$400-1000 All-Arounder IEMs (Universal)

What is the #1 and #2 tried-and-true IEMs you’d recommend in this range, and why? I may be able to try 2 of them. Looking for quality bass with satisfying kick & texture(better than DM8), a spacious sound with excellent positional accuracy, OK comfort, and treble+mids that are detailed and mostly natural sounding without real fatigue or problems. My short-list so far…

  • EJ07/*variant(ST7, Starlight 4) (<-- gets top ranks often, really eyeing it. practically seems old by now lol. merely neutral bass?)
  • S8/variant (=pass)
  • M9 (a bit bass-shy, lacking dynamics?)
  • Clairvoyance (does it fit?)
  • EST112 (hmmm. treble issues?)
  • Linsoul Oracle/Excaliber (uh…)

Haven’t tried a lot in this range, but the Dunu Zen is one of my favorite sounding pieces so far. (Headphones included.)

Zen does this really well imo.


Can you compare its bass to FD5?

Unfortunately not. I haven’t heard the FD5. I can tell you it is probably my favorite bass I’ve heard so far though. Check my profile to see what headphones and IEM’s I’ve owned.

It is very tight and controlled so you get that nice definition and texture, and when it is called for it really slams and rumbles. Very fun.

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The Zen has the best bass I have heard. Its next league compared to everything else I got (FD5, EX1000, EST112).

But the upper-treble roll-off is a very big bottleneck and the upper-mids can be too much for you. I recommend the EST112 over the Zen.

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Yeah those factors should definitely be considered. For my listening I haven’t found it to be a problem, but everyone’s music / taste / hearing is different so YMMV as always in this hobby. The EST112 may be the safer choice, especially considering the price. I picked my Zen up used for a decent discount off retail. I’ve seen open box ones around $550 which I think is a great price.

Yeah, if the bass matches the quality of FD5, that’s all I need for bass minimums. But FD5 treble is too in tents/sharp.

Its better lol. I put the FD5, EX1000 and the EST112 in the same league, but they might be in different levels. The Zen however is in another league.


Looks like the OP has the BGVP DM8’s as do I. I really like these DM8’s, but sometimes they leave me wanting for more, so I’m kind of looking for either a second pair of IEM’s or even replacements. Don’t get me wrong, they do a LOT right, just sometimes with certain music/recordings, they kind of leave me hanging if you know what I mean.

Curious, how is the treble with those EST112’s considering they have those dual EST’s right up front like that?

The fit, mids(what are mids, again…?), and treble are really excellent IMO. I would certainly change the bass and get rid of the soft-ish character. Otherwise, all I can think of would be to enhance the treble to be further airy & effortless/breathable, dimensional, and to have improved crystalline & glistening/liquid-like definition(A7 treble tops DM8 treble for pure neutrality/realism/accuracy IMO). And of course further improved tone, but no complaints here.

So overall treble intensity/sharpness is significantly less/better on 112 VS FD5? I feel like BGGAR will choose 112 for his new fav trybird, after completing the next ranking revision, but maybe not.

If I go with EST112, would Focal Clear be a complimentary sound? Or just basically the same, or less, of everything the 112 offers?

I didnt feel fatigue with it, I do with the FD5. No idea if bggar will like it more than the clair/mon (I probably would like them more since they got more bass).

I have zero ideas on how it sounds as I dont have it nor have I researched it. Not really a headphone fan besides the koss stuff.

Update: will be demoing Clear and HD800S in a few days, as the Clear is still pulling at me the most between all these options so far(it’s not an IEM, is it? lol), and HD800 is my dream headphone I’ve never been able to demo yet after all these years. :slight_smile: Hopefully Clear has an OK soundstage… :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

Clear is here! But HD800S… Fun story. So I had a mail audition lined up to have them for a week or 2, and then the guy at the “store” said he needed to “see something” from me to verify that I am me, so that they don’t hand out their valuable headphones to criminals or something. I gave my name, credit card, address, phone, and he did some kind of internal ID check on me, checking for a ping match of my phone to my address or something ridiculous…and he said, “strange, it’s not finding you”. So I send a photo of my DL and college ID, and later he replies in an email that he and the owner looked into it more, weren’t able to verify me, and have made a final decision, and can’t lend to me without being verified in their system. My DL doesn’t match my college address, since I recently moved out here, and I don’t need a new DL if moving in-state…but did they even care to ask about that at all? Did they offer to send verification by mail to my address? Did they bother to check up on any of this before taking my payment info? Nope. So after reading that email, I took a ton of photos of my mail and bills from various places and emailed them to the owner and the store guy, then I called back to ask for someone to help verify me, and was told, “the owner has made a decision, and it’s final. Have a good day”. click So this is the kind of service you get from places that sell $500+ cables, huh. My worst, most disrespectful customer experience ever, in one of my very favorite hobbies. I hope they get bulldozed by covid and go bakrupt.

Ok, I do not like the Clears. Back to the IEM drawing boarde. (YBF = amazing :slight_smile:)

Never wish that to anyone no matter how they treat you. :wink:


I hope they get a legitimate system, drain the swamp and hire better better people, and send me headphones to demo. How’s that? :slight_smile:

And suddenly the Oracle is standing out from the pack…! I have questions about its bass quantity, though, and how it stands against MEST, just for fun.

Looking at pulling the trigger on Oracle(done)+Bifrost(done)+G111(soon).