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)
IEMs are very different from headphones & TWS earbuds like the i9000 TWS or i500 TWS. They have different roles and right now they are more.
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 – $49.90
The KZ ZS10 Pro IEM earphones are a high-quality and affordable option for music lovers and audiophiles. With a dynamic driver and balanced armature design, these earphones deliver a wide frequency response and precise, detailed sound.
The low impedance allows for easy driving with portable audio devices, and the high sensitivity provides plenty of volume. The earphones also feature good noise isolation and a durable, tangle-free cable. With multiple ear tip sizes included, the KZ ZS10 Pro offers a comfortable fit for extended listening sessions.
- 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
FIIO FH1s – $69.99
The FIIO FH1s IEM Earphones are a high-quality, in-ear monitor (IEM) headphone that provides excellent sound performance and comfort. These earphones feature dynamic drivers with a unique hybrid design that combines a balanced armature and dynamic driver to deliver deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
They also have a detachable cable system, which makes them easy to replace and maintain. The FH1s are made with high-quality materials, including a metal body and a smooth, ergonomic design that fits comfortably in the ear for extended listening sessions.
With its balanced sound signature, noise isolation, and comfortable fit, the FIIO FH1s IEM Earphones are an excellent choice for music lovers who demand the best in sound quality and comfort.
- 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.
BLON BL03 – $26.99
The BLON BL03 features a dynamic driver design that produces clear and powerful sound, with a focus on delivering punchy bass and balanced mids and highs. It provides a comfortable fit and offers good noise isolation, making it ideal for listening to music on the go.
With a stylish and compact design, these earphones are both visually appealing and functional. And the best part is they are super affordable so you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get your hands on one.
- 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 – $38.28
The KZ ZSX Terminator is a top-of-the-line in-ear monitor (IEM) that is equipped with 10mm dynamic drivers to provides a well-balanced audio experience with a punchy bass, clear mids, and smooth highs.
Its frequency response range of 7Hz to 40kHz ensures that you hear every detail of your music, making it perfect for all types of music genres and the ergonomic design of the IEM and the included silicone ear tips provide a comfortable and secure fit for extended listening sessions.
The ZSX Terminator is also equipped with a detachable MMCX cable, making it easy to replace or upgrade your cable for a personalized audio experience.
- 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
NICEHCK DB3 – $15.99
NICEHCK DB3 earphones are a highly sought-after audio accessory, known for their exceptional sound quality and sleek design. With their hybrid driver system, the DB3s deliver clear and powerful audio across the spectrum, from deep bass to sparkling highs.
The earpieces are ergonomically designed for a comfortable fit and feature a noise-isolating ear tips to minimize external distractions. In addition, the earphones come with a compact carrying case for easy storage and transportation.
- 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
Tingker TK200 – $46.50
These earphones feature dynamic drivers that deliver crisp and clear audio across a wide frequency range, ensuring that you enjoy every detail of your music.
The ergonomic design and soft ear tips of the Tingker TK200 earphones provide a secure and comfortable fit, making them ideal for extended listening sessions.
- 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 – $100
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.
With a 6mm dynamic driver, they deliver deep bass, clear mids and crisp highs. The earbuds are designed for comfort with a ergonomic shape and soft silicone ear-tips that provide a secure fit.
- 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.
AK TRN ST1 – $21.99
The AK TRN ST1 IEM earphones uses a 3.5mm hybrid pin detachable cable and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, laptops, and audio players. The cable is tangle resistant and because it is detachable you can upgrade to a more professional cable for a better sound experience.
- 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
MEE M6 Pro – $49.99
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 soundstage is wide and spacious, providing an immersive listening experience.
So, whether you’re at home or on the go, the MEE M6 Pro IEM will provide you with exceptional sound quality, comfort, and versatility.
- 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
TRN V90 – $32.82
The TRN V90 is a game-changer in the world of audio. With its unique hybrid driver design, it delivers a clear and immersive sound experience unlike any other.
The V90’s dynamic driver ensures powerful bass and smooth mids, while the balanced armature driver provides crystal-clear treble. The ergonomic design fits comfortably in your ear, providing excellent noise isolation and ensuring you stay fully immersed in your music.
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
Which are the Top Chinese IEM Brands?
In-Ear Monitors, or IEMs, have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among audiophiles and musicians who need a high-quality, portable audio solution. With the rise of technology and manufacturing capabilities, many Chinese audio brands have emerged as leading players in the IEM market.
Here are some of the leading Chinese IEM manufacturers around and what they’re known for.
1MORE is a leading Chinese audio brand that has been making waves in the IEM market. The company’s IEMs are known for their excellent build quality, high-end sound, and affordable price points. They offer a wide range of IEMs, from entry-level to high-end models, and specialize in creating balanced, natural-sounding audio. 1MORE is also known for its innovative designs, such as the Triple Driver IEM, which features three balanced armatures for enhanced accuracy and sound separation.
KZ is another popular Chinese IEM brand that has made a name for itself in the market. Known for its budget-friendly IEMs, KZ offers a range of models that deliver excellent sound quality and performance at an affordable price. The brand’s lineup includes a variety of different IEMs, each with its own unique sound signature and features. KZ is particularly popular among bass-lovers, as their IEMs tend to have a strong, punchy bass that can appeal to a wide range of listeners.
HIFIMAN is a well-known audio brand that specializes in high-end IEMs and headphones. The brand’s IEMs are renowned for their exceptional sound quality, innovative designs, and top-notch build quality. HIFIMAN is known for its RE series of IEMs, which feature advanced driver technology and a balanced sound signature that appeals to both audiophiles and musicians. HIFIMAN’s IEMs are a bit more expensive than other Chinese IEM brands, but they are well worth the investment for those who are looking for top-quality audio.
BLON is another IEM brand that has been gaining popularity in recent years for its unique and innovative IEM designs. The brand specializes in creating high-end IEMs that feature an innovative driver configuration, which results in a unique, balanced sound signature that is different from other IEMs on the market. BLON is known for its BL-03 IEM, which features a hybrid driver configuration that combines dynamic and balanced armature drivers for enhanced accuracy and clarity.
TFZ has been making a name for itself in the IEM market. Known for its high-end IEMs, TFZ specializes in creating IEMs that deliver a balanced, natural-sounding audio experience. The brand’s IEMs feature advanced driver technology and a unique design that sets them apart from other IEMs on the market. TFZ is particularly popular among audiophiles and musicians who appreciate a neutral, balanced sound signature.
What to Consider when Choosing a Chinese IEM?
When choosing a Chinese In-Ear Monitor (IEM), there are several important factors to consider in order to ensure that you get the best possible sound quality and performance.
IEMs are earbuds that are designed to provide high-quality audio for music listening and are often used by musicians and audio professionals who need to monitor their audio output during performances or recording sessions.
Driver Type: One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an IEM is the type of driver that is used. There are two main types of drivers: dynamic and balanced armature. Dynamic drivers are typically less expensive and are known for producing a warm and natural sound, while balanced armature drivers are more expensive and are known for delivering precise and detailed sound.
Impedance: Impedance refers to the resistance that a speaker has to the flow of electrical current. The lower the impedance, the less power is required to drive the speaker. Most IEMs have an impedance of around 16 ohms, which makes them easy to drive with most smartphones and portable audio players. However, if you plan on using your IEM with a desktop amplifier, you may want to consider an IEM with a higher impedance, as this can provide better sound quality.
Frequency Response: Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies that the speaker can accurately reproduce. The human ear can hear frequencies in the range of 20Hz to 20kHz, so when choosing an IEM, you want to make sure that it has a frequency response that covers this range. The wider the frequency response, the more accurate the sound will be.
Sensitivity: Sensitivity refers to how loud an IEM can get when it’s driven by a certain amount of power. A higher sensitivity means that the IEM will be able to produce more volume with less power, making it more convenient to use with portable audio devices. On the other hand, a lower sensitivity means that the IEM will require more power to produce the same volume, which may make it more suitable for use with a desktop amplifier.
Noise Isolation: Another important consideration when choosing an IEM is noise isolation. This refers to how well the IEM blocks out external noise and how much sound leaks out. Good noise isolation is important for music listening, as it allows you to concentrate on the music and reduces the need to turn up the volume to counteract external noise. When choosing an IEM, look for one that has good noise isolation, especially if you plan on using it in noisy environments.
Cable: The cable of an IEM is another important factor to consider. Look for a cable that is durable, tangle-free, and has a good length. Some IEMs also come with detachable cables, which can be convenient if the cable gets damaged. Additionally, consider the type of jack that the IEM uses. A 3.5mm jack is the most common, but there are also IEMs that use 2.5mm or 4.4mm jacks.
Comfort: Finally, when choosing an IEM, it’s important to consider comfort. Look for an IEM that has a comfortable fit and comes with different sizes of ear tips so that you can choose the one that fits your ears the best. Additionally, consider the weight of the IEM, as lighter IEMs are typically more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
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