Looking for a Bassier/Warmer Olina SE?

After a lot of help from you all, I finally settled on ordering the Olina SE. I’ve been using them for a couple days now, and overall they have been quite lovely. A massive improvement over all my $20-30 muddy V shaped stuff. They feel balanced, with great mids, vocals and treble. Comfiest things I’ve ever shoved in my ears along with having a solid build.

However, my main gripe with the Olina SE is that they don’t feel strong enough in the bass for me. At first I thought it was because I was used to V shaped buds, but it just became more apparent the more I used them. When compared to my HD 6XXs, the 6XXs feel like they have stronger bass, especially mid bass from what I hear. Music has that extra thump and energy I love when listening to my library. My library consists of Metal, Videogame OSTs, Piano, with some Rock and Jpop.

Your Battle Is My Battle - Chica
Dream Thief - Phinehas, Seven - Phinehas
Exhibition - The Devil Wears Prada
The Path - Fit For A King
A Placid Island of Ignorance - Chris Christodoulou
Hollow Hunger - OxT
Kick Back - Kenshi Yonezu

The Olina SEs do a good job with just about everything, except for the bass, it especially feels not as strong in Metal. Drums don’t feel as powerful when using my 6XXs. Which is why I feel like I need to go even deeper down this rabbit IEM hole. I know I keep sucking off the HD 6XXs, but it’s just cause I enjoy them that much. It has the perfect mids, vocals, with fun bass for an open back all while not lacking in treble. That extra emphasis in the Mids and Bass is what make me love it so much. Of course there probably won’t be something exactly like that, but something like the Olina SE with more bass or I guess warmth is my goal. I don’t think the issue is the sub bass, but more of the mid bass.
Another thing I’d like to note is massive IEMs are a no go. The Olina SE fits me perfectly, which is a rarity since my right ear is different from my left and always struggles keeping the IEM in. Plus I don’t have large ears and usually use small tips.
(Their use will mostly be for home, but occasionally when strolling around town. Noise isolation is not important to me, but open back IEMs is not what I’m looking for at the moment. Will be running them through a phone and pc, no amp or dac.)

At first I was weary of going above the $100, but you know what, screw it lol. I’m getting the Sony Xperia 5 IV phone, and it comes with a free pair of the WF-XM4 earbuds. So I can easily sell that and use that cash for an IEM, as long as it is worth it.

Potential IEMs: (Just a heads up, I don’t like buying used)

Penon Serial $300: Probably the one that looks like it could be exactly what I’m looking for. Had a lot of people say it is the best IEM in the $300 range. A pleasing sound with improved bass from the Olina SE.

Mangird Tea2 $350: Another beloved IEM, but definitely fringing on too expensive. $300 is what I would say is honestly what I should top at, plus I feel like anything more and the ratio of value to improvements begin to be not worth it.

IKKO OH10 $200: Heard these boys all over the forums, so of course I’m quite curious about them. Unfortunately some people say they have shouty treble so not too sure if I’d like that.

HBB Kai $80: If I liked the Olina SE overall, maybe I just need to find another HBB collab IEM. Only thing is that I’m not so sure if I want to get something V shaped, even if that V shape is done more tastefully, but I guess I’ll never know until I try it.

Please let me know of any other IEMs you would believe fit the criteria. And especially please let me know how they compare to the Olina SE, or to the HD 6XXs.


Tri Starsea. It’s warmer than Olina but similar in actual sound, without sacrificing technicalities and at a reasonable price

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So I can recc the Tangzu with either horn tips or with deep mount tips if you want more intensity. I think that should be the go to for 100-200$. Its similar in tonal balance to a sony n3ap, but has planar timbre/speed so comes across as cleaner. The OH10 is effing amazing and was my first jaw drop for iems, but I think its accepted that it is a bass monster and has alot of upper mids (can be modded) so it comes across as intense and shouty compared to the more balanced bassy sounds you can get now. Also weight fatigue is a thing with it, but your mileage may vary on it since every is different as far as sensitivity goes. I think the Serial gets the hype around here too so not a bad one to check out, but I have no experience personally.

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Alright, they have been ordered. Any other IEM out there you’d recommend to try out?

If you don’t want to spend too much, The Fiio FH3 or FHE (Crinacle tuned but bassier(?)) can be your go-to bass-y set. The FH3 have known to be widely loved by the community and probably still is one of Fiio’s best IEMs for the price.

I had the FH3 and loved it for it’s bass and imaging. Soundstage is pretty decent for the price too.

I’m just unsure how it competes with other IEMs in the market now since the FH3 was released at a time when our choices are a bit limited in that price range. (120 USD)


If you’re trying to stay in the same sound as Olina, you’ll have to ask the people who have gone over $300 cause I haven’t heard anything else I’d say is like Olina in the price range.

You had a nice list, otherwise. Kai is a more relaxed listen, and for my tastes it’s a little bit more balanced a sound, but Olina has superior technicalities so I wouldn’t recommend it as an upgrade. It’s a complement.

Sets like OH10, Tea, and Serial are going to do different types of sound compared to Olina. So I wouldn’t recommend them as direct upgrades either. But if you want a totally different sound I’ve heard great things about all of them

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I would probably stay away from OH10 if you’re not ready for heavy upper mid energy. Yes the bass I of great quality and quantity, but because of the tuning of the upper-mids, it doesn’t come through all that much.

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This is what I’m getting at. The list he has and recommendations people are making aren’t for sets that are similar to Olina SE but a little warmer. They’re suggesting flat out different types of sound.

Another IEM I’ve heard that could be near this is KBear Aurora. It’s got a mid-bass bump compared to Olina, but less energy in the treble (more of a 6-8k cut, and no 12k spike) so a little worse resolution, but has a similar treble extension.

Edit: The other obvious choice, if you want the actual same driver, but tuned warmer is the Seek Real Airship. But that’s too easy :slight_smile:


Hey man. Tried to speak with authority regarding 2 of the 3 sets I discussed. I don’t think I am far off. The Tang can be listened to at higher volumes without the same fatigue, and this is especially true if your using horn eartips. This will keep the bass and relax the upper mids so you get as clean of replay there is but with substantially more bass. I even listened to his tracks and they sounded good on it.


Thanks for the recommendation, I’ve been kind of eyeing the FH3 as well. My only issue is that it seems to be a bit weaker in the mid bass, but the mids seem to be done well. Shame that the FH5 is discontinued, heard it was FiiO’s best one. Still, most likely will order this one and have the Olina SE, Tri Starsea and FH3 have a free for all and see which comes out on top…and then look for the next challenger.

Thanks for the info. Currently going to make the FH3, Starsea and Olina SE (potentially Kai as well) have a fight to the death once they arrive. And then explore more towards those higher end sets like the Serial and Tea2 if I’m not satisfied. They may be different to the Olina SE but I might enjoy them more. I’m excited to test out all these IEMs…but man it will be a pain in the ass these next few weeks when it comes to returning lol. Bank account isn’t gonna look so nice either.

I can’t speak about the other IEMs recommended but I think the Yanyin Canons are versatile monsters with switches to increase bass, mids and treble.

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Alrighty then, after spending about $400 or so, I now have 4 pairs of IEMs that have I’ve been testing for the past few days.
Olina SE - $100
Tri Starsea - $130
Tri Kai - $80
FiiO FH3 - $130

Olina SE:
I’ve talked plenty already about the Olina SE, but just to quickly go over my thoughts. Wonderful sound, absolutely a benchmark when it comes to clarity, clean sound for the mids and highs. Only weakness I can think of is the bass, which is just alright. The absolute best comfort, nothing can really compare. The other 3 I’ve gotten are either meant to try and beat the Olina SEs, or be a side grade, I’m still not sure. Let’s start with the ones I was most excited for.

Tri Starsea:
The second I saw these I instantly wanted them. Absolutely gorgeous looking, and even more so when in person. But looks are not enough to make something sound good, and sadly I was very disappointed in these.
Build: 5/5
The best built IEMs for sure out of all of these. Made of a resin that is stunning. They feel really nice to hold and drool over. Something I’ve never seen before, is that the Starseas have 4 switches on them, with 4 different configurations that change how they sound. They aren’t able to be changed with your fingers, so they give you basically a metal toothpick to move the switches. The cable is the best out of the 4, although it is on the chunkier side. Doesn’t tangle up at all which is amazing, and feels great. Comes with a ton of accessories and a really nice mini jewelry looking box to hold them in. The case isn’t exactly super portable, but it’s built well and tough.
Fit/Comfort: 1/5
This is where the Starseas completely fall flat for me. They are the biggest IEMs of the bunch, but are the lightest due to not being made of metal. A lot more noticeable in your ears though, especially compared to the Olina SE. The main issue is that when in your ears, there is some sort of annoying air pressure you get that makes them a pain to wear. Tried the various eartips they came with (which are a struggle to put on) and nothing helped. Heard that the foam tips that come with the FH3 helped solve the problem coincidentally, but the tips are way too big for my ears and aren’t comfy. They also are difficult to put in right. Every other IEM you just put in the ears and are good to go. With these I have to play with them, as half the time they aren’t in right and sound muffled/weird. They go deeper as well, which is also a pain considering how big they are compared to the rest. Overall hated their fit and especially that air pressure that a lot of people deal with.
Sound: 3/5
This is a mixed bag, since half the time I’m too busy fiddling with them or being annoyed with the air pressure it’s hard to actually listen to music and see how they perform. But from what I’ve been able to get is they sound pretty good, when they’re in properly. Good technicalities, clean sounding and decently balanced. You can change the switches to whatever signature you prefer, whether it’s more bass, more vocals/mids, more balanced or more treble. I mostly used the bass and vocal modes, as the treble can be a bit too much. But overall I’m not a fan of the switches, having to get out your surgery kit to make them sound how you want is annoying. Compared to the others where you just stuff them in your ears and they are good to go. Not a good combo with the bad fitting/comfort.

Overall I would not recommend these unless you have bigger ears and are okay with the air pressure. You’d most likely need to search for different ear tips though, cause it seriously was a pain. Sound can be good but they’re just not for me.

Tri x Kai:
The little bro of the Olina SEs. A much warmer set for sure, but still enjoyable and definitely better than the mud covered KB Ears 2.
Build: 3/5
These look very flashy and pretty. Out of the 4 they stand out the most, which can be good or bad depending on you. The gold and blue looks nice. The IEMs themselves are built pretty well, all metal and are the heaviest tied with the FH3, but that’s not a problem at all when being used. One issue is they are a fingerprint magnet because of the shiny material being used. The cable is pretty mediocre. The second you take them out they are all folded and zig zagged, and unfortunately seem to be staying that shape. Also the ones that get tangled the most of the 4. It does come with my favorite case though, basically like a tough small wallet, much more portable and just better than the Olina and Starsea case.
Fit/Comfort: 4/5
Despite being heavier than the Olina and Starsea, they fit just fine. I don’t really have a problem with them comfort wise. Surprisingly the stock ear tips they come with fit fine. The cable doesn’t really annoy me around the ears, but the fact that it fights to stay a shape sucks.
Sound: 3/5
These are warm cannons. The most bass I’d say of the group. And that unfortunately makes them have the weakest detail and overall technicalities. But despite that, they are pretty enjoyable to use and you won’t be fatigued at all using them. Things like mids and vocals aren’t drowned in mud like on the KB Ears 2. The Olina SE thrash them in terms of detail and clean sound, but then the Kai slam them back with that thumpy bass.

Overall a pretty good pair. I like them for the most part. Main issues is the weak detail, technicality and bad cable. But still very enjoyable to use. I recommend them for anyone who loves bass and wants something they can use without any fatigue.

FiiO FH3:
The FH3 feels like a mix between the Olina SE and Kai. Once you put them in there isn’t really anything bad about them. I only got these today, so these are just my first impressions.
Build: 3.5/5
The IEMs themselves are pretty generic looking, but they feel nice and are built well. Nothing to really complain about besides the boring look. The cable isn’t as bad as the Kai’s, but that’s mainly because at least the FH3 cable doesn’t stay an annoying zig zag shape. It still likes to stay a bit of a shape, due to it being a lot tougher compared to the rest of the more flexible feeling cables. It is the most durable feeling though. I like the end connector the most out of the four. It feels great, durable and is L shaped, which I’d say is better for when connected to a phone, which is what these mostly are used from.
Fit/Comfort: 4/5
About as heavy as the Kai, but again, feels very nice in the ears. None of these beat the Olina SE in comfort though, those are the smallest and nicest feeling in the ears. My only complaint is because the cable is harder and less flexible, it will move around on the ears while looking around which can be annoying.
Sound: 4/5
Shoot, honestly I’m quite impressed with these. I’d say I prefer them over the Kai. The Kai are more relaxed, but they just lose a a good chunk of detail, and don’t have as good mids as the FH3, or the other IEMs. FH3 provides some nice bass while not sacrificing the mids which I quite like.

Overall Thoughts
Sadly the Starseas are the worst of the bunch for me. Their comfort and ease of use is not there despite the pretty good sound. The Kai were enjoyable, but when compared to the FH3 and Olina SE, they fall short due to the weak detail and technicalities. As much as I love Bass, if everything else is worse in every way it’s not really a fair trade off. And then we have the FH3, honestly was surprised at how much I liked these. Saw quite a few reviews where people said they weren’t all that, but the FH3 flipped that on me. They provide that bass while still giving me the mids and treble I like.

Makes me bummed out that the FH5 has been discontinued, cause if it is true that they were basically a better FH3, I’d probably love them. Currently my two favorites are the Olina SE and FH3. But I’m not sure which of the two I prefer. Going to need a lot more testing and comparison. I really like the Olina SE. The more I use them the more I appreciate their build and comfort. I’m curious of trying some witchcraft which some of you call Modding. Is there some sort of filter mod that would improve the bass? I know there was something like this for the og Olina, not sure what you exactly do though.


Your write up follows a lot of others opinions. It’s a shame because they are quite beautiful.

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Confirmed: I’m a weirdo


what the- LOL! :rofl:

I just mean in the sense that yeah I’d love the set that has a consensus flaw people don’t want to deal with

I like my broken and misbegotten toys :man_facepalming:t5::joy::rofl::joy::rofl:


I’d say why not give the QKZ x HBB a shot, people have been talking how it’s very similar to the FH3 but with less scooped mids and at 20$ that’s a damn bargin. :sunglasses:

good write up. i had a very similar journey in 2020. i did OH10 FH3 and SA6, went crazy and got thieaudio oracle. the SA6 and Oracle are definitely better than the FH3 and olina SE (which i now have), however i think the olina SE strikes a good balance as well as the FH3. they are probably the best in this price range. the dioko planar has more detail than the olina SE, and has more sub bass but its missing slam and kick by about 40% which was a deal breaker. also uncomfortable. olina SE are simply amazing comfort and great linear sound. i would look for an amp with EQ like the fiio btr 7 and just add a couple DB under 150hz and be done. the olina SE are my only IEM until i go way up range on a MEST or something. anything else isnt worth it to me exept SA6 and a couple others.

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I sure am a bit late to the party, but I have a cheap solution to suggest: buy the final Audio e500 from Amazon.
One you recieved the package, ditch the iem and keep the tips. These tips have a good effect on sound: they bring up bass.

Even if it doesn’t work for your olina, you can keep them to tip roll with other iems.