Dunu DK-4001 – Thunderstruck!

If you’re looking for a hybrid with superb build and cable, class leading bass that is both fun and technically faultless, natural mids with slightly forward vocals and lead instruments and exciting treble then you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative than DK-4001 for the price!

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!

Meze Rai Penta – Coup d’essai coup de maître!

If you’re looking for a decently priced all rounder flagship with a very natural sounding signature with top tier transparency, neutral and articulate mids and the ability to provide detail, fun bass and treble without fatigue then give an audition at the Penta you definitely can’t go wrong!

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.

StealthSonics U2 – Square the circle

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.

StealthSonics U9 – The Tightrope Dancer

If you’re looking for a neutral IEM with top notch detail retrieval, great soundstage and accurate tone that provides a fatigue free experience without breaking the bank then the U9 is definitely an IEM you should try! If you’re looking for more bass kick, sweeter mids and sparkle, then other IEMs of the StealhSonics will be of interest.

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.

Astrotec Lyra – A Nice Buddy For Your Ears

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.

JVC FW10000 – The King Is Dead, Long Live The King!

If you’re looking for a unique IEM that follow suit to the Japanese dynamic flagship reference in the long standing EX1000, sharing its fantastic resolution and superb soundstage while getting rid of the peaks and featuring great craftsmanship I really do think a new legend is born and the category as a new king in the JVC FW10000 : the king is dead, long live the king!

RHA CL2 – Boldly Goes Where No One Has Gone Before…

If you’re looking for a balanced natural IEM with great clarity and transparency that doesn’t compromise on bass, RHA CL2 is very natural sounding and engaging, then you might have found just the right IEM for you. If you’re keen on treble sparkle and/or sensitive to upper mids you should make sure this won’t be a blocker for you as its lower treble are tuned conservatively while upper mids are more daring. If you use the CL2 mainly on the move with the neckband, this shouldn’t be an issue.

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