The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread

TKZK Ouranos


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - TKZK Ouranos

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews

The TKZK Ouranos have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for this review. As usual, they have not made any specific requests and I will do my best to be as unbiased and sincere as possible.

I have left a non-affiliate link (as always) to the Ouranos via Linsoul on my blog, link at the end of this post.


Intro…

TRZK is another brand that I hadn’t heard of until I received these IEMs from Linsoul. A quick search of the web doesn’t bring back any results, except for Linsoul (at least on the first couple of pages of results). Linsoul has two models by TKZK, the Wave at $39 and the Ouranos at $55. This places the Ouranos just about on the 50€ limit that I like to mention as ultra budget here on Acho Reviews.

There is not a huge amount of information about the model except for the fact that it uses a 10mm driver and has a sensitivity of 110dB with an impedance of 32 Ohms.


Presentation…

The Ouranus come in a square black box with a lift off lid, inside of which we find the IEMs, the cable, 6 sets of silicone tips (in two styles) and a small drawstring bag for storage.

There really isn’t anything special about the presentation although there is nothing to complain about either, so let’s move on.


Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs are off a very generic shape and size, 3D printed in resin, which should work as far as comfort for the majority of users. The nozzles are longer than usual which led me to opting for the small size of tips with the grey core in order to get a comfortable fit and good seal. Once I decided on these tips, I found them to be comfortable for longer sessions.

The build is decent, nothing extraordinary, just another 3D resin printed shell but with no issues that I have come across. As far as aesthetics, the shell is black with a faceplate that combines copper and black coloured flecks set into the resin, with the TKZK logo in a gold colour. Again, nothing spectacular but they look decent enough and have actually grown on me since I received them, especially in this budget range.

The cable is a simple double twist in a titanium colour that matches the IEMs well and uses metal hardware and connectors.

All in all, the build and aesthetics are more than adequate for the price range that these IEMs sit in.


Sound…

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

Here is the graph comparing the Ouranos to my usual preference target:


Starting off with the subbass and the usual “Chameleon” work out, there is enough in the lowest frequencies to appreciate the track, however, the control and clarity of the lower rumbles is not the best. The Ouranos do seem to lose a bit of control in these ranges and, while it doesn’t take over the whole tuning, it is a little too present and “boomy” for my personal tastes.

The mid bass suffers from a similar issue. While the midbass is not too excessive in its presence, there is a general lack of control and can once again come across as boomy on tracks like “No Sanctuary Here” by Marian Herzog feat. Chris Jones or “Sun Is Shining” by Bob Marley & Robin Schulz.

The mid range is well balanced and there is no real bleed from the lower ranges into the mids. I did find that the electric guitar on “Whole Lotta Love” overshadowed the vocals a little but the result was not terrible by any means in these ranges. The same could be said about “Don’t Start Now” where the instruments are a little too powerful for the vocals but this is really a minor gripe.

Moving through the upper mid range, the response is smooth and things don’t come across as harsh. Even Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child” is listenable on the Ouranos, maintaining a little of that harshness that is present in her voice but smoothing it slightly, making it more tolerable than on many other sets.

The upper ranges are also rather smooth and relaxed, while maintaining some sensation of air and clarity. Sibilance is kept in check fairly well with the usual “Code Cool” test and also Paul Simon on “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes”. There is a slight hint but it is certainly reduced in comparison to what I feel is “normal”.

As far as details, the Ouranos is not really a set that stands out in this regard and while the soundstage is not bad (maybe slightly above average for an IEM), with layering that is also decent enough, there is a sensation of things not being quite as “lively” and detailed as they should be on tracks like “All Your Love (Turned Into Passion)” or even “Strange Fruit”, where the vocal layers are separate but seem to be a little short on the small details that make the distinguishable.


Isolation is around average for the Ouranos, meaning that they should work well enough for usual surroundings but will suffer in very noisy enviroments.


Conclusion…

We have been spoiled by so many ultra budget sets lately that it makes it difficult for new arrivals in the category to stand out and make a name for themselves. The Ouranos are by no means a bad set of IEMs but they aren’t really anything that places them in a position to compete with some of the “better” models in their price range (I put better in quotes as this is a very subjective term).

The bass ranges are a little boomy and “loose” for my personal tastes but again, that is because they have some tough competition to be compared against. I think that they are good enough for theirr price range, in other words, I don’t feel that they are overpriced or are something that most people would regret buying, they are just not the top of their range (in my opinion of course).


As always, this review is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (Acho Reviews - YouTube)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

6 Likes

Thanks for the reviews @SenyorC. Which cheap IEM would you recommend for bass? Looking to upgrade from the Chu.

Edit: found the QKZ x HBB Khan for £32 and pulled the plug!

1 Like

The Khan is well praised by the bass lovers, so I am sure you will enjoy it :+1:

1 Like

Great upgrade from the Chu. I am really happy with this.

Thanks again for the review.

1 Like

Celest Pandamon (by Kinera)


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Celest Pandamon (by Kinera)

The (Kinera) Celest Pandamon were sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. I have not received any specific requests or comments and will try to be as unbiased and sincere as humanly possible, as usual.

As always, I have left a (non-affiliate) link to the Pandamon via Linsoul on my blog, link at the end of this post.

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

I have to say that when I received the Pandamon, I was rather surprised and had absolutely no idea what to expect. In my normal procedure, I didn’t do any research into the model and had absolutely no idea what they were, except for something with an angry panda on the box (and IEMs).

After finally listening to them for a while (and being quite surprised at what I heard), I finally got around to doing some research. Selling for just under 50€ (at the time of this review) they feature a 10mm square planar driver with an impedance of 9 Ohms and are actually made by Kinera. Linsoul actually shows them as Kinera Pandamon on their site, whereas the box does mention Kinera in one of the contact options but the rest just refers to Celest.

So, now that we know what they are, let’s talk about how they perform.


Presentation…

I can do nothing but give them full marks for originality. The box shows a very angry looking panda, with a transparent window above that lets us see the IEMs in the interior.

Inside the box we find, along with the IEMs, 6x sets of silicone tips (in two types), the cable, a storage pouch (of the type with a spring loaded closure), a cleaning brush/tool, a small booklet and some kind of pendant that also shows the angry panda with a small silver coloured chain that runs to a small plaque at the other end with Celest engraved on it.

The presentation keeps up with the Pandamon theme throughout, even telling the story on the outside of the box.

Again, all I can do is give them points for originality (whether the theme is something I like or not).


Build and aesthetics…

The first thing that obviously jumps out at us is the Pandamon face on the IEMs faceplate. The IEMs are round and the faceplates have a silver metal theme going on, although they are made from plastic. There are openings on the faceplate with mesh behind which make them look rather open, although, as in most cases, they are not as open as the meshing would lead us to believe.

The IEMs are incredibly lightweight and I find them to fit comfortably in my ears, feeling absolutely no fatigue from the fit even after hours and hours of use. The build also seems to be pretty good, with all the small details of the faceplate (which are quite complex) looking well done even upon closer examination.

To be honest, I am not a fan of the aesthetics of the Pandamon, I don’t think I would find myself wearing these out in public, just not my style. Yet, again, they are definitely original and may be much more appealing to a different (younger?) audience.

The included cable is also decent, although I am not really a fan of the plasticy finish of it. The connectors are metal and the cable is comfortable and non-tangly (which is a word that I am sure doesn’t exist), it is just that outside material that doesn’t appeal to me.


Sound…

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

As I said, when I started listening to the Pandamon, I didn’t know what to expect. I guess my mind automatically thought they would be some sort of V shaped tuning aimed at the masses, based on the aesthetics (preconceived opinions are always there, no matter how we try to avoid them), but they are certainly not that. In fact, they present a tuning that I am quite fond of.

Here is the usual graph comparison between them and my personal preference target:


We can see on paper that they are not that far away from my preferences, which doesn’t automatically mean that I will like them but I do find that I have enjoyed listening to them.

Starting with the subbass, these are definitely not IEMs that are aimed at giving you a lot in these lower ranges. They are rather calm in the subbass region, without any additional boost in comparison to the mid bass. “Chameleon” can come across as a little thin in the low end, even to my tastes (being someone who is by no means a bass head). This doesn’t mean the subbass is bad, just that it is not really that present.

Moving into the midbass, it is again not something that is going to appeal to those who like a boosted low end. The low end is quite calm in general. The performance of the planar driver is decent and all notes in the midbass are clearly defined but Ido thing that some people will find it lacking some warmth for their tastes. Listening to “Smooth Operator”, the bass guitar is very clear but does not really have a lot of “body” to it.

This does make vocals, like Sam Smith in “HIM”, take a step forwards and the piano take a little bit of a background role. This can be very enjoyable for those moments when you want the vocals to take the front stage but I wouldn’t recommend these to those who want to listen to things like EDM with a nice bass presence. Again, the bass is very clear and is not missing, it just doesn’t have the body and warmth that many other sets do.

Towards the top of the midrange, there is quite a smooth climb to the main presence point just over 2kHz and this forms part of that extra step forwards in vocals that I just mentioned. For example, “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” places Sara Bareilles very upfront. I do find this very enjoyable for a lot of my vocal centric music yet, for something more rock orientated, such as “Bombtrack”, it can place a lot of emphasis on the midrange of the guitar.

The treble range is quite smooth and while there isn’t a huge amount of air, the overall sound signature does make things seem a little more present in these ranges. Sibilance is pretty well controlled, without things coming across as harsh in these upper ranges.

Details are not great although the tuning does help with being able to appreciate those that are there. By this I mean that the Pandamon are not going to suddenly reveal things never heard before but at the same time, they never come across as overly blunt in this regard. Specifically focusing on certain background details that I know are there, they can be heard on the Pandamon but they don’t jump out at you.

Soundstage is another of those that I find to be around average with image placement being good but certainly not pin point. Separation of the layers in vocals in “Strange Fruit” is acceptable but I wouldn’t say it is amazing.


Isolation is quite a way below average but as I said earlier in the review, I can’t see me going out in public with these IEMs anyway, so noise shouldn’t be an issue :wink:


Conclusion…

I have been pleasantly surprised by the Pandamon, they certainly aren’t what I thought they were going to be when I first opened them. The sound signature is something that gets close to my preferences and although I would like a little more in the low end (which is something I don’t say often), in general they are a nicely balanced set of IEMs for those who want a more “neutral” sound.

The details are not the best but they are not bad either and the overall presentation of the IEMs is something that I find non-offensive and fairly well done. Yes, there are points that can be improved but that is usually the case with most IEMs.

I am not a fan of the aesthetics but that is obviously something very personal. I am just not one for wearing cartoon characters, I guess I am more of the boring type for that kind of thing.

They are certainly something different and it is always refreshing to see things on my desk that break away from the routine, whether I like them or not. In this case, I have enjoyed listening to them.


As always, this review is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (Acho Reviews - YouTube)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

8 Likes

Thanks for your efforts. :grin: and dont feel bad, I am more the boring type in all things. Cheers dude.

1 Like

I like them. Badass panda monsters!

3 Likes

True.others may not like them. But i was looking for a CHEAP above 16ohm single driver iem with a larger volume behind the driver. These fitted the bill and i dont regret it. For me they are practically disposal but the best iem i own. (i only buy cheap) im looking for cheap thrills not THE IEM ONE.

i fully understand your comment. On mine the microphone doesn’t work! So manufacturing consistency probably varies.

1 Like

https://m.aliexpress.com/item/1005001623082745.html?spm=a2g0n.productlist.0.0.6692289fXXY3a0&browser_id=bd26cdd37ef041d19f63980d16d22734&aff_platform=msite&m_page_id=dijqhbfsqycavwwa187c31569ae13338654a70392a&pdp_npi=3%40dis!GBP!50.39!25.19!!!!!%402145274c16826051731903644d0744!12000016865119956!sea!UK!0&algo_pvid=52564676-1643-4092-af5e-835527dee2df

HiFi Graphene Diaphragm In-Ear Earphones 400 Ohms High Impedance Earbuds MMCX Perfect 3D Scene

I bought these yesterday. Awaiting delivery so dont know anything about them yet. Still its 50% off and may interest others? Im waiting with baited breath and will report back :blush:

KZ ZVX


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - KZ ZVX

As with the last set of KZ IEMs that I reviewed, I am not very sure who sent me the KZ ZVX for review. This time I received an email from someone who had reached out to me in the past (not the same person/company who reached out last time) and asked if I would review the KZ Linglong. I mentioned that I had a rather large backlog of reviews but if they wanted to send them out then I would review them once I got a chance.

I didn’t hear anything else and a couple of weeks later I received the KZ ZVX. I am guessing that it is from the same person/company but I really don’t know. Therefore, I will share a link to the ZVX via the site of the person who contacted me about the Linglong, as I guess they just decided to send a different model? To see the link, visit this review published on my blog (link at the end f this review).

This obviously means that I have not received any requests from the person who sent these to me and the link is of course non-affiliate, as I am not even sure if I am linking the correct page.

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

I don’t think KZ need any introduction, I have reviewed many of their models in the past and anyone who has ever looked at budget IEMs has heard of KZ.

In the case of the ZVX, they are a single dynamic set which use a 10mm and are stated as having a sensitivity of 109dB and an impedance of 25 Ohms. I have to say that they are very easy to drive and will work fine from any dongle or telephone with headphone output.

They are also marketed as being a “New flagship in single dynamic field” and come in at a price of 20€ at the time of writing this review, so they are certainly aiming at that entry level price point.


Presentation…

This is another section that really doesn’t need much context as 95% of KZ IEMs are presented and packaged in the same way and the ZVX are no exception.

They usual white box containing the IEMs, the usual KZ cable and 3 sizes of tips.

The only break from the norm in this case is that the tips included are actually foam tips, something that is not the usual case with KZ IEMs.


Build and aesthetics…

I have to give it to KZ, they do manage to keep innovating the aesthetics of their IEMs while managing to stick with a general shape that I find very comfortable.

In this case they have opted for a full alloy build, with a vent on the face plate, along with a rather large opening that is purely aesthetic but works well in my opinion.

I have many sets of KZ IEMs and while they don’t get used daily (I am always testing out new things so none of my IEMs really get used as much as they would in normal circumstances), I have ever had an issue with their build over the years. Obviously only time and use will tell but I can’t see any clear reason why the build of the ZVX would be any different.

The IEMs are available in black or silver, with or without mic, and I have to say that the black version I have looks rather good for a 20 set of IEMs. I don’t think KZ is ever going to win any awards for the best looking IEMs but, again, I think they deserve a lot of credit in the aesthetic department as they always manage to change things up slightly.


Sound…

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

As they included only foam tips with these, obviously those are the tips that they are thinking work the best with these IEMs, so that is what I have used for this review.

Let’s start with the usual comparison between the ZVX and my personal reference target:


Starting off in the lowest ranges, the ZVX has a decent amount of rumble although it is not quite as clean as other competing sets in this range. It doesn’t lose control too much but does give a sensation of things being just a little bit too loose in those lower notes of my usual test tracks.

The midbass is a little overly present for my preferences but is actually quite coherent and controlled in these ranges. My test with “Crazy” did not result in the reverb being overly bloated and, while it is a little too present, is quite listenable on the ZVX without me getting fatigued.

In the case of EDM, using “Shot Me Down” as an example, I found that these IEMs do quite a good job of being powerful in the lower ranges without losing focus of the other frequencies that are present in this song. The bass hits of this song are actually quite clean and don’t portray themselves as being too sloppy in these ranges. I can’t say it is the best I have heard in this regard but they are pretty good for a set of 20€ IEMs.

The mid range seems to be the better part of the IEMs, something that KZ seems to have been doing fairly well on all of the recent models that I have tried of theirs. There is a nice presence of vocals, with a decent instrument timbre, that climbs towards the upper mids in a way that matches my preferences very well. They are not the most detailed in the mid range but are very enjoyable and I found myself liking what I heard on multiple genres of music.

Moving into the upper ranges, things are not terrible either. Ok, they are not perfect, but they do a decent job of keeping things from being too harsh (in the case of Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child”) and sibilance is not overly present either, with Partricia Barber being at a level that I would say is around normal (or maybe just a hint more) in “Code Cool”.

Treble is nothing great, with quite a bit of roll off and a sensation that air is lacking, yet, as the upper mids do a good job of being clean and well defined, the result is not as bad as it could be. Yes, there are a few peaks here and there but none that I found really irritating.

Details are not the strong point of the ZVX but they don’t sound overly blunted and I think that they do a job that is plenty good enough for general listening while out and about.

Soundstage is about on a par with average, maybe slightly above, and while details may not be spectacular and imaging is not millimetric, they again do a job that I really can’t find reason to complain about at this price level.


Isolation is not the best, especially in the lower ranges, but is around average and shouldn’t be too much of an issue while listening to music in normal surroundings. They aren’t going to give amazing isolation on planes, trains or automobiles, but should work well enough for most other things.


Conclusion…

I have already said it a hundred times but I will say it again, there are some very good options in the extreme budget market and that makes it difficult for many brands to be competitive.

In the case of the ZVX, I feel that KZ has done a pretty good job. No, they are not groundbreaking and something that suddenly jumps to the top of the budget rankings but they are still good and I think they could make a lot of people happy for a very small amount of money.

It wasn’t long ago that KZ were seemingly trying to add as many drivers, of as many types, as possible. Yet there is something to be said about simplicity, especially when focusing on the lower price bracket. By reducing the amount of parts, and the work needed to make those parts work together, it gives more budget and time to focus on doing one thing right. It seems that on this occasion they got it right, or they got lucky. Either way, the ZVX are a set of IEMs that I think are well worth their price.


As always, this review is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (Acho Reviews - YouTube)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

4 Likes

Blon x HBB Z300


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Blon x HBB Z300

The Blon Z300 have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. Linsoul have made no specific requests or comments and, as always, I will do my best to be as unbiased and sincere as humanly possible.

I will leave a link to the Z300 via Linsoul on my blog, which you can access by following the link at the end of this review.

(As with all links I share, this is a non-affiliate link).

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

So we have another collaboration, once again by HBB (of Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews) but this time with Blon. I have actually lost count of how many collabs there have been by HBB but I know that there are a lot :wink:

Honestly, while I have understood the appeal of previous HBB tunings to a vast amount of people, I haven’t really fallen in love with any of them. I think that, out of the ones I have tried, the KAI was probably my favourite. It is not that I think the others have been bad, they just don’t suit my personal tastes, usually due to an excessive presence in the lower ranges.

Upon receiving the Z300, I had (have) quite a backlog of stuff but for some reason it ended up in my bag and when I arrived at the office after a long weekend, it was the only set I had with me. So, I decided to give it a whirl (jumping the queue of other items) and I have to say, the first listen was impressive.

Usually I put all new arrivals on the burn in rig for at least 150 hours, not because I am a strong believer in burn in but because it doesn’t cost me anything to do so while they wait their turn. In this case, no burn in was done (:scream:) but I really don’t think that should be a concerning factor for those who feel it is necessary, as my opinions are positive, so unless it was supposed to get worse… :smile:

Anyhow, the Blon Z300 costs around 30€ at the time of putting together this review, placing it firmly in the ultra budget category (that I consider under 50€) and, in my opinion, it places high in the ranking of said budget IEMs, competing with some of my favourite IEMs in this price bracket, such as the Kiwi Ears Cadenza.

So, let me try and explain what makes me like the Z300 and how I find it to perform.


Presentation…

There is really nothing spectacular about the presentation of the Z300, as is usual with Blon, and it really shouldn’t be expected at this price range anyway.

A simple white box with slide out tray is the packaging used, with a monochromatic image of a dragon on the front and the text “Oppoty & Driams Pt.2”. While the majority will know what this refers to, for the newcomers to the IEM world, “Oppoty & Driams” was the caption which became famous with the release of the Blon BL03, a set of IEMs that received a huge amount of praise and set the bar of ultra budget IEMs at a new level at the time (if you could get them to fit that was). Later Blon obviously found spell check and the well known catchphrase was dropped.

Funny thing is that, in my opinion, Blon really hasn’t done anything worthy of high praise since the “Oppoty & Driams” was dropped, and the return of this slogan with a set that is actually worth praise is very fitting.

But anyway, I digress…

Inside the box we get the IEMs, the cable, a small drawstring bag (like a miniature potato sack, another Blon clasic) and 6 sets of silicone tips in two types. Blon have never really been great with their tips and usually I don’t even bother to use them on the sets that I receive but, as these were the only IEMs I had with me, I used them for the first day and either my memory is fading or these are actually better than those of yesteryear (at least the white ones).

As far as contents and packaging, that is all we get but it has inspired a trip down memory lane :blush:


Build and aesthetics…

The build uses a zinc alloy shell which is published as being 18K gold-plated. I have no idea if they are gold-plated or not but they are certainly very gold, at least the model I received. The IEMs are available in two colours, blue and gold, and luck would have it that I received the gold version (I am not really a fan of gold).

However, I have to say that the aesthetics are very good and judging by the photos, I think the blue may be even more impressive in person.

The build seems to be very well done, with no apparent issues on my set and while I don’t know how the gold finish will hold up, I can do nothing but praise these IEMs for build and aesthetics at this price range.

Comfort is also very good for me personally, without the issues of some of the previous Blon models (which actually were ok for me but were problematic for many). They are lightweight and the shape fits well, meaning I experienced no discomfort even after hours of wearing them.

Last but not least, the cable. It is nothing extraordinary but it is a good cable that is far better than some of the cables received with IEMs that cost 10 times or more than the Z300. I have absolutely no complaints about it so, as far as build and aesthetics in general, full praise in this category from me.


Sound…

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

As I mentioned previously, I didn’t intend to review these IEMs. Even when I put them on originally, my intention was to use them for the day and then take them home and throw them on the burn in rig until it was their turn. Yet, straight away I found myself enjoying the music and ended up spending all week with them. This is already positive from my side as I found I enjoyed them and didn’t just “have” to use them to review them (which does happen with many sets).

Over the week I have listened to plenty of genres of music, finding them to be a pleasurable listen with almost all of them. Yes, there have been certain tracks/albums where I found them to be a little too warm and even too bassy on occasions, but those have been limited to certain things and not the majority (like with some of the other HBB collabs).

But let’s get on with my usual process using my normal detailed listening playlist (which can be found in full on my blog BTW) and starting off, as usual with the graph in comparison to my personal preference target.


I have said many times before that my reference target is just as a guide, it is not an indication that I will definitely like or dislike something, many other factors come into play. In fact, the Z300 graphs very similarly to some other models that I have enjoyed (and some that I haven’t). You can see how it compares to other IEMs by visiting the Acho Reviews Squig Link (link at the end of this review).

So… starting off with the subbass and my usual (almost obligatory) workout with “Chameleon”, we get off to a fairly good start. The lowest notes do not present as much rumble as on some other sets yet there is still more than enough for the track to be appreciated for what it is. The subbass is also clean and nicely defined, as far as subbass goes, showing the subtleties of these notes in tracks like “Royals”.

In the midbass range, there is a bit of a boost above what would be my personal preference, however, as the bass range is well controlled, keeping notes fast when they need to be and without interfering with other sounds happening around them, I find the midbass to be quite enjoyable.

Anyone who has followed my reviews over time will know that excessive and uncontrolled midbass is something that fatigues me, even causing me to feel nauseous at times. My quick test for this is “Crazy” by Daniela Andrade, where the low end of the guitar can become a uncontrolled and overly reverberant, something that is not the case with the Z300. Yes, there is still a trace of it being overly boosted but I don’t find it to affect me negatively like it does on so many other sets.

Knowing that HBB has a library that consists of a lot of rock, and that I have found many of his other collaborations to be overly boosted in these ranges for my personal preference as far as rock bass is concerned, I found the bass guitar in “Whole Lotta Love” to be nicely present in the tuning of the Z300. There is a presence that gives it a bit of warmth but still keeps the notes clear and precise in this rather old recording. The same can be said for the bass guitar in “Bombtrack”, although I did find the kick drum to be a little too present on this track. I am really being picky here and the air that the kick drum moves is impressive, without even considering price.

Focusing on something more electronic, such as “Sun Is Shining”, I think the bass range works fairly well and while it may not be enough for those who like skull rattling bass, personally I feel it has a decent balance with the rest of frequencies to place the focus on those bass notes without taking over the whole spectrum.

Moving on to the mid range, I find that acoustic guitars and other similar instruments have a nice timbre to them, seeming very realistic with just a hint of extra warmth. The lower ranges of vocals, particularly deep male vocals such as Leonard Cohen in “Happens to the Heart” have a nice smoothness in the lower mids, with a decent amount of detail.

As we move to the higher midrange, here things are not quite as forward as on other sets, something that I find can make certain vocals come across as rather dull, again referring to tracks like “Happens to the Heart” or Raelee Nikole in “Dreamin’”. On the other side of the coin, it can work well for vocals that are overly harsh in these ranges, such as Beth in “Don’t You Worry Child”, who comes across a lot tamer on the Z300, although it does dull the piano of the song a little at the same time. It can also work well to tame overly harsh brass instruments but, again, on tracks where the brass has been recorded well, it can dull them a bit too much.

Moving into the upper ranges, extension is not bad but is not really excellent either. There is a bit of a lack of air in these higher notes but it is not the worst I have heard. I do find that on tracks that are dulled by the slight lack of 3 to 4kHz, then the sensation of lack of air can be more apparent.

Sibilance is fairly well controlled but not eliminated, at least on “Code Cool”, where I would place Patricia Barber quite close to neutral. Again, this can seem to be a little less sibilant due to the slight lack of presence and of air. Using Paul Simon in “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes”, the result is very similar or, in fact, I find sibilance to be slightly reduced from neutral.

Detail in general is decent yet that slight lack of presence and air does make the upper ranges sound slightly less detailed than they are. Focusing on the details in these ranges proves that they are indeed there but just not as apparent. The details in the lower and mid ranges are much more apparent and impressive at this price point.

Sound stage is around average for a set of IEMs, in my opinion, with decent placement of images without being millimetric but good nonetheless. The Z300 are not going to win any award in this category but then we have to remember the price of these IEMs to make fair judgement, in which case, they are pretty good.


Conclusion…

While doing the detailed listening tests of the Z300, I found myself picking out slight flaws and areas where they are not amazing, then I would remember that these IEMs are 30€. If considering price, the Z300 are a very good set of IEMs that compete with the best in the sub 50€ range and even with other models at higher price points. The only place I ever give scores to IEMs is on Head-Fi, as it is obligatory, but what you get with the Z300 for 30€ is certainly worth 5 stars.

However, I don’t often give 5 stars and 4.5 stars is the maximum I have ever given to a set of budget IEMs, which I think I gave to the Cadenza, the CRA and the CRA+. Are the Z300 better than those 3 sets in order to give them a higher score? Well, “better” is very subjective and I’m afraid that, for me personally, they are fighting at a similar level and the preference of each person will sway the scales one way or the other, so I am going to keep them at a 4.5, as I don’t think they are perfect. Certainly still a 5 star as far as value for money though!

Until now, the Cadenza have been my reference for the top spot in the under 50€ range and while I feel that the Z300 are good enough to trade blows, they don’t remove the Cadenza from the top spot for me. It is all going to depend on personal music tastes and what everyone prefers to listen to, as the Z300 work much better than the Cadenza for certain things but, due to the fact that I listen to a lot of acoustic and vocal centric music, I prefer the upper mids presence on the Cadenza. Again, personal preference.

What I am happy to say is that Blon have finally, with the help of HBB, brought something new that puts them back in the spotlight of budget IEMs, something that has not happened for a long time. I am glad that the Z300 are the IEMs that have brought the “Oppoty and Driams pt.2” tag.


As with all my reviews, this is also available in Spanish both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (Acho Reviews - YouTube)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

7 Likes

I keep all of the digital files that I own (800 CD Rips + Purchased Flac and DFS) on a tiny thumb drive at 256GB. It is so small, that I put a keyring on it just to keep from losing it in the cushions. Now I leave it plugged into a Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition full time. Amazing.

3 Likes

Wow, a six star recommendation. A new standard has been established.

I just had to read my review again to try and find where I said six!

(where did I say six? :slightly_smiling_face:)

1 Like

The new Moondrop Jiuu is excellent. I was super impressed. For 25 dollars… I just hate the cable, I want a dps Aria with a decent cable.

Simgot EW100P


TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Simgot EW100P

The Simgot EW100P have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not made any requests or comments and I will, as always, do my best to be as sincere and unbiased as I can.

I will leave a link to the EW100P via Linsoul in the version of this review published on my blog (link at the end of this review)

As always, this is a non-affiliate link, meaning I do not receive anything for clicks or purchases via the link.

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

Very recently I reviewed the Simgot EA500, a set of IEMs that cost just under 80€ and are a good set of IEMs, although I don’t find that they work (for me) with all genres and recordings. Today we have the EW100P, set of IEMs that come in at a quarter of the price, available for under 20€ at the time of writing this review. There are quite a few differences between the two models, apart from the price, so I am not going to focus on comparing them.

As we all know by now, there are lots of very good options in the 20€ bracket, so can the EW100P make space for itself in what seems to be turning into a very crowded but very good value for money sector?


Presentation…

The Simgot EW100P arrive in a very flashy and shiny silver coloured box with a shark on the front and the word “shark” in very bold lettering under which the actual model is shown in smaller text. I am not sure what the shark is all about, as there is no mention of it on the Linsoul site (or the Simgot site), but it does make the box stand out in the crowd of budget IEMs.

On the back of the box, in a similar style to the bigger brother, Simgot show an FR graph of the IEMs, alonsg with more information in Chinese and English.

Sliding out from the silver cover, we get a much more discrete black box, with the Simgot logo on the top, that flips open to reveal the IEMs sitting in a cardboard cutout with a small accessories box to the right.

Under the IEMs we find the cable and a usual manual, while inside the accessories box we get three sets (S,M,L) of white silicone tips.

That is it as far as packaging and presentation, nothing extraordinary but nothing to complain about at this price either.


Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs are rather small and while they are listed as being an aluminum alloy construction, they are actually a semi transparent plastic, except for the copper coloured faceplate that is. The shell is not quite as rounded as some of the other more generic shapes but, as they are so small, I find that they fit easily in my ear, being comfortable and lightweight for long periods of time.

The aesthetics are also pretty basic, with a plain black (semi transparent) shell and the copper plate that features the Simgot logo in black and “Salute to art and science” in small letters. They are certainly not offensive by any means and while they aren’t a fashion statement, they look pretty good in their simplicity.

The included cable is also pretty basic, similar to those found with KZ models but better looking (in my opinion). The clear plastic coating on the outside of the grey covered cores is not really apparent and it isn’t until you pick up the cable that you notice it. The listing says that the shielding of the cable is silver foil and I have to say that I quite like the look.


Sound…

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

Let’s get straight to the point and start off with my usual graph comparing them to my personal preference target as a reference:


Starting off in the extreme lows, there is quite a bit of presence in these ranges without being overpowering. The low note rumbles are present but are not really as tight as I would like. This makes things seem a little slow and out of control when there is a large presence of subbass, such as in “Chameleon”. They are by no means bad in this region and I’m sure that many will find them to work well, especially considering the price, but they can seem a little sloppy on occasions.

This midbass is not too elevated and although it is not the cleanest of midbass, it is quite well defined for such a budget set of IEMs. With my typical “Crazy” test, I do find the guitar to be a little too boomy in this regard but not enough for me to find it fatiguing. Using “Sun Is Shining” to get a feel for how they deal with EDM, they do a pretty decent job. The bass is kept fairly tight and while they are not the most impressive in these ranges, they are certainly not a set that I can complain about in this regard.

The midrange does seem to lack some definition for my liking. It is tuned very similar to so many other sets in this region, yet comes across a little 2 dimensional, without much body to things that are happening in this range. For example, the vocals in “Down To The River to Pray”, seem to be all happening in a similar plane and come across a little dull, without that nice feeling of chorus that other sets can bring in this track.

The upper mids climb later than on the EA500 and I actually prefer this, at least as far as tuning. The negative is the same as with the rest of the midrange, vocals, while forward enough, are not very exciting, seeming to be quite flat. This is something that I don’t find with the lower ranges of the EW100P, it seems to be apparent more in the mids and upper mids/lower treble.

Moving into the treble, extension is not great, adding a little to that sensation of bluntness found with vocals in the mid range. There is a lack of sparkle and air that takes away from the “excitement” of the music. Sibilance is kept in check, actually subdued in my usual “Code Cool” test, while Paul SImon does still exhibit some sibilance in “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes”.

Soundstage is not great, mainly influenced by that sensation of the mids not being very open and while the treble is a little better as far as separation, it is still on the lower side of average in this regard. The same can be said for the image placement, where things are more in a “general” location than specifically placed like on other sets.


Conclusion…

Once again we have a set of IEMs that suffers from a few issues but once we factor in the price, we really can’t complain. Is it my favourite set of IEMs in its price range? No. But it is still a long way from being a terrible set of IEMs.

They are comfortable, seemingly well built, and perform adequately for a large range of music, although they don’t really excel in any of them. I would say that the bass ranges are the most impressive and while the mids are tuned to my liking, there is just some “life” missing from them, which is made even more apparent by the lack of air and sparkle up top.

There is no way I can bring myself to say that these IEMs are not worth their price, they are more than worthy, it is just that we are a little spoilt for choice at this end of the budget and some of the competitors are very good.


As always, this review is also available in Spanish, both on my blog (www.achoreviews.com) and on YouTube (Acho Reviews - YouTube)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

5 Likes

Hi all, does anyone have a recommdation for a decent third party cable for the QKZ x HBB Khan that has volume up and down and pause control, please? Thanks!

Tripowin C8 3.5mm w/mic and QDC connector

4 Likes

I had an Amazon gift card so this was perfect, @InvisibleInk. Many thanks.

2 Likes

My pleasure. I have all three types and they are excellent.