Upgrade Recommendation Requested

Hi all,

I am hoping to receive some solid advice from those more in-the-know on current gear. I dipped my toes in the hobby admittedly a long time ago, and have lacked free time to allow the upgrade bug to get to me as I started a career, then a family. Back then, I purchased (in order) Grado sr80e (since passed on), Shure se215 (currently the only IEM I have), and a set of Audeze Sines. I commute with a set of 1more EVO wireless buds (train and bus), still thoroughly enjoy the Sine on-ears when I have a chance to do dedicated listening (rare occurrence), but am hoping to upgrade to something more current for an IEM as I can see myself able to carve out more time to listen after wifey—and hopefully baby-- are asleep. I typically listen to the Sines through an iFi nano iDSD, and have an otg cable which allows me to stream from a oneplus phone.

I am looking for suggestions for IEMs in the 300 USD or below ballpark. Ideally this would be able to be driven by my phone + dongle in a scenario where I don’t have my DAC/Amp on me, but I am open to buying something more portable for that purpose as well. I am happy to test a few things and see what sticks, but ideally I want a single IEM with this purchase which will end up being somewhat endgame (for me), expand my enjoyment of my music, and motivate me to prioritize listening more frequently. The shures are not accomplishing this now, and I have been lurking review sites, then this forum, and perceive that things have come a long way in this space since 2017-2018. My library consists of the following primarily:

Metal (progressive, metalcore, deathcore, death, black, post) = Progressive rock (King Crimson-→Thank you Scientist) >> Americana (whatever Sturgill Simpson is = Pop (unabashed T.swift fan) >>> hip hop = classical and contemporary classical.

Hopefully there is a set or combo that can be recommended that scratches the itch. I am happy to hear any recs and answer any questions.

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Still one of the best tunings on the ChiFi market, no matter what the “pundits” say :1st_place_medal:.

Looks like the hype 4? They seem pretty well regarded here at least

Those are the Hype 2 I believe, looking at the shells.

To leave a suggestion for what to look into, the Dunu Falcon Ultra (leaning on the warm side but I hear listeners loving it with metal/rock) and the ZiiGaat Cincotres might be two good options for you. The latter has been getting a lot of love around here (and within the community) lately.

Okay, edited to add two more, which are basically the same IEM, since they have also been getting a lot of attention and praises recently. These are the PULA PA02 & CKLVX D41.

Best of luck! :+1:

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Many thanks! I’ll be sure to dig into their respective threads and see what people’s impressions are.

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I am a huge fan of the ZiiGaat Doscinco, they are about $30 less than the Hype 2.

The only dongle that really struggled with the Doscinco was the Apple one, even the Samsung one was pretty decent. It absolutely rocks on the BTR5 or KA17 that I tend to use most of the time.


Thanks; the ziigaats sound like they’re pretty solid sets. I’ll spend some time in their threads too to get acquainted with people’s impressions so far. How long have you had them? I’m not super familiar with these companies, but it seems like they’re using name-brand drivers and things should be pretty reliable from that perspective. I’ll look at some other ziigaats for qc type issues as well, but that seems relatively rare.

It’s also great to hear that they’re easier to drive as that will expand my use case.

So far I’m hearing advice to spend up and blindly get a nice set near the top of my range rather than getting 2 different -style items and choosing my preferred one in the "“more budget” space. I could conceivably purchase the simgot ea500lm and the hididz mp145 for evaluation for slightly less than the doscinco, dunu falcon, hype 2. Being more experienced, is that the route you would most recommend? I understand that there are differences in hardware, tuning, fit/ design, accessories to consider as well.

I appreciate the help from others as I figure out this purchase.

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I got them about a month ago.

The brand ZiiGaat is fairly new, but I think has some folks from BLON. I think the Nuo was their first model last fall, then they released the Cinno and Jupiter. The Doscinco and Cincotres are their newest, and the Doscinco has more mid-bass, where the Cincotres seems to be a bass tuck to emphasize the sub-bass.

I am pretty torn on this. When I first got into the hobby I bought budget stuff in different tunings to get a sense of what I enjoyed, and I don’t regret it. There are some great sets under $20 too. I love the KZ Castor black, QKZxHBB ( the original, not Hades ), and the ZiiGaat Nuo are all great cheap sets today. I own a number in the under $100 range, and they are about the best value price bracket. Stuff like Olina SE, Kailua, Simgot EA500LM, and Artti R1, are all very good.

I went budget stuff for a few months, and jumped to around $100 on two sets, then tried one closer to $300 ( the original Mangird Tea ). Today, the Doscinco is probably my favorite, but I really enjoy the Tea and Tea2 at times, but I still listen to stuff at other price points. I think it depends on how you engage with the hobby. Some people just want a good IEM and move on, and other like to experiment and try other stuff.

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Ideally you should know what preferences you have (be it tonality or driver setup) and THEN you can go up to your limit and get an “endgame” iem for yourself, that way you save the most money in the long run and should be the most pleased.

You do this by trying out a few different iems in the budget range.

With the genres you mentioned, I say you warmer/bassier stuff will fit you more.


Currently the scuttlebutt from many reviewers I trust, great value and performance for the money is the Pula PA02 or Myer Audio CKLVX-D41, same IEM with different shells under $180. (I own the PA02 and love it)

If you want an upgrade from that you need to spend more, about $399 for the Hype 4 (“which edges it out in overall performance (more bass impact and texture, a bit more detail & resolution, a little more natural tone & timbre, and more treble extension that adds more air” - The Honest Audiophile
or Mangrid Tea 2 $350 (only slightly better than PA02 or D41).

Thanks again. This is all very helpful input. I am definitely not in a position to build a collection at this point. I am hoping to get the best value and fit for my preferences. To @John_W_Clark 's point, I appreciate and would probably enjoy the process of testing products at multiple levels along the way, but I likely fall into the camp of “want(ing) a good IEM and move(ing) on”… not that I won’t watch and save for something new now that I know about this community. I just want an upgrade to the IEM I’ve had for 8 years and want to get the best value/performance.
@Rikudou_Goku I am pretty much in agreement on warm/bassy. The Sines are punchy/dynamic, but I would likely mod them to get more comfortable earpads and a little more defined bass in the future. The Shures are warm/ feel somewhat congested in the bass/lower mids… I would hope to avoid this trait, but maybe the bass of the hype 2 or doscinco are incredibly clean compared to the se215. (not sure if anyone can answer that for me)

A few days more of thinking has me torn both between price points and tuning. Maybe the simgot 500lm is proficient and energetic enough or modifiable enough to resemble my Sines. Maybe I spend up at either the Pula level, the Dunu level, or the Ziigaat level, and they are a fit for my music and wow me. Possibly the doscinco is too heavy and the cincotres is warm without being too bassy.

On the plus side I will be buying from Amazon, so it isn’t a consumer un-friendly policy. On the positive side, it’s great to have too many options!

The Sony MDR-EX800st should be the closest iem to the isine iems.

Other than that just need to say that if your standard is the Shure SE215, it has been vastly surpassed by essentially all chifi by now…


100% of all…

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Sounds like I’m in for a treat when I can finally pull the trigger.

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And if you want to take Riku up on his Sony Ex800st rec - I just so happen to have one for sale… europe based though but happy to ship anywhere

Man has to try :joy:


Then there’s the whole new category of Planar IEMs to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

Break it down Akros! (Tony)


I just can’t bring myself to sell my Sony…Riku is one of the most contradictory individuals I’ve come across but he does have a keen sense for what constitutes a good monitor…and he loves the Ex800 so he can’t be that bad :smile:


It’s a PEQ dream but a fit nightmare…

The IEM that is - not Riku :joy:

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oi, whats that supposed to mean lol.

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If I say something’s white…inevitably the ubiquitous Rik-you shows up and says it’s black…like clockwork…never lets me down…you just can’t help yourself…it’s in your DNA

Should have been a lawyer…unless you are one…then my extrapolation holds water :joy::handshake:

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