Top 5 IEMs, ~$500-$1000?

Throwing some names I know of out there (have not heard any of them yet)…

EJ07 / M / KL
Dark Magician
RSV aka RS5
Symphonium Helios
Half of a U12t
64Audio Duo
Kinera Nanna 1.0
MonarK mk2

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Need to add Moondrop A and S8.
Shuoer EJ07m gets a lot of positive responses.


Are these toward the bottom of your Top 5? Or?

Is Blessing 2 kind of a mini A8/S8?

I know that any list like this is incredibly subjective, but based on what I’ve had/from memory (in no particular order):
EJ07/M/KL (entirely a matter of personal preference which one to choose, all of them are fantastic)
Thieaudio Oracle/Excalibur (again, pick your poison)
Kinera Nanna 1.0
Fearless S8Z (oldie but a goodie)
Blessing 2/Dusk
Those would be my personal top picks, but there’s a lot slightly above the top price (MEST MkII on sale for ~$1200) and a LOT below (a lot of the current crop of planars like Timeless/S12/Hook-X, Oxygen/Olina) that could easily keep pace with or, depending on preferences, beat IEMs in that bracket.

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I have a tweaked olina, had kato and O2, had original EJ07. Heard Dusk and Timeless. Moondrop S8(with comply tips) is a clear upgrade on these though I could see the S8 not being friendly enough for some in certain setups. I suspect I’d like the newer EJ07m more than the original version but haven’t heard it. Tweaked Olina (added 250r filters on front vent and nozzle) is as good as any of the $300 items depending on preference. Of course, IMO.


That was my experience with the OG EJ07; I wanted a touch more treble and an earlier rise in the bass shelf, and that’s exactly what I got with the EJ07M (which has since become one of my absolute favorite sets, regardless of price). I got the Kinda Lava so I could see how it fared with even more bass (spoiler: also awesome), but also as a backup since there was no way I was going to let the EJ07M go. That being said, I could definitely see people having a preference for the OG.

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I would add the Symphonium Triton to the list. Basically a warmer Helios with DD bass. Initial impressions are very positive.

Probably ThieAudio Oracle and Moondrop Variations too?

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Thoughts on Oracle VS EJ07? Which is more boring? =p

My top brands and select choices around this range are:

Unique Melody MEST MK II, OG (on the used market)
Campfire Andromeda, Ara (depending on if you like more warmth or a neutral bright signature)
Symphonium Helios and Triton
DUNU Zen Pro, SA6, and the upcoming Vulkan
64 Audio Duo, U12t (on the used market)
Empire Ears Valkyrie MK II

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You like SA6 over RSV?

Ah, didn’t know they made anything around $1000! (or that they are apparently a religious company!) Will have to check this one out. :slight_smile: I love the 1+1+1 driver combo! Simple.

While I’ve never had them at the same time/side-by-side, from memory I actually think the Oracle would be the more “boring” of the two, but also as a result of it being more tonally-accurate/neutral.

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In ranking order:

UM Mest MK II - Second hand
Monarch MK II
Moondrop S8
64Audio A3e CIM
Thieaudio Oracle

I own all 5 IEMs and they are all keepers.


Is the super detail of Mest more of something you love, or live with? Do you EQ the treble down or anything?

Can you comment on Mext or 64 Duo?

Personally I love the detail on the MEST mkII, but I’m not very treble-sensitive in general. It definitely feels more effortless than artificial though, which I think is a huge part of its charm.

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What would you like to know about the Duo?

I’ve heard it’s better than MEXT in some major areas, but there are practically no comparisons or rankings of this IEM for some reason. What do you think are its strengths and weaknesses(if any)? Do you think it’s worth buying instead of EJ07, EJ07M, or FH9? Any treble fatigue or imaging/air concerns? Thanks!

Can you also compare MEST to Duo?

Right now I’m looking for something to replace FD7, since the bass is too weak and treble likely too rolled off.

They also have Bravado mk2 retailing @ 800$

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What are the differences here? How does MEST pull ahead? And is it a significant amount ahead of the others?

MEST is definitely standing out here, esp at ~$1200.

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Sub bass is more precise and clear and the overal detail is better with Mest. I like both and currently I use Monarch more than Mest, but of the two I prefer the Mest.
Here I think you get the extra value for your $ that a Mest MKII IEM costs, so I have no hesitation giving the Mest MKII a rec over the Monarch.


Can’t agree more here. This is why I’d choose the MEST II over the Monarch as well.

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