What’s your IEM progression?

Shamelessly lifted from lol’s headphone progression thread, I thought it would be fun to discuss here because, as much as I love headphones, I’m on the move far more often than I’m at home, so IEMs are much more within my wheelhouse.

So here’s my progression. I’m ignoring things like apple earbuds and stuff like that, and going solely for proper in-ear monitors. However, my very first two entries will break this rule, but I’m adding them because it got my brain thinking about the design of earbuds/earphones and led me to the IEM world.
So without further ado…

Past and no longer owned:
MDR-ED21
Sony EX71 - these first two were different from earbuds. The ED21 had a little ported section aimed down the canal, while the EX71 sealed the canal and was an “IEM” in design, if not technical prowess. But it led me to…
Shure E2c
Shure E3c
Shure E4c
Etymotic ER6
Shure E5c
Westone UM3x
UE TF10
Shure E500
Westone 4
Westone 4R
Shure SE535
Campfire Audio Solaris
Noble K10u

Still own:
Shure SE530
Sennheiser IE7
Shure SE115m+
Bose QC Triport
B&O Play H3
Shure SE846
64 Audio U18Tzar (with custom tips)
BLON BL-03
Hidition NT6
Empire Ears Legend X (custom)
ItsFit Fusion (custom)
Noble Katana (custom)
CustomArt FIBAE 7 (custom)

So that’s far too many for any human to ever need.

What about you, what ridiculously large list have you owned and do you lie to yourself that this is the last one you’ll buy, just like me?

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Oh wow, that quite a progression lol.

Past and no longer owned:
Tin T2s

Still own:
Acoustic Research E10
Sony MDR-EX800ST

I love IEMs for their portability. But I definitely use headphones more often. I wanted to get a solid set of headphones before getting more IEMs. I feel like I want to try a BA only IEM like the Fearless or a great planar like the Audeze iSine 20 Cipher.

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In order of what I remember I got

Xiaomi Piston 2
Xiaomi Piston 3
Xiaomi Hybrid
Shure SE215
Shure 846
Tin T2
Etymotic ER4XR
Etymotic ER2XR (Kept)
Campfire Andro
Moondrop S8 (Kept)
Tanchjim Oxygen
Moondrop Blessing 2 (Kept)
Moondrop Starfield (Kept)
Moondrop Spaceship
Fearless S8 Pro (Considering Keeping)

As you can tell I really like the Harman Target, well more so Moondrops’ target with their less intense treble interp of the target. I’ll keep buying until someone makes an the “endgame” harman-ish target but for now the Moondrop S8 is close to that dream.

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welcome to the forums!

I see you kept the blessing 2 and the s8. Do you find them to be very different from each other, other than the price and relative detail/refinement that typically comes with that?

I think they’re similar now than what the Blessing 1 and S8 had (I forgot to add I also demoed the blessing 1). The B2 is definitely a bit brighter in it’s presentation but it’s not sibilant in any way in terms of mids and lows they’re very similar other than of course their timbre being different. They’re really good for the price like really really good at 320 USD though, It was vastly better than the Tachjim Oxygen and scary close to the S8.

They both falter a bit in their bass presentation despite B2 being DD + BA but I do think the B2 has better bass in terms of weight. When it comes to detail and attack I do think the S8 is better, soundstage and imaging is definitely more pinpoint but at the caveat of more than double the price. Resolution also being better on the S8 but not immensely better. Decay and Attack is precise and sharp on the S8 but the B2 doesn’t fall far behind. What I will say though is that the soundstage and imaging is better than the B1 when they upgraded the B1 to the B2.

B2 is definitely the best Harman Target IEMs I’ve heard under 500.

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oh awesome. Thanks so much for the thorough breakdown. I was looking into both but I’m leaning more towards the 2 as the I’m not sure the harman target is my preferred sig. Also better bass appeals to me a fair amount.

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The Harman target, at least moondrop interp seems to be a sub-bass bump and then a fairly noticeable elevated but controlled mid-bass and then the classic 1k to 3k smooth slight elevation compared to most neutral targets. Treble then stays fairly lively but definitely not bright, notably on the S8 especially it sounds like it rolls down (but not rolling off per say). If you’re looking at more V shaped though The Fearless S8 PRO is a more traditional V shaped signature if you like mid-bass.

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I was actually looking at the blessings to compliment my other iems which are more v-shaped. Just want a little variety in my iem selection. blessing 2 and fh7 are the top contenders atm but not in a huge rush to pick either up.

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Hyla TE5b
AAW AXH Holiday Edition
Qdc Fusion
UM Maverick 2 Re
EE Bravado
FH5
OH1
E3000
EDC3
AKG N30
MDxNoble
Mee M6 X1
Yinyoo NY06
TRN IM1

I know I’m forgetting some because I’m not at home, but off the top of my head

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Mee Audio M6 Pro
1More Quad Driver
Tin T2
Tin T3
Tin P1
FH7
Shuoer Tape
Polaris 2
Andromeda

Quickly outgrew everything except the FH7s, Polaris, and Andros… Probably forgetting a few pair but my 3 within rotation remain the same.

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I like how you describe their sound. If you don’t mind can you compare the Starfields to the Blessing 2? Is it a substantial upgrade? I have the starfields and have been eyeing the B2 for a while. The S8 is a bit over my budget. Thanks.

It’s definitely huge for the price you pay. Lending tier list usage even though I don’t believe in them Moondrop Starfields are a solid B+ for me and then the B1 is A- with the Blessing 2 being an A+ and S8 being S-.

Note weight wise the B2 is a bit more lean I’d say on a scale of -4 (Etymotic ER4 thinness) to 4 (Bloated af DDs like Shure SE215), Starfields stand at 1 while B2 is at -1). Attack and Decay is precise only a bit lean on the bass but it’s still tighter. Starfields have this lower mid range small bloat which isn’t present on the B2, the bass presentation is more natural here at the cost of thickness.

Mids are more natural here on the B2 with almost perfect timbre for both male and female vocals. Female vocals shine on these with male vocals having slight recession it’s one of the best in its price as female vocals sound so lush without sounding forward.

Treble is the biggest difference as the B2 is more forward but lends itself to great extension. they’re close to bright mark but hold back just enough to sound like extension rather than pure treble. The Starfields are more comfortable here with less extension as they’re notably sparkly but do a slow roll off after around 6k.

Soundstage/imaging is the same width but scarily has much more height which was a bit surreal at first.

Resolution and Clarity is what sets these apart, Their technical strength here is close to the S8, like scary close. It’s resolution is impressive for something that’s not made by Etymotic at this price point, If I haven’t heard other IEMs I would of been convinced these were the end for detail retrieval (including the ER4s). Moondrop Starfield has obviously about above average resolution for it’s price (which isn’t bad mind you but this is the stark difference).

Similar to the Starfields though these are an impressive all rounder.

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Great post, thanks for the detailed comparison. I think I’ve been convinced on getting them lol. Hopefully they’re just as comfortable as the starfields cause I do love their fit. Now the dilemma is which anime girl mascot I get engraved :thinking:

Haven’t bought any.
Still at the start line, no that’s a lie. Not even on the track.

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TinHiFi P1
BLON BL-03
Shuoer Tape (hated it, returned)
TinHiFi T4 (meh, I don’t use it)
Hyla Sarda

I’m pretty much done looking for iems, I’m much more of a headphone guy anyway.

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How do you like the Hyla and how does it compare to the BLON (asking about that as the BLON is the one I have the most experience with so it’s a good reference point for me personally)

I tried the Hyla TE5T a few months back in Hong Kong, pretty good, so I’m curious about the Sarda

Pretty good all around balanced sound, sounds w-shaped, neither bass, mids, or treble feel lacking, incredibly amazing bass quality and the treble is great. Pretty much everything sounds awesome with it. I have been listening to them before and forgot I even was even using iems, because they made feel like I was listening to a fantastic pair of headphones (as weird and trippy as that sounds). If you enjoyed the warm and fun nature of the bl-03, then the Sarda is just way WAY better in all the ways that the bl-03 was good at. I’ve been pretty much exclusively listening to the Sarda for portable use since I got it and it has removed the need to buy or listen to any other iem for me especially considering my use case for them.
P.S. M0N also swears by them having the best bass he’s ever heard in an iem, and that says a lot.

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Last year I bought a new Walkman and it didn’t come with buds so I took a punt on the Tin T2 and they kinda blew my expectations out the window.
Got me thinking how much better could I get.
So I now have.
Tin T3 (kept as emergency back ups but not used)
Tin P1 (are great for sleeping with due to the small size)
Then took a big gamble on the Fearless S8F…holy crap… stunning…(I’m a detail whore who has had Stax as my main 'phones for decades and the S8F is right up there with them).
Needed a cheaper set for commuting so got the ThieAudio Voyager 3 and the UrbanFun YBF…
And have the ThieAudio Legacy 3 on order…I need to stop now.

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Prior to 2013 was junk I can’t remember
Shure SE535 (sadly broken)
1More Triple Driver
Sennheiser IE800 (Sold to someone)
Campfire Audio Jupiter
Tin T2
Tin T4 (my current favorite)

The Jupiter is my most regretted audio purchase. It was generally well reviewed, but I didn’t like the sound signature and found its detail lacking.

Whatever came with my 2001 iPod
JVC Gumy
HiFiMan RE-400
HiFiMan RE-600
Sony XBA-N3BP
Moondrop Starfield