Newbie here, trying to dip my toes into hifi and better music enjoyment. I’ve lurked around for a bit on here before making an account and this definitely seems like a good place to get some recommendations.
So in regards to my admittedly confusing topic, bit of background. Currently I’m sporting 2 I guess you could call them IEMs both are Audio Technica the ATH-CKR50 which is my current daily driver which I am using pretty much everyday on the laptop and watching videos/movies. And the ATH-CKS550XiS “solid bass” and “For phones” and has that well known “Hi-res” label on the box, which is meant to be my back up in case the CKR gives up the ghost. They’re both in-ear earbuds but I’m not sure if they would be considered IEMs hence the title. I’ve looked high and low for reviews and other things on both of these but as it seems they are both from the AT japan market, granted the boxes they came in were both in Japanese so makes sense. From what I could find they are both in the 50-60USD range just don’t remember how much they were when I got them.
I usually wear the CKR at the computer 6+hrs every day and even fall asleep with them, but it’s not the most detailed when it comes to music, it’s fairly decent and it’s an okay all rounder for what I do with it. As for the CKS it’s just way too bassy for me, it has much more clarity overall than the CKR (possibly the filter is gunked up since I use it so much) but the bass just drowns out a lot of that clarity and pushes way too forward even with the slight modding I did with the bit of micropore between the eartip and spout to reduce the bass.
So back to the meat of the matter, I’m looking for an upgrade to these to get my “first” actual IEM. From a lot of browsing and reading and watching reviews It seems that the Moondrop Aria is a big recommendation from most (I can get them for about 60USD where I’m at) but I’d like to hear from the rest as to what else you guys would suggest.
Budget: Probably around 100USD but a bit flexible
Music Library: I mainly listen to rock and metal, so some disturbed, powerwolf, sabaton, and other various genres too, but those are my main playlist
Source: Mainly phone(Samsung A50), Laptop (Macbook pro 2012),
Considering to getting a dongle dac, the Jcally JM20 specifically to go with the new IEM
Preferred sound signature: Definitely want something more balanced with nice clear mids and vocals and good detail, clarity, and separation but still has a good punch to the bass, since like I mentioned earlier if anyone actually read the entirety of my ramblings the CKS’s “solid bass” is a bit much for me. Probably something balanced-warm or neutral-warm(?), or slightly mid-forward
Soundstage: I know that IEMs aren’t particularly huge when it comes to soundstage, but if it has good soundstage then even better
So hopefully you veterans in the hobby could help me out here, just getting into listening and getting more immersed in my music listening instead of just having them as a background when playing pool (my new Fiil T1 lites have that bit covered)