IEM advice (170€ budget)

Hello people,

I’ve been using some Skullcandy earbuds (they were a gift) for about three years now and I want an upgrade. Budget is around 170€ max. Couple months ago I bought a pair of DT770s 250ohm and I’m really liking them. Can listen to them for a good while without getting fatigued.

I will be driving the IEMs mainly from my phone as I will use them only when travelling/out in the town. So noise isolation is a must. Maybe from a Schiit stack (Modi + Magni) once in a while if I don’t feel like getting my headphones.

I’d like the bass to be emphasized and I’m also a sucker for sound clarity and imaging. I mainly listen to drum based electronic music (Jungle/DnB), IDM and Jazz. Here are some examples:

I was having a hard time deciding between Fiio FH3 and Moondrop Arias. Wasn’t sure that the 1.6x price of the FH3 is worth it. Last night I came across this forum and it sure made my decision less easy!

So after some surfing through the forum last night this is the IEMs that I’m looking at from most to least probable:

FiiO FH3
Thor Mjölnir
Moondrop Aria
Mangird MT4
SeeAudio Yume

Maybe you can help me decide or at least rule out some from the list because maybe they don’t fit my requirements.

Also is the ddHifi TC35B worth it? Right now I’m using a generic 10 eur dongle as I don’t have a jack on my phone. Or should I save towards something like a iFi hip-dac?

Thanks a bunch!

You sound like a good candidate for IKKO OH10’s. I’ve not tried all the IEM’s on your list, but my experience with the OH10’s fits your requirement for bass and clarity. They are easy to drive as well.

Regarding DAC/AMP for on the go, there’s a couple key questions here:

  1. iPhone or Android?
  2. do you need it to support an in-line microphone?
  3. do you want it attached to the phone while using it? or prefer bluetooth? (bluetooth will make it able to put your phone in your bag and adjust songs/volume from the dac/amp)

Regarding the TC35B, it’s a step up from most phone headphone jacks. The USB-C version for android phones is a nice little DAC/AMP, including the ability to connect to a microphone if your IEMs are wired with an inline mic. I have a TC35B hooked up to a pair of Tin T2’s with an inline mic for making work calls on my phone.

You could consider the 2.5mm balanced version of the ddHiFi dac if you don’t need microphone support. I run my OH10’s balanced, and it’s nice. Not a must have, but at least in my head I hear a difference.

Hip DAC is harder to carry around than I expected. It’s big, and only connects via USB. Makes for a pretty big “thing” to carry around. This is totally personal preference and comfort, but for me it was too much to enjoy portable.

For portable I use primarily a BTR5 connected via LDAC to my Android phone. Very pocketable and easy to travel with. If nothing else, ease of use and portability are a winner. I connect the OH10’s via 2.5mm to use the balanced output of the BTR5. A nice feature of the BTR5 is it includes a microphone on the device itself. I wouldn’t use it regularly for calls, but if I’m out and get a call I can use it to answer and not disconnect everything. And IMHO the BTR5 sounds better than the Hip DAC, but this is very subjective.

Thanks for the input! Did you try any other ones from the list? Maybe I can make the list shorter :smile:

  1. Android (currently have Motorola Moto Z but I will be buying a new Android phone, probably by the end of the year)
  2. no need for in-line mic
  3. I don’t mind having it attached to my phone as I will carry it in a fanny pack

Going balanced would mean I would need buy a cable as well, and that would exceed my already exceeded budget.

Maybe I’ll do that once I have a DAC/AMP with balanced out. I only wrote about the Hip DAC as an example. Didn’t quite look into portable DAC/AMPs yet and that one was the first that popped in my mind.

I can order the OH10 from IKKO’s site or Penon (10 bucks cheaper). Any preference here?

Just a heads up about the OH10. It is super heavy, so much so that I cant use it for more than around an hour due to fatigue. So I wouldnt recommend them to you.

I say you would prefer the Fiio FH3 and its cheaper as well. As for a balanced cable, you can get some pretty cheap but high quality cables like cable A3: FAAEAL 4Core High Purity Copper cable with 2Pin/MMCX Connector 3.5/2.5/4.4mm Gold plated plug Earphone Upgrade Cable For TFZ/TRN|Earphone Accessories| - AliExpress

I have limited experience with the rest of your list. I’ve heard the FH3’s, but not purchased them. Let someone else with a little more experience with the IEMs on this list chime in here.

@Rikudou_Goku comment regarding weight is correct. They are solid chunks of IEM! But they work for me, I run them for many hours a day while working with no issue.

As far as purchasing, I’ve become a big fan of the used market (especially on this forum). Able to save some $$$ and limit your risk. If you don’t like them it’s easy to get your money back out. If you buy new, make sure they have a good return policy - Amazon is great for this.

Lucky you I guess. :joy:

The FH3 has a safer treble as well, as the OH10 can sometimes be sharp and harsh.

@Rikudou_Goku I knew you would suggest the FH3s, saw you praising them on some other thread :grin:

@elementze Sadly I don’t have access to Amazon in my country (Romania)

I’m really considering tossing a coin rn! Weight on Amazon for OH10 is 350 grams, is that for both IEMs & the cable?

That sounds very wrong. Its probably the entire package weight that amazon lists.

Could be. But this is a good reminder that as always - YMMV - different hearing sensitivities and preferences.

I do think @Rikudou_Goku is correct, the FH3 is likely the safer bet, especially if returning could be an issue. They are generally liked, and from what I remember on them they were very nice. The OH10’s have a bit more risk (especially with weight/comfort).

@elementze Well I like safe. If I go with the FH3 then I might get the cable @Rikudou_Goku linked + the balanced version of the ddHiFi. That would be the TC44B right? Because I see that the TC25B isn’t balanced.

Why not just run single ended with a 3.5mm cable? No need to upgrade unless you want to try the world of balanced. You are correct, TC25B is not balanced. The TC44B is balanced, but much more expensive (and requires a 4.4mm penticon connector). My 2 cents, stick with the stock 3.5mm cable, and upgrade later if you want to try it. You could even just stick with your current adapter. If you like it, save your money for future purchases (welcome to a hobby that is a true money sink hole) :slight_smile:

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Right? It’s always “I have X budget” and I end up spending double that after hours of doing research. I should probably stick with the stock cable for now and see how I like them.

But I really do like my vinyl setup and currently rocking Adam T5Vs for my PC which I absolutely love!

Anyway thanks for your input peeps. I will make a decision on Sunday, maybe by then someone else will chime in on the other IEMs in the list.

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I have both Legacy 4 and OH10s and theyre chalk and cheese.
OH10 has the deeper bass and a good soundstage but are lacking a bit in the mids compared to the L4s.
Ive only had the OH10s a few weeks so i used them constantly and realy like them and thought id hate the L4s when i swapped back a few days ago, but immediately fell back in love with the L4, they are definitely the more neutral of the two and much lighter ans smaller as well.
Honestly you cant go too wrong with either but based on your music preferences the OH10s sound like the better bet.

@DaveB Bass and soundstage are more important to me than mids, so I’ll take the L4s off the list. How’s the clarity on the OH10s? Every review praised the FH3s on that aspect.

I am working on my OH10 review, should be done tomorrow or sunday. So you might want to wait.

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Clarity is not bad but it’s the worst performer out of my S8Fs and L4s but for me the OH10s have other plus points and the bass is quite captivating.
Like I said, they are a different animal compared to my other IEMs which is why I got them.

I had already decided after watching some more reviews on the two, and after reading yours I am 100% sold on the FH3s. I will take its better clarity and imaging over OH10s better (more?) bass.
So FH3s with ddHifi TC35B and stock cable for now, and I will probably buy a FiiO BTR5 and balanced cable later on.
Thanks for helping me decide! :smiley:

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The mid bass is better in quality on the OH10 but similar quantity.

Sub-bass however is the opposite and is also responsible for bottlenecking the OH10´s technicalities more than the FH3.

I’m very interested in these kind of music, can you please share a few playlists?

Welcome to HFGF :smiley: if you mean you like BASS?..then it might be worth going through this thread :+1: