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Best 'Bang for your buck' IEM - Poll

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

  • 7Hz Salnotes Zero

    Votes: 85 26.2%
  • BLON BL-03

    Votes: 13 4.0%
  • DUNU Titan S

    Votes: 5 1.5%
  • HZsound Heart Mirror

    Votes: 2 0.6%
  • Moondrop CHU

    Votes: 18 5.5%
  • Tanchjim Tanya

    Votes: 4 1.2%
  • Tripowin x HBB Olina

    Votes: 5 1.5%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero (Original = Blue)

    Votes: 52 16.0%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:RED

    Votes: 152 46.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 66 20.3%

  • Total voters
    325

InfiniteJester

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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! ;)

The insert of the EW200 is just fine, they sound really good, in fact, but the shell gets very deep and the vent is blocked by my ear, giving me constant driver flexing. If I don't push them, I don't get a good seal and they sound distant and fatiguing.

I can assure you that I'm not exaggerating if I tell you that I have tried more than 20 different EQ profiles and more than 20 different tips (including Spinfit, Comply and double flange ones) trying to make the Zero:2 sound fine.

I know that these are subjective arguments. But what can I say. Some of these praised IEMs sound bad to me, and I don't seem to be alone.

1000061772.jpg
 

IAtaman

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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.
I have the same issues with 7Hz Zero and Zero:2. I have recently got 7Hz Sonus on recommendation. They go for $60 I believe. They are my current best bang for the buck IEMs, pending Kefine delivery.
 
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InfiniteJester

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I have the same issues with 7Hz Zero and Zero:2. I have recently got 7Hz Sonus on recommendation. They go for $60 I believe. They are my current best bang for the buck IEMs, pending Kefine delivery.

They certainly look good. I see that the Sonus have a BA. Lately, I have been considering buying the KZ AS24 just to add something weird to my collection.
 

mc.god

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They certainly look good. I see that the Sonus have a BA. Lately, I have been considering buying the KZ AS24 just to add something weird to my collection.
The BA in the Sonus is not directly placed into the nozzle and some say that this makes the result more "cohesive", being this one of the most mentioned issue of hybrid iems. I don't know if this is true but i like them a lot,
Oh, and don't think to AS24 as a "weird" model, most likely you'll have to place them among your single driver iems :rolleyes::facepalm:...
 

InfiniteJester

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The BA in the Sonus is not directly placed into the nozzle and some say that this makes the result more "cohesive", being this one of the most mentioned issue of hybrid iems. I don't know if this is true but i like them a lot,
Oh, and don't think to AS24 as a "weird" model, most likely you'll have to place them among your single driver iems :rolleyes::facepalm:...

I thought that 12 drivers per unit was pretty unique.

Do you think that they are unremarkable or bad?
 

TabCam

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As I voted other, maybe also the IEM that gets my vote. It is the SIMGOT EA500 LM. Got it from AliExpress and although it is 50% more expensive than the TRUTHEAR Zero:RED, it more than makes up for it in naturalness, realism, soundstage, etc. Although the Crinacle versions measure quite good, imho they lack realism with metalic instruments like piano, trumpet, hi hats etc.
 

mc.god

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Somafunk

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The insert of the EW200 is just fine, they sound really good, in fact, but the shell gets very deep and the vent is blocked by my ear, giving me constant driver flexing.

If you wish to persevere with the fit and use of the EW200 then perhaps try Divinus Velvet ear tips as they have a tiny vent to prevent pressure build up.

I have Symphonium Meteor and Sony XBA-N3 and as they are not vented the pressure can build up so I switched to the velvet tips and no issues whatsoever, the tips are super soft, velvety to the touch as they say and give a fantastic seal. They have a box of 5 sizes, I use medium and medium large as one ear canal is differently sized.
 

InfiniteJester

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No, sorry, I was simply joking around this old story

https://www.headphonesty.com/2022/03/kz-fake-multi-driver-iem-scandal/

I know nothing about AS24 (but personally think that 12 driver per side is something not needed and for the only sake of big numbers marketing)

I knew that they had a bad reputation, but this is way worse than I imagined. Thank you for the link. They are not trust-worthy.

Although, an IEM with fake drivers would be an even more extravagant item in my collection, I think I will pass.
 

CedarX

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I knew that they had a bad reputation, but this is way worse than I imagined. Thank you for the link. They are not trust-worthy.

Although, an IEM with fake drivers would be an even more extravagant item in my collection, I think I will pass.
Although in hindsight, it appears it was mostly bad QC on the KZ side: loose wires, glue plugging the BA outlet etc.

KZ/CCA are like the fast-fashion of IEM world: something new almost every other week, some are great, other… not so much (to be polite!), and quality is a lottery. But they are cheap! Not a bad way to “explore”…
 

markanini

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KZ is the kind of IEM that makes people think kilobuck IEMs are necessary. The best thing about them is their marketing skills, all six sets I bought from them are collecting dust.
 
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InfiniteJester

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So, which tips are they...?

The large black ones that came with the MP145s. I was actually using them on said IEM, that is why I didn't try them sooner, but I switched them for the "balanced" ones. Now I have a little flex in the MP145s when I press them down, although almost exclusively on the right ear, but it is not comparable to what I was listening with the EW200.

Apparently, the large silicone ones fit too well and cause pressure to build up. Except for the flex issues, both IEMs sound fantastic.

I wasn't using the stock tips with the EW200s because even the large ones are too small for me and the seal gets constantly broken.
 

IAtaman

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Kefine Delci got delivered today . Have been listening to them for a few hours now. First impressions:
  • Super comfortable for me as the shell is small, relatively speaking, and they fits inside my pinna perfectly with excellent seal with the tips they came with. Can barely feel they are there after a few hours. (see below photo for size comparison)
  • They come with 7 pairs of silicone tips : 2 pairs of S,M, L sizes with narrow and wide bore options and a pair of XL. XL pair fit me the best. My ears must be gigantic.
  • Sound wise, they sound like as they graph for me; the way Zero:2's were supposed to sound, with less peaking and better high end roll off, which is to say, they are great. Only EQ I am considering is a bit less bass maybe?
  • I'll need a few more days to be sure, but a very strong contender for best bang for buck IEMs for me. They sell for $59 as of now.

Shell size comparison : Sonus vs Performer 5 vs Delci.
Sonus-Performer5-Delci.jpg


FR vs Zero:2
1712480342576.png


 
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InfiniteJester

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Kefine Delci got delivered today . Have been listening to them for a few hours now. First impressions:
  • Super comfortable for me as the shell is small, relatively speaking, and they fits inside my pinna perfectly with excellent seal with the tips they came with. Can barely feel they are there after a few hours. (see below photo for size comparison)
  • They come with 7 pairs of silicone tips : 2 pairs of S,M, L sizes with narrow and wide bore options and a pair of XL. XL pair fit me the best. My ears must be gigantic.
  • Sound wise, they sound like as they graph for me; the way Zero:2's were supposed to sound, with less peaking and better high end roll off, which is to say, they are great. Only EQ I am considering is a bit less bass maybe?
  • I'll need a few more days to be sure, but a very strong contender for best bang for buck IEMs for me. They sell for $59 as of now.

Shell size comparison : Sonus vs Performer 5 vs Delci.
View attachment 361998

FR vs Zero:2
View attachment 361997

I'm still waiting for mine. They arrive, allegedly, in 10 days. Aliexpress is seriously slow. Three weeks to bring me my delivery is crazy.

How is the soundstage? It is the aspect that interests me the most.

I used to believe that shell size was the determining factor for staging in a IEM, but the EW200 stages much, much better than the Zero:2s and the Ziigaat Nuos, I now believe that it could be some kind of reverberation in the metal that you don't get with resin.
 

IAtaman

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I'm still waiting for mine. They arrive, allegedly, in 10 days. Aliexpress is seriously slow. Three weeks to bring me my delivery is crazy.

How is the soundstage? It is the aspect that interests me the most.

I used to believe that shell size was the determining factor for staging in a IEM, but the EW200 stages much, much better than the Zero:2s and the Ziigaat Nuos, I now believe that it could be some kind of reverberation in the metal that you don't get with resin.
I rarely, if ever, get any large sound stage effects from IEMs. Sound is always between my two ears. Delci is not particularly different in that regard. Since you asked, I did a bit of back and froth between Delci and Performer5, I think Aful's localization is a tiny bit sharper. But that can very well be my imagination too.
 

InfiniteJester

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I rarely, if ever, get any large sound stage effects from IEMs. Sound is always between my two ears. Delci is not particularly different in that regard. Since you asked, I did a bit of back and froth between Delci and Performer5, I think Aful's localization is a tiny bit sharper. But that can very well be my imagination too.

How strange. For me, the differences are dramatic among IEMs. From having the music inside my ears to coming from the outside.

I was walking with the EW200s the other day and I needed to take them off to check that some sounds weren't coming from somewhere in the street.

Even though the EW200s project kind of three blobs instead of a cohesive stage.

For me, it is one of the most important factors to evaluate an IEM. I can't stand the claustrophobic sound of some models.

I wonder whether it is a cognitive thing related to spatial reasoning.

Do you know how good your spatial visualization skills are?

I score reasonably high on those:
Rotations.png
Polygons.png
 
OP
J

johnp98

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I wonder whether it is a cognitive thing related to spatial reasoning.

Do you know how good your spatial visualization skills are?

I score reasonably high on those: View attachment 362021View attachment 362022
I'm curious if you are talking about general spatial reasoning or if there is an audio-based spatial virtualization test that you can do?
As I would be very interested if there was an audio based test, as soundstage and imaging for me are some of the aspects that I enjoy the most about 'hifi'.
 

InfiniteJester

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I'm curious if you are talking about general spatial reasoning or if there is an audio-based spatial virtualization test that you can do?
As I would be very interested if there was an audio based test, as soundstage and imaging for me are some of the aspects that I enjoy the most about 'hifi'.
I don't know of any test of this kind based on sound. I was posting my results on these:


For me, soundstage is so essential, that I find difficult to imagine caring about music if I didn't experience it.

It is very interesting that some people report not experiencing that effect.
 
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