BEST BUDGET EARPHONES THREAD- Chi-fi, Obscure brands and impressions sharing+PERSONAL RANKING LIST
Apr 22, 2016 at 6:44 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29,084

NymPHONOmaniac

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Hi Headfiers and budget minded audiophile! This thread is open to anybody that seek the highest sound value possible. Please share your serious discoveries and avoid hyping mediocre IEM. For example, an IEM that need to be EQ to sound good isn't worth the attention.
A great IEM should pass test of time, so their plenty of exceptional earphones still hiding in the shadow of over hyped ones. To judge greatness of an IEM, we most be extremely critical about it's TECHNICAL talent because this is the so called ''benefit return'' audiophile seek in kilobucks TOTL earphones. Sure, if tonality is disastrous, it's a pass, but we can find perfect tonality even in sub-20$ price range.

This is why i decide to work on a more severe BEST BUDGET IEM list. The old one was full of IEM that aren't for sale anymore....it was too permissive too. So....


THIS LIST only include the BEST VALUE Earphones I personally test and find excellent for their price from the more than 200 iem I’ve tested.
As well, it will be limited to sub-500$ price range and will be regularly updated.
I decide to take a more severe approach that favorise exceptional audio quality over decent sounding quantity. The goal is to only put what stand appart in term of AUDIOPHILE SOUND VALUE. While this can seem subjective, my experience is concentrate on this highest sound benefit quest since 10 years so i’m very aware and sensible about this type of value. Sure, this is subjective to some part, but I try my best to forget my personal tuning preference taste and focus on critical listening; grumpy, no bs way.


You can press on the earphones name to read full review when available.


About scoring:


Tone
=Tonal balance cohesion & Individual tone-timbre of instruments
Tech= Technicalities like attack speed-sustain-decay, resolution, precision, imaging, dynamic(etc)
V=Value which take the price in account and A=Absolute which doesn’t take the price into account.
SoundSig= Soundsignature. Overall kind of sound it delivers.


——-

1-30$


-SONY MH750 (1DD)-
Tone : 8/10
Tech: V=7.5/10 A=6.5
SoundSig : Harman Balanced U shape with boosted sub bass recessed upper treble


-KZ EDX (1DD)-
Tone : 7.6/10
Tech : V=8/10 A=6.6/10
SoundSig : Bright W shape with upper mids boost


-EZAUDIO ED4 (1DD)-
Tone :
7.5/10
Tech: V=8.2/10 A=7/10
SoundSig : Neutral to slight W shape with treble boost


-FINAL E1000 (1DD)-
Tone : 8.5/10
Tech: V=8.2/10 A=7.5/10
SoundSig : Neutral to warm W shape with mids boost


-**** **** (1DD+1BA+1piezo driver)-
Tone:
7.4/10
Tech: V=9.5/10 A=7.8/10
Soundsig: Vivid L shape to W shape with boosted sub bass-mids-upper treble, and unique holographic imaging.

-URBANFUNU HYBRID (1DD+1BA)-
Tone:
7.8/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=7.5/10
Timbre: Realist, transparent, a bit cold-liquid and thin.
Soundsig: Crisp W shape, clean, airy, sparkly with sub bass and upper treble boost.

-HIFIMAN RE400 (single micro-DD, 20-40$ now)
Tone:
7.8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10 A=7.5/10
Soundsig: Bright neutral with light bass and boosted upper mids and treble.

-KZ ZS10PRO (1DD+4BA)-
Tone: 7.4/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=7.5/10
Soundsig: Agressive W to V shape with boosted mid bass, slightly recessed mids, fowards analytical treble. Bright, fowards, punchy, fun tuning with in your face micro-details.

-CCA C10 (1DD+4BA)-
Tone: 7.6/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=7.5/10
Timbre: Warmish-fuzzy-grainy.
Soundsig: Practically a slightly warmer ZS10PRO with fuller mids and more relaxed upper treble, still brightish W shape.


-TANCHJIM TANYA (1DD)-
Tone : 8.4/10
Tech : V=7.5/10 A=7/10
SoundSig : Harman W shape with sub bass boost and upper highs boost


-KBEAR KB04 (1DD+1BA)-
Tone : 7.6/10
Tech : V=8.5/10 A=7.5/10
SoundSig :Crisp bright balanced W shape with boosted bass+lower&upper treble


-KBEAR LARK (1DD+1BA)-
Tone :
7.5/10
Tech : V=7.8/10 A=7/10
SoundSig : Warmish W shape to U shape with very boosted bass


-BLON BL-03 (1DD)-
Tone : 8.2/10
Tech : V=8.2/10 A=7.5/10
SoundSig : Warmish well balanced W shape with boosted bass and mid treble


-DQSM Hermit (1DD)-
Tone : 7.5/10
Tech : V=8.3/10 A=7.7/10
SoundSig : Crisp W shape with recessed lower mids+boosted treble


-JADE AUDIO ED3 (1DD+1 Knowles BA)
Tone: 7.5/10
Tech: V=8/10 A=7.5/10
Soundsig: Excited V to W shape with big bass boost and slight upper mids boost.


-MOONDROP QUARKS (1DD)-
Tone:
7.8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10 A=7/10
Soundsig: Neutral to mid centric, lean bass, DF target tuning, energic mid treble.





30-60$


-TINHIFI T2 (Dual DD)-
Tone :
8/10
Tech : V=8.2/10 A=7.4/10
Timbre: Lush to brightish with boosted texture
SoundSig : Neutral to warmish W shape with recessed sub bass


-TINHIFI T2+ (1DD)-
Tone : 8.5/10
Tech: V=7.5/10 A=7.3/10
Timbre: Warm organic with good density
SoundSig : Warm neutral to mid centric


-AUDIOSENSE T180 (1 knowles BA)-
Tone : 7.5/10
Tech: V=8/10 A=7.2/10
Timbre: realist-bright with boosted texture
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to mid+lower treble centric


-KBEAR NEON (1 knowles BA)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10 A=7.8/10
Timbre: realist-cold-clean with great transparency
SoundSig : Crisp neutral to smooth W shape with treble emphasis


-BLON BL05S (1DD)-
Tone :
7.6/10
Tech : V=8/10 A=7.5/10
Timbre: Bright-rubbery-a bit artificial
SoundSig : Bright W shape with boosted bass


-BQEYZ KC2 (1DD+2BA)-
Tone :
8/10
Tech: V=8.4/10 A=7.7/10
Timbre: natural-organic to brightish
Soundsig : Warmish W shape with boosted mids-lower treble


-BQEYZ K1 (1DD+1BA)-
Tone :
8/10
Tech : V=8/10 A=7.4/10
Timbre: natural-organic
Soundsig : Warmish W to V shape with boosted bass and mids and recessed upper treble


-BQEYZ KB100 (1DD+2BA)-
Tone : 8.5/10
Tech : V=8.5/10 A=8/10
Timbre: Realist-organic
Soundsig : Smooth neutral to warm balanced W shape with recessed upper treble


-FINAL E2000 (1DD)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech : V=8/10 A=7.6/10
Timbre: Bright realist
Soundsig : Balanced brightish W shape with mid bass + slight upper mids and treble boost


-FINAL E3000 (1DD)-
Tone : 8.2/10
Tech : V=7.8/10 A=7.4/10
Timbre: warm organic, natural, good density
Soundsig : Warm Harman to V shape with very boosted mid bass and slightly boosted mids-lower treble


-MOONDROP SSP (1DD)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech : V=7.5/10 A=7/10
Timbre: warm and organic, hint lush, good density
SoundSig : Brightish harman to V shape with boosted mids+lowerr treble and warm bass


-FIIO FD1 (1 Bery plated DD)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech : V=8/10 A=7.6/10
Timbre: dense, textured, slightly bright
Soundsig : Brightish W shape with extended upper treble boost

-IBASSO IT00 (1DD)-
Tone:
8.5/10
Tech: V=7.5/10 A=7.2/10
Timbre: Lush, warm, natural, dense, not very textured.
Soundsig: Very warm, harmanish rumbly V shape, near basshead, very boosted sub bass, thick mids, snappy but overall soft treble.


-HZSOUND HEART MIRROR (1 DLC DD)-
Tone :
8.4/10
Tech: V=10/10 A=8.8/10
Timbre: Cold bright, slightly thin, very realist and nuanced (not too boosted) in texture
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to balanced W shape with lean extended bass, plus slight full treble boost and extension


-GEEK WOLD GK10 (2xDD, 1xBA, 2xPiezo)-
Tone: 7.8/10
Tech: V=9.2/10 A=8.5/10
Timbre: Bright, just a hint grainy, realistic, abrasive, textured and slightly thin in lower mids.
Soundsig: Energic yet non shouty W shape to vivid L shape, unforced analytical, bright but non sibilant with thumpy bass, very extended in treble





60-100$

-ALPHA&DELTA D6 (1DD-can be found for 60$)-
Tone:
8/10
Tech: V=8.4/10 A=8/10
Timbre: Realist but bright and a hint thin.
Soundsig: Bright neutral to analytical with lean punchy bass, slight upper mids boost and crisp extended treble. Underatted AF.


-HISENIOR T2U (2 Knowles BA/80$ at the time)-
Tone :
8.4/10
Tech : V=9/10 A=8.4/10
Timbre: Dry to slightly bright-cold, very realist, very transparent, clean
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to smooth W shape


-MOONDROP ARIA (1 LCP DD/80$)-
Tone :
8.4/10
Tech: V=8.2/10 A= 8/10
Timbre: Thin, dry, realist with great transparency
Soundsig : Crisp Harman neutral to U shape with extra upper treble boost extension


-BQEYZ SPRING 1 (1DD+2BA+1piezo drive/ can now be found for 105$)-
Tone : 7.6/10
Tech : V=9/10 A=8.4/10
Timbre: bright and very textured, cold-realist with low transparency
Soundsig : Bright W shape to analytical with boosted mid bass and treble


-IKKO OH1 (1DD+1knowles BA / now selling 100$ in official store)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech : V=9/10 A=8.4/10
Timbre: Thin bright textured, hint artificial
Soundsig : Balanced V shape with slightly boosted upper mids and extended sub bass


-WHIZZER HE01 (1DD)-
Tone:
8/10
Tech: V=7.5/10 A=7.2/10
Timbre: Thick, warm, lush and natural
Soundsig: Warm energic W shape with boosted mid bass.


-THIEAUDIO LEGACY 2 (1 Bery Plated DD+1 Knowle BA)-
Tone: 7.8/10
Tech: V=8/10 A=7.5/10
Timbre: Dry realist, slightly thin
Soundsig: Smooth L shape to neutral with detailed lower and mid treble.





100-200$

-FINAL E4000 (1DD)-
Tone: 8.8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10 A=8.2/10
Timbre: Lush, natural, dense yet transparent, uniquely smooth.
Soundsig: Smooth harman W shape with warm boosted bass, emphased mid range, smooth but well resolved treble.


-BQEYZ SPRING2 (1dual DD-piezo+1BA)-
Tone: 8.5/10
Tech: V=8.8 A=8.5/10
Timbre: brightish to natural with great texture and good density
Soundsig: warm energic W shape with thumpy mid bass, and equivalent mids-treble boost


-ORIOLUS FINSCHI (1DD+1knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.4/10
Tech: V=8.6/10 A=8.2/10
Timbre: organic clean and transparent, a bit thin and cold
Soundsig: L shape to U shape with full lean mids and crisp treble


-FIIO FH3 (1DD+2 knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=8.7/10 A=8.4/10
Timbre: clean dry with good transparency, a bit thin and cold
Soundsig: Slight L shape to neutral with boosted sub bass and extra treble presence


-IKKO OH10 (1DD+1knowles BA)-
Tone: 8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10 A=8.3/10
Timbre: Thin bright textured, realist but a bit cold
Soundsig : Balanced V shape with slightly boosted upper mids and extended sub bass


-SEEAUDIO YUME (1DD+2Knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.3/10
Tech: V=8.6/10 A=8.4/10
Timbre: Smooth, natural, hint cold, transparent but slightly thin
Soundsig: U shape to harman neutral, lean mids and treble and boosted sub-bass, smooth and organic


-TRI I3PRO (1D+1PLANAR+1BA)-
Tone:
8.2/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=8.5/10
Timbre: Dark, smoothen in texture, natural warm, good transparency but a bit heterogeneous.
Soundsig: U shape to harman neutral, boosted sub-bass that warm the mids, unique tonality.


-TFORCE YUAN LI (1DD)-
Tone: 8.5/10
Tech: V=8.4/10 A=8.2/10
Timbre: Full and natural, nuanced but smooth in texture, hint warm.
Soundsig: Harman neutral to W shape with boosted sub bass and gently boosted mids and relaxed but crisp treble.





200-300$


-AUDIOSENSE T800 (8 knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.4/10
Tech: V=10/10 A=9/10
Timbre: warmish but saturated with texture, thick and natural-lush-euphonic
Soundsig: agressive warrm W to V shape with big bass boost, big mids boost, smooth treble boost


-DUNU DK2001 (1DD+2 Knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.6/10
Tech: V=8.6/10 A=8.5/10
Timbre: warm, thick, natural to lush
Soundsig: warrm W shape to energic L shape with bass boost and rolled off upper treble


-AUNE JASPER (1DD)-
Tone: 8.6/10
Tech: V=8.7/10 A=8.6/10
Timbre: Natural, transparent, organic, smooth and gently textured
Soundsig: Harman target to crisp U shape, slight sub bass boost, airy mids, clean treble


-SONY MDR-EX1000 (1DD)-
Tone:
8.8/10
Tech: V= 8.5/10 A=8.2/10
Timbre: Bright to lush with great texture and dense body
Soundsig: Energic neutral to bright mid centric with slightly punchy bass


AUDIOSENSE DT600 (6BA)-
Tone:
8.5/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=8.7/10
Timbre: Warm but nuanced in texture, natural, transparent
Soundsig: Smooth W to L shape with boosted sub bass-mids and lower treble+vivid upper highs





300-500$


-FIIO FH7 (1DD+4Knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.7/10
Tech: V=8.8/10 A=8.8/10
Timbre: Lush, natural, dense yet transparent, well textured without being bright
Soundsig: W shape with tight punchy bass, thick mids and full&crisp treble. ”Fun neutral”


-UNIQUE MELODY 3DT (3DD)-
Tone: 8.3/10
Tech: V=8.4/10 A=8.3/10
Timbre: Lush, thick and a hint bright in texture
Soundsig: Energic W to V shape, boosted bass and upper mids+crunchy highs with tamed upper treble.





-----------------------------------------

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Last edited:
Apr 23, 2016 at 9:31 AM Post #3 of 29,084

DeLuX

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Great idea for a thread! I'm an avid reader of the chinese threads and I have quite a few of the phones mentioned. However I would love it if the prices in this thread allso went a bit higher, maybe upp to around 100$ or so. Myself I feel I'm done with the sub 30$range, I am amazed at the quality available for the price but it's just that "for the price" I don't need to buy more IEMs that are good for their price, I now want IEMs that are good. Recently got the LZ-A3 wich I consider to be just that, good! For an affordable price
 
Apr 23, 2016 at 10:48 AM Post #4 of 29,084

NymPHONOmaniac

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Great idea for a thread! I'm an avid reader of the chinese threads and I have quite a few of the phones mentioned. However I would love it if the prices in this thread allso went a bit higher, maybe upp to around 100$ or so. Myself I feel I'm done with the sub 30$range, I am amazed at the quality available for the price but it's just that "for the price" I don't need to buy more IEMs that are good for their price, I now want IEMs that are good. Recently got the LZ-A3 wich I consider to be just that, good! For an affordable price

Hi, thanks for the reply.
How many sub-30$ IEM do you have and can you tell us what are the REAL GEMS among them??
 
Me too I read alot about promising Chinese brands here but most of reviews or impressions are from replies somewhere in the millions of posts that we can find on headfi. As there will be surely more than an hundred of IEM at less than 30$ that will be in this list, we can include a special MUST HAVE section, like, SUPREME bang for the buck under 100$.
 
I mean, taking for example the Plextone x46M that doesn't sound ultimately good and have a somewhat cavernous sound but have big soundstage and no distortion whatever you put in them, the fact that they can be found for less than 8$ put the relativity of price value very high in the balance and I will consider a price of 40$ reasonable for this kind of product. I want this list to be usefull for music enthusiast that search super good value earphones too and aren't overwhelmed collector like us...
Can we possibly conclude that a 80$ earphone gem can sound like 300$ earphones?  Hum....what about a section of 30 to 60$ ultimate gems that will be more selective. Like a 3 drivers earphones  that sound very good at less than 60$ that will be something just the Chinese market can make.
Not so long ago it was really hard to find dual drivers earphones at less than 100$, it was the JVC HA-FXT90 and that's about it, now we can find equal or better sounding one at less than 30$ (VJJB V1, KZ ZN1), THAT'S a miracle for audiophile on budget.
 
So, let's find more MIRACLES!
 
And I will update my first post with more discoveries as time goes.
 
Apr 23, 2016 at 10:49 AM Post #5 of 29,084

NymPHONOmaniac

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In not that long I will receive orders of 10 different sub-60$ earphones and include new impressions here. As well as I will have to find all the praised chinese gems that I see on Headfi and put them in the list.
 
Anybody have heard the KZ HDS2 (10$) that look like the clone of 150$ Yamaha EPH-100? Will receive them soon I hope and compare them to the EPH-100 that I own and feel it do not worth 150$ even if the sound is really revealing. If it happen that the HDS2 can compete with them, well, my quest will became even more obsessive!
The HDS2 I bought: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/KZ-HDS2-6-MM-Headphones-Fone-De-Ouvido-Earphone-Auriculares-Steelseries-Go-Pro-Audifonos-dj-Earphones/32530156740.html
 
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Apr 23, 2016 at 1:33 PM Post #7 of 29,084

NymPHONOmaniac

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Yeah I read about them too and was I finaly bought them 2 weeks ago, still waiting but will write fast impressions as soon as heard them a little
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For now, i'm still thinking about the list and need to be somekind of headfier chinese earphones detective for more time.
 
Some aliexpress of happy consumer review for the SENDIY M2:
 
''The product is AMAZING! No other way to put it. I personally like the silver nozzles as I am a bit of a bass head. While these must be "V" shaped, it is not apparent at all! I hear every nuance in the music as I hear with my TF10's (no kidding). These are a winner, an absolute winner! I am speechless so, I will leave it there.''
 
''Using it with silver sound filter - and changed eartips to Sony Hybrids. Actually each eartips with wide bore will be good. And you will get in this case great highs - crisp, but without sibilance, outstanding details, fool mids. Bass - just great!''
 
 
I heard about the HLSX 808 after my big buying.
The ones that own them ADORE it...and they are avid collector with alot of different earphones.
 
 
Will include both in the list!
 
Apr 23, 2016 at 7:13 PM Post #9 of 29,084

NymPHONOmaniac

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Ya right, and it's just the beginning!
 
Viva China earphona!
 
Can you put a little condensed descriptions for all the earphones you suggest?
Just to have an idea of their sounds...TK got looooooooot of praise, look like the holy grail of earphones!
 
Hum, and what your favorite sub-30$ chinese earphone if I may ask too?
 
Cheers!
 
Apr 24, 2016 at 10:13 AM Post #12 of 29,084

TwinACStacks

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Nymphono, HOLD off on purchasing that ER580. I have Both the VJJB V1 and the ER 580 and they are fairly similar. Good Sounding but not Stellar. Once I get settled in My new job, (within a couple weeks),  PM me Your address and I will send you a pair of ER580.
 
Your Welcome.
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TWIN
 

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