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Best 'Bang for your buck' IEM - Poll

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

  • 7Hz Salnotes Zero

    Votes: 62 23.8%
  • BLON BL-03

    Votes: 10 3.8%
  • DUNU Titan S

    Votes: 4 1.5%
  • HZsound Heart Mirror

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • Moondrop CHU

    Votes: 15 5.7%
  • Tanchjim Tanya

    Votes: 3 1.1%
  • Tripowin x HBB Olina

    Votes: 3 1.1%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero (Original = Blue)

    Votes: 47 18.0%
  • TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:RED

    Votes: 126 48.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 53 20.3%

  • Total voters
    261

Sebby

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I think you're referring to the Harman IE 2019 target, which is way too bright for me and not neutral at all. It makes me curious to read that you don't like it either, yet you like another treble-heavy IEM.

I think your description of the upper bass and lower midrange lacking clarity and separation is mostly due to frequency response, and that is eqalizable.

I will look up the IEMs you mentioned as I haven't heard of them before.

No, maybe I explained myself badly!
I don't like the Harman target because he tries to bring all musical genres together, without maximizing any one, according to my listening experience.
I don't have a specific target curve and my preferences are based on mood and music genre. Remaining at Final Audio, I have both the A4000s (which I will soon replace with the A5000s because the A4000s are starting to show the wear of time), E5000 and F7200.
They are so different from each other that they cannot be compared, but each of them has qualities that I adore: E5000 I wear them when I want to lie down in bed and relax. Although it has a lot of bass and a warm sound, it is very defined, so I don't miss anything of the track and they are the only IEMs that relax me to the point of falling asleep. A4000 have a lot of treble and a lot of air but also a very good bass and with instrumental music, soundtracks, Trance, etc... it is excellent! The soundstage looks like my HE400se and even has better imaging. F7200 is a total disaster with EDM or Trance music, but the tracks focused on vocals and with few backing instruments, are the most realistic I have ever heard in an IEM. RE800s are a little more balanced than the A4000s and better suited to many types of music genres. My Cadenzas are a Harman curve, leaving aside a few slight deviations: excellent IEMs without a doubt and they do well on all the tracks you throw at them, exactly like Zero Red, but I ALWAYS feel like I'm missing something. With Zero Red I tried to bring out the air and I ALMOST succeeded, but I had to sacrifice the Timbre. Without EQ I prefer Cadenza to Zero Red, which is why I gave the Zero Reds away.
With parametric EQ (which I often use) you can fix small flaws or preferences, but you can't change deeply. Obviously this is my opinion and I am ready to change my opinion, but for now it has been a failure...
I bought the Zero Red out of curiosity and tried to "understand" them, but I kept thinking that they were similar to many CHI-FIs released in the last 2 years exactly like the Cadenza (too much redundancy), but at least the Cadenza are very comfortable for my ears and they cost less.
They are fine for walking in the center of Milan, but when I leave the "La Scala" theater and go home with still a bit of desire to hear music, I want something that can give me at least 20% of the emotions I felt at the theater and Zero Red, Cadenza, etc... they can't give it to me, sorry. Seeing how the IEM and headphones market is going, I decided that this Christmas I will treat myself to the A5000s to replace the A4000s and the Arya Organics to replace the HE400se; then I'll stop worrying about any other products for a few years.
 
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I think you're referring to the Harman IE 2019 target, which is way too bright for me and not neutral at all. It makes me curious to read that you don't like it either, yet you like another treble-heavy IEM.

I think your description of the upper bass and lower midrange lacking clarity and separation is mostly due to frequency response, and that is eqalizable.

I will look up the IEMs you mentioned as I haven't heard of them before.
What is neutral? Not sure people agree on that term.
 

markanini

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Tin C2 with mods is still impresses me the most, it has a super resolving playback and handles everything I throw at it. I recently tried KZ Castor Standard and it wasn't bad at all, on par with Truthear Red and Moondrop Lan. But modded Tin C2 is the winner.
20231121_102458.jpg
 

Alexium

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Tin C2 with mods is still impresses me the most, it has a super resolving playback and handles everything I throw at it. I recently tried KZ Castor Standard and it wasn't bad at all, on par with Truthear Red and Moondrop Lan. But modded Tin C2 is the winner.
What kinds of mods?
 

Alexium

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Sounds pretty complicated, how much worse were they without mods? For under $20 I'm very tempted to order them.
 

markanini

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Bernard23

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not heard any on that list, until tomorrow that is; just ordered the zero reds on a whim. The only low prices IEMs that I have that are less than a decade old are some LZ-KA4 that were hyped much in other more subjective forums, largely because you could customise the response by using different front and rear filters; and some BASN bMasters that are much better sounding than I expected. I did have some Etymotic E2s years ago, but I couldn't get on with the penetrating tips.
 

AdamG

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Ok. So back to my same question. What is neutral (in an iem)?
Generally speaking as flat a frequency response as possible. No bump in the bass region and flat out to about 5/6 KHz with no boost in the higher frequencies. Most IEM’s start to fall off above this frequency. Therefore a neutral IEM is one that Measures as flat as can be expected from the IEM technology of today. Here is an example of what many (but not all) would consider neutral and or flat. When you start talking about the various preference curves you are really talking about opinions of what sounds better to some but again not everyone agrees nor do they need to.

 

Jimbob54

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Generally speaking as flat a frequency response as possible. No bump in the bass region and flat out to about 5/6 KHz with no boost in the higher frequencies. Most IEM’s start to fall off above this frequency. Therefore a neutral IEM is one that Measures as flat as can be expected from the IEM technology of today. Here is an example of what many (but not all) would consider neutral and or flat. When you start talking about the various preference curves you are really talking about opinions of what sounds better to some but again not everyone agrees nor do they need to.

Duck and cover......
 

AdamG

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Generally speaking as flat a frequency response as possible. No bump in the bass region and flat out to about 5/6 KHz with no boost in the higher frequencies. Most IEM’s start to fall off above this frequency. Therefore a neutral IEM is one that Measures as flat as can be expected from the IEM technology of today. Here is an example of what many (but not all) would consider neutral and or flat. When you start talking about the various preference curves you are really talking about opinions of what sounds better to some but again not everyone agrees nor do they need to.

Great reply thanks.

I guess my question would be, when you say no bump in bass region are we basing this off being in a sonically perfect room? Because I would think otherwise bass will always be somewhat elevated due to the larger wave size.
 

AdamG

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Great reply thanks.

I guess my question would be, when you say no bump in bass region are we basing this off being in a sonically perfect room? Because I would think otherwise bass will always be somewhat elevated due to the larger wave size.
I am not an expert on this but there is no room effect/boost for In Ear Monitors. They are modeled to function in the average ear cavity/canal. We are talking about how an IEM measures in a typical ear coupler simulation device. How it actually measures/performs in your ear is reliability predicted (not 100%) by the mock up measurement device employed for the measurement test. Does the average Ear canal provide any boundary gain? Here is a thread about this very topic. Note post #3 from @solderdude is quite revealing information about how the Ear acoustics are handled. This is just my very uninformed opinion and I am way over my head in regards to the scope of this science.

 

375HP2482

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My first IEMs (before I knew what "IEM" meant), a pair of Vogeks from awhile ago, were the best buck-bangers. Plugged them into my Sansa Clip Sport. They had the best (flat) cable, and less $ than the Panasonics (another great buck-banger) that followed.

Recently got the smoother Salnotes for twice the $$, which I wear while blissfully tuning to KUSC, KJZZ, WFMT and Radio Sausalito, all on my trusty Pixel 3a with its headphone jack (which, with its camera, is why I got it).

Three great IEMs for incredibly little money. We are indeed blessed.

(p.s: Even though it is over 5 years old, with support putatively ended over two years ago, my old Pixel 3a has Magic Eraser.)
 
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Chromatischism

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IMO Truethear Hexa is the choice
My vote goes to Truthear Hexa and Truthear Zero:Red as a good 2nd.
I see people liking Hexa a lot. I don't think it's as refined as the driver count would suggest. It sounds very harsh on a lot of music, regardless of tips being used.
Once I found tips that sealed at the right depth the Hexa turned out to be a winner for me.
The Hexa are very good IMHO.
Can you guys comment on how well the Hexa takes to EQ?
 

tknx

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I have Hexas and they are pretty great. I recently bought Simgot EM6Ls and I like them slightly better for fit. But I am not sure which is better objectively.
 

Chromatischism

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I have Hexas and they are pretty great. I recently bought Simgot EM6Ls and I like them slightly better for fit. But I am not sure which is better objectively.
Looking at the measurements, the EM6L appears a bit brighter. More bass too. Less mids. What is your perception?
 

tknx

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I’d agree with that. It sounds less neutral and V shaped but not excessively so. It might just be canal fit or pinna gain, but I find the Hexas to be a bit dry sounding so that matches the measurement difference.

I probably prefer the Simgots for sound even though on loudspeakers all my speakers are calibrated for neutrality.
 
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