I am really enjoying the Monk VE earbuds I got from Massdrop a while back. But I keeping reading critical reviews on them. I know @antdroid has a lot of experience with what I call the “AliExpress” brands. Is there an under$30 set of balanced buds with 2.5mm TRRS plug I should audition?
For Ear Buds — My top choices right now at the Yincrow RW9 and X6 and the PMV B02. If you spend a bit more, than Rose Masya is my top choice. I made a thread about earbuds on here too. None of these come in 2.5mm balanced connectors, but you could easily solder one on. In general, very few, if any earbuds do, unless you can get them detachable. I dont really think its needed for an ear bud. Most are pretty efficient.
I am thinking of picking up a Moondrop ear bud soon to check it out. I
I concur with @antdroid regarding balanced cables. I’ve tried them on Chinese IEMs up to $50 and they weren’t worth the effort. The cable itself usually costs $20 too.
I ordered a pair of the QianYun Qian69’s for $8 to do a head-to-head with the Monk’s. I will have to try some Yincrow’s next.
I was curious about balanced cables because I’ve never tried them. The Monk’s can be purchased with a 2.5 mm TRRS plug.
If you live in the USA, I can send you my VE Monk Lite with 2.5mm balanced soldered on jack I modded. Just PM me. It’s sitting in my drawer collecting dust and I just found it the other day and forgot I had it.
You, of course, need a balanced amp to use it.
Do you have a balanced amp/DAC?
In the last year or so I acquired balanced cables for 6 sets of headphones and a balanced cable that I used on a few sets of IEMs.
Balanced had the greatest impact on my dynamic driver headphones (i.e., Sennheiser HD-600s; Focal Elex) – I perceive a much blacker background, better channel separation, less distortion, more control, and cleaner treble. A balanced cable helped but could not fully redeem AQ NightHawk Carbons (physically comfortable but only fair treble, and they flatten out nuances).
Balanced cables had a moderate “nice to have” impact on my planar headphones (i.e., Audeze LCD-2C, HiFiMan HE-560, Mr.Speakers AEON Flow Closed). The changes experienced with dynamic headphones were there too, just not as dramatic. The LCD-2C had the least change of these.
The IEM balanced cable maybe sort of kind of did something. Or not. This was with 3 Chinese IEMs (KZ & TRN).
I have an EarStudio ES100 and I want to compare the sound. It has both 2.5mm balanced and standard 3.5 mm jacks. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD-25’s and the Massdrop Jubilee 58X. I haven’t invested in replacement cables yet because the ES100 is the only balanced output I have so far.
A desktop DAC/AMP is on the horizon, maybe a Schiit stack around Christmas. If so, balanced vs. non- will be a consideration.