At a glance – IEM shoot out

Read this before you proceed.

     First off, I don’t really like portraying IEM performances by ranking them in charts, as any impressions or reviews written by anyone are always influenced by their personal taste – means that it could never, ever be 100% accurate. Despite that, the ranking charts I’ve seen before still felt to be quite subjective and wanted to present a ranking chart that I’d be happy with. Again, nobody could create a truly objective chart, including mine as well.


     This chart would be more about reflecting my satisfaction level after considering the price, performance, and worthiness for the cost – means that just because a cheaper model is placed higher than a pricey one doesn’t necessarily mean it’s technically superior. I’ve also tried to rule out my personal preferences as much as possible. Everyone has different thoughts on any products and the same applies to the below charts, so take it with a grain of salt. Besides, I’m looking to adjust scores for some items as this is the earliest version. Will possibly add short impressions or comments for each item in the future.


Again, this is my satisfaction chart, NOT just sonic performance.


Total of 340 items

  • Updated in May. 1st, 2020 
  • Newly added items: MMR Thummim, MMR Homunculus, 7Hz i-99



Oriolus Traillii [9.7]

Dita Audio Dream XLS [9.6]

HYLA Nerva-X [9.6]

Oriolus Mellianus [9.6]

Aroma Audio Ace [9.6]

Rhapsodio Infinity [9.6]

Light Harmonic Oscar XXI [9.6]

MMR Thummim [9.6]

MMR Homunculus [9.5]

JVC Victor FW-10000 [9.5]

SoftEars Cerberus [9.5]

Technics EAH-TZ700 [9.5]

Unique Melody Maven [9.5]

Oriolus Percivali [9.5]

Fidue Artemis [9.5]

Campfire Audio Solaris LE [9.5]

Campfire Audio Solaris [9.5]

Camprie Audio Andromeda Gold LE [9.5]

Audeze LCDi4 [9.5]

Rhapsodio Eden [9.5]

Dita Audio The Dream [9.5]

64 Audio Tia Fourté [9.5]

Faudio Project Y [9.5]

Aroma Audio Yao [9.5]

Jomo Audio Trinity [9.5]

Noble Audio Khan [9.5]

Noble Audio Katana [9.5]

Fearless Audio Lancelot [9.5]


Fearless Audio Roland [9.4]

Noble Audio Kaiser Encore [9.4]

AAW Nightingale [9.4]

Aroma Audio Twins [9.4]

Campfire Audio Andromeda MW [9.4]

Aroma Audio Shock [9.4]

Faudio Major [9.4]

Shozy Pola 39 [9.4]

Astrotec Phoenix [9.4]

Ikko Musikv OH-7 [9.4]

Dita Audio Twins (Fidelity / Fealty) [9.4]

Dita Audio Project 71 [9.4]

Sony IER-Z1R [9.4]

Light Harmonic Mera Signature [9.4]

Rhapsodio Zombie [9.4]

Dunu DK-4001 [9.4]

Dunu 17th Annieversary [9.4]

Moondrop Solis [9.4]

Unique Melody Mason V3 [9.4]

Light Harmonic Stella [9.4]

Lime Ears Aether [9.4]

Campfire Audio Atlas [9.4]

Moondrop S8 [9.4]

Meze Rai Penta [9.4]

Oriolus Reborn Limited [9.4]

Sony XJE-MH1/MH2 [9.4]

AAW W900 [9.4]

Rhapsodio Solar [9.4]

Empire Ears Legend X [9.3]

Rhapsodio Extreme [9.3]

AKG N5005 [9.3]

FAudio Minor [9.3]

FAudio Chorus [9.4]

Campfire Audio Andromeda [9.3]

Campfire Audio Andromeda S [9.3]

Earsonics S-EM9 [9.3]

Beyerdynamic Xelento [9.3]

Hifiman RE2000 / RE2000 Silver [9.3]

Acoustune HS1695-Ti [9.3]

Noble Audio Kaiser 10 (K10U) [9.3]

Final Audio Design Piano Fourte VIII [9.3]

Oriolus Reborn / Oriolus 2 [9.3]

IMR Acoustics Rah [9.3]

EM Audio EM8 [9.3]

Lark Studio LSX [9.3]

CTM Da Vinci X [9.3]

Kinera Nanna [9.3]


Kinera Odin [9.2]

CTM Da Vinci IX [9.2]

Audeze iSine 20 [9.2]

Acoustune HS1655-CU [9.2]

Sennheiser IE800s [9.2]

Shure SE846 [9.2]

Campfire Audio Vega [9.2]

Campfire Audio Equinox [9.2]

Cayin YB04 [9.2]

Shozy Pola [9.2]

Sony IER-M9 [9.2]

Fearless Audio S8F [9.2]

Fearless Audio ACME-8 [9.2]

Moondrop A8 [9.2]

Moondrop Blessing 2 [9.2]

7Hz i-99 [9.2]

Westone W80 [9.2]

Stealth Sonics U9 [9.2]

Unique Melody Mirage [9.2]

HYLA CE-5 [9.2]

HYLA TE-5T [9.2]

HYLA TE-5B [9.2]

Custom Arts Harmony 8.2 [9.2]

HUM Pristine [9.2]

Acoustune HS1670-SS [9.2]

Acoustune HS1650-CU [9.2]

Unique Melody ME.1 [9.2]

Sony IER-M7 [9.2]

Fearless Audio La Hire [9.2]

Rhapsodio Galaxy V2 [9.2]

EM Audio EM6W [9.2]

IMR Acoustics R2 Aten [9.2]  

IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith [9.2]


IMR Acoustics R1 [9.1]

Campfire Audio Jupiter [9.1]

Campfire Audio Polaris V2 [9.1]

Campfire Audio C/2019 Q4 [9.1]

Fidue A91 Sirius [9.1]

Light Harmonic Mera [9.1]

Dunu DK-3001 Pro [9.1]

Astrotec Delphinus 5 Re:Tuned [9.1]

UFOEAR UFO-112 [9.1]

LZ Hifi Audio LZ-A6 [9.1]

Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS [9.1]

EM Audio EM5 [9.1]

Dita Audio Dita Truth [9.1]

AAW W500 [9.1]

Faudio Passion [9.1]

Advanced GT2 [9.1]

Advanced GT4 [9]

Aroma Audio Early [9]

Simgot Roselle EM5 [9]

Acoustune HS1551-CU [9]

Acoustune HS1501-AL [9]

Acoustune HS1503-AL [9]

Moondrop Blessing [9]

BGVP DM7 [9]

Ikko OH-10 [9]

Dita Audio Answer [9]

FLC Technology FLC8C [9] 

RHA Audio CL1 [9]

Ocharaku Flat 4 [9]

AYA Audio SA-01 [9] 

Final Audio Design Heaven VIII [9]


iBasso Audio IT04W [8.9]

Dunu DK-3001 [8.9]

Moondrop KXXS [8.9]

Advanced M5-5D [8.9]

Lear Bamdas 5 [8.9]

TFZ Queen LTD [8.8]

TFZ King Edition [8.8]

Final Audio Design Heaven VII [8.8]

Audiofly AF1120 [8.8]

Sennheiser IE800 [8.8]

BQEYZ Spring 1 [8.8]

Hifiman RE800 [8.8]

QOA Pink Lady [8.8]

JH Audio Tri-Fi [8.8]

Astell & Kern Diana [8.8]

Shure SE535 [8.8]

Campfire Audio Io [8.8]

Tin HiFi P1 [8.8]

BGVP DMS [8.8]

Audeze iSine 10 [8.8]

Monoprice M300 [8.8]

Astrotec Delphinus 5 [8.8]

Rhapsodio RDB 2nd [8.8]

Tanchjim Oxygen [8.8]

Advanced Furai [8.8]

TFZ No.3 Ti [8.8]

FLC Technology FLC8S [8.8]

Radius Wn4 [8.8]

Radius Wn3 [8.8]


Rhapsodio Orla [8.7]

Dunu Titan 6 [8.7]

EM Audio EM2 [8.7]

Oriolus Finschi [8.7]

Advanced M5-1D [8.7]

Fidue A85 Virgo [8.7]

Cardas Audio A8 [8.7]

Aroma Audio Star [8.7]

Stealth Sonics U2 [8.7]

Stealth Sonics U4 [8.7]

AZLA 01R [8.7]

AZLA 01R MKII [8.7]

Rose BR5 MKII [8.7]

Magaosi K6 [8.7]

Radius Wn0 [8.7]

Dunu DN-2002 [8.7]

Oriveti Primacy / New Primacy [8.7]

Astell & Kern Michelle [8.7]

Plenue X40 [8.7]

RHA T20i [8.7]

Final Audio Design Heaven VI [8.7]


Final Audio Design Heaven V [8.6]

Final Audio Design Heaven V Aging [8.6]

Whizzer A-HE03 Kylin [8.6]

Aya Audio Nightingale YK-1 [8.6]

Simgot EK3 [8.6]

Dunu DM480 [8.6]

TFZ Secret Garden 1 [8.6]

Trinity Audio Icarus III [8.6]

Trinity Audio Master [8.6]

Sennheiser IE80S [8.6]

Acoustune HS1004 [8.6]

Periodic Audio Be [8.6]

AZLA Horizon [8.6]

AZLA Zwei [8.6]

iBasso IT01S [8.6]

Anew U1 [8.6]

Ikko OH1 [8.6]

Kinera Idun Deluxe Limited [8.6]

Moondrop Kanas Pro [8.6]

TFZ King III [8.6]

LZ Audio LZ-A5 [8.6]

Rock it Sounds R-50 [8.6]

Magaosi K5 Bass [8.6]

Dynamic Motion DM200H [8.6]


Tipsy Dunmer Pro [8.5]

Campfire Audio Nova [8.5]

Plenue X30 [8.5]

Astell & Kern Billie Jean [8.5]

Final Audio Design Heaven IV [8.4]

Sennheiser IE80 [8.5]

Sennheiser IE8 [8.5]

Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 [8.5]

Echobox Nomad N1 [8.5]

Simgot EN700 Pro [8.5]

Simgot EM2 [8.5]

TFZ King Pro LTD [8.5]

iBasso IT03 [8.5]

TFZ No.3 [8.5]


1More E1010 Quad Driver [8.4]

Campfire Audio Orion [8.4]

Fidue A81 [8.4]

Advanced GT3 [8.4]

Tipsy Dunmer S [8.4]

Rhapsodio Iris [8.4]

Campfire Audio Comet [8.4]

TFZ King Pro [8.4]

TFZ Tequila A1 [8.4]

Simgot MT3 [8.4]

Dunu Falcon-C [8.4]

Ultimate Ears UE900s [8.4]

Tanchjim Blues [8.4]

Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi [8.4]

Intime Kira [8.4]

Intime Go [8.4]

1More E1008 [8.4]

iBasso IT01 [8.4]

Brainwavz B400 [8.4]

LZ Audio LZ-A4 [8.4]

LZ Audio LZ-A3 [8.4]

Tennmak Orca [8.4]

Massdrop x Mee Audio Planamic IEM [8.4]

Moondrop Kanas [8.4]

Astrotec AM850 [8.4]

Meze 12 Classics [8.4]

Oriolus Fosteni [8.4]


Shozy V33 [8.3]

Simgot EM1 [8.3]

Hifi Boy OSV3 [8.3]

Tanchjim Kora [8.3]

Echobox Finder X1 [8.3]

Radius NX100 [8.3]

Rockjaw Resonate [8.3]

Magaosi X3 [8.3]

Kinera Idun [8.3]

Periodic Audio Ti [8.3]

Periodic Audio Mg [8.3]


AZLA Orta [8.2]

Tenhz P4 Pro [8.2]

Fiio F9 Pro [8.2]

Moondrop Aria [8.2]

Ostry KC06A [8.2]

TFZ Series 7 [8.2] – Hard to recommend; muddy, unorganized, lacks upper frequencies, not worth the price.

TFZ Secret Garden 3 [8.2] – Hard to recommend; far off tonality, spiky upper frequencies, unorganized. 

Alpha & Delta AD01 [8.2]

Shozy Hibiki SE [8.2]

Rose Margaret [8.2]

LZ Audio LZ-A2 [8.2]

LZ Audio LZ-A2S [8.2]

Pai Audio MR3 [8.2]

Final Audio Design Heaven II [8.2]

Ostry KC09 [8.2]

Earnine EN2 [8.2]

Earnine EN210 [8.2]

Dolphinear JDR-100 [8.2]

Magaosi K3 HD [8.2]

Magaosi K3 Pro [8.1]

AAW Q [8.1]

Monoprice Triple XXX [8.1]

Fiio F5 [8.1]

Shure SE215 [8.1]

TFZ Queen [8.1]

TFZ T1s Galaxy [8.1] 

TFZ Exclusive 5 [8.1]

TFZ My Love III [8.1]

TFZ T2 [8.1]

Trinity Audio Vyrus V2 [8.1]

Trinity Audio Sabre [8.1]

Trinity Audio Phantom Master 4 [8.1]

Intime Sora [8.1]

Brainwavz Koel [8.1]

Ucotech IL500 [8.1]

Havi B3 Pro 1 [8.1]

Havi B3 Pro 2 [8.1]

Ocharaku Co-Donguri [8.1]

Rockjaw Alfa Genus V2 [8.1]

Rockjaw Clarito [8.1]

Earnine EN120 [8.1]

Tennmak Cello [8.1]

Shozy Zero [8.1]

Shozy Hibiki [8.1]

Meze 11 Neo [8.1]

Moondrop Cresent [8.1]

Sonicast DIRAC MK2 [8.1]

Sonicast DIRAC Plus MK2 [8.1]

Earnine EN120 [8.1]

Muix IX5000 [8.1]

Fiio F9 [8.1]

Fiio FH1 [8.1]

Mee Audio Pinnacle P2 [8.1]

Macaw GT100s [8.1]


Advanced Elise [8]

Advanced S2000 [8]

Trinity Audio Hyperion [8]

Mee Audio M6 Pro [8]

Advanced Model 3 [8]

Alpha & Delta D2 [8]

Kinera BD005 [8]

Vsonic New VSD3S [8]

Vsonic New VSD3 [8]

NFJ N300 Pro [8]

BGVP YSP04 [8]

Advanced M4 [7.9]

Mee Audio M7 Pro [7.9]

Earnine EN1 [7.6]

Whizzer A15 / A15 Pro [7.6]

Kinera H3 [6.8]

Xiaomi Piston 2.0 [6.8]

Auglamour R8 [6.7]

Auglamour R1s [6.7]

Vsonic New VSD2S [6.5]

Sendy Audio Aiya [6] – Hard to recommend; mids sound completely hollow in the middle with far off tonality 

Xduoo EP1 [4.5] – Hard to recommend; muddy, lack details, not worth the price

Oriveti Basic [4.5] – Hard to recommend; muddy, lack details, not worth the price

Geekwold GK3 [3.5] – Hard to recommend; far off imaging, muddy, unorganized, lacks basics

Considering to purchase list (or re-purchase)

– An extra section just for fun. Listed from most to least attempting.

Campfire Audio Solaris – bought for review

JVC Victor HA-FW10000 – bought for review

Noble Audio Katana – bought for review

Unique Melody Maven – bought for review

AAW Nightingale

64 Audio Tia Fourté – planning to buy

AAW Canary

Meze Audio Rai Penta

Moondrop Solis – bought for review

Rhapsodio Infinity – aborted

Fidue Artemis – planning to buy

RHA Audio CL2 – aborted

HUM Dolores – planning to buy

FLC Technology Celeste

82 Responses

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Eric, appreciate the feedback and also sorry for the late response! Will soon add the prices once I get some spare time.

  1. Vladimir

    Hi! Amazing amount of work I could see here! Well done! I wonder have you tried Flare audio 2hd? There’re some glorious reviews on them on headfi. Interesting to see where you could put them in your brilliant rating.) Thanks)

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Vladimir, thanks for the kind words! Also sorry for the late response.

      I actually just got the entire Flare Audio lineup in hands for testing, but sadly except Pro 2 HD (Pro 1/2, Jet 1/2/3).

      I’m planning to review all these and will soon add these into the chart. Yet to try Pro 2 HD, but hopefully I’ll get a chance to try it as well.

      My first impressions on Flare Audio products are pretty dang good!

    • aboutaudio

      Hi, apologies for the late response. If you’re looking for a recommendation, I can pick Tanchjim Oxygen, TFZ No.3 Ti, or IMR R1.

    • aboutaudio

      Hi, thanks for the kind words. It really depends on your taste, though I could pick Moondrop A8 to be a safe choice.

      • Cugel

        Thank you! I mostly listen to bass heavy stuff, HipHop and Triphop. I do love the sound of the Sennheiser IE800

  2. Shaiju uppungal

    Hyla ce 5/fearless audio s8f/
    IMR accoustic R1/zenith/moondrop A8/western w80/
    Which of these is the best ?

    • aboutaudio

      Hi, what kind of sound signature or characteristics are you looking for? (for example – wide staging, flat sound signature, gentle but dark bass, comfortable mids, recessed highs, etc.)

    • aboutaudio

      I can’t really say one specific IEM is better than the others unless the performance is better in all spectrum. Your referred IEMs all sit in a similar place in performance, so it’s better to decide based on your preference. That should be more helpful for you to find the right one too.

  3. Artiom

    Hello. What would you recommend as a step up from fearless audio s8f maybe with bit more bass wider soundstage and more details?
    Thank you

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Artiom, the perfect upgrade from that would probably be CA Andromeda Gold LE. For cheaper options, I’d pick Beyerdynamic Xelento / HYLA CE-5 and IMR R1 for an even cheaper option.

  4. J

    I’ve been trying to decide between the Fearless S8F and Moondrop A8, but there are very few reviews out there.

    What’s the differences between the two and what sort of person would prefer the S8F over the A8, and vice versa.

    • aboutaudio

      Hi J, the overall sound signature between those two is quite different. S8F goes for a brighter, airy, and more upper-frequency focused sound signature as well as an uplifted center of gravity (or focal point). A8 has more bass-oriented signature with warmer, relatively darker, weighty, and smoother signature. The center of gravity for A8 is lower and deeper, which is an ideal thing for its sound signature.

      S8F is going to be suitable if you’re more into an open-feeling sound with much crispiness, freshness, and micro details from the mid-highs while A8 would be a good choice if you need a bold, plentiful amount of bass with smooth yet prominent mid-highs.

      In short: Mid-high frequencies for S8F, Low-mid frequencies for A8.

      • J

        Thanks so much for your comment, you’ve helped me finally decide.

        Great site and content, by the way!

      • Shubham

        Relatively new to audiophile community, ive listened to 1more triples (slightly more bass for my taste and sparkly highs, so not for me) , rha ma750 (liked it a lot) , own ath e40 ( absolute favorites- bass is sharp enough and spot on , a little less but fixed easily by eq, warmer sound , highs need a little bit of recessing – now they sound just perfect!!) Looking for an upgrade under 200 dollars – bass rich in quality not a lot of quantity , less warmer, controlled mids and highs.. I’m treble sensitive..; balance between critical listen and casual.. Prefer flat sound , detailed.. Suggestions? I was thinking moon drop kxxs or tin p1 or rha t20?

  5. Shubham

    I use lg v30 for listening.. But unlike many with the phone, i can get the DAC and amp working completely with any earphones..

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Shubham,

      LG V30 sure has a quality sound for a phone. For the recommendation, you’ve referred KXXS / P1 / T20 for consideration. I suspect T20 isn’t going to be suitable for you as the trebles may be a tad bright for you.

      P1 is closer to your preferred “gently flat” sound signature, but the upper mids could also be very slightly bright for you as well (I mean in a very treble sensitive perspective.) It also requires quite a lot of power to run properly, so V30 may not be sufficient enough to run the IEM.

      Moondrop KXXS appears to be a solid choice. I would’ve normally recommended Oxygen as well due to it being flatter/cleaner, though it’s very slightly brighter/closer so I’m sticking with KXXS for the recommendation, just to make sure.

      Hope that helps.

  6. Jonathan

    This is super best list i’ve ever seen bro! So btw thanks you for your last advice, i picked Atlas for my collection and it sounds amazing for edm and hiphop. Next time i wanna add one more like Andromeda, but i’m really so confusing… idk how to pick the original or stainless steel version (specially soundstage). Need your help please?!

    • aboutaudio

      Thanks man! Sorry for the delayed response and I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the Atlas.

      It gets pretty tricky when it comes to Andro vs Andro S. Andro S presents a tad stronger reverbs/bass strikes, deeper/harder bass, and an extra emphasis on the 3D soundstage. Mids are also a little thicker and slightly darker compared to the Andro.

      In short, Andro S does a better job on the lower ends and the 3D-effect aspects while Andro is better on revealing the texture and crispiness from the upper frequencies.

      Note that the size of the soundstage is pretty much the same, it’s just that Andro S emphasizes more on the spatial (3D) characteristics.

      • aboutaudio

        p.s. Since you’re into EDM and hip hop (like me) I suspect you’d prefer Andro S over Andro. A well established, solid bass makes those genres a lot better. : )

  7. Jonathan

    Thanks you so much my man, I’m very apreciate for your help! You’re really enthusiam sir, that’s reason why i love ur website so much. Hope your website is well known and well developed in future.

  8. Oun

    I am shocked as why i haven’t seen this site before… great reviews
    Just wanted to know if you could give a comparison between Ikko Oh7 and Ikko Oh10
    specially staging..
    And was wondering if you could recommend few pairs of iems with exceptionally spacious tall soundstage under 350Usd

    • aboutaudio

      Hello Oun! Thank you and glad to hear you enjoy the website. The Musick OH7 is IKKO’s upcoming flagship model which will be retailed for around $1K, so both the price and the performance gap are quite huge. Musick OH7 aims for a gigantic, deep yet clear sound signature that follows a similar path as Beyerdynamic’s Xelento – but with superior bandwidth, depth, tallness, and clarity. I very much enjoyed it and tempted to grab one.

      For the recommendation, the first thing that comes up to my mind is IMR Acoustics R1 Zenith and TFZ No.3 Ti. Both present a wide, large, and spatial sound stage with much richness.

      • Oun

        Well thanks for the rec..
        I thought oh7 would be around 300usd
        Still buddy keep up your work you are doing great.. bookmarked your website.
        Just a advice if you could explain your scoring system and if you could make a youtube channel that will be great …
        Another thing haha could do me a brief comparision between oh10 and tfz no3 ti

      • aboutaudio

        Hi Oun, my apologies for the late response. Just came back from a week-long business trip. I’ve been thinking of expanding my IEM list with more details, but now I just don’t have enough time for getting that done, so does the YT channel.

        For the comparison, OH-10 aims for a calmer and flatter signature than the No.3 Ti. The bass quantity is higher on the No.3 Ti which should be a better choice if you’re looking for basshead-level thuds, depth, and crispy texture. OH-10 is superior in the upper frequencies with its airy, delicate, and detailed layering. Along with that No.3 Ti has a black background whereas OH-10 has a whiter background.

  9. Oun

    Well thank you for that comparision
    I would just say doing a great job and just start your own youtube channel

  10. José

    I’m very pleased and thankfull of your huge effort by sharing your own experience (a quite large one) as it is.
    I have several iems (Andro, Vega, Comet, Shure 846, R1 Zenith, iSine20, AK Diana, fiio 9pro) and would appreciate your opinion for a possible (or not) and justified audible upgrade.
    From what I listen (Jazz, World, fusion, acid jazz, alternative) and what I have I love the Vega’s sound most.
    Thank you in advance.

    • aboutaudio

      Thanks José! Seems like you’ve already heard a handful of IEMs on my list. I enjoy using my Vega and would pick Vega also as the no.1 from the ones that you have. If you’re looking for a direct upgrade, Campfire Atlas would be a very reasonable and direct upgrade from the Vega. It continues to same gene of the ADLC but with upgraded and bigger driver diameter, resulting clearer and crispier upper frequencies, deeper bass, cleaner bass punches, and larger imaging/staging.

      Although I do not know if there are any particular elements you’d like to achieve further (or differently) from Vega, FAudio Major or Rhapsodio Zombie MK8 would be great choices as well.

      Hope this helps and feel free to let me know if there’s more I can advise!

      • José

        Thank you.
        I did thought about the Atlas but I’m a little afraid about not getting a good fixing.
        The Comets are smaller and it’s been a pain get then stay in my ears.
        I’ll try your other suggestions.


    Eh….. can you recommend several products that suitable for me?
    I like listening to some heavy bass or some old school music(HipPop)
    BTW, your list is amazing!!!!!!

    • aboutaudio

      Hi LOLLIPOP, thank you for the kind words. Is there a particular price range you are looking for? Throughout the price, I would pick Rhapsodio Zombie, Campfire Audio Vega, IMR Rah/Zenith, Advanced M5-1D, QOA Pink Lady, BGVP DMS, and TFZ No.3.

      • LOLLIPOP

        My budget is between 200-300 USD
        I can also accept the 2nd-hand earphones.

      • LOLLIPOP

        Could you give me some websites or other things that sell these earphones?? I want to seek more.

      • aboutaudio

        For that price range, I could pick IMR R1 Zenith, Advanced M5-1D, QOA Pink Lady, and BGVP DMS. BGVP is available from Linsoul, QOA from Aliexpress, and the others from each of their official websites.

      • aboutaudio

        Yes, I did and have been one of the earliest owner of it. The sound is highly similar to the R1 Zenith yet the staging is “flatter” (and I mean the staging itself, not the quantity for certain a frequency).

        So R2 Aten is slightly reduced with those vibrant 3D feelings the R1 Zenith had, and I prefer it this way as the staging is more neutral and accurate. Other than that, the overall sound is too similar to R1 Zenith so I am thinking of skipping a review for R2 Aten but instead plan one for Rah.

        Summary: I like R2 Aten over R1 Zenith.

        Just realized I forgot to add R2 Aten and Rah in the list, will do it within 24hrs.

    • aboutaudio

      Hi George, I’m yet to test that one out but will certainly add it in once I have a chance to try.

  12. Spieke

    What´s the best for extremely tiny ears with small ear canals in your opinion? For example Andromeda are border limit and already uncomfortable to me for long sessions.

    I listen to a variety of genres ranging from classical, piano, blues, jazz, acoustic singer song writer to Rock, Heavy Metal and EDM.
    Barely listen to Hip Hop or Rap.
    I appreciate comfort a lot and got a great source (AK1000M) to match it with but size wise, i’m very limited.
    Currently I am on Xelento’s with the XS tips but I often get annoyed over the driver flex in my left ear with them. Because even XS tips seal so well, I get driver flex even whilst inserting very slowly at times :>

    I was wondering with your extensive knowledge, if you had any top / endgame set to recommend for smaller ears that can be worn for quite some time without discomfort?

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Spieke! Seems like you listen to a variety of genres. Do you also have small outer ears? If you are fine with the most usual cylinder-shaped earpieces, I’d suggest Technics EAH-TZ700 for your upgrading.

      Not only for the comfy fitting but also because of the sound being a perfect upgrade (I probably would’ve still recommended this even if you had large ears). It gives gigantic staging with the textures being extremely smooth and detailed.

      I’m quite positive that you can’t go wrong with these 🙂

      • Spieke

        Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll look into them! Do they have any driver flex like Xelento? I can see they are also DD drivers! I do have pretty tiny outer ears as for example Westone refused to build a higher version than the um pro 30 (3 drivers max) because my ears wouldn’t fit more than 3 drivers comfortably! Andromeda for example fits me but isn’t comfortable at all…

        The barrel style looks like a solid option though 🙂

      • Spieke

        Actually found a really good deal on these so I decided to pull the trigger as I can return them.
        Now I just hope they don’t exhibit too much driver flex.
        The barrel style should prove comfortable and I’m one of the few users who doesn’t like over ear cables so I’m curious to see!
        Not many high end barrel style IEM’s out there.
        I previously had a look at Final Audio’s or IE800s by Senheisser but I found final audio a bit boomy and the Senheissers have no detachable cable.

        Hoping this will work out!

        Thanks a lot!

  13. Spieke

    Just an update on my end.
    In the meanwhile my Technics EAH-TZ700 have arrived.
    I wish to thank you for the recommendation as it’s spot on.
    It fits very comfortably (even on longer sessions) and the sound is really lush I guess? No fatigue, no boomy bass overpowering everything, no metallic / harsh treble.
    Overall zero fatigue and they are a bliss to wear.
    If I had to mention one con, it’s the fact that the cable is slightly microphonic but I honestly don’t care so much about that as I use them mostly at my desk or in bed.

    Previous to this suggestion, I hadn’t even heard of this IEM.
    I think they are absolutely beautiful and fit me to the T.

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Spieke, sorry for the late response. Very glad to hear you like the sound as well as the fit! If you’re okay with wearing them over the ear, give that a try as they’ll reduce a lot of microphonics. Aftermarket cables could be a solution as well.

      I was amazed with its texture being extremely refined, in fact on of the very bests I’ve ever tried.

      Perhaps it makes sense since it uses a speicial driver powered with magnetic fluid in the internals (I believe it’s the first case for using liquid inside an IEM driver).

      Enjoy! 🙂

  14. Hi! Thanks for sharing all this fantastic information. I have a question. I’m looking for a new Chinese IEM all the way down in the $100 range. Seen quite a few recommendations for the Moondrop Starfield lately. Have you had a chance to try them? I’m also thinking about the Moondrop KXXS. In the same price range I noticed you‘ve listed the TFZ Queen Ltd with a decent rating. Sadly, I can’t find any other reviews on them. If you have a chance, could you offer a few words about what you liked about that pair? Thanks for any help and really love your site.

    • aboutaudio

      Hi 石, please excuse the late response!

      Starfield sports a reasonably similar sound signature as KXXS, but with a bit more relaxed and calmer bass punch. KXXS has that glimpse of silvery tone added to its sound while Starfield has a neutral, more water-like tone. Since the boom of the bass is a little reduced and the upper ranges are flowing more stably, I suppose we could call Starfield is slightly flatter than KXXS (but not really “flat” of course.)

      Glad to see you also be interested in Queen LTD, because they are actually very nice. In fact, Queen LTD is my personal favorite among the three. Very similar to KXXS in sound signature but more lively with a sweet and not overdone tonality. Recent TFZ IEMs sure deserve a lot more attention.

      • Hey again! No worries on the late response, I just appreciate you taking the time to offer input. Well, you’ve inspired me. I’m going to try the Queen LTD! I love the idea of a slightly more lively KXXS sound signature. Plus, I can save a bit of money over the Moondrops. It’s a win-win!

        Thanks yet again for making this website and getting in touch with all of us in the comments. It really makes deciding on a new pair that much easier. Take care!

      • daijoubu

        Would you say that the TFZ Queen LTD has better sub-bass and bass than the Starfield?

      • daijoubu

        Thanks for the quick reply! When you say better do you mean by quantity or quality? I’m coming from a TRN V90, and would like to improve on bass quality, vocals and naturalness (V90 feels overly energetic without coherence, and I am pretty sibilance sensitive), whilst still keeping similar levels of bass quantity. I was torn between the Starfrield and Spring 1 until I read your comment that said KXXS has more bass than Spring 1. Would the Queen LTD have any issues with sibilance?

        I’m guessing I’m just looking for a Moondrop type sound signature, but just a tad more bass quality & quantity (less boomy with with a tad more slam). Cheers again!

      • aboutaudio

        Hi daijoubu, sorry for the late response – had a sick leave for a few days.

        I was meaning better in both quality and quantity. I have not found any noticeable sibilance from Queen LTD and it has a deeper, thicker, and fuller bass reproduction than Starfield (I wouldn’t say the gap is huge and Starfield instead shows a calmer and less boomy bass response). I have not heard V90, though I’m pretty sure Queen LTD is going to be a lot more organic, smooth, and non-fatiguing. Spring 1 is energetic, a bit colored, and shows quite a flat bass response compared to others so I’d rather recommend either Queen LTD or Starfield in case of your preference. Hope that helps!

  15. Spieke

    Maybe one to put on the radar is Dunu’s new flagship Luna?
    Curious how it would compare to the tz700.
    Overall still very happy with it 🙂 just considering a cable Like dunu’s with variable 2.5 or 3.5 connection that doesn’t have microphonics as I prefer cable down with tz700!

    • aboutaudio

      Glad that you’re enjoying TZ700 and good timing with the suggestion because Luna just arrived the other day! It’s been quite long since I’ve tried TZ700 (as well as the listening session being very short back then), so there isn’t much I could retrieve back from my memory.

      But I remember the overall performance and sound signature being similar for those two, except superior ultra lows on Luna and superior texture fineness on TZ700. Luna will be coming up as a review in the near future, so stay tuned! 🙂 Hope I could have a chance for TZ700 as well.

      • Spieke

        One of the best sound signatures I still enjoy are headphones though:
        Budget: AKG K371
        High-End: ZMF Verite Closed

        I’ve not yet found an IEM that comes close to the sonic performance of those. Tz700 aren’t bad at all for now but ideally those would be my end game in iem mode 😀

  16. Drew

    Thanks for all the work here.

    Looking to jump into the $500-$700 game.

    Two favorite tunings are neutral (JVC HA-FDX1) and Harmon (Starfield).

    Anything going to beat the Moondrop S8 here? Haven’t found a BA IEM Ive loved but I imagine at this level the game changes?

    Thanks again,


    • aboutaudio

      Hi Drew, S8 sure has a good reference-tuned sound, but it’s a lot more of a BA-ish sound with a brighter and flatter tone which you may not like.

      My suggestion would be Oriveti OH500 or 7Hz i-99. 🙂

  17. Dom


    Very good list, you did a quite good work!

    I own a pair of Westone W80 and I have the opportunity to get my hands on a pair of Dunu 17th Anniversary. How do they compare sonically and in terms of airyness/soundstage? From your ears, is it a downgrade/upgrade/sidegrade from the W80? I mostly look for an airy, spacious sound and natural timbre…


    • aboutaudio

      Hi Dom, sorry for the late response and thank you for your kind words! I have the 17th though listened to W80 quite a long ago and don’t remember enough (I also believe W80 changed in tuning after some point of time).

      Though to briefly share my impressions, airy and spacious would fit 17th’s description along with a fairly natural timbre. I’d call it a sidegrade based on my very rough memory, so please take it with a grain of salt.

      In fact, I might have a chance tomorrow to listen again to W80. If that’s the case I’ll surely divert back to you. 🙂

      • Dom

        Thanks a lot!
        Let me know if you have a chance to listen again to the W80. It will be very helpful for me…

      • aboutaudio

        Hi Dom, so today I’ve got to try W80 again (the 2019 version with the newest tuning). Moving on to the 17th would be a very appropriate upgrade in terms of treble extension, airiness, and liveliness. The bass quantity is similar but with less bloating on the upper lows. Mids are more transparent as well as the highs being significantly clearer and closer, overall giving better timbre. It’s sure not a sidegrade but a confident upgrade IMO. Hope that helps 🙂

  18. Poch

    Which one would be better between Dunu Titan 6, Dunu Falcon-C, Alpha&Delta KS3, Moondrop Starfield and Ibasso it01? Assuming they are all priced the same. I’m looking for a Warm and Smooth sound signature. Or being closing Kinda like Yamaha EPH-100 or BLON-03. Also comfortable enough and non-fatiguing for long listening sessions and has good build quality.

  19. Seth

    Hey man, really appreciate the list and wondering if you can help me decide on my next pair of iems. The only headphones I currently own are the AKG Y50, Sony WH-1000XM3, and iem’s are the BLON-03. I am currently looking at the IMR R2’s (aten vs red) and not sure which to get. My source will be a Sony NW-A45 (modded to NW-ZX300). I am also thinking of picking up an Ibasso DX160 to compliment the iems better.

    I’ve never listed to an open backed designed headphone or iem so I don’t know if it sounds better or not. My audio preferences lean towards Pink Floyd, Tom Mayer, Joe Satriani, Metallica, Depeche Mode if that helps.

    • aboutaudio

      Hello Seth, thank you for your compliment! Although there is a decently large backport on the IMR R2s, the experience wouldn’t be too unfamiliar than your casual closed-back IEMs – in fact, it would feel just as usual except you feel more wideness and air. Of course, this is the case for this specific IEM, not for all open-back IEMs (LCDi4, etc).

      The difference between R2 Aten and Red is known to be the size of the backport only. Red sounds warmer, relaxed, and bassier while Aten achieves more mid/high details and air hence I would personally choose Aten. The R2s have a solid W-shaped sound signature that highlights all three bands and should work out fine with the genre you listen to. Hope this helps!

  20. Peter

    Hello. Thank you so much for your wonderful website and for taking the time to help out with specific questions.
    I listen to mostly epic orchestral music (Audiomachine, Two Steps From Hell, X-Ray Dog, Brand X, Immediate Music, etc) that needs a very solid base foundation but without missing out on the mids and highs.
    The IEM I mostly use nowadays is the IMR R2 Red (with black nozzle and blue filter) which sounds great, but I was wondering if there’s any IEM that has a similar amount of power in the bass and sub-bass but faster and more detailed?

    • aboutaudio

      Hi Peter, thank you for your compliment! Intense instrumental genres sure require A speedy yet impactful sounding IEM for the best.

      Unless you’re particularly treble-sensitive, my suggestion would be Anew X-One as they seem to be very well matching with your needs – powerful and punchy bass along with clear, crisp, and nimble upper ends.

      I wrote a review of X-One not so long ago, so check it out if you’re interested:

      • Peter Huang

        Thank you so much for your reply! I read your review of the Anew X-One and it’s actually one that caught my attention even before. I also read your reviews of the Astrotec Phoenix, CA Atlas, and Ikko OH-7.
        High quality impactful bass and good soundstage seem to be prominent in all 3 of them.
        Do you mind commenting on these as well as comparing them with the Anew X-One for epic orchestral soundtrack music?
        I don’t have a good sense of how much better good IEMs in higher price brackets sound. I took about 8 years off from this and came back and was astounded at the immense progress including price/performance ratio.
        Could you comment on this?
        I have ancient CIEMs like Heir Audio 8.a and Future Sonics MG6 pro, as well as universal IEMs like Ocharaku Flat 4 Kaede (original version), JVC HA-FX800, AT CKS1000, UE 900, Cardas EM5813. These are too old to be compared to current IEMs so I don’t have any good point of reference.
        Thank you!

      • aboutaudio

        Hi Peter, no problem! I can see you’ve started this much earlier since you own EM5813 and MG6 Pro. The IEM game sure has changed a lot – the cheaper ones getting a lot better and so does the expensive ones, except the price has jumped along with it. You also own Ocharaku IEMs (which I remember it being flatter, treble-focused, and very airy), so I suppose you have a pretty wide variety of taste in sound signature.

        Simply speaking, X-One overall suits better on tracks that are modern, trendy, and faster in beat, whereas OH-7 suits better on genres that are more lyrical, atmospheric, and slower in beat. Atlas and Phoenix sit between them though Atlas being closer to X-One’s style while Phoenix is closer to OH-7’s. However, keep in mind that all of these IEMs are all-rounders and would perform very well on various genres after all. The X-One/Atlas group tends to be stiffer in rigidity while Phoenix/OH-7 group is softer.

        If your finding had to do with classical orchestral music, then I would’ve recommended OH-7 and the right next recommendation to be Phoenix. Though since it’s the epic genre, I would highly suggest X-One as it’s the most trendy one. It should also well represent what this new “trendy” type of sound is along with how much budget IEMs have advanced since then, making it to be a good starting point for you. Hope that helps! 🙂

  21. Peter+Huang

    Thank you so much again. This is super helpful!
    Yup, the Ocharaku is airy and not at all bassy.
    Your comparisons of the X-One, Atlas, OH-7, and Phoenix help a lot.
    I like your description of stiffer/faster and slower/softer.
    I like to listen to both fast paced action as well as slower emotional and atmospheric soundtrack music, and I’d say that my favorite type is kind of in between. Definitely has deep powerful bass but also mixed with lyrical components and not always fast and complex.
    As you noted, I think any of the four would be very good choices.
    I’ve moved the Anew X-One to among the top in my list 🙂
    On another note, my presumption is that I probably would not enjoy many of the more expensive and well regarded IEMs any more than some that are under $1000 since I don’t do critical listening. I just like to enjoy the music and I think many of the qualities that the TOTL IEMs excel at probably wouldn’t necessarily make me enjoy them more.
    Thank you again!

  22. ChiaTang Hsieh

    Hi, appreciate ur hardwork of review and list. I mostly listen to jpop and anime music. Currently owning imr r1 zenith. Recently looking for an updgrade around 500 to 600 sgd around 400 usd.(aim for second hand) Which would u recommend?
    Also, if ignore the signature of sound, is it worth to get 1650cu or 1670ss (does it have much upgrade feel for overoll compare to r1 zenith) Thank you.


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