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Best 'Bang for your buck' IEM - Poll

Best 'Bang for your buck' IEM under $100.

  • 7Hz Salnotes Zero

    Votes: 81 25.7%
  • BLON BL-03

    Votes: 11 3.5%
  • DUNU Titan S

    Votes: 5 1.6%
  • HZsound Heart Mirror

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • Moondrop CHU

    Votes: 18 5.7%
  • Tanchjim Tanya

    Votes: 4 1.3%
  • Tripowin x HBB Olina

    Votes: 5 1.6%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero (Original = Blue)

    Votes: 49 15.6%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:RED

    Votes: 150 47.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 64 20.3%

  • Total voters
    315

imnotarobot

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If you are sensitive to treble no matter the IEM, try Moondrop Spring Tips. They reduce the highs a little compared to foam and silicone. They works well on the Trios and are more comfortable for me than the regular foam tips. They seem like a good match with these IEMs in particular as I am now much more confident the highs are a bit boosted and the measurements are closer to the result in green:
View attachment 359930

See these measurements for the tip effect. I believe the stock tips that come with the Trios are the Mistips.
View attachment 359925

Here are some results based on the Novas.
View attachment 359926
View attachment 359927
That is cool. Do we know how what works? I'm going to get some of these for my brighter iems.
 

USER

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That is cool. Do we know how what works? I'm going to get some of these for my brighter iems.
The marketing says that they have a waveguide shape to deliberately focus on that area.

 

muza_1

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If you are sensitive to treble no matter the IEM, try Moondrop Spring Tips. They reduce the highs a little compared to foam and silicone. They works well on the Trios and are more comfortable for me than the regular foam tips. They seem like a good match with these IEMs in particular as I am now much more confident the highs are a bit boosted and the measurements are closer to the result in green:
View attachment 359930

See these measurements for the tip effect. I believe the stock tips that come with the Trios are the Mistips.
View attachment 359925

Here are some results based on the Novas.
View attachment 359926
View attachment 359927
Yes I tired them with the Trio but it was really difficult to get a seal, I am using either the 7Hz red ones or TRN T-tips, but with the 1010 switch configuration I am confortable with the treble and I like the tonality.
The Spring tips work well with the Zero:2 (and the Chu II) but I think my ear canal doesn't favor the Zero:2 even with Spring tips (or wide bore ones) the lower treble still is more pronounced than the one in the Trio (original tips on the Zero:2 are bright) so I've been using the Trio plus they don't need EQ so is easier with multiple sources.

Edit. The TRN tips also claim they lower the treble so the result might be the same.
S94b9f2942de243d486b90a0e6cd340f8t.jpg
 
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InfiniteJester

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Yes I tired them with the Trio but it was really difficult to get a seal, I am using either the 7Hz red ones or TRN T-tips, but with the 1010 switch configuration I am confortable with the treble and I like the tonality.
The Spring tips work well with the Zero:2 (and the Chu II) but I think my ear canal doesn't favor the Zero:2 even with Spring tips (or wide bore ones) the lower treble still is more pronounced than the one in the Trio (original tips on the Zero:2 are bright) so I've been using the Trio plus they don't need EQ so is easier with multiple sources.

Edit. The TRN tips also claim they lower the treble so the result might be the same.
View attachment 359933

How real is the "sondstage is greatly enhanced" part?

Because, if true, it would be something very interesting.
 

muza_1

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How real is the "sondstage is greatly enhanced" part?

Because, if true, it would be something very interesting.
I don't think is real but the Trio already sounds spacious, for me is mostly about bore width (and length) and how easy I can get a good seal, similar bore size tips sound mostly the same to me although the type of material can make a difference in isolation and confort and some times the size can alter a bit the insertion depth and that in rare instances can create some kind of bothersome resonance, the TRNs are soft and somewhat sticky so is easy to get a good seal and the don't slide out, the isolation is good too, the 7Hz (reds) are very confortable but after a while they start to slide a bit both sound about the same.
 
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muza_1

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I forgot to mention, wider boar tips for me tend to lower the treble and bass a bit but can sound a bit wired but I think is because of the seal (I use L or XL), narrow bore ones tend to emphasize the bass a bit and some times make the treble a bit more energetic, I tend to like something in the middle.
 

USER

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How real is the "sondstage is greatly enhanced" part?

Because, if true, it would be something very interesting.
The most generous --and I mean GENEROUS-- view is that they really mean something like spaciousness. In review after review one of the things Amir says about EQ results is increased spaciousness in headphones. This is the result of balancing the frequency response and is one reason to prefer a good curve. If the company is really saying that reducing highs may lead to more balanced sound, perhaps one results is a bit more spaciousness. But again, that is a generous reading and is certainly IEM dependent and not universal.

Here is what Amir says about it.

I am a bit suprised by a few comments about soundstage and headphones. In my experience soundstage is the weakest point of any headphones and what makes me prefer listening to loudspeakers.
I am not talking about soundstage or I would have called it that. I talk about a unique experience with headphones: instrument separation and layering just outside of my ears. This can range from non-existent to incredible. It is as if the music is shrunk to the size of a dollhouse and you are sticking your head in it. :). Needless to say, this never happens with speakers. They provide imaging which I do not get with headphones of any kind.

--------------------------------

You can read him talking about it in his reviews:

KZ ZSX: "The yellow filter gave the IEM huge boost in spatial effects, rising to delightful levels! "

Hifiman Ananda Stealth: "Once the complex filter recipe was in place, the improvements were dramatic. Sub-bass response was excellent (a surprised due to high level of distortion). High frequencies were now much cleaner and balanced. And spatial qualities improved as well which is a strong feature of these large cups."

Hifiman Susvara: "So I added a pair of filters to boost the bass region with similar slop to the inverse of Susvara frequency response. Once there, overall response was far better with good bit of bass and much improved spatial qualities."

AMF Caldera: "With the complete [EQ] package, the transformation was dramatic as you can imagine. There was impressive bass and excellent detail and quite good spatial effects."

I don't think is real but the Trio already sounds spacious, for me is mostly about bore width (and length) and how easy I can get a good seal, similar bore size tips sound mostly the same to me although the type of material can make a difference in isolation and confort and some times the size can alter a bit the insertion depth and that in rare instances can create some kind of bothersome resonance, the TRNs are soft and somewhat sticky so is easy to get a good seal and the don't slide out, the isolation is good too, the 7Hz (reds) are very confortable but after a while they start to slide a bit both sound about the same.

Because of the 3 slits that very much leak sound, would you consider these almost "open back" IEMs? I too think that they have a certain "spaciousness" that I don't think is the same as what I mentioned above and may have to do with the physical properties of the IEM body.

blob.jpg


I am thinking about sending these to Amir for review/measurements because of all the interesting things about them.
 

muza_1

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Because of the 3 slits that very much leak sound, would you consider these almost "open back" IEMs? I too think that they have a certain "spaciousness" that I don't think is the same as what I mentioned above and may have to do with the physical properties of the IEM body.
I think so too, I tried the KZ Castor (similar design, port and shell wise) some time ago and they share similarities on the presentation and "spaciousness" but I like the Trio way more.
 

markanini

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Because of the 3 slits that very much leak sound, would you consider these almost "open back" IEMs? I too think that they have a certain "spaciousness" that I don't think is the same as what I mentioned above and may have to do with the physical properties of the IEM body.

The slits serve the purpose of equalizing pressure, together with a less visible opening on the opposite side. The vast majority of IEM have a closed back volume of the diaphragm.
 

pk500

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Less than 2 weeks into the Zero Red and till totally enamored of it. For less than $50 on Amazon, an astoundingly great buy!
I loved the sound when I had mine, especially for $50. But the long nozzles created pain in my ears, and I had to return. Bummer!
 

dtaylo1066

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I loved the sound when I had mine, especially for $50. But the long nozzles created pain in my ears, and I had to return. Bummer!
That's too bad. I'm sure you tried the various sized tips. On a separate thread specific to the Zero some folks talked about alternative tips, but if you returned it too late for that. Personally this is my first IEM, and I prefer over the ear, but for convenience I got the Zeros, and I have an OK over the ear unit, but will probably replace with a new $69 offering from Fiio that is getting good reviews. Overall, HP listening is not my preference. Do to a person working remote in my house, I am forced to use HP and got a screaming deal on a portable HP amp, so it's a good alternative.
 

pk500

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That's too bad. I'm sure you tried the various sized tips. On a separate thread specific to the Zero some folks talked about alternative tips, but if you returned it too late for that. Personally this is my first IEM, and I prefer over the ear, but for convenience I got the Zeros, and I have an OK over the ear unit, but will probably replace with a new $69 offering from Fiio that is getting good reviews. Overall, HP listening is not my preference. Do to a person working remote in my house, I am forced to use HP and got a screaming deal on a portable HP amp, so it's a good alternative.
The depth of the nozzles killed me despite tip rolling.
 

dtaylo1066

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The depth of the nozzles killed me despite tip rolling.
Ah, too bad. But lack of comfort = lack of enjoyable experience.

I have seen a few very positive subjective reviews of the new Fiio JT1, including by the mad man Zeos on You Tube. Would love to see it measured here.
 

InfiniteJester

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Well, I now own three of the most famous and best regarded budget IEMs: 7Hz Zero:2, Simgot EW200 and Ziigaat Nuo.

And, in my opinion, it is not worth it to buy any of them. They all suck in one way or another. EW200s would be the best of the bunch, but their driver flex is insane and, given how little they are and how weird they fit, you will need to reposition them constantly, suffering the screeching sound of the driver trying to run away from you, like nails on a board, inside your ears. So Nuos end up being better, despite their generally irritating plastic sound. Zero:2s are the worst of the bunch by a large margin.

There is, apparently, no such thing as a giant killer. The MP145s are awesome, and beyond that you won't see much difference with 600€ IEMs. But the difference between cheap IEMs and 150-200€ IEMs is completely audible and it is better to forget about cheap products if you really care about music.

These cheap IEMs may be fine for commuting, so you don't care if they get lost or damaged, or even stolen at some sordid underground station. But I will never listen to them at home.

Are cheap IEMs worth the money for enjoying music?

No. They are not.

Are MP145s really worth 7 or 8 times what cheap IEMs cost? Absolutely.

I tuned every IEM to the same target, USound1v1. So either FR is not everything or the measurements online are way off.
 

markanini

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Well, I now own three of the most famous and best regarded budget IEMs: 7Hz Zero:2, Simgot EW200 and Ziigaat Nuo.

And, in my opinion, it is not worth it to buy any of them. They all suck in one way or another. EW200s would be the best of the bunch, but their driver flex is insane and, given how little they are and how weird they fit, you will need to reposition them constantly, suffering the screeching sound of the driver trying to run away from you, like nails on a board, inside your ears. So Nuos end up being better, despite their generally irritating plastic sound. Zero:2s are the worst of the bunch by a large margin.

There is, apparently, no such thing as a giant killer. The MP145s are awesome, and beyond that you won't see much difference with 600€ IEMs. But the difference between cheap IEMs and 150-200€ IEMs is completely audible and it is better to forget about cheap products if you really care about music.

These cheap IEMs may be fine for commuting, so you don't care if they get lost or damaged, or even stolen at some sordid underground station. But I will never listen to them at home.

Are cheap IEMs worth the money for enjoying music?

No. They are not.

Are MP145s really worth 7 or 8 times what cheap IEMs cost? Absolutely.

I tuned every IEM to the same target, USound1v1. So either FR is not everything or the measurements online are way off.
I've spent a few hundreds cumulatively on budget IEMs. Truthear Zero Red and Moondrop Lan stood out to me. The rest were either good with caveats, or nothing special. Good and bad IEMs exist in all price ranges, paying more won't necessarily save you from that unless we are considering ultra budget stuff.
 

CedarX

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Well, I now own three of the most famous and best regarded budget IEMs: 7Hz Zero:2, Simgot EW200 and Ziigaat Nuo.

And, in my opinion, it is not worth it to buy any of them. They all suck in one way or another. EW200s would be the best of the bunch, but their driver flex is insane and, given how little they are and how weird they fit, you will need to reposition them constantly, suffering the screeching sound of the driver trying to run away from you, like nails on a board, inside your ears. So Nuos end up being better, despite their generally irritating plastic sound. Zero:2s are the worst of the bunch by a large margin.

There is, apparently, no such thing as a giant killer. The MP145s are awesome, and beyond that you won't see much difference with 600€ IEMs. But the difference between cheap IEMs and 150-200€ IEMs is completely audible and it is better to forget about cheap products if you really care about music.

These cheap IEMs may be fine for commuting, so you don't care if they get lost or damaged, or even stolen at some sordid underground station. But I will never listen to them at home.

Are cheap IEMs worth the money for enjoying music?

No. They are not
.

Are MP145s really worth 7 or 8 times what cheap IEMs cost? Absolutely.

I tuned every IEM to the same target, USound1v1. So either FR is not everything or the measurements online are way off.
I know that this thread is about best bang for your buck, which always has some subjective dimension to it... But, you mention 3x IEMs by name:
  • Simgot EW200 showed driver flex (when inserting/removing). It may or may not bother others, but if confirmed by several, it is an objective issue. You also mention weird fit, which is also a very important consideration. But, in absence of any ergonomic standard, it is also impossible to assess objectively.
  • Ziigaat Nuo exhibited an irritating "plastic sound". How do you define plastic sound? How would measure that?
  • 7Hz Zero:2 is the worst by a large margin. Based upon which measurement(s)? How do you define "large"?
So, we have one OEM with what is arguably a real, specific, issue, and two IEMs with an opinion on how bad they sound. From here, you conclude that cheap IEMs are not worth the money for enjoying music... Aouch !!! That's the complete opposite of what I am reading on ASR over and over...

But ok, let restart from here: so how much should I spend to enjoy my music with an IEM? Is $160 (the approximate cost of MP145) the absolute threshold? So, if each of the IEMs listed in this thread Poll were now priced above the MP145, would they still qualify as Best Bang for your Buck IEM"?
 
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InfiniteJester

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I know that this thread is about best bang for your buck, which always has some subjective dimension to it... But, you mention 3x IEMs by name:
  • Simgot EW200 showed driver flex (when inserting/removing). It may or may not bother others, but if confirmed by several, it is an objective issue. You also mention weird fit, which is also a very important consideration. But, in absence of any ergonomic standard, is also impossible to assess objectively.
  • Ziigaat Nuo exhibited an irritating "plastic sound". How do you define plastic sound? How would measure that?
  • 7Hz Zero:2 is the worst by a large margin. Based upon which measurement(s)? How do you define "large"?
So, we have one OEM with what is arguably a real, specific, issue, and two IEMs with an opinion on how bad they sound. From here, you conclude that cheap IEMs are not worth the money for enjoying music... Aouch !!! That's the complete opposite of what I am reading on ASR over and over...

But ok, let restart from here: so how much should I spend to enjoy my music with an IEM? Is $160 (the approximate cost of MP145) the absolute threshold? So, if each of the IEMs listed in this thread Poll were now priced above the MP145, would they still qualify as Best Bang for your Buck IEM"?

The weird sound of Nuos and Zero:2s are almost surely resonances due to shallow insertions. They make this very tiny shells to be able to produce them for cheap, and they just don't work for big guys like me. You can read about this in the Zero:2 thread. For a lot of people they sound really fatiguing and bad because of the insertion issue, I even added a video there by Resolve explaining why this happens. All the IEMs that I like fit way deeper. If I have to define exactly what plastic sound is, it would be something like "resonances inside the ear canal that are extremely fatiguing due to shallow insertion". Those resonances make the IEMs sound like cheap, plastic speakers, like the ones that were omnipresent in the 90s, thus why I choose those words (English is also not my first language, I struggle a lot with nuance).


I think that I get driver flew with the EW200s for the same reason. They are so tiny that the whole shell gets inside my ear, completely blocking the venting hole, which is near the top of the nozzle.

MP145s are the cheapest that I have bought that I enjoy. In fact, I not only enjoy them, but they are my favorite. Just excellent. The Best Bang for my Buck for sure.

The Kefine Delci should arrive on April 15. Maybe they will dethrone MP145s as "Best Bang for my Buck", but little shells won't do it for any tall person, I'm afraid.
 

CedarX

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The weird sound of Nuos and Zero:2s are almost surely resonances due to shallow insertions. They make this very tiny shells to be able to produce them for cheap, and they just don't work for big guys like me. You can read about this in the Zero:2 thread. For a lot of people they sound really fatiguing and bad because of the insertion issue, I even added a video there by Resolve explaining why this happens. All the IEMs that I like fit way deeper. If I have to define exactly what plastic sound is, it would be something like "resonances inside the ear canal that are extremely fatiguing due to shallow insertion". Those resonances make the IEMs sound like cheap, plastic speakers, like the ones that were omnipresent in the 90s, thus why I choose those words (English is also not my first language, I struggle a lot with nuance).


I think that I get driver flew with the EW200s for the same reason. They are so tiny that the whole shell gets inside my ear, completely blocking the venting hole, which is near the top of the nozzle.

MP145s are the cheapest that I have bought that I enjoy. In fact, I not only enjoy them, but they are my favorite. Just excellent. The Best Bang for my Buck for sure.

The Kefine Delci should arrive on April 15. Maybe they will dethrone MP145s as "Best Bang for my Buck", but little shells won't do it for any tall person, I'm afraid.
So, your assessment of these 3x IEMs seems to be based upon fit & insertion depth issues. I am confused with this statement that "all the the IEMs you like fit way deeper"... but you also say that the EW200 are so tiny that "the whole shell gets inside your ear"--that looks like an issue with too deep insertion ?????
Have you tried different tip types and size (I assume you did...)? For example, I almost always have seal issues with IEMs (lack of bass...). What works for me are L or XL tip sizes (Spinfit's, but just because they work for me) with shallow insertion, or foam tips (Comply but others work just as well for me) with deeper insertion. I also have no issue with Etymotics super-deep insertion but others just can't stand those!

As for the ear canal resonance varying with insertion depth, I believe this is impossible to avoid and manufacturers have to target some "average" ear canal or some specific cluster of user ear canals. But that's where EQ comes to the rescue !!! I own the 7Hz Zero:2 and the Hidizs MP145 (early version from Kickstarter... if it actually matters). Do they sound different to me? Yes... well... maybe... can't tell for sure (no ABX test). Does the MP145 sound better than the Zero:2? No... Not to me...

Oh, and English is not my first language either, but this is absolutely not a problem on ASR: Facts & data are what matters here, and those are a universal language. So if you are struggling with (English) nuances, you are just using the wrong arguments for ASR forums! ;)
 
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