Help me out of the 100$-IEM rabbit hole

Please help me!

I am in the rabbit hole searching for an IEM to match with my Chord MojoPoly.

My price range is -100$-ish and I like to listen to rock, indie, country, singer-songwriter and a tiny bit of electronica. I will be using them for travel/commuting and home use.

My own candidates based on reviews and comments are: Moondrop Starfield, Tin T2 Plus, Tin T4, CCA CA16, CVJ CSN, Final E1000.

I really like the signature of my Hifiman Sundara, so something along those lines.

I have tried Final E3000 (too v-shaped), KZ ATE (way too bassy), Tin T2 (maybe too little bass) and Campfire Comet which I kind of liked (though they were too warm and mid-centered with too little extension and detail) but did not use enough to warrant their price.

I value comfort of course :wink:

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if you are into longtime comfort, the T4 is not an ideal candidate

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The Starfield is quite good. It is a bit forward in the upper mids, which gives it good clarity but also makes it sound a tad lean. Overall though it’s a very safe tuning.

If you have access to eq, you could try eqing your existing set to understand what signature you like best, then look through https://crinacle.com/graphs/iems/graphtool/ to see what looks similar.

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Owning the Moondrop Kanas Pro and CCA C10, decide whether you prefer the characteristics of dynamic or BA drivers. Dynamic drivers tend to be more mid-focused and musically integrated, but roll-off and distort. BA drivers (in this price range) will be clear, extended, and insanely localizing, but perhaps notchy, penetrating, and bright. However, my CCAs were better than various KZ and TRN products I purchased previously.

For everyday used I’d go with a dynamic driver model.

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I find the Tin T3 works for me. A little bright perhaps, but otherwise very good.

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I love the T2s, but if you felt like they were disappointing in bass, I’d recommend KZ ZS10 pro. I prefer Tin’s MIDS, but overall ZS10pros are more “fun”, without loosing detail, comparing to T2s.

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Take a look to Ibasso iT00 and ISN D02 , they both have excellent reviews/impressions.
They are pretty new on the market, there are not many comparisons yet .

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If you’re after a similar signature to the Sundaras, I would definitely take a look at the Hifiman RE-600S v2’s. You can find them for roughly $75 on Amazon here: RE-600S v2

It won’t match the Sundara for pure speed, detail and articulation, but it is still good in those areas and its tonality is pretty close to neutral to my ears with decent well extended bass performance and very good mids as well. The highs are maybe a touch less defined than my Sundaras, but every time I put them on when I want to be portable I don’t feel like I’m giving up much when listening. They are my portable IEM go to’s.

They insert fairly easily into the ear and when I put them on they are extremely comfortable and “disappear” into my ear. They’re fairly easy to drive as well and should work well with your MojoPoly.

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In the sub 100 bracket, my favourite so far is the Starfield, I find that it fits my taste pretty well. Maybe try purchasing it from somewhere with a decent return policy.

(Take a look at the ultra cheap IEM thread, there are lots of other options in there with good reviews also).

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Most of the models people are mentioning are newer, and for all I know they are excellent, but let me put in some praise for the RHA T20, widely admired a few years back. There’s a bluetooth version (that also comes with a wired cable) for $169 if you want to go that high. Amazon has the older hard-wired version, like I have, for $135. https://www.amazon.com/RHA-T20-IEMs-Gen-Ear/dp/B074QJSRPN?th=1

The bass is rich and precise, the soundstage is huge, and everything sounds very natural. If you want more bass or more treble, you can change an included filter, but I find the basic “reference” ones to be best.

The buds are made of metal, not plastic, very substantial, with a smooth rounded shape.

Two cons:

  1. The non-Bluetooth model doesn’t have a detachable cable. But it’s kevlar with memory wire at the end, very sturdy (and I’ve had them for years).

  2. You absolutely have to get a good seal. Wirecutter, which hates them and thinks there is no bass–what???–clearly did not. They’re not super large but the rounded shape has to sit just right. RHA includes a big selection of tips–10 I think–but I ended up using Comply Comfort. All ears are different. If you get a good fit you’ll love them. Looks like the Amazon seller has free returns anyway.

The 1More Triple Driver gets a good fit far more easily, and also sounds good, but the T20 is just better.

My more recent purchases have been true wireless buds, but nothing–even the highly touted, tricky-fitting Sony WM-1000XM3–sounds anywhere near as good as the RHA T20.

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I will put a vote in for Etymotic ER2XR or ER3XR.

If those scare you, then I’ll say Tin T4, Moondrop Starfield or Thieaudio Legacy 3.

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Reviews have been saying the T2 Plus is better (and cheaper) than T4.

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Either one is alright. I think the T4 is a little better in technical performance, but I think people do like T2 tonality more.

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Thanks for all your suggestions. We have a powerful collective brain :wink:

Based on your recommendations I am going for a dynamic driver. Right now the Moondrop Starfield is my favorite as it is seems to be a good mix between SQ and comfort. Maybe Tin T2 Plus as a cheaper option. Etymotics, RHA and some of the others are too expensive based on my limited use. At home I prefer listening to my Sundaras. So the IEMs are for going for a walk, whenever I need more isolation, commuting, going out etc.

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Has anyone tried the NF Audio NM2? Over on head-fi people are raving about them. And they seem like a very good sub-100$ option…

You might consider the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro. I like mine better than any of the other $100 or less IEMs I’ve tried, and @ProfFalkin seems to think well of them also. They do not have a mic, as they were designed for music pros to use on-stage. Good isolation. 10mm dynamic driver. Quite reasonable comfort.

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Not sure why I’m being mentioned here? I don’t think I’ve ever owned the ie40 pro. I’m confused

HMMM. I thought it was you, but someone here pointed them out to me before I got mine. I can’t find the post in search now. It was one of the Core / Founder people, I’m certain. Perhaps @Torq or @generic. There were several comments.