Advice/Opinions on IEM for Orchestral/Theatrical ~$400 US

Apologies in advanced if this thread is a bit redundant over just replying to one of advice threads.

I’ve recently been doing some homework on my first foray into a nice pair of IEM’s. I currently have been using a pair of Sony MDR1-R’s for many years and eventually picked up some Airpods Pro for casual outdoor use and was surprised to find myself preferring them (when treble boosted) over the Sony and have become fond of the IEM style since I’ve had them and figured it was time to find a nice pair of headphones; originally considered some Sundara’s but really love the convenience factor of an IEM.

I mostly listen to orchestra and soundtracks; Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, Hanz Zimmer and have found that almost always find myself EQ’ing more treble into my Sony’s and Airpods and I’m not sure if that’s just the nature of their sound curve or just my ears preferring a brighter/analytical sound.

The treble boosting tends to lower overall volume and makes the other ranges more recessed though, but I figure with a proper IEM, I could simply pick up a small amp/dac at least. I was using an old FiiO DAC/Amp for the Sony’s for awhile but it was rather clunky to carry around as I tend walk around the house when listening.

I’m been having a hard time deciding between the following after reading countless reviews but few of them seem to focus on heavy orchestra pieces for their comparisons. I find both the Sony’s and Airpods tend struggle and seem overwhelmed when tracks get busy, to the point where it just sound like a mess from a single source. They do sound great for pop/alternative/rock though, which I imagine is what they are mostly targeted towards.

Moondrop Blessing 2
Tanchjim Oxygen

Reading on this forum, some of suggested that BA’s have an issue when it comes to timbre over DD’s with acoustic instruments but I’m not too sure what “bad” timbre really sounds like given my limited hardware experiences. I wouldn’t mind trading some, maybe not so natural sounding string instruments, if I can get good separation, soundstage and detail, which apparently the A7 seems to be regarded for.

If there are better options that I should consider within this budget range, please let me know!

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Hello, thought I’d share my advice.

I myself listen to classical music and OSTs/ Scores. Currently listening to Hans Zimmer’s Batman v. Superman soundtrack, truly amazing. And I’m listening via my new Kinera BD005. These are great IEMs that have 1 BA and 1 DD. They are fairly cheap at $40-$50 depending on where you can find them. I would suggest you start in the low $100 and under range and see what you like there. I got the Blon BL03 last week and those things are killer as well. Best of luck and alway ask any of us here for help.

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Out of the two you mentioned, I have owned the FDX1 and the Blessing2. I can confirm that both are quite great for orchestral music. If I had to pick, I would probably stick to the Blessing2 (from those two), but the fit might be an issue. Huge nozzle and quite large shell are a bad mix for smaller ears. I also heard the Legacy 4 has some emphasis on treble so you may want to look into that as well.

Weirdly enough, I would also suggest looking into the S8F (which may be on sale on Linsoul for the Chinese New Year). It’s v-shaped in it’s signature but learning towards an emphasis on the treble side rather. I find it to be quite good for picking out details in music. Can’t comment on the others as I have not heard them. Hope this helped in some way!

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Tanchjim Oxygen is your best bet here. You can remove the B2 due to its very unnatural timbre. The LZ A7 is the runner up due to how versatile it is, but loses to the Oxygen in these genres.

I cant comment on the FDX1 as I dont have it, but it could be an alternative to the Oxygen since it should fit more people. (some people have problems with the short nozzle on the Oyxgen.)


Just barely within your budget, but my top recommendation of all IEMs I’ve heard, is BY FAR the UM 3DT. It is easily one of my favorite IEMs overall and my clear favorite IEM for orchestral/symphonic music. The 3 DDs have a very natural sound, they don’t get congested at all when things get very loud, dynamic, and complex, and they image amazingly well. The stock tuning is also ideal, IMO, for symphonic works. Easily one of the most exciting and realistic IEMs for this genre. I love listening to movie soundtracks with them. It is also probably the most detailed IEM I own, even more detailed than the MEST IMHO.


Just for reference, other IEMs I own that I can compare the 3DT to include:
UM MEST, Penon Volt, KBEar Believe, NF Audio NM2+, Drop FDX1, Mangird Tea, Shure se846, Fearless S8Pro, LZ A7.

Unfortunately, I have not heard the Oxygen or Blessing 2.


Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Some more to consider it would seem!

Those 3DT’s seem really interesting, though definitely will be a bit painful for my budget after shipping and taxes. They appear to be very new as well, so I’ll have to see what others say of them as review come in.

The S8F/Pro also seem very interesting, though I’m not sure if I want a V shape tune.

I also recently discovered the Fiio FD5, which I dismissed at first but many reviews seem to suggest they are maybe more technically proficient then the FDX1 and Oxygen (for a DD) along with a very wide sound stage which “sounds” fantastic on paper.

I was originally very set on the B2’s (esp Crins Dusk tuning) given the stellar reviews they seem to be getting but maybe a good single (or many?) DD might be preferred for my preferred genre.

I’m really impressed at how much good competition there is, wasn’t expecting to be so much to choose from for any budget point.

@Rikudou_Goku OH! I didn’t even notice your name! Your list was what made me consider both the Oxygen and now FD5. What are your opinions on both in this situation?

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oh lol, I would recommend the Oxygen over the FD5 for this genre. Since having a bit more neutral bass and more forward mids is better usually.

The only exception is if your tracks have a lot of bass in it, then the FD5 may be better.
(for example, hiroyuki sawano tracks: )

If your tracks is more like this without much/any drums:
Then the Oxygen will be better

So the choice between them depends mostly on your library itself.


Wouldn’t the S8F/P be equally pushing the limits of your budget? Though the S8 has a V-shaped tuning on a graph, in listening to it, it doesn’t sound like a classic V-shape. The mids don’t sound recessed, and both male and female vocals sound very good on it. It has a somewhat heavy note weight, and the mid bass is the one part of the tuning that I could see as being detrimental to orchestral music, depending on one’s preferences. I actually think it sounds quite good with this genre, though the timbre is not nearly as natural as good DDs, and the imaging/soundstage are not really anything special to me.

Other than perhaps ultimate driver speed, and having a smaller, unvented shell, I can’t think of anything where the 3DT isn’t superior to the S8.

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When you put it this way, it would seem a LOT of my tracks tend to have a lot percussion instruments, but I think I probably should have given some examples of the general tracks I’m listening to. I’ll list them at the end of this post.

And yes, both S8F/3DT are pushing the budget over the top but if they are THAT much better then the ones listed, I could probably push for them. This will be a “end-game” for quite awhile for me so if the difference is worth, I’ll definitely consider the 3DT seriously.

After some more reviews, it seems DD’s are the way to go for my music genre, though it seems the A7 is very good with timbre even for a hybrid.

Here are some track examples to give an idea.

Two Steps From Hell - Victory - YouTube

Marcus Warner - To Build An Army (Official Audio) - YouTube

Thomas Bergersen - Merchant Prince - YouTube

Thomas Bergersen - Mountain Call - YouTube

Two Steps From Hell - Archangel (Voice)(Choir) (Archangel) - YouTube

Two Steps From Hell - Black Blade (Invincible) - YouTube

Way too much to list but they all follow along this line for the most part. Would the Oxygen not provide as much punch as the FD5 in these cases?

Appreciate the help guys also! Been very helpful, was pretty much set on the B2 prior to all this.

aa, TSFH

Looks like you got jackpot.

The FD5 sounds more suited for them than the Oxygen, epic combination.

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