Around $100 ish

The wife wants IEMs. She doesn’t like the ‘helmet head’ that comes with over-ears.

I plan on getting her a Zen V2 and an IEMatch (just in case). She’ll use the Apple Dongles we have while listening on the go.

That said, I am looking for a good IEM for her around $100 ish (heavy on the ish, I can stretch a bit, but probably not more than $200).

She likes a detailed sound, slightly V shaped more than dead neutral, but not heavily colored. She likes ‘enough’ bass, but doesn’t want ‘so much bass that she can’t understand the lyrics’.

She also doesn’t want to geek out like I do, she wants me to do the research and get her something that will make her happy, without ‘going crazy like you did’…

I am thinking maybe Fiio FH3. Maybe the new Tripowin Olina? I hear good things about Moondrop Spark, but bad things about their Q/A…

Am I barking up the right tree? Am I way off base? In the $100-sub$200 range, for a mild V shape, with sufficient bass and good resolution what would you pick?

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Olina, imo. I’d avoid fh3 tbh


Any feedback on why? I would love to be learning while I tread down this road.

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Dude. You described the Moondrop Starfield perfectly. And it’s $110 so right up your alley.

From the 40 or so IEMs I tried, they are definitely one of my top 3 favourites. Don’t wanna self-promote, but if you go on my profile, you’ll find detailed impressions on it. :call_me_hand:t2:

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FiiO FH3 was my first “real” IEM, and it sounded really good for the most part. But, the fit was kinda wonky and at times it could sound kind of piercing/shouty with some tracks. Almost to the point where I would have to lower the volume a bit.

You have lots of good alternatives now a days too. Like Moondrop Aria, TinHiFi T3 Plus etc. Tripowin Mele for around 50 dollars is also a great first IEM, fun, pleasing sound with good bass and a really, really comfy fit in ear. Or, if you really wanna save money you could look at the really hyped CCA CRA for 15 dollars. Punches above it’s price point, and can trade some blows with IEMs in the 50-90 dollar range, IMHO.

Olina looks really promising, and might prove to be the one to beat at this price point. But, I would wait for more reviews and impressions :slight_smile:

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So based definitely avoid all fiio iems.

Etymotic ER2SE is excellent, amazing seal and no peaks or resonance issues at all for anyone especially for a wife the clarity without sibilance and weirdness is really nice.

Very natural timbre is the name of the game creates a very relaxing and enjoyable IEM. Can be had on adorama for 50usd or 75 usd full price.

For your budget & requirements of “slight v, not too much bass” makes me think of starfield aria and away from fh3 & hbb mele.

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Good luck because we all have our own ideas Olina be solid choice This is also from reviews the Yume midnight night work or maybe the Shuoer S 12. I think you get idea! She sounds like she listened a lot so what headphones does she like? I would never get an Aria but that is me . The Tin T 3+ might be nice . I have not heard it but at 100 the Olina from reviews sound like a solid choice. The Iem is very comfortable to wear as it same she’ll as Mele that I do own,

Well, of course!

Fh3 was my first iem. While they were ok at what they did, they had several tonality and technica problems.

Tuning feels unbalanced, too warm and bassy. Mids feel scooped out, making treble sometimes taking a jab at you. Technically, they have great stage, but its timbre and coherency just felt off.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it has passed almost an year since it’s announcement, which means surpassed in chifi measuring units.

As for the Olina rec, it’s my default 100usd benchmark along at the moment. Im working on finishing it’s review but soon more people will start getting it. It’s harman tuned and basicly what you described, but there’s also a lot of other options on the market at the moment. I just feel Fiio FH3 is not really one of them…

Sub-200 you also have stuff like planars (s12/timeless) and etymotics (but fit).

What’s the library like?

Sure. I too wouldn’t get Aria. I’m very much happy with my FH3.

But as per OP requirement, i think Aria might fit him. Fh3 and Mele have quite significant amount of bass.

I’m unfamiliar with Olina so can’t recommend it. But the impressions seems positive.

I understand but he said bass that would drown out vocals. The Mele does not do that. The bass makes it slightly warm and honestly if 50 was all he spend it be my rec This us just opinion and his willingness to go to 200 clouds issue a bit.

Bull’s-eye. Buy the Starfields for $110 and don’t look back.

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Or… buy the Aria and save $30 :wink:

The Dunu Titan S is also a good contender under the 100 mark if you don’t want a lot of bass.


True. Most reviews i watch, suggest to get the cheaper Aria. Not saying starfield are bad, just the differences are too little to matter.

I totally forgot about Titan S. But that one is very neutral right (based on reviews). It’s not vshape at all, not even slightly😅.

Here is the difference between the Aria and Titan S. It’s not completely bassless but is more neutral yes.

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Hey, I’m pretty new to all this but based on what you described the T3+ may be a good option if you want to get something immediately right now. This video does a good job of demoing a couple of popular <$100 iems


If vocals are important, I would also stay away from the FH3. That set has its strengths, but tonally it is a little odd.

Thanks folks, I really appreciate you all coming through with a great discussion!

Still in the running are Starfields, ER2SE, and the new Olina. I’ve been following the Olina thread with a good deal of interest for almost a week, and as people get their in and provide initial observations, they seem to be right on the spot.

Narrowing the field to three competitors really helps. Now I can focus on reviews of three specific products.

While I’ve got you here, is Zen pretty much it for great desktop options driving these little buggers? Looking for the sort of noise floor that makes IEMatch completely unnecessary. I’ve heard a lot of good noises about the Zen dac, and the wife will appreciate the simplicity of a dac/amp, but I would like to know if there are other good options.

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Just an FYI. I haven’t heard either but from everything I read the Arias and Starfields are more of less the same so the Arias would be the cheaper option

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I personally never had any problems with my zen DAC and iems but others had noise floor problems
An alternative could be something like the qudelik 5k you can use it as an DAC amp for the PC and as a Bluetooth receiver for on the go and it sounds imo great :smiley: and as a party trick is has a inbuilt parametric eq so should the iem has to much bass as an example she could lower that :wink: