Looking for sub 50 (maybe considering around 70 if it's a good deal) chi fi iem
Mar 3, 2020 at 3:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

JayGold

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Hey all,

Im looking for recommendations for sub 50 chi fi iems, since i intend to buy a pair when my internship ends as a little reward. (head-fi'ers can have a little chifi, as a treat)


Asfar as I know, I think I prefer forward mids (id almost say a very mild inverted v shape) with tight accurate bass that stays nicely on the background. I listen to a lot of different types of music, but it's most important to me that they can handle power metal without a sweat (in my experience, headphones or in ears that may sound heavenly for classical, can fall flat on power metal because they seem to struggle to keep up. I'm not big enough an audio brain to know why this is, but i can tell something is up). I am also rather sensitive to sibilance and pierce.
As far as full size cans go, my current daily driver is the NAD HP50. Favorite headphones ive ever had on my head are: NAD hp50, denon ahmm400, master and dynamic mh40 and audio technica m60x. I hope this gives an idea of the type of sound I enjoy, and where my bar lies.
I also game a lot, so sound stage is nice, but not a must. I have headphones that work great for gaming, but i might switch to the iem's if they sound good enough.

Things to also consider are obviously build quality, and removable cable is a must. If you give me a choice between 2 similarly priced iem's where 1 sounds better than the other (but the other still sounds good) but the better sounding one has a finnicky fit,a non removable cable and a questionable build quality then i'll pick the one that'll last me longer and isnt a hassle to use. That said, if the sound quality difference is big enough..maybe..maybe..

I do intend to supply them with a third party cable, and maybe nicer tips, if they're under 57 euros. above 60 i'll probably only use what they're supplied with.

I hope with that you guys have enough information to shoot some rec's!


Edit: Might have to settle for something v shaped it appears. Good opportunity to try something new, I guess! the closer to neutral the better, though.

EDIT: between, LZ a6 mini, Shozy form 1.1, TRN BA5, Urbanfun YBF-ISS014 and BQEYZ KB100 now!

EDIT: LZ a6 Mini won! its been ordered!
 
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Mar 3, 2020 at 4:01 AM Post #2 of 13

baskingshark

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Hey all,

Im looking for recommendations for sub 50 chi fi iems, since i intend to buy a pair when my internship ends as a little reward. (head-fi'ers can have a little chifi, as a treat)


Asfar as I know, I think I prefer forward mids (id almost say a very mild inverted v shape) with tight accurate bass that stays nicely on the background. I listen to a lot of different types of music, but it's most important to me that they can handle power metal without a sweat (in my experience, headphones or in ears that may sound heavenly for classical, can fall flat on power metal because they seem to struggle to keep up. I'm not big enough an audio brain to know why this is, but i can tell something is up). I am also rather sensitive to sibilance and pierce.
As far as full size cans go, my current daily driver is the NAD HP50. Favorite headphones ive ever had on my head are: NAD hp50, denon ahmm400, master and dynamic mh40 and audio technica m60x. I hope this gives an idea of the type of sound I enjoy, and where my bar lies.
I also game a lot, so sound stage is nice, but not a must. I have headphones that work great for gaming, but i might switch to the iem's if they sound good enough.

Things to also consider are obviously build quality, and removable cable is a must. If you give me a choice between 2 similarly priced iem's where 1 sounds better than the other (but the other still sounds good) but the better sounding one has a finnicky fit,a non removable cable and a questionable build quality then i'll pick the one that'll last me longer and isnt a hassle to use. That said, if the sound quality difference is big enough..maybe..maybe..

I do intend to supply them with a third party cable, and maybe nicer tips, if they're under 57 euros. above 60 i'll probably only use what they're supplied with.

I hope with that you guys have enough information to shoot some rec's!

Hi friend, do consider the DUNU DM-480. I think it is about $70 USD normally, but u are in luck that Aliexpress is having a sale now until 8th march.

It is a dual DD IEM, very good isolation and fit, wide soundstage, good technicalities. U shaped. I don't listen to metal, but some reviewers here on headfi say it is a metalhead set. Bass is very accurate and tight, linear descending from midbass to subbass. Subbass is marvellous (I'm a basshead and bass is the most important element for me). Removable cable.
It has a weakness in average timbre and thin note weight, but if most of your music doesn't incorporate acoustic instruments, it shouldn't be an issue. Most lay consumers and even professional reviewers are not too particular about timbre actually, timbre is not mentioned in the reviews of some prominent reviewers even.

I also have a midcentric set, the Hisenior B5+. It has good technicalities, 5 knowles BA, about $80ish. It has good timbre and tonality. Soundstage is below average but otherwise also detachable cable and quite nice for mids. Bass and higher treble has a roll off though.

Some other folks on the CHIFI thread are very happy with the TRN BA5, but I don't have it, so maybe u can ask them more (it is < $50 and has good reviews too).
U can ask them in these threads:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/bes...nd-impressions-sharing-reference-list.805930/
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chinese-asian-brand-iem-info-thread.820747/

Good luck in your search!
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 4:16 AM Post #3 of 13

JayGold

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Hi friend, do consider the DUNU DM-480. I think it is about $70 USD normally, but u are in luck that Aliexpress is having a sale now until 8th march.

It is a dual DD IEM, very good isolation and fit, wide soundstage, good technicalities. U shaped. I don't listen to metal, but some reviewers here on headfi say it is a metalhead set. Bass is very accurate and tight, linear descending from midbass to subbass. Subbass is marvellous (I'm a basshead and bass is the most important element for me). Removable cable.
It has a weakness in average timbre and thin note weight, but if most of your music doesn't incorporate acoustic instruments, it shouldn't be an issue. Most lay consumers and even professional reviewers are not too particular about timbre actually, timbre is not mentioned in the reviews of some prominent reviewers even.

I also have a midcentric set, the Hisenior B5+. It has good technicalities, 5 knowles BA, about $80ish. It has good timbre and tonality. Soundstage is below average but otherwise also detachable cable and quite nice for mids. Bass and higher treble has a roll off though.

Some other folks on the CHIFI thread are very happy with the TRN BA5, but I don't have it, so maybe u can ask them more (it is < $50 and has good reviews too).
U can ask them in these threads:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/bes...nd-impressions-sharing-reference-list.805930/
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chinese-asian-brand-iem-info-thread.820747/

Good luck in your search!
Hmm, the dunu and hisensior seem to be budget options of more 'high end' or 'mainstream' centric brands, and looking at reviews they do seem to struggle to compete more budget oriented chifi. would you say this is accurate or simply matter of taste? (reviews seem to generally catagorise the dunu as bass centric with average to bad technicalities)
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 4:29 AM Post #4 of 13

baskingshark

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Hmm, the dunu and hisensior seem to be budget options of more 'high end' or 'mainstream' centric brands, and looking at reviews they do seem to struggle to compete more budget oriented chifi. would you say this is accurate or simply matter of taste? (reviews seem to generally catagorise the dunu as bass centric with average to bad technicalities)

Okay just to be on the same page, when we refer to technicalities, i am referring to details, instrument separation, imaging and clarity.

In general at the budget price range, multi BA/hybrids would have better technicalities compared to dynamic driver (DD) type IEMs. Whereas the DD sets have better timbre/tonality in general, at the expense of technicalities. At the budget pricing it is hard to find something that has the best of both areas, so u gotta pick your poison.

From your first post about preferring a midcentric set, it automatically excludes quite a lot of budget chifi as most of these are v shaped or harmanish tuned to suit consumer preferences. It is not common to have midcentric sets at the $50 pricing actually.

The Dunu DM-480 is a strange beast in that it is a dual DD but sounds more like a hybrid/multi BA in terms of technicalities and timbre. I would say it is has the best technicalities of the DD chifi i have heard. But timbre is not the best for a DD set. When it goes head to head with a multi BA set, i think there are technically more proficient ones like KZ ZSX, CCA C12, TRN V90. But these are not midcentric.

Hisenior B5+ has one of the better timbre for a budget multi BA, technicalities aren't the best for a multi BA but are above average. But it is midcentric hence i gave the recommendation too.

So there are technically better ones out there, but not midcentric per se.
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 4:35 AM Post #5 of 13

JayGold

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Okay just to be on the same page, when we refer to technicalities, i am referring to details, instrument separation, imaging and clarity.

In general at the budget price range, multi BA/hybrids would have better technicalities compared to dynamic driver (DD) type IEMs. Whereas the DD sets have better timbre/tonality in general, at the expense of technicalities. At the budget pricing it is hard to find something that has the best of both areas, so u gotta pick your poison.

From your first post about preferring a midcentric set, it automatically excludes quite a lot of budget chifi as most of these are v shaped or harmanish tuned to suit consumer preferences. It is not common to have midcentric sets at the $50 pricing actually.

The Dunu DM-480 is a strange beast in that it is a dual DD but sounds more like a hybrid/multi BA in terms of technicalities and timbre. I would say it is has the best technicalities of the DD chifi i have heard. But timbre is not the best for a DD set. When it goes head to head with a multi BA set, i think there are technically more proficient ones like KZ ZSX, CCA C12, TRN V90. But these are not midcentric.

Hisenior B5+ has one of the better timbre for a budget multi BA, technicalities aren't the best for a multi BA but are above average. But it is midcentric hence i gave the recommendation too.

So there are technically better ones out there, but not midcentric per se.
Hmm..Can't say i've been disappointed with budget iem's sound sig before though, but that was years ago when dzat df10 was one of the top contenders for sub50.
I guess i'll give up on mid centric-ness and take a new sound signature into my life.
Any idea how TRN v90, blon bl03 and lz z05a compare? what about lz a6 mini?
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 4:50 AM Post #6 of 13

baskingshark

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Hmm..Can't say i've been disappointed with budget iem's sound sig before though, but that was years ago when dzat df10 was one of the top contenders for sub50.
I guess i'll give up on mid centric-ness and take a new sound signature into my life.
Any idea how TRN v90, blon bl03 and lz z05a compare? what about lz a6 mini?

Of the above i only have the BLON BL-03. I think u can ask some nice headfiers like @RikudouGoku and @DynamicEars who have some of these for their opinion.

The BL-03 is being hyped to the moon everywhere and it is quite a good set for timbre and tonality for sub $50. Harmanish tuned with midbass hump. The bass is not tight though, quite flabby.

It is good for genres with lots of acoustic instruments, but it falls short at technicalities when compared to multi BA sets. Also the fit is bad for most westerners due to the short nozzle, so most of us need to use longer nozzle eartips or spacer mods to get an optimal fit, which adds to the costs. So it does perform above its price, but if u want technical excellence, look elsewhere.
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 4:53 AM Post #7 of 13

JayGold

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Of the above i only have the BLON BL-03. I think u can ask some nice headfiers like @RikudouGoku and @DynamicEars who have some of these for their opinion.

The BL-03 is being hyped to the moon everywhere and it is quite a good set for timbre and tonality for sub $50. Harmanish tuned with midbass hump. The bass is not tight though, quite flabby.

It is good for genres with lots of acoustic instruments, but it falls short at technicalities when compared to multi BA sets. Also the fit is bad for most westerners due to the short nozzle, so most of us need to use longer nozzle eartips or spacer mods to get an optimal fit, which adds to the costs. So it does perform above its price, but if u want technical excellence, look elsewhere.
Bass is flabby? Huh, good to hear someone that isn't as overly hyped for them. Would've been very disappointed with flabby bass lol, it bothers me a lot.
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 6:23 AM Post #8 of 13

RikudouGoku

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LZ A6 mini sound wise sounds perfect for you, but those tips and cables....are garbage. Would recommend the A6 mini if you can afford some better tips and cables. Otherwise I dont really know, the Dunu DM-480 does have a bit too much bass (sub-bass) for any rock/metal genres for me at least.
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 6:27 AM Post #9 of 13

RikudouGoku

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OH wait, the Shozy Form 1.1 might be a good pick too, It does have a bit more bass quantity (mini is also a bit tighter and faster but 1.1 has a really nice texture to it) and lesser treble quantity ( also much more air so the timbre is less natual than the 1.1) than the A6 mini but it at least has a better cable and form that fits better in the ear.

And I also prefer the 1.1 over the mini ( only the big brother A6 is better than the 1.1 for me right now....although that can change with my new stuff coming tomorrow, but they are all over your budget limit so...)
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 6:32 AM Post #10 of 13

JayGold

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OH wait, the Shozy Form 1.1 might be a good pick too, It does have a bit more bass quantity (mini is also a bit tighter and faster but 1.1 has a really nice texture to it) and lesser treble quantity ( also much more air so the timbre is less natual than the 1.1) than the A6 mini but it at least has a better cable and form that fits better in the ear.

And I also prefer the 1.1 over the mini ( only the big brother A6 is better than the 1.1 for me right now....although that can change with my new stuff coming tomorrow, but they are all over your budget limit so...)
I wish there was a better resource for chifi than audiobudget haha, would make these things easier
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 6:43 AM Post #11 of 13

RikudouGoku

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I wish there was a better resource for chifi than audiobudget haha, would make these things easier
yeah that site isnt that good to use since it has a lot of outdated stuff ( for example they still have the moondrop Crescent even though it was discontinued)
 
Mar 3, 2020 at 7:27 AM Post #12 of 13

JayGold

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yeah that site isnt that good to use since it has a lot of outdated stuff ( for example they still have the moondrop Crescent even though it was discontinued)
And he seems to consider v shaped to be neutral.
I dont think its that outdated, its more up to date than any other big list of audio gear let alone chifi asfar as i know.
 

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