Rank the IEM's you've heard
Mar 6, 2022 at 8:46 PM Post #3,917 of 4,151

Rockwell75

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May as well share this here too. Sizing things up at the end of my time with the Fir Audio Frontier series. TLDR: Fir fills my top 10 but EXT still holds the crown. NE4, which I'd almost dismissed, comes in large through my newly acquired Shanling M9.

1) Vision Ears EXT
2) Fir Audio Xenon 6
3) Oriolus Traillii
4) Vision Ears Phonix
5) Dunu Zen Pro
6) Campfire Audio Dorado 2020
7) Vision Ears Elysium
8) Fir Audio Neon 4
9) Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020
10) Fir Audio Krypton 5
11) 64 Audio Duo
12) Oriolus Isabellae
13) Sony IER Z1R
14) Campfire Audio Solaris
15) 64 Audio u12t
16) Unique Melody MEST
17) Vision Ears VE8
18) Empire Ears Legend X
19) QDC Anole VX
20) Empire Ears Odin

Notes & Caveats
  • First things first: Every IEM on this list passes a reasonable threshold of greatness
  • New additions: Fir Audio Neon 4, rounding this list to a top 20
  • Objectively the KR5 is probably the superior IEM in many ways but it's a bit bright leaning for me and NE4's more relaxing FR works better for me
  • The Andromeda 2020 is a stone cold revelation through the Cowon Plenue 2 MKii
  • These rankings are just based on my personal enjoyment and ideals
  • Everything in this list is subject to change as per my whims.
 
Mar 7, 2022 at 5:38 PM Post #3,918 of 4,151

Lépine

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I have been listening recently to the 64 Audio U18t, which I have a strong bias towards. I replaced the stock M15 Apex module with the Mx Apex module. It is remarkable how much more accurate the sound reproduction has become. The U18t with the M15 module always had a slightly bloated upper bass that sounded more like a 10 or 12 inch subwoofer with too much overlapping cross over point than an actual live stringed instrument like a double bass orchestral instrument. The Mx Apex module is a considerable improvement in realism.

Sound stage has grown noticeably more open, wider, and transparent. Some of inaccurate warmth of the midrange has also been corrected. The sound is more dynamic. Diana Krall "Maybe You'll Be There", "Being Here With You", and "Dee I Do" is much more accurate especially the piano sustain pedaling. The sound has a bigger presentation; however, instrument placement has also become more focused. I also believe with lowered internal pressure resistance the notes - transients are faster - freer.
 
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Mar 10, 2022 at 10:34 PM Post #3,919 of 4,151

Redcarmoose

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An attempt at objectivity?
Rated A,B,C,D,E and F


Sony IER-Z1R A
EarSonics ONYX A (still not for everyone; especially those not into slightly dark sound signatures)
qdc Anole V10 B
64Audio N8 B
Noble Audio Encore B (even though I rate it a B, it gets the most ear-time, about 3200 hours or more?)
Noble Audio Katana B
Noble Audio Kahn C (still too bright and forward of midrange for me, and I would guess most listeners?)
DUNU Zen C
DUNU SA6 A
qdc Anole V3 C
Sony XBA-N3 C
Sony XBA-Z5 C
Sony XBA-100 D (for what it is it’s not bad, but lacking imaging/soundstage)
Tin HiFi T5 F
See Audio Yumi C
KB EAR Lark C
Thieaudio Legacy 4 C
BQEYZ BQ3 D
Fearless Audio S6Rui C
BQEYZ Spring 2 D
BGVP DM6 C
Tripowin TC-01 C
BLON BL-01 C
Magaosi K5 E

Only change it DUNU SA6 moved up to the A list.
 
Mar 12, 2022 at 2:07 PM Post #3,920 of 4,151

blotmouse

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  1. 64 Audio Fourté Noir
  2. Rhapsodio Eden
  3. Softears Turii
  4. Vision Ears PHöNIX
  5. Vision Ears EXT
  6. CFA Solaris OG
  7. Unique Melody Mest MKii
  8. Oriolus Isabellae
  9. Unique Melody Mest Indigo
  10. 64 Audio U18s
  11. Oriolus Crassirostris
  12. Softears RSV
  13. 7Hz Timeless
  14. Dunu Zen Pro
  15. Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  16. CFA Polaris v2
  17. Empire Ears Hero
  18. CFA Comet
  19. Kinera Baldr 2
  20. GeekWold GK10
 
Mar 12, 2022 at 2:18 PM Post #3,921 of 4,151

Rockwell75

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  1. 64 Audio Fourté Noir
  2. Rhapsodio Eden
  3. Softears Turii
  4. Vision Ears PHöNIX
  5. Vision Ears EXT
  6. CFA Solaris OG
  7. Unique Melody Mest MKii
  8. Oriolus Isabellae
  9. Unique Melody Mest Indigo
  10. 64 Audio U18s
  11. Oriolus Crassirostris
  12. Softears RSV
  13. 7Hz Timeless
  14. Dunu Zen Pro
  15. Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  16. CFA Polaris v2
  17. Empire Ears Hero
  18. CFA Comet
  19. Kinera Baldr 2
  20. GeekWold GK10

Fascinating list thank-you for sharing. It gives me a good sense of your tastes & how they differ with my own. Nice to see the Solaris OG well represented.
 
Mar 12, 2022 at 4:40 PM Post #3,922 of 4,151

ngd3

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  1. 64 Audio Fourté Noir
  2. Rhapsodio Eden
  3. Softears Turii
  4. Vision Ears PHöNIX
  5. Vision Ears EXT
  6. CFA Solaris OG
  7. Unique Melody Mest MKii
  8. Oriolus Isabellae
  9. Unique Melody Mest Indigo
  10. 64 Audio U18s
  11. Oriolus Crassirostris
  12. Softears RSV
  13. 7Hz Timeless
  14. Dunu Zen Pro
  15. Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  16. CFA Polaris v2
  17. Empire Ears Hero
  18. CFA Comet
  19. Kinera Baldr 2
  20. GeekWold GK10
Why the MEST mk2 over the Indigo?
 
Mar 16, 2022 at 3:31 PM Post #3,925 of 4,151

Lifter59

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i feel like people with money just buy one new iem after another just for the 'new toy' endorphine rush/high

truth is , after 1000-1500$ (where you can buy a very very decent iem and be done) you just buy stuff for the thrill of the new toy
At a high level I am inclined to agree with your observation. However there is a caveat - I bought my first "real" IEM's back in 2008 UE-11pro and a few years later, the UE-18's and then the UE-RR as a baseline to compare other devices/headphones/IEM's. Technology and shear performance has improved almost exponentially since then. I recently bought a couple of new pairs (CA Mammoth and CA Andromeda 2020) then added GUCraftsman balanced cables.

I can honestly say I was amazed at the sound quality of the CA's compared to my UE's and I am not sure if it's the age of the UE's (I am sure drivers and crossover wear out over time and yes they have been sent in for cleaning/minor repairs as needed) or the changes in driver technology (probably both) but I will probably buy another pair or two over time (as funds permit) because the current offerings (and there are 100's more options than the "old days") can reproduce sound at a much higher level. Will probably put a few of the older pairs "out to pasture" at some point.
 
Mar 22, 2022 at 6:17 AM Post #3,926 of 4,151

hssong85

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Jomo Audio Trinity SS
Empire Ears Odin
Oriveti O800
Moondrop Starfield
Thieaudio Monarch MK2

Honorable mention
Westone W80

As like everyone, this is my personal preference.

I think Jomo Audio is one of the most underated brand. Its 3D staging is far superior than Odin or Monarch MK2. I haven't heard Vision Ears Erlkonig or Oriolus Trailli but I am assuming Trinity is up there.

Odin had better detail retrieval than Trinity but I chose staging as that conveyed more musicality than sheer detail.

Oriveti is an IEM of choice when you are tired and you want easy listening session. It has very smooth and soothing tone balance.

Monark MK2 was very harsh in the treble for me.

W80 is a true in-ear MONITOR. It retrieves every detail in the frequency that human ear can hear (thus giving up sub bass or high teeble). This feature is very important in stage monitoring or mixing. It is meant to be used for work not pleasure listening.
 
Mar 22, 2022 at 5:36 PM Post #3,927 of 4,151

mungster

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Mar 24, 2022 at 7:25 AM Post #3,929 of 4,151

Kerouac

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I spent way more than I thought I would.
Well, I think that just perfectly described the 'curse' of Head-Fi in one sentence :sweat_smile:
 
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Mar 24, 2022 at 3:27 PM Post #3,930 of 4,151

DenverW

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Well, I think that just perfectly described the 'curse' of Head-Fi in one sentence :sweat_smile:
Loool! This may need to be in my signature; truer words have not been spoken!

I’m much more an over ear than in ear, so my list is limited…

In order of total preference, not necessarily just sound quality, and based on listening with the dtr1.

Monarch mk2
Jvc fdx1
Moondrop blessing 2 dusk
Moondrop blessing 2
Flc8s
DIY unicorn ie800
Massdrop blue one
Er2xr
 

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