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Best TOTL Universal Dynamic Driver IEM (No Hybrid DD+BA)

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  1. Cuebbing
    Have you heard the Xelento? I'd be interested in your (and others) input. I haven't tried the T8ie but have read they are similar but with less bass. I only got to try the Xelento but thought it was pretty sweet (bassy with nice timbre).
    I do have the Blon 03 and they perform above their paygrade. I've seen reviews stating they compete with some TOTL iems. I have also read feedback on here calling them baby xelento. I really like the Blon but hesitate to call it TOTL. Maybe that's my subconscious bias.
     
  2. Cuebbing
    Sorry I got distracted on some of the peripheral thoughts to the TOTL DD.
    My vote(s) for top DD iem:
    CA Atlas
    Sony ex800st (7550)
    Xelento
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  3. baskingshark
    The BLON BL-03 is the biggest hypetrain on the CHIFI thread at the moment. It has nice timbre and tonality but the technical aspects (details, clarity, instrument separation) and isolation are poor and it has a bad fit with stock tips/cables, which neccesitates some digging around to get aftermarket tips/cables. It's tuning is very good for the price of < $30 USD, and it can compete with stuff around $100 USD but I wouldn't jump to say it can beat TOTL stuff.

    Actually, there's a bigger brother for the BL-03 called BLON Cardinal/Bluejay, which has slightly better technicals (as above) with better fit, isolation and soundstage. It is about $60 - 70 USD, it has superceded my BL-03 ever since I got it, but I also won't say it can beat TOTL IEMs.
     
    Cuebbing and surfgeorge like this.
  4. surfgeorge
    Unfortunately I haven't heard the Xelento, and actually I only bought the T8iE because an Audio friend who knows what I like and what I am looking for strongly recommended them to me.

    Regarding the Blon-03:
    I have seen the hype, and as with all hypes I approach it with a healthy dose of scepticism.
    I usually wait and watch for responses from Toranku and Crinacle, as they both have heard tons of IEMs and I have found their takes to be reliable and critical.
    Toranku's thoughts on the Blon03: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/tor...nstantly-updated.895832/page-52#post-15324512
    Crinacle's: https://crinacle.com/2019/11/06/blon-bl-03-unboxing/
    My impression - that does not sound like the Blon are anywhere close to the T8iE or even the JVC FDX1
    Reminds me of the Moondrop Blessing that was also hyped as being a mini Kanas Pro (which I owned), and I bought it and just didn't get it. Yes, pleasing tonality but details, clarity, soundstage etc etc was just not even close.

    If we are talking about value, for me personally the JVC FDX1 should* be (schould because I assume they sound like the modded FD02) my winner. The modded FD02 are really clean and smooth, have a fun balance with very good sub-bass and a beautifully silky, clean and extended treble. There's no grainyness, no harshness, but it's all there. Soundstage, bass tightness and texture are not the very best, but I can listen to them forever and just enjoy the music.

    The T8iE MKII has a quite different tuning with more neutral sub bass, a warmer mid section with more low and less high mids, and more sparkle in the treble. It's more neutral/balanced in that regard.
    (I met a conductor on a flight recently and let her listen to her own music, through my Chord Mojo with the T8iE and the FD02. She was awestruck by the T8iE and immediately said that it was more balanced and realistic compared to the FD02)
    But the big difference is the speed and precision of the T8iE. It's still smooth, but just feels so much more resolving, detailed and precise.
    When I listened to the virtual barber shop on Youtube, the T8iE puts everything in sharp focus. When the guy walks away to sit on the chair to the left, the distance between his steps is absolutely realistic. Doing the same with the FD02 it feels fuzzier and further away, as if the steps are bigger than life.

    I don't think the T8iE can be called reference tuned, but it is beautifully realistic.

    Looking forward to the EX1000, but I honestly don't expect it to beat the T8iE.

    In the end - I have the feeling that you need to spend a little less for a top quality DD IEM compared to a BA or Hybrid.
    I found EX1000 for €230, the FDX1 is $280, the used T8iE cost me €500.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
    Cuebbing likes this.
  5. Cuebbing
    I hear ya, That's a fair description. Interesting you mentioned the cardinal. I took a shot and ordered it. I've had it for a few days and haven't used it much but I think my impression matches yours. I prefer the bass and timbre of the 03 a little better. I've gotten to where I replace the cables on most IEMs and frequently the tips so for me that was expected. I'm probably in the minority but I can get a decent fit. I do like the tone/timbre but I'm with you the technicalities alone would hold it back from TOTL.
     
    surfgeorge and baskingshark like this.
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