500$ IEM or 500$ Over-ear Headphone?

I mean, are headphones superior to IEMS in general? maybe the soundstage/imaging i guess, but overall, is this a rule like speakers>all?

I was considering getting either a pair of Sundara’s (best i could find for the sameish price after a ton of research) or a 500$ish IEM like Thieaudio Oracle,Moondrop Variations and FIIO FD5 but i’m still studying the possibilities until 11.11.

What are the differences between the same price range in both cattegories? Will the resolution be better in IEMS, but lacking in soundstage and imaging?

My favorite genres are rock, classical, electronic and hip-hop, so quite different music here.

I would like to have good technicalities, and comfort is good as i will be using them all day long, also i have small/medium ears. Have experience with KZ ZS10 PRO, Moondrop Aria, Superlux HD681, TC-01. I like the Aria’s better than the others because i feel like it’s better detailed, although the comfort from the TC-01’s are way better.

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Pretty subjective tbh. I prefer iems in general overall even though over ear headphones tend to be better for things like treble extension, THD, etc I think if you’ve owned a few of both you can make this decision on your own. If you can’t, I suggest buying a few cheap ones that’s are considered good to compare before making an expensive $500 investment. For cheap over ear headphones things like the superluxe headphones come in mind. For cheap in ear, I suggest the er2 by ety for $60, or kz edx pro for $12-$14. Some decent in between choices include the blon bl-03/bl-max, kz dq6, kz zex, tripowin Mele, or if you want to spend a few bucks more moondrop aria or gs audio gd3a for around $80. I’ve owned most of the iems I just suggested and I liked them way more than the a lot more expensive over ear headphones I’ve had (audeze Mobius, hifiman he35x, Sennheiser pc38x, Sennheiser pc 550 ii, etc) even though a lot of ppl will preach over ear is a lot better so you’ll really have to try one or two of each to see which boat you fit on. Once you know what you like it’ll be easier for you to know where to spend the rest of your money. Personally, reading from your post it sounds like you’d like iems more.


i own the Aria’s and TC-01s atm, but had a pair of hyperx revolvers and the hd681, i know it’s kinda subjective, i was curious about if It had any objective kinda of limitations to each other or one does a nicer job

although the aria is quite uncomfortable for me as It feels like os going to fall over my ears everytime i wear them, and it’s hard for me to get a good insertion :smiling_imp: as i have small ears

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If you don’t mind having a deep fit the er2xr is the closest sounding I’ve had to the starfields, and it won’t fall out easily. But if you’re looking for a $500 upgrade I don’t really have suggestions since all my iems are under $350~

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Focal Elex.


In the $500 price range :thinking:
and this’s all subjective…

HP’s…Soundstage yes
IEM’s… Detail retrieval yes, Timbre yes (depending on driver choice) Imaging yes, Comfort yes for me, Drive-ability Yes (mostly), Fit paramount no fit no joy so learning about tips etc imperative.

At the end of the day there’s no right or wrong just a personal preference like apples or oranges :man_shrugging:


do u have any recommendation for IEMS in this price range? also about eartips for small ears?

Do you want soundstage or details?

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both :cry: but maybe more detail

Don’t have a lot of experience in that price range but I’m really enjoying my Timeless :+1: as for tips Sony’s EP-EX11 Hybrid’s come in SS S M L LL which are great all round balanced tips along with their EPEX10AB’s.


Good Iems around or under 500: Blessing 2/ Blessing 2 Dusk, Tanchjim Oxygen, 7hz timeless, Dunu SA6, Thieaudio Oracle, Thieaudio Excalibur, Moondrop Variations, Moondrop KATO, Fiio FD5, Tanchjim Prism, Kiwi Ears Orchestra, Fearless S8Z/S8F/S8 Pro, Sony IER-M7, Etymotic ER4XR, Mangird Tea

  • EJ07m with Tanchjim filters (600$ but you can get it lower with Aliexpress coupons or so). You’ll get the resolution and stage you want, and a GPS tracker taking care of Imaging :slight_smile:
  • Never heard Oracle but should be very good for it as well.

I’d avoid Variations/Dusk/Monarch tuning for your library. You need mid-bass (150-200hz) and balanced signature. I’d say you also need a DD as bass. Tribids seem a no brainer for what you looking.

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what u think about the Xenns Up? i mean like we r already at 600… 100+ wouldn’t hurt
i know u don’t hear to electronic at all but can you give me a taste of how the EJ07M sounds in these songs?

Raavan | Dussehra Song | Amit Trivedi feat. Shilpa Rao, Anand Bhaskar (for bass)

An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) | Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder (voice and soundstage)

Yosi Horikawa - Bubbles (soundstage and imaging) < well, the classic, in my aria it feels very left-right, the separation is not layered as i wanted it to be, and i think im missing some details when the bubbles start to drop because the lack of resolution, although it might be a lack of source (amp/dac)

Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words, Op 67, No 2 (to check if the warmness is there :+1:)

Howl’s Moving Castle - Merry go round of Life cover by Grissini Project (dynamics)

TES V Skyrim Soundtrack - From Past to Present i just love this song (try to search a better quality in your streaming app pls ^ this is shit)

HAIYANI SPAIN WE ARE THE ORE - Maximum The Hormone (treble fatigue test)

NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera (vocals, harmonics, separation)

and lastly Lost In Space - Riding The Ayahuasca (Original Mix)
to check if it can be energetic and envolving as i would like

i guess this is all haha

and please if someone else have any tribids and want to give a opinion on those songs, comment!! it will be very helpful!

im sorry if this is really far from your taste, you don’t need to hear all… sorry again…

don’t know what your amp/dac situation is but i’d keep the hifiman edition xs on your list. colossal soundstage, amazing detail, $430. reviews should be rolling out for them soon.

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i’m indeed keeping my eyes on those! guess how they compare to sundara’s and ananda’s, waiting for reviews

they’re drastically better than anandas and sundaras. like by a mile. i’d expect them to cost $1000 or maybe more for what they accomplish. only downside is i wish that hifiman would sell the adapter rings for oval pads.

didn’t know about that… but a downside that i hear about it is the headband that i see many ppl having trouble with those in past models

i totally get that people don’t like that headband (i’m one of those people) but on the oval pad hifimans the clamp force and grip you get from having so much more pad surface touching your head lets you loosen up the top quite a bit and they stay put just fine. i haven’t had a problem with the headband at all despite hating them on every circle can i’ve used them on.

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i saw you have HE6se V2, u think it’s a good alternative in this price range? what is the amp requirement for those?

i think the he6 is a lot more picky than most people think and it absolutely needs a bassy amp or some eq to be what people want out of it. it’s very revealing to the quality of the source. the edition xs is a lot more forgiving and more naturally bassy while having a much larger soundstage than the he6 and to me seems more agreeable in it’s tuning. he6 scales way better but you can get some incredible results from the edition xs a lot easier.

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