The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread



It is!

And most of mine (well, the first half a dozen … or so …) have been picked up mostly on the basis of “I need another ~$20 for my same-day free-shipping on Amazon Prime”.

As it stands … I have the KZ ZST ($20), 4x KZ ZSN ($23x4 = $92), KZ ZS6 ($47), 3x KZ ZS7 ($50x3 = $150), KZ ZS10 ($45), RevoNext QT3 ($50), Tin T2 Pro ($50), CCA C10 ($42) and Final Audio E3000 ($42) … so about $538 in total (some prices were rounded up to the nearest dollar).

If I’d not wanted different “pretties” (ZSN) or run into “driver flex” (ZS7), I guess that’d be $369.

That said … so far it’s been a LOT of fun.

Not, in anyway, a replacement for my flagship IEMs, even if they do illustrate the law of diminishing returns quite aggressively.

And if I was doing it again, and actually was on a budget and buying “for real”, and I was fidelity-focused, I’d be looking at the FAD E3000 or the CCA C10 first, and if I wanted a more obviously V-shaped, but non-punishing, “fun” signature, the ZSN.


I have the CCA C10, and ZSN on the way…from recommendations and listening to you guys go back and forth lol…plus the YY cables for my CA Andromedas…

I was listening to my “ultra cheap” Andromedas on the ADI-2DAC…what fun! I forget how good they are when properly driven…but the Bass does kick up quite a bit with the ADI-2DAC driving them…fortunately the built in EQ fixed that right quick :wink:


The E3000 is a good IEM. I really liked it when I had it. I like the E2000 a little more only because it had less mid-bass to it, and I prefer that. The E3000 was just a tad bass heavy for me. It reminded me of the 1More Quad Driver but cheaper.

OK. I stopped myself from ordering the CCA10 the other day, as well as the KZ ZS7, and I still have the Focal Spark in my shopping cart.

Like @Torq, I was waiting for some actual Amazon Prime need to push me over the limit for same day shipping. haha.

Aren’t you glad we started inviting folks from HF’s chinese budget thread over here? :smiley:


Speaking of Ultra Cheap Final Audio…

$8 for a Final Audio IEM?


The Andromeda’s really do put a smile on my face every day. Though my smile would be even bigger if I had access to @Torq’s plethora of goodies. :grin:. I only have the T2 pro’s so far and I am trying to resist going down this route and to leave it to you guys. Enjoy.


They must have fixed that price mistake…it is now just under$40


Oh dang yea. I just got a message that the item increased in my cart. haha. It didnt sound like my type of IEM anyway. Bass cannons and dark signature according to some reviews.


One of the Amazon Lightning deal’s right now is the fancy cheap IEM multi-storage case that is masquerading as a watch case:

Every size is on the deal.

~ 3:30 hours left as of right now.


Already purchased and received…now to start figuring out how I actually want to use it…as I don’t have that many IEMs…but maybe as a cable storage and IEM? hmmm possibilities!


I hear it works pretty well for storing watches, if you’re into that :wink:


I like to store IEMs in surplus Trader Joe’s chocolate tins like this:

They’re the perfect size, they stack well, and my wife never complains about my buying her chocolate.

EDIT - Also, the clear lid allows me to quickly identify the contents.


I buy various IEM carrying cases from Ali Express. They are cheap and look pretty nice. Some are on amazon too. All of them are under $5 a piece. Then I put them all in a box on my shelf, or in my drawer.

My favorite are the ones from HZSound. They are umm massively overpriced on Amazon, so I won’t link to it but can be found for just a couple dollars on AE or other sites.


Gearbest has KZ cases for $1.50.


but that means I would have to take my watches out of my watch case…

Image result for infinite loop meme


Got a question: does anybody have a DF correction file to be used with the Room EQ Wizard software?

Speaking of…I ruined my KEF M200…no idea how. One could think driver flex…but I never experienced that either. Luckily it is on warranty.

By the way, an excellent sounding (but horribly fitting) earphone, frequently to be had for $70 CAD.


Great to hear that you are content. I am presently reverting to my old single DDs (while applying newly learnt simple modding skills). I feel they have been forgotten in the last two years over the hybrid craze. Single DDs sound much more natural than cheap hybrids to me. I prefer them for classical music.

Less is more!

Would be really interested in the JVC FD01…but that is an expensive Japan import.


A correction file will be specific to your mic setup. It’s probably best to use a known headphone and normalize to that. If you want to get close to what industry standard DF is, then the Etymotics ER series is where to start. But it would be better to just make a correction curve based on what you like. I’ve started my own but need to tweak it some more.


I quite like Multi-BA IEM’s the bass is fine for me. I am not a particularly big bass freak though I do love my Shure SE846’s. These are said to have some great bass. They are a fun iem to listen to when I don’t fancy using my Andromeda’s.

To be honest I aren’t much of a scientist and leave all the measurements and graphs and charts to the folks who have an aptitude for this kind of thing. It’s great though to see so many cheap but good quality iem’s hit the market in recent years. The quality would seem to be getting better though as time passes. Though I have also noticed the prices creeping up as well.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when people were raving about $10-20 iem’s but it seems to have moved on from those prices now. I may be totally off the mark in thinking this but it’s just my observations over the last few months.

How do you feel about Hybrids? As they seem to be flavour of the month now. Does it offer the best of both worlds?


Your observation appears to be spot on. $10-20 iems such as the Urbanfun Hifi were en vogue two years ago but the addition of drivers increased production cost and sale prices. We first reached the $50 sweet spot that moved fast to $200 - $300.

As to bass: the music reproduction should be as realistic as possible to me. An overblown bass hurts my perception. Example are the NiceHCK M6: a capable hybrid with an overdone bass.

For the longest time, I had no idea of FR graph interpretation. This changed because of

  • My Sennheiser Momentum in-ear, my first >$100. I didn’t like the recessed vocals and found a correlation with the FR graph (V-shape).
  • I realized that my $$10-$20 all had such a FR graph.
  • The KZ ZS6 with a treble peak that hurt my ears. The graph made this visible (later I learnt that micropore tape helps; graphs indicate the modding results).

The V-shape became a pattern I tried to avoid before I even read up on the information such a graph offers. In the end, the graph characterizes the basic flavour of an iem and may act as an early warning system for the potential buyer.

As a pseudo “audiophile” with shallow pockets I was looking for the budget end-game iem. I was recommended the UE900S ($399 list; $179 massdrop) by an expert. In order to go a step up, you allegedly need to pay 1000-2000 Euros more (many will argue that, I simply don’t know). These are poorly built but sound great. 4 Knowles BAs, no DD. The bass is just fine, very dry. But overall, these and also the highly rated Brainwavz B400 just don’t sound as natural as a good single DD. I’d call this kind of detailed sound “fragile” or “sophisticated”.

What has become very important to me is size/fit. I really like the Brainwavz B200 v1.: very small, very comfy, and the 2 BAs deliver a dry enough sound with a nice low end, which I prefer over the B400’s. With the price increase in the budget segment, the sizes increased, too.

In the end, I tried to do what you did (but at a lower level): get the end-game iem and enjoy it while being able to ignore the ever changing trends.

I am presently weeding out iems and try to give them to a charity (which is not as easy as it sounds). Surprisingly, I am more attached to my old $10-20 iems than the $40-50 fare.

Right now, I am enjoying the cheap Shanling M0 player with the cheap Focal Spark.


It is very difficult to try and settle on one iem and be totally happy. I have always suffered with upgrade fever in every hobby I have had. It’s becoming easier the older I get but it’s still there. I love tinkering with the gear and trying new stuff but sadly it becomes too expensive. I love the iem’s that I currently own. I can honestly say that I crave only one more iem at the moment and that’s the 64 Audio U18Tzar. Sadly unless I sell quite a lot of my gear or a Kidney it will remain a pipe dream for the moment.

Anyway I digress, I must get back on track. It seems to me that the Chinese market is going in the direction of the Western market. Cramming an ever increasing number of BA’s into big shells and seeing what the market will take cost wise. At this moment on time there does still seem to be value had from this emerging market but I can foresee that before long they may not be that far apart in quality and cost.

As ever just my own thought’s.