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

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Tin T2 might be a bit bass light. It's definitely not one for the bass heads.
Blon BL03 is a bit lacking in detail and separation but makes up for it in musicality. Expect a bit of experimentation with eartips.
The KZ ZS10pro has probably been superceded at the price point by the ZSX. I've got the CCA C12 which is quite similar and it seems they have banished the steely timbre of old.
I've no experience of the TFZ so I can't comment on that.
I think you might also do well to research the TRN V90. It's slightly more v shaped than the CCA C12 but not to the point where mids are recessed.

I personally love the Blon, but I've a liking for valve amps, turntables and sweet musicality. I find the Blon easy to recommend as an extra set of IEMs in a collection as they are so unique but as somebody's only pair? I think that depends. Frankly I think the ZSX, C12 or V90 is more suited to being a daily driver for most people. That said, 60 euros is about the price of a pair of V90 AND a pair of BL03. That covers all the bases...
If u are gonna do commuting, u need a good isolating IEM IMHO. I commute a lot with IEMs and I can say the BLON BL-03 has bad isolation, so not the best option for travel purposes. Plus the BLON is not detailed as per your request. It excels at timbre and tonality at the expense of being less technical (not as good instrument separation, clarity, details), compared to some other CHIFI multi BA/hybrids at the same price point. And it also requires some aftermarket tips +/- cables due to the poor fit for most people with stock tips.

I extensively used the KZ ZS10 Pro previously for commuting, it has great details, clarity, instrument separation and has good isolating properties too (estimated about 15 dB isolation). Good for travel, good all rounder for most genres. I ultimately gave away the KZ ZS10 Pro as it had an artificial timbre for treble frequencies, especially for acoustic instruments as those are my main stay genres. But it is a good set for the price.
Though there are some newer CHIFI that are improvements to the ZS10 Pro in technicals and timbre such as the KZ ZSX (terminator), CCA C12, TRN V90. I've not tried those, but they are quite well regarded in reviews for giving good technical abilities at < $50 USD. U can check those out.

I don't have the TFZ T2 but it seems quite V shaped, maybe the rest can advise. I have its "successor", the TFZ No. 3, it is quite a bass head IEM. Details and clarity are quite good considering it is a single DD IEM and isolation not bad. Though it is double the price of the TFZ T2.

Tin T2 is very neutral from reviews and FR, though I don't have it. Tin T4 is an upgrade and from reviews it has more bass than T2, but a few reviewers have mentioned during commuting with it the bass is lost, as it is the usual frequency to be lost in noisy environments.

I used the ATH M50X previously and it is quite a bassy can with somewhat neutralish mids/treble, so I think something like the KZ ZS10 Pro/KZ ZSX/TRN V90/CCA C12 may suit u, though those have a bit more brighter treble than the M50X. The ZS10 Pro has better details/clarity/instrument separation than the M50X, so I think one of those above (which are successors to the ZS10 Pro will be suitable for your request). Do bear in mind that most IEMs cannot compete with headphones in the area of soundstage due to physics, so the sound may come from "inside the head", something that takes a while to get used to if u are coming from headphones.

Good luck in your search!
Take the TFZ T2 Galaxy. It's a very fun sounding IEM & it's one of my favorite. Fairly balanced sounding imo, but only some problem you'll encounter is the driver flex. for commuting, it isolate pretty well too.
Based on what you said you want, I'd pick the TFZ T2. The T2 is detailed and fun sounding. They are my daily drivers and I use them on the subway and they isolate well.
Thanks yall!

I was talking with a few friends about IEMs (they know much more than me) and they basically told me the same, while the Blons are really good they lack on proper isolation. Knowing me by the end of mid 2020 i'll have like 5 or 6 pairs of IEMs hahahah but yeah, I'm ordering a pair of TFZ T2 Galaxy right now.

Any tips and cable recommendations for that IEM? I'm looking to buy a balanced 4.4 cable to take advantage of the balanced out of my Sony DAP.
 
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post-15347015
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Tonymac136

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Thanks yall!

I was talking with a few friends about IEMs (they know much more than me) and they basically told me the same, while the Blons are really good they lack on proper isolation. Knowing me by the end of mid 2020 i'll have like 5 or 6 pairs of IEMs hahahah but yeah, I'm ordering a pair of TFZ T2 Galaxy right now.

Any tips and cable recommendations for that IEM? I'm looking to buy a balanced 4.4 cable to take advantage of the balanced out of my Sony DAP.
I would say that the perfect cable for your needs is the one with the right connectors at each end and a bit of visual interest. Cables for me make a small difference in my £fourfigure hifi setup. They make exactly no difference to budget IEMs. YMMV of course.

As for tips - try the stock ones first. I use stock tips on a surprising amount of IEMs. Other than that I pretty much swear by Spiral Dots on most stuff.
 
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yorosello

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Thanks yall!

I was talking with a few friends about IEMs (they know much more than me) and they basically told me the same, while the Blons are really good they lack on proper isolation. Knowing me by the end of mid 2020 i'll have like 5 or 6 pairs of IEMs hahahah but yeah, I'm ordering a pair of TFZ T2 Galaxy right now.

Any tips and cable recommendations for that IEM? I'm looking to buy a balanced 4.4 cable to take advantage of the balanced out of my Sony DAP.
For tips, I'm using either the Aet07 or the Sedna light tips. But if you need more bass, take the Aet08
 
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baskingshark

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This year has been a smash for CHIFI IMHO. I can even say it's been the best year for CHIFI since KZs first landed on earth from Mars a few years back, and the CHIFI are now dominating the budget-midfi Western segment. We've had a few CHIFI competing with TOTL sets like the QDC Anole VX even (though QDC may not like to be categorized as CHIFI hahaha). Just 3 years back, it would be near impossible to find a multi driver IEM at < $200 USD, not to mention the CHIFI now that are even < $50 or $16 USD (DT6) that are pretty bang for buck. Give it a few years, I think we may be seeing CHIFI that sound like TOTL gear, but maybe costing less than a western midfi set.


Anyway, now that the year is coming to an end, what are your best < $100 USD CHIFI that released this year??
My votes go to:

1) For neutral sound - Tin Hifi T2/Tin HIFI T4 - though the later has just released, but initial reviews are promising. T2 is still standing the test of time as of the time of writing as the "gold standard" for a neutral CHIFI cheap and good set IMHO.
2) For great timbre/tonality - BLON BL-03 (caveat: have to change eartips +/- cable), BLON Cardinal (slightly more expensive)
3) For details/instrument separation and clarity - TRN V90/KZ ZSX/CCA C12/DT6/VE Bonus IE - honourable mention goes to KZ ZS10 Pro. But unfortunately it has been superceded by the KZ ZSX that came out a few months later with improvements.
4) For analytical sound - CCA C16
5) For bassheads - TFZ no. 3/TFZ T2 galaxy

Anything I missed out?
 
post-15348340
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kmmbd

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A year-end list of Best budget chi-fi sounds like a good idea. I'll give it a shot as well:

1) For neutral sound: Moondrop Spaceship
2) For timbre/tonality: BLON BL-03 (what else?), Moondrop Crescent (shame that they got discontinued, not a 2019 IEM but I guess their hype picked up at 2019)
3) For details: KZ ZSX, Tin T3/T4, LZ A6 Mini
4) Bass-head delights: TFZ No. 3, TRN V90 (I found them to have great bass)

Here's hoping that 2020 turns out to be even more awesome, and I am yet to try out a few 2019 IEMs as well (the Hibiscus, for one).
 
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post-15348351
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Tonymac136

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For neutral sound - Tin T2
For musicality - Blon BL03
For analytical sound - CCA C12
For OMG how did they do it for this price - Blon BL01
 
post-15348355
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baskingshark

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A year-end list of Best budget chi-fi sounds like a good idea. I'll give it a shot as well:

1) For neutral sound: Moondrop Spaceship
2) For timbre/tonality: BLON BL-03 (what else?), Moondrop Crescent (shame that they got discontinued, not a 2019 IEM but I guess their hype picked up at 2019)
3) For details: KZ ZSX, Tin T3/T4, LZ A6 Mini
4) Bass-head delights: TFZ No. 3, TRN V90 (I found them to have great bass)

Here's hoping that 2020 turns out to be even more awesome, and I am yet to try out a few 2019 IEMs as well (the Hibiscus, for one).
This headfier wasn't too impressed with the Hibiscus:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-discovery-thread.586909/page-3042#post-15345934

And there's some QC issues reported by a few headfiers for the Hibiscus shell from the above thread too. I gave it a miss cause it looks a bit bright on the upper mids/lower treble, but the cable that comes with the Hibiscus is supposedly a Litz cable which is pretty expensive.
 
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citral23

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For earbuds (it says earphones in the title, not iems so allow me to chime in) the Yincrow RW-1000 that has just been released has an astonishing clarity, detail, controlled bass with a very hifi-like neutral signature, along with a superb fit, build and finish.

I need to put double foams on them to avoid too much clarity on bright albums but they are perfect stock on smooth sounding albums.

It's a better nicehck EBX IMHO.
 
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post-15348461
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SoundChoice

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Hello!


I've been reading and seeing a lot of videos but I'm still a bit lost with all the options. I've narrowed down my options to (open to recommendations!):

  • Blon 03 (I think these are my favorite, but I've read that the connector is weird and it's a bit difficult to find a replacement cable)
  • Tin T2/T3 (a bit old, T4s look like they are a better built Blon 03s but still a bit expensive).
  • TFZ T2
  • KZ ZSX
  • KZ ZS10 Pro

Thanks!
Hello.

Blon: tips are personal and you should have a stash anyway. The cable can be any .75 mm found for nine bucks. Some want to shave off plastic from a different type but this isn’t necessary and they are overachievers of whom I’m jealous because I cannot even shave ice,

Tin is good, the T2 are classic, I have the T3 and enjoy them with foam tips

TFZ is a bassy house sound, don’t know the T2.

ZS10 Pro was the Blon of spring 2019. It’s still outstanding to my ears, just used it today.

ZSX is an upgrade for people who heard flaws in ZS10. I didn’t and passed on it.

I hope this helps.
 
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jibberish

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For earbuds (it says earphones in the title, not iems so allow me to chime in) the Yincrow RW-1000 that has just been released has an astonishing clarity, detail, controlled bass with a very hifi-like neutral signature, along with a superb fit, build and finish.

I need to put double foams on them to avoid too much clarity on bright albums but they are perfect stock on smooth sounding albums.

It's a better nicehck EBX IMHO.
I'm really tempted to buy these. I think that the Yincrow RW-9 is excellent, so I'm willing to trust them a bit when it comes to more expensive models too.
 
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Nimweth

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This year has been a smash for CHIFI IMHO. I can even say it's been the best year for CHIFI since KZs first landed on earth from Mars a few years back, and the CHIFI are now dominating the budget-midfi Western segment. We've had a few CHIFI competing with TOTL sets like the QDC Anole VX even (though QDC may not like to be categorized as CHIFI hahaha). Just 3 years back, it would be near impossible to find a multi driver IEM at < $200 USD, not to mention the CHIFI now that are even < $50 or $16 USD (DT6) that are pretty bang for buck. Give it a few years, I think we may be seeing CHIFI that sound like TOTL gear, but maybe costing less than a western midfi set.


Anyway, now that the year is coming to an end, what are your best < $100 USD CHIFI that released this year??
My votes go to:

1) For neutral sound - Tin Hifi T2/Tin HIFI T4 - though the later has just released, but initial reviews are promising. T2 is still standing the test of time as of the time of writing as the "gold standard" for a neutral CHIFI cheap and good set IMHO.
2) For great timbre/tonality - BLON BL-03 (caveat: have to change eartips +/- cable), BLON Cardinal (slightly more expensive)
3) For details/instrument separation and clarity - TRN V90/KZ ZSX/CCA C12/DT6/VE Bonus IE - honourable mention goes to KZ ZS10 Pro. But unfortunately it has been superceded by the KZ ZSX that came out a few months later with improvements.
4) For analytical sound - CCA C16
5) For bassheads - TFZ no. 3/TFZ T2 galaxy

Anything I missed out?
TRN V90 (entertaining V signature)
Tin T3 (neutral and detailed)
DT6 Pro (vast soundstage, killer bass)
and for earbuds, the Smabat M1 Pro, (another superb neutral earphone)
 
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Nimweth

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Oh! And don't forget the TRN BA5 which just snuck in before the end of the year. It's early days with mine but it is shaping up to be a star!
 
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illumidata

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Quick report on FAAEAL Hibiscus:
Hour 1: dry, scratchy, messy soundstage, vocals showed some promise (but too many jarring elements around them). Not enough bass. I’m a bit worried at this point :)
Hour 24: they’ve settled down into a very mid centric presentation that’s strong on vocals and guitars (all the emotion is there), much better sound stage / separation (but not super clear, layering is not the best). Still not enough bass extension, though what’s there is fast and tight. Tone is good though, throughout.
They’re doing well with what I bought them for (“traditional” stuff...Bach cello suites sounding particularly good), which was vocals, and they’re back on burn in, but I think I’d have preferred something with slightly less emphasis on the mids. Hopefully there’s still room for improvement over time, But I think the signature has established itself, for better or worse.

No complaints about the cable though, that thing is fab!
Hibiscus follow-up (and fix):

Hour 72: it took some work but I’ve got them sounding as “musical” within their signature as my V90s are within theirs. Even after a lot more burn-in the upper mids/lower treble were still too prominent, so started messing around with dampers behind the dust guards (just used a pin to gently lever them out, they go back in fine). Tried some different grades of paper (a la nx7 pro filters) but settled on 3mm cubes of sponge, which are neat, durable and do a great job of rolling off the mids gently. Upper treble (cymbals) end up a little recessed but crystal clear, and with the overall signature tamed I can really appreciate how good the driver actually is, remarkably detailed, decent soundstage (at least for width and height - not much in the way of depth, but enough), some very nicely articulated bass (sub bass still rolls off a bit but that helps the sense of speed). Mids sound great now, still bright but no more sudden stabs from guitar solos and upper register synth lines. I’ve settled on JVC Spiral Dots for tips.
2C3C0F0C-C6A0-449E-A813-69321F5A816C.jpeg

Would recommend the mod to any current owners. It’s been a bit of a battle getting them up to scratch but I’m glad I didn’t give up on them (though I came close)!
Ps they also suffered from driver flex on the left side, which I cured by sticking a needle down the vents (there are 2 vents per iem, not sure which was blocked/semi blocked).
 
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post-15349043
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brianforever

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soundchoice said:
Blon: tips are personal and you should have a stash anyway. The cable can be any .75 mm found for nine bucks. Some want to shave off plastic from a different type but this isn’t necessary and they are overachievers of whom I’m jealous because I cannot even shave ice,
@SoundChoice Totally disagree..the 0.75mm TRN 6 Core cable with the BLON-03 is Shitz..after I swapped them with the cheaper KZ OFC 0.75mm cables the gates to audio heaven opened once again
 
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NymPHONOmaniac

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I just publish my review of AUDIOSENSE T300 here on headfi and my No BS Review blog.

It was a little confusing because I have 2 impressions in my head: with and without damping filter. as it come with the filter I feel i have to describe stock sound. But if your not treble sensitive without damper is the way to go. Both way sound god. But level of clarity and imaging accuracy is higher without filter.
 

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