Looking for a new DD iem

I’ve explored higher end IEMs and while they are great, I just don’t use IEMs enough to warrant the higher end ones. I greatly prefer headphones, but do understand the convenience of IEMs.

I know now after trying a bunch that I prefer strictly dynamic driver iems. I can deal with many tunings, but my preference would be a more mid/vocal focused tuning. The only really absolute deal breaker is sibilance. That’s something I’m very sensitive to. I also basically require the use of foam tips, as silicone tips just do not work for my ears.

Right now I have the ibasso it00 and final a3000. I’m a firm believer that graphs do not tell the whole story, which is why I’d prefer some advice from first hand experience.

I’d be looking to stay right under $200. If it’s slightly more I can stretch it a little bit. What should I be looking at?

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Sounds like you would love earbuds.


Yes, however i would be looking for the isolation of iems

The Olina SE is one of the best single DD IEMs I have, and it is only $100.

I hear good things about the Moondrop Kato, but I have had horrible luck with their build quality.

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No experience with the kato, but if it’s anything like the Starfield, it won’t be my cup of tea.

I was not a Starfield fan either, the Aria was more interesting to me, but it had some added bass. Sadly mine cable connectors shorted out. The Aria was known for not having them glued in correctly.

The TANCHJIM New HANA ( aka 2021 ) is another interesting option in that price range.

I’d throw in the Kai to take a look at if I were you since you sound like you’re in the same sensitivity ballpark as I. There’s also (if you’re willing to wait) the HBB Maka incoming at some point at around $35 which I won’t be surprised at all that it will hit many nails on the head.

Hm olina sounds good but could get in his sensitivity range :thinking: maybe the Kai or melee would be the saver choice :grin:

If you don’t want too bright, OG Olina is too risky for you, so between Olina SE, Kai, and Mele, Mele is the most energetic (bass and uppers), Olina SE is cleanest (lowest bass quantity, clearest mids, good treble), and Kai is smoothest (Goldilocks bass of the 3, warm-bodied mids, most mellow treble). For mid/vocals, I’d pick Olina SE

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Will keep these recs in mind. I’m not in a rush here, may hold off for the next sale, whatever I end up going with. What about something g like the theiaudio elixir, or more information about the kato. Anyone have more info on those? Just want to have a few to consider and then I can narrow down to a final choice.

Truthear x Crinacle ZERO

Just got this in and IT IS GREAT . Pro musician here - the thing sounds so smooth, especially in the mids and lows, with a TOUCH of punch in the highs that is its only, (nit picking) flaw I test IEMs all the time and its SO Un-Crinacle, as i usually dislike his tunings and his recs. I think its better than both the Olina and the Mele And my Meles were my Gym :Heroes for a while so Im very familiar.

I personally would not rec the KAI unless you REALLY want a dark IEM and you listen loudly. Reason’s here in my review: IEM discussion thread - #3522 by VIVIDICI_111

Honestly, I’d just grab the Olina SE and if it’s still bright for you, then do the double filter mod :joy: (put on additional filters it came with). It’s the best value by far, and I personally didn’t like the KATO due to its thinness and average staging. But, I did hear good things about the Vortex, so maybe @rattlingblanketwoman can pitch in on that.

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So what would be some key take aways for you for the Olina SE in regards to tuning, technicalities, fit and comfort, tips used, source pairing, etc.?

I have two suggestions:

OG with double filter is darker than SE, but I haven’t measured SE with double filters as well.

Pick your poison :slight_smile:


I’m fine with bright as long as sibilance is not overly emphasized. I’ve seen this done well many times in headphones.

OG Olina with double filters is perfect for me at below 80db. I would describe the tuning on OG Olina Stock to be bright-neutral, and with x2 filters would it’d be warm-neutral with treble elevation. If you’re ok with doing a little modding (aka putting on another filter that it comes with on top of the nozzle) then I’d grab the OG Olina. If you don’t want the hassle then Olina SE. Both are the best DD I’ve heard under $300. Value wise both Olinas are gonna be as good as it gets with marginal differences (detail/imaging) between them. They also fit my ears really good with the stock tips (haven’t tried other ones). Source wise I run it on my Mac (neutral) which is very clean and more than enough for IEMs. Hopefully @nymz can give you more of an in-depth comparison between the OG and SE when he rolls out his Olina SE review :sunglasses:

I’m tired of bright sound. I was deafened by it. I already like a darker and more musical sound like…. , like… :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :grinning: