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!
If you're looking for an IEM that boasts one of the best soundstage at any price, features powerful, clean and quick bass with excellent control as well as a clear, open an articulate midrange and a well extended and engaging natural sounding treble then the FD5 is a no brainer! If you own a good copper cable I strongly suggest you plug it to the FD5 as it will be a more relaxed yet engaging listen and if you don't it's worth spending the extra money unless you enjoy a more energetic and brighter midrange. I would stick to the larger nozzle as the narrower brings most of the benefits a copper cable brings with the downside of making the soundstage smaller and penalizing the upper treble presence and the engaging lower treble.
If you're looking for a cable with a unique sound profile in that it doesn't affect the frequency response much aside from a slightly leaner lower mids and smoother upper mids, but rather inflect the IEMs signature with a black background, tighter bass and sharper attack and faster decay then the Penon OSG should be at the top of your list!
The Orb is up there with the best in the segment namely ISN H40 and Dunu DK-2001 which is no small feat. If you're looking for an IEM with of the very best bass, a full yet clear articulate midrange and refined treble then it's hard not to recommend the Orb as one of the very best value for money on the market. A no brainer in my opinion!
If you're looking for a highly coherent reference IEM with superb transparency, resolution and imaging all with a smooth delivery and a level of refinement rarely found at its price point then you will enjoy the LZ A7 with its default black filter but the silver filter in monitor mode will go even further reaching performance levels beyond what you'd expect at this price point. If you like a warmer tone and slightly more relaxed variant the Gold filter will definitely do, without compromising the baseline qualities. If you're into brighter signature, the blue filter will be an interesting option and conversely the red filter will provide a darker and warmer tuning.
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!
If you're looking for a highly engaging IEM featuring a balanced and smooth signature with a great deal of fun in all the right places and a very rare level of refinement at this price point then look no further, the DK-2001 is in my opinion a gem and a steal at its price! It clearly shows the mastery of a manufacturer that has gained superb insight from developing a hybrid lineup for quite some time now.
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!
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.
If you’re looking for a smooth and fun sounding IEM with strong bass, beautiful mids and lively treble that does not compromise on fundamentals and is showing top performance in their price bracket, the U2 is definitely worth an audition! There are few gems in the sub 500$ range and the U2 is one of them in my book.
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.
I can only praise Astrotec for the Lyra Collection build quality which is just top notch, this includes a surprisingly well built 4 wire cable with no microphonics, smart over ears fit, and a really audiophile tuning with strong technical foundations while remaining smooth. Astrotec clearly stayed off the usual warm, bassy with boosted lower mids on top tuning of most earbuds.