Rice Guru’s Earbud Adventure: Electric boogaloo

I’m not a great writer so if you wish for me to elaborate on anything specific please ask. So I can improve whatever this is.

Intro
As some of you may have noticed I have been buying a few earbuds as of late on the “what did you buy today?” thread. This all started in a discussion with a fellow budget oriented audiophile about the merits of the airpods and airpods pro. In which I took a stance of defending the airpods pro not so much the airpods but I mentioned I did used to use apple earbuds and earpods which the airpods a slightly better sounding wireless version of the wired models which does not make the original airpods or airpods 2nd gen any good or worth it. Anyway he was pretty dismissive and kept saying “I doubt airpods or ear pods sound any beter than $2 Vidos.”. Intrigued, I looked them up read and watched some reviews full of praise by mainly IEM focused reviewers and seeing as they’re $2 I said fuck it why not.

Things I Noticed

Most of these Earbuds tend to use a clone of the mx 500 shells a shell developed by Sennheiser around 1999-2001.

Why use this shell? Most likely due to the shell being widely used by many other companies and being easily mass producible the ability to buy these in bulk from dealers and Shenzhen allow chifi manufacturers and hobbyists and easy and good foundation to work with they are a very light and to my ears comfortable design. Not to say it has any flaws I personally prefer the fit and finish of EarPods. Due to the innate flaw of this design. Which also brings the importance of the little spongy foam thingies we often lost as kids. These earbuds sit right in the concha part of the ear( I’m no ear expert but correct me if I’m wrong). Due to it just sitting there sounds just tends to fire right on the wall and eventually make its’ way to the hear canal. Without the foam depending on how the earbuds are sitting on your ear and the shape of your ear you might hit the issue of a loss off seal losing this seal loses a lot of the low end- mid range just like an IEM. But unlike an IEM seal issues are much harder to fix due to the lack of options to fix this issue. The foam also allows that extra space between the earbud and the wall for sound to travel. This is where I feel the EarPods succeed where instead they take the hole and put it to the side and just directs all the sound to your ear canal. But the sound and tuning for the price I have found unsatisfactory.

This shell has a nice design true to Sennheiser’s best designs gives you a pretty open somewhat wide sounding result.

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Vido $2

The Vido is the earbud that kicked this little adventure off. A month after the previously mentioned events transpired I got these not so great looking earbuds very reminiscent of the old earbuds that came with our phones pre from the 2000 to early 2010’s. plugging them in to my fiio ubtr I was shocked at how not shitty they sounded at $2. Initially they sounded pretty good somewhat neutral bright. It impressed me the timbre wasn’t the horrid tinny sound I was expecting. I then added the foams and did some more listening they started to sound warmer and impressively enough noticeable bass extension and little midbass bump. The foams cut a little bit of the treble leaving me with a fairly warm sounding and somewhat laid back sound. The mids can sound kinda hollow at times though and treble maybe a little unrefined. Separation is surprisingly good and due to the mx 500 shell it actually soundstage and imaging capabilities while not great impressive for the price. But the overall performance is pretty excellent at this price. At $2 these are killer and everyone should have a pair. Honestly think I’m more impressed with the price to performance than how these actually sound but I have found myself using them at work a lot for listening to podcasts. The cable and build isn’t the greatest but you know… Its hard to ask for more at this price.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33040901591.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.611763a8bNuBK1&algo_pvid=e9599808-43f0-4b27-913a-9ab7e61d9071&algo_expid=e9599808-43f0-4b27-913a-9ab7e61d9071-0&btsid=0ab6d69f15865476393077825e1a2d&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

The Phony Review$2

After doing some ali express exploring I found these cheap also $2 earbuds. They have a upside down Walkman logo .pretty nice feeling cable putting them on and putting a track on this is what I expected a $2 earbud to sound like just garbage.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32839983390.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d04zWXA

Nice HCK B40 $10

I ran into these looking at the ali express description touting the a strong Bass response. These do not deliver. It has noticeably less midbass to subbass than the vido. But what the B40 does seem to shine in is their mid and treble region. Compared to the vido where it can sometime sound slightly hollow, the mids on these are quite competent. The upper mids to lower treble can be a a little hot though especially with female vocals I can sense some peakyness which was sometimes unpleasant. But your male vocals and even male falsettos can sound quite nice. At $10 these are worth the look.

The shell is not a mx 500 shell made from cheaper plastic than the vidos but cable quality is much better. Comfort is pretty good feels lighter than the mx 500 shells.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000120453244.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.375464edUpT8eW&algo_pvid=2791a323-f7f8-49aa-a3cf-593cc32a44f5&algo_expid=2791a323-f7f8-49aa-a3cf-593cc32a44f5-18&btsid=0ab6d70515866411551617553e4a3e&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

Ry4s plus $8 (no cable)

I initially dismissed this earbud because of its initial utter lack of subbass and kinda sharp highs a little more than the b40. Even after burn in nothing changed. I put it away Soren also ordered a pair and said his pair sounded nice and v shaped compared to his vidos and said maybe mine was defective. I accepted that as a defective unit ordered a ry4s non plus and just dismissed it and moved on to my newly acquired lavended Hurcules. (more on that later). After soren’s messages and trying the ry4s non plus I though I would give it a revisit this time double foaming it. Doing 2 foams resulted in the Bass coming in as advertised the treble calming down and the mids getting a little bit more body. I attribute this this to the 2 foams adding more seal allowing bass to have more body.

The actual sound signature , is a V shaped earbud that’s pretty enjoyable has noticeably more bass than the vido. Vocal performance isn’t too pulled back and definitely does not take back seat to the other frequencies the treble without the 2 foams I found can be a bit much but with 2 foams is really nice and non offensive to my ears no hint of sibilance either. At $8 this is worth a buy the build quality is pretty excellent they use a pretty good mmcx port comes with no cable though.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33038850404.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.72c21acb60sowS&algo_pvid=0f81054b-37f6-42de-9221-15c47c12c05d&algo_expid=0f81054b-37f6-42de-9221-15c47c12c05d-1&btsid=0be3769015866412424163643e2d88&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

Lavender Hurcules $60(no cable $70 with stock cable)

These are custom buds known in the earbud community a little bass cannons: I had to order though facebook and PM the Page: I ordered through a very friendly maker. being a bit of a bass head I may or may not have run too much power through them while testing. my initial thoughts were:

-very bassy, loose and noticeable muddiness in the mids.

-hollowlower mids upper mids had a little bit of aggressiveness.

  • highs laid back

-bass would clip when loud.

The clipping was an issue I contacted the maker and he said he may have sent me a broken pair. After some investigating he came back to me and said “I found it is limit of the driver. When put too much voltage on this driver the driver may hit the body” so he offered to send me a upgraded more robust model that should not have this issue , the Lavender pure class A. I accepted.

I continued to use the hurcules anyway to give it a fair chance. After the recommended burn in period of 300+ hours of break in as it uses a titanium driver. Mids gained a substantial amount of body I lost some bass but in exchange I lost the upper mid aggression some muddiness leaking in the mids. I didn’t end up a with bass monster that was advertised. I got something better due to my recklessness or the modder’s intended sound signature after burn in. I may have made a very warm bassy laid back earbud that’s just a overall pleasant listen.

The build is similar to the ry 4s plus but it uses noticeably higher quality plastics a metal grille

To say its worth the buy is hard to say. For me earbud itself isn’t 30X the sound of the vido but I gain much better build quality, a more refined more resolving sound. A better higher quality driver and hand made and personally tested by a friendly thai man. For this experience and good sounding earbud to me its pretty worth it to see what the custom earbud world can show me.

Ry4s $6

not really much to say about this one. It’s in essence a less refined ry 4s plus I would recommend spending the extra dollar for the plus.

Lavender pure class A $60
This sounds like the lavender Hurcules without the clipping issue with more bass and a little less treble. It is harder to drive slightly than the Hercules. it has a pretty L shaped sound sig and is a bit darker than any earbud I own. its a very forgiving earbud very comfortable. I find the mids to sound a bit hollow and can get a bit muddy depending on the songs. But I found the sound sig to be perfect for watching anime in bed due to it’s forgiving nature. it makes adds bass and smooths out badly compressed audio especially if im in those sketchy anime sites with badly compressed audio. build quality is slightly worse than the Hercules but to me sounds better due to the lack of clipping

Kbear knight $10
Pretty decent buds the most impressive part of it is pretty much build and comfort. it has a really decent cable metal body. sound is pretty neutral bright sounds pretty airy, some mids, decent amount of treble. the Timbre is a bit metallic and unnatural and a little grainy the they sounded pretty good in podcasts though as the treble isn’t too sharp and the comfort really made me use them for a couple of week at work.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000354821733.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.63e62df6TDP5Fq&algo_pvid=06441b6a-2e7c-4c6a-96a8-6f5e7edb0da6&algo_expid=06441b6a-2e7c-4c6a-96a8-6f5e7edb0da6-0&btsid=0ab6fb8815897431001091933ede34&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

Earbuds in testing:

apple earpods

Earbuds on the way

Vido (red) supposed to sound different

YIncrow X6

Moondrop shiro yuki

QianYun Qian69

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Nice write up, very curious to see how this progresses :+1:

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@Soren_Peregrine I would love for you to get on this and drop your thoughts on the ry4s plus and vido

Nice detailed post, I’ll be following this thread! Curious about the Moondrop shiro yuki.

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Did you try the 32 ohm RY4S or the 300 ohm? I have to say I’m pretty intrigued by the fact that there are 300ohm earbuds, I had no idea earbuds were something that could be good and/or expensive. I’d imagine that there is more potential for imaging and sound stage due to the fact that they are not inserted in the ear as far. Might pick up some Nameless or Shiro Yuki at some point to see how I like 'em.

I have the 32 ohm cause wasnt sure if I would like them but seeing how much I like em Im considering grabbing them see if they are worth it. the only point I see in them though is running them out of a high impedance amp. yeah was surprised as well at how decent they are. their si this sub community mainly around south east asia they hang out on facebook and not any forum either. its full of DIY ers and budget audiophiles its really cook one earbud Ive been thinking about getting is the BLUR a custom bud thats just much loved in the community.

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@RiceGuru Sure thing. I will post some thoughts on them soon.

All my thoughts are with foam, both sound brighter with less bass without.
Vido: Overall, I think these have a warm-ish sound, yet bright in some areas. I get the impression of a fairly laid-back sound and presentation, with a couple peaks that add a little bit of energy in the upper mids and low treble.
There is not much sub-bass at all, very lacking in this department. But I would not expect earbuds to have real sub-bass anyways. Once you get around to the mid-bass though, there is definitely a little impact that you can feel in this region. It is not much, but it definitely is just enough to make bass-heavy music enjoyable enough and not disappointing. High bass seems to be fairly similar in comparison.
The midrange is decent. It is a bit recessed in the middle, but comes back up in the higher region, perhaps a peak around 1-2khz, which can be a bit much to my ears at times, but not too bad, I am sensitive there. The treble is rolled off just enough to not be too harsh while still having enough energy to be enjoyable. There is not really any sibilance I have noticed. No complaints here.
Imaging is okay, probably great for earbuds, but it sounds about average to me. Soundstage is medium, maybe leaning towards wide.
For the price, these are really great. If you lose or break them, no big deal. Only $2.

Ry4s 32 ohm Plus version. Color: Blue.
NOTE: I changed the foam on these to the foam that came with the Vido. The foam that comes with these is a bit thin and scratchy in comparison. What I would do if you end up getting them is grab a pair or two of Vido eaebuds and then use the foam from those on these.
These are just incredible for the price of $8, awesome. They have such a great sound, with emphasis on the mid-bass and lower vocals, and then some in treble.
There is a hint of sub-bass. The mid-bass on these really makes them actually thump and rumble a bit. Bass-heavy music is just awesome on these earbuds. I had no idea earbuds could have good bass, yet these do. The midrange seems to give an emphasis on lower-pitched and male vocals, and there is not as much harshness as the Vido in the upper mids. The treble is similar to the Vido, perhaps more smooth and yet energetic still, great for Electronic. There may be some harshness on certain songs that are already kind of harsh, but nothing too bothersome.
Imaging appears to be a hair better than the Vido, and the soundstage is similar, maybe wider by a fine line?
I just loved these earbuds for almost anything I threw at them, but especially bass-heavy and electronic music like Gesaffelstein, Infected Mushroom, Alan Walker, etc., and they were really good with bands like Sabaton too. I actually got these as a gift for my sister for her birthday. She wears glasses so headphones are hard for her, and she hates IEMs. She was amazed by them, and quite frankly blown away by the fact that earbuds could have good bass. The cable I got was very nice for only about $12 on Aliexpress, made by Yinyoo. These are so good, I am going to be ordering another pair for myself when I get the chance.

In conclusion, I think the ry4s 32 ohm Plus Blue are a clear winner over the Vido for the sound signature and technicalities, especially bass, and with the ability to be used with any mmcx cable you like, you could run them balanced even. I would still get a pair or two of Vido and use the foam from those instead, because as I stated before, the stock foam with the ry4s was thin and scratchy in comparison for my ears. The Vido foam was softer and more comfortable.

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Following. Because lo-cost hi-fi ftw. :slight_smile:

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If anything, this earbud adventure has taught me that while it is usually a good idea to stretch your budget if you can for a higher tier product, there are good products to be found at almost any price point. I would not have thought you could find legitimately decent stuff for less than $10.

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I thought buds where a earphone left behind. arent the ones you poke in your ear generally better?

Generally they are but buds have a pretty dedicated fan base and on reason I’m doing this is because it’s a pretty unexplored topic. It’s a different form factor so the applications are pretty different. I use them for when I’m going to Bed and I’m watching a show or listening to music or at work when the lack of seal is helpful to me and need to be listening for sounds around me. Some people can’t stand in ears and much prefer the comfort of the earbud . But this stuff is so fucking cheap that it’s actually amazing how good this shit sounds at this price range

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Is there a koss of earphones?

Not really when everything is so cheap it’s hard to have a koss

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I have to say the other great thing about earbuds, especially the less expensive ones like the ry4s plus, are so easy to transport and use going around traveling. They are great for comfort, more freedom then heavier headphones, and you don’t have to push anything into your ear canal. I find myself picking up my Vido earbuds more often than the KSC75x now when I am in a hurry to leave to go somewhere, they are just so easy to use and comfortable. And they sound pretty decent on top of that.

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Sony MH 755 apparently – but good luck finding real ones.

I found one person that sells them for real. Kanoya from Japan. The pairs I got were legit.


It looks like they are out of stock right now, but they might get more in. The cord is so flippin’ short I have to use an extension cord with them.
The better thing to do is to get them mmcx modified. There is someone who mods them and has done extensive research and testing on them, and you can even request certain batch orders from them. I think it is totally worth it for the price. I would recommend these over the BLON BL-03 both for sound and comfort.

I highly recommend getting those.

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Thanks, I’ll order soon. :slight_smile:

Those are iems not buds though. that’s a different story

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@LeDechaine Yeah they are totally out of stock from Kanoya. I would just ask that other guy for them mmcx modded. Ask for the 1334 or 1336 batch, as those are the confirmed legit batches of them. Also if you don’t like the stock tips, I use the Final Audio E tips on mine, and they sound amazing and are softer and more comfortable for my ears. :wink:

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