Looking for in-ear headphones under $30
Jan 29, 2020 at 10:30 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Vissen

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No amp, source will be my phone, usually Spotify on high/very high quality, also Youtube videos ofc. I listen to all kinds of music: metal, rock (mostly alternative/indie), bit of jazz, hip hop (lo-fi too), rap, pop and electronic. Would be really good if they have a microphone (+ a button), hopefully comfortable while lying on your side and with decent noise isolation, an included case is a plus.
Nothing fancy (as my budget may tell), just some good sounding, sturdy, comfortable in-ears (or earbuds? idk, those that go in your canals, something like JBL T110).
 
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Jan 29, 2020 at 8:31 PM Post #3 of 9

baskingshark

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No amp, source will be my phone, usually Spotify on high/very high quality, also Youtube videos ofc. I listen to all kinds of music: metal, rock (mostly alternative/indie), bit of jazz, hip hop (lo-fi too), rap, pop and electronic. Would be really good if they have a microphone (+ a button), hopefully comfortable while lying on your side and with decent noise isolation, an included case is a plus.
Nothing fancy (as my budget may tell), just some good sounding, sturdy, comfortable in-ears (or earbuds? idk, those that go in your canals, something like JBL T110).

Are you talking about In ear monitors or earbuds?

images.jpg
The one on the left is a earbud, and they usually have poorer isolation but better soundstage than in ear monitors (IEM) (on the right) that go into the ear canal. IEMs conversely have better isolation but poorer soundstage in general.

Also, personally I wouldn't recommend gear with a mic button as it is an added point of failure and they usually affect resistance in that side of the cable and may affect sound quality to some extent.


If it is IEMs you are looking for, some good sets within your budget that I can recommend are:
1) **** - around $16 - 17 USD. Triple driver hybrid. Poor isolation but good soundstage. Rather balanced in tuning, good instrument separation, clarity, details. Timbre a bit artificial but it is only apparent for genres that use acoustic instruments. If it's mostly EDM, rock, pop genres, it is a very cheap and good set. It can be driven from a smartphone based on specs, but does better with amping, with the treble being brighter and more detailed/dynamic with amping (the piezo drivers used for the treble frequency do appreciate more juice).

2) TRN IM2 - around $15 - 20 USD. Built like a tank (nice resin shell), great isolation and comfort. V shaped, good details and clarity and instrument separation. My only complaints are it is too V shaped, so mids are a bit sucked out and the timbre is artificial like the above ****.

3) I've read good reviews on the Venture Electronics Bonus IE. Haven't tried it myself but worth checking out, around $20 USD. It had a non detachable cable (unlike the above 2), so I skipped it, that might be a point of failure down the road in my experience.

4) CCA C10 - sub $30 USD. check out reviews, quite all rounded. I don't have it personally, but reviews look quite good.

5) TRN V90 - has rave reviews on headfi, V shaped, good bass and good details/instrument separation/details. It can be around $30 USD during sales, usually around $50. I think this is one of the better recent CHIFI releases.

6) Sony MH755 - great sound and timbre, harman tuned. Non detachable cables, short and microphonic, so might need an extension cable or mods. Otherwise around $5 USD. Super bang for buck. A lot of fakes (especially black coloured ones), so check with the rest/reviews on legit sellers.

7) BLON BL-03 - around $25 - 28 USD. great timbre/tonality, good for acoustic instrument predominant genres. Also a big hypetrain on CHIFI headfi thread now. It isn't that good in technicals, so not the best for complex instrumentation/multiple competing instruments or those wanting a more analytical sound. But the tuning is excellent, harmanish with midbass boost. Isolation lacking and it has poor stock tips +/- cables, so will need some aftermarket tips for most westerners due to the too short nozzle. As such, it may not be the best recommendation for new IEM users who don't know how to tiproll. But if u can switch tips/cables, the sound can compete with some $100 USD IEMs IMHO.

All the best in your search! Hope others can chime in too with their recs. If u are looking for earbuds (picture of the left), let us know, there's lots of recommendations for those too, but it's a totally different rabbithole.
 
Jan 30, 2020 at 5:19 AM Post #4 of 9

Vissen

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Are you talking about In ear monitors or earbuds?


The one on the left is a earbud, and they usually have poorer isolation but better soundstage than in ear monitors (IEM) (on the right) that go into the ear canal. IEMs conversely have better isolation but poorer soundstage in general.

Also, personally I wouldn't recommend gear with a mic button as it is an added point of failure and they usually affect resistance in that side of the cable and may affect sound quality to some extent.


If it is IEMs you are looking for, some good sets within your budget that I can recommend are:
1) **** - around $16 - 17 USD. Triple driver hybrid. Poor isolation but good soundstage. Rather balanced in tuning, good instrument separation, clarity, details. Timbre a bit artificial but it is only apparent for genres that use acoustic instruments. If it's mostly EDM, rock, pop genres, it is a very cheap and good set. It can be driven from a smartphone based on specs, but does better with amping, with the treble being brighter and more detailed/dynamic with amping (the piezo drivers used for the treble frequency do appreciate more juice).

2) TRN IM2 - around $15 - 20 USD. Built like a tank (nice resin shell), great isolation and comfort. V shaped, good details and clarity and instrument separation. My only complaints are it is too V shaped, so mids are a bit sucked out and the timbre is artificial like the above ****.

3) I've read good reviews on the Venture Electronics Bonus IE. Haven't tried it myself but worth checking out, around $20 USD. It had a non detachable cable (unlike the above 2), so I skipped it, that might be a point of failure down the road in my experience.

4) CCA C10 - sub $30 USD. check out reviews, quite all rounded. I don't have it personally, but reviews look quite good.

5) TRN V90 - has rave reviews on headfi, V shaped, good bass and good details/instrument separation/details. It can be around $30 USD during sales, usually around $50. I think this is one of the better recent CHIFI releases.

6) Sony MH755 - great sound and timbre, harman tuned. Non detachable cables, short and microphonic, so might need an extension cable or mods. Otherwise around $5 USD. Super bang for buck. A lot of fakes (especially black coloured ones), so check with the rest/reviews on legit sellers.

7) BLON BL-03 - around $25 - 28 USD. great timbre/tonality, good for acoustic instrument predominant genres. Also a big hypetrain on CHIFI headfi thread now. It isn't that good in technicals, so not the best for complex instrumentation/multiple competing instruments or those wanting a more analytical sound. But the tuning is excellent, harmanish with midbass boost. Isolation lacking and it has poor stock tips +/- cables, so will need some aftermarket tips for most westerners due to the too short nozzle. As such, it may not be the best recommendation for new IEM users who don't know how to tiproll. But if u can switch tips/cables, the sound can compete with some $100 USD IEMs IMHO.

All the best in your search! Hope others can chime in too with their recs. If u are looking for earbuds (picture of the left), let us know, there's lots of recommendations for those too, but it's a totally different rabbithole.
Thank you for your great answer! I will look into all of them. And yes, I meant IEMs.
 
Jan 30, 2020 at 5:45 AM Post #5 of 9

Vissen

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Are you talking about In ear monitors or earbuds?


The one on the left is a earbud, and they usually have poorer isolation but better soundstage than in ear monitors (IEM) (on the right) that go into the ear canal. IEMs conversely have better isolation but poorer soundstage in general.

Also, personally I wouldn't recommend gear with a mic button as it is an added point of failure and they usually affect resistance in that side of the cable and may affect sound quality to some extent.


If it is IEMs you are looking for, some good sets within your budget that I can recommend are:
1) **** - around $16 - 17 USD. Triple driver hybrid. Poor isolation but good soundstage. Rather balanced in tuning, good instrument separation, clarity, details. Timbre a bit artificial but it is only apparent for genres that use acoustic instruments. If it's mostly EDM, rock, pop genres, it is a very cheap and good set. It can be driven from a smartphone based on specs, but does better with amping, with the treble being brighter and more detailed/dynamic with amping (the piezo drivers used for the treble frequency do appreciate more juice).

2) TRN IM2 - around $15 - 20 USD. Built like a tank (nice resin shell), great isolation and comfort. V shaped, good details and clarity and instrument separation. My only complaints are it is too V shaped, so mids are a bit sucked out and the timbre is artificial like the above ****.

3) I've read good reviews on the Venture Electronics Bonus IE. Haven't tried it myself but worth checking out, around $20 USD. It had a non detachable cable (unlike the above 2), so I skipped it, that might be a point of failure down the road in my experience.

4) CCA C10 - sub $30 USD. check out reviews, quite all rounded. I don't have it personally, but reviews look quite good.

5) TRN V90 - has rave reviews on headfi, V shaped, good bass and good details/instrument separation/details. It can be around $30 USD during sales, usually around $50. I think this is one of the better recent CHIFI releases.

6) Sony MH755 - great sound and timbre, harman tuned. Non detachable cables, short and microphonic, so might need an extension cable or mods. Otherwise around $5 USD. Super bang for buck. A lot of fakes (especially black coloured ones), so check with the rest/reviews on legit sellers.

7) BLON BL-03 - around $25 - 28 USD. great timbre/tonality, good for acoustic instrument predominant genres. Also a big hypetrain on CHIFI headfi thread now. It isn't that good in technicals, so not the best for complex instrumentation/multiple competing instruments or those wanting a more analytical sound. But the tuning is excellent, harmanish with midbass boost. Isolation lacking and it has poor stock tips +/- cables, so will need some aftermarket tips for most westerners due to the too short nozzle. As such, it may not be the best recommendation for new IEM users who don't know how to tiproll. But if u can switch tips/cables, the sound can compete with some $100 USD IEMs IMHO.

All the best in your search! Hope others can chime in too with their recs. If u are looking for earbuds (picture of the left), let us know, there's lots of recommendations for those too, but it's a totally different rabbithole.
**** available but the single offer that is out there is suspicious a bit. CCA C10 available but pretty much $40, so over my budget. TRN V90 not on sale. Rest cannot really be found in local stores.
Only one available are BLON BL-03, with free international shipping. Do you know how they compare to the three that I listed before? Also if that might help I'm in the EU.
 
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Jan 30, 2020 at 6:50 AM Post #6 of 9

baskingshark

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**** available but the single offer that is out there is suspicious a bit. CCA C10 available but pretty much $40, so over my budget. TRN V90 not on sale. Rest cannot really be found in local stores.
Only one available are BLON BL-03, with free international shipping. Do you know how they compare to the three that I listed before? Also if that might help I'm in the EU.

I made a small review on BLON BL-03 if u are interested: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/blon-bl-03.23894/reviews#review-22744\

Pros:
- great natural timbre/tonality - great for jazz, classical, indie, acoustic type songs
- nice tuning, comparable with $100 USD IEMs

Cons:
- poor technicalities - not the best for fast genres with complex instrumentations/multiple riffs
- poor isolation
- poor fit with stock tips/cables - u might need to get a longer aftermarket tip or cable or spacer mods

Haven't tried your shortlisted IEMs.
 
Jan 30, 2020 at 7:06 AM Post #7 of 9

Vissen

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I made a small review on BLON BL-03 if u are interested: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/blon-bl-03.23894/reviews#review-22744\

Pros:
- great natural timbre/tonality - great for jazz, classical, indie, acoustic type songs
- nice tuning, comparable with $100 USD IEMs

Cons:
- poor technicalities - not the best for fast genres with complex instrumentations/multiple riffs
- poor isolation
- poor fit with stock tips/cables - u might need to get a longer aftermarket tip or cable or spacer mods

Haven't tried your shortlisted IEMs.
It's a tough choice. Blons seem higher quality but FiiOs have a hard case. Blons have good US reviews and a reviewer i trust likes them but FiiOs has local reviews. Blons have 1 year warranty, FiiOs have 2 and it's a local product, easier to return.
 
Jan 30, 2020 at 7:09 AM Post #8 of 9

baskingshark

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It's a tough choice. Blons seem higher quality but FiiOs have a hard case. Blons have good US reviews and a reviewer i trust likes them but FiiOs has local reviews. Blons have 1 year warranty, FiiOs have 2 and it's a local product, easier to return.

Seriously hard cases can be gotten for a few bucks, i wouldn't buy an IEM for the accessories but rather its sound quality.

Chifi QC and returns may be an issue but the good news is they are relatively cheap.
 

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