RikudouGoku's Database (IEMs/Earbuds/Headphones Ranking list)

Here is my “database” on IEMS and earbuds: RikudouGoku's Database - Google Sheets

I have also created a patreon for me to see how many people actually uses my database or/and reads my reviews. I be grateful if you would simply “subscribe” to me and even more so if you would donate to me. As I hate affiliate links and the likes, this was the best option for me to get some extra funding without getting any extra bias.

Official Rikubuds information

Terminology list

Aggressive : I mostly use this term to describe if the treble is “in your face” or not, meaning that it has a lot of treble quantity (not necessarily a sharp treble though). (similar to fatigue, but without the time factor that makes you tired after a while.)

Air : The sense of being exposed to real air and having an airy transducer/bud will make it easier to sound real. A sense of realism, and a very important factor to have if you are listening to live tracks. (having a lot of air can also help you perceive the soundstage as being bigger.)

Bloat /Bleed: I use both of these terms interchangeably but I mean the same thing, that the bass is either too loose or/and too slow so that it takes over more of the range than it should do (meaning that it “invades” the mids and also your perception of the treble). Having a lot of bass quantity is an easy way to get a bloated bass, but in some more rare case (positive for me) the transducer in question does not get bloated even with a ton of bass. That is a high-quality bass for me.

Bright : A brighter sound will have an overall sound that leans more toward treble than bass.

Coherency : Applies to hybrids where there are different driver types and each one has their own characteristics. Bad coherency would for example be if a transducer (DD = bass, BA = mid/treble) has a very slow bass speed while the treble is really fast, that would sound unnatural and you would be able to pick up on what driver is doing what frequencies. While good coherency is the opposite, where all drivers are “synced” as in that they have the same speed.

Details : Think of it as the resolution for video, you have 480p, 1080p and even 8k now. You can have stuff that sounds low detailed or low resolution (480p-) or highly detailed (1080p). It exposes more of the recording, like if you can hear the player turning the note pages.

Extension: How low/high a transducer can play, that is if it can reach 20hz or go up to 20khz. Different from the amount of rumble/air, since rumble/air is a quantitative factor and you can consider the extension to be the quality.

Fatigue : If a transducer is fatiguing, in most cases that means that it has a lot/too much treble quantity, so listening to it in a long session will make you tired. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is sharp though (it can be). And fatigue can also be caused by a bloaty bass or if it simply has too much (quantity). If a transducer doesn’t have a lot of treble/bass quantity, then it most likely won’t be fatiguing but can be a boring experience since it won’t be energetic/exciting enough.

Imaging : How precise every instrument is placed in the sound. With good imaging it is easy to tell where everything is or if it is bad it can sound like a giant mess. Imaging is very important for gaming since that is the factor that lets you know where your enemies is by their footsteps.

(Here is a very quick and easy to understand explanation of soundstage/imaging: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/ipfs5b/best_explanation_of_soundstage_vs_imaging/ )

Instrument-separation : How the distance between the instruments are placed. Bad = sounds like a mess/chaotic, good = the opposite, clean, can handle faster busy tracks.

Naturality : The combination of the 2 factors, being timbre and tonality. It is how natural/real a transducer sounds like on a track/genre. For example, you can have god-tier timbre but if the tonality is completely wrong for that specific track/genre, it doesn’t really matter since it won’t sound natural anyway.

Note-weight : I don’t think I have used the term “note weight” specifically that much, but that’s just the term used to specify thickness/thinness of the sound. Usually having a thinner sound will make it sound more “analytical” while a thicker would be more “musical”.

Shouty : Can’t relax while listening and female vocals particularly are very “nagging” like. Not pleasant.

Sharp : Worse than just a shouty sound and is painful, can sound like a gun shooting needles into your ears.

Sibilant : You DO NOT want me to use this term to describe the treble, this is the point where I simply can’t listen to it more than a few seconds before I almost throw them away. Extremely painful, or what I like to call “Death by treble”.

Soundstage : How “big” the sound is, if it sounds like it is room sized or a giant concert hall. Width = left/right and depth = forward/back are the dimensions that I use. Transducers are generally average in depth, but some have very deep soundstage and that is quite rare.

(Here is a very quick and easy to understand explanation of soundstage/imaging: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/ipfs5b/best_explanation_of_soundstage_vs_imaging/ )

Speed : How fast or slow a bass is. There is the attack, which would be how fast you stretch out your arms when you punch and the decay that is how fast you pull back your punch. Having a fast bass is important (along with tightness) to keep the bass clean and not bloated and even more so if there is a lot of quantity.

Tame : The opposite of aggressive treble. It can sound very relaxing but risks being boring.

Texture : You can visualize bass texture like the pictures below.
Bad texture = stopping your punch once you hit the target.
Good texture = punching “through” the target.

Even if the bass quantity (punching strength) is the same, it will feel (hurt) more if you have more texture.

Tight : Used for describing how “tight” the bass punch is. Where you can visualize a tight bass as precise hits:
And the opposite, a loose bass would be something like this:loose
Where you can see a lot of shockwaves, that would be percieved as bloat in sound.

Timbre : Timbre is how close/natural the sound of your gear sounds like in comparison to the real instruments. If it sounds very similar to the real thing then it has good timbre, if it sounds unnatural/different then it has bad timbre.

Tonality : How thick/thin, bright, warm or dark a sound is. “Good” tonality is depended on the track/genre that is being used, for example on a Hip-hop track it is better if it is a warmer and thicker sound rather than bright and thin. While that same transducer that is warm/thick that will suit Hip-hop well might be bad for an acoustic track that is better with a brighter/thinner sound.

Transducer: A collective term for iems/earbuds/headphones/speakers.

Warm : A warmer sound will have an overall sound that leans more toward bass than treble.

2020 Gear of the year

RikudouGoku's Database (IEMs/Earbuds/Headphones Ranking list) - #388 by Rikudou_Goku

Cable measurements/ranking description

RikudouGoku's Database (IEMs/Earbuds/Headphones Ranking list) - #945 by Rikudou_Goku

2021-05-28: DIY foam mod

2021-07-25: PEQ with spotify/youtube/etc on Android

2021-08-06: YINCROW X6 TRUE UPGRADE!!!

2021-09-18: Starter Pack Recommendation

2021-10-16: Preference target guide

2021-10-25: Tuning Foam Mod

2021-10-27: Interview

2021-11-28: 100 IEMS RANKED!

2021-12-02: LZ A7 Mod (KZ DQ6 upgrade)

2021-12-18: Sony MDR-EX1000 cheaper alternative

2021-12-24: 2021 Gear of the year

2022-05-14: Mod Master list


2020-06-23: Added a gallery page with pictures on both iems and earbuds.

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Just a thought…Did you ask @ZeosPantera and @DMS if it was ok to post personal patreon requests?..seems a bit of a liberty imho no?

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I didnt know I had to do that. I apologize if this was forbidden.

I’ve no idea mate I just thought it would be the decent thing to do :man_shrugging:


I personally think it’s fine since it’s disclosed what it’s purpose for and isn’t shady, it’s respectfully introduced, and it isn’t being pushed on people. I don’t really see an issue

Later on if it becomes a large issue where people are constantly spamming their patreon or asking for some form of compensation then it might get out of hand, but I mean I don’t see an issue with this

Also I set it up so if someone mentions z or dms I get a notification as well lol (so I can catch potential issues with the forum)


Thanks, I have sent a pm to zeos but I guess I got permission already? :sweat_smile:

I too didn’t have an issue…I just thought it be respectful to ask first that’s all :man_shrugging:


I mean I won’t take it down or mess with it, but I’m not the owner of the forum so idk lol

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Tanchjim Hana review: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YuNH2nEdrL3uTSaVf5rgxyi7x78lHq5vYOZ9bf-ISV0/edit?usp=sharing

Grade B-

Good SQ but the upper-mids and lower-treble is too much and too peaky.

No Moondrop KXXS/Starfield situation, it is a Blon 03/05 situation but worse since its much more expensive in comparison to the blon fail.

Here are my findings about the difference between the Fiio M11 (returned it due to an issue I got) and the Ibasso DX160 (2020 version).

Moondrop Blessing 2 : sounds warmer and less analytical, making it more enjoyable for me.

Tin Hifi P1 : removes the occassional slight treble peaks (No Treble “peakiness” from 9 to 10)

Shuoer Tape (oratory1990 EQ Preset) : …somehow it has a more natural timbre??? (Timbre from 5 to 6)

Urbanfun ISS014 : polished away some very tiny treble peaks (No Treble “peakiness” from 7 to 8)

Sony XBA-A2 : Tighter bass, bigger soundstage in depth and width (Bass tightness from 5 to 6)

Final Audio E5000 (high gain) : tighter bass and a bit faster bass, which I like (matches really well with the DX160) (Bass tightness from 3 to 5, Bass speed from 2 to 3)

Blon Bl-03 : soundstage is deeper (Soundstage from 5 to 6).

LZ A6 (pink filter) : soundstage is deeper.Timbre is a bit more natural (most likely because the treble extension isnt as good as on the M11 and that is where the Piezo drivers are working in)

Shozy Form 1.1 : Soundstage bigger in depth and width. A bit tighter bass (matches well with the DX160) (Soundstage from 5 to 6)

Final Audio E3000 (high gain) : Soundstage bigger in depth and width. A bit tighter bass (matches well with the DX160) ( Bass tightness from 4 to 5)

Moondrop KXXS : Less analytical sounding, bigger soundstage in depth and widht, tighter bass, less treble peaks. (rank up from B to B+)

Audiosense T800 (stock + brown knowles filter) : NO HISSING! Bigger soundstage

ThieAudio Voyager 3 : reduces hissing, but still a tiny bit left

Azla Azel : Tighter bass, bigger soundstage in depth and width (matches well with the DX160) (rank up from C+ to B)

TFZ No.3 : Tighter bass, bigger soundstage in depth and width (matches well with the DX160) (rank up from C to C+)

Final Audio E1000 : Tighter bass, bigger soundstage in depth and widht but reduced clarity in the treble that makes the overall SQ a bit lower (Rank down from C+ to C)

Tin Hifi T3 : Reduced details, which was its biggest selling point and still sounds unnatural (rank down from C to C-)

Overall : the DX160 makes the sound warmer, tighter bass, less treble peaks (although at the cost of treble extension), with a bigger soundstage (especially in depth) and more fun sounding. While removing the analytical nature of the M11 but it loses out some details due to that, especially in the treble.

I think that the reason why I think the timbre sounds better in the LZ A6 and the Shuoer Tape is because the lesser treble extension makes it so that their drivers (magnetostat in the tape and Piezo in the A6) dont “work” as much as before.

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BQEYZ Spring 2 review is up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nCo759rZph85owH0AqOct6dhBYro_8xRLTV-oMkcZ_k/edit?usp=sharing

rank A-, more details in the “detailed iem ranking” section.

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2020-07-26: Added the KBEAR KS2 grade C- and review is up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nAmc1Nz7l3OWLwxdpyRYqqNGUNhkhPts8GMmUum1AGI/edit?usp=sharing

It can barely contend with my old iems in that price range (CCA C10) so its not an iem I would recommend.

Added the Kinera Freya grade D+ and review is up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MUtRGdwTvLn24MJKOCS6ZQ_rqaD0Te4cnakI7eXA00M/edit?usp=sharing

aesthetics, packaging, accessories = GOD-tier
sound = Crap,

Summary of what I think in 1 sentence: its like if someone took a machine gun and filled it with needles then shot them all into my ears…

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2020-08-01: Added the Intime Sora 2 grade A+ and review is up: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Sn_1bHqQoJEGnFW91vtspM8hL3ulNTQIhTzvTvtft94/edit?usp=sharing

Really amazing iem. Makes me very curious about their flagship, the Sora Ti3.

This is going to be my nr 1 rec for under 100 usd from now (and among the top rec for above 100 usd too). (if a non-replaceable cable isnt a deal breaker…)

EDIT: Only reason why it isnt S ranked is because the technicalities arent on the same level as the Moondrop Blessing 2 or LZ A6. And that I would like some more bass quantity and mids. I was quite close to give it S rank though.

Awesome! I have another ranking list to check out. Thanks for impressions.

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what does an L shape signature mean… does that mean there is a moment where it goes from VERY heavy on one area than very little on another?

also sucks that the shozy are bad for rock and acoustic… because i do listen to a decent amount of indie rock and was planning on buying them

L shaped is close to “bass boosted neutral” but still not.

While I would say that bass boosted neutral, is that the mids and treble are neutral while the bass is boosted.

L-shaped is when the mids and treble are NOT neutral AND they are evenly balanced (treble is not more forward than the mids and vice versa) AND bass is more boosted (more forward than the mids and treble).

Added a few EQ presets

My favorite and actually a very big game changer is the preset for the Tin Hifi P1. Really wish that the P2 has something similar to this sound I am getting with the P1 + EQ.

Shuoer Tape is actually listenable with EQ.

Moondrop Blessing 2 has some nice EQ potential with the bass and fatiguing treble (sounds similar to what I would expect the Tanchjim Oxygen to sound like actually…).


2020-08-04: Added a page for cable measurements.



Will probably add measurements of stock cables in future reviews.