Here’s another great example of winning Chi-Fi value. The KBEAR KS2 has a fun V-shaped tuning with punchy bass, clear, articulate midrange and a sparkly but non-offensive treble.
To top off the dynamic sound, the KS2 creates an expansive and airy soundstage that is both wide and deep. All this comes wrapped in comfortable ear-hugging acrylic shells with a detachable 2-pin cable.
A $23 electrostatic hybrid IEM what? It sounds crazy but CCA has done it. Not only have they done it but they struck gold with the NRA. If you’re looking for a budget IEM and like clarity, detail retrieval, punchy bass and forward midrange stop procrastinating and get this today. Enough said!
How could this weird-looking thing be on my hot IEMs list? It’s simple really. The BLON BL-Mini not only has great build quality and comfort but it also sounds excellent. It has a fun, light v-shaped sound with powerful but controlled bass.
The midrange is clear and sounds natural and has impressive resolution for a budget earphone. Don’t be fooled by the looks: this IEM is one of the best you can get in its price range.
It’s tiny but built like a tank and is a super comfortable earphone. It also comes with a pretty nice cable for something at this price point. But the best thing about the Moondrop SSP is its sound. It’s warm, rich yet clear and has an upfront and direct sound.
The bass is punchy and delivers tasty sub-bass rumble. It’s got loads of impact but is not dominant in the overall sound presentation. The midrange is impressive and engaging. And the treble is non-fatiguing but still provides good detail and clarity. It’s pretty amazing overall for such a low price!
The ZSX Terminator is a force to be reckoned with in the sub $50 category. 6 drivers (1DD+5BA), authoritative bass, clean midrange and ultra-detailed but smooth treble make this earphone one very strong contender.
This little budget champ does everything right and deserves a place in any budget IEM fan’s collection – and every KZ fan, of course!
The Kinera BD005 Pro has a build quality you won’t believe for a $49 IEM. Just check out those gorgeous acrylic shells with gold flake pattern.
These don’t just look good, they sound great too. If a silky smooth but still detailed presentation is your kind of sound signature then you are bound to love these. Incredible value for money right here.
If you’ve done any research into budget Chi-Fi you will probably be familiar with Tin Hifi and the T2. This double dynamic driver IEM made a huge impact on its release for its neutrality, transparency, tonality, soundstage and build quality. Yes, I did just say all that in a single sentence. The T2 rocks!
But now there’s an even better option, the T2 Plus. The T2 Plus brings a more robust, full-bodied sound with improved ergonomics and a better cable. This is (IMO) currently the best IEM in the Tin T-Series.
iBasso has a history of making great IEMs but I wasn’t expecting their new budget model to kick this much ass! It pretty much swept in and took the number 1 position in the sub $100 segment with force.
What you get with the IT00 is a great build, great comfort and most of all, a class-leading audio quality that sets the new standard for budget inears. There’s no need for me to say more: watch the video or read the review (or both) and then let your fingers do the work on that buy button. This is the new budget BOSS!
The Moondrop Aria basically supersedes its bigger sibling the Starfield. Aria adopts a practically identical frequency response and the same technical abilities as Starfield with some very subtle differences.
Aria is tuned based on the Harman target which means it has a balanced tonality with a lightly boosted bass plus and upper midrange and lower treble lift. The result is a clean, clear sound that’s lively yet smooth and versatile enough for all music genres. This is currently one of the best IEMs you can get for less than $100.
Who would have thought that such a pretty little IEM could go toe to toe with the big boys when it comes to audio quality? The HE01 is a great sounding earphone with a U-shaped sound signature, giving it meaty bass, forward, intimate midrange and crisp, clear treble.
Not only does the HE01 sound great but it has gorgeous shells that are really comfortable and perfect for smaller ears too. If you like the look, this one should be a no-brainer!
Here’s another sub-$100 gem that we didn’t expect to find on our rec list. The Hidizs MS2 has great build quality, is comfortable and looks great. Inside the shells is 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature driver.
The MS2 impressed us with its punchy bass, midrange clarity and smooth treble with excellent detail retrieval. It also comes with a high-quality stock cable and a really good carrying case. This one’s a no brainer!
Every now and then an IEM just resonates with me on all levels and that is what happened with the FiiO FH3. It’s supremely comfortable, built like a tank yet lightweight and stylish and simply sounds fantastic.
Bass extension, warm, inviting, natural mids and a light, airy treble with a touch of warmth all come together in this earphone. This is one that I think punches above its price point and is one of my favourite in-ear monitors.
When I first saw the NM2+, I thought it looked fantastic. When I learned it was labelled as a studio monitor, I started having doubts. But when I started listening, I fell in love with this IEM.
Neutral in tone with excellent end to end extension: a bass that is not excessive in quantity but digs deep and a treble that is airy and precise without sounding harsh or bright. For live performers, content creators or audiophiles looking for a neutral IEM, this is as good as it gets in this price segment.
The P1 earphone from Tin Hifi has a 10mm planar magnetic driver in a closed back shell. This IEM simply blew me away with its incredible audio quality. Thankfully, the stainless steel housings live up to the same standard, making this an absolute must-buy in the sub $200 segment.
With its natural tonality and superb separation and layering, the P1 can compete on a technical level with much more expensive products. The only real drawback is the relatively soft sub-bass but it really doesn’t detract from the P1’s magic. Get one today, you won’t regret it!
Following the success of the original OH1, IKKO built on its strengths to create the successor, the IKKO OH10. This impressive in-ear monitor has copper-alloy shells for improved acoustic properties. The shape of the shells is near identical to the OH1 which is great because it means the ergonomics and fit are great.
The OH10 Obsidian has a light v-shaped signature with a slight emphasis on sub-bass and upper midrange. It’s topped off with an airy, non-fatiguing treble. A neutral, slightly laid back midrange and the airy treble combine to create a sound that is spacious and open, even despite the powerful bass. As such, the OH10 has an expansive soundstage and a sound you can listen to all day long.
Say what you will about re-hashing the same sound signature. Moondrop has proven again and again that it’s a worthwhile pursuit. We saw it with Starfield, Aria and now the KATO.
Rather than trying to invent the wheel, Moondrop has focused on improving on its winning formula. Not only does the flagship dynamic driver model get improved but the same tech trickles down to the more budget-oriented models. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Although Shanling has just started making their own earphones, they’ve already delivered a real winner with the ME500 PE. This triple hybrid driver IEM has an engaging, lively presentation with a meaty, tight bass, clear and natural midrange plus a crisp, non-fatiguing and detailed treble.
All this is wrapped up in platinum-plated brass shells that are rock solid and built to last. You get a vast assortment of eartips, a silver-plated copper cable and a carrying case included too. This is a fantastic IEM at a competitive price and what a way to enter the earphone space Shanling!
The DUNU DK-2001 turned out to be an absolute gem in pretty much every way. Crafted from stainless steel these things are built like a tank but they’re tuned like a luxury supercar. Beautiful clarity and timbre with a nice tonal balance, detail and expansive soundstage.
In addition, these come with a high-quality modular cable that lets you switch your termination plugs quickly and easily. So it’s compatible with every source without needing to change the cable which is super convenient. These are an all-round great IEM and I couldn’t even think of anything negative to say about them.
This is an IEM that I think should be getting more attention. The UFO-112 is a triple-driver unit containing 1 dynamic and 2 balanced armature drivers. Not only is it lightweight and super comfortable, but it also has a fantastic and technically proficient sound.
The dynamic bass driver delivers with punch and impact, the neutral midrange is clear and the treble is detailed but non-fatiguing. Not only that but this IEM comes with a fantastic set of accessories, including a metal carrying case and a high-quality cable.
Another fairly new and mostly unknown Chi-Fi brand, Queen Audio really blew me away with this release. The QM50 is similar to the Fearless S6RUI but has better treble extension and sweeter treble timbre.
The sound is rich, detailed, resolving and yet buttery smooth. It has a fantastic holographic soundstage with precise imaging and great instrument separation. For a multi-BA unit, the QM50 has really good bass extension and a natural tone throughout. If you’re shopping for something under $500 then this is one you should seriously consider grabbing.
FiiO’s FH7 is a beautifully built and comfortable earphone with a super engaging and lively sound signature that will keep you captivated. It is a great example of what good bass sounds like with its powerful yet fast low frequencies.
Using aerospace-grade aluminium-magnesium alloy, the FH7 shells are a joy to behold and feel fantastic in your ears too. Finally, the FH7 comes with a gorgeous cable and a bunch of awesome accessories. Highly recommended.
DUNU has created magic again with their DK-3001 Pro. 316 stainless steel shells, the modular Lyre cable with multiple terminations and leather carrying case set it off to a good start. But it’s the audio quality that really sets this IEM apart.
This earphone has a very balanced and linear sound signature but it’s one that is intensely musical, resolving, nuanced and non-fatiguing to boot. It delivers in every way and is one of the best sounding earphones in this price range bar none.
Panther Audio’s DX4 is a gorgeous quad-driver earphone with 1 dynamic driver and 3 Knowles balanced armature drivers. It has an immaculate build and is very comfortable. Without a doubt, the best thing about the Aura DX4 is its sound.
Punchy, resolving, clear and detailed are some of the words I use to describe the DX4. End to end extension is excellent but it’s also a very smooth sound that is never harsh or sibilant. The dynamic driver delivers a solid visceral bass that can thump and rumble. Midrange notes are sweet and articulated with above-average resolution and the treble is handled really well too.
The AF180 MK2 has 4 balanced armatures per side and a 3-way electronic crossover. When Audiofly says linear they mean it because that’s just what the AF180 MK2 is. Don’t mistake linear for boring though because these sound sumptuous and oh so accurate.
Super lightweight, small and comfortable, these can pleasure your ears for hours on end. Also worth mentioning is the solid accessory bundle which includes a high-quality weather-sealed carrying case. I was really impressed with these.
Yes, it’s yet another DUNU IEM on the best list. The reason? Well, they just keep making good products! The DUNU Studio SA6 is impeccably crafted with stabilized wood faceplates and packed with 6 balanced armature drivers per side. But the real kicker about the SA6 is its accuracy, speed and musicality.
Audio engineers, musicians or everyday audiophiles will find the SA6 to be a real contender in its price range in terms of timbre, tonal balance and accuracy. This is yet another winner from the DUNU team and one that you should definitely look into.
It’s hardly surprising to find something from the portable audio giant in our recommended list. The Sennheiser IE800 S is a stunning achievement in earphone technology. Its tiny earpieces are exquisitely crafted and very robust. The cable has an adapter system allowing you to switch easily between the 3 available plugs: 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm TRRS and 4.4mm TRRS.
It’s incredible what Sennheiser has done with this single dynamic driver. It delivers supreme coherency and a natural tonality that puts you right in the middle of the music. The IE 800 S remains one of my high-end reference IEMs and absolutely has to be part of this list for its masterful audio capability and triumph of engineering.
In a field of interest where everyone is so serious, it’s nice to see something come along that injects a bit of good old fun back into the scene. That’s exactly what FiR Audio did with their 5×5 hybrid in-ear monitor.
But don’t be fooled by the cute bunny and fun shell design because, at heart, this earphone is a technically agile and competitive item. It has a lively, dynamic sound but one that is smooth and versatile enough for every day carry.
If you’re looking for a top-performing earphone but don’t want to pay the outrageous TOTL members fee, the 5×5 has got you covered.
After reading mixed reviews on the web, I wasn’t sure how the Rai Penta would perform. But when I put them in my ears I knew right away they would end up on this list! The Meze Rai Penta feels as good in the hand as it looks but the real pleasure begins when you start listening.
This is such a sumptuous, smooth and inviting IEM that wraps you up in the music and is perfect for long listening sessions. It has a fun, boosted but controlled bass, excellent midrange resolution and clarity, plus a buttery-smooth non-fatiguing airy treble.
Although it is the most expensive earphone on this list, it is actually quite reasonable for a TOTL flagship model compared to what other brands are putting out there. In a lot of cases, the Rai Penta also outperforms its more expensive competition and at the same time is one of the most attractive and comfortable IEMs on the market.