IEMs are the latest audio gadgets that you need.
I wasn’t sold on the idea of IEMs until I tried one. It’s a completely different experience from other audio equipment out there.
IEMs have been used by artists and performers for numerous years to get the best out of their stage performances.
An IEM basically cuts out ambient noise like no other audio product in the world and has components that pick up different frequencies to ensure consistent sound is delivered without any disturbances.
Even though there is a lot of ambient noise during a live performance, an artist will be able to only listen to their music from their IEMs.
IEMs have one flaw though. They are pretty expensive and that’s why we look towards cheaper options that are worth every penny.
Here are the top Chinese IEMs under $100.
- KZ ZS10 Pro (4BA + 1 DD)
- FIIO FH1s (1BA + 1DD, Wireless)
- BLON BL03 (10mm Carbon DD)
- NICE HCK DB3 (1BA + 2DD)
- AK TRN ST1 (1BA + 1DD)
- MEE M6 Pro (1 driver)
Chinese IEM / Chifi Experience
I first got into the world of Chinese IEM after reading a Vox article about the same. I’m a bit of an audiophile and that’s why you’ll see a ton of audio related stuff on Best China. The thing is does Chifi work well?
ChiFi which is short of Chinese HiFi is China made In-Ear Monitors. The reason this became big is, IEMs from big companies cost north of $300 and Chinese manufacturers started cropping up and making these. Now how are they?
They are LEGIT good. I got it tested with one of my musician friends and they were quite stunned by the quality of it as well. Does it have weaknesses? Yes. But for the price, Chinese IEMs are amazing.
Best Chinese IEM under $100
KZ ZS10 Pro
Arguably the most popular Chinese IEM is the KZ ZS10 Pro. This IEM has massive popularity and is a bestseller. So what makes it awesome?
- The KZ ZS10 is an In-ear monitor that comes with 4 Balanced Armature and 1 Dynamic driver
- It has independent units for high, mid-range and low frequencies. The in-built PCB frequency dividing boards separates the various frequencies
- It has an Aluminum alloy and stainless steel case that protects the outside and also gives it a beautiful look
- The high frequency pickup can reach beyond 40Khz.
- The 0.75mm 2 pin removable pins are connected to a strong cable. This 2 pin ensures there’s smooth flow of sound to the earbuds
- It can reduce ambient noise by about 26 decibels
- It has a customized mic and buttons for changing the songs, pausing/playing and also to attend and reject calls
- It comes with two options – Microphone and No Microphone
- It has a 30 Amp impedance, 111db sensitivity and 7- 40000Hz frequency
The $69 FIIO FH1s might seem a tad expensive compared to the $30 IEMs mentioned here. The major downside of this IEM is it has only 1BA.
- The FIIO comes with a 1 Balanced Armature and 1 Dynamic Driver
- It has a large 13.6mm dynamic driver with a knowles 33518 Balanced ARMATURE
- The bass on the FH1s is truly deep and well sounding. The mids an the highs on this IEM is picked up really well
- The position of the Knowles Armature is located near the ear which improves the treble and reduces the sound loss from high frequency sounds
- It has a 5Hz – 40Khz Frequency response, with 26 Amp impedance and 106db of sensitivity
- The mono-crystalline copper cable is super sturdy and ensures seamless sound
- The expensive price tag is justified because this is one of the few devices that can be made into wireless earbuds seamlessly.
The BLON BL03 is another top contender because of its price and value. Costing just around $24, this is the mid-ranger IEM that most people would love to buy. Let’s see what it packs!
- It has a 10mm carbon dynamic driver with a 0.78mm, 2-pin interface
- It has Silicone eartips for better grip and sound loss
- Kirsite is the material used to build this IEM. It has a simple and unique design that fits any ear
- It brings about 3 frequencies pretty seamlessly – Mid, Bass and High
- The plug design is a 90 degree design that is unique to this IEM and it helps protect from wear & tear.
- It has a ear-hook design which is perfect to use while running and performing rigorous activity
- It has a microphone feature for music control and call control
- 32 Amps of impedance and 102db of sensitivity
KZ ZSX Terminator
If I had to pick a Chinese IEM, I would definitely go for the KZ ZSX Terminator. It’s one of the best affordable Chinese IEMs out there. It also packs some premium features.
- It’s powered by a powerful 10mm Double Magnetic Dynamic which is better for low frequency sound
- It uses a 12, unit, 5 balanced armature with 1 dynamic driver which is pretty unique in this price range
- It has 1 single side low frequency BA, 2 sets of DWEK medium and high frequency BA, which covers the lows, mids and high frequency with ease.
- The shell of the KZ ZSK has been redesigned to make it more ergonomic and comfortable.
- It works with a 2-pin plug cable with silver plated cables for strength and protection of sound.
- It has a Bluetooth module and also a mic option for easy calls and music control
- The casing is made of Zinc alloy that looks good and protects the IEM from rough use
- It has a frequency range of 7-40000 Hz, 24Amp impedance and 111db of sensitivity
NICE HCK DB3
The NiceHCK is a unique IEM option because it’s one of the few IEMs out there that has two dynamic drivers whereas most of the other options have one.
- The DB3 packs a single Balanced Armature with a Coaxial Dual Dynamic Driver made of Graphene Diaphragm & a titanizing dome.
- The Zinc Alloy panel is environmentally friendly and also looks good while protecting the unit. It has a translucent look which makes the design pop
- The dual dynamic driver handles the mid and low frequencies and the BA handles the high frequency. With this you can understand that the DB3 will give you perfect Bass and Treble pickup
- It uses the PCB circuit board to differentiate the highs, lows and mid frequencies.
- It has detachable 0.78mm, 2Pin plug cable which can be replaced easily, if required and it’s quite cheap on Aliexpress
- It has a ear hook design for comfortable longtime use.
- It comes with a Mic option for calls and buttons for controlling the music
- It has 106db of sensitivity, 16Amp impedance and 20-22 Khz in frequency
The Tingker TK200 is a slightly expensive but brilliant IEM device. We’ll find out what makes it stand out from the rest of the options.
- The TK200 has one BA and one DD.
- It has a 10mm dynamic driver that gives a good bass effect and a BA that can pick up mid to high frequencies
- It’s expensive because of the quality of the BA that is used which is a RAD-33518 that is a premium BA unit in the market
- It has a sensitivity of 100db and 19Amps of impedance
- What makes this IEM unique is the design of the earmuffs, it comes in 3 different sizes and fits snugly into the ear. It also comes with an anti-fracture unit that protects the unit from damages
- It comes with a MMCX detachable cable that is a copper plated cable that is strong and reduces distortion
LZ A6 Mini
The LZ A6 Mini is an IEM that comes with a replaceable nozzle and it’s a hybrid unit and it lacks a BA. This different approach makes the LZ A6 unique.
- The drive unit setup for the LZ A6 Mini is a single dynamic driver and a Piezoelectric ceramic driver.
- It comes with replaceable nozzles that can be detached and replaced. As it’s a screw type design, it’s pretty snug and it has a good fit
- It uses a MMCX cable
- The benefits of the LZ A6 Mini is the brilliant highs it can reach, but the lows aren’t that consistent
- This has one of the best sounds in under $100 IEM and arguably the best, but it comes with accessories that aren’t too great.
- The different coloured nozzles actually have different filters to give you unique sounds with the black nozzle being the best of the lot.
The cheapest IEM of the lot costing only $10. Obviously there can’t be big expectation from this, but it still delivers.
- The TRN ST1 has a 1BA and 1DD with a 10mm diaphragm
- The treble and bass are good and the TRN Custom 30095 BA ensures higher frequency pickup
- It’s perfect for workouts because it uses a Physical Vapor Deposition film coating that protects against moisture, corrosion and impact.
- The dynamic driver does allow a wider frequency range to be picked up which is awesome
- It does have a frequency distribution chamber that minimizes resonances.
- It has a 0.7mm type-c connector with silver plating
- What makes the TRN ST1 pretty unique is the Airflow regulating pressure vent that equalizes the internal chamber pressure.
- It can be used with a wire or works well wirelessly with Bluetooth capabilities
The MEE M6 Pro’s slogan is ‘Designed for the stage, built for the road’. This is a second generation model that is a massive upgrade on the older model.
- The M6 Pro has a revised tuning of above 2Khz that gives better midrange pickup and smoother treble
- It includes memory foam eartips that improves noise cancellation and gives a better audio experience.
- It comes with 7 pairs of eartips for the perfect fit
- It’s frequency response is from 2Hz to 20Khz which is better than a lot of the IEMs
- The impedance is 16 Amps and a sensitivity of 100 db
The TRN brand is a top IEM brand from China and one of their mid-range IEMs is the V90.
- The TRN V90 is an In-ear, earphone with one dynamic driver and one Balanced Armature
- It has 22 amps of impedance
- The earphone sensitivity is about 110dB/mW
- A 1.25 metre cable length
- The 2-pin interface, can be removed and is pluggable via a 3.5mm jack
Also Read :