Antdroid's In-Ear Monitor Ranking List & Impressions/Reviews

Would it be possible for you to post the graph in a larger image, please - one that would allow us to see the IEM labels more clearly?

Thanks for posting the updates!

Unfortunately, not really much I can do about it without removing a large chunk of data. thats as big as excel lets me, plus there’s just too many overlapping IEM points…

1 Like

Could you please rate every headphone ever made, with all versions, and with all cable combinations? thank you.

4 Likes

I’d wondered if something like that had been the case - no worries, it’s easy enough to imagine the placement of the IEMs on a graph from the ranking.

ill have it on your desk by 8am tomorrow!

4 Likes

I normally post the entire review here but im currently at airport and will repost the full contents later. In the meantime, here is my 7Hz Timeless review. I really like it. It’s a A-tier iem.

10 Likes

The all-new P1 Plus is the latest in the P-series of planar in-ear monitors from Tin Hifi, and comes up against some very tough competition with the very good and recently released 7HZ Timeless. The P1 Plus was provided by Linsoul for review and retails for $159 USD, which is actually less than the previous P1 and P2 models.

Find the product here: TINHIFI P1 PLUS  10mm Planar-diaphragm Driver HiFi In-Ear Earphones – Linsoul Audio

Visually, the P1 Plus looks just like the P1 and P2 models with a stainless steel mirrored-finish housing that has a rounded triangle shape. The unit continues to include a 10mm planar magnetic driver and uses MMCX connectors. The cable is a braided-copper color with metal connectors.

Sound Impressions

Internally, I don’t know if anything really changed, besides whatever was used for tuning. The P1 Plus is tuned differently, and is perhaps the best tuned IEM of all of Tin’s product lines. I found the P1 Plus to have a laid-back and warm tuning, which has a dipped upper-mid range and treble, but with plenty of treble extension. The bass range is linear and extended, and not as elevated in the mid-bass as the other P-series IEMs.

When I first put the P1 Plus on, I felt it was pretty mediocre, in that it was tonally acceptable, but technically not. As with the other P-series, the fit was pretty challenging for me, and getting a proper seal and secured fit in my ears was difficult. I tried several tips, with varying degrees of success. Some caused extreme sibilance due to poor fit, and some just did not want to stay in when I moved. I ended up sticking with the included large foam tips that Tin supplies with this IEM.

With the foam tips, I was able to both get most of the sound issues out of the way, and I did not have any problems walking around and worrying about them falling out. With the foam tips, I’m sure it also helped with a some of the upper treble issues I was experiencing while using other tips, though not all of it went away.

One of my biggest issues with many of the Tin products is that they are brighter than my preferences. In the cases of their dynamic driver T-series, this was mostly in the upper-mids and lower-treble range being a little more exaggerated than I’d like to varying degrees, with the recent T2 Evo being the worst offender. In the P1 and P2, my troubles were set primarily in the upper treble.

For relatively budget IEMs, having upper treble output is not always a given, as many of them, at least until more recently, cut off sound at below 10KHz, making some upper-harmonic sounds very muted. High strings and cymbals sound more deadened than usual, so having upper-treble really makes these instruments sound alive, but too much can make them piercing and fatiguing. Such was the case with the P1 and P2.

These previous generation planar IEMs from Tin Hifi’s biggest knock, tonally, was that they did not filter out these higher frequencies well enough, and in many of the music I listened to, caused quite a bit of ear pain. Sharp strings, extra splashy cymbals and hi-hats, and sibilant female vocals in poorly compressed pop music, amongst other audio artifacts.

With the P1 Plus, I found that the tonal balance was improved. The sibilance and upper harshness was reduced. It is still there, especially when I was using silicone tips and paired with my Sony NW-A55 digital audio player, but swapping to foam tips and using these alongside the Chord Mojo + Poly player, I found most of the harshness to disappear surprisingly.

The P1 Plus reduces the amount of mid-bass from the previous efforts with a more linear bass response that I prefer. There’s no muddiness while listening to this set, and this along with the lower upper mid-range produces a warmer and thicker sound that still doesn’t sound off. It’s a richer experience than most Tin Hifi products with the reduced pinna compensation, but one that I find good for non-fatiguing listen. Of course, this is dependent on how much the upper treble bothers you.

Technical Musings and Comparisons

On the more technical side, the P1 Plus isn’t stand-out performer in this price-range. It shares many of the same things I found lacking in the P1 and P2, and when directly compared to the newly released Timeless planar IEM, it really shows its technical limitations. The Timeless costs a bit more, roughly $60 more, so budgets need to be taken into consideration of course, but I’ll go over some of the areas where I find the P1 Plus and Timeless differ in technical performance.

I listened to a variety of jazz music from Go Go Penguin and Bill Laurence to Avishai Cohen and Joey Aleaxander, as well as the psychedelic guitar play of Tash Sultara, and soul music from Jorja Smith and Celeste during the music sessions between the two IEMs.

The main points that I came away with outside of just their tonal differences is that the Timeless has a larger presentation, more refinement, improved resolution, micro and macrodynamic abilities, and speed. In other words, it’s a much more technical beast than the P1 Plus is.

The P1 Plus seemed to lack resolution, and in some cases quite a bit of it in some passages of Tash Sultara’s latest album, “Terra Firma.” Some of the small intricate guitar play just seemed like it was lost in the mix. In other areas, the P1 Plus seemed a bit sluggish in its transient speed and this probably contributes to the loss of refinement and resolution.

While the P1 Plus is warm and pleasing, it doesn’t have the slam and rumble that the Timeless presents as well. The dynamics are also missing in general, as I found the P1 Plus’s ability to clearly depict quiet and loud parts of some of my jazz tracks to be a bit lackluster. In general, most instruments and passages all sounded forward and close. There wasn’t a large gradient or softness to parts of music that needed it. Instead, everything was a bit more in your face. I don’t think this was as bad as the original P1, not even close, but it isn’t the best I’ve heard at $159.

Overall

The P1 Plus isn’t a bad IEM actually, despite its limitations. At $159, it is alright. It has a easy to listen to tonality, and for the most part sounds accurate. I found its technical ability to be just about average to perhaps slightly below at its price point, and that along with its kind of challenging fit, I don’t necessarily recommend this for everyone. It’s a decent IEM, and I won’t fault someone for wanting it. I just find that there may be better ones around for the same, less, or slightly more money.

Overall Ranking B-

5 Likes

I ended up buying a 7hz Timeless to try out due to the relatively positive impressions initially from the community.

They arrived today. Sadly, I’m getting rattling with bass and some distortion in the mids with certain instruments on the right side. The left side is totally ok, so I think there might be something up with the right hand sides driver. I’ll run them overnight and see how they are doing tomorrow.

With that said, and listening around that limitation on the right side, initial impressions are mostly positive. They seem to have a very pleasant tonality, decent comfort, and pretty solid technicalities for the price. I don’t really feel any need to EQ them, maybe a tiny tweak here and there as I got more used to their sound signature.

I’ll report back about the rattle and distortion, as these seem really promising for a set that doesn’t break the bank.

Cable and included tips are nice too, and I’m trying out a pair of xelastec’s which are very secure feeling as well.

4 Likes


These are my quick impressions of the upcoming Dunu Titan S, which was sent over to me from Dunu’s rep Tom. I was told I could print some impressions, measurements and photos as long as I warn everyone that this is a pre-release unit and that packaging, appearances and sound may change prior to production. So, that is my warning, disclaimer, and fine print. Off we go!

The Titan S has a unique design with an industrial look with trapezoidal shape, full of rounded corners, and brushed metal finish, and a large opening vent on the faceplate. This almost looks like a dynamic driver cover for ear buds, but it is actually just a cover for this open-back design. Since it is semi-open, this will not be the best for those who want full isolation. Dunu is supposedly also considering making a closed version in the future as well.

The cable is a nicely wound and braided copper color that is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. I am a big fan of this cable, and it terminates in 3.5mm. Unlike most of the recent Dunu releases, this cable does not come with the detachable plug feature, and is just a traditional 3.5mm cable. Considering that the cost of one of the modular plug cables cost the same price as the Titan S set, that’s understandable.

The fit of this set was surprisingly very good for me. Some may look at the sharp and wide shape and worry, but I had no issues getting a good seal, and wearing the Titan S comfortably for many hours. It’s also generally lightweight and the corners are rounded and did not poke or cause discomfort to my ears.

Sound Impressions

The Dunu Titan S is well-balanced IEM that is close to my preference target curve with the exception of a slightly more elevated 3KHz upper-midrange gain. This larger gain does make things like strings and higher vocals a little more forward and stand out more with excitement, but I did not find it distracting or harsh. There is a little bit of sibilance in some music that I heard on this set that I do not hear on other stuff I own, but its not overly painful and comes and goes quickly.

The Titan S has an overall good tonal balance with just that slight hint of over-done treble and sibilance, but I do find its technical performance to be just average in the grand scheme of things. Now, take into account that this will be approximately $80 USD, and it’s actually pretty good when compared to its competition.

A couple months ago, I reviewed the Moondrop Aria, and it was easily one of the best IEMs I’ve heard for under $100. It was basically an improved Kanas Pro or KXXS in every way, but at half the price, which was pretty hard to fathom! This Titan S set can go to battle with the Aria in the under $100 market pretty well.

The two of these are probably my favorite picks under $100 at this point in time, and share a lot of similarities but do have some distinct differences that I think will be trade-offs and subjective taste differences.

I feel like both have a solid technical performance for this price range. They both have above-average resolution and neither sound bloated and excessively harsh in any way. They have generally natural sounding low end and both have a surprisingly good amount of treble extension and that provides a full sound across the board, which is hard to say for stuff in this price point.

Where these two differ for me is in their tonal balance subtleties. The Moondrop Aria is a little more bass heavy with a smoother treble, while having a slightly leaner mid-range sound due to a more recessed mid-bass area. The Dunu Titan S, instead sounds a tad more smooth and warm in the low end, but a little more sharper in the upper mid-range and a slightly less-even treble area. I do find the Titan S to have a small amount of sibilance, whereas the Aria does not in most cases.

The Titan S has a more natural sound to me with a slightly more neutral tonality to it, albeit with slightly less dynamics. The Aria has more punch and a slightly more dynamic sound, but at the expense of sounding a little more disjointed across the board due to the reduced mid range.

So, to me, both have their strengths and weaknesses, and at the end of the day, I don’t think one could go wrong for a small budget IEM with good sound quality. I like both very much!

10 Likes

Spent quite a bit of time this week re-ranking and normalizing all my data and re-doing my “value” rating.

Actual Ranking List: Antdroid IEM Ranking List

The Antdroid Tier List for IEMs is a compilation of three main categories: Tonality, Technicality, and my own Preference Grade with a weighted scoring system of 15% 15 % and 70% respectively.

The Preference grade is just my personal grade which is based on sound, fit/feel, and other more subjective biases. Remember, “tonality” and “technicality” is supposed to stand on its own, they still may and will have bias applied to it from me. I am not a robot, even if my user name may imply so.

There is also a unique Value score. This is a auto-generated score based on the price to performance ratio of each IEM versus the entire population. It’ll give up to 3 stars for best value at their price points, and also show “X” for ones to avoid as poor performers for their price point.

Current Pictorial of the Price to Performance:

Stat nerds:

image

4 Likes

4 Likes

Wonderful! Thank you, @antdroid, this is tremendously useful as a handy reference.

My mission now, with a bunch of excellent retailers all in close proximity to me in the NYC metro area - and with CanJam coming up in February - is to audition my way through that upper-right hand quadrant, including all those IEMs with a score above 12.5 and a price above ca. $600! Should keep me out of mischief for a while, at least.

Thank you.

3 Likes

Thank you ever so much @antdroid. I really appreciate all your hard work and effort in the iem community. These charts are really good and as @Tchoupitoulas say’s is a great reference and guide. Keep it up Sir Antdroid of Iem.

3 Likes

I’m more of an upper left quadrant guy myself. Not cheap, just poor. Can’t justify the price of a decent motorcycle for iems. I live in a time of reduced expectations, and “good enough” is my friend. :sunglasses:

5 Likes

Look at the high performance ranking of the 7Hz Timeless and where it is in price. Here, we now have a true “giant-killer.”

1 Like

But the Aria is only 2 points lower and less than half the price (in fact, just over 1/3 the price)…

Actually just ordered the Arias for $68 from Amazon. Seems like “the” bargain of the bunch for us poor people. Unless the Timeless is 3x better,(which I doubt) though I still couldn’t afford it. Lol.

2 Likes

Bubbling paint jobs kind of wreck the value proposition, though

I must say I’ve been lucky and not had any issues with the Aria (the Starfield however…)

3 Likes

As long as it sounds good, I’m not too concerned about cosmetics. I would be moreso if they were $300 ofc. But if I have to give up some thing to get to a price point, better paint quality than sq. Ymmv for sure though.

2 Likes