100+ Head-Fier
ISN H50 | Super Short Sound Review | Refined Physical Fun
Pros: + Refined, polished BA's
+ Powerful Sub-bass
+ Wide, oozing bass that inflates stage
+ Warm, physicality-infusing mids
+ "Dimensional" & emotional mids with great heft
+ Energetic treble yet never too much
+ Tamed upper mids to allow for cranking volume, never shouty
+ Amazing stage, wide to the point of originating sounds behind your ears
+ Amazing wide stereo imaging & separation poking through the mist of bass
+ Warm tuning with sharp incisive BA's is a successful juxtaposition
+ Puts you inside the music like nothing else I have heard, extremely immersive
+ Hidden GEM!!
Cons: - Performs as it should only when amped, but that's more or less true of any IEM.
This $295 IEM is absolutely worth the money. WHY is almost no one talking about ISN? I think it punches way up there. It can compete with $500 IEMs, it plays in the same league in many respects. The most successful part of this tuning is the sense of physicality with refined precision it gives to notes and instruments. When listening to something bassy with contrasting treble, it just begs you to raise the volume, it draws you into the music and is very engaging. I place it overall higher than the Timeless, Raptgo Hook-X.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: A new tune departure for ISN
Wicked fast pace and bounce
Insanely clear bass texture and sculpturing
A W signature to end all Ws
New 10mm composite dynamic
Soundstage competes with any Mid-fi IEM for size, possibly/probably winning
Includes ISN S8 hybrid silver/copper cable
Feisty sub-bass contrasting the upper treble boost
Gentle upper-midrange focus to add vocal clarity
Semitransparent black shell
Semitransparent gold foil infused faceplate
Wire screen and stainless steel nozzle
Medium-size semi-custom form-factor
Unbelievably perfect tune!
Optimized for all music genres, all sources and all file qualities
This one has to be heard to be believed
Dual balanced armature treble
Duel balanced armature midrange
3 way cross-over sound design implementation
Unique bass soundstage
Cons: Absolutely nothing, zilch, nada, zero

tas .jpeg

ISN H50 Universal IEM

Welcome my friends to another review. Before us is the latest IEM from ISN. Such a 4 BA/1DD design configuration results in something truly special. Hybrids at times offer more contrast and separation than planar or single DD implementations. I had to pull myself away from taking H50 pictures to make these notes about it. My favorite of the ISN stable. Meaning (to me) it’s better tuned than the H40, and more well rounded than the EST50. It’s not just frequency range.........the technicalities are something too. With the upper-midrange emphasis and upper-treble sparkles there broadcasts a clarity. Combine that with a super fast composite 10mm DD and I only have one word! Accessible! Won’t you join me in a review of the ISN H50............a Mid-Fi masterpiece.

Who is ISN?
The history of a portable audio Juggernaut!

In the beginning ISN made only cables; and even now they keep introducing new cable models. With 17 currently made different cables, it’s no surprise they understand what makes cables different from one another. If you by chance are reading this review as a steadfast cable non-believer, that’s ok. To have a company offer such a wide range of essentially the exact same audio-cable could be judged as ridiculous.

“Cables are a hot topic especially for enthusiasts. The IEM cable market nowadays has seen so many varieties and styles to choose, when it comes to cables. The big debate is do they actually help shape sonic qualities? On one side of the fence the objectivist enthusiasts do not believe in cables making any difference at all. I understand that notion but on the other hand there are people like myself that write cable reviews and talk about their finer qualities and how they affect sound for your earphones. I suppose my review here will help the folks that do like a good sound shaping cable to help with their IEM sonic profile more so than the science guys. My honest take on that is. Believe your own ears”
End quote:

So simply believe your ears. Truly it should not get in the way of hobby enjoyment, simply do what works for you.

The ISN Company:
ISN current cable offerings
Silver-Plated IEM Cables: S4, S8, AG8, S16 and one Type-C Silver Plated USB Cable
Copper IEM Cables: C4, CU4, C16
Mixed Cables IEM Cables: Solar, G4, GS4, SC4, H8, H16
Gold-Plated IEM Cables: GC4, GD4
Pure-Silver IEM Cables: AG8

ISN Ear-buds:
Rambo 2

H50 10mm Composite DD (bass) 2 BA (mids) 2 BA (highs) $295.00
H40 9.2 DD (bass) 1 custom BA (mids) 1 composite 2BA (highs) $195.00
D02 10mm DD $79.00
D10 9mm DD $169.00
EST50 1 Knowles BA (highs), 1 Sonion BA (mids), 10mm DD (bass), 2 Sonion ESTs (ultra-highs) $459.00

Strangely, even-though making all this complicated stuff, ISN describe themselves only with one sentence.
“We are a wire production and R&D factory.”

That’s how they describe themselves. Yet what becomes obvious is they let the product do the talking. So far I have been lucky enough to review the H40, the EST50 and this is the H50 review. I have the D10 review coming up next. I also have the SC4 cable, the S8 cable in 2 pin and MMCX, plus the S4 cable. The only IEM they make that I haven’t heard is the D02. So I’m am beginning to get a grip of what they are about. So far I would sum it up in only one word………value. That’s really what it is. Though they also make silly expensive cables too. The H50 is a different kind of tune for ISN. After the H40 and subsequent emulation and expansion of the legendary H40 sound with the flagship EST50, they started a new journey. No one except ISN knows the next course of action to take place, but I believe it will be a TOTL flagship with the sound of the H50. I could be wrong, but the H50 is so mature and delightful, I can’t imagine a company not using it as a springboard to the next level. Still it seems pretty hard to beat? Extra EST drivers could be put in to make an EST60, but I question what worth that would truly give? The H50 is an exact tune, which will end-up being incredibly difficult to top. IMO It already has the staging, it has the bass, and with 4 BAs, its got an even, correct and complete frequency response. What more could they possibly do? They obviously could try and and super-size the whole shebang? Make the bass soundstage bigger, make the midrange be bigger somehow? I don’t know, this is science fiction?

S8 Cable:

  • High purity makes the cable extremely soft, providing the comfort of wearing,
  • Gold-plated plug is more beautiful and durable, using insulation treatment technology.
  • Natural and transparent sound, delicate and smooth; lift medium and high frequency, strengthen high frequency extension
  • Model: S8
  • Material: Single Crystal Copper Sliver-plated
  • Number of cores: 8 shares, single share is 19 cores, a total of 8 × 19.
  • Connector: 2pin 0.78mm
  • Plug: 3.5mm audio/4.4mm/2.5mm balanced gold-plated plug
  • Cable length: 1.2M

Even-though priced at $32.50, and the second lowest priced cable in the ISN line-up, I still view the S8 cable as the Toyota Camry of cables. Truthfully, I don’t view/judge cables by price, only performance. Coming into the opportunity to review ISN products, I wasn’t sure what to expect from their included cables, even though before making IEMs they existed as only a cable builder? While other cables I used did offer other tonal and positioning discoveries, the major find was simply how good of a cable the ISN S8 ultimately was/is.

ISN started as only a cable manufacture. They then got an idea to become an IEM maker and cable maker. I actually put the S8 through the paces, changing cables and joining it to a couple amps before making a judgment concerning performance. While many members will upgrade their cable in quest of updating the H50 sound. While cable makers will add more silver and new cables construction designs, I am more than happy with exactly what the ISN S8 does. Truly I am not looking to make the H50 any brighter or more detailed. I’m more infatuated with how the S8 handles the lower midrange warmth and positioning. I mean, ISN are the cable experts, they could have included any cable from their arsenal, but they choose the ISN S8 for the specific performance to value ratio it provides. Such ISN S8 cable is also a standard, included with the ISN EST50 and ISN H40 IEMs.


ISN Audio H50 4BA+1 Dynamic Driver Hybrid MMCX HiFi Audiophile IEMS


Brand: ISN Audio
Model: H50
Driver: 4 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic driver
2BA for high frequency + 2BA for middle frequency
10MM composite diaphragm Dynamic for low frequency
Impedance: 25ohm
Sensitivity: 108dB
Frequency response: 20-20kHz
3 channels 3-way crossover
Handmade resin shell
Stainless steel nozzle
Connector: MMCX
Cable: 8 Strands 19 Cores OCC Silver-plated
Plug: Gold-plated
Cable length: 1.2M

The box opening experience:

You get the ISN H50 IEMs, the S8 cable, a shirt clip, cleaning brush, six pairs of silicone ear-tips and a gorgeous case.


The ISN H50 is one gorgeous IEM. Just look at it! Taking the IEM aesthetic to a whole new level, you may actually miss what’s going on due to a subtleness in design? It took me a while to totally figure out what was going on. I actually thought the shell was solid black, then upon further study the insides could be seen, small colored wires and parts taking shape. The faceplate is the same way, at first it looks solid, then you start to be able to see below the layers to form vague outlines of the inner workings. At first the side of the MMCX mechanism, then the faint outline of drivers. Not to mention the gold-foil additives on top, swimming around in the middle, obscuring your view. For an IEM that is so direct and clear sounding, it offers totally the opposite in looks, offering only mystery in build. The ISN H50 is like see-through woman’s cloths, only getting us a taste of the underlying reality. Besides the looks we are met with solid resin semi-custom build making-up a medium size. Such attention to detail guarantees us close fitting with ample outside sound occlusion. The stainless steel nozzle has robust wire mesh screens, slightly recessed into beautiful aggressive tip holders, an improvement over ISN past creations. The MMCX mounts are polished flush to the sides, without even a raise to the feel. Finally the name H-50 with a R or L is imprinted into the back of the shells. Somehow ISN has gone the extra effort to provide both beauty and functionality in use?


Sound generalizations:

If your coming from the legendary ISN H40 presentation there is a lot to be excited about. I feel ISN studied the H40 response and had the imagination to progress one step further. Except that one step outcome is a whole different deal. The IEM landscape is always changing and it’s important to introduce new and innovative tuning to keep up with whatever else is being offered by other manufactures. Only ISN outdid themselves here, they truly did. They went and added a subtle boost of midrange to the H40 tune, they also bumped the upper treble a hair. Just those small changes made a hugely different sound experience. Due to the upper midrange and upper treble boost there became a soundstage expansion. Next they included a whole new style of bass DD. Gone is the mid-bass authority of the H40, replaced by a tailored bass response that comes from a new 10mm Composite Diaghram Dynamic Driver. Such sophistication here means there is a separation between the midrange and bass driver. These 3 sound-bands coalesce together in place due to a 3-way crossover network. Thus each is represented in absolute singular clarity. I can’t help but imagine the 2 treble balanced armatures go to balance that beefy low end. This is the contrast I was eluding to earlier. If ISN has the wild idea to add EST drivers to a new flagship IEM, and offer an expansion of this tune, I would be worried the softness of those new ESTs couldn’t compete with the clarity provided by just the way this set-up performs? Those two treble BAs are precious. Meaning this is the ultimate ISN sound. IMO I truly don’t know how it can be improved upon? It’s absolutely beautiful, seamless and complete.

Because the H50 is so well rounded there is no correction to seek. Meaning it works well with every amp and source I have. Though because of the way the treble and bass balance each other I found a style of heaven with the more mid-centric Sony Walkman WM1A. So the 1A will be used for these sound impressions, but really any amps I have will result in pretty much the same overall sound. Crazy as it seems, even tips were not a concern here, meaning, yes, they did something but every style of response was ultimately acceptable. We were never needing a tip to make the sound correct, as there was so much leeway to be found.


The two balanced treble armatures and how they are tuned provided a broad expansion of stage. So the imaging and ultimately characterizations of upper elements are found with-in this placement. The thing is, never are they attempting separation or detail with brightness. The treble actually has both detail and separation all with in this slightly warm expanse of replay? Nothing is too crisp or strident. Yet it’s all there, all of it. Gone is any want of higher pitched playback, as it’s just perfect......for me anyway? Obviously this is balanced armatures doing the duty and performance, at the level they were designed to be. Slight artifacts of spacial fall-out show-up just to give you a clue of this contrast going on. It’s so cool how these small details go to a much further extent to show the soundstage……..falling off in that quick decay that only balanced armatures do. Starlight flickering off into the distance as it fades into infinity, just to be brought back to life with the next beat rendition. Timbre and transient attacks are dead-on, and I don’t know how or why that could be? Also there is an interaction, an interaction of treble and bass, as this whole gig is interrelated, interrelated with the treble and bass in union. Maybe it’s just the groove, handled so very well? It’s this subtle extra upper-treble forwardness that seals the deal.

They bass is always leaving the correct room for this perfect soundstage of midrange.


Fast. With two balanced armatures tuned to perfection, we are witnessing a style of subtlety actuated midrange. Such frequencies are ever so slightly tilted to be heard as an upper midrange forwardness. Such delicacies add an ever so slight clarity to vocals and work to push-out the soundstage to it’s ultimate placement. This is really the meat and potatoes of our H50 response character. I can dilute the review with bass poetry, but you know as well as I that in reality, it’s all because of this area that we are here. And……again we are meet with the perfect balance of mids. I don’t have to remind you of all those shouty forward midrange excesses you have had to deal with. You know the ones that are not always intense, but when they are you have to deal with them. They are an annoyance and a burden to deal with. What do you do? Turning down the volume works, a different set of tips often does the trick, or better yet, go find a more subdued source and put water on that fire. Luckily we don’t have any of that stupid nonsense going on. None. That's why I can pull out my midrange-forward DAP and have a party. The Sony 1A is known to offer a brighter midrange than the Walkman WM1Z. That brightness is utilized to offer what could be perceived as a wider soundstage. The other extra accessory is the speedy bass. Way faster than the Walkman WM1Z.

Such balance mean that vocals rise-up to show themselves and add emotional involvement second to none. I don’t know if you have noticed, this is my favorite ISN tune, and not by a little, but by a lot! This is what BA implementation is all about, this sound, this sound right here. While maybe other TOTLs will do a slightly more authoritative response, I don’t know, there is a lot going on here, and in many ways, it’s everything. A W tune with a bass boost, an upper midrange add, the upper treble sparkles................Paradise!

This (bass) was the first clue that I was in the presence of greatness. This style of bass is actually different than any I have ever heard. That and there is nothing odd-ball about it. It’s just that it is somehow utilized to placement into an area of the stage that is way out to the right and left. So it’s not just a tone like we typically refer to, but a positioning and a tone. It took me the longest time to get a handle of why it was different, but that’s what it is. That and it’s existing with this abnormal clarity? Such combination of values are rarely if ever found together. We are in witness of speed and texture, this tonal correctness that wins out over so many other bass styles. So let’s add this up, placement into the soundstage, a sub-bass tone mostly (as there is diminished upper bass)…….and speed. That and there is still a level of politeness in-spite-of-it-all? So normally sub-bass has a slowness that exists due to the lack of control. Here there is minimal lower bass fall-out. Its positional, clear and complete bass………which makes it fast. You combine that with the speed of the upper X4 BA composite decays and we have a terribly fast and responsive IEM.




Chemical Redemption

44.1 kHz - 24 bit

I have a love hate relationship with this album. Truth be told it’s a very different sounding album. A complex work-up of contrast and sonic tomfoolery. It’s the one of the strangest albums I’ve ever heard. Also many IEMs will have trouble reproducing the qualities held within its 13 songs. Let’s start off with the rhythm guitar here. Tweaked-up and processed to the hilt, it's big sounding, but more that, it’s a buzz-saw.....relentless and savage. It goes to become part of the basic rhythm section along with drums and bass.....all a back drop for the vocal includes by Charlotte Wessels. Sadly it’s the very last album with her up-front, being with the band almost from the beginning in 2005.

This is also such a strict and fully calculated style of music. By the numbers they create anymore, with very little room for personal leads or innovated outbursts. That’s what it’s about, a planned attack, fully programmed and orchestrated, with zero room for error. Somehow the ISN H50 goes along with the regimentation. Not only goes along with it............but excels at such framework. I truly believe this is how the song is supposed to sound? But better than that................we are partaking of multiple overdub vocal placements. Every take is alive in a new area of the stage, yet probably anyone would agree that it's the dialed-in pace that is setting the mood. I found the perfect song to get my point across, the pace ability is the ultimate statement of performance here. That’s right kids, the bounce........the stops and start-ups create this ultimate journey here. The fact is.......that they are playing with us, as the timing changes become the riddle.........such resources are tapped into. The chorus, the’s all wonderful. Yet it’s the vocals brought up just slightly by the upper midrange boost that become illuminated on-top of everything! That, and the fact that very few examples in replay do this song justice in pace. This song is super fast, and any not just quick in pace, but in instrumentation. Stuff has a super fast attack and decay. This music was made for balanced armatures.The instantaneous procurement of sonics, the shut off of decay. All with the support of the bass underneath, and texture only the H50 knows how to do.


Herald Of Change
Hans Zimmer

48 kHz - 24 bit

We are now traveling to the other side of town. While this music uses an orchestra, the sounds are so processed and surreal, they may as well be totally electronic in nature. But it’s maybe Hybrid in that it’s electronic and orchestral in essence. Big drops in bass at 59 seconds. Really reaching out to the furthest of stages. All enveloping and omnipresent this bass tone is, yet textured and of the utmost quality. At 2 minutes 54 seconds we here a choir and a bass hit, at 3 minutes 41 seconds is the first of many of a progressively more textured bass introductions. We can hear inside the bass notes, and are swept away for a moment in time. Here while the attacks are of a more transient edge as opposed to the last songs bounce.....we still note the clarity of attack, just that the decays are longer and of less consequence. The whole album like many of Zimmer’s work revolves around a central theme, only to be reiterated over and over again, until the messages are spoken.

Side by side comparisons:
H40 Universal IEM: 9.2 DD (bass) 1 custom BA (mids) 1 composite 2BA (highs) $195.00

I can't help but think the H50 is named as such as it's a progression of the H40 sound. Costing $100.00 more and offering in many ways the opposite tune. Where the H40 midrange is recessed, the H50 brings it forward, where the H40's treble is reserved in both frequency and detail the H50 brings it up. Not only frequency wise but soundstage wise also, including such details to flourish out and about, playfully invigorated! Where there is an overall forwardness (in presentation not FR) to the H40, the H50 sits only slightly back relishing in 3D realms of alternate reality. Such a place allows the bass to become more sculpted and textured. Treble replay offers formation of imaging of transient response items.......out existing on their own.......on the outskirts of the stage! The H40 vocals are slightly set back in contrast to the exquisite H50 performance!

Over-all detail is different, with the H40 using layers upon layers, the H50 is more direct, using focus and delineation. This really isn't a question of preference, as the H50 is the more technically superior monitor. Though frequency wise the H40 has a magic that is difficult to compete with. My problem arrives judging the H40 objectively, in that it's difficult to be objective with the charms of the H50 being around.

EST50 Universal IEM: 1 Knowles BA (highs), 1 Sonion BA (mids), 10mm DD (bass), 2 Sonion ESTs (ultra-highs) $459.00

While the older and more pricy brother to the H50, The EST50 shows what is possible with more hardware involved. That, and an L shaped tune offer a more robust and dynamic bass experience. While complementary to the H50, just as the Sands is complementary. The EST50 is showing what bass hardware can ultimately do, the Sands showing what treble and brightness can reveal in your music playback. Such contrasts make you wonder how one person could even learn to accept both sides of the extreme as correct, when in reality all three the H50, Sands and EST50 are correct yet broadcasting there own unique flavor, ultimately representative of make-up and tune. All three are Hybrids..........and you already know how I feel about Hybrid sound. Each BA serves to showcase their individual job, and included is a dynamic driver to add decay and low-end. While BAs decay is their weak point, the correct implementation can turn that around into benefits. Add EST drivers on-top, and that's what we get with the EST50. A better finished response, yet of slightly less contrasting elements.

The Tansio Mirai Sands Universal IEM: 1DD (bass) 1BA (mids) 2BA (highs) $319.00

In many ways these two offer the same over-all value and build. The Sands 3 BAs and a single DD, the H50 4 BAs and a single DD. They both have semi-custom shell designs with the Sands being slightly smaller and offering tuning switches. Where overall the Sands comes off way brighter and not offering the bass sexiness found with the H50. While the bass is still there and gorgeous as ever inside the Sands, the sub-bass is even more robust and authoritative with the H50. While the upper treble is juiced-up with the Sands, it's been way elevated to become tremendous detail and forwardness, where the H50 comes off more tame and conservative in manner. Where the brightness of the Sands needs taming, the easygoing clarity of the H50 comes off more well rounded and even handed. Both have their charms, though I feel the H50 becomes more accessible to the masses due to offering a more practical tune. Where the Sands is a study in correcting, the H50 delights with its overall acceptability right out of the box.

The H50 is for those entertaining the thought of jumping into the $295.00 price level for the first time. Or for the listener who has become jaded in the mid-fi territory, seemingly lost to find a true winner. Don’t give-up! Don’t give up because a true multitasking entity is upon you. The ISN H50 fits everyone, offers a well rounded sound signature that plays all file qualities, all genres and works with all sources. Not only does it work, it turns your music into an emotionally involving experience. Such an experience is filled with excitement and fun. If you’re only looking for relaxation, the ISN H50 has your back there too, offering musicality at low volumes as well as forgiveness if you decide to crank-it. In all my reviews, in the many IEMs I’ve investigated, the H50 comes out near the very top.

If you think you have to give-up something in the mid-fi territory, you don’t. You can have it all and not look back. As ISN continues to move forward, adding sophistication to its line, I can’t help but think the H50 will be the stepping stone to the next super TOTL flagship. There is a chance that replacing the treble balanced armatures with electrostatic elements would add a flavor. Of course that would raise the cost of production and create a jump to a greater price-point. The thing is, that’s not needed. Meaning this signature is very close to perfection just the way it is. We already have our TOTL Flagship sound right now………….here. While no IEM is perfect, this is truly all I need in an IEM. It’s not cost that justifies quality. Again, it’s not the cost that justifies quality! The frequency response here is leaving nothing out, there is nothing more to want. The technicalities are staggering for this style of money. Timbre and note texture are on a level far above the mid-fi price category. The soundstage is to die for, adding a dimension to the H50 totally unexpected for $295.00. Every once in a while an incredibly complete and beautiful example of the IEM art crosses my desk. And when it does I first start to make sonic evaluations. With the H50 the bass first attracted me, being it's different yet totally capable and integrated. This bass is both authoritative and in great placement. The bass display grooves and bounces, always within correct distance of the mids. The treble is spicy yet never hot, and the gentle boost on the midrange shows how W signatures work.

$295.00 is a heck of a big pill to swallow, yet this is one IEM you can ride-off into the sunset with. The final purchase in your quest to find satisfaction..............yes, the ISN H50 really is that special!

Get them here:

These thoughts and ideas are of one individual, your results may vary.

I want to thank Penon Audio for supplying the ISN H50 for review.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 4.4mm
Sony TA-ZH1ES DAC/AMP Firmware 1.03
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Sony Walkman Cradle BCR-NWH10
AudioQuest Carbon USB
Shanling UA3 Dongle 4.4mm

Apple iPad


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@Redcarmoose Having tried so many IEMs, which 3 would you currently want with you on a deserted island?
Three only? Probably the IER-Z1R for starters, just because it clicks the right buttons every time, and seems to be one that shows me more and more about my song files. The H50 I totally love too, and coincidentally has many of the traits of the IER. So that’s #2. By the way the ISN H50 is $20 off right now! And #3? It’s so hard, probably my Noble Audio Encore Universal IEMs. They are a wild W sound signature that never gets old, also a surprise opposite from the IER-Z1R.

alexandros a

1000+ Head-Fier
300 buck TOTL ?
Pros: Totally Impressive sub bass impact
Engaging signature
Lush & emotional mids
Fully extended not fatique treble
Wide holographic scene,completely out of the head listening experience
Accurate superb imaging of instruments
Top tier resolution even at the most complex tracks
Easy to drive
Awesome-stylish magnetic case
Cons: For this price ? Νοne.......
We all know how Audio Market has become a saturated market, especially during the last years making it even harder for any of us to choose a monitor that suits our personal flavor (its a paradox but the more choises one has, the more difficult it gets for that person to make a decision , and having a plethora of choises doesn΄t really help much,that situation occurs more and more in our everyday life and affects most people΄s life in every level)
Νevertheless H50 was not a blind shot for my case....
Having bought during the last 3 years from ISN AUDIO company H40,D10 and D02 iems has proved to be a safe solid choise and thus it was easy to follow ISN on their latest release H50 monitor.
Giving H50 a straight 5 star was really easy for me, as it impressed me the most straight out of the box from the very first listening.
I can recall 2 or 3 times the most, that other monitors had an immediate impact to my ears (one of those time would be their previous H40 model)

Purchased H50 with my own money directly from PENON AUDIO and here¨s a link in case you are interest...ISN H50




Driver: 4 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic driver
2BA for high frequency + 2BA for middle frequency
10MM composite diaphragm Dynamic for low frequency
Impedance: 25ohm
Sensitivity: 108dB
Frequency response: 20-20kHz
3 channels 3-way crossover
Handmade resin shell
Stainless steel nozzle
Connector: MMCX
Cable:8 Strands 19 Cores OCC Silver-plated
Plug: Gold-plated
Cable length: 1.2M

Gear used for the purpose of this review : iBASSO DX 160 / Shanling M3X / HIBY R5
Just for the record.. H50 had allready completed a total burn in period of 200 hours before any kind of critical listening.

Package is pretty simple (and that has become a tradition for all ISN monitors even the most expensive ones)
as for accessories goes, yοu get two sets of silicone tips in 3 sizes, one pair of large size comply foams, and a unique dark blue stylish magnetic case
H50 comes with an ISN S8 mmcx cable in 3,5 / 2,5 / 4,4 balanced (termination of your choise)
Fit wise, i would consider H50 the closest anyone can get to custom fit,in my case at least fits like a glove to my extra large ear cavities and having tried several tips (symbio,azla sedna,sony hybrids e.t.c.) in order to find the ABSOLUTE BEST ISOLATION quickly ended up using Final Audio E tips cause those provided the deepest insert for me, as well as amazing fit and superb isolation .

........or in other words this is where things get really exciting !!
FYI.... being a funny guy...
I am always trying to reach for a "full headroom experience" for example..(DX160 high gain 60 - 70 step).. (in cost of my hearing health am afraid) nevertheless I still feel able to hear every single tiny detail / nuances in the majority of the recordings I am listening to...

....with an impedance of 25ohms ,this is a a very easy to drive pair of monitors either you use them straight out of a smartphone plug, or with an entry level dap such as Hiby R3. I currently use iBasso DX160 .Hiby R5 & Sanhling M3X with H50, all of them resulting in an exciting audition.
I consider their tuning as a balanced slight W shaped with bigger emphasis on the very low end ,slightly elevated mids and more emphasized sparkly treble.
Another noticeable thing regardless the music genre and the complexity of any track is the strong resolution of these monitors only to be found in much more complex implementations and way more expensive higher end iems.EFFORTLESS is the name of the game here.....
As far as Soundstage / image goes what you get is a really wide holographic scene elliptical you might say. Sound expands easily towards any direction ending in a certain amount of ambience hard to be achieved by any monitor in today's market.
accurate placement of instruments, right on spot, giving a strong palm of realism in every track.
Detail retrieval is also top tier on H50. Not in your face of course, in the background taking a back seat creating this way a unique atmospheric sense of the recording.

Vast but controlled at the same time with fast attacks and longer decays for acoustical instruments in this region
Never bleeds into the midrange,to be more precise the transition into the mids is smooth as butter, makes you think there is only one driver working in the entire FR providing cohesive steady solid sound. The 10MM composite diaphragm Dynamic driver for low frequency, is a new addition from ISN family and the biggest difference from their previous H40 model.But the biggest feature here is the sub bass impact.
To be more specific about it, in the sub bass region (20 - 60 Hz) H50 does all the "vibration magic thing",seems that the DD pushes a lot of air there effortless resulting in this exciting outcome.....
Even at the lowest volume levels you can feel that woofer tickling your ears and that makes a huge difference....
it΄s almost like you can feel the music rather than just hearing the sound.
I suspect partially due to their fantastic tuning and also due to their unique custom like fit which allows everyone regardless of their ear cavity size to experience a most unique fitting experience (the closest you can get to custom monitors as i allready have mentioned)
i suggest as a test track : LOCAL TOURIST - colors that one sounds completely a gem in the lowest region
Local Tourist - Colors

2 BAs talking care of the midrange and once again the cohesiveness is trully admirable,there is a noticeable airy feeling between voices and instruments a balance hard to find at this price range
Spacious,emotional,lush with weight at the same time,seems like ISN AUDIO enginners found the right spot between thick and thin mids resulting to a unique and very realistic timbre.
Enganging and euphoric vocals is what should be expected from H50 midrange reproduction
Furthermore, the amount of air, especially in the midrange is really remarkable for any iem at this price, and i would easily compare the airy atmosphere in the mids (which is trully amazing) to the DUNU EST112 which is way more expensive monitor.
Imaging is really accurate , you can easily pin point each and every instrument in the sound field
Luna Li : Αfterglow is a perfect test track for the high level of engangment this earphone can provide......
Luna Li - Αfterglow

2BAs there as well working together for lower and higher department.
Extended but pollished, sparkly but fatigue free at the same time.all the upper region details are there ,not at your face ,at the background moving slowly inside your head filling you gently with all the information present at the recordings.
its an exciting,bright and sparkly treble providing at the same time an absolute fatique free experience suggested for long term listening sessions
Not hot,neither artificial, but natural and resolving even at the most complex passages
i would suggest Portico Quartet΄s : Captured time with the fascinating percussive and string section there ending up to a trully heavenly listening experience
Portico Quartet - captured time


H50 graph



vs H40

with a 9.2 DD & 3 BAs (1BA for the mids - 2BAs for the highs) H40 is a bass focused hybrid ,the epitomy of a FUN SIGNATURE SOUND a much beloved for many headfiers monitor and a personal favorite.H50 is the more balanced and the less bulky one between them.Its the one with a prominent sub bass emphasis against the vast bass signature of the H40s which from time to time, dominates and thus overshadows the rest of the frequency range. Vocals on H50 are more upfront than H40 and the airy feeling is more noticeable too. Treble is not H40s biggest advantage too,resulting in a more polite sound experience,its not like H50 is more aggresive at all.its just that H40 is more prominent in the bass region due to its tuning, Regardless that both are great hybrid monitors with H50 due to its tuning and implementation ,being the more airy and linear sounding between them obtaining a more ¨out of the head experience¨to the listener.
Anyway... FYI I still consider till this day H40 for their cost, an absolute VFM ideal all rounder........


vs DUNU EST112
EST112 from DUNU is a tribrid monitor with a 13.5 mm DD Driver with Dual-Sided Beryllium Coating ,one Custom Knowles BA tweeter and 2 Sonion EST supertweeters
I loved those straight out of the box ,for their vast wide soundstage,their polished sound,their clarity,their unbelievable detail retrieval.BUT as far as bass goes (strangely enough having a large 13.5 woofer) is way too polite if you compare it directly with a monitor like H50.The impact is missing, the sub bass kick lacks of energy, something that ISN AUDIO is a really specialist at.Though EST112΄s treble is really something else (propably the most airy treble i personally ever heard till now) it lacks some weight,or body i would say.On the contrary this is not the case with H50 where the body and sparkle goes hand by hand with the sub bass providing authority and definition to every single note.....
As far as resolution goes EST112 has slightly the upper hand overt the H50 in big orchestras and symphonic tracks. apart from that EST112 is really a pain in the ass as far as fit goes (using azla sedna tips was the only way for these really heavy monitors to stay tight on my ears).


Configuration : 1 Coil OBC Driver + 1 Bass Dynamic Driver + 2 Mids BA Drivers + 2 Treble BA Drivers
Obviously what comes first in mind is the question : is this a fair comparison ? i mean come on...1kilobuck monitor versus a 300 bucks iem ???????
Got the MEXT just a week ago so lets start with a major downisde of the MEXT........It is by far the biggest monitor I ve ever tried, and certainly not the most comfortable experience for the average user....
it is a bass friendly monitor with a HUGE FUN SIGNATURE closer to H40 than H50.
MEXT is indeed a perfect all rounder, ideal for bass lovers obtaining a huge soundstage,top tier resolution ,fantastic mids and fascinating treble response.
nevertheless i have to admit that I was quite surprised during this comparison cause MEXT is my one and only kilobuck monitor and i realised with certainty, that those are quite overestimated (in terms of pure cost of course) against monitors like ISN H40 / H50...
In terms of airy/spaciousness feeling though this is quite subjective I would say H50 wins here... seems due it's more linear approach in the midrange and the treble region air/distance between instruments and vocals is more than noticeable leaving room for every single instrument to really shine in its own space....
in terms of timbre / note weight bot are natural and realistic with note weight being a bit more on the MEXTs side due to it's tuning mainly.
But.. in the other hand H50 being more airy obtains a touch more open feeling in the midrange leaving room for the vocals to breathe....
MEXT is a darker sounding monitor more "heavy feeling" more bass head friendly if you like...
on the other hand H50 is more reference like tuning, more balanced than the MEXT and more audiophile approach.... it's a brighter one with more precision and presence in the higher registries...
MEXT has been widely promoted for their newest technologies (Bone conducting driver) and the effects of that in the perception of the sound as we know it till now..
but believe me, if i wouldn't to know, between those two monitors (MEXT / H50) where this bone conductor driver lies, I would suspect the latest (H50).
To be more specific about it, as i stated earlier, in the sub bass region (20 - 60 Hz) H50 does all the magic you ll ever need .......
I suspect partially due to their fantastic tuning and also due to their unique custom like fit which allows everyone regardless of their ear cavity size to experience a most unique fitting experience (the closest you can get to custom monitors)
So...... I am afraid as far as fit goes... H50 are beyond any competition and certainly way above the MEXT (which is a bulky monitor) and I would highly suggest (cause of that) to anyone who is thinking of purchasing those..... don't do it with blind eyes...otherwise it will be a pain in the ass to get a comfortable fit, try them first then go on....
other than that i consider both monitor on par in terms of pure music pleasure and excitement .......


Final words
At this hobby it has always been a matter of personal taste and flavor when it comes to the choise of getting any iem that suits any individual΄s different point of view.
From my side at least i cannot reccomend enough the ISN H50. IMHO, ISN audio engineers really surpassed themselves making this fabulous set of monitors.
It is an absolute TOTL, regardless of their price to faithfully reproduce any kind of recording or music genre effortless ,and the main point is that H50 has nothing to envy from much higher priced monitors coming from well established companies , or monitors using more sophisticated implementations.
All this for barely 300 bucks.....
Engagement is the name of the game here, and those H50s definitely deliver that. it's one of the most engaging monitors I have ever listened to.
Thanks for reading.............
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Great review. I know that not a good comparison but do you try Dusk or S8 ?? What do you think?
alexandros a
alexandros a
@Gustavo1976 havent heard either of them sorry,
as far as i can remember the reason why i wasnt interested in the first place for both of these two monitors was that i had reached out in a conclusion that their sound signature was too linear/reference for my taste (based on reviews i had read) thus providing both of them a weaker bass response/impact....
by the way alexandros a I took the recommendation and yours as well on the ISN Audio H50, and pull the trigger ordered in Aliexpress on this year 11/11 sale so the final price was around $267.00 USD and it will arrived around 11/20 via DHL


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Comfortable medium sized semi custom resin design. Expertly tuned hybrid with class leading stage, wider than most IEMs at the price range. Combining the best of BA implementation with high technicalities and ISN bass using a new composite 10mm Dynamic. Above average passive isolation for resin designs. Superb for outdoor use. Balanced w shaped tuning, more reference level of balancing, outstanding dynamics a clear upgrade on the older H40 sound.
Cons: Included ISN S8 cable is very basic. Good enough to let you hear what the H50 is about but is by no way optimized for the full sonics of the H50. Just about any mid to upper level cable will enhance the sonics for the H50 for the much better. Your best aftermarket cables are highly recommended.

with ISN GS4 cable.

ISN the makers of premium cables and earphones has come up with some great bang for your dollar IEMs in the past. Their H40 even by today's standards is arguably one of the best hybrids you can purchase for your hard earned money. Two years later after their release ISN has created their newer flagship tribrids in the EST50 and now a true successor to their highly acclaimed H40 in the new H50.

The new H50 is a semi custom all resin design with an extra BA in the mix from their H40 design, a new composite dynamic with a reconfigured and retuned design that will surprise a lot of enthusiasts. Being true to the naming scheme, it utilizes 5 drivers per side A 10mm dynamic + 4 BAs. While this driver configuration is nothing new or exotic. It is how their newest has been tuned that will elevate the H50 to be one of their absolute best releases of the year. As with anything newly designed, yes these cost more than their previous H40 by $100. So what does the extra $100 get you for sound?

The H50 was provided for early press and review purposes by Penon audio. You can purchase a set from their website here. The H50 has been burned in for a week straight and is now ready for evaluation using a variety of my sources. IBasso DX300Max, Fiio M15, M5s, M3s, IBasso DX160, Sony ZX300, Fiio K3 2021, IBasso PB3, IFI Black Label for amping.

What your getting
H50 comes in their newer shiny blue box packaging. The earphones come with a blue colored magnetic lid, smaller sized box case, ISN S8 cables in the termination you order, two sets of silicones and a set of comply foams in large size. No flashy content and no frills here. But with that lack of accessories and basic packaging provided is easily made up for what you're actually getting for your hard earned money, a substantial progress for hybrid sound at the price level.

How they sound?
They actually suck. JK. Not what you would expect from them and that's not how they are gonna sound. The new H50 is tuned differently than what you would expect, especially coming from the older H40. This time around the sound has matured quite a bit and we are talking about how they are tuned. From the get go I recognized their signature especially for the mids presentation from of all earphones the Penon Legend which is Penon flagship IEMs you can read my take on those here. We are talking about a premiere $1300 flagship product. That's a good sign right? Even out of the box I can tell the sound was more higher end. Presents with a broad wide even stage that again you would expect from an ISN made earphone. I immediately posted my impressions of them here and as of writing this review, some will have their H50s in their ears to enjoy.

The tuning on the new H50 is more of a balanced W shaped Fr tuning which is a bit of a departure from the more balanced V shaped tuning of the H40. The three high points in the sound design are its subbass, a mild upper mids emphasis and an upper treble emphasis all 3 points playing an equal role on how the sound was tuned and how they sound. The advantages of using a dynamic here goes without saying. The new composite dynamic handles a highly capable bass end of the H50 to be what ISN has been known for. Its outstanding bass presentation adding to this, the advantages of BA precision, stage, detail, imaging, sound separation and you get an ideal hybrid in the H50s.

The overall sound tuning of the H50 has matured this time around and I think fans of the former H40s are going to like what ISN has done for the H50 sound tuning. I can say the sound of the H50 is different this time going for a more grown up higher end sound means it has more of a neutral tilt to its tonality and not as much in the way of a warmer tilt to the lower mids like the H40. ISN has tuned these to sound more reference and even better balanced than their previous H40 while maintaining its musical edge that ISN is known for.

Trebles, the details for your Jazz.

Trebles has very good presence for the tuning, the upper trebles gets a lift for the treble balancing with less of emphasis from the mid trebles of the H40. The result is an airy, better balanced and detailed treble end with an addictive shimmer in the presentation. The H50 treble end has a better extension over the older H40 and has the type of treble presence you would associate with much higher end headphone designs. I am gonna guess that one BA is doing the bulk of the lower to mid trebles and one is set for the ultra high frequencies. The treble this time around has good balance and sounds complete from lower to upper trebles. And with that added emphasis in the upper trebles adds that air, shimmery take on the H50 treble tuning.

The treble presentation meshes extremely well with the mids emphasis and adds to the overall balanced presentation of the H50. Tonally is just a slight splash of brightness for the treble area but nothing that is overly done. Trebles are clean and sound very agile handling all sorts of fine treble details. This greater upper treble emphasis adds a touch of nuance to the treble presentation that is missing for a lot of earphones. Overall the treble presence and ability is one of the clear changes from their H40 that is much higher end in how it is presented in the mix.

Mids. The imaging that stays with you.

The mids gets a slight vocal lift due to the mild upper mid emphasis and here is where you can hear the pedigree of Penons influence on the H50 tuning. ISN/ Penon are the masters of the dimensional mids presentation. If you don’t know all their earphones have a certain degree even the older H40 had that going on. In utilizing two BAs to do the mids. You get a smoother more ambient flow to the mids character that these guys have a knack of producing. The H50 does just this, the mids sound dimensional and all encompassing resulting in a very engrossing sound experience. Its sound surrounds you that is so very layered and how the mids present itself. Never heard an ISN earphone yet that has an uninspiring flat sound to it. You're never going to hear that. Something as important as the H50 for them they are going to bring out the goods for the mids presentation.

The body of note is not overly thick and nowhere near thin. Music requires a certain level of fullness and thickness that makes what you're hearing more tangible and real. ISN earphones have no issues with this and the H50 is presented with the right amount of body and weight to its sound presentation. The overall balancing for proper mids presentation here is quite excellent in what it does. The mids are similar to how Penon has tuned their flagship Legends as I mentioned. It has a similar upper mid lift and also similar lower mids presentation as well. Its expansive tonal character is also similar. The sound projects with a holography and an ambient fluid airy presentation for the wide mids that sounds much more higher end than what you're paying for. Its tonal qualities are spot on and with the precision that is included using two BAs projected through a single tube out to the ear. The mids on the H50 is fantastic given the sound design. No thinness, no brittleness, no off tonality and certainly with very good details. The wider mid bands for the H50 presentation sounds amazing for instruments and vocals alike.

Bass, the soul of your music

ISN is to bass what Penon is to mids. Meaning you will probably never see a flat neutral tuning from ISN for any of their earphones. The H50 has a good amount of bass that is tasteful and impactful with very good quality for the presentation. It's not exactly the strongest bass performing IEMs in their lineup. I would give that title to the EST50s. Bass completes this musically balanced signature and is defined just as good as the mids' images. Bass this time is handled with a 10mm composite dynamic. A slightly bigger dynamic bass driver from the H40. Composite dynamic can mean any variation of coatings and materials that make up the so-called composite dynamic. Bass this time sees an uptick in quality over the H40 bass presentation. I would give the H40 mid bass more punch so therefore more midbass but it is more the sub bass for the H50 that has a bit more focus this time around. With the focus of the bass emphasis more toward sub bass and the upper trebles emphasis on the opposite end. You get a wider imaging and more spacious mids presentation when compared to their previous H40s.

Mid bass sounds tighter and speedier with a healthy amount of punch, again showing a bit of a higher end bass tuning aspect to the H50. There is certainly enough bass emphasis for bass genres to shine. Since its focus is more sub bass. The agile sub bass rumble and texture is superb and any track with a sub bass emphasis will present with a satisfying deeply textured rumble.

Once you have this sub bass you can’t go back to hearing neutral sub bass or rolled off stuff, it just don’t sound proper. It is the upgrade for the bass dynamic that has the H50 and the extra BA doing the upper trebles with is new tuning that separates the H50 and their former H40. Bass here again is superb on all fronts. Sure the emphasis of bass is what I consider north of a moderate emphasis meaning these don’t sound as punchy as the H40 or as beefy as the EST50 but it easily rivals both sets if not excelling for sheer quality. It has enough presence to do bass genres complete justice and provides a snappier quicker decay for rock and metal music. It is just short of bass head levels but at the same time bass fans will appreciate the quality and its quantity of the bass presentation. It is a satisfactory amount of emphasis and with great ability, an accurate tone, snappy, punchy smile inducing rumbly bass all in one.

In the end
The H50 is yet another success by ISN. I can tell they clearly took the time to upgrade just about every aspect of their number one seller of all time the ISN H40. These are masterfully tuned folks. You’re going to find it very difficult to find faults to this sound and for a phone that is in the lower mid fi category in price, that is astounding. Don’t know if you can consider a $295 price tag mid fi category nowadays. It is at the outskirts of budget level in price more like it. Regardless of price, the H50 is firing off on all cylinders and shows what can happen when some experienced tuners throw down their best effort to create a hybrid that will punch way above what you pay for a set. This is what the H50 is.

ISN has created another monster here and if you are in the market to hear what one of the absolute best you can get for your money paid I feel the H50 represents a superb value for the price. I can see a scenario where folks that own much higher end earphones might sell them off and just keep the H50 around. Its tuning is not only versatile but expertly balanced to have enough coloration to the tuning to present your music on a proper higher level of enjoyment.

The sound has a shimmery airy detailed and refined treble blended with a mild upper mid forward spacious well imaged, properly layered mids presentation. The right amount note weight and body provided by the lower mids. Bass that is superbly crafted presenting a high quality tasty bass end with just the right amount of emphasis to stay in balance with the rest of the signature injecting ISNs house musicality in the mix. All presented in a wow-inducing fluid fully dimensional wider head stage for earphones and you get one heck of a hybrid you can enjoy for years. The H50 shows a step forward in ISN sound and that is always a good thing.

Since ISN folks are giving you a bit of an extra in value for the H50, why not get some extra from the review too. As a cable connoisseur. It has occurred to me that while the stock cable is in the good enough category they are far from optimizing how the H50 sound can actually reach. Yes this part of my review means you have to believe in what cables can do for your sounds. The H50 can reach an even higher level of sonics imo but you need the right cable pairings. Here are some matchups that will point you in the right direction.

H50 has a neutral tone, not warm, not cold and certainly not bright. Its mids tonal character is very natural sounding so you can tweak the sound profile to how you want your H50 by using specific types of cables to use on the H50. Silver based for more precision, imaging, detail and stage leaning more toward neutrality. Copper based for more fullness and smoothness and bass for more musicality.. A mixture of the two elements for a bit of both.

H50 w the ISN GS4.
The GS4 is a basic 4 cored version of Penons GS849 and for folks that don’t want to spend a whole bunch on a cable pairing for the H50 and or if you want your optimized cables to be thinner vs the thicker GS849. This is a great price point to performance ratio for the H50. You can purchase one of these here. The base cores of the GS4 is crystal copper twisted in a litz configuration and then half the strands are plated in 18k gold and the other in pure silver. The sound addition to the H50 are as follows. Each cable here is tested going back and forth from the stock ISN S8 cables listening to the same track in its entirety.

The GS4 clearly advances the dynamic overtones of the H50. Increasing its imaging, mids forwardness, bass impact. Adding a fuller note weight and the gold plating adds just a hint of a richer tone to the base sonics of the H50. Stage sees a slight increase in scope. This cable is a great match up on the H50. Giving sonics an uptick in body with a better stage. Makes the H50 sound decisively better from the stock ISN S8 cable.

H50 w the Penon GS849, you can read about these here.
OK now we are talking about the full meal version of the ISN GS4. What was good at 4 cores is even better at 8 cores. You get double the strands of the already fairly thicker 4 cored ISN GS4. How that translates to sound is. You get everything mentioned above but to a greater extent. Going from the GS4 to the GS849. There is a jump in stage and imagery. Everything from bass to treble is full on with the GS849. It is my pick for an ideal match up for the given price paid in how the H50 matches with this cable. This time everything has a more expansive scope of sound and clearly shows the best aspect of just how impactful and musical the H50 can sound. If you can’t afford this one as it is double the price and thickness of the previously mentioned GS4. Get the GS4 and be happy. I know some folks like their cables thinner so the GS4 having less cores will be beneficial that way. But if you want the absolute best version of what the GS4 does. There is no question the GS849 does what the GS4 does but again to a greater and better extent.

H50 w the flagship ISN Solar. My review of the Solar is here
Now we are talking about the best cable ISN makes. This cable is not exactly cheap and what it does for the H50 is pretty substantial. The H50 sounds closer to a flagship product more than what you paid to get a pair. This pairing is very substantial. It is like the previous GS849 but now refines every note of your earphone. From trebles to bass. Not only does this cable add more note weight but it also adds some texture to the sounds. A darker hue for treble due to the gold plated implementation. Treble sounds more silky and cleaner. Mids sounds even more dimensional and spacious. Bass has greater impact and has a rounder note using the Solar. Its imaging is more distinct with a richer tonality due to the cable. Stage is expanded. The surprising aspect of the Solar is that the previous mentioned GS849 and the Solar both throw out a wider stage with a deeper sound the main difference is how much more richer and distinct imaging becomes. The Solar here is about as good as it will get for the H50 and while the price here is a bit hard to swallow as it is $100 more than the H50. What it does for the sonics of the H50 is refines every note. I still say the best value here is the GS849 pairing but for folks that love their H50 and want the absolute best for it. That is what the Solar is for the H50. The synergy between the H50 and the Solar is perfect. Hey you have an extra $400 laying around. Why not?

As always thanks for taking the time to read. Happy safe listening everyone.
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What cable do you recommend? Thanks. I have Shanling M7, Fiio k9 pro, Topping Dx3+ and Xduoo 05 bal:))
Any good silver cable from Penon should do the trick. You can also look at boutique options but well, I think the money is spent better elsewhere.
Your sources have enough power for sure 😅
What eartips do you recommend?