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Rank the IEM's you've heard

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  1. Rockwell75
    I would say yes, for the most part. In my experience where it really drops off is after about the $1000 mark. The jump from a set of 1K IEMs to a set of 2K IEMs is nowhere near as drastic as it is from a $200 pair to a 1K pair. Diminishing returns is a fact (and it's only a fact because there are so many of us who will pay an extra 1K for maybe a 5% improvement in sound quality).
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
    geardoc and cr3ativ3 like this.
  2. Rockwell75
    Have you heard the VE8? It's near the top of my curiosity list if I ever decide to go custom.
  3. mvvRAZ
    You can definitely pick a 1000-1500$ IEM that is able to do just about everything really, really well. At 2/3/4k you do get a noticeable improvement in sound quality and technicality, but whether or not it is essential for you is another topic

    I have heard the VE8 yes, but I decided to not include it in my ranking for the time being because I'll get to spend a few hours with it in a few weeks, so I decided to hold off until then. Definitely T1 or T2 though.
  4. twiceboss
    Added: Solaris, Fearless S8 Pro, Cayin YB04

    1/2. IER M9 (Scarily balance with top notch timbre, imaging king)
    1/2. KSE1200 (Scarily details with outstanding imaging, thin ish vocals)
    3. EX1000 (Biggest soundstage for imaging but can be hazy in a crowded track)
    4. ER2SE (Cheapest, most coherent, most details at this price range)
    5. Rai Penta/ Solaris (Penta - Controlled bass with top notch vocal presentation-lack highs and imaging, Solaris - has controlled bass and smooth vocals but the texture&clarity of the vocals are not good enough to be in the top 3)
    6. Anole VX (Outstanding details but sounds artificial, imaging is average - boosted bass is a con - jack of all trades, master of none)
    7. CL2/ iSINE20/ EX800st/ YB04 (CL2 vocals is like an old speaker setup, 20&800 are open but with low res, YB04 is more mids and highs centric it sounds coherent enough and well implemented)
    8. Empire Ears EVR (outstanding vocals separation but lacks of highs and imaging)
    9. Andromeda V3/ Fearless S8 Pro ( Andro is a good all rounder but with lacking vocals, S8 Pro sounds to have better lows extension but still suffer from excellent vocals)
    10. CA Comet (Best all rounder for relax warm listening at this price)

    10/29/2019: will be regularly updated with description
    I'm a neutral head and prioritize on vocals tonality, my rank is strictly based on that.

    honorable mention;
    ER4SR - clinical with BAs tonality
    ZS5 - cheapest IEM that took me into the game
    ZSR - more intimate of ZS5
    Galaxy Buds - the best wireless ive ever had hands down

    comment 1: Ramble about anole VX; VX tried to beat the crowd with its reso performance but forgot that they boosted up the BAs bass. There is missing in mids warmth resulting it to be somewhat fake-ish sound together with boosted highs and the dip at 6-8khz to add more salt. Number 6 is given for the respect of its resolution but I'll pick 7,8,9,10 to enjoy music in everyday life. Again, this is strictly my opinion.
    comment 2: I want to bring up about vocals that im talking about here. Good vocals to me when that set succeeds on giving vocals its own path in a track. Meaning, it is well separated from instruments and has good full bodied; a good warmth and weight to bring emotion to the vocals. With good tonality or in another word, life-like sound. Texture and clarity of the vocals are the factors contributing to emotion.
    comment 3: er2se achieved at the top 4 considering sonic performance/price. Thence, it remains at number 4 for that value but the fit is not always for me.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  5. Rockwell75
    Thanks for sharing...as much as I disagree with your assessment of the VX :p
    twiceboss likes this.
  6. twiceboss
    We do enjoy sound differently ! :wink:
  7. cr3ativ3
    True :)
  8. geardoc
    Diminishing returns - that's a good discussion. The sweet spot seems to be about $1k, would you agree? For the average audiophile, $500 less is very noticeable, but $500 more is not so noticeable? Maybe a sweet region between, say $600 and $1200 or something like that?
    Aslshark and mvvRAZ like this.
  9. twiceboss
    1k usd is the best spot imo. There is a huge difference for $500 and $1k so far in my experience. Mostly about presentation and the tonality. $500 can be good but the tonality is a different story.
  10. mvvRAZ
    I would argue it is a touch higher - between 1000 and 1500. If you aren’t an audio freak that needs the last 5-10% TOTL performance, you can settle for anything like
    - Aether R Lime Ears
    - fibae 7
    - Andromeda (S, gold etc)
    - Solaris
    - EE Phantom
    - A6t
    And never really look back at the hobby, one happy audiophile with a fat wallet

    Most of these are absolutely stellar imo and for many, more than enough

    The under 1000 is a bit of a weird segment imo... you have some absolutely terrible IEMs, some decent ones but the majority tends to be either really good at one specific thing or quite strongly lacking something
    - CA Polaris - bass monster
    - Noble Savant II - could do with better treble
    - EE EVR - insane vocals, not much else
    - fiio FA7/FH7 - okay at everything, not great at anything
    Etc etc
    cr3ativ3 likes this.
  11. twiceboss
    To me, after reaching more than 1k, it is more like finding a signature that u like, most of the time.
  12. mvvRAZ
    I'd say signature is above 2.5k.

    Level of technicality keeps increasing further and further till you reach 2.5, at which point that sort of peaks out and it becomes about signature more so than anything else.

    Whether you need that level of technicality is an entirely different question

    (And of course plenty of example of IEMs that cost more than that and barely perform) but I'm mostly considering the stronger contenders at that price point
  13. twiceboss
    I had kse1200 and and a VX, basically the technicalities is there but the signature is another story.
  14. Extrasensory
    I have owned the M9 for 7 months. But I love the VX and consider them a step up from M9, practically because of its sound stage. I also loved how the sound was presented with its brighter signature. Anyway, I respect your thoughts though.

    I didn't say the M9 are bad. They just need to be paired with sources that have good dynamics, otherwise they will sound too dark for me. In fact, sometimes it is very frustrating that I couldn't find a good match for them. If the pairing is right, they will sound like a beast.

    Do you think the Z1R will suit me better than the M9 given my thoughts on sonic preference above? I am living in one of the countries in Asia. I should be able to find Z1R for a not-too-expensive price (compared to the VX).

    I would like to hear more about the M9 from yours as I have seen you are very excited about them.
  15. mvvRAZ
    The Z1R has the opposite sound sig of the M9

    Imo the one clear upgrade from the M9 is the Elysium (apologies if I’ve been yapping about it too much haha)
    cr3ativ3 likes this.
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