BEST Sub-100$ BUDGET EARPHONES - Chi-fi, Obscure brands and impressions sharing-REFERENCE LIST
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Slater

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A neat design choice was to install the BA into the nozzle, but flip it around which I found kills the peaks that are present in nozzle mounted BAs on other hybrids.
I’ve seen this on a couple of other IEMs, but I forget which ones. Yeah, it’s definitely a cool idea.
 
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I’ve seen this on a couple of other IEMs, but I forget which ones. Yeah, it’s definitely a cool idea.
Neat! I had to do a double take because I couldn't find the nozzle, then I noticed they were flipped. Weird, but if it works...
 
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Wow... so I'm back from a hiatus with the audio game. It looks like there's been A LOT going on since I've been out.

The first page is very helpful, but also a bit out of date. Anyone want to share their impressions of the newer major budget brands/models they've liked? I'm hearing all kinds of things about KZ, CC, Revonext, ****, Tin Audio, TRN and many more. KZ alone seems to have like 40 models.

To be honest, I'm quite blown away (and feeling lost) in this sea of competition. Does anyone know where I could find the best soundstage in these? I know I can't expect too much from <$50, but I figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm lucky enough to have a few ~$300 pairs (used to review), so I know it's not going to be a great comparison, but maybe there are some giant killers?

Also, looking into pairing one of these with a bluetooth MMCX cable (Luxuray makes good ones), to have the ultimate budget bluetooth setup :beyersmile: I want my wired Pinnacle P1's back haha.
 
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Wow... so I'm back from a hiatus with the audio game. It looks like there's been A LOT going on since I've been out.

The first page is very helpful, but also a bit out of date. Anyone want to share their impressions of the newer major budget brands/models they've liked? I'm hearing all kinds of things about KZ, CC, Revonext, ****, Tin Audio, TRN and many more. KZ alone seems to have like 40 models.

To be honest, I'm quite blown away (and feeling lost) in this sea of competition. Does anyone know where I could find the best soundstage in these? I know I can't expect too much from <$50, but I figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm lucky enough to have a few ~$300 pairs (used to review), so I know it's not going to be a great comparison, but maybe there are some giant killers?

Also, looking into pairing one of these with a bluetooth MMCX cable (Luxuray makes good ones), to have the ultimate budget bluetooth setup :beyersmile: I want my wired Pinnacle P1's back haha.
**** **** is the dark horse
 
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Wow... so I'm back from a hiatus with the audio game. It looks like there's been A LOT going on since I've been out.

The first page is very helpful, but also a bit out of date. Anyone want to share their impressions of the newer major budget brands/models they've liked? I'm hearing all kinds of things about KZ, CC, Revonext, ****, Tin Audio, TRN and many more. KZ alone seems to have like 40 models.

To be honest, I'm quite blown away (and feeling lost) in this sea of competition. Does anyone know where I could find the best soundstage in these? I know I can't expect too much from <$50, but I figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm lucky enough to have a few ~$300 pairs (used to review), so I know it's not going to be a great comparison, but maybe there are some giant killers?

Also, looking into pairing one of these with a bluetooth MMCX cable (Luxuray makes good ones), to have the ultimate budget bluetooth setup :beyersmile: I want my wired Pinnacle P1's back haha.
Everything has shifted so to speak.

Some of what you can get today for $50 or $100, is about as good as what you used to have to pay 3xs that for. And likewise, some of what used to cost $300, is about as good as what you used to have to pay $1k for.

From the cables to multi-BA earphones, the cost keeps dropping and the bar keeps getting moved up. It’s amazing what you can get nowadays.

There’s dynamic drivers with graphene and DLC diaphragms, 1.0+ Tesla magnets, hybrids with planars, ceramic piezoelectric tweeters, etc.

As far as giant killers, we really don’t like to use that term. You’re not going to get a giant killer from a $100 ChiFi IEM, any more than a Hyundai sporty sedan is going to be a giant killer of Italian supercars.

If you’re asking for a list of some of the “Best of budget ChiFi”, here’s just a few I’d take a look at (in no order):

CCA C16
KZ ZS10 Pro
BQEYZ K100, KC2
TinAudio (TinHiFi) T2, T3
ibasso IT01, IT01S
BGVP DM7
Some models from Fearless Audio

...and many more (some of which are banned brands from HeadFi so I can’t mention them).
 
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Everything has shifted so to speak.

Some of what you can get today for $50 or $100, is about as good as what you used to have to pay 3xs that for. And likewise, some of what used to cost $300, is about as good as what you used to have to pay $1k for.

From the cables to multi-BA earphones, the cost keeps dropping and the bar keeps getting moved up. It’s amazing what you can get nowadays.

There’s dynamic drivers with graphene and DLC diaphragms, 1.0+ Tesla magnets, hybrids with planars, ceramic piezoelectric tweeters, etc.

As far as giant killers, we really don’t like to use that term. You’re not going to get a giant killer from a $100 ChiFi IEM, any more than a Hyundai sporty sedan is going to be a giant killer of Italian supercars.

If you’re asking for a list of some of the “Best of budget ChiFi”, here’s just a few I’d take a look at (in no order):

CCA C16
KZ ZS10 Pro
BQEYZ K100, KC2
TinAudio T2, T3, or P1
ibasso IT01, IT01S

...and many more (some of which are banned brands from HeadFi so I can’t mention them).
I wouldn't include the Tin P1 on that list. At least not yet. It's going to see some tuning changes prior to release to address the mid-range, or at least that's the information I was provided. Good looking earphone but as-is it is has issues that need to be addressed.
 
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**** **** is the dark horse
Thanks for the recommendation! It won't win any look awards (unlike some others' copied designs that look impressive) but these seem to get genuine all around praise. Not sure how they'd work over ear with an MMCX bluetooth cable... do you have any experience wearing these over ear?

I wouldn't include the Tin P1 on that list. At least not yet. It's going to see some tuning changes prior to release to address the mid-range, or at least that's the information I was provided. Good looking earphone but as-is it is has issues that need to be addressed.
B9! You've reviewed a good bunch of chi-fi - what's your favorite?
 
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I was trying to remember which IEM the Lindy Chromo reminded me of, it was the Panasonic RP-HJ700ES which I really liked. It had a similar large driver and housing.
 
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Thanks for the recommendation. It won't win any look awards (unlike some others' copied designs that look impressive) but these seem to get genuine all around praise. Not sure how they'd work over ear with an MMCX bluetooth cable... do you have any experience wearing these over ear?
yes i can wear them over the ear, they sit in a strange angle but sound is the same, the comfort a little bit better, you need a longer tips for them to get a good seal, the stock black ones are very good, they are long enough for me, soft and comfortable, the red tips are trash though, the cable is trash as well, get a good aftermarket cable for them and you are in competition with some sub 200$ in ears
 
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B9! You've reviewed a good bunch of chi-fi - what's your favorite?
I don't really have a favorite but if I were forced to choose one it would be the Fearless S6 Rui. Such a good product. If looking for something more affordable, there are lots I enjoy; KZ ZSN, TRN V30, KZ BA10, TFZ King Experience, FiiO FA1, Tenhz K5, BGVP DMS, TinHiFi T1/T2/T3. Any of those I'd be perfectly happy with.
 
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My mom's Sony XB-50 broke a few days ago so I'm looking for a new set of IEMs to buy her that MUST be cable down. Would the Lindy Cromo be a good choice if she listens to music with very little bass and a focus on vocals? Idk how to properly describe the genres she listens to but quite a few of her favourite songs seem to fall under the category of "love songs".
 
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I have tiny ear canals. The IEMs I have right now are KZ models with bare nozzle/flange outer diameters between 5.58mm and 5.7mm (as measured with my cheap digital calipers). They insert with no pain while bare, but gave no isolation. With my thinnest smallest AE memory foam installed and fully compressed, I cannot insert them at all. The diameter of that setup was between 7.2mm and 7.57mm using the compressed small size AE foam. Silicone doesn't work for me at all. After rummaging around the house for solid cylindrical items of different sizes, I found my left ear canal diameter is about 5.78mm and the right is about 5.84mm, at least those were the largest size of the measured items that I could comfortably (and safely) insert. I marked 7mm for the length I would insert, so as not to come anywhere close to my eardrum. So my left ear canal is only about 0.7mm larger in diameter than one of the KZ bare nozzles.

Anyway, the only way I could insert them with anything to cushion them was to strip the memory foam off the rubber core of the AE foams. I ended up with just a tiny bit of foam residue over the rubber. It still felt like a cheese grater going in with the rubber core installed, but for the first time, I was able to actually insert an IEM and get some grip and isolation. That diameter was about 6mm and larger than my ear canals, so it adds a lot of pressure and I don't think I could wear it very long. Up to now, the few times I had tried to use these IEMs, they would repeatedly slip out of my ear. I probably never had them inserted beyond the overhang of foam at the end of the nozzle.

Since I also have a problem with earbuds staying in my ears, my question to you folks is:

Do you know of any highly regarded inexpensive Chi-Fi IEMs that use a narrow nozzle (I think 3.0mm or 3.5mm) that would use the T100 tips? That would mean the hard core of the nozzle would be 2mm - 2.5mm smaller than what I have. I'm hoping that starting with a much more slender nozzle will allow a memory foam tipped IEM to fit me better. My preference leans toward warm bass heavy, genres 70s - 90s, R&B, pop, rock, disco, jazz and some classical. I'm getting desperate for a solution. Thanks.

Edit: My budget would be under $15, hopefully.
 
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I have tiny ear canals. The IEMs I have right now are KZ models with bare nozzle/flange outer diameters between 5.58mm and 5.7mm (as measured with my cheap digital calipers). They insert with no pain while bare, but gave no isolation. With my thinnest smallest AE memory foam installed and fully compressed, I cannot insert them at all. The diameter of that setup was between 7.2mm and 7.57mm using the compressed small size AE foam. Silicone doesn't work for me at all. After rummaging around the house for solid cylindrical items of different sizes, I found my left ear canal diameter is about 5.78mm and the right is about 5.84mm, at least those were the largest size of the measured items that I could comfortably (and safely) insert. I marked 7mm for the length I would insert, so as not to come anywhere close to my eardrum. So my left ear canal is only about 0.7mm larger in diameter than one of the KZ bare nozzles.

Anyway, the only way I could insert them with anything to cushion them was to strip the memory foam off the rubber core of the AE foams. I ended up with just a tiny bit of foam residue over the rubber. It still felt like a cheese grater going in with the rubber core installed, but for the first time, I was able to actually insert an IEM and get some grip and isolation. That diameter was about 6mm and larger than my ear canals, so it adds a lot of pressure and I don't think I could wear it very long. Up to now, the few times I had tried to use these IEMs, they would repeatedly slip out of my ear. I probably never had them inserted beyond the overhang of foam at the end of the nozzle.

Since I also have a problem with earbuds staying in my ears, my question to you folks is:

Do you know of any highly regarded inexpensive Chi-Fi IEMs that use a narrow nozzle (I think 3.0mm or 3.5mm) that would use the T100 tips? That would mean the hard core of the nozzle would be 2mm - 2.5mm smaller than what I have. I'm hoping that starting with a much more slender nozzle will allow a memory foam tipped IEM to fit me better. My preference leans toward warm bass heavy, genres 70s - 90s, R&B, pop, rock, disco, jazz and some classical. I'm getting desperate for a solution. Thanks.
The TFZ Audio Sense T100 earphones (~$45 on AliExpress) sound really good (surprising low Bass thump), and have a thin nozzle that uses T100 sized tips. Their housing is shallow enough that they're comfortable to sleep in, without causing my ears to hurt.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New...io-Spofts-MMCX-3-5mm-Earbuds/32852429019.html
 
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I have tiny ear canals. The IEMs I have right now are KZ models with bare nozzle/flange outer diameters between 5.58mm and 5.7mm (as measured with my cheap digital calipers). They insert with no pain while bare, but gave no isolation. With my thinnest smallest AE memory foam installed and fully compressed, I cannot insert them at all. The diameter of that setup was between 7.2mm and 7.57mm using the compressed small size AE foam. Silicone doesn't work for me at all. After rummaging around the house for solid cylindrical items of different sizes, I found my left ear canal diameter is about 5.78mm and the right is about 5.84mm, at least those were the largest size of the measured items that I could comfortably (and safely) insert. I marked 7mm for the length I would insert, so as not to come anywhere close to my eardrum. So my left ear canal is only about 0.7mm larger in diameter than one of the KZ bare nozzles.

Anyway, the only way I could insert them with anything to cushion them was to strip the memory foam off the rubber core of the AE foams. I ended up with just a tiny bit of foam residue over the rubber. It still felt like a cheese grater going in with the rubber core installed, but for the first time, I was able to actually insert an IEM and get some grip and isolation. That diameter was about 6mm and larger than my ear canals, so it adds a lot of pressure and I don't think I could wear it very long. Up to now, the few times I had tried to use these IEMs, they would repeatedly slip out of my ear. I probably never had them inserted beyond the overhang of foam at the end of the nozzle.

Since I also have a problem with earbuds staying in my ears, my question to you folks is:

Do you know of any highly regarded inexpensive Chi-Fi IEMs that use a narrow nozzle (I think 3.0mm or 3.5mm) that would use the T100 tips? That would mean the hard core of the nozzle would be 2mm - 2.5mm smaller than what I have. I'm hoping that starting with a much more slender nozzle will allow a memory foam tipped IEM to fit me better. My preference leans toward warm bass heavy, genres 70s - 90s, R&B, pop, rock, disco, jazz and some classical. I'm getting desperate for a solution. Thanks.
I had a Shure E4C, which sounded awesome (thanks to its wide frequency single BA) and had a 2mm nozzle. There’s others with a super narrow nozzle like that too.

I could be wrong, but from memory the MEMT X5 had a smaller nozzle too. And the KZ EDR1 and EDR2. Finally, the Sony MH755 could be an option to think about.

One thing you could consider is triple flange ear tips. Because they’re so long, the nozzle size does not influence the fit. It’s the tip that influences the fitting, and triple flange tips have a very small top part.

Have you ever considered CIEMs? That would be the end all solution, because the fit is completely personalized.
 
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The TFZ Audio Sense T100 earphones (~$45 on AliExpress) sound really good (surprising low Bass thump), and have a thin nozzle that uses T100 sized tips. Their housing is shallow enough that they're comfortable to sleep in, without causing my ears to hurt.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/New...io-Spofts-MMCX-3-5mm-Earbuds/32852429019.html
That is a great suggestion for him. If that does not fit then nothing will. I think I have that same size nozzle on my NiceHCK DT300. I have been meaning to put a pair of Spinfit CP800 on those. I have had them for awhile. I have been tempted by this Audio Sense one. I don't see where it says it is a TFZ though...
 
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