Single Dynamic Driver IEMs (Discussions/Comparisons)
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IEMusic

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A thread to discuss all things related to IEMs with just a single dynamic driver. There has really been a surge of amazing single DD IEMs lately.


So what are the major differences between the NF Audio NA1, NA2, and NM2? How do they compare to the iBasso IT00?
There are so many single DD IEMs around the $50 to $100 range, it‘s overwhelming.
 
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baskingshark

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So what are the major differences between the NF Audio NA1, NA2, and NM2? How do they compare to the iBasso IT00?
There are so many single DD IEMs around the $50 to $100 range, it‘s overwhelming.
I'm a DD sucker due to their better bass decay/rumble and better timbre than multi BA sets. Haven't tried the NF series, but they look to have quite good reviews so far.

These are the single DD sets I've tried so far:
1) BLON BL-03 - harmanish with midbass bump, great timbre/tonality, comparable with some $100 sets in these areas, but technicalities not the best. Rubbish fit for most westerners, so we have to resort to aftermarket longer eartips eg spinfits, or do spacer mods. A benchmark IEM at sub $30, especially for those who want great timbre. Midbass may be a tinge too prominent (with bass bloat), but this can be fixed to some extent with tips or amping.
2) BLON BL-05 - supposed successor to the BL-03 but with tamed midbass and boosted upper mids. Better clarity and soundstage than the BL-03, better fit too. However, upper mids may be fatiguing.
3) BLON Cardinal - bigger brother of the BL-03 that is no longer in production. Better subbass extension and slightly brighter, but otherwise keeps the same timbre/tonality as the BL-03. Better fit, soundstage, isolation, slightly better technicalities.
4) KBEAR Diamond - an all round improvement over the BL-03 in all areas (timbre, tonality, technicalities, isolation, fit). Maybe except it loses to BLON BL-03 in soundstage width, but it has deeper and wider soundstage than BL-03. Bass quantities is about comparable with BLON BL-03, but it has faster and more textured bass than BL-03.
5) KZ EDR1 - cheap, not too bad for the price, suitable as a real daily beater set. Rubbish microphonic fixed cable, overly recessed mids for me.
6) MEE Audio M6 - rubbish muddy sound. I bought it cause it was purportedly waterproof, so I use it for gym/exercise.
7) Semkarch SKC-CNT1 - another hidden gem that is no longer in production. Comes with 2 filters (neutralish and more bassy). Fast bass for a DD, so so timbre, good technicalities and very comfortable. On black filters, the lower mids are > upper mids, which is rare in CHIFI tuning.
8) Sennheiser IE80S - has bass dial to adjust bass quantities, but I found this underwhelming in sound quality considering the price (and considering the BL-03 is 10 times cheaper but gives about the same performance). Not worth the money.
9) Sony MH755 - cheap as chips at $5. Harmanish with good timbre. Slightly shouty at upper mids, and bang for buck. Super short J shaped microphonic cable is a pain, and it would be better to get an extension cable or MMCX mod/recable. Lots of fakes (especially black coloured shells), so go for white shelled ones from reputable shops.
10) TFZ No. 3 - basshead set with good subbass quantitiy/rumble. Midbass bleeds and is not the tightest. Above average technicalities. Upper mids and 8 Khz areas a bit sharp for me especially at higher volumes, but is my go to set for bass predominant music.
11) Toneking Nine Tails - looks weird, fits well and is comfortable. Has a front and rear filter to give a total of 9 sound signatures (non gimicks), from V shaped to basshead to neutralish. Above average technicalities.



Edit:
I went to audition a IKKO OH7 flagship and Final E5000 just a few days back.

12) IKKO OH7 is quite nice and balanced, with good tonality and timbre, slightly boosted upper mids but not harsh. It is expensive though, $1000 USD at least. Nice baroque style design on the shells, though the shells feel a bit plasticky.

13) Final E5000 - requires amping for sure. Didn't really like the bullet style fit and isolation. I felt it was too dark for my tastes (considering I'm treble sensitive). I'm basshead and like the bass quality and quantity.
 
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IEMusic

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I‘m not very excited to get my BL05, which is a good thing, since I’ll probably be waiting for a few more months (Drop purchase). I also wasn’t excited for the BL03, but for the price, I was just curious what the fuss was about. That turned out to be an incredibly pleasant suprise, so who knows, the BL05 might be too. I’m a bit more excited now, b/c I do like the Tin T4 a lot, and when I compared the graphs, the BL05 looks closer to my ideal curve than the T4 does.

7156F008-8270-4BC0-9626-537B791DA58D.png


Compared to the Tin T2 Plus
D6DE574E-8836-48F2-A3DE-E37D2516404A.png
 
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recently acquired the Fiio FD1 - my initial impressions are very favourable.
 
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recently acquired the Fiio FD1 - my initial impressions are very favourable.
If you do any comparisons with other single DD IEMs, please let us know. Thanks.
 
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IEMusic

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Still waiting on quite a few single DD IEMs.
- BL05
- UF YBF
- T2 Plus
- NA2

Interested in getting:
- NM2
- Looking at the Hana graph, I may want to get the KXXS or maybe even save up for the O2. We’ll see.
- Looking forward to more impressions on the 7Hz i99, for a bass head IEM.
 
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Optoma Nuforce IEM's have been on sale for some at very cheap prices.
The HEM Dynamic too. Normal price around 100 USD, now almost free!
Klick
on eBay
 
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The only other single driver dynamics I have are all bluetooth based.
 
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I've got quite a few single DD sets.

Great
Tanchjim Oxygen - My favorite IEM to date. Great mix of fun and technical ability. Better imaging compared to everything else I own, with nice layering/separation too. Bass has nice impact without adding bloat or excessive warmth. Lean and clean mids without coloration, and just enough treble extension to add a real sense of air. Definitely above average in terms of detail retrieval. Does the best "3d soundstage" out of all my IEM sets. I do wish the nozzle was a bit longer, but I really have no problem with the fit with long core tips, Sedna Earfits in particular are a great pairing.

JVC HA-FDX1 - Balanced with a slightly cool and bright approach. Smooth sounding despite being somewhat lean and bright. Bass impact is there when called for but stays out of the way otherwise. I do have some comfort issues with them due to their weight. Cool design. Has some sense of unique "it factor" that I can't quite put my finger on that makes it unique sounding compared to the other DD sets I own.

Yamaha EPH-200 - Very good separation is the standout attribute that draws you in. Good balance between male vocals and female vocals. Good bass presence, although lacks a bit of definition/texture. Upper treble feels just a very small bit rolled off, very easy to listen to for long sessions. The fit may not work for everybody (works best worn over ear with an Etymotic type insertion for me). Has a proprietary locking mmcx mechanism that works well, but the cable is thin, and to date I haven't found a replacement that fits well for over ear wear. Limited replacement tip options too, due to the nozzle width.

Etymotic ER2XR - There are a lot of very favorable reviews of the ER2XR here and all over the internet for good reason. Superb timbre, probably feels the most natural and accurate to me out of everything I own. Wonderful for vocals and acoustic instruments. Great bass kick, but sometimes gets a bit loose when pushed hard in the sub bass region. Small sound stage. Fit isn't for everyone. Sometimes I wish I had the ER2SE instead to fully lean into it's neutral/balanced tendencies.

Good
Blon BL03 - The legendary BLON. Not much more to say about it for me that hasn't already been said. Lacks imaging sharpness, mid bass definition, and sound stage height/depth for me to consider it in the "great" tier, but fun and absurdly good for the price.

Moondrop Kanas Pro - Like the BL03, could honestly maybe go into the bottom of the "great" bracket above, but I feel that it lacks some technical ability to compete with the sets I put there. Easy to listen to, good bass impact, upper mids aren't overwhelming to me despite the Harman approach. It doesn't do imaging, separation or detail like the similarly tuned Oxygen does by comparison though.

Final Audio E5000 - (Updated after my original post) - I had originally posted here calling the E5000 the worst purchase I've ever made. At the time, that had definitely been true. It turned out however that something was not right with my stock cable. I had written off my E5000, but then put on an ISN S4 cable and it was obvious that this was the IEM that everybody else had been describing. I don't think this is a cable pairing question, I think my stock cable was defective.

In any event, the E5000 have an immense, engrossing bass experience that is only for those that are comfortable with that type of tuning. It's a big, billowy expansive bass that expands out across the entire sound stage, but still is nimble and somehow doesn't bleed much into the mids. The bass does naturally give warmth to the overall timbre. The sound stage is spectacular, perhaps the biggest and the most "natural sounding" head stage expansion of any set I own. Creamy and lush vocals are given center stage, with harmony vocals stacking up alongside each other. It's really well done and well tuned. The treble is rolled off, but there's just enough sparkle from keeping things excessively dark or boring. E5000 doesn't have above average detail retrieval, and the imaging isn't pinpoint within that expansive sound stage. It's still a very unique and very well done tuning, with the prominent bass and massive sound stage being the star of the show.

TFZ No. 3 - I feel like it's frequently described as a one trick pony due to it's bass abilities, but also has good detail retrieval in the midrange. Slightly rolled off upper treble prevents sibilance, but the upper mids are pushed so far forward that they can feel thin and routinely get shouty. The bass really is something though. If you want to feel sub bass impact with an IEM this delivers the goods. Really good bass texture and detail too. Sound stage is nothing special, narrower than most and doesn't provide much depth or height.

ISN D10 - Excessive bass sometimes drags down what otherwise is a very fun set. Wide sound stage with good separation, although it lacks depth and some accuracy in the imaging. V shaped without overdoing the upper mids and treble. The bass has some positives - it conveys melody well and feels musical rather than having a clinical thump. It's just too overwhelming sometimes. Good timbre. Great build quality and lightweight comfortable shells I can wear all day.

Sony MH755 - I believe the hype here. Perfect v shaped cheap-o set to use with a bluetooth adapter. Well tuned, good bass, accurate with vocals. Not a technical set, but can't expect miracles at this price.

TFZ Series 2 - Probably the most balanced of the 3 TFZ sets I own. Has nice mids detail retrieval like the No. 3 but without being shouty. Could be considered a bit boring or unassuming honestly, but does nothing wrong. I bought a new pair for $10 and have gotten my money's worth at that price.

TFZ T2 Galaxy - Sits somewhere in between the No. 3 and Series 2 in it's approach. Fun v-shaped approach with more treble extension than the No. 3. Upper mids and treble can run too hot, lacks the detail retrieval of the No. 3, but has a better sound stage. Has some strong support by owners on the forums here. Mine arrived with a faulty cable, so beware on that front.

Semkarch SKC-CNT1 - Great budget daily driver/outdoor set, at least when purchased near $35 like it was selling at last year. Big bass response that doesn't overwhelm, adds some nice warmth to the mids. Nice wide sound stage but misses some depth/width. Some treble sparkle without being fatiguing. Gives you tuning options with the replaceable filters. Lacks detail retrieval in the mids and treble. Left/right spatial cues are pretty good but the imaging is a bit hazy.

NiceHCK EP35 - A set I had written off originally due to poor fit, but later realized if you swap the earpieces and wear them over ear it fits quite well. Nice neutral/balanced presentation. Good with vocals. Sound stage is nothing special, although separation is decent. Lacks a bit in detail resolution, treble can be a bit grainy. Stock cable is utter garbage and too short. Honestly a nice bargain set when it's on sale for ~$17 USD if you want something balanced and already have some mmcx cable laying around to pair with them.

KZ ED9 - Difficult to fault anything about the ED9 at its $9 price tag. Good sound stage width, good timbre, big mid bass provides some warmth. Lacks details and imaging is fuzzy, but what do you expect at this price range?

EZ Audio D4 - Basically the opposite of the ED9 in the same price range. Lean, clean presentation. Bass is controlled without bloom or bleed. Mids lack some definition but sound very clean. Some treble air without being overly sharp. For some reason I have problems keeping a good seal with these despite their straightforward design. Needs power to shine, which doesn't quite jibe with the idea of it being a budget set.

Decent

Echobox Finder X1 - These originally retailed for $200 and should never be considered at that price point. However the company no longer exists and you can frequently find these between $10 and $20. Pretty decent technical ability and bass extension. Timbre is a bit off. Sound stage is pretty 2 dimensional on a left/right axis without much depth or height, but separation is pretty good. Vocals are not too recessed. Nozzle tuning filters are trash that fall apart if you try to swap them. I get a lot of use from them due to the small size and comfortable fit of the nozzles (I wear them falling asleep or under hats that cover my ears). Like the D4 above, this needs power, which doesn't necessarily fit with the concept of using it as a budget set.

KZ ZS3E - Perfectly fine for a $10 set. Great isolation, really good bass. Anybody considering this is probably better off with the hybrid model in the same shell, the ZS4, with better treble and wider stage for a few bucks more. For a budget KZ DD IEM I prefer the ED9.

Svara Red - One of my earliest chi fi purchases. Will appeal to bass heads, with decent timbre and vocals too. A bit like a worse version of the D10 for me.

DoubleTap R2 - A surprisingly balanced tuning, but really lacks technical ability, sound stage, and dynamics for me.

Poor
Venture Electronics BIE - A mess. Flabby bass, poor technical ability, sounds excessively dark, cable is rubbery and unpleasant. Insane amounts of driver flex even after you've put them in your ears.

NiceHCK EP10 - For bass heads only. Ultra recessed vocals. Fit doesn't work for me either.
 
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The old Shure 215 is surprisingly good for the price. Not the widest soundstage of the best separation, but the tonality is lovely and not fatiguing, specially with vocals.
 
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Same here not boomy or shrill and for the money a nice buy still use the 215's when out of the house.
 
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Exciting week for me! My orders for the UF YBF, BL05, Tin T2+, NF Audio NA2, and FiiO FD1 all arrived this week! So much breaking-in and listening to do. So far, the standouts are the Tin T2+ (exceeding expectations), NA2 (meeting high expectation), and the FD1 (exceeding expectations). There’s already a bunch of information on the UF and BL05 out there.
 

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