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Rank the IEM's you've heard

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  1. mvvRAZ
    Elevated mids and sparkly treble indeed, with recessed bass in most cases

    The LX doesn’t fit my preferences, but I find it to be a wonderful IEM nonetheless, and I appreciate it for what it is. I probably wouldn’t buy one, and if I did it won’t get the most listening time, but either way - it’s probably the best bass I’ve heard, and even I appreciated that
    cr3ativ3 likes this.
  2. Rockwell75
    Indeed. If I don't succumb to the charms of the forthcoming special edition Solaris I might just crack and pick up a used LX for the occasional basshead fix that I crave every so often.
  3. proedros
    you may wanna try the EE Zeus Massdrop , at 750$ sounds like a bargain - but then again i am a devoted Zeus XR lover

    you then get the EA Lionheart cable that is currently being sold at the FS threads for 325$ and you are golden.
  4. twiceboss
    To me personally, i think solaris has a better balance across the freq compare to VX. Solaris bass is more accurate at least but the vocals are not crisp enough to my liking.
  5. Rockwell75
    Possibly but right now my preferences have me in love with the speed, precision and insane depth of detail that the VX provides. It's also just a touch more impactful in all the right places for me.
    twiceboss likes this.
  6. twiceboss
    It is no doubt VX reso is better than Solaris. I agree with that.
  7. twiceboss
    Added comment 4 for Campfire Comet.

    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 a mess 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.
    comment 4: after so much more time with Comet, this IEM sings the best on R&B and Ballad genre when it pairs with Spiral Dots. However, i do not recommend this for pop, hip hop, edm since it has a significant subbass rolled off but the warmth in the mids and vocals are really excellent and almost has zero bloat/bleed whatsoever. Im really a fan of Comet+Spiral Dots when it comes to R&B and Ballad, the vocals are really great!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
    Tawek and Evoke like this.
  8. baiyy1986
    Hi there, these are some very 'old' models but I really do not want to catch every IEM train.
    they are my daily routine, mainly in my office. Majority of my songs are jazz and pop music from 90s and I prefer female vocal.
    The only amp I use is mojo and they all use stock cable and stock tips.
    Please keep in mind my rank is not just about sound quality, also about functionality.
    1. Massdrop Zeus (2 month)
    Pros: Great seal, lightweight, good ergo (fit my ear great), great midrange, female vocal is tight, compare to Zeus R a little fun sound but still vivacious.
    Cons: hiss, cable.
    2. Zeus R (1 year):
    basically the same MD Zeus but less bass.
    3. LCD i4 (1.5 year):
    Pros: best sound among all my iems, iPhone + hibyMusic app + cypher cable + i4 is my smallest/best sounding system I have.
    Cons: Open back no isolation, therefore I can't use much when people around. But not that easy-to-use compare to some blue tooth headphone. I find it sits between a very embarrassing situation that I like it but not have much chance to listen with.
    4. Layla Gen1(2 year):
    Pros:Great bass, huge sound stage, emotional IEM, when I want to listen EDM this is my choice. Unlike Zeus, not very picky with source. When my friends want to borrow my IEMs I ofen lend them layla and people love it.
    Cons: Too bulky, a little warm when listen other genre.

    5. Roxanne (sold)
    Pro: smooth, great for classic rock.
    Cons: too big, sometimes too warm

    6. AirPods (1 year)
    Pro: easy to use.
    Cons: sound quality is beyond my expectation but still is ok.
    Aslshark likes this.
  9. SilverEars
    I wouldn't call VX real resolution. Boosted high for sure. LX definately has better upper frequncy tonal balance ignoring the slamming bass. Resolution of LX nothing special.

    The VX treble up top seem to sound a bit bold thick to be really resolving. The bold treble stands out a bit that VX would be called V-shaped. Calling it balanced is questionable.

    My reference for resolution? My full-sized headphone rigs.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  10. twiceboss
    True, perhaps that's the reason im not leaning to its sound. KSE1200 has more details and sounds natural than VX boosted highs for the details.
  11. SilverEars
    I didn't think VX's boosted high constituted as true details in a sense I'm hearing the intracacies. I heard it as bold sound notes, thick, more toward blended than thinly noted and separated (or sharpend). Rather the intensity of the treble sounded boosted. Elysium universal on the other hand was differently presented with it's treble boost. Sparkly with thin, with greater separation, on the prickly side. It's likely due to the electret for the highs.

    My ears generally tend to be agreeable with Harman like curves. VX and Elysium tilts in a different direction in the highs than Harman.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  12. twiceboss
    I havent heard of Ely and i wish i can do a demo anytime soon but i have my eyes on fibae 7 and the new 3BAs Campfire
  13. royneo
    1) Jomo Audio Trinity Brass - The much-fabled tri-hybrid. Beautiful, beautiful dynamic bass decay with low-moderate bass emphasis. Mids are visceral and liquid; lots of detail especially for the lower-mids section. Would say that their mids come a hair short of UE18+'s performance but still very impressive nonetheless. Now onto the electrostatic treble, there is this sense of effortless and weightlessness to it. Detailing in this treble region is the best I've heard so far and has a crisp finish to it. Imaging is insanely good on these - very distinct and excellent sense of depth. Soundstage is on the wide scale but I would personally place this slightly under Andromeda and iSine 20. The Trinity rewrote what it means to be TOTL for me and its ethereal experience is something to behold.

    2) UE18+ Pro Gen 3 - Trebles are extremely extended, probably one of the most, if not the most extended out there. I think there's a frequency response graph somewhere on the other audio forum showing that it extends well above the 10k+hz range whereas most other IEMs would begin to taper off much earlier at lower frequencies. This gives the UE18+ an extremely airy and this detailed, crisp sound signature. Mids are the best I've heard as well - could hear the quivers in singers' voices. Soundstage is small though and I guess the bass could be viewed as weak by some others, but it has never been a problem for me.

    3) Oriolus Mk2 - All-rounder hybrid (1 DD + 3 BAs). Great bass due to its' Dynamic bass driver. Mids are pretty nice and organic too, would rank this 3rd based on all the IEMs that I've listed here. Trebles are smooth and airy. Pretty good imaging and soundstage too, really easy to pinpoint locations of instruments.

    4) Campfire Andromeda - Big, expansive soundstage - almost comparable to Audeze iSine 20. Didn't quite understand the criticism of Andromeda's lack of bass, it seemed plenty big for me though its impact is not as huge as Oriolus Mk2. A slight v-shape sound signature and mids are slightly recessed. Overall, it's a smooth sound, diffuse sound signature so if you're looking for detail-retrieval, this probably isn't for you. The Andromeda really reminds me of the iSine 20 in many ways.

    5) Audeze iSine 20 - Audeze's famed smooth house sound signature. Best bass amongst all due to its' open-back system. By the same virtue, soundstaging is massive as well when compared to other IEMs. Mids are nice too but trebles are kind of smoothed over. You wouldn't pick this IEM if you're looking for detail-retrieval in your IEMs but still, the iSines are fantastic IEMs. They provide a very differentiated IEM experience. Imperative to use the Cipher cable or Audeze's Reveal plug-in though.

    6) Etymotic ER4SR/XR - detail-retrieval king though not as great as my UE18+ but still, this IEM provides incredible value for money. Again, trebles are pretty well extended on the Etys as well. Pretty in-your-face presentation. The UE18+ is able to somehow avoid this problem though, but then again, it's way pricier. Smallest soundstage amongst all my IEMs but imaging is pretty pinpoint. Go with the ER4XR if you want a bit more bass emphasis; ER4SR for slightly better treble accuracy.

    7) Acoustune HS1501 AL - great bass and soundstaging ability. Sort of like a basshead lover's dream. Thick sound signature but the mids does perform decently well. Can't quite remember its' treble performance but that should mean it wasn't so dreadful as to be expected from bass-focused IEMs.

    8) UE900S - Pretty trebly, reaches sibilant quite easily. But overall, quite a nice v-shaped sound signature. Bass could be bloated sometimes but could be ratified by blocking the small pinhole nozzle on the UE900S. Believe there's quite a few discussions about this modification elsewhere on Head-fi.

    9) UE TF10 - pretty much the same as UE900S but a bit less. Another exception is that you can't perform the same nozzle blocking trick. Terrible fit though, I suppose most owners went down
    the path of reshelling these to get the TF10 to fit their ears - at least I did.

    10) Sennheiser IE80S - Mostly unimpressive tbh. Huge soundstage but not as huge as iSines. Bass is huge but it is just muddy and bloated, ruining the entire sound signature of these.

    Other IEMs that I sold off quite some time ago and couldn't quite remember my impressions on them:
    Etymotic HF5 - pretty nice, served me well as my daily IEMs. Non-replaceable cable though so it didn't last very long for me, perhaps a year or two at most if I recall.
    Etymotic MC5 - the same, usual Ety sound signature. Thinking aback, it probably didn't impress me that much on the basis of Ety's much-vaunted detail retrieval capability but then again, it's a cheap IEM. It's only fair if it were to be compared to other IEMs at a similar price point which I haven't had the experience of doing so.
    Klipsch S4i - pretty unimpressive too, actually performs pretty much like the IE80S minus the huge soundstage. Bass was bloated as well and everything just sounds so muddy.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  14. BananaOoyoo
    December 2019: Another quick list off the top of my head, would most likely be unable to recreate off memory, doesn't include anything I haven't tried reasonably recently, etc.

    Top 5:
    1. Hidition Viento-Reference (personal unit) - I've really overlooked my Viento in the past because of how cheap it was compared to other TOTL IEMs (<$650 for my Viento-B CIEM), but when it's all said and done, Viento stands at the top. Phenomenally tuned, with a nice subbass boost in the "B" configuration, fantastic vocals, excellent treble... this little guy puts most kilobuck flagships to shame.
    2. Sony IER-Z1R (personal unit) - Might fall slightly short in terms of resolution or coherence, but makes up for this with one of the (if not the outright) best bass response of all IEMs, nice DD treble, and great upper mids. The lower mids are recessed, but not nearly as big an issue as some make it out to be.
    3. QDC Anole VX (store demo) - Fantastic resolution, well tuned, not much to fault here with maybe the exception of "BA bass". Perhaps not as interesting as some other top choices.
    4. Vision Ears VE8 (store demo) - The go-to IEM for a warm sound signature. Manages to be resolving and highly technical despite the fact that warmer IEMs are not generally perceived to be so.
    5. 64audio U12t (store demo) - Cleaner sounding than its higher BA count sibling. Does probably as much as could be expected with regards to BA bass.

    Next 5:
    6. Shure KSE1200/1500 (store demo) - Carried this high on the list by category-leading resolution. Tuning itself leaves much to be desired.
    7. Empire Ears Legend X (store demo) - Guilty pleasure IEM. The bass bleeds, and it bleeds quite a bit, but the IEM nonetheless manages to be highly resolving.
    8. Jomo Audio Samba (personal unit) - Engaging. Perhaps seems more detailed than it is because of its sound signature. Very fitting name.
    9. 64audio U18t (store demo) - Might be on the same level as the U12t, but IMO held back by its tuning.
    10. 64audio Tia Trio (store demo) - The best of 64's hybrids.

    Outside Looking In:
    - InEar Prophile 8 (store demo) - BORING. But... it's good. Really good.
    - QDC Gemini (store demo) - VX minus two. Kinda forgotten.
    - Hidition NT6 (store demo) - Viento plus two?? Excellent in its own right. Less subbass (compared to B), less upper mids, more neutral.
    - Sony MDR-EX1000 (personal unit) - My highest rated single DD. Best qualities would be its flat, extended bass and overall staging. Not for the treble-sensitive... or anyone looking for an outdoor IEM.
    - Empire Ears Zeus XR (store demo) - EE's take on neutral. IMO falls a bit short compared to the other top reference tunings out there.

    Some Interchangeable Specialists:
    - Hyla CE-5 (personal unit) - The original tri-hybrid. For electronic music and little else. Contender for best bass reproduction.
    - Hyla TE-5T (store demo) - Even more of a specialist. For electronic music with female vocals.
    - Hyla Sarda (store demo) - CE-5 2.0.
    - Hyla TE-5B (store demo) - Bit more bass than the CE-5, and perhaps consequently slightly wonkier mids.

    Some Other Good IEMs:
    - Vision Ears Erlkonig (store demo)
    - Beyerdynamic Xelento (store demo)
    - Sony IER-M9 (store demo)
    - Campfire Audio Andromeda (personal unit)
    - Noble Audio Khan (store demo)

    - Vision Ears Elysium (store demo)
    - Lime Ears Aether R (store demo)
    - Hidition Waltz (store demo)
    - Empire Ears Valkyrie (store demo)
    - Custom Art FIBAE7 (store demo)

    - Custom Art Harmony 8.2 (personal unit)
    - Campfire Audio Solaris (store demo)
    - Lime Ears Model X (store demo)
    - Sony MDR-EX800ST (personal unit)
    - Sony IER-M7 (store demo)


    - Empire Ears Wraith (store demo)
    - Noble Tux 5 (store demo)


    For Your Enemies: (in no particular order)
    - Campfire Audio Polaris 2 (store demo)
    - Campfire Audio IO (store demo)
    - Fearless Roland (audio show demo)
    - Noble Audio M3 (store demo)
    - Astrotec Delphinus 5 (store demo) - haven't heard in a long time, but will forever be kept here where it belongs
    - Shozy Pola (store demo) - haven't heard in a long time, but will forever be kept here where it belongs
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    aminus, knopi and Evoke like this.
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