Xiaomi Pistion III Youth Edition


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Well balanced, credible bass, nice vocals, no sibilance
Cons: Poor isolation. Poor conduction noise (microphonics)
I originally wrote this in the forums as a comparison of the Piston 3 vs Piston Youth Edition. In terms of IEMs, I already owned Piston 2 (metal), Piston 2 (plastic) and regular Piston 3. I also own Shure SE215, Samsung HS330 (Dual Dynamic Driver IEM), various budget Sennheiser CX series (old and newish) and various Digital Silence noise cancelling IEMs (Digital Silence is the IEM brand name for Wolfson's noise cancelling range) and have also recently owned UE600 (single balanced armature) and some other stuff I forget for the moment. My regular full size headphones are Sennheiser Momentum (v1 circumaural) and I also have some Koss KSC-75 which I quite like, and some Superlux which I do not like at all and which will not survive my next visit to a charity shop. There is probably some other stuff buried under all the crap but anyway the above items are the ones I might occasionally use or even just remember using.

Link to original post: http://www.head-fi.org/t/760847/xiaomi-pistons-3-0-impressions-thread/285#post_11616333

My sources:

PC, iRiver H140 (Rockboxed with 128GB SSD), Sansa Fuze+ (Rockboxed), Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE (GT-N7105)

DACs: HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC ES9023 96Khz/24bit, FiiO E7

Amps: FiiO E7, SMSL sApII TPA6120A2

I've now done plenty of listening with the Xiami Piston III Youth Edition and am confident that they sound much the same as they did straight out of the box, which is to say very good indeed.

Here is the original review, unchanged:

So the Youth Edition (henceforth YE) arrived today and I can do a quick comparison with the Piston 3 (henceforth P3).

Packaging and Presentation

Just like the Piston 2 plastic editions these arrive in the usual small square Xiaomi card box containing the earphones and the spare tips. There is no presentation case as is supplied with the metal Piston 2 or or the P3. The tips are the same for the YE and P3.

Physical Appearance and Materials

The most obvious difference is that the YE has a flat rubberised cable all the way, whereas the P3 has braided cloth covered cable below the Y split, and rubberised round cable above the Y.

The Y split is shrouded in a metal covered cylindrical plastic join on the P3, and in a tapered rectangular plastic join on the YE.

The headset controllers differ in the same way - metal covered cyclinder on the P3, plastic rectangle (aprox) on the YE. Button positions and function are identical.

The 3.5mm jack is gold plated on the P3 and of stainless steel on the YE.

The front piece of each earphone is identical. The back section of the P3 is metal. The YE back section is plastic. Both models have a round metal backplate. This is smaller on the YE as the earphone tapers more acutely from front to back. The YE is narrower at the back. Overall depth is the same to within a fraction of a mm, if not actually identical.


No difference. Same angled tube in both models and identical to wear. You can wear these with the cable up and over but the sound changes for the worse. I guess the port gets obscured because the sound gets thick and dull.


After just an hour or two I can't confidently identify any difference. Sometimes I think I do but then sometimes I think I'm listening to the P3 and look down and it's actually the YE, and vice versa. It's clear enough that these are the same drivers in marginally different shells. Looking at exploded diagrams of the two models suggests that the YE are a little simpler, with the driver assembly simply clipped or glued or pressed into the shell while the P3 driver assembly apparently has some physical dampers and is secured by a screw or rivet. I'm never entirely trusting of publicity materials but I am also not about to destroy my property to satisfy curiosity, mine or yours....sorry biggrin.gif

Anyway experience suggests that in very similar models, and in the absence of golden ears (mine are fool's gold), any differences are going to be identified either by proper measurements or by extended listening and familiarity. I don't have test facilities so I have to defer judgement. I suspect that the P3 has a slightly richer lower end but this could be down to marginal difference in overall sensitivity rather than a true difference in balance. Or I might have imagined it. It's that close.

Both earphones suffer rather badly from conduction noise AKA "microphonics". This is probably the one aspect of Xiaomi earphoes which I think is very poor and should and could be done better. I don't think there is a real excuse why a tiny sliding cable tidy isn't fitted, as is the case with many other IEMs from similarly priced ones up to the most expensive. I'll fix mine with a tiny zip tie, trimmed to fit but I shouldn't have to.


Identical in each case: not that good, as you'd expect from ported semi-open earphones. Etymotic and Shure can relax....if you want isolation look elsewhere. These are not the earphones for planes and trains and busy streets.

Final Note

Apart from the microphonics there isn't really anything to criticise. I've bought earphones at 4, 5, even 10 times the price which didn't sound as good and were no better made.
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Reactions: mebaali and kaiteck
Hey julian! Nice review~ May i know where do you get these?