Best IEM w/o DAC and/or good USB-C DAC/amps?

So I’m looking for an ultra-portable setup of either an IEM that’s efficient enough to work well on a phone’s internal dac or i’d like an IEM and a good USB-C dac(amp combo?) solution.

In the IEM I need something SMOOTH/WARM/NO FUCKING TREBLE PLEASE which I guess is harder to find in an IEM than it was for headphones (my nighthawks are godly).
Z recommended the TinT2s and the EarStudio HE100, and I like this price range but i was left unsure about people do their mobile setups (my rich Chinese friend has many expensive IEMS but uses no DAC. I have very little experience with IEMS so I don’t know if he is missing out or what?).

As for the dac/amp (if needed; for reference I do notice a difference between my nighthawks and shp9500s on my phone’s soundcard vs on my ifi zen dac, so i’m not sure OnePlus exactly splurged on their internal audio hardware), I am trying to stay away from dongle dacs like the xduuo link because I am worried about them breaking.

I am heavily leaning towards the AudioQuest Dragonfly Black because of my Best Buy Employee discount, which would take care of the laptop situation, and then maybe for my phone I could use a simple USB to USB-C adapter?

Thanks in advance for your infinite wisdom, hi-fi people.

If he’s not using a nice portable dac/amp or dap I would say he’s missing out

Final e3000?

Depending on what you can get it for that would be nice

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If you wanna go super cheap get a pair of Sony mh755 with the cable mod and and don’t worry about a dac amp as your phone is more than enough for them. They are tuned to the Harman curve and are very pleasing to listen to. Great price to performance ratio possibly one of the best.

Otherwise you can go for the dragonfly black and get some more technical performing sets. Guideray gr-i series might be up your alley, they are slightly warm and don’t have murder treble. Could also go for blons if you don’t mind buying a aftermarket cable and messing with tips for the right fit.


Yes, I have been recommended the gr-i’s!
Also, the blons seem appealing but I was still worried about treble.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I would recommend the MH750 in this case. The 755 treble can get peaky at times. The MH750 has slightly more bass, and cuts down the treble to where there isn’t much chance for harshness.
If you want to go for the Sony, that is.

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Honestly I don’t think I would recommend a Harman tuning if you are sensitive to treble imo. The guideray is nice but I don’t know if I would call it warm

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Yeah that’s what I was going to say lol. Certainly still has some treble.
I actually think the BLONs are harsher at times.
So maybe the Guideray? I don’t know.

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Also @smoketreez if you want a small amp/dac that works well with a phone, I would recommend the Fiio BTR5. It also has bluetooth so you could clip it onto clothing and then control your music wirelessly from there, if you want that ability.
But it has great power and sound for the price and size.


I would actually perhaps suggest the ifi hip dac as it’s got very smooth treble actually (smoother than the Zen dac, actually you could just replace the zen dac with the hip dac if you wanted because imo they are a similar tier of performance)


Actually yes this sounds like a better idea.

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Thought i’d bring an update:
Audioquest dragonfly black + USB-C adapter works great.

I tried the Tin T2 and the EarStudio HE100.
HE100 just sounded bad, but the Tin T2 was almost workable, but the treble was still harsh.

Is the Gr-i series and/or the Final e3000 the best next step for me to try?
My budget has increased a bit but I’m still worried what I am looking for (IEM equivalent of Nighthawks essentially) doesn’t exist below like $500

@smoketreez…Maybe check out the NAGA Audio SIRUS? :+1:

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I’m not sure there is a nighthawk equivalent the hawks are pretty different. I will say i find the gr-i to be very smooth and warm far from harsh. Also 10 dollars off on linsoul atm

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I think the NAGA S5 look closer graph-wise.
One of the few times I will pull put graphs lol.
Nighthawk graph:



Both seem really good.

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And also the Guideray Gr-i are a great choice. Aliexpress is selling the versions with inline button and mic for less than $40. I got the blue color with inline controls, although the purple look sweet too.

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Yeah could be :+1: but the SIRUS has that 10k peak of the Nighthawks?..would be interesting listen to all 3 in the real world lol.

True. I saw one version of the S5 that looked very beautiful but was only available in China or Japan I think.

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I have my eye on the SIRUS when the shit storm’s finally over as well as a higher tier iem as yet undecided upon.


I hadn’t looked at the Sirius yet, just heard the name. I just went and looked and they look like almost the same shell as my Shozy 1.1! Interesting. Looks like a recessed 2 pin though which is a nice touch.

Just got the Gr-i’s in the mail and tried them out.
I still have to EQ to make more treble-heavy music bearable, but I think I will keep them for now.
I also tried the KPH30is which are penomenal.