The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread

The couple of reviews I read seem promising, but I just hope Dunu sells a version in a less cringey package

I very much doubt they will release it with a different packaging but that is a question for @SebastienChiu

Personally, as long as it is the packaging and not the IEM that is cringey, then I don’t really care as I only see the packaging once :wink:

1 Like

No, we will not. Thanks for the feedback.

HZSound Heart Mirror Pro

The HZSound Heart Mirror Pro have been sent to me by KeepHiFi in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not requested anything specific and I will follow my usual procedure of aiming to be a unbiased and sincere as possible, although it is always good to remember that these IEMs have not actually cost me anything.

You can find the link to the Heart Mirror Pro via KeepHiFi by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post).

As always, it is a non-affiliate link, therefore I do not receive anything by you clicking or even purchasing via the link.


Back in 2021, HZSound released the Heart Mirror, a set of budget IEMs that received quite a lot of praise from the IEM community. Personally I ever got to hear the Heart Mirror, not because I wasn’t interested but it’s impossible to get to try all of the models that are released!

Fast forward to far more recently and KeepHifi reached out to see if I was interested in trying out the Heart Mirror Pro, the follow up from the company which does come in at a higher price point (around 80 euros) but also offers upgrades from the original, at least that is what is advertised.

I obviously can’t go into comparisons with the original as I haven’t heard it, but I was more than happy to try out the new Pro version and share my opinions on this set which, while not in the extreme budget category, is still something that can be considered a relatively cheap IEM.


The box is a dark blue one, with a sketch of the IEMs on the front and information on the rear. It is not something that draws attention to itself but doesn’t look overly cheap either.

Upon opening the box, we find the IEMs sitting with their cable attached in the upper half of the interior, with card showing the HZSound logo covering the lower half. Removing this card, beneath it we find the user manual and the storage case.

Inside the case we get a second cable, this one with an inline microphone (terminated in a 4 pole, 3.5mm), 8 sets of tips (in various different sizes and types, including foam), a carabiner and the two additional connectors for the modular cable (more on that below).

In general, the presentation is more than adequate and the contents are very pleasing for a set of IEMs in this price range.

Build and Aesthetics…

I actually expected a mirror finish on the IEMs like the original model but I was actually pleasantly surprised to receive them in black. Not that I have anything against the mirrored finish but it does lend itself to becoming a fingerprint magnet (some black finishes do also, but not in this case). Looking closely at the finish, there is actually some grey (silver?) speckle to it, which is a nice touch, along with the HZSound logo in a dark bronze colour.

The IEMs are not very large, in fact, they are on the smaller side of things, and I find them to be rather comfortable. If they were any larger, the triangluar shape at the bottom may have been a problem but that is not the case. They are completely made of metal and seem to be well assembled and I can’t spot anything that I would say is a going to be a problem over time as far as durability (but, as always, only time will tell).

The included cable is rather thin and a little rubbery but is not bad and a a very positive thing is that it comes with a modular connection system, including 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.4mm connectors. While it may not be on the level with some of the other (more expensive) modular systems, it works well and it is very nice to see it included. They also opt for standard 2 pin connectors at the IEM end, so I have no complaints here either.

The included case is also a very nice one. It is quite spacious (enough to hold the IEMs, some accessories and even something like the Go Blu) without it being overly bulky. I don’t carry it in my pocket but it doesn’t take up to much room in my small sling bag that I carry (yes, I’m a bag guy :wink:).

In general, I have to say that I am quite happy with the overall quality of the IEMs and accessories for their price point.


Let’s start with the usual look at a graph comparing the Heart Mirror Pro with my usual preference target curve.

Starting off with the subbass, we can see on the graph that it is north of my usual preferences, however, as it is kept clean and well detailed, it does not become overpowering. In fact, if I hadn’t have looked at the graph, I would have guessed that this has less subbass than it actually does. It is not missing subbass, “Chameleon” has plenty of rumble, but at the same time, it is not a set that I would class as a bass head set.

The midbass is also a little elevated for my personal preferences but again, it doesn’t become over powering nor does it become the center of attention. I have said in the past that if something is tuned higher than I prefer in the bass range but still manages to keep it clean and detailed, chances are that I am going to enjoy it. The Heart Mirror Pro is one of those sets.

It is true that the low end of the guitar in “Crazy” does have a little too much in the midbass area, which sort of gives it a bit of a boomy effect to said guitar, yet, as the mid range is well balanced (I’ll get there in a moment), it gives an overall clean and detail effect to the track in general, making for a very pleasant listen.

The additional midbass manages to decrease before hitting the lower mids, avoiding things becoming muddy in the bottom of the mids, something that is appreciated as it counteracts that midbass boost and makes things seem a lot cleaner.

I have to say that I find vocals, especially female vocals such as Daniela Andrade in the track “Crazy” that I just mentioned, to have just the right amount of presence and warmth in their lower ranges, making most of the acoustic music Iisten to very enjoyable.

There is a little bit too much warmth for me to class the timbre of things like the acoustic guitar in “All Your Love (Turned Into Passion)” as correct, yet just because something may not be exactly what I consider correct, it doesn’t mean that it is bad. If I was wanting to focus on dissecting and equalizing music, then I wouldn’t suggest the Heart Mirror Pro in these ranges for that, but for enjoying the music, I have to say that I have had no problem in doing so with these IEMs.

Moving up to the higher part of the mids, I have to say that I am impressed with the tuning of the Heart Mirror Pro. It is almost a perfect replica of my personal preference, with a smooth climb that stays smooth and present from the 2kHz to 4.5kHz, starting to ramp down just before the 5kHz mark. I really couldn’t ask for a better tuning for my taste in this upper mids.

This works for the vocal centered tracks that I listen to, as it brings the voices forewards without them being overly present, harsh or nasal. As an example from my test tracks, “Seven Nation Army” by Zella Day, which is a track that can be very harsh on so many sets, is just right on the Heart Mirror Pro. I have heard it slightly less harsh on other sets but that is because they are actually taming it down. I feel that these, the Heart Mirror Pro, are giving the real presence of her voice, just on the verge of the harshness, as her voice actually is.

As we move into the higher ranges the extension is fairly good. I wouldn’t say it is the most extended, airy or open of IEMs in the treble ranges but it certainly doesn’t suffer from a pronounce roll off like so many other single DD sets. I wouldn’t say it is going to win any prizes in this range but it’s certainly not bad.

Using “Code Cool” as my usual judge of sibilance, I feel that HZSound has also done a good job here, with Patricia Barber being just on the verge of sibilance, which is were I feel that she should be when a set is nicely balanced in these ranges. She could maybe be toned down just slightly but I don’t think it is a reason for complaint.

Detail is not bad but is not excellent either. I find that the details that are more “up front” are easily identified and quite impressive but the smaller background details (such as reverbs etc.) do fade away fairly quickly. A good example of this would be the intro of “All Your Love (Turned Into Passion)”, where the initial strikes on the body of the guitar are impressive yet the room reverb does fade away quickly, leaving an impression of things being a little too tame (when compared to other sets that are better at this specific task).

In the soundstage category, I would say that they are around average, maybe on the higher side of the middle ground. There is a decent amount of soundstage but they are still very much IEMs. Image placement is decent but I do feel that things like “Strange Fruit” could do with a little more space between layers in the more complex parts of the track.

The isolation is a little above average, meaning that they should be fine for use in places with normal extenal noise yet they will suffer with things like the low frequency rumbling of engines on a plane or train etc.


The Heart Mirror Pro is a set of IEMs that I have enjoyed listening to and have no issues using as a daily general listening set. I don’t feel that they are ground breaking in any specific way, yet they are a solid performer in all of the categories. I could mention various areas where I think they could be improved but I don’t have any complaints about anything specific with them at all.

The lows may be a little elevated for my personal tastes but they are not irritating and the upper mids I find to be very well done indeed. The detail retrieval may not be the best for those small nuances happening in the background but the overall detail of music is by no means bad and I don’t feel that those small elements are something to really focus on unless you are specifically looking to analyze the track.

The build is good, the included accessories are very good in the price range and in general, I just feel that the Heart Mirror Pro are a good set of IEMs for the 80€ price range. I certainly cannot complain about their performance.

So as to not break tradition, this review is also available in Spanish both on my blog ( and on YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on



The QKZ x HBB have been sent to me by Linsoul for me to try out and share my opinions in this review. They have not requested anything specific and, as always, I will do my best to be as sincere and unbiased as possible in my review.

I have left a link to the QKZ x HBB via Linsoul on my blog, you can find it by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post) or just google Linsoul :wink:

It is a non-affiliate link, as are all links that I share, meaning that I receive nothing in exchange for clicks or purchases made via the link.


There is no denying that HBB (Hawaiian Bad Boy) of Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews has become the king of collaborations in previous times. I really can’t keep up with the amount of models that he has helped tune in recent times, a lot of them in the budget segment. The QKZ x HBB is another of those in the budget segment, costing less than 20€ and placing itself firmly inside the sub 50€ bracket that I consider extreme budget on Acho Reviews.

I have tried a few of HBBs collaborations and I have to say that they have impressed me in general, offering a lot for very decent prices and I will say that these are another of those models. They may not be for everyone, I will get into details on my thoughts in a second, but I can confirm that, without even getting into the review, yes, these are more than worth the asking price. Is the tuning going to be to your preference, well, I guess that is something that I can use as an excuse for you to read the review. But if you want a TLDR… if you want a 20€ stocking stuffer (with the holiday seasons approaching), then you can do a lot worse than these IEMs.


When we are talking about a set or earphones that cost not much more than a meal at McDonalds and we want them to sound good, there has to be something cut somewhere. What better place to cut it than in the packaging and accessories section?

In a plain small box that is overloaded with info on the exterior, we get the IEMs, a cable with inline microphone and 6 sets of silicone tips. It is an unboxing experience that is very reminiscent of KZ (or other budget QKZ models) but is more than adequate for a budget model.

Yes, the presentation is very basic and cheap, but there are models that cost triple this amount with similar presentations and, again, I would rather the costs be cut here than in the IEMs.

Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs use a generic shape that is comfortable for most people, with translucid shells and a face plate that sports the HBB logo on one IEM and the QKZ logo on the other. The logo is behind a perspex window that gives depth to the aesthetics, with grey lightening bolts on a black background behind. Surrounding the faceplate there is a metal coloured frame that gives some more “boost” to the aesthetics.

These IEMs are not something that aims to look boutique in their aesthetics but at the same time have their own original design that is nice to see.

The cable is also very reminiscent of the cables included by KZ. I don’t want to say that it’s identical but… it seems to be. The inline microphone works for the odd phone call and for talking to your assistant but is not something that you will be recording your latest single with.

In general, these are a 20€ set of IEMs and I have to say that the build and aesthetics are more than worthy of their price (or more).


All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

I am going to be sincere and straight to the point here, I am not a fan of the sound of these IEMs. I know that I said just a moment ago that these IEMs are well worth their price and that you could go out and buy them even without reading the review, and I stick by what I said. They are a good set of IEMs for their price but… cinnamon is a good ingredient but it doesn’t mean that I personally like the flavour.

If you have followed any of my reviews, you know by now that I am not a huge fan of overly present bass, especially midbass. Yes, there are sets with overly present midbass that I enjoy, for certain genres and at certain times, and I have enjoyed these for some stuff. However, overly present midbass does cause me fatigue over longer listening periods and the QKZ x HBB are one of those sets.

Now, I am still not going to complain about these IEMs as I think they will be a great buy for those who do like more in the bass, I especially found these a lot of fun for EDM. But before I get into describing each of the sound sections that I usually do, lets take a look at the graph in comparison to my personal preference target:

In the subbass, we have plenty, giving us enough rumble (in my opinion) for even the extreme bass heads amongst us. My usual subbass test with “Chameleon” I found to be overpowering… and then the bass kicked in :grin:

Now the biggest problem, for me personally, is that there is one big ramp from 500Hz down. That means that everything is boosted in the low end, from Subbass to almost the center of the mids. This is a sensation that I personally do not like yet I do know plenty of people that do. Listening to “No Sanctuary Here”, this was enough to give me fatigue but it is one of those experiences that is very impressive for those that like the bass to move them.

I went through quite a large selection of EDM and it was like being in a night club on a Saturday night, the party is great but my ears (and head) start feeling it after a while.

To my surprise, the mid range does not seem to be recessed or absent, something that I would have expected with such a large presence in the lower frequencies. Yes things like “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa are clean with no lack of presence in vocals.

Even “Make Noise” by Busta Rhymes and Lenny Kravitz did not place vocals any further back than usual. This track is already pretty weird in its recording, with Busta’s vocals taking a back seat to the backing vocals and the instrumental, but on some V shaped sets his vocals disappear almost completely, and that wasn’t the case here.

I would have also expected the upper mids to need more boost that they have in order to counteract that low end but, again, I was surprised to find that they are actually quite clear and respectable. I really didn’t find that things were struggling to fight for their place in the music, they were upfront and clear enough.

The treble extension is also not back, not the smoothest of trebles but acceptable. It has a few peaks here and there but it is not something that I think will offend many people who are looking at this kind of signature at this kind of price.

Soundstage is around average I guess, nothing spectacular going on, and I would say that image placement is about the same. Things are place well enough but they are not milimetric, not that I think that is something that should be a factor in such a tuned IEM.

Details are not great but those upper high range peaks do help give them more of a sense of detail (even if they are not that detailed), something that I think will be appreciated by many who enjoy EDM.

Isolation is also about average but one thing I will say is that you are not going to have any issues hearing the bass. If you are listening to anything with a good bass presence and at a level that is common for many EDM fans, then you will not need to worry about external noise :wink:


I know this is going to come across as a very strange review. On one hand I say I don’t like the QKZ x HBB, yet on the other hand, I say that they are worth buying without a doubt. And they are.

The thing is, these IEMs, due to their tuning, give me a headache and cause me fatigue. However… I am not you. There are millions of people out there that have tastes very different to mine and I know a lot of people like sets with very present bass. And I would say that at 20€, these give a lot for their price.

There is a lot of competition out there lately in this price range, with me preferring a lot of other models over these, yet I cannot deny that if you are looking for a bassy set of IEMs on a very low budget, the QKZx HBB have a lot to offer.

As with all of my reviews, this is also available in Spanish on my blog ( and on YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on


A post was merged into an existing topic: Kiwi Ears IEMs

CCZ Warrior

The CCZ Warrior have been sent to me by KeepHiFi in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not made any specific requests and I will aim to be as unbiased and sincere as always, although you should always consider the fact that these IEMs were sent to me free of charge.

You can find a non-affiliate link to the Warrior via KeepHiFi by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post).


Last year I reviewed two sets of IEMs by a brand called CCZ, the Emerald and the Melody. Both sets featured a 10mm dynamic driver with a custom knowles BA driver and both came in at less than 20€. They both sounded very similar with the Emerald just being slightly more enjoyable for me personally.

A year later, KeepHiFi has kindly sent me the new model from the company, this time named the Warrior. A simple glance shows that these are very similar to the previous models, using the same shell, however, this time the driver count has been increased to feature a 10mm dynamic driver this time paired with 3x balanced armature driver.

The price has also increased slightly, with the Warrior coming in at slightly less than 35€. This still places them well inside the sub 50€ limit that I set as an extreme budget, but is a 75% price increase over the previous models.

So let’s see what advances have been made from their previous offerings.


The packaging has not changed and the presentation is exactly the same as it was with the Emerald and Melody. A simple white box that reveals the IEMs sitting in a card and foam cut out, with the accessories underneath.

The accessories are 3 sets of silicone tips (one installed and the other two in the typical white bag) and the cable, which just so happens to be the same as the cable included with the other two models.

I am not one to complain about accessories or packaging in this budget range but as I have noted with other brands that still use similar presentations, there are models out there that are doing much better in this regard.

Again, no complaints, the accessories are enough to pull out the IEMs and get straight into using them.

Build and aesthetics…

This is something that has also remained the same. CCZ have stayed true to their shell shape with their patented “Earfins” which is to provide a more “comfortable, light and stable” experience. The only issue with this is that I had issues with the Earfins on the previous models and the Warrior creates the same issues for me. The Earfin rests in just the wrong place for me and causes me pain after a short while. This means that I can’t wear them for extended periods and my listening sessions are limited to brief 10 to 15 minute stints before I need to take a break.

Obviously comfort is a very personal thing and I am sure that others will not have this problem with discomfort but in my case it limits the use of the IEMs.

The build is lightweight and doesn’t have any specific flaws to highlight. They use a semi transparent shell, allowing you to see the inside and count the drivers, which is surrounded by a gold coloured trim on the face plate. Not my favourite combination as far as aethetics but I have seen much worse.


All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

Not a whole lot has changed in the sound department either. There have been a few tweaks as far as tuning but nothing dramatic.

Here is a graph that shows the Warrior in comparison to the previous two CCZ models I reviewed, along with my usual preference curve for reference:

Starting off with the subbass, this is very similar to the subbass on the other two. I am not sure if the same dynamic driver is being used but it certainly sounds very similar. There is plenty of rumble in the lowest notes of my usual “Chameleon” test, although it is not the cleanest of performances.

No Sanctuary Here” also has plenty going on in the low end, with the midbass being above my preferences in this regard. I have said many times that if a set has an elevated bass range but is clean and detailed, I usually enjoy it. Unfortunately the midbass range is not that clean or detailed on the Warrior. I can’t say it produces fatigue as the discomfort from the shell kicks in before this point, but it is not something that I consider that clean in these ranges.

There is also some bleed from the lower notes into the low mids which is not terrible but doesn’t help with the sensation of the low end being rather bloated and out of control. This is highlighted on many tracks, such as “Crazy”, where the low end of the guitar has body to it but is just a little too boomy, giving the impression of exaggerated room reverb in the upper bass and lower mids.

In the center of the mids there is a which is not as exaggerated as on the older models, however, as the upper mids don’t have as much presence as said models, the Warrior doesn’t really bring vocals back enough for them to counteract that boominess in the low end. I find that this is the case with both male and female vocals.

There is also quite a bit of roll off in the higher areas that wasn’t as apparent on the Melody for example. This creates a high end that is lacking air and comes across as a little claustrophobic at times. This does avoid sibilance however, with “Code Cool” coming across quite subdued in the sibilance ranges, even the intro to “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing” shows a lot less sibilance than on so many other sets.

Details are also affected by the overall presentation of the sound signature. Here CCZ haven’t used the high range peak trick that many other brands use to give a false sense of detail. Unfortunately, this leaves the Warrior without much sense of detail at all.

Soundstage is below average, again affected by that darker treble and lack of detail, which works against image placement and gives the sensation of an overly blunted response.

Finally, isolation is also below average until we make it up to the higher mids, where it does improve.


There is some fierce competition in the 20€ range, with many sets offering a lot of performance for very little money. While the Melody and the Emerald weren’t ground breaking, I would have said that they were still pretty competent in that 20€ bracket.

I am sorry to say that the Warrior takes the base of the Emerald, removes performance and increases the price. Yes, there are 2 more BA’s in the Warrior than either of the previous models, but the result is not a positive experience, at least for me.

Things are very tough at the moment in the extreme budget section and CCZ will need to do more than this in order to stand out and make themselves a space.

This review is also available (as are all of my reviews) in Spanish both on my blog ( and on YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on

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100mm dynamic driver? My god man, your ears must be huge!


I think it’s a woofer. Going to have to read again to see if it’s a ported design. Nearfield ear monitors.

Lol, that would have made them interesting to say the least.

(Typo fixed)

Interesting? You actually invented the first headphone-sized IEM. Next up, you’ll invent a speaker-sized headphone that’s 1000mm tall.

How about going for broke with a 1000mm IEM?


KBEAR Qinglong

The KBEAR Qinglong have been sent to my by Keephifi in exchange for the publication of this review. Keephifi have not made any specific requests and my review will aim to be as sincere and unbiased as always. However, it is always good to remember that it has not cost me anything to try these IEMs.

As always, I refrain from posting purchase links on forums where I am a guest, so you can find a (non-affiliate) link to the Qinglong via KeepHifi by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post).


KBEAR is a brand that have been around for a while and they have released quite a few models, spanning a range of prices from the extremely low cost up to models in the multiple hundreds. I have reviewed a few of their sets and although none of them have been ground breaking, they have been decent IEMs.

The Qinglong is their latest release, which come in at just under 60€, on the Keephifi website, at the time of writing this review. That places them just outside the sub 50€ bracket that I consider the extreme budget category, yet they can still be considered quite an economic set of IEMs.

The Qinlong use what the call a 10mm PU+PEEK HD Composite Diaghpragm which, being totally honest, I have no idea what it actually is. For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say it is a single dynamic driver IEM with some fancy technology :wink:


The contents that come bundled with the Qinglong are nothing extraordinary but are more than adequate for a set of IEMs in their price range. A simple white box featuring some dragon style artwork and showing the brand and model (in English and Chinese, which, if my google-fu doesn’t fail me, means blue dragon), opens to reveal the IEMs in a felt covered cutout.

Below the top layer we receive a nice storage/transport case, the cable, 6 sets of sillicone tips and a microfiber cloth.

As I said, nothing out of the ordinary but certainly enough to not have any complaints about presentation.

Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs shells are made of aluminum alloy (aviation grade 7, according to their spec) and while they are farily simple in shape, they do have a slight angle and a shape that makes them quite original.

The shells have a mirrored finish, which is obviously something that attracts finger prints at crazy speeds, with the brand and a design in matte silver, again, simple but enough to have a bit of originality. They are not the lightest of IEMs but they are far from heavy and I find that the shape and weight is comfortable even for longer sessions.

The included cable has originality also, or at least I haven’t come accross this type of cable before. It is a simple 4 core twist, that later splits into two 2 core twists, and is covered in a grey plastic or silicone type material. While it is not my favourite cable, I find that I prefer it to a lot of the other cables included with IEMs, including those from KBEAR.


All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

Let’s start off by taking a look at the graph in comparison to my usual personal preference curve. I know I have said this before (many times) but I still get asked, so let me remind you that my personal target is just a guide as to my general preferences, it is by no means a rule. In other words, there are things that deviate quite a bit from my target and I like, and other things that are much closer to my target that I don’t. Again, this is just a guide for reference.

In the subbass regions there is enough and it is kept clean when dealing specifically with subbass frequencies. By this, I mean that when tracks, such as my usual “Chameleon” test are focused on subbass, then the Qinling do a decent job of keeping the subbass clean and defined. However, when the subbass and midbass sum together, I find that things can become a little overwhelming in the lower ranges. No specifically in the subbass range, more of the whole subbass when it is busy in these lower ranges.

In the midbass section, I actually expected to dislike these more than I do. I find that the midbass is nicely detailed and controlled, except when coming across situations like I just described under subbass. When both the subbass and midbass zones are busy, th Qinglong start to lose definition and struggle to keep things as clean.

A lot of the music that I listen to (depending on the day and mood) is not really busy in the lower subbass ranges and I find that in this case, these IEMs do a very good job or providing clean and detailed subbass. Even busy tracks with complex bass lines are easily appreciated, making for a very pleasant lower range.

Moving into the mids, again these are nice and clean, as long as that low end is not suffering. In the case of music that focuses on midbass and lower midrange, the response is quick, clean and detailed. Yet, in the case of those overpowering low ranges, they can bleed a little into the lower mids.

The center of the mids does have a little dip which is actually not too apparent. I would have thought that certain vocals, especially in the case of female vocals, would lose a little warmth in their lower ranges due to that dip but I haven’t found it to be the case. The backing vocals in “Strange Fruit” may not be the warmest but Ihaven’t found it to be something that jumps out at me while listening in general.

As we reach the higher end of the mids, here I do find that the Qinglong is just a little too hot between the 2kHz and 3kHz mark. This can make voices, especially those that are already harsh such as Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child” to come across just a little too spicy. It is not terrible, even Beth is listenable (which isn’t always the case), but I would much prefer them to be tamed a little more in these regions.

The 5kHz region is tamed, which is something that I am greatful for, and while there is a bit of a roll off, there is still enough presence in the higher ranges for them to provide a decent sensation of air.

The thing that I have found most impressive with the Qinglong are the details. These are a set of IEMs that provide a good sensation of detail, which is paired with good image placement and a soundstage that I find to be a little above average.

With tracks such as “Strange Fruit” (that I already mentioned), “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” or even “I Concentrate on You”, it is nice to be able to appreciate the little nuances of the recordings. These are not the most detailed IEMs I have ver heard but they are well above the average of many other sets in similar price brackets.

As far as isolation goes, they are above average in all of the frequency ranges. They are not going to give you ANC levels of isolation but they are still better than many other sets.


KBEAR have done a good job with these IEMs, they have just missed a couple of things to make the a very good set. The first being that sensation of “lack of control” when subbass and midbass get busy at the same time, and the second being that extra bit of spice in the upper midrange, which could have been tamed just a little.

I have been happily impressed by the level of detail, along with a decent sound stage and good image placement, they reproduce a lot of my vocal focused (especially live) tracks well and I have enjoyed putting them through their paces in this regard.

As always, this review is available also in Spanish both on my blog ( and YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on


Tangzu Wan’er

The Tangzu Wan’er have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not made any comments or requested anything, therefore, my review will aim to be as sincere and unbiased as possible. Saying that, as always, it is worth considering the fact that these IEMs did not cost me anything.

You can find a link to the Wan’er vua Linsoul by visiting the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this post).

As always, it is a non-affiliate link.


I have said it a lot recently and this set of IEMs is more proof of the point, there is a hell of a lot going on in the 20€ price bracket at the moment!

Not too long ago (earlier in 2022) I reviewed the Shimin Li, a set of 30€ IEMs from the brand which was the second part of a trilogy (although the first part was branded as T-Force). I can’t say I was overly excited by the Shimin Li, although they were not a bad option for the price at the time. Since then, there have been a lot of sets around the same price (or cheaper) that have really raised the bar in this extreme budget range. Although this may be a spoiler, I believe that the Wan’er has just raised that bar a bit more, becoming probably the best set of IEMs I have heard in this price range, in fact, maybe even at double or triple the price.

Of course “best” is subjective and my “best” will not necessarily be your but I am going to try and explain what it is that makes these IEMs such a great option in my opinion.


Although I have always said that the presentation is the least of my worries with a budget set of IEMs, and I maintain it, there are a few brands/models that are getting quite impressive with the presentation and accessories even at this low price point.

The presentation of the Wan’er may not be the most impressive in the ultra budget category but it is still way above average. The box itself stays with the classic chinese artwork that we have seen on the previous models. Upon opening the box, we are greeted with a cleaning cloth that has artwork matching the box cover.

Underneath this we find the IEMs, sitting in simple cutouts but with some designs and the model name printed on the card, nothing special but that one step more over simple white card.

Underneath the top layer we get the cable and 7 sets of silicone tips, again, nothing super out of the ordinary but in general I feel that it is a presentation that is a step above adequate for the price range.

Build and aesthetics…

The shells are made of plastic, using a semi transparent inner shell with a dark faceplate, although they are also available in white. There is nothing really special about the design but a closer look does reveal a nice design on the face plate which again, shows the put a little more effort into them.

The IEMs are extremely light and I find them very comfortable also, being able to completely forget about them while wearing them for extended periods.

The cable is a simple white and cheap feeling cable which uses plastic hardware and has the recessed connectors on it (QDC). I am not overly keen on the cable as I find the pre-molded ear hooks to be at too sharp of an angle and too stiff for my tastes. Also, the choice of the connectors means that any of the aftermarket cables which are normal 2 pin will protrude from the sockets a fair bit. Saying this, this is really nitpicking as the cable does its job and is not that bad. I mean, come on, this set of IEMs costs less than 20€!


All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

While the above so far has been decent, it is the sound section that has really impressed me with the Wan’er. As usual, I receive a set of IEMs, plug them into my burn-in rig, listen for a few moments to make sure they work ok and then don’t listen to them again until I get around to testing them for review.

I pulled them out for testing this week, plugged them in and just hit play. The first track happened to be “Drum Solo” by Maun Katché (with Luca Aquino, Tore Brunborg and Jim “James” Watson). I was immediately mesmerized by the sound of the Wan’er. Now this track is not on my test track list (although it probably should be) but the lifelikeness of the drums was just so impressive during the first few minutes of listening to the Wan’er that I felt it had to be mentioned.

But anyway, for the sake of consistency, Let’s get on with the review of the Wan’er and how they perform with my usual reference test tracks.

Here is the graph of the Tangzu Wan’er in comparison to my personal preference target:

Starting off with the subbass, there is plenty for my tastes. This is not an overly bass focused set and I feel that the amount of subbass works well for the tuning in general. “Chameleon” has plenty of low note presence without it becoming the center of attention, well, at least not more than usual as this track already has the low bass as a focus point.

Subbass is also kept clean and defined, with Lorde’s “Royals” being just “dirty” enough for me to feel that it is a good representation of the track. “No Sanctuary Here” has the bass focus more on the upper subbass / lower mid bass and again, the Wan’er keeps it clean, with the notes showing definition and control throughout the track.

This is not a set of IEMs for the bass heads out there but it is still not lacking bass. Personally I wouldn’t put this at the top of my list for EDM, I feel that something like “Sun Is Shining” could maybe do with a little more to please those who listen mostly to this genre but when moving over to less electronic and more instrument focused tracks, I feel that these IEMs really come alive.

The bass guitar in “Bombtrack” has just the right amount of warmth for my preferences while still being capable of transmitting the effects of the track. Things like “Seven Nation Army” or “Crazy” have the necessary body at the lower end of the guitar but stay away from that boominess that can be found in sets that put too much emphasis on midbass and lower mids.

Vocals are well presented, with clarity being good although I do feel that things like Monica Naranjo in “Sobreviviré” could take just one step further forwards, the same goes for Eric Clapton in “Tears In Heaven”. Having said that, they are not bad in this regard, far from it, I just feel that this is not the strongest point of the Wan’er.

I feel that in the mid range, the instruments are the actual strong point of this set of IEMs. With good separation and a nice tonal balance, I really enjoy the mids. On tracks were the vocals are actually the center of attention, such as in acapella tracks like “Hallelujah” or even “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars (which does have instruments but vocals remain the focus), the Wan’er do a good job and vocals don’t seem out of place or to be missing anything.

The climb in the higher mids is smooth and I feel it works well, although I do think that the extension of the plateau could reach just a little further. However, there is no harshness in this area and, while it could take one step further forwards, I have no real reason to complain.

In the upper ranges, the extension is not terrible although it is not amazing either. There is enough extension for it not to give the impression of being rolled off in these upper ranges but a tiny bit more air would have been a positive. Again, this is something that is not an issue, remember these are a set of 20€ IEMs and are more impressive in these ranges than many other more expensive sets.

Sibilance is also very much kept in check on the Wan’er, with my usual “Code Cool” test placing Patricia Barber just beneath the verge of sibilance. This means that these IEMs are dampening that sibilance range just a little but not enough for it to become noticeable without direct comparisons. I am sure most people will prefer this slight reduction in sibilance than a slight increase in sibilance.

Details are pretty impressive also, not amazing but still impressive for a set of IEMs in this price range. There is a bit of roll off to the reverb in things like the into of “All Your Love (Turned to Passion)” but by no means do these leave you feeling like there are details missing (unless you are directly comparing them to more detailed sets).

Soundstage I would also place on the higher side of average. It is not a huge soundstage (very few IEMs are) but there is enough space for things to spread out and the image placement is also decent, making for a nice presentation in this regard.

Isolation is also pretty good on the Wan’er, being above average in most of the frequency ranges except for the bass. Low rumbles will make it through but they will work well for most generally noisy areas, such as cafeterias, offices etc.


The Wan’er are a very impressive set of IEMs and I feel that they have raised the bar even more in the 20€ bracket that seems to be exploding at the moment. Until now, I would have probably voted the 7Hz Zero as my top pick in this category but I feel that the Wan’er have just entered the race and are immediately competing for first place.

While they are not perfect, there are things that can be improved upon, as soon as we remember the price, there are no complaints that can really stand. Yes, there may be other tunings that you prefer personally, we are all different, but if you are someone looking for a balanced set of IEMs with a great performance in the extreme budget section, these are something that should be one of your first considerations.

It really is amazing how much we can get for so little at this time!

To not break tradition, this review is also available in SPanish both on my blog ( and on YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on


And they seem to come with the best waifu art ever.

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Kiwi Ears Cadenza

The Kiwi Ears Cadenza have been sent to me by Linsoul for me to test and to share my opinions in this review. As always with Linsoul, no specific requests have been made and I will do my best, as always, to be as unbiased and sincere as possible.

As always, I have shared a non affiliate link to the Kiwi Ears Cadenza via Linsoul on my blog, you can find the link to my blog at the end of this review.


I ended 2022 on a good note and with the aim of 2023 being a good year, I am going to start it on a good note also.

Over the last 6 months or so, the extreme budget range has seen some very good entries, each one raising the bar just a little bit more than the last. Some had tunings that I preferred more than others but there was no doubt that the ultra cheap IEM world has seen some fierce competition, which is great for those looking for good sound at an even better price.

The last set of IEMs that I reviewed were the Tangzu Wan’er and I said that they were a very good set that raised the, already high, extreme budget bar a little bit more, placing themselves in the top spot for ultra cheap sets together with the 7Hz Salnotes Zero. Well, I’m afraid that their time at the top didn’t last long as the first set I am going to review this year just placed itself firmly at the top, in my personal opinion of course.


The packaging and accessories are nothing special, including just the IEMs, cable and 9 sets of silicone tips (which is actually quite a generous number). The packaging is a simple black box, with the Kiwi Ears logo, that is packed inside a blue sleeve and not much more to really discuss.

If you are looking for an amazing unboxing experience, well, these are nothing special, but does that really matter when we are focusing on the contents and not the container?

Build and aesthetics…

The build is also simple, with plain black shells which I believe are 3D printed, yet the front plate sports a nice design on it. In my case they have a purple swirl with “Kiwi Ears” in gold text and I have to say that I have absolutely no issues with the aesthetics. Ok, I am not saying these are an amazing looking set of IEMs but they do have a nice touch to them and we really can’t ask for more at this price range.

The included cable is not exactly top of the line but it does do its job and the only real reason to swap it out would be for either a balanced connection or for aesthetic reasons. It is thin and comfortable, without me having to suffer it tangling too many times.

I would say that, in general, build quality and aesthetics are more than adequate for the price range and, due to the size and shape, I find them to be comfortable also.

My only real complaint would probably be with the included tips. They are by no means the worst tips I have encountered with IEMs (regardless of the price) but I did find that I preferred the comfort and performance when paired with Moondrop Spring tips. Obviously tips are a very personal thing but in this case, I feel that the swap benefitted the performance of the IEMs and not just the comfort.


All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

Now we get to the good part!

As usual, let’s start off with a look at the graph in comparison to my personal preference target.

In the low ranges we can see that they are elevated above my usual target, however, the clarity that these IEMs offer make that a non issue. There is no sensation of bloat nor loss of control, with every note being clean, clear and decisive.

The subbass in my usual “Chameleon” test is a demonstration of how the lower notes can be very present without being intrusive. There is no lack of definition, nor does the rumble interfere with other frequencies. The Cadenza just present the subbass as it should be.

Midbass, which is always more of a worry for me when it is too elevated, is a continuation of the subbass performance. While we can see on the graph that the midbass is elevated, it is again well controlled and never seems to lose control or definition. There is enough warmth to enjoy the bass guitar in older rock recordings, such as “Whole Lotta Love”, yet at the same time, tracks like “Crazy” that can become boomy in these regions do not suffer from that issue.

From impressive bass response in “No Santuary Here” to just the right amount of body in things like “Tears in Heaven”, the Cadenza seem to adapt to the music and never seem to interfere with the timbre of natural instruments nor lack punch with electronic alternatives.

The mids are well balanced, without anything seeming to lack presence and as we move up to the higher part of the mids, the climb is smooth and is almost perfect for my preferences. I find that vocals such as Pentatonix in “Hallelujah” have just enough balance of warmth and presence, without either male or female vocals taking preference.

There is no real harshness, although recordings that are already harsh in their presentation are not tamed, showing no sign of anything being dampened in this regard.

In the higher regions, the extension is good although we do find a couple of little peaks in the treble regions. These are not really irritating but they can sometimes give a slight artificial “airyness” to certain tracks. This is really a minor thing but can be noticed in the higher regions of things like “The Next Episode”.

Sibilance is not exaggerated, with my usual “Code Cool” test placing the vocals just on the verge, noticing the sibilance but without it being uncomfortable. Based on the intro of “Hope is a Dangerous Thing”, I would say that the Cadenza even tame sibilance just slightly.

Details are impressive on the Cadenza, presented in a way that just blends in with the music. They didn’t strike me as detail monsters yet when actually paying attention, they do a very good job and things are just where they should be.

Soundstage is about the average for a set of IEMs but the image placement is good and they use the space to their advantage, seeming to leave space between layers in tracks like “Strange Fruit”.

Isolation is also decent, with most of the frequency ranges falling above average and not really lacking in comparison to other models in any specific range.


Based on the performance we are seeing lately in the budget ranges, I really shouldn’t be surprised that the Cadenza offers the quality of sound that they do, but I still am. It really is crazy how much improvement there has been in the extreme budget section over the past 6 to 12 months.

I honestly feel a little guilty when I say that something is amazing for the price and then in the following review, I say that this is even more amazing, as it feels like I am following the “FOTM” trend. Yet, when the quality is there, it can’t be denied.

If you are looking for something in the ultra cheap bracket, there are some very good options, however, up to now, the Kiwi Ears Cadenza would be my first choice. Now let’s see who is next to take the crown!

As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on my blog ( and on YouTube (

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on


All of this goodness in the extreme low end raises the question of how do we tier the cost ranges. Recently, I bought several gift pairs of the DUNU Titan S (which Siri insists should be “do new tighten ass”) at the $60 price point.

Is there still a clear demarcation between the under $40 and over $50 price range? What about at the $100 range. Where do we see noticeable increases of performance?


I will simply say that the Dunu Titan S is the absolute peak of “fun/dollar” ratio for me. I love me my Monarch Mk II, my Moondrop Variations, my Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020… But I also love me my Dunu Titan S. S’fun.


As always, there is good and bad in all ranges, yet the % of good in the extreme budget categories has really exploded in recent times.

I wouldn’t say there is a clear demarcation of price but obviously, as price increases, it’s the smaller things that start to appear like slight increases in driver performance, better build qualities, more candy in the boxes etc.

As far as tuning goes, the extreme budget range has got really good and performance is also high. I think that the people who just want to enjoy music and not get involved in the whole equipment side of things and chasing that extra % of perfection, can be very happy with things costing in the lower end of the double digit price range.