Precog's IEM Reviews & Impressions
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I just listened to Toranku's tier ranking list of IEM brands. Man, that was a long, tedious overview with mostly useless opinion because it only ranked brands instead of specific products, attempted to adjust for price, and it was based on his opinion and not objective measurements. When you see that ranking list, it gives you zero actionable information. I appreciate ranking lists as they tend to provide some useful comparison points. This did none of that. Sorry Toranku.
Brand overviews are generally an interesting concept, and do hold some value imo in the sense that brands tend to have a sort of “house tuning” - just a few examples:

- 64’s BA line tends to be various expressions of reference, professional sound
- VE tend to tune for a rather warm and rich midrange and more relaxing treble
- MMR have a very textured and pleasant sound that lacks some clarity/upper mids compared to what Asia tends to be used to
- EE have established a certain upper mid/bright tuning with their latest releases

etc etc etc

A ranking of different brands is very approximate overall though, definitely, and doesn’t account for particularly good or bad releases depending on how it’s structured
 
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I just listened to Toranku's tier ranking list of IEM brands. Man, that was a long, tedious overview with mostly useless opinion because it only ranked brands instead of specific products, attempted to adjust for price, and it was based on his opinion and not objective measurements. When you see that ranking list, it gives you zero actionable information. I appreciate ranking lists as they tend to provide some useful comparison points. This did none of that. Sorry Toranku.
A brand ranking list introduces so many more variables that you're almost forced to get even more subjective, like Raz noted. You might find the brand overviews in Tork's thread more helpful. It's got individual breakdowns of each IEM he's heard from the brand, as well as a brief spiel about the brand itself. I'm not much of a brand loyalist (I mostly just like whatever's good), but I remember finding them helpful when I was starting out. I still look at Tork's individual impressions from time-to-time if I'm not familiar with a specific IEM too.
 
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Brand overviews are generally an interesting concept, and do hold some value imo in the sense that brands tend to have a sort of “house tuning” - just a few examples:

- 64’s BA line tends to be various expressions of reference, professional sound
- VE tend to tune for a rather warm and rich midrange and more relaxing treble
- MMR have a very textured and pleasant sound that lacks some clarity/upper mids compared to what Asia tends to be used to
- EE have established a certain upper mid/bright tuning with their latest releases

etc etc etc

A ranking of different brands is very approximate overall though, definitely, and doesn’t account for particularly good or bad releases depending on how it’s structured
Toranku didn't offer that type of insight. Instead, he ranked whether or not IEMs were consistently good or bad and then adjusted for price. He gave QDC an A ranking, for instance, saying that it has had some great IEMs, but lately it has been more inconsistent. Moon Drop is a S-tier because it has really low prices and most of their offering are decent. But, QDC has S-tiered products and Moon Drop doesn't. How is it possible for a brand to be S-tier with zero S-tier products?

Brand ranking is actually more of an assessment of marketing. Airpods Max, for instance, may actually be considered by many as the best headphone in the world. But, I believe that is due to marketing. I would give Apple and S-tier for brand and their product is probably a B-tier product.

I guess it was useful in that we are discussing it and discussion is good.
 
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A brand ranking list introduces so many more variables that you're almost forced to get even more subjective, like Raz noted. You might find the brand overviews in Tork's thread more helpful. It's got individual breakdowns of each IEM he's heard from the brand, as well as a brief spiel about the brand itself. I'm not much of a brand loyalist (I mostly just like whatever's good), but I remember finding them helpful when I was starting out. I still look at Tork's individual impressions from time-to-time if I'm not familiar with a specific IEM too.
I am looking forward to Resolve's ranking list because he is going to do rankings by sound attribute. Then, you can select what is most important to you and rank them in that order.

By the way, I just saw your Z1R review and I am thinking about picking one up because of it. I think I'll purchase it from a vendor that has a 30-day return policy so that I can test the fit. I have big ears, so it might work for me. I understand male vocals might not be great due to its v-shaped sound signature and lean lower mids, but sound stage and great bass might make it great for many of the genres I love.
 
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Toranku didn't offer that type of insight. Instead, he ranked whether or not IEMs were consistently good or bad and then adjusted for price. He gave QDC an A ranking, for instance, saying that it has had some great IEMs, but lately it has been more inconsistent. Moon Drop is a S-tier because it has really low prices and most of their offering are decent. But, QDC has S-tiered products and Moon Drop doesn't. How is it possible for a brand to be S-tier with zero S-tier products?

Brand ranking is actually more of an assessment of marketing. Airpods Max, for instance, may actually be considered by many as the best headphone in the world. But, I believe that is due to marketing. I would give Apple and S-tier for brand and their product is probably a B-tier product.

I guess it was useful in that we are discussing it and discussion is good.
there’s a lot of preferences involved in any ranking. QDC... the VX I found extremely mediocre and generally uninspiring, and I straight up hated the 3D Magic. Still can’t believe they shoved 3 DDs in there and still couldn’t get any texture or bass extension out of them lol

I generally don’t really believe in adjusting a review based on price, but rather based on other IEMs at that price. Otherwise you can get a pair of VE Monks and everything they do would be straight up stellar, because well for 5$... you can’t really have very high expectations haha

Regarding Toranku’s methodology - honestly I couldn’t tell you because I haven’t seen his video. I believe he is starting an IEM company though, so that’ll be interesting to see. I expect a lot of very revealing gear :D
 
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there’s a lot of preferences involved in any ranking. QDC... the VX I found extremely mediocre and generally uninspiring, and I straight up hated the 3D Magic. Still can’t believe they shoved 3 DDs in there and still couldn’t get any texture or bass extension out of them lol

I generally don’t really believe in adjusting a review based on price, but rather based on other IEMs at that price. Otherwise you can get a pair of VE Monks and everything they do would be straight up stellar, because well for 5$... you can’t really have very high expectations haha

Regarding Toranku’s methodology - honestly I couldn’t tell you because I haven’t seen his video. I believe he is starting an IEM company though, so that’ll be interesting to see. I expect a lot of very revealing gear :D
Yeah, the way I use reviews is to get short lists by understanding how various IEMs or Headphones compare to each other. Once you know the preferences of the reviewer, you can make mental adjustments to see how they might fit for you. Your recent review of a dozen or so TOTL IEMs was very helpful to me. It put the Sultan higher up on my short list than it was earlier. Gave me a bit of a pause on the Odin which was rising on the charts due to its bass response. All this does is gives you short lists because there is zero substitute for actually listening to the IEMs yourself to determine if it works for your needs.
 
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because well for 5$... you can’t really have very high expectations haha
Next time we buy/sell from each other, I’m going to send you my pair of MH755’s. It’s unbelievable how good they sound for $5. I’d love to hear your thoughts on those lol
 
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I am looking forward to Resolve's ranking list because he is going to do rankings by sound attribute. Then, you can select what is most important to you and rank them in that order.

By the way, I just saw your Z1R review and I am thinking about picking one up because of it. I think I'll purchase it from a vendor that has a 30-day return policy so that I can test the fit. I have big ears, so it might work for me. I understand male vocals might not be great due to its v-shaped sound signature and lean lower mids, but sound stage and great bass might make it great for many of the genres I love.
Name me a vendor that has a 30 day return with no restocking fees.
 
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Name me a vendor that has a 30 day return with no restocking fees.
Name me a vendor that has a 30 day return with no restocking fees.
Wow. Is that a challenge?

Amazon.com had free returns through 1/31/21 when purchasing any time after Black Friday. Various vendors on eBay I've done it multiple times. There was a z1r available that I almost bought just this past week, but Hawaii was excluded from free shipping.

Here is a used one from Japan with a 60-day return and seller pays for return shipping.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/USED-Sony-...041169&hash=item341a30df4d:g:smMAAOSwkYld0BOv

Evidently, you have never done this before. You are really missing out. Almost everything I buy has free returns unless its from an individual seller.
 
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Btw, don't take literally i am referring most hi-fi electronics sellers of high end iems and HP charges restocking fees.
 
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Toranku didn't offer that type of insight. Instead, he ranked whether or not IEMs were consistently good or bad and then adjusted for price. He gave QDC an A ranking, for instance, saying that it has had some great IEMs, but lately it has been more inconsistent. Moon Drop is a S-tier because it has really low prices and most of their offering are decent. But, QDC has S-tiered products and Moon Drop doesn't. How is it possible for a brand to be S-tier with zero S-tier products?

Brand ranking is actually more of an assessment of marketing. Airpods Max, for instance, may actually be considered by many as the best headphone in the world. But, I believe that is due to marketing. I would give Apple and S-tier for brand and their product is probably a B-tier product.

I guess it was useful in that we are discussing it and discussion is good.
If I dwelved deeper into specific IEMs the video would be even longer given the sheer amount of stuff I've tried. But you're totally spot on regarding the ranking, I don't rank in that video for just pure SQ metrics. It involved other factors such as consistency and price:value ratio. I usually do not factor price in my typical reviews/impressions but I did so to adopt a more consumer-friendly standpoint. It gets really odd from anyone else's POV since it is completely an arbitrary ranking based off feeling.

As consumers, they want the *best thing* for the lowest price possible in general. If I was a regular consumer - hell yeah - I will just buy moondrop. Decent sounding products for a competitive price. Budget? Go SSR or starfield. Have a bigger wallet? S8. I don't know if these consumers would confidently shell out 3x S8 money for a QDC! The ranking video certainly does not apply to demographics that can pay a pretty penny for something top of the line.

I value consistency very much when discussing IEM brands. It talks about their success in their products and more importantly, whether they can make something even greater in the future. When a company is incredibly consistent, you can just close both eyes and buy any new release. It's probably gonna be decent. That was the train of thought I adopted when making the video :)
 
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I wished Toranku would have spent more time on the video too. At least 10 minutes deep diving each brand and IEM. It would have been a much more insightful 10.5 hour video (63 brands ranked). This would have given much more ammo for the rest of our podcast team to make 20 more 1 hour episodes to break down and criticized his ranking list.
 

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