Best IEM 230 dollar timeless vs etymotic er4xr vs moondrop kato

hey i want to buy an IEM for around 200 dollar i have read tons of reviews and watched tons of youtube videos still unsure about these 3
I want the IEM for critical listening
thanks in advance for your answer

for critical listening I’d say either Kato or er4xr (haven’t heard the er4xr personally)

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I don’t have any answers for you…but I wanted to welcome you to HFG, so welcome to HFG Mahdi!


are you a bot?


oh no, no I am not a bot, LoL!

I haven’t listened to them yet…but I suspect the ER4XR I just got will be an end game level IEM for me. I have them, but just haven’t gotten into the frame of mind to listen to them yet. I got COVID when they arrived, so that spoiled the mood. :stuck_out_tongue:


Sorry for the bot assumption. The welcome message was weird, and tnx for the provided information


Hi, and welcome to the group.
I can vouch for @Marzipan he is not a bot, just one of our many friendly members.

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no worries Mahdi :slight_smile: what do you have for a sound chain to power these IEM’s? what kind of music do you listen to?

Heard both the Kato and Olina, and personally I’d get the Olina ($100) and do the filter mod. Same tier detail wise, but Olina has better imaging, and soundstage is more 3D with better bass and noteweight. Kato sounded thin to me. Haven’t heard the ER4XR, but if it’s a better version of the ER2XR then it wouldn’t be bad either. It’s just that Olina is a lot cheaper :sweat_smile:

The Olina mod is also super easy to do and takes like 5 minutes; use a tweezer and take the extra filters that comes with the Olina and stick it on-top of the pre-existing on (double filter mod). Breakdown of the Kato, Stock Olina, and Modded Olina here :JAY's IEM Ranking List - Google Sheets

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i dont have a dedicated source i want to plug them to my fairly modern motherboard but if it’s absolutely necessary I can buy fiio e10k
i want these IEMs for critical listening to hip hop especially the drill sub-genre

tnx for the suggestion but i prefer the sound to be in my face rather than having a wide soundstage that’s why I even consider the etys

Kato is definitely not in your face, and I would not recommend them for hiphop since everything will sound light and not impactful; the etymotic series also aren’t recommended for hiphop since they lack low end. Timeless has good bass, but it doesn’t rumble and can sound thin and harsh at louder volumes.

I’d recommend the Tanchjim Hana 2021, especially with additional filter applied (comes with). Deep, rumbly bass, in-your-face, and great bass texture and thick notes. I listen to artists like Kanye, Kendrick, Fivio, Brockhampton, Tyler, and they sound awesome on it (~$180 wait for sale). Hana has the most, and best bass graphed, and in actual listening. You can get even more bass on the Hana with additional filters that it comes with (also great technicalities).

Also, IEMs with wide staging (left and right) tend to reproduce sound closure to the listener, and IEMs with stage depth (wall of sound away in-front of you ex. Timeless & Kato) are what you’re trying to avoid since there’s more air and everything is pushed further out.

see i am mixman that’s why i want notes in my face rather than having wide soundstage I need to hear kinda everything in the music
tnx for the provided information

For your library:

Timeless :x:

Kato :x:

Etymotic :x:

Hana 2021 :white_check_mark: In your face bass and sound.

And again, usually IEMs with lots of stage depth (Timeless, Kato) = away from you = not what you want.

IEMs with wide stage (right and left) = usually closer in-front of you = what you want. I think you got those two mixed up.

Timeless for maximum detail, takes EQ like a boss, don’t stress about stage being too big on an IEM.

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if you want to do critical listening, then you will need to buy a dedicated DAC / amp…one with a focus for IEM’s preferably. let us know how much you could budget for one so we can see if there is something better than the e10k. :slight_smile:

see my budget is at max 240 250 dollars and the etymotic er4xr cost me 228 dollars timeless would cost me 220 and kato would be 208 dollars I didn’t expect IEMs would need an amp and dac

and etymotic er3se would cost me 140 dollars

technically don’t need one but it’d be an improvement over a laptop/desktop/phone aux out
could do something like a BTR5 and Olina now and upgrade the IEM later

Again, all those IEMs you’ve listed are not the best options for your library. Hana 2021 fits the best and is cheaper than them, or you can grab the Olina and a DAC/AMP for around $200 some, do the double filter mod + filter on the vents, and you’ll get the in your face signature you wanted.

Stop looking at etymotics they’re not good for drill man :joy: Depending on how good your laptop/desktop’s dac is if you really need a dac/amp then grab Olina; if not grab the Hana 2021.