New to IEMs - Looking for Some Advice/Recommendations

Hey everyone, I’m new to the IEM world of audio, but I’ve been playing with car audio for over a decade. I share my passion for SQ car audio with my brother and a couple friends, and recently demoed a pair of FiiO FH7 (my first experience with IEMs that aren’t free with your phone. lol)… Needless to say, it broke me. Now I’m looking for a setup of my own, as they will get a lot of usage with my new routine at work and in the gym.

I’ve been watching some of Z’s reviews on YT, and reading some of the posts on here. I feel like I haven’t began to scratch the surface of the different possibilities with IEMs. :sweat_smile: This is where I hope some of you with more experience can chime in. I have always loved a great sound stage and clear imaging in car audio. I love good bass, but definitely prefer the ‘tight’ punch you feel in your chest from a kick drum over the loose/sloppy shake you get in some music. I’ve always preferred a soft tweeter over metal tweets in cars, because they tend to be smoother without getting ‘sharp’ with all the reflections. As for mids, I guess I would say I prefer them to be ‘warm’?.. I don’t like when a driver is so neutral that the music seems to lose it’s texture and emotion.

With that being said, what IEMs should I be considering? Obviously the FH7 is on my list, but I would like to pickup something different just to compare with my bro’s FH7, if I can find a set that fit my preferences. I have a Note S20 Ultra that will be my primary source with Tidal and local FLAC files. I plan to pick up a BTR5 to pair with my phone, and maybe a set of the UTWS3 in the future (for gym use). I could run 3.5 or pickup a 2.5 balance cable for the BTR5, depending if the IEM could use the power bump.

Thanks for helping the newb on the block! :joy: :joy:

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Get the FH3 first.


Howdy! Real excited to see what others recommend, I’m fairly new to the iem game as well so don’t have too many things to recommend, especially at the FH7 price range.
What I can tell you is the BTR5 is a real gem and running it balanced is where it’s at. I’m rocking the FH3s and absolutely love them, especially with a balanced cable. I also had my eyes in the UTWS3s for maximum mobility but I’ve been pleased with the BTR5 so far so it’s not a priority buy.

I will say there has been some buzz around the fiio FD5s and that may be my next upgrade. Check out the thread of you haven’t already.


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Curiousity begs this question… Why do you suggest the 3 for starters? I’ve read your “rant” post about chasing the subjective “best” setup, and coming from the mobile audio world I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. So I’m just wondering why you recommend that starting point.

How long have you had the FH3s? What characteristics/changes did you notice when you switched them over to a balanced cable?

I know the balanced cables are a bit pricey, but I’m guessing the additional power output on the BTR5 helps drive the IEMs better…?

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FH3 + Balanced Cable + BTR5 + Final Audio Type E eartips + Azla Sedna eartips,

That is just an amazing setup for under $500.



The FH3 is only $130.00 and in my opinion is the best sounding Fiio hybrid. I have a few of them to compare to…

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iem cables that measure well are available on Ali and even Amazon for 10-20 USD, termination type generally only changes the price a dollar or two. so no big worry there.

only worry there is researching good cables. I know Rikudou_Goku has a few good recs, looking up their thread and posts should be the simplest solution


I’ve had them for about 3 weeks, basically on all day. I had them on the stock cable for about a week and I wasn’t feeling the low end kick that a few people described. So pulled the trigger on a balanced cable and it made a big difference. Low end feels real clean and I’m getting a very satisfying kick without having to push the volume up. Getting more juice from the BTR5 really makes a difference!

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Treat yourself. You went to be very pleased with you purchase, right? You want to be blown away. The brand new 7-BA Audio Lokahi on Linsoul is the one to get. It offers an extremely good tuning and insane value for the money.

I ordered mine last weekend and they are still not yet fulfilled. I’m guessing these are yet another IEM they take orders for and each one are made to order taking a month or longer to complete. So if you’re expecting a quick turn around time like many do, be warned.

The Lokahi is all BA, so it will be lacking in dynamic slam VS an IEM with a dynamic, but the Lokahi will benefit from multiple BA detail retrieval.

I appreciate all the feedback thus far! I threw in an order for the FH3, BTR5, and a balanced cable today. I can’t wait to compare the BTR5 to my cheapo BT receiver and get a feel for the FH3! After I have some listening time on them, I’ll change out for the balanced cable to see what differences I can spot.

I picked the FH3 based on my brief trial of the FH7, and all of the feedback on this forum. I definitely want to pick up some other IEMs with different architecture down the road, though! The FD5, Legacy 5, Clairvoyance, and Nannas are all sets I want to hear some time!