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Rank the IEM's you've heard

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  1. Redcarmoose
    These lists are important probibly because people find out about the reputation of certain IEMs and can investigate. Still I pretty much think that there are way more variables than a simple list. Taking into account after market cables, DAP or DAC-amp-source; in many ways helps folks nurture the sound they are looking for..........raising the IEMs overall value and performance quota in the end. This hobby is so crazy detailed that even the selection of tip plays an important role affecting the end sound and fit. Folks obviously have sold IEMs simply due to a bad fit, and in contrast folks have fallen in love with an IEM, starting simply over fit qualities.

    1) qdc Anole V3 ($500-$600)
    Han Sound Audio Zen 4 wire OCC litz copper cable terminated Furutech 4.4mm

    An extremely underrated IEM probibly due to underexposure and lack of availability in the US. A small broken English web site does not help, along with $100 shipping fees doesn’t add to the feel good experience. Take note QDC is the China military audio provider, hence qdc is the retail segment with Chinese military technology making a splash up and down the qdc line. I have heard most of the line except the new 10BA per side flagship.

    Still the 3BA Anole V3 delivers a dark but cohesive-collected signature, although thick, it does bass better than any BA IEM I have ever heard. Along with two small switches the tone can be altered, though even in stock mode this IEM delivers an L shaped signature good with rock and EDM. The correct DAP and cable help bring some tone character out of the woods which would normally be hidden if ran off a phone. It’s just detailed enough in the mids and treble, though nothing sparkles or shimmers, it’s all about natural timbre and bass energy in the end. Custom house made BA drivers X3 per side. Pair it with the wrong DAP and it runs a chance of being boring, but get it an enthusiastic signal (1Z) and it’s a signature which can pamper your ears for hours on end yet never seems to get old.

    2) Sony Z5 ($500............used to be way more $)
    Sony MUC-M12NB1 Headphone Cable 4.4mm Pentaconn-MMCX

    Best advise is never attempt to hook up the rubber (hell) stock cables and save your MMCX cable change-out cycles going right to aftermarket. This IEM hangs out of your ear like a USB drive though Triple Comfort Tips help hold them in place. Once you get over the ergonomics this IEM rules with a powerful source. Don’t get it enough juice and you’ll never learn what it’s about. It also can keep scaling way past DAP quality and show what’s up with premium desktop gear. It’s that good. Custom house made BA drivers X 2 and a single DD per side.

    3) Nobel Kaiser 10 Encore ($1850)

    Perfectly and technically neutral with a slight hint of warmth and a boost in the mids. Just a really fast big soundstage showing some detail though not the most detail ever. Bass fall off is fast as you would expect with 10 BAs per ear. Though get it a good music genre and it performs at it’s price level. Probibly best with classical, vocal and rock. Falls short getting the goods delivered with bass heavy EDM, though may be your cup of tea if you like that fast-bass character. It’s a very complementary IEM to some thick bass heavy IEMs in your collection. Overall it’s the most technical in my list, and somehow takes what it does and spreads the musical information out and about reaching a profound level of clarity. I rate it number three as I like the bass tone of the top two better. Still the Encore is special (a keeper) and does what it does magically. Custom house made BA drivers at 10 per side.

    I have heard hundreds of IEMs in store demo mode, though don’t feel confident to relate my opinions about them.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    Aslshark and Malfunkt like this.
  2. MidFiMoney
    Dream above the IER-Z1R, eh? Interesting because I own the Dream and I'm wondering how the two compare.
    bird-loso likes this.
  3. kernel8888
    only thing id rank above them under 400 would be a used authentic ie800

    but its unique and not really apples to apples where its open.
    kirthik likes this.
  4. Jephre
    Time for a re-ordering. I'm ordering these based predominantly on my preferences (a warm, natural tone and timbre) and to a lesser extent technical ability.

    1) UE 18+ Pro 2nd Gen
    2) Aurisonics ASG-2.5
    3) InEar ProPhile-8
    4) Hyla CE-5
    5) Campfire Audio Andromeda
    6) Oriolus MK2
    7) AKG K3003
    8) Sony XBA-N3AP
    9) Sony WF-1000X (bluetooth)
    10) JVC HA-FW01
    11) IMR R1
    12) Noble Audio X
    13) LZ-A4
    14) Future Sonics G10
    15) Future Sonics Atrio m5
    16) Beoplay H5 (bluetooth)
    17) AirPods

    A few major movers and reasons why explained below:
    Aurisonics ASG-2.5: I find it hard to let this IEM go. To my ears, it's comfortable - just the right size. Some might find this overly warm, but despite the warmth from the mid-bass, I find the treble still has the occasional sparkle when called upon. Very sweet and lifelike vocals with awesome timbre and tone. I would say this parallels the Oriolus MK2 or FitEar TG334. The bass is indeed pronounced (I always listen with the vent fully closed), but I enjoy that I can hear the bass lines of all types of rock or live performances clearly without any bleed into the mids or highs. This is truly a great stage monitor. I can listen for hours to this IEM without fatigue, just like the UE 18+ Pro 2nd Gen. There's great instrument staging and imaging, with bass + vocals distinctly upfront. The soundstage is feels spacious, more so than the UE 18+ Pro 2nd Gen. On days where I want to work to EDM or heavier rock, the ASG-2.5 comes out. On days where I want softer jazz or classical that has more fine-grain detail, I break out the UE 18+ Pro 2nd Gen.

    Sony WF-1000X: I originally got these as a better alternative to the AirPods. Listening to them again, I understand why I got them in the first place. Great noise-cancelling, so it works well on flights - and the sound quality was like a bluetooth version of my XBA-N3AP (punchy, clear). At the point when I got these, they were as close to an audiophile wireless earbud as could be.
    royneo and AC-12 like this.
  5. WCDchee
    The dream is not easy to drive. If you have a source like the Hugo TT, desktop level amplification, it will blow you away. Feed it mere average portable sources and you will be disappointed.

    Same with the tia fourte :wink:
    bird-loso likes this.
  6. MidFiMoney
    And all this time I thought my little Mojo was sufficient. I guess I need to demo the Hugo at some point.
  7. WCDchee
    I run a balanced modded mojo which brings its performance very close to the hugo’s.

    That said even the stock mojo I consider to be among the best values in terms of source gear, especially at current prices, with a large caveat. It is extremely sensitive to transport pairing.

    Totally I do agree that it makes for a nice pairing with the dream. But if you like the dream with the mojo, you will adore it with a better source such as the Hugo. It scales more than almost any other IEM I have heard except for the fourte.
    MidFiMoney likes this.
  8. MidFiMoney
    Demo'ing the Hugo is in my future. But in the meantime, where can I get my Mojo modded???
  9. WCDchee
    I don’t think it’s something readily available, I went through hoops to get mine done.

    But you should really look at the Hugo second hand they go so cheap, at 900SGD (about 5-600 usd), an absolute steal to meh

    On a side note, the dita dream and tia fourte remain the best IEMs I’ve heard by a mile provided they are well driven.
    MidFiMoney likes this.
  10. MidFiMoney
    Researching second hand Hugos now haha
  11. faithguy19
    1. LCD-i4
    2. CA Atlas
    3. Legend X
    4. Tia Trio
    5. Vega
    6. Noble K10U
    7. Andromeda
    8. Tia Fourte
    9. Hidition NT-6 Pro
    10. Noble Sage
    Dvdlucena likes this.
  12. Stranger Than Fiction
    Atlas better than U18T and Legend X??

    Methinks I’ll be reconsidering purchasing them next February... I found the bass a little hot when auditioning them (and that’s coming from a basshead), but that can be EQed or remedied with another source/ amp I suppose.

    There was a lot to love besides. I could really get a sense of what Dave Clarke was doing in the mix with his set recorded at ADE from a few years ago.
  13. faithguy19
    Yes. I enjoy them better than both. Atlas is a sound that you cannot grasp on first listen usually. It needs some time to burn in and then as you listen more and more your love for it grows. I find it addicting and fun. U18T was different altogether and Legend X was boring to me compared to the Atlas so I ended up selling them. I just jive really well with the Atlas. It isn't for everyone.
    bden59 likes this.
  14. Stranger Than Fiction
    For sure... If funds were limitless I’d probably own both the Atlas and K10U. God I miss them... I’m so glad the Atlas are reasonably priced! I imagine the Legend X, though bass heavy in their tuning, mightn’t bring progressive trance, techno and UK bass music to life in the same way a dynamic driver IEM would. You’re probably right in that the Atlas require a significant amount of brain burn-in.

    I’m enjoying the IE800 and when I can be arsed I’ll be editing my list to reflect as such, except even the largest tips are too puny for my cavernous ears. No such issues with the Atlas of course, although I hope they are better than the IE800s for sleeping.
  15. WCDchee
    How do you use your mojo? What’s the transport?
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