IEMs Discovery & General Discussion

Cerebral compensation! :laughing:

The highs must have some zing, with the beryllium.


Such a random thing, I was chatting with Zepplin&Co on instagram, and they recommended I check out the Hidition IEMs…I said I would ask you specifically your opinion of them lol.


I finished a review of the Dunu DK-3001 Pro here:

I find the DK-3001 Pro to be a nice addition to the mid-fi market. It has some limitations such as the lack of upper treble, some average bass resolution and texturing, but the general sound signature is indeed its strongest suit, at least to my perceived targets. It’s generally coherent, has a nice low end elevation, and an engaging sound that can sometimes sound a tad boring and relaxed, but works well for prolonged listening sessions where I just want to escape, but still enjoy the finer parts of music.


Hey, how do you compare them (Viento) against the Solaris/Andromeda?


The DK2001 is a 4-driver hybrid in-ear monitor (IEM) from Dunu. This colorful IEM comes in orange topaz, turquoise green, and a more traditional obsidian black color choice with each model looking pretty stunning. The model I received from Dunu directly was orange, which I find to be striking yet elegant at the same time.

The round metal housing is essentially the same as the DK3001 Pro model I recently reviewed. I received both of these at the same time, but spent more time with the higher priced model first, and have now moved on to the $299 DK2001 model, which caters to a different crowd.

The shells house a single beryllium dynamic driver and 3 custom Knowles balanced armature drivers, 1 less than the DK3001 Pro. The shell houses mmcx connectors which attach to a really nice set of Dunu cables – which are the same or similar to the DUW-02 cables that Dunu sells separately. This cable, like many of the new Dunu cables, comes with a swappable connector that lets you switch quickly between different sources, such as 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone jacks. Those two connectors are included with this set, and you can also purchase 2.5mm, 4.4mm and 3.5mm balanced separately.

Also included in the box is a vibrant blue carrying case, as well as a large selection of tips. This includes 3 different sets of silicone tips and a set of foam tips. Also included is a cleaning brush.


Like the vibrant color choices, the IEM screams “fun” and so does its sound signature. The DK2001 showcases a warm sound that also accentuates the upper mid-range and treble more so than the higher priced DK3001 Pro. It has many traits of a V-Shaped in-ear though I find it a little gentler in both bass and treble than a normal v-shaped sound signature.

The Dunu DK2001 handles bass pretty well. It’s not the hardest slamming or most impactful dynamic driver IEM I’ve heard, but it’s got a decent amount of rumble and slam when called upon. It doesn’t have a mid-bass hump and therefore I don’t think it’s super impactful as some other V-shaped IEMs, but for my preferences, I find the bass levels to be right about where I like it, and even slightly elevated.

Despite being have a warmer than neutral bass response, they don’t seem to ever sound bloated and muddy, and that’s partially due to the faster decay and transient speeds of the Be driver. I think this really helps create a nice soundscape, which keeps the lower end controlled and rarely spilling into the lower-mids, while providing a nicer thicker tonality.

The mid-range is coherent, and has generally good timbre and tonality, though it is a little on the warmer side. There is a large rise into the upper mid-range which makes some vocals, specifically females, a bit forward, but I am one who prefers that to an extent.

The lower treble isn’t peaky like many other IEMs and this creates a smoother treble response. There is a small peak later on that creates the exciting fun sound but it’s controlled enough that I don’t find the DK2001 to become sibilant or fatiguing. In general, I think the warmer nature of the IEM dominates here and it creates a nice enjoyable sound.

Soundstage is average width and imaging is actually pretty decent. There’s good instrument separation which allows this IEM to not sound congested and handles busy tracks pretty well.


When comparing this with the more expensive sibling, the DK3001 Pro, I find the $469 DK3001 Pro to sound more mature and refined, with a more neutral sound that is also warm and toned-down and enjoyable across many hours of listening. While I don’t find the DK2001 as fatiguing as other IEMs, I could see that the V-shaped nature could be to some. The DK2001 is the sibling with a more vibrant outfit and stylish looks, and the sound follows suit, with some mor rough edges along the way.

That said, I find this to be a great package at $299 with a wonderful cable, case, and a generally good sounding IEM. I prefer the DK3001 Pro over this, but it does cost a bit more, and either one gets a recommendation from me.

I’ve had some trouble finding a good hybrid IEM at any cost, and these two are pretty good, and so they’ll get recommendations from me if you’re into either types of sound.


Great review! I reaaaaaally want to hear the new Luna.


F-Audio is a Hong Kong-based company that started off in 2014 re-shelling in-ear monitors and then developed their own small line of universal and custom IEMs. The company currently has 6 total models between their custom and universal arsenal, with two being available in both fits. This specific quick review will go over their top-priced Major (~$1350 USD), from their universal lineup.

The F-Audio Major was loaned to me by fellow Audio Discourse member, Rush, to try out and provide impressions to over a couple weeks.

The Major’s shell is a machined aluminum housing that kind of looks like a comic quote cloud to me. It’s gold-anodized and has a nice feel and heft to it, though also small and easy to wear. The nozzle is small and shallow, so for me, it pairs better with larger silicone tips. The connector is of the 2-pin variety.

The IEM features a single dynamic driver; however, it has two diaphragm materials. The outer layer is a fiber-based diaphragm, while the inner layer is titanium foil. The fiber layer is designed to control the low end of the frequency response, while the titanium handles the upper-end.

Sound Impressions

The F-Audio Major has a V-shaped sound to it that with an emphasis on bass and treble, while the mid-range is only slightly recessed. While the basic sound signature isn’t unique, it does present music in a way that I find a little different than what I am used to.

First off, I find the treble has some peaks that don’t play well with my ears. There are definitely some strained and ringing sounds in the lower treble that exudes some abnormal sounding cymbal crashes and hat hits that I feel sound odd. In my Alison Krauss & Union Station listening, it really stands out and is quite fatiguing as the harmonics of all the stringed instruments of bluegrass paired with the angelic voice of Krauss really make this IEM a bit fatiguing and sharp.

In some ways, I also find the treble to sound a bit veiled too, or perhaps the term “grainy” comes to mind. This may have to do with such a large peak at 5.5KHz and such a drop off afterward followed by another peak between 8-10KHz that creates an uneven and somewhat strange treble sound to me. It sounds like everything prior to 2K sounds nice, warm and impactful, and everything afterward sounds quite average to strange.

That’s not to say everything is bad.

The low end is beefy. It’s warm, thick, and engaging. If the treble wasn’t so peaky, I’d almost consider this a dark in-ear, however, those treble spikes really make this more a V-Shape, albeit with hints of darkness. Back to the lower end. This IEM seems to play well with rock music. I found my 90’s alternative music really stood out on these.

Alice in Chain’s Rooster, for example, sounds really good. Given my normal listening gear, I am not normally listening to Layne Staley’s voice with such deep bravado, or the bass guitars and kick drums hit with power. That said, the snares do have that weird harmonic ringing and deadness to it that I mentioned above.

It’s actually more present in Smashing Pumpkins tracks, where Jimmy Chamberlain uses the cymbals and snare hits more so, such as in Cherub Rock, where it’s predominantly the base of the track. Billy Corgan’s voice doesn’t necessarily sound true either, and sometimes sounds a bit flat, however in general I do enjoy the thicker, warmer, tonality of the Major for a lot of this era’s music.

Pearl Jam for example, sounds pretty good. It also does well with hip hop music. I started listening to Notorious BIG and 2Pac and other rap favorites from the 90s and found the Major to bring back some fun here. There’s also a surprisingly wider soundstage than I thought, and separation is pretty decent, even in these rap tracks.


So, while I did enjoy revitalizing my love for 90’s music with my time alongside the F-Audio Major, I don’t necessarily feel it is really my preferred flavor of sound. It’s strays rather far from neutral, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I do find some of the quirks with this in-ear are not very enjoyable for my tastes and my ear anatomy. The treble is too disjointed and too peaky that it ruins a lot of my favorite music and I’m always feeling like something is wrong, off or missing.


Another great review Anthony. Really enjoyed it.



Here’s a review of an older, quirky IEM: the Sony MDR-EX1000. I’ll link the much longer review here and give a somewhat condensed version here on the forum.

The Sony MDR-EX1000 was first released in 2011 along with its siblings the MDR-EX800st and the MDR-EX600. While the EX600 and EX1000 are now discontinued, you can still find the EX800st as the Sony MDR-7550 being sold as a studio monitor. Used prices for the EX1000 run about $350 for a set in good condition. It’s close to impossible to find them new now although if you’re willing to search and gamble on Taobao that option is available. Personally, I’ve owned a set of the EX1000 for over two years and it currently serves as my daily driver.

The EX1000 and EX800st gained quite the reputation over the years for its host of quirks. For those who are newer to the IEM scene, here’s a short list of them with some of my thoughts on the matter:

  • 16 mm dynamic driver. It is the essentially biggest DD in an IEM you can get. The EX1000 has a LCP (liquid crystal polymer) coated driver while the EX800st uses a ML (multiple layer) diaphragm.
  • Very little isolation. Both the EX1000 and EX800st are vented IEMs. The large vents on these IEMs means they effectively have among the lowest isolation of any IEM. Wind noise a serious problem when walking down the street with these.
  • Awkward build and fit. These IEMs are constructed with a side-firing mechanism to accommodate their massive driver. This leads to a strange shell shape and awkward fit. Despite that, it’s rather comfy. The over-ear cable style lets the IEM kinda hang and float in your ears. I like to describe it as the comfiest non-ergonomic IEM I’ve tried.
  • The shell of these IEMs is made from magnesium but many people report theirs of paint chipping especially in humid conditions. I don’t really have this issue but it’s common to see it on used EX1000’s on sale.
  • Last but not least is the infamous 5.5 kHz treble spike. I’ll get to this in my review but for many people, this will be the killer.

Overall Sound Thoughts:

The EX1000 is known primarily for three things: its massive soundstage, potentially painful treble, and source (recording/mastering) depedency. Hopefully through this review I’ll acquaint you with some of the other aspects of the EX1000 that I think are equally as important.


While the bass quantity is relatively tame (“neutral flat”) and the frequency response does lightly roll off around 30 Hz, the quality of the bass is the star of the show. As they say in certain circles: there’s no replacement for displacement. The 16 mm DD on the EX1000 delivers an outstanding bass response that few, if any, other IEMs are able to match.The bass is full bodied and meaty and has a certain sort of texture to it. The bass feels satisfyingly visceral, especially when it comes to subbass rumble.

Despite its large 16 mm size, the EX1000’s driver is by no means slow but does lack a sense of speed and finesse compared to BAs. Instead, it strikes a very careful balance between preserving the weighty impact and realistic decay of a massive dynamic driver while preventing it from sounding sloppy and slow. It balances between boomy and punchy, with enough refinement to cut cleanly through bass lines. The timbre of bass focused instruments feels realistic, especially when it comes to instruments that want to sound large such as the floor tom and bass drum.


The low mids and mids continue the same excellence found in the bass. Once again, it has that lovely textured feeling, this time, with a touch of warmth. Acoustic stringed instruments sound especially good here while the gritty tone of electric guitars are rendered beautifully.

The upper mids is where the EX1000 starts to run into trouble. FR wise, it has a relatively small pinna comp at 2 kHz while dipping around 3-4 kHz. The 2 kHz peak gives the EX1000 a slightly nasally tone for vocals and worsened by 3-4 kHz dip which makes them sound partially recessed. The somewhat recessed vocals are a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand it contributes to the spacious, more open type of sound the EX1000 is known for. On the other, the lack of vocal energy can diminish the overall tone of certain vocalists, especially female artists.

Generally speaking, the tonality of the mids is quite good. It’s when you compare to it to something extremely good that its flaws become exposed.


The worst thing about the EX1000 is its 5.5 kHz lower treble spike. It is probably one of the worst treble spikes in any IEM. The bad news is that if your music has a natural peak around this area, this spike will simply amplify that and, depending on how loud you listen, it can be painfully sharp to listen to. The good news is a lot of music doesn’t actually interact too badly with the spike. About a 3-4 songs in my library hit this spike badly but that’s it. If you’re unlucky, vocals can be affected by this and you’ll get a painfully sibilant sound.

The EX1000’s upper treble starts to roll off pretty quick. This means there is a slight lack of air to the IEM despite how open it feels. Combined with the 5.5 kHz peak, this leads to issues with cymbals reproduction. There’s a sort of metallic glare to crashing cymbals as 5.5 kHz lands right in key frequencies for the cymbals while the lack of treble extension kills its upper harmonics. Once again, this is highly track dependent and better recorded/mastered tracks avoid this issue.

If your music isn’t affected by these two flaws, the treble is clean. Notes are crisp, the tone of bell-like instruments are crystal clear, and there is a rather nice lingering decay to ring out the hats/cymbals with a realistic shimmer. I don’t find it particularly bright either; other than the peak, the EX1000’s treble is just enough to add a hint of brilliance to the overall sound.


The presentation of the EX1000 is among the most unique on the market, with a huge soundstage being its claim to fame. Personally, I find that the stage has an extremely large horizontal width with a solid height and depth. Think the shape and size of a football (rugby ball) centered around your head. While I haven’t heard any other IEMs with a larger overall soundstage, the price for the EX1000 pays is its vented nature and no isolation.

Imaging is very good but I would not call it pin-point accurate. This slight vagueness to the imaging works to provide a life-like effect. Unlike the 3-point blob of imaging from in the vast majority of IEMs, the EX1000 makes full use of its wide soundstage and images with a great amount of nuance. One way I can try to describe its level of nuance is to think of three 3x3 grids lined up side by side horizontally for left, center, and right stereo imaging. Sound images from the 9 points in each grid. This gives an idea of height (top/bottom of grid) as well as the width. To add on that is another layer or two of depth.

Resolution with the EX1000 is better on a macro level than on a micro level. Instrument separation is outstanding as the EX1000 reliably distinguishes between overlapping instruments are hitting the same notes at the same time; layering, if you will. It has a superb sense of spacing between instruments that keeps them cleanly distinct and separate from one another. Detail retrieval is good considering its dated nature but simply cannot compete with current TOTL BA IEMs where you can clearly hear the missing notes the EX1000 fails to capture.

The EX1000 is also a highly dynamic IEM. The 16 mm DD allows a track to feel alive as it moves through its passages. This is best demonstrated in orchestral music where rising crescendos are beautifully contrasted with delicately quiet segments. There is a sense of musicality as the EX1000 engages the listener in the overarching story of each song.


Some of the EX1000’s biggest flaws are in its tuning. Fortunately, the EX1000 responds to EQ extremely well and a simple EQ can eliminate any tuning complaints I have about it.

Here is a 6-band PEQ I set up for it using UAPP. It could use a bit of refinement as I made it in about 10 mins but I’m quite satisfied with the sound I get from it.

Here is the explanation for each band:

  1. Low shelf provides the more subbass quantity. I mentioned above that the EX1000 is about bass quality than quantity, but why not both?
  2. Midbass band to maintain bass energy past the shelf. The idea is to give a nice, sloping curve as we transition into the mids.
  3. A cut at 125 Hz is important to avoid muddiness or bloat into the mids. Bands 1-3 create a nice low-end bump that provides bass quantity without sacrificing clarity.
  4. 3.2 kHz with 3 dB at 1.5 Q took a bit of experimentation but helps me around the vocal tone I want. The natural 2 kHz pinna comp isn’t too bad but could be better. Filling in some gain past the peak helps diminish the slightly nasally tone. It’s important that not too much gain is added. We want to retain the sense of openness and non-shouty nature of the EX1000.
  5. This is the most important band. The 5.5 kHz dip with a high Q is important to cut out the lower treble spike. This single cut does a lot to help improve the sound of the EX1000. No longer do cymbals sound metallic or overly strident.
  6. The high shelf in the treble is mostly to accommodate for the treble roll-off. While it doesn’t fix the inherent lack of upper treble, it helps give a bit of air and provide a more natural ring out decay for instruments.


The Sony MDR-EX1000 represents a dying breed: great single dynamic driver IEMs. Admittedly, it has major flaws in both its tuning and practicality. While its tuning flaws may be fixed with EQ, nothing will change the fact that it has next to no isolation and the somewhat awkward fit. The real strength of the EX1000 lies in its phenomenal presentation. Regardless of how much technical ability improves and tuning is perfected over the years, the EX1000 proudly stands as one of the most unique IEMs ever made.

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t fall in love with the EX1000 on first listen. I think some IEMs impress immediately from the start while others take some time before I appreciate them. The EX1000 is the latter. Maybe familiarity breeds fondness but I would be hard pressed to let go of these. Even after having demo’d other TOTL gear, I am still quite content with the EX1000 despite its host of flaws and aging technical ability. In the ever-increasing sea of IEMs claiming to the next best thing, the EX1000 has the X-factor that elevates it from a fading relic to an IEM worthy of lengthy praise a decade later.


Excellent review as I’ve come to expect from you. Very detailed. Great stuff.


Nice review! Something that sounds good, sounds good, no matter how old it is!

1 Like

Alright, here’s the Fearless Dawn review I’ve been working on for a while. The full review is here on It’s pretty lengthy as I have a few comparisons and other stuff in there so I’ll cut it down for this review.


The Fearless Dawn x crinacle a $1400 IEM sold by Linsoul that was made in collaboration with Fearless and crinacle, a well known community member (in)famous for his IEM ranking list and large library of frequency response graphs. The Dawn boasts a 6 BA + 2 EST configuration and was made using Fearless’ $4400 Y2K tuning system. For this review, I was sent the Dawn as a loaner unit from Linsoul. I’ll give my thoughts on the Dawn from the perspective of someone who has minimal experience with TOTL gear. Hopefully this will be helpful for those looking to move into more expensive gear but are unable to demo IEMs.


Overall Impressions:

While I’ve demo’d a few hi-fi IEMs before, I generally review budget and occasionally mid-fi gear. So I was initially quite impressed when I first listened to the Fearless Dawn x crinacle. So much so that I briefly considered if I should buy it. The large step up in resolution and tuning competency wow’d me. Pretty much every track I threw at the Dawn was a pleasant listen with tons of little details I hadn’t noticed before in my cheaper IEMs. But to be honest, over the two weeks I’ve had with the Dawn, it partially lost its lustre. Other than its tuning prowess and high resolution, it doesn’t bring anything unique to the table.

Having been tuned by crinacle, you’d expect the Dawn to have superb tuning and tonality. Well, it doesn’t disappoint. The Dawn has a relatively “balanced” tuning that tilts warm and has a reasonable bass boost. Its frequency response falls within what I would consider an “ideal range”. While no IEM will have a 100% perfect match to the listener’s preferences, the Dawn’s tuning is extremely likely to match an individual’s preferences closely with minimal adjustments needed. Or in other words, it’s what the Harman IE target should have been. The Dawn is a forgiving, non-fatiguing IEM you could easily listen to all day and not think about it. It plays politely with most every genre but I think rock is best on it. The Dawn is more a jack of all trades, master of none.

I think what makes a great IEM is a combination of three factors: 1) Tuning/tonality; 2) Technical ability; and 3) Presentation. All three work together and enhance each other. The Dawn has 2/3 of them. Tuning is on point. Resolution is great. But the sound of BA bass persists and overall presentation suffers from pitfalls common to IEMs. For me, the Dawn’s lack of the last factor is what keeps it from being the very best of the best. It’s darned good and deserves its TOTL status but its clear that there are improvements that can still be made.


crinacle himself is a bass lover and that shows with the Dawn. There’s a satisfying sub and midbass boost that tactfully rolls off into the mids. Thanks to the great seal I get, the Dawn easily extends down to 20 Hz and bass rumble is well presented. I’d consider the Dawn to be boomy rather than punchy and at times, I think the bass borders on being excessive. Tonality and resolution are, as throughout the Dawn, excellent. Subtle bass notes are clearly audible and well resolved where it would otherwise be overlooked or lost. Common bass instruments such as the floor tom, kick drum, and bass guitar have a realistic tonality to them. Low synths have great clarity and nuanced note distinction. Midbass definition is tight and well controlled for rapid bass lines. It neatly wraps up the bass section as it transitions into the mids.

While the Dawn is unfortunately unable to fully escape the pitfalls of BA timbre, it’s miles better than the Fearless S6 Pro and other cheaper BA IEMs that I reviewed in the past. Here, there’s much more weight and power to the bass notes that makes the Dawn sound big and boomy compared to the dry, sterile notes from cheaper BAs. Although it does sometimes feel like the Dawn overextends when going for a heavy, boomy note and ends up slightly loose with uncontrolled decay.


The mids are the best part of the Dawn’s tuning. I just adore the tone of electric guitars in the Dawn. It has just the right balance of lower and upper mids for a full bodied, ever-so-slightly warm sound that’s absolutely perfect for rhythm guitar and excellent for lead guitar. Vocals sound effortlessly natural, being neither too forward nor recessed. Both male and female vocals are presented equally well. The snare drum is particularly outstanding as the Dawn easily replicates the unique and complex sound of the snare in each track. Honestly, I have no complaints. Its tonality is as good as you’re gonna get in any IEM.


Treble is good but nothing outstanding. Here I think the Dawn plays it just a little too safe. It seems to be tuned to be as inoffensive as possible but still retain treble presence. There isn’t any peakiness, stridency, sibilance, harshness, etc. While hats/cymbals do have a crisp attack and clean decay, it feels lacking in terms of brilliance. The shimmer of cymbals is slightly muted in that sense. The Dawn isn’t particularly airy as the upper treble is recessed compared to the modest lower treble. It’s a bit disappointing that the Dawn is a touch conservative on the treble but I guess that if you want a tuning that will appeal to the most amount of people that’s the go-to compromise.


The presentation on the Dawn is its weakest point. It feels flat and on a single plane. The soundstage is fairly wide horizontally but has little height and depth. There isn’t a sense of space needed for more complex layering. Imaging is good. It’s nicely nuanced and makes full use of the soundstage. Overall, the staging is a only small step up from a good mid-fi implementation. It’s as if Fearless worked on it a bit, ran into a wall, and gave up. I will make a note here that sometimes I do get a glimpse of excellence. On rare occasions, in very well recorded/mastered tracks, I’ll hear a couple notes coming from way off the usual stage or with a depth far separated from other instruments. It’s a nice little treat when it does happen, rare as it may be.

Generally speaking, the dynamics of the Dawn are pretty much what I’d expect good IEMs to have. But it is fundamentally BA-like and a tad compressed. Brick-walled songs sound even more brick-walled on the Dawn. On a more macro level, I sometimes find that some instruments jump out at you for a bit before receding back into the overall track. I haven’t heard this phenomenon and the aforementioned rare off-stage staging before in other IEMs so YMMV.

The resolution of the Dawn is worthy of a flagship product. While I haven’t heard some of the most well regarded TOTL IEMs for resolution such as the qdc VX or Shure KSE, the Dawn is certainly no slouch. Instrumental separation is solid and detail retrieval is far and away better than any of the IEMs I’ve reviewed in the past. Compared to budget IEMs, it’s like hearing a new note in every five in some cases. Yes, that’s how much detail that can be missed. Guitar riffs are so much cleaner and defined with individuality heard behind each note. Little syncopated beats in the hats are peppered in and shows off the drummer’s character. I think a lot of people mistakenly look for a night and day difference in resolution for an obvious “wow” moment. But in reality, it’s the many little things that add up to separate hi-fi from mid or budget-fi. The subtle couple of notes that breathes life into the background. Or low sound of the bassoon that you’ve always heard but never truly noticed until it was distinct enough to catch your attention. I think this level of refinement is necessary for the Dawn’s tuning to reach it’s full potential.

Should You Buy It?

Yes, if you’re coming from a more budget background looking for a safe, all-rounder IEM to upgrade into hi-fi and you aren’t too nitpicky about presentation. The Dawn’s tuning and tonality is a near-perfect fit for most anyone and the step up in resolution and refinement is sure to be a significant upgrade coming from mid-fi. $1400 is “affordable” in terms of TOTL IEMs and I think the Dawn is worthy of a spot among the top even if it has a significant (relatively speaking) weakness in staging and presentation.

In terms of options, the most notable ones are likely to be the Hidition Viento (which I have not had a chance to demo) or the Sony IER-M9, both of which are quite a bit cheaper than the Dawn. This places the Dawn in a bit of an awkward position. At the end of the day, I think the choice comes down to this: how much do you value tuning. If all you truly care about is wanting a TOTL that has the best tuning and tonality possible, the Fearless Dawn x crinacle is it. It is by far the best tuned IEM I have heard. But if you’re more flexible with your tuning options in favor of technical ability, the Dawn starts to face some serious competition.

Ultimately, I think the Dawn represents the concept of the TOTL “normal” IEM. By that I mean the Dawn has practically an ideal frequency response, near perfect IEM tonality, and excellent resolution, the primary pillars of any IEM. It handles all genres without a hitch and doesn’t ever get fatiguing. There’s no doubt that it’s a great IEM. But it also showcases some of the flaws seemingly inherent with many IEMs, such as BA bass and flat-ish staging. What the Dawn truly lacks is an X-factor to really separate it from other great IEMs over time. Unlike IEMs like the Etymotic ER4 or Sony EX1000 which have followings despite being decade old, I imagine the Dawn will be superseded and mostly forgotten in a few years as the market progresses.


Excellent review. I really enjoyed it.


Great review @Fc-Construct !


Good stuff as usual!!

1 Like

Hi all! I hope this is the right place to post this. I am looking to purchase an IEM, and after much research and reading over forums including this one, I’m deciding between Solaris 2020 or EE Valkyrie. Besides my Galaxy Buds, this will be my only foray into IEMs. My ears are fairly easy to please. I don’t analyze music - I understand the lingo when reading reviews and forums, but I would not be able to replicate them if you asked me to describe what I hear from a headphone! I rather just listen to music for pure enjoyment. I listen to a range of genres, most often rock/pop/alternative (80s, Black Keys, Nirvana, and the like), Americana and acoustic (Avett Brothers, and various singer/songwriters), electronic (Daft Punk, Empire of the Sun, Cut Copy, et al.), and soul/blues (Sam Cooke, et al). I’m looking at Solaris because they apparently do everything well with a wide soundstage, yet I’m also thinking of Valkyrie simply because every review I’ve read states that it’s a very enjoyable listen – v shaped almost, but tastefully done so. In your opinions, given the music I listen to, which IEM will best suit me?

I don’t have the means to audition the IEMs. And again, due to me being easy to please, I would much rather purchase one or the other and live with the decision. I’m 99.9% sure I’ll enjoy whichever one I purchase but I was curious about your opinions.

Some aside questions:. Are there distinct enough differences between Solaris 2020 and Solaris OG/Special Edition to warrant getting one over the other? Which is “better” of the three? Are the Legend Xs’ bass really so overpowering that it doesn’t suit certain genres? I am looking at Valkyrie instead of Legend X because of this concern.

Any help would be appreciated! This is a great community you have going here, and I’m happy to have signed up to be a fly on the wall to learn from you guys and gals!


Hi there! I’m a happy owner of a Solaris 2020 and a 64 Audio tia Trio, which I’d describe as sorta balanced and somewhat V-shaped, respectively. Note that the Valkyrie is seemingly more V-shaped than my Trio (based on FR graphs). I’d say that my Solaris does a better job with Rock/Alternative/Jazz/Blues music than my Trio, at least to my preferences. However, all things Pop/Electronic/Hip-Hop work better on the Trio. The difference really comes down to some genres needing more aggressive bass to sound as fun as you’d expect them to, while in others it may muddle the sound of the rest of the instruments. I’d say that the choice you’re trying to make is gonna come down to what genres you truly want to make sound best. However, I’ll say that the Solaris 2020 is a great all-rounder and still does a good job of the bass-heavy things. It’s more that my Trio (and thus likely the Valkyrie) does bass better.

I have not heard the other Solaris versions but my understanding is that Solaris 2020 and Solaris SE sound much more similar than either of those do to the Solaris OG, with the primary difference being added mids presence relative to the OG. Also, regarding Valkyrie vs. Legend X, while (again) I haven’t heard them: the FR graphs honestly make the Valkyrie seem not very different than the LX in terms of bass quantity. The balance between sub-, mid-, and upper-bass do look different however. People swear by the LX as a basshead IEM, but if you don’t fit that description you may have to tread more carefully.

Hopefully this was helpful despite not having heard some of the IEMs you’re asking about, but please take what I say with a grain of salt as much of this is educated guessing.


Thank you @DunkFealer! You’ve hit the nail on the head as to my thought process on this! This is super super helpful!

I don’t consider myself a bass head at all, but do yearn some bump for specific genres or songs. I have the HipDAC and I always hit that xBass button when Daft Punk, LCD Soundystem, et al. comes on. So I guess in this sense, I can always EQ an all-rounder earphone like Solaris if I need to.


I can confirm Daft Punk and LCD Soundsystem still thump real hard on my Solaris!


Yes! That’s great to hear!