[IEM] upgrade recommandation 500-1000$
Jul 29, 2019 at 12:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


New Head-Fier
Jul 29, 2019
Hello everyone.

I want to upgrade my IEM, I was using for many years a pair of UM2 from Westone.

On my Desktop, i’m using a Sennheiser HD660S & MX3 amp (from Topping) for everything (Music, TV Shows/Movies, Gaming). This pair of IEM will only be used for listening to music on the move. I mostly listen to Rock, Electro music and some old french Rap. The two sources I will use will be my phone and my laptop (both via my Oppo HA2-SE). I use Spotify premium and I have some files in Flac/MP3 320kbps (working on upgrading my collection). I’m not a pro or have any brand preference. Money isn’t really an issue since I’m cautious with my belongings. I’m looking for recommendations and was considering two price brackets.

500$ : I was looking at iBasso T04 and Fiio FH7. I’m not sure if this models are a significant upgrade in sound quality over my previous pair. Can someone confirm if that is the case ? Which models would you recommend ?

1000$ : Shure 846 (Dated ?). As a novice, would I notice the difference with the 500$ bracket ? I would hate to invest 500$ and regret not spending the extra. Are the 846 still the king of the 1000$ range ?
Jul 29, 2019 at 12:21 PM Post #2 of 4
Hi I have been using triple driver IEMs from Westone (W30 and westone 3) for the many years for stage monitoring and casual listening and I found a great endgame IEM that has dethroned them.

It's the Audiosense T800. 8 BA knowles drivers on each side, and it costs $298 USD. It beats all my westones hands down in details, resolution, instrument separation, clarity, soundstage etc. You can check out more details in the Audiosense impressions forum in headfi, and though I don't own any TOTL > $500 USD IEM, some of the reviewers there said it can compete with some TOTL stuff.
The bass sounds like a DD bass due to its design. The sound signature is a bit bright and may be a bit harsh/fatiguing on the treble, but otherwise I am very happy with it.

I haven't used the Shure 846 or FH7 or IBasso T04, maybe the others here have better recommendations though.
Jul 29, 2019 at 2:41 PM Post #3 of 4
I like the IT04 at its price-point. You might also look into the Campfire line and see if there is one where you are looking to spend that is of interest. If you are going to go ahead and spend at somewhere around the $1000 level, Campfire has a couple of potentially appealing options.
Jul 30, 2019 at 4:47 AM Post #4 of 4
Maybe consider the used market as well - you can save on the IEM and if you don't like it you can sell with little to no loss.
Otherwise I'd look at Crinacle's list (https://crinacle.com/ranking-list/) and personally I also got a ton of great information from Toranku's thread (https://www.head-fi.org/threads/torankus-thoughts-and-impressions-on-iems-hiatus.895832/)

My current selection contains a modded JVC HA-FD02, Sony MDR EX800ST and a Astell & Kern T8iE MKII
Modded JVC is a robust fun IEM with smooth and lively sound, phantastic for vocals and pop. Fatigue free
EX800ST is neutral-ish slightly dry and detailed, great for acoustic music
T8iE MKII is extremely detailed, dynamic, has great soundstage, and depending on tip neutral-warm (original tips) to bassy (spinfit)

JVC and EX800 were around $200, JVC needed an upgrade cable. T8iE was $550 used.

The Shure 846 seems to still have some fans but others say it's outdated.
Check the sources above.

Hope this helps

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