THIS LIST only include the BEST Earphones I personally test and find excellent for their price from the more than 200 iem I’ve tested.
As well, it will be limited to sub-500$ price range and will be regularly updated.
I decide to take a more severe approach that favorise NO BS quality over decent sounding quantity. The goal is to only put what stand appart in term of AUDIOPHILE SOUND VALUE. While this can seem subjective, my experience is concentrate on this highest sound benefit quest since 10 years so i’m very aware and sensible about this type of value. Sure, this is subjective to some part, but I try my best to forget my personal tuning preference taste and focus on critical listening; grumpy, no bs way.

You can press on the earphones name to read full review when available.

About scoring:

Tone=Tonal balance cohesion & Individual tone-timbre of instruments
Tech= Technicalities like attack speed-sustain-decay, resolution, precision, imaging, dynamic(etc)
V=Value which take the price in account and A=Absolute which doesn’t take the price in account.
SoundSig= Soundsignature. Overall kind of sound it deliver.


-SONY MH750 (1DD)-
Tone : 8/10
Tech: V=7.5/10       A=6.5
SoundSig : Harman Balanced U shape with boosted sub bass recessed upper treble

-CCA CRA+ (1DD)-
Tone : 7.8/10
Tech : V=8/10          A=6.6/10
SoundSig : Warm bassy W shape with slight upper mids boost

-FINAL E1000 (1DD)-
Tone :    8.5/10
Tech:    V=8.2/10          A=7.5/10
SoundSig : Neutral to warm W shape with mids boost

-SENFER DT6 (1DD+1BA+1piezo driver)-
Tech:     V=
9.5/10            A=7.8/10
Vivid L shape to W shape with boosted sub bass-mids-upper treble, and unique holographic imaging.

-HIFIMAN RE400 (single micro-DD, 20-40$ now)
Tone:   7.8/10
Tech:    V=8.5/10         A=7.5/10
Soundsig: Bright neutral with light bass and boosted upper mids and treble.

Tone:    7.2/10
Tech:  V=8.8/10             A=7.5/10
Timbre: Bright-fuzzy-transparent.
Soundsig: Crisp U shape with open mids and snappy treble, fast attack, fast sub bass boom

-CCA C10 (1DD+4BA)-
Tone: 7.4/10
Tech: V=8.8/10               A=7.5/10
Timbre: Warm-fuzzy-grainy.
Soundsig: Practically a slightly warmer ZS10PRO with fuller mids and more relaxed upper treble, smooth brightish W shape.

Tone :    8.4/10
Tech :    V=7.5/10         A=7/10
SoundSig : Harman W shape with sub bass boost and upper highs boost

-KBEAR KB04 (1DD+1BA)-
Tone :    7.6/10
Tech :    V=8.5/10         A=7.5/10
SoundSig :Crisp bright balanced W shape with warm boosted bass+lower&upper treble

-BLON BL-03 (1DD)-
Tone :    8.2/10
Tech :    V=8.2/10          A=7.5/10
SoundSig : Warmish well balanced W shape with boosted bass and mid treble

-DQSM Hermit (1DD)-
Tone :    7.5/10
Tech :    V=8.3/10           A=7.7/10
SoundSig : Crisp W shape with recessed lower mids+boosted treble

-JADE AUDIO EA3 (1DD+1 Knowles BA-was 30$)
Tone:    7.5/10
Tech:    V=8/10              A=7.5/10
Soundsig: Excited V to W shape with big bass boost and slight upper mids boost.

Tone: 7.8/10
Tech:  V=8.4/10                 A=7.8/10
Timbre: Bright transparent thin
Soundsig: Mid-Treble centric with light punchy mid bass. 

Tech:  V=7.5/10                  A=6.5/10
Timbre: dense, euphonic, btw lush and bright
Soundsig: Smooth balanced V to bassy neutral, thick and lush, chunky bass and mids, darkish treble 

-HZsound Hearth Zero (1DD-30$)



-TINHIFI T2 (Dual DD)-
Tone :   8/10
Tech :   V=8.2/10         A=7.4/10
Timbre: Lush to brightish with boosted texture
SoundSig : Neutral to warmish W shape with recessed sub bass

Tone :   8.5/10
Tech:    V=7.5/10        A=7.3/10
Timbre: Warm organic with good density
SoundSig : Warm neutral to mid centric

-AUDIOSENSE T180 (1 knowles BA)-
Tone :   7.5/10
Tech:    V=8/10               A=7.2/10
Timbre: realist-bright with boosted texture
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to mid+lower treble centric

-KBEAR NEON (1 knowles BA)-
Tone :   7.8/10
Tech:     V=8.5/10           A=7.8/10
Timbre: realist-cold-clean with great transparency
SoundSig : Crisp neutral to smooth W shape with treble emphasis

-BLON BL05S (1DD)-
Tone :    7.6/10
Tech :    V=8/10                A=7.5/10
Timbre: Bright-rubbery-a bit artificial
SoundSig : Bright W shape with boosted bass

Tone :    8/10
Tech:    V=8.4/10            A=7.7/10
Timbre: natural-organic to brightish
Soundsig : Warmish W shape with boosted mids-lower treble

-BQEYZ KB100 (1DD+2BA)-
Tone :    8.5/10
Tech :    V=8.5/10               A=8/10
Timbre: Realist-organic
Soundsig : Smooth neutral to warm balanced W shape with recessed upper treble

-FINAL E2000 (1DD)-
Tone :    7.8/10
Tech :    V=8/10                  A=7.6/10
Timbre: Bright realist
Soundsig : Balanced brightish W shape with mid bass + slight upper mids and treble boost

-FINAL E3000 (1DD)-
Tone :    8.2/10
Tech :   V=7.8/10                A=7.4/10
Timbre: warm organic, natural, good density
Soundsig : Warm Harman to V shape with very boosted mid bass and slightly boosted mids-lower treble

-FIIO FD1 (1 Bery plated DD)-
Tone :  7.8/10
Tech :   V=8/10                 A=7.6/10
Timbre: dense, textured, slightly bright
Soundsig : Brightish W shape with extended upper treble boost

Tone :
Tech:    V=10/10                 A=8.8/10    
Timbre: Clean bright, slightly thin, very realist and nuanced (not too boosted) in texture
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to balanced W shape with lean extended bass, plus slight full treble boost and extension

-Reecho SG01 OVA (1DD)-
Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: 8/10                  A=7.6/10
Timbre: dense, lush, meaty and realist
Soundsig: Balanced W shape to neutral, warm bass and mids, gently bright treble, full sounding and energic in dynamic

-QOA Gimlet (1DD)


-HISENIOR T2U (2 Knowles BA/80$ at the time)-
Tone :
Tech :   V=9/10                  A=8.4/10
Timbre: Dry to slightly bright-cold, very realist, very transparent, clean
Soundsig : Crisp neutral to smooth W shape

-BQEYZ SPRING 1 (1DD+2BA+1piezo drive/ can now be found for 105$)-
Tone :    7.6/10
Tech :    V=9/10                  A=8.4/10
Timbre: bright and very textured, cold-realist with low transparency
Soundsig : Bright W shape to analytical with boosted mid bass and treble

-IKKO OH1 (1DD+1knowles BA / now selling 100$ in official store)-
Tone :   7.8/10
Tech :   V=9/10                 A=8.4/10
Timbre: Thin bright textured, hint artificial
Soundsig : Balanced V shape with slightly boosted upper mids and extended sub bass

Tech:   V=7.5/10                   A=7.2/10
Timbre: Thick, warmish, textured and natural
Soundsig: Warm energic W shape with boosted mid bass.

Tone: 8/10
Tech: V=8.8/10                A=8.2/10
Timbre: Realist with focus on texture in a slightly dry and thin way
Soundsig: Well rounded W shape to Bright Harman Target, focus on mid treble

-THhifi Character (1DD+1BA)-


-FINAL E4000 (1DD)-
Tone: 8.8/10
Tech: V=8.5/10                     A=8.2/10
Timbre: Lush, natural, dense yet transparent, uniquely smooth.
Soundsig: Smooth harman W shape with warm boosted bass, emphased mid range, smooth but well resolved treble.

-BQEYZ SPRING2 (1dual DD-piezo+1BA)-
Tone:    8.5/10
Tech:    V=8.8                       A=8.5/10
Timbre: brightish to natural with great texture and good density
Soundsig: warm energic W shape with thumpy mid bass, and equivalent mids-treble boost

Tone:    8.4/10
Tech:    V=8.6/10                   A=8.2/10
Timbre: organic clean and transparent, a bit thin and cold
Soundsig: L shape to U shape with full lean mids and crisp treble

-IKKO OH10 (1DD+1knowles BA)-
Tone:    8/10
Tech:    V=8.5/10                      A=8.3/10
Timbre: Thin bright textured, realist but a bit cold
Soundsig : Balanced V shape with slightly boosted upper mids and extended sub bass

Tone: 8.3/10
Tech: V=8.6/10                              A=8.4/10
Timbre: Smooth, natural, hint cold, transparent but slightly thin
Soundsig: U shape to harman neutral, lean mids and treble and boosted sub-bass, smooth and organic

Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=8.8/10                       A=8.5/10
Timbre: Dark, smoothen in texture, natural warm, good transparency but a bit heterogeneous.
Soundsig: U shape to harman neutral, boosted sub-bass that warm the mids, unique tonality.

Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=8.6/10         A=8.4/10
Timbre: brightish natural, well textured free of grain with enough density and transparency
Soundsig: Bright Harman target (mid centric W shape), punchy well rounded bass, fowards energic mids and lean bright treble

-TINHIFI P1plus (1planar driver-170$)-
Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=9.5/10                   A=8.8/10
Timbre: Between lush and dry, dense in texture info yet transparent, very realist life life not colored
Soundsig: lean crisp neutral with slight bass punch, full mids and open detailed sharp treble

-AUDIOSENSE AQ4 (1DD+3 knowles BA-180$)-
Tone: 8.7/10
Tech: V=8.6/10                   A=8.2/10
Timbre: lush, natural, smooth and organic with nuanced yet softed texture
Soundsig: Warm L shape to bassy mid centric, lush and balanced

Tone: 8.6/10
Tech: V= 8.2/10                    A=8/10
Timbre: Lush, dense, rich and natural
Soundsig: Lush V shape with grand presentation

-ISN H40 (1DD+3BA)-
Tone: 8.5/10
Tech: V=8/10                         A=7.5/10
Timbre: thick, lush, warm, dark, buttery
Soundsig: Basshead warm U shape with dark but present mids and smooth treble with minimal snap, laid back banger

-Penon Vortex (1DD)-

-Tangzu Zetian WU-

-Letshuoer S12-

Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V: 8.6                              A=8/10
Timbre: liquid, transparent, polished, clean natural
Soundsig: Smooth U shape to neutral, crisp delicate treble, lean natural mids, slight sub bass boost

Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V: 8.4                              A=8.2/10
Timbre: warm, foggy, realist, 
Soundig: Smooth W shape to mid centric, mid bass punch with tamed sub bass, lush and detailed mids

-TINHIFI P1plus (1planar)-
Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=10/10                          A=9/10
Timbre: textured, transparent, gently bright, hyper realist
Soundsig: crisp neutral to analytical, bass light with vivid upper treble, open transparent mids, effortless clarity

-SIMGOT EN1000 King Wonder (1DD)-
Tone: 8.4/10
Tech: V= 8.6                             A=8.2



-AUDIOSENSE T800 (8 knowles BA)-
Tone:    8.4/10
Tech:    V=10/10                         A=9/10
Timbre: warmish but saturated with texture, thick and natural-lush-euphonic
Soundsig: agressive warrm W to V shape with big bass boost, big mids boost, smooth treble boost

-DUNU DK2001 (1DD+2 Knowles BA)-
Tone:    8.6/10
Tech:    V=8.6/10                         A=8.5/10
Timbre: warm, thick, natural to lush
Soundsig: warrm W shape to energic L shape with bass boost and rolled off upper treble

Tone:    8.6/10
Tech:    V=8.7/10                              A=8.6/10
Timbre: Natural, transparent, organic, smooth and gently textured
Soundsig: Harman target to crisp U shape, slight sub bass boost, airy mids, clean treble

Tone: 7.8/10
Tech: V=8.8                                      A=8.5/10
Timbre: organic bright, transparent, thin but boosted in texture
Soundsig: Crisp airy DF neutral with slight mid bass boost, boosted and extended clean sparkly upper treble

-SONY MDR-EX1000 (1DD)-
Tone:    8.8/10
Tech:    V= 8.5/10                           A=8.2/10
Timbre: Bright to lush with great texture and dense body
Soundsig: Energic neutral to bright mid centric with slightly punchy bass

-FINAL E5000 (1DD)-


Tone: 9/10
Tech: V=8.6/10                              A=8.4/10
Timbre: Life like, natural, rich, dense, textured, euphonic, natural, transparent
Soundsig: Dark smooth W shape, full bass and mids, analogue-like tone, lush holographic, well layered and thick 

-RAPTGO HOOK X HBB (1planar+1piezo)
Tone: 8.5/10
Tech: V=8.8/10                                         A=8.5/10



-FIIO FH7 (1DD+4Knowles BA)-
Tone: 8.2/10
Tech: V=8.4/10                                          A=8.5/10
Timbre: Lush, natural, dense yet transparent, well textured without being bright
Soundsig: W shape with tight punchy bass, thick mids and full&crisp treble. ”Fun neutral”

Tone: 8.3/10
Tech: V=8.4/10                                                 A=8.3/10
Timbre: Lush, thick and a hint bright in texture
Soundsig: Energic W to V shape, boosted bass and upper mids+crunchy highs with tamed upper treble.

-FINAL B3 (3BA)-
Tone: 8.5/10
Tech: V: 8.2/10                                           A: 8.8/10
Timbre: smoothed bright, realist, grainy lush
Soundsig: Bright neutral with punchy mid bass, vivid dynamic and energic treble


-Kinera Urd (2DD+1BA+Dual sonion EST-650$)-

-UM Mext

-Final A8000

-Sony IER Z1R

-64audio Nio

THE GRUMPY LIST (Overpriced IEMs that will never make this list)

-Shure KSE1500:
Bright DF neutral, no bass, thinner than thin and sound cold and clinical ultra vivid way (2H listen i will never forget, fastest transient response like an x ray weapon that ive never heard before, but ultra boxy so it surely need deep fit for slightly better sound experience (in your head cerebral wow clarity and imaging))

Campfire Andromeda:
Smooth neutral, not that bad, but lean, boring, ”jack of all trade master of none”, lack of air and sparkle, foggy warmed imaging, a bit like a Seeaudio Yume with less bass and better technicalities (more BAs).

Dita Audio Fealty and Fidelity:
Benchmark for me of overpriced IEM, these are both single DD with limited technical performance. Tuning of both is brightish to plain meta bright and shouty, yet, with open soundstage wich is surely the selling point since it seem we are into an hall with boosted guitar amps everywhere…boosted clarity goes wrong in 2 way here. 1500$ is pure scam.

Hifiman RE800:
These where 800$ at the time and I only try for a month the Gold version….bright, shouty, intimate and in your face, no soundstage, no bass, no timbre joy, no refinement. A good DD goes bad here.

Campfire Polaris:

Basshead goes bright and fuzzy, think about a KZ ZS10pro with way more bass, yet of better quality (faster). With electronic and anything non acoustic beat heavy music, this can be fun and even enjoyable, but at this price we expect less sibilance and mid range and treble torture. Primitive basshead at prime price=big no no.

Dunu Luna:
I remember at the time, being among only reviewer not liking them. Well, reason is simple: i don’t wanna please Dunu or Audio Distributor for extra freebies etc. And have a proper technical champion using single Pure Beryllium driver, the Final A8000. Let say the downfall come from sky high here…it feel like i was listening to a good 200$ single DD IEM, with fast attack speed but excited way, in the sens, i was impress by sound layers chunks it can throw at me. The Luna have no sparkle and air and sound thick as a whole, warm mids and brightish treble that struggle to don’t fall into dark saturated oblivion. For more than 1K$ its a very niche romantic tuning, that we can call lush mid centric and a fail attempt to mesmerizing musicality.


  1. I like the speed and clarity of the Kanas Pro, but I want less fatigue and a lot more bass/body/fullness. Where do I go..?


  2. Hi. I wanna ask. What do you think would be great upgrade from einsear T2? I really like the sound signature. I try different earphone like Bqeyz kb100, KZ zsn, and Senfer Dt6 but I just love Einsear T2 sound more. There really no problem in sound just the separation is very messy in busy track (too bad I usually listen to rock) . Did you have any recommendations that have Einsear T2 sound with good separation


    1. Hi, hum, the one that came to my mind is FINAL AUDIO DESIGN E2000, its mid centric and imaging is great, attack is quite fast, emphasis is on mid bass not on sub bass like the E3000. Just slightly bright, less bright than Einsear T2 and less trebly but with plenty of details. I was searching in my sub-50$ mind….dont know price range your looking for. Alpha Delta D6 is a little more expensive but even more mids and highs emphased and bass have little more body. For rock, both are excellent.


  3. I’m between ibasso it01s and Moondrop KXXS, since the kanas pro have been replaced by them. I feel like I trust the ibasso brand more, and I like the cable better. Are the Moondrop worth the risk over the iBasso? Thank you in advance


    1. yeah, i don’t like this behavior from Moondrop as well…i can’t buy the crescent because it do not exist anymore so its sad. What type of sound do you search? Harman target type? What music style you listen too? In sub-200$ market their plenty of choice. For bass i’ll go IKKO OH1 and for mids and detailed timbre i’ll go BQEYZ Spring1. But I can only suggest what I hear, wich explain why i can’t tell about IT01s and KXXXs as i dont listen to them. I have IT01 and i’m not a big fan either.


      1. Harman target seems nice, I listen to a lot of different genres, rock, metal, prog staff, classical, jazz, some more electronic things, and I’m also kind of a critical listener since I’m a musician as well. I like to observe things in music, so I guess something balanced with the right emphasis here and there and good build since I’m constantly on the move. I’ll look into your suggestions. Thank you very much 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What IEM(s) would you recommend under $50 that have the most neutral sound signature without the boost of any frequencies. I am looking for similar sound to HD600, HD599.


  5. Hello! I like Audio-Technika M40X and Focal Listen sound, what do you recommend me in similar? Now Im looking for ibasso it01s, final-audio e4000, dunu focal-c, rha t20i and TinAudio T2..

    My music: Massive Attack (Angel, Teardrop..), Max Richter – Recomposed Vivaldi Album, Hans Zimmer and etc.



    1. Hello….hum, from the music you listen (great music by the way), I would say Audiosense T800 or FIIO FH7 (forr best sub-500$ choice), IKKO OH10 or OH1 for best sub-200$ choice, Moondrop Starfield for best sub-150$ choice, BQEYZ KB100, Final Audio E3000 or Tin Hifi T2+ for best sub-100$ choice and KBear KB04, Blon BL03, Final Audio E1000 for best 50$ choice.


  6. Hi. I have ikko oh1 for over a year I am satisfied with the sound quality they present but I am looking for something with even more detailed sound. I want micro-details in music. What would you recommend up to $ 150?


  7. Hi . I apologize for my English right away. I have ikko oh1. I am satisfied with the quality of the sound they present. I listen mainly to edm, rap, rock, lofi, mainly electronic music, I listen to a bit of everything 🙂 I’m looking for something with even more detailed sound. I want to hear micro-details in music. What would you recommend up to $ 200?


    1. BQEYZ Spring2. Very generous in micro-details due to piezo driver, but bassy with fowards vocal too. For more impressions you can read my review about it! FIIO FH3 is another contender but less bassy and fun than Spring2 with thinner timbre.


    1. I think you can go Senfer DT6 for big holographic soundstage, Tanchjim TANYA for natural bassy laid back musicality or HZsound Mirror for end gam reference neutral sound…or BQEYZ KC2 for lush vocal with thumpy bass…lot of choices!


  8. Hi, i’m eyeing HZ mirror, but i wonder if it can pair well with my dongle cx31993. Have u got that dongle? Could u give me some advice?


    1. I haven’t test this dongle…but 65mw@32ohm is a decent amount of power. Still, HZM will scale up with more powerful and higher-end stuffs, i suggest a minimum of 300mw@32ohm. But im able to enjoy them with Tempotec HD PRO which isnt very powerfull. You can’t go wrong with HZM because it will follow you in your audiophile evolution for years to come.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ya, but i heard that hzm is neutral bright, don’t know if it can get along well with a dongle that is also neutral bright like this one


      2. HZM like clean source too (cause of it’s revealing nature)….but for some extra bass ES9280C dongle is good. Perhaps going FIIO BTR5 or Audirect BEAM SE or ATOM2 would be a better bet, they are pair well with the HZM and haven’t rolled off sub bass like Tempotec HD PRO.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m looking for two iems under 200: a pop music specialist as at least half of my library is made of pop music, and a king of versatility to handle classical, rock, metal, and other genres. Therefore, I’m on the fence beween i3 pro/oh10 for the pop specialist and yuan li/aria for the versatility.


    1. You do your homework well mate…I3Pro and Yuan Li have similar tonality which do great for Pop music. OH10 is the king of versatility and will handle rock, metal, classical beautifully. You can’t go wrong with any of the choice you made.


    1. Yes i think its worth it, especially if you feel HZM is lacking some bass slam. Mids are more impressive with I3Pro too. I3Pro is warmer and very different, so it will be a good complement.


      1. Can you compare the finale e1000 with the hz mirror? Which would work better with the cx31993 dac…Will the mirror bother the ear because it’s too bright?


      2. Mirror is brighter-sharper more analytical with faster more controled attack, better resolution, cleaner background, better imaging. Timbre of Mirror is thinner and less natural than e1000, bass is lighter (but clearer and better separated and more extended). Vocal wise, E1000 is lusher fuller.


  10. hi, i have been using hzm for 1 and half year. im looking for upgrade. i saw the comment already and found i3pro is a good upgrade from hzm. but sadly here i3pro are about 180$, is it overprice? or its worth for the upgrade?

    also how about moondrop aria? is it a good upgrade from hzm? aria are about 80$ here


    1. sorry mate, didnt see this comment. Aria is a good sidegrade, in the sens tonality is notably smoother and timbre a bit more natural, yet not that much lusher either…bass is biggest diff, its more sub bass boosted. so, if you wanna more laid back HZM its kinda this.
      for proper HZM upgrade, i would suggest Tinhifi P1plus. Even if bass is even less rumble and deeply extended treble is faster in attack and more holographic. P1plus are absurdly underatted imo (i own 6 planar IEMs)….
      other choice in sub-100$ margin would be….hum…in fact, HZM is sub-150$ technical king to my ears so. Oh, and i3pro is less well balanced and bass is a bit sloppy…its good but another sidegrade imo, I prefer Aria.
      Perhaps goin Kinera Idun Golden 2.0 would be a wise bet, less edge W shape with fuller timbre and less agressive treble. Yep, good bet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s