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Semi-open IEM or earbud with neutral sound signature for 50USD!

  1. XmarX
    Hi !
    I'm looking for an IEM or an earbud with the ability to hear a little bit of the surrounding environment. I need to know whats going on around me when I listen to music or binging on tv shows. I would love a neutral sounding IEM/earbud, with decent reproduction of sub-bass to treble with good soundstage.
    The budget is 10 to 50 USD (lesser the better:D).
    Source: mobile phone and PC (with a Chinese DAC). I don't have any headphone amp...yet!
    Music: mainly rock and pop and yeah, lots of TV shows.

    I was suggested to try the Willsound MK2 & Sabia v7 in the earbud thread and Tin T2 & Blon-3 in the IEM thread.
    Are they a good option for my purpose?

    Thanks for reading!
  2. baskingshark
    BLON BL-03 is not neutral. It is a single DD, harmanish tuned with a midbass bump. But it has poor isolation so it may be good for u to hear the environment with it. Soundstage above average. It has not too bad subbass extension but midbass is more dominant than the subbass.
    BLON BL-03 excels at timbre and tonality, so it is good for music genres that have lots of acoustic instruments. It's technicalities (instrument separation, clarity, details) are not as good as multi BA/hybrid sets. It fares better with amping despite its specs. Quite power hungry. Amping tightens the midbass and increases dynamics and details. One very important thing to note, the stock tips +/- cables are crappy, majority of people need aftermarket tips or mods.

    I don't have the TIn T2 but from reviews and FR it looks quite neutral.

    Another set I can recommend is the DT6. Not exactly neutral, triple hybrid, good subbass extension, poor isolation but good soundstage for an IEM. Does better with amping but can be driven from a smartphone. Great details, instrument separation, clarity. Only thing is timbre on this set is a bit artificial for acoustic instruments, but if u are mainly listening to rock and pop, it is good for these genres. Retails around 16 - 17 bucks during sales, quite a cheap set for the technicalities.

    Good luck with your search.
    XmarX likes this.
  3. XmarX
    Thanks for the reply baskingshark!

    For the Blon BL3, which tip you recommend?

    Tonality is sort of important as I listen to acoustic and live versions of my favorite rock songs like Hotel California by Eagles. So, no Dt6 for me then!

    BTW, anyone here has any experience listening to HE 150 Pro and NiceHCK ME80?
  4. baskingshark
    I bought the HE150 Pro during BF, still not delivered. But looks V shaped to me, I'll let u know once I get it.

    I have NiceHCK ME80, not too bad, it has great bass for a earbud and vocals/mids are very well done and lush. Good soundstage and techinicalities are not bad. I've more experience with IEMs than buds but I thought the ME80 could match some of my budget CHIFI IEMs in bass and techincalities, I quite like it. It does better with amping though.

    For BLON BL-03, I use spinfit CP100, but this increases the bass a bit due to its narrower bore. A lot of folks in the BLON thread use MH755 tips, KZ tips or spinfits. As long as it is a longer nozzle type of tip, it will help with fit as the BLON's nozzle is short.
    Or they do a mod, something like this: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/blon-in-ear-monitors-impressions-thread.916702/page-52#post-15296739
    XmarX likes this.
  5. XmarX
    baskingshark likes this.
  6. baskingshark
    Well ME80 is only my second bud, the first being the NICEHCK B40 which had not enough bass for my basshead needs.
    I really like the lush mids of the ME80 without losing much bass, though I have no other buds to compare with, so take my earbud advise with a pinch of salt.

    For the JadeAudio IEM, the FR looks good, quite smooth. It was 50 bucks during BF, suddenly dropped to 40 bucks for cyber monday, worth a punt IMHO.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    XmarX likes this.
  7. XmarX
    It's not just you who have said the same thing regarding the SQ of ME80. I have read a lot of reviews mentioning the same. So, no need of salt here :p

    I thought the same about the Jade Audio EA3. Decent FR for sure.

    BTW, I asked FiiO about the tuning and here is their reply!
    "Combining with the classic Knowles balanced armature drivers unit, it adopts the popular tuning style of HiFi level.Low frequency elastic, deep dive, smooth in the high, wide sound field, do not listen to tired.Suitable for all kinds of music styles."

    So, it should be having non-aggressive treble? I don't mind that! Love the "wide sound field" and "suitable for all kinds of music" parts too.
    But, I couldn't understand what they meant by "elastic" and "deep dive" regarding low frequencies.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  8. baskingshark
    Graphs are quite important to me at least to know if I won't like the sound signature, but unfortunately it doesn't tell the full story. Stuff like timbre, details, soundstage cannot be obtained from graphs. But this set's graph looks non fatiguing and quite up my alley.

    Maybe "deep dive" is deep subbass extension? Not sure what they meant by "elastic". Probably they used google translate to convert chinese to english and some stuff was lost in translation.
    XmarX likes this.
  9. XmarX
    I'll be making a decision in 5 hours.

    I'm leaning towards the new JadeAudio EA3 at the moment.
    baskingshark likes this.

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