing from the MR3:

  1. Quite flat bass with a very natural tonality, and good extension.
  2. Reasonably flat lower mid-range, maybe the slightest recession or distance in vocals, but it is minor, and adds to the impression of staging size
  3. Upper mid-range has an excellent (and very cohesive) slow rise in the presence area and gives a very clear and clean vocal presence.
  4. There are peaks at 4 kHz and 7 kHz which lean toward a bright and clear signature
  5. Overall it is a reasonably balanced monitor with some emphasis on the lower treble which gives it a very clean and clear, and slightly bright signature.

I included the CSD also, and you will see evidence of some extremely mild ringing at ~4 and ~7 kHz, but little bass bleed into the mid-range frequencies and overall a very clean plot.



The MR3 and cable

External or exterior face

Internal facing / contouring

The MR3 reminds me somewhat of a a small custom monitor. The body is a half shell shape of what looks like clear plastic, but (which I later found out from Alex) is actually polished translucent PVC. The ear piece is two separate pieces (main body and exterior faceplate), but the seam is well matched and very hard to distinguish. At its widest point, the MR3 measures 26mm across, and 15mm tall. It has a depth of approximately 14mm to the beginning of the nozzle flare, and the nozzle adds another 6mm or so on the angle.


Nozzle height and lip

Nozzle angle (up and back)

Nozzle diameter and mesh

The body is very cleverly shaped so that the main part sits inside the cavity of your external ear between Antihelix and Tragus, with the thin arm or point notching naturally into your Intertragic incisure. On the internal side, all surfaces are very cleverly rounded and designed to follow the natural curves of your ear. The nozzle is a little over 6mm long from the flare (so it is quite short) and angled up, but also slightly backward. The nozzle diameter is around 6mm and it is covered with a fine mesh. There is a narrow lip, which does have some issues retaining tips (more on that later).


MMXC socket - it seems to be a good one

Socket and male MMCX connector

Mated connector

As I mentioned before the shells are a translucent PVC, and have an almost glassy / smoky look about them. The MR3 comes in 4 optional colours – blue, orange, burgundy, and brown. Mine are the brown, and looking closely inside you can just make out the layout of the 3 BA drives and see the crossover board. There are otherwise no external markings or brands, and of course no vents because it is wholly a multi-BA configuration.

At the top rear is the MMCX socket and so far I have to give PaiAudio some real credit with this socket because it is very tight, and the connections are made with a very satisfying click. The connectors are designed to swivel 360 deg.

The cable
The cable is 1.2m in length and consists of a copper core and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) sheath. The use of TPU makes a lot of sense due to its high elasticity, high shear strength, and resistance to oil and grease. The male MMCX connectors are (so far) very good and click reassuringly into place with no signs of looseness. They would be one of the better standard MMCX connections I've seen so far.

From the connector there is a 7cm sheathed natural loop which is essentially preformed to hang over your ear. It works pretty well. The y-split is a small piece of rubber and hangs mid-sternum. The jack is small, smart-phone case friendly, right angled, gold-plated and 3.5mm.


Connector and pre-curved ear guide

Y-split (no cinch)

Right angled jack

The cable seems to be very strong – but I have a few concerns (and to be honest, it'll be one of the things I will change with this pair after I finish the review).

  • There is no sign of strain relief at jack, y-split or MMCX connector. This could very well be because of the strength of the cable sheathing – but for piece of mind, I'd personally like to see some strain relief.
  • The cable retains a lot of memory. It kinks, it's difficult to wind, and when wound won't hold its shape, and it does tangle (simply because it doesn't coil tidily)
  • There is no cinch, and for a light weight cable, it is sorely needed

For my tastes I will be using either a Trinity braided cable, or possibly even one of the cables off my P1.


Cable memory - pretty messy

Carefully coiled and placed - Trinity vs Pai vs ALO Tinsel

Close up showing some of the internals

For those who like to know about the internals, Alex tells me that the three balanced armature drivers used are a combination of Knowles and Sonion BA – with an ED29689 Knowles high frequency, and Sonion 33AE011 dual driver for mid and low ranges. The 3 drivers are controlled via dual crossovers.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the build (the cable being the exception – and I guess that is personal preference).

I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well and shallow fitting IEMs can be problematic. I first tried the large silicones supplied, and neither sealed particularly well. Next I tried the Ostry tuning tips and the right ear fit well, but the left was again problematic. And when I did get a seal, if the seal was a little too good (creating a vacuum), the tips would slide off the narrow lip. Spin-Fits fared a little better but Sony Isolation (or Trinity Kombis) suffered the same fate. Comply T400s fit really well, but Crystal foams would slide off. In the end I had to stretch a pair of Shure Olives (they are my go-tos with shallow fitting IEMs nowadays, and got a really good seal in both ears, and the Olives stayed intact. This is something PaiAudio may like to address at some stage though – when using a high gloss plastic/PVC, you really need a more pronounced lip for tip retention.


Stock silicone (left) and Ostry tuning (right)

Spin-Fit (left) and Sony Isolation (right)

Shure Olive (left) and Crystal foam (right)

Isolation with the MR3 will depend on the seal you achieve and possibly also the insertion depth. With the Shure Olives, isolation was really good, and I couldn't really hear the keyboard while I was doing the final edits. With music playing, isolation is great, and I'd have no problems using these in public transport.

Comfort for me is excellent – the MR3s are another of those designs which simply disappear when worn. In fact these rate up there with the Alclair Curve as being one of the best fitting and most comfortable IEMs I've ever worn. They sit well within my outer ear (inside the external ear cavity – between tragus and anti-tragus), and are extremely easy to sleep in.


Shure Olives have a narrow stem - but with perseverance can be stretched

Supremely comfortable and an exquisite fit

So the MR3 looks good, has a pretty nice build (with a couple of caveats), and is comfortable to wear. How do they sound?

The following is what I hear from the PaiAudio MR3. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X3ii + E17K as source, and Shure Olive tips.

For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the E17K was around 15-16/60 (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.


  1. Sub-bass – surprisingly well extended and there is even the tiniest bit of rumble there, but it is not the star of the show. Bass takes a back-seat to the mid-range, and sub-bass is slightly rolled off compared to mid-bass
  2. Mid-bass – very slightly elevated compared to sub-bass, but generally reasonably flat (frequency wise). No noticeable bleed into the mid-range, and almost enough impact to sound natural. Not a warm or rich bass – but rather a quick, and well textured mid-bass. Balanced compared to lower mid-range
  3. Lower mid-range – might be the tiniest bit recessed compared to both bass and upper mid-range, but sounds extremely well balanced throughout, and the last thing you would call the MR3 is U or V shaped. There is very good texture with deeper male vocals, and the clarity on the mid-range overall is stunning.
  4. Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, but it is a slow rise from lower mid-range to the first small peak at about 2 kHz, then a dip and sharper rise toward 4 kHz. The result is an incredibly clean and clear vocal range, with good presence to lend a sense of euphony to female vocals – but without over-doing it and making the entire signature too lean or dry. The upper mid-range on the MR3 is (for me) one of the best qualities of this IEM. Brilliant!
  5. Lower treble – there is a definite peak at around 6-7 kHz, so if you're sensitive to this area, it might pay to be cautious with the MR3. I'm not – so this tuning is generally good for me. There is some roll-off immediately after this peak, so you have a lot of clarity and definition without any real harshness or brittleness. One of my tests for lower treble is to listen to the natural decay of cymbal hits and see if it is overly truncated. highlighted or sounds natural. For me the treble decay might be very slightly truncated, but there is enough there to still sound pretty natural. Purists might like a little more – but I find the tuning very good. There might just be a question that the peak at 6-7 kHz could use some softening (more on that later).

Resolution / Detail / Clarity

  1. Excellent with micro detail, and able to resolve finer details well without spotlighting or over-emphasising.
  2. Cymbal hits and decay on cymbals have good presence, but (depending on the recording) sometimes the decay after the initial crash can be truncated slightly
  3. An extremely clean and clear monitor with good resolution portrayed reasonably naturally.

Sound-stage, Imaging

  1. Extremely good directional queues, and just at the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks – so average width and depth
  2. Spherically presented stage – with slightly more emphasis on width than depth, but definitely not one dimensional
  3. Compelling sense of immersion both with applause section of “Dante's Prayer”, and also “Let it Rain”. A genuine sense of space was apparent with both.


  1. For those who like a more balanced (but brighter) signature, you will love the MR3. I find them to have a great sense of overall balance with a slight leaning toward brightness.
  2. The MR3's overall clarity without being harsh or too dry is one of its best points
  3. Very good with both male and female vocals
  4. Good with dynamic music – and able to show very good contrast between bass and upper mid-range (eg Cello and Violin)
  5. Fantastic with acoustic music and gives strings good sense of realism and tone when plucked, and nice edge to electric guitar when strummed.
  6. Extremely good with female vocals, lending a slight air of euphony and sweetness – without over doing it. Sarah Jarosz (my latest “obsession”) sounded incredible.
  7. Genre master for lovers of a balanced to bright signature – I enjoyed it with almost all genres tested – from classical, jazz and blues to light electronic, grunge and pop. See below for the genres it was a little weak on.


  1. Although I really like the bass and find it quite balanced, lovers of more bass would be best to be cautious. I found some hip-hop, electronic and trance just needed a little more impact. And depending on your tastes for Rock – again some may find the bass response lacking.
  2. While the MR3 sounds fantastic at lower volume levels (still very clear), some may find them a little bright if you listen at the higher end of the volume spectrum

The MR3 is easily powered straight out of the portable devices I have, and I haven’t experienced any issues with the iPhone 5S, or any of the FiiO DAPs. I'm at my usual 65-75dB listening level (with typical pop/rock songs) on the iP5S at a volume level of around 25%, or on the E17K around 15-16/60 on low gain. I did try amping with the E17K, but noticed no obvious signs of improvement. I also used the IMS Hybrid Valve Amp combined with my iPhone as transport, and the combination of the IMS DAC and slight valve warmth is one I could listen to for hours. From my tests, the MR3 neither benefits from nor needs additional amplification, but you might want to try it for tonality reasons. One of the DAC/amps I tried combined with the iP5S was FiiO's Q1, mainly to try the bass boost, and that was a really nice combo for when I wanted a bit more thump.

This is the one area where I'd imagine that occasionally people who love the MR3's overall tonality will probably want to (for specific music) adjust the bass response. For this – because all I wanted was a gradual rise in both mid and sub-bass, I used the tone controls on the E17K. I dialled in +4 bass and went back to some Trance tracks I'd played earlier. The response was excellent, and gave some excellent impact, and a little warmth to the signature. Its nice to know the MR3 responds well to a bit of bass boost or EQ, and it just adds to the feel that the MR3 really can be a complete all-rounder. Below is the graph where I compared the frequency response original vs +4 bass and -4 treble on the E17K.

This is always a hard one to pick. As a reviewer you want to show something in the same price range, and also show something with similar capabilities.

For the MR3 I chose to compare two IEMs in the $200 category (the Trinity Sabre and MEE P1), two more expensive BA based option – the Alclair Curve at $249 and Jays q-Jays at $299, and a triple hybrid – the DUNU DN-2000J at $278.

All of these comparisons are very subjective – and influenced by my own preference, physiology and bias. Comparison was once again with the X3ii + E17K, and the MR3 had the Shure Olive tips and no EQ was used. All IEMs were volume matched with a 1 kHz tone and using a proper SPL meter.

MR3 (~$199) vs MEE P1 (~ $199)

MR3 vs MEE P1

Frequency response graph
Build quality goes to the MEE P1 (the metal vs PVC and inclusion of better cables) by a reasonable margin. Fit and comfort are very good on both but if anything the MR3 is slightly more comfortable than the P1 (but it is very close). As far as accessories go, it isn't close – the P1 has a wonderful overall total package and the MR3 unfortunately is very sparse in comparison. Sonically both are excellent, but very different. The P1 comparatively are a lot warmer, have a lot more body to the vocals, but sound more detailed, and not as clear. There is the stronger bass, and the feel of more recession in the lower mid-range. The MR3 are comparatively a lot leaner, vocals are cleaner, give the sensation of being closer, and there is more lower treble energy (brightness). Because they are so different, it is quite hard to compare, and I had to spend a lot of time becoming accustomed to each. Both tend to sound natural in their own way once my ears adjusted. For my individual preference sonically, I would probably take the MR3 (especially if I EQ in just a little more bass warmth). But as far as overall packages go – the P1 gives a little more value.

MR3 (~$199) vs Trinity Atlas (~ $218)

MR3 vs Trinity Atlas

Frequency response graph
Build quality goes to the Atlas (metal shell vs PVC and inclusion of better cables). Fit and comfort are again very good on both but again the MR3 is slightly more comfortable than the Atlas (but it is very close). Again with accessories the Atlas has the MR3 beat by a comfortable margin. Sonically both are quite different again. The Atlas comparatively is quite V shaped (this was with the gun-metal filter) with a lot of sub-bass, comparatively recessed lower mid-range, and quite vivid upper mid-range. The Atlas is very clear, but can suffer from bass bleed depending on the filter used. After having the Atlas in my ears for a while, the MR3 sounded very anaemic – but this changed when I switched again (with the Atlas sounding boomy and over done). They simply are really different. The MR3 has more balance, but definitely is very bass light comparatively. My personal preference here is for the MR3's balance – but I can't deny how fun the Atlas can be with the right music and appropriate filter.

MR3 (~$199) vs Alclair Curve2 (~ $249)

MR3 vs Alclair Curve

Frequency response graph
Build quality is shared here, although the Curve has the much better cable. Fit and comfort are excellent on both and is really to close to call. Accessories this time are a lot closer (both packages are on the sparse side) but the Curve edges marginally ahead with use of foam tips and the clamshell case. Sonically this time the two are a lot closer, and the main difference is in the better bass presence of the Curve. In fact this time with the one-on-one comparison, the Curve is the earphone with the slightly better sense of overall balance, and it is this bass response which I really am starting to think the MR3 might be missing. Both still retain very good clarity. The MR3 in this comparison still sounds really good, very clear, very clean – its just the comparative differences in bass making the MR3 seem a lot brighter than it appears when worn by itself for a while. My preference here is ultimately for the dual BA Alclair Curve – but I'm really appreciating the strengths of the MR3.

MR3 (~$199) vs Jays q-Jays (~ $299)

MR3 vs Jays q-Jays

Frequency response graph
Build, accessories and even comfort go to the diminutive q-Jays. When worn you forget that they are there. I have not had a more comfortable pair of IEMs – and the MR3 (while excellent) still can't dethrone the king. Once again the q-Jays cable is far superior. Sonically these two are a lot closer. Bass response on both is very similar, and the tonality overall is similar with the main difference being the MR3 sounding comparatively slightly brighter and a little more vivid through the upper mid-range, while the q-Jays are just a little more balanced overall. Clarity is excellent on both, and the fact that the MR3 is not embarrassed by going toe to toe with the q-Jays says a lot about the tuning. If I were to pick for my tastes though, I would choose the q-Jays for the overall package – but the MR3 would make an excellent substitute for someone whose budget tops out a little short of the q-Jays level.

MR3 (~$199) vs DN-2000J (~ $278)

MR3 vs DUNU DN-2000J

Frequency response graph
This is the one I was looking forward to because I thought they would sound quite similar. But lets start with build and accessories - which the 2000J takes the points for quite comfortably. On fit, the MR3 comes out clear winner – and this time with the cable, although the 2000J has a good cable, it is fixed (so can't be replaced) – which makes the comparison a draw so far. Sonically the two are quite close with very similar bass levels although the 2000J does hit the tiniest bit harder (the titanium dynamic driver at play). The 2000J has slightly fuller upper mids, and is as bright, but less “peaky” than the MR3 – and this is the first time I've really noticed any unevenness in the MR3's lower treble. This shows how important it is to run a variety of comparisons and tests to get as much data as possible. The DN-2000J can still be a bit piercing with cymbal hits at times, but for my personal tastes it is an earphone I still love. The MR3 and DN-2000J share a lot of similar traits, but once again the MR3 just sounds that little bit leaner overall.


Some sources used in testing - X5ii, X3ii and L&P L3

Effect of a 75ohm impedance adaptor

As I alluded to earlier, the MR3 doesn't need amping, and behaved extremely well with all of my sources. But I was aware with it utilising a triple BA and two way cross-over that it could be sensitive to changes in impedance. So I put it back on the measuring bench and this time ran a comparative measurement using DUNU's 75 ohm adaptor. As suspected there was a frequency change with the bass lowering a little, but also the lower treble coming back a little. I actually quite liked this change – and it was soon afterwards that I went back to the EQ again and this time elected to increase the bass by again but also reduce the treble slightly too (this time without the impedance adaptor). I've included this graph also, and it is amazing how much this changes the signature again. Anyway – if you are using a high Z source, I'd suggest trying a little bass boost with it, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the combo. Alternatively if you have an E17K try just either adjusting the bass slightly, or alternatively reducing the treble a bit (-2 or -4 is all you'll need).

PaiAudio MR3 - SUMMARY

Anyone reading through the review so far could be excused thinking that at the $200 level the MR3 is good but has been eclipsed by similar IEMs in its price range – but nothing could be further from the truth.

The MR3 has a very good build, a wonderful fit, and terrific isolation. Its overall package could be be enhanced by a rethink of the accessory package, and also inclusion of a better braided cable. PaiAudio may end up giving up a little strength for aesthetics and manageability, but IMO it would be worth it. Something similar to Trinity's braided cables would be a good place to start.

Sonically the MR3 has reasonable balance throughout the spectrum, but with a leaner bass line and peakier upper treble that delivers a lean, clean and clear signature which tends toward the brighter side of neutral. When listened to in isolation (no comparisons) I found it excellent for my personal tastes with fantastic detail and very good for low volume listening. When compared to some of my other IEMs the comparative brightness in the lower treble is highlighted and because of this it tends to also draw attention to the lean (but well extended bass). By applying a little EQ (lifting the bass and dropping the treble slightly, or alternatively keeping the bass where it is and dropping the lower treble a little), the resultant signature is excellent, and one I would happily consider paying for and adding to my collection. Overall the MR3 will appeal to lovers of a leaner, cleaner brighter signature – but those who like the bass more robust, or like a warmer signature, should perhaps avoid.

To me the MR3 is definitely worth its asking price, and PaiAudio can be justifiably proud of their tuning. If I was to recommend anything to them it would be to think about using a damper to slightly tone down those lower treble peaks, just to bring the whole tonality closer to neutral.

My only deductions are for the minor issues with build/cables, and the rather sparse comparative overall package. It is an easy recommendation for anyone who really enjoys a leaner signature, and again, well worth its asking price. 4 stars from me.

My thanks once again to Alex for the chance to be able to review the MR3.

paimr328.jpg paimr327.jpg
Wow! Really impressive review Sir!
Thanks - they are a really impressive earphone Alex.  PaiAudio should be very proud of what they have achieved with these.
fantastic review, nicely balanced between subjective listening and measurements. thanks for setting a good standard. 
Pros: Well built, affordable entry level 3 driver IEMs, fairly flat IEM with a tendency towards the highs
Cons: Needed some time...they tightened up after 25 hours or so

Paiaudio MR3 IEM Earphone Review - Expatinjapan

 Head Pie  
Paiaudio MR3 IEM earphone review ​
- expatinjapan​
Paiaudio is a new company on the IEM scene.
They are based in China and established in 2014.​
When I first saw photos of the IEMs on offer from Paiaudio on the internet, I thought they looked rather plastic and cheap.  I was proved wrong when I opened the box.
In person they are well made, seem durable enough to withstand general day to day punishment and use.
They have two kinds of cable, the old and the new. The old is the one I prefer for looks and design, a clear cable similar but not identical to the more custom looking Echobox X1 or the FiiO EX1 cables, stylish snake skin like looks comes to mind.
The new cable seems too plastic looking to me, a glossy black.
Paiaudio said that they will be reverting back to the original cable after feedback from their customers.
The IEMs shells are of the closed style, so I found them to isolate well on my daily commute.
MMCX connectors, so the cables are removable and replaceable.
There are three Knowles drivers in each ear piece.

Packaging is in a beautiful looking black sleeve with the companies logo on it, slide it off and inside is a cardboard black box with a lid affixed by magnets. Open it up and the IEMs are packed within a foam plate, the underneath of which has the cable (I gave feedback on how to package the cable so it would not be kinked upon arrival), also in the box is a small users manual, some extra tips (full set of S,M,L in a clear thin white silicone).
There is also a small cloth bag for transporting the earphones. I prefer a hard shell case but the supplied cloth bag seems to suffice.

Paiaudio DR1 single driver IEM, packaging and included extras is the same as the MR3.​

The IEMs themselves have a nice long nozzle that means the user can get a satisfying fit, often I have the experience of not being able to get a deep enough insertion in my left ear canal, with the Paiaudio MR3 I can. The result being that I have a nice balance of the music within my head and ear to ear.
The nozzle is a one large bore with a metal screen covering.
I spent a bit of time trying to pick apart the IEMs themselves without too much brutality and they stayed together.
The cable can be rotated 360 degrees where it connects at the join to the IEM, also the cable can be detached.
I experienced minimal micro phonics from the cable, If any at all and they seem to not hiss when using the Shozy Alien and Centrance Hifi-Skyn.


My expectations were low as I mentioned in the earlier section that I judged a book by its cover before even holding the paiaudio MR3 in my hands. Also being a new company I sold them short.
But on the other hand that is also a good place to start, that of doubts and skepticism.

First out of the box impressions was first of too extended highs, and loose lower bass, but I could hear the possible potential.

After a good 10-20 hours they seem to have tamed in the highs, and the bass had tightened up somewhat - this has also been my experience with other IEMs and some headphones.

Whether one believes its burn in, or ear adjustment or the brain adapting I do find a bit of time helps.
Either way a bit of burn keeps the believers and the doubters both happy.
I ended up with over 50 hours of playing music on the Paiaudio MR3 before I finally sat down to finish writing the review.
I am still pleasantly surprised by the price and the sound of these affordable but very listenable IEMs.
The sound I would describe as reference, as in fairly flat. 
Everything seems fairly balanced and coherent, sound stage is acceptable and the MR3 has a sense of spaciousness, there is enough width and height to keep me happy.
The bass is low and flat, vocals are sweet.
The Paiaudio MR3 certainly couldn`t be counted as a warm IEM, nor is there any trace of a V shape.
It could be said that although it is a flat IEM in general signature there is a tendency towards the highs every so slightly.
The sound fits within the price range and perhaps slightly more, after yesterdays full day of listening to Campfire Audios `Jupiter` I could readily notice the drop down overall. This was to expected in terms of price point alone with the Paiaudio MR3 coming in at $US179 compared to the Jupiter at US$899.
Shuffle time, so that will I listen to songs I wouldn`t normally.
Source - Centrance Hifi Skyn (Gain 1-best and Gain 2 - too much power) and ipod touch 6G 128GB, using Flacplayer app. 
JVC Spiral fit tips (Soft silicone, large bore).
Cat Power - `Lived in Bars` has just started playing, nice full bass, creamy females vocals, crisp and full drums.
The Sundays - `What do you think` comes across a bit thinner due to the bands poppy treble style, good detail and guitars.
Radiohead - `The bends` has a wall of sound aspect to it, not overwhelming, but when things getting quiet the vocals shine with a smoothness, guitars are extended and highs spiral heavenwards,  though smaller nozzled tips should tame those or some complys.
Ramones - `Don`t go` is a bit shrill in places, drums are the best part. Bit murky at times-recording?
Creedence Clearwater Revival - `Someday never comes` seems to bring out the best of the MR3 like Cat Power did, fast drums, great full soaring deep vocals, accurate drums, fast guitars. A good sense of space and separation.
Bauhaus - `Bela Lugosi`s dead` is a track I am very familiar with so it it is a good test track for me. Vocals are accurate, drum stick taps are as expected, guitar seems fine and reproduced well. Bass guitars strums are nice and low, distorted feedback guitars are reproduced well. The vocals are my favorite.
Queen - `Don`t stop me now` The MR3 seems to keep to keep up with Freddie Mercury`s vocal range, treble a little bit extended at times but turning down the volume a tad seems to fix this.
Spinfit tips (hard core, smaller bore hole opening)
Queen - `Don`t stop me now` seems a bit more rounded, bass a bit more thumping, mids more forward.
David Bowie - `Space Oddity` good sense of space and instrument separation.
Back to the JVC Spiral tips.
Norah Jones - `One flight down` nice silky smooth Norah vocals.
New order - `Shell shock` is quite harsh, the electronic music is reproduced satisfactory but has too much treble.
Garbage - `Felt` nice low bass, rest seems a bit incoherent.
Dire Straits - `Walk of life` great keyboards, beautiful vocals.
Neil Young - `Comes a time` nice vocals, smooth, low key, great vocals and guitars.
lana Del Rey - `24` vocals are airy, MR3 seems to like female vocals.
Trespassers William - `Different Stars`  I  like this song very much and listen to it often. Vocals are lovely and the spacey guitars float well in the background.
The Paiaudio MR3 is as noted earlier a flat IEM with a tendency ever so slight towards the highs, it does like female vocals and responds well to quieter, warmer and slow paced music. 

This is one of the first pleasing points (apart form the outer packaging design) that hit home, I could get a full insertion via the good length of the nozzle, one that gave me the same experience and volume on both ears.
My ears are on the small side and as you can see in the photo the models ears are also on the small side, so fitting the main body of the IEM shell in the ear should not be a problem I expect.

They are light which makes for  a comfortable experience and fit within the outer ear comfortably.
The included tips are soft and thin, others may prefer to do some tip rolling to bring up the lower bass more and tame the highs at the early stage.

The Paiaudio range of IEMs is priced as follows
DR1   US$39 - $49
MR2  US$129 - $149
MR3  US$169 - $189.
I think it fits well within the current price range, packaging, materials and being a young company.
The sound is satisfying and could possibly fit between the $150 - $250 price range.
It also has replaceable cables, and a great fit which makes these great value for the price.


For the budget minded looking to enter into the world of multi driver IEMs the Paiaudio MR3 could be a great start,
The supplied tips are silky smooth and very comfortable, but thin. I found myself returning to the JVC Spiral Fit tips which also have a large bore hole but are made of thicker silicone to bring up the bass. Perhaps other users might try Complys to tame the highs. But thats a matter of preference.
They are built sturdy enough to last If one takes care of them, the replaceable cables are also attractive and convenient in case one needs to replace or wants to try an aftermarket alternative.
The sound fits within the price range, and with the right music the MR3 can be very musical and enjoyable.

Thanks to Paiaudio for sending us the MR3 IEM for review.​

Pros: very neutral to bright-ish, great soundstage, MMCX connectors, resolution, audio quality beyond the price
Cons: cable not completely tangle-free, no hard case/zippered case, fit could be problematic for very small ears, no chin slider

Disclaimer: I got the MR3 myself directly from PaiAudio for the full retail price of $136. I am not affiliated to the company in any way and this review represents my honest opinion. Meanwhile, the price has been increased, but is (in my opinion) still very fair given the sound performance.

PaiAudio is a rather young company founded in 2014 and based in Shenzhen, China and has specialised in manufacturing In-Ear monitors. According to their information, the company that consists of totally 13 people has got national elite audio developers in their team.
The yet young company has currently four earphones in their product range, of these one is an earbud, one a dynamic In-Ear and two are Balanced Armature-based In-Ear Monitors, whereby all models except for the earbuds feature replaceable cables.

The company backs on direct distribution through ebay (http://stores.ebay.com/paiaudio), Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/ref=olp_merch_name_1?ie=UTF8&asin=B00ZU89S6E&isAmazonFulfilled=0&seller=A4X08XUDEJ1P3), AliExpress (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1738335) but also Penon Audio (http://penonaudio.com/Paiaudio-all-models).

In my review below, you can read how their flagship model, the MR3, sounds for the comparatively low price.

Make sure you also check out the PaiAudio thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/781399/audio-pai-audio#post_11926956

Technical Specifications:

Transducer Type: Balanced Armature, Knowles
Transducers per Side: 3
Acoustic Ways: 2
Sensitivity: 120 dB
Frequency Range: 20 – 20000 kHz
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Cable: 120 cm; L-shaped 3.5 mm connector
Colours: red, blue or tan

Delivery Content:

The triple-driver MR3 comes in a plain black packing with a paper sleeve that has got a huge white “π” on top, which is PaiAudio’s signature feature. The actual packing underneath the paper sleeve is just entirely black and has got a magnetic flap that unveils the In-Ear monitors when one opens it. Apart from the In-Ears, a user manual, three pairs of white silicone eartips in different sizes (S/M/L) and a velvet travel pouch are included. I’d preferred to see a sturdy hard case or zipper case instead, but regarding the price for a triple-driver IEM, the velvet pouch is okay and aftermarket cases aren't expensive at all.




Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The IEMs’ shells are relatively big and ergonomically shaped, but it generally doesn’t matter for me as my ears’ conchas are pretty big either.
Build quality is flawless as it seems and both halves of the shells are glued together very sturdily and pristine. Overall, the IEMs’ bodies seem valuable and convey the impression of being very sturdy.
For this price range rather unusual, the MR3 uses an MMCX coaxial connectors system for its detachable cables, just as Shure does for example.
The flexible cable is greyish, semi-transparent and seems thick, sturdy and very durable, although it doesn’t have strain reliefs. The only thing I’m missing is a chin slider, but as the cable is replaceable, it isn’t a real flaw at all.

The blue-coloured shells are translucent and one can see the three Balanced Armature transducers with their crossover and internal wiring, what I personally really like.

Taking a closer look at the cable, I noticed that the cables were swapped (left cable on the right shell and vice versa), but it seems to be a singular instance and is easily and quickly solvable.




Comfort, Isolation:

As I already mentioned, the IEMs bodies kind of resemble the size of the ears’ conchas and are rather big, which is not a problem for my large outer ears, but it may be too big for people with very small ears.
In the beginning, I couldn’t manage to get a good seal with the MR3, but it changed with time, as I found out that I have to gently turn the IEMs forwards, which is due to a rather unconventional angle of the rather short nozzle. Then, seal is pretty decent for me.
Comfort-wise, I find the MR3 to be very pleasant, and the cable has got close to zero microphonics, which is very nice.

As the shells are closed, which is typical for Balanced Armature earphones, isolation is on a high level, though of slightly lesser amount than extremely noise-isolating earphones like the models from Shure or Westone, but it’s still very high and on the same level as the UE900.


Before I started critical listening, the MR3 got at least 50 hours of burn-in (just in case).
Listening tests mainly took place with my iBasso DX90 as source device and with FLACs (44.1 kHz, 16 bit) and MP3s (320 kbps cbr) as music files.


As there are no reviews or impressions of these In-Ear Monitors yet, I was eager for getting to find out MR3’s tonality myself and had different assumptions on how it could be. The result then hit me in a very positive way:
The IEMs are tuned to be very neutral sounding, with a moderate slope towards the bright side. Who’s looking for a warm or even nuancedly bassy sound is in the wrong thread.
Lows are very even and flat, only subbass gently rolls off in its lowest registers below 30 Hz. It could probably be that there is a very slight “emphasis” in the upper bass and lower fundamentaltone area, but it is so minor and lows are extremely flat, so that it doesn’t matter at all.
Fundamental tone area is free of any emphasis, wherefore there is not even a slight sign of warmness – yeah, baby!
Mids are present (and probably even just a tad in the background) and in my ears tonally surprisingly correct, without any dark or bright tendency, which is an indicative of very clean and accurate tuning and adjustment work in the middle frequencies.
As lower treble and presence area aren’t recessed at all unlike many other In-Ears, the MR3 has an analytical character and reveals bad recordings almost like the Etymotic ER-4S or UERM.
Except for two emphasises at 4 and 6.6 kHz and a small dip at 8 kHz, highs are very even and have got a good extension of ca. 15 kHz, which is a good acoustic value for BA earphones.

Some would probably say the MR3 lacks bass, but it isn’t true, as the PaiAudio’s sound is very neutral with a bright tendency, but oh well, some people also find the ER-4S and UERM to lack bass, which just isn’t true.


Typically for In-Ears with Balanced Armature transducers, resolution is on a very high level.
Micro details are revealed very well, bass is arid, solid and fast, voices have got a very high level of details, although they slightly lack body and fleshiness. Treble is very detailed and clean, but has a very slight tendency to sounding metallic, although that is criticism on a very high level and often due to the recording, as in most cases treble is present, but lacks any sharpness.
Acoustic instruments’ and cymbals’ decay as well as trumpets sound very realistic and precise, although they have a minorly artificial attack due to the 4 kHz peak.

Regarding resolution, one doesn’t think that this is a sub $140 IEM that even features replaceable cables with MMCX connectors. Sound is very harmonic, coherent and overall natural with a neutral tonality.


The next positive surprise for me was the MR3’s spatial presentation which is very spacious and airy.
Expansion to the sides is somewhat wider than at the Logitech UE 900, but in contrast to it the MR3 has got a nice and well-marked spatial depth. Take the UE900’s width, stretch it a little to the sides, add the Shure SE425’s spatial depth and voilà, you’ve got the MR3’s excellent soundstage. Brilliant!
Instrument placement and separation are on a very high level and even exceed the Shure SE425’s; overall soundstage is very harmonic, plastic and is almost as good as the Etymotic ER-4S’, which has got the slightly better instrument separation.


At first listening, the PaiAudio MR3 might sound boring and unspectacular to some, just like neutral In-Ears typically do. As I’m a fan of neutral and bright sound, there was not much brain-adjusting time needed and I got used to the neutral/bright signature very quick.
Detail resolution and soundstage reproduction are far above what one could expect for the price and there is not really anything to complain about in terms of sound, probably except for the slightly subbass roll-off and the minimally metallic Hi-Hats attack, which however have got an excellent and realistic decay.
That PaiAudio uses high quality In-Ear bodies and MMCX connectors is another highlight of the great overall package.
My only real criticism is concerning the lack of a chin slider and a hard-case or zipper case, but that was basically it.

Therefore, the MR3 is a “neutralo’s and treble-head’s delight” with a very well price-to-performance ratio and an IEM I personally really like myself.
- Editor's note -
I want to slightly adjust my tonal description of the MR3. While it still sounds very balanced overall, I was facing some minor issues that led to a not entirely ideal insertion angle. Now knowing what the best insertion method is in my ears, the MR3 gains a little more bass and root while still remaining balanced (not unlike the UE900 and InEar Stage-Diver SD-2). Compared to the all-time neutrality reference, the Etymotic ER-4S, the MR3 has got 4.5 dB more bass and lower fundamental range. Compared to the UERM that is also considered as very neutral, the Pai has got 1.5 dB more bass and fundamental tone, wherefore its amount of bass is 100% identical to the InEar StageDiver SD-2 (the Westone W2(0) and Audio Technica ATH-IM02 feature similar sound as the more expensive SD-2) which is also considered as subjectively quite balanced sounding (and remember, neutrality in the bass with in-ears/headphones in general is still an individual thing and even some experts have deviant opinions on that).
So while the MR3 doesn't sound as neutral according to Etymotic Research's diffuse-field compensation target, it just features a little more impact than the UERM and is an overall still very balanced and natural but not boring sounding in-ear (people who like a bit more bass impact might still find the Pai too lean) with really quick, arid and controlled bass response. And its resolution is excellent for the price (other sub $300 BA in-ears don't deliver the same amount of resolution, naturalness and imaging precision).
Thank you.
:) Alex point me to your MR3 review . I bought myself a pair of this MR3. Many thanks to both of you!