If you're looking for a highly engaging comfortable IEM with excellent craftsmanship, with punchy, quick and dense bass for a superb sense of rhytm, full bodied mids with bite and emotional vocals as well as energetic and well extended treble then at this price point the Insects Awaken is a no brainer in my opinion!
Dunu SA6 – Organic reference
If you're looking for a superbly built IEM with a reference baseline beautifully spiced with a subtle touch of organic that you can adjust with the flick of a switch, then the SA6 holds fantastic value for the price and will be tough to beat! It packs impressive resolution and a remarkable tonal accuracy across the range. A very engaging reference IEM, that follows in the footstep of hallmark IEMs such as the InEar Prophile 8 at a fraction of the price.
Dunu SA3 – Vocal reference
If you're looking for an engaging entry level reference IEM with solid technical foundations and an emphasis on vocals, along with good sub bass extension and rumble then the SA3 should definitely be on your list! If you want a more organic take and can afford mid tier pricing then check out the SA6.
StealthSonics C9 Pro – Silky dream!
If you're looking for an IEM that is highly engaging and smooth with a strong bassline, full mids with superb vocals and very refined and elegant treble then the C9 Pro is definitely among the top options especially at its price point!
Audiofly AF180 mk2 – Bright done right!
If you're looking for a fast IEM that can provide superb detail retrieval without sounding analytical thanks to tight bass and balanced mids, then you should consider the AF180 mk2 especially given the price to performance ratio!
TSMR Zodiac – Stellar
If you’re looking for a smooth and transparent IEM with superb soundstage and imaging that packs good punch down low, open transparent mids with good bite and refined upper treble then the Zodiac deserves your consideration! Tansio Mirai is not here to play and they built a seriously impressive IEM. The Zodiac definitely has the chops to compete in the upper segment : resolution, extension both ways, transparency and clarity are all in line with flagship performance.
QDC Anole VX – Chinese Chameleon
If you're looking for a flagship that boast among the best resolution and clarity money can buy along with powerful well extended lows and exquisitely refined highs then the Anole VX deserves your consideration!
Tansio Mirai TSMR-5
The TSMR-5 is a very solid mid tier offering that puts Tansio Mirai on the map for me, both in terms of craftsmanship and tuning knowledge. If you're looking for a reasonably priced clear and highly engaging IEM with a great soundstage and very good craftsmanship then you can't go wrong with the TSMR-5!
Earsonics EM10 – The hidden gem
If you’re looking for a highly engaging all rounder CIEM with what I consider to be the best BA mid bass around and TOTL performance all accross the board doubled with a unique sense of rythm, you can’t go wrong with Earsonics audiophile range flagship! The EM10 manages to equal the most engaging IEM I own in Custom Art FIBAE7 and this is no small feat if you consider it also is totally up to par performance wise with one of the market’s benchmark in Vision Ears VE8. Quite a combination in my book!
Vision Ears Erlkönig – The Fairy King
If I could have only one IEM and put all my eggs in one basket, I‘d be hard pressed to find a more stunning flagship than the Erlkönig and would probably save up to get what could very well be considered a real endgame universal IEM. Build quality is nothing short of perfect and fit and isolation are as good as it gets for a universal. The Erlkönig is technically flawless with fantastic resolution, a pitch black background which provides fantastic note contrast and class leading soundstage but more importantly every of its technical abilities is at the service of a very musical and smooth tuning that you can tweak to your preference. What more could you wish for?
Cayin YB04 – Black belt
If you’re looking for a natural sounding and engaging reference IEM, with an exceptionnally black background that allows its distinctively elegant tuning to shine, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate especially at this price point! If you’re looking for a reference tuning with stronger bass foundations, the pricier Penta might be a better candidate.
Custom Art FIBAE7 – Magnificent seven!
The FIBAE7 is a very rich sounding IEM, a soulful and romantic presentation that combines power and energy with finesse and nuance. If you like a full, rich, natural and smooth signature with amazing musicality and great sense of pace rhythm and timing with no compromises on technical foundations then you’re in for a treat with the FIBAE7!
Earsonics EM64 – Fast forward!
If you’re looking for great value for money all rounder TOTL custom in this day and age, there aren’t that many options in the 1K range but the EM64 certainly falls into that (too narrow) category : not only does it sport rock solid technical foundations, but it stands apart with a non fatiguing forward signature that packs a lot of detail and punch which is in my book quite a unique combination! I f you’re not into customs then the Purple shares a lot of DNA with the EM64 (including the TrueWave) with a 3 position switch on top for even more versatility.
Custom Art FIBAE 4 – Smooth operator
If you’re looking for a fun IEM with sound technical foundations that you can listen to for hours at times without any fatigue, then the FIBAE4 is definitely a must own in a collection especially in its price bracket! If you’re looking for fun tuning with more bite and a snappier attack then there are a few mid range IEM that could suit you more like say Earsonics Velvet v2 or - more pricey - the Earsonics Purple or Campfire’s Atlas.
Custom Art FIBAE Black – The Black Siren
The Black is appart in the FIBAE lineup, in that it’s based on a radically different design pattern - from the ground up. There is a lot of work into the technical design, especially in acoustics and it shows. It might be priced as an entry level custom IEM (and a mid priced universal) but it sure doesn’t sound like one! The Black mids are probably my favorite mids regardless of price or driver tech.