The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread


Nimweth my friend you hang here too…old guys really headphones he and I are.
C10 was awesome
C16 is fast clean details and my newest fav…
C20…yup its next…ten a side but I don’t know which 10…lol…

Tin T3’s you guys heard…should I grab a pair?
TRN V30s are new …2 BAs, 1 DD a side

I’m broke so im selling my JBL collection…plus they weigh a ton…4312As get p/up Wednesday.
I may tear up, then ask you guys how the Ibasso IT04s sound as those have been heavily recommended to me.

Watching MLS until F1 starts up again…this is me.

This is an old friends company, cables is his thing he sent me this new iem one he has out now. Amazing (but$200 on sale even is above my pay grade)


F1 just isn’t the same since the loss of Jim Clark.


My KZ ZSNs just came. Ali Express is only express in their dreams.

I must say I am surprised at how good they sound for $17 (with microphone). I am referring to the CYAN ones, of course, which I chose for my self. One of my favorite nieces will get the purple sometime - maybe in an Easter basket, and one of my nephews or grand-nephews the black.

Probably. I wonder what one purple and one cyan one would sound like… Cyan on the left, I think.


" Its like sitting dead center in a planetarium and all the music comes from different areas of the sky. "

Thats one of the best descriptions of sound I have read. Putting it in my tool box!

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Mine came yesterday!

I’ll expand on this in a review at some point soon-- but I agree, they are astounding for the price. Of course, I can only speak about the Black/Green ones, which I assume are more treble-y being higher in the colour spectrum. Also, how do these things have nicer cables than my Ety Er4xrs?

I see that an upgraded version of the ZSN, the “PRO”, is about to be released soon-- no green, unfortunately.


Yeah, the cables are vey nice for the price.


Hi Ed, nice to see a face to put to the name! Yes, I agree with you there in regard to the C10 and C16, I know you have ordered the DT6 as well, you’ll enjoy that, it’s kind of a C16 on a budget as far as sound is concerned, but the C16 has more depth in sub bass and more detail. Have you seen my DT6 review above? Of course, Senfer is banned on Head-Fi! See post#421.

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Well, I am still enjoying the T2 after a week or so, I even spent two full days with them at work and I must say the are very nice.

So, it is time to place my next cheap IEM order from “AliArrivesWhenItGetsHere”, what would you suggest, the ZSN or the C16?

(I will end up with both but I limit myself to one at a time :wink: )


I recommend the Moondrop Kanas Pro, though it’s not cheap as the ZSN. :slight_smile:

The ZSN and the T2 aren’t a whole lot different. ZSN has just a tad more bass and less mids, but they are generally similar sounding. I haven’t listened to the C16 yet.

Maybe the Moondrop Aria or Crescent is the what I would recommend based on just price and how Moondrop tunes their gear if you want budget.


I am a cheapskate when it comes to IEMs as I only really use them to walk the dog and when travelling. Although, the T2s did pleasantly surprise me when used from the NX4 DSD for most of an 8 hour day. They did still fatigue me a little though as I am not overly happy with things in my ears.

For comfort, my favourites are still the ATE, so an ATE with a T2 sound signature would be great.


I was just watching the review by “Bad Guy Good Audio” on the T3 and he mentions that the T3 was redesigned to have the cable drape over the ear rather than hang stright down like on the T2’s.

Now, I never really thought about it, but I have been wearing the T2 with the cables over my ear, not hanging straight down. So, I thought maybe that is why I weasn’t overly happy with the comfort as I am wearing them wrong. However, I have just spent the last 30 mins or so with them trying them in both positions. Apart from the fact that I find them more uncomfortable with the cables hanging straight down, it also seals worse in my ears, making the bass seem inexistent.

Maybe my ears are weird or maybe just the fact that I am doing it wrong makes them sound better (to me) :sunglasses:

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Yea the fit of the T2 is a little weird. I prefer them wearing down, but I have to use a lighter weight cable to make it work. A heavy cable will pull it out of my ear.

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T2s I’ve always worn over ear…

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At least I don’t feel stoopid now :rofl:


Hey Guys,

I’ve been doing a lot of listening with the Tin Hifi T2 and Hifiman RE2000 today. I’m mostly curious about how the $50 (or less depending on where you purchase them) T2’s stack up against the $800 RE2000 Silver. It’s not really a fair battle I guess, but they are the two earphones I own currently, and I wanted to see how it would go.

The T2’s, hilariously, smoke the Hifimans on build quality. They just feel more solid and well built. The cable isn’t the best with the T2’s, but it is nicer than the stock Hifiman cable for sure. It also looks nicer, for what it’s worth. The Hifiman just don’t feel as solid as the T2’s. The T2’s are also the more comfortable earphone. The RE2000 don’t lack in terms of comfort for my ears, but I know some people do find them problematic.

Sound wise, it is interesting what is going on. The T2’s feature a dual DD system, whilst the RE2000 relies on a single DD. I don’t consider the single DD a disadvantage, as a single DD done well, can be really good.

With the RE2000 silver, it is really good.

With all of that being said, the T2’s keep up really well considering the massive price difference. They are a bit more neutral sounding, and definitely lack the air and space that the RE2000 silver bring to the table. Listening to the RE2000 Silver, it is like a really thick veil has been lifted, and you are hearing more of the music.

The RE2000 Silver are a bit V shaped, but not overly so. There is something really smooth about their mids that just makes them an incredibly pleasing IEM to listen to. There is a bit of a peak in the treble, but I don’t find that the peak brings an overly sibilant, harsh, or strident sound to the table.

I prefer the T2’s with a bit of a bass boost, and I have been going back and forth in terms of bass boost with the RE2000 silver. I’m not sure which way I prefer them, but I definitely enjoy the T2’s more with a bit of a boost in the low end.

All in all, I still really like my T2’s. They are just a good IEM in my opinion. They aren’t the be all and end all of IEMs, and I have yet to hear the T3’s. The RE2000 is a considerable jump up in terms of sonic competency, but you would hope so given the massive price difference.

I should have a pair of T3’s here with me early next week, so I will report back with a T2 vs. T3 comparison, as well as a T3 vs. RE2000 comparison. I’m really looking forward to hearing them :slight_smile:


I acquired CCA-C10s about a week ago. Comments below.

Wow, ear shapes vary! These are my best fitting IEMs out of the box. With the standard tips they have a perfect angle and good seal.

They can come across as slightly thin in the middle with fresh ears. Compared back to back with the KZ AS-10s, the CCAs are “well rounded” and pleasant versus the strong V shape and piercing high end of the KZs. Details are excellent with both, with the CCA integrated while the KZ tends to dissect sounds. The dynamic driver doesn’t hide itself fully, with a bit of looseness and rubber relative to the BAs.

The C10s have moved to the top of my personal cheap IEM fleet for now.

The cable is far better than many products in this price range. Color-coded tips, clear installation direction, and very flexible (I don’t experience tangles).

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Great site and reviews!


Here a double review of the Brainwavz Koel – our findings are in stark contrast to all the other reviews I found.

Received a single feedback that underlines our goal: great review. write for yourself, don’t shill for manufacturers!

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My Tin Audio T3 arrived.

Very brief comparative listening so far would have me put them ahead of both the T2 and well ahead of the T2 Pro.

However, the T3 exhibit pronounced driver-flex on insertion that I do not get with either the T2 or the T2 Pro. While this is not a problem, at all, in actual listening (I can move my jaw, head, cable, etc. and not excite more flex, unlike with, say, the KZ ZS7), any driver-flex issue makes me seriously concerned about the longevity of the drivers in question.

The cable is aesthetically lovely, feels great, and if it’s available separately may be something I get a few more of for other IEMs.

Need more time before talking specifics about the sound, but am encouraged on the first few hours with them and find myself just wishing the driver-flex issue wasn’t there.


Quick Impressions: Three $25 (or less) Products

An apple, an orange, and a rambutan

I acquired these recently:

KZ ZSN ($15 from AliExpress)

Xiaomi (Mi) QTEJ02JY Pro HD ($25 from GearBest; now about $27)

Anker Soundcore Spirit ($25 from Amazon)



  • Ouch! That KZ treble is sharp! Ice or glass in the ears! Mid-high forward
  • Why no L/R markings on the cables? [I got it wrong and had to do a channel check]
  • Much more ergonomic than earlier KZ designs and less V shaped sound overall
  • Loose but well-rounded bass
  • More pleasant than the old ZS10 (still about $30), but probably not a favorite

The shiny silver “Mi” #$^&*1234678$$%&!

  • Seemingly targeted at Chinese Android phone buyers; only one button works with Apple devices
  • Cooperative design and marketing with 1More (carrying bag has both logos); 3 drivers
  • Amazing out of box experience and perceived quality (metal everything)
  • Includes extra small ear tips for petite Chinese females
  • Not a V profile, but a M with shallow, rubbery bass; drums and bass guitars sound about the same. For those with little bass experience the one-note pop pop boom boom probably sounds great. Good mid and high range.
  • Microphonic rubber coated cable (non-detachable)

Anker Soundcore Spirit

  • One of many waterproof Bluetooth sports in-ears, and pretty generic
  • Huge barrels house the drivers and may not fit in some ears
  • Magnetic tips hold the drivers together, but they clink like an industrial device
  • Has sharp locator pegs for the fins. I generally take off fins and just shove them in my ears, so the locator pegs are scratchy (I may sand them off)
  • Sound quality fully equal to $100-$150 Jaybirds and BeatsX
  • With larger silicone tips, they isolate EXTREMELY well
  • With larger silicone tips, the bass is bloated, flabby, and boomy
  • With medium (leaky) tips they are pretty balanced but still warm

Bonus photo of rambutan (basically lichi fruit with fur):

Which of these would I rather put in my ears? The rambutan of course! It’s much smaller than an apple or orange, and it comes with natural fins.