Chi-Fi IEMs

I've been trying out some different Chinese IEMs, and decided to collect some of my thoughts here.


I've tried several models: ZSN PRO, ZS10, and some other model which name I cannot find. I've also tried an different cables, and even the bluetooth cable. All of the IEMs cost around $20-30 each.

mismatched meme kzs

Soundwise, all of the KZs I've tried sound the same: bassy, V-shape, a bit muddy. The sound is not very clear. But my main problem with KZs is that.. they just didn't survive for very long. I had the left ZSN die on me, and the right ZS10 die as well. On the upside, since the cables are replaceable, I just combined the surviving drivers together in a single ridiculous IEM setup.

I think the money I spent on these are mostly not well spent, but I am grateful to KZs for introducing me to the amazing world of chi-fi.

There is a recent KZ x Crinacle collaboration, which appears to be quite exciting for some people. That might be a good starting point to check out.

Moondrop Quarks

These cost like $12, and the main reason I got them was to get free shipping from the retailer. Quarks are advertised as earbuds, but they do go into your ear canal with the stock tips, so... I consider them to be IEMs.

le quarks

They sound pretty good. But. The cable is extremely noisy, meaning that it is unpleasant to use while walking, for example. So that is an immediate “no” from me. I guess can be nice if you just want something to use in front of the computer sitting down, because the sound quality is decent, based on my short listening experience.

FiiO FD1

IEMs from FiiO, pretty reasonable both in terms of the build and the sound quality. Light shell with a “classic” chifi design. Come with a sturdy plastic case which is too big to be portable. All for ~$60.

FiiO FD1 with a case

V-shaped sound, but, IMO, better sounding than KZs. The bass is on a reasonable level still, for my taste. Not very muddy, but not the clearest sound. There are probably cheaper, better options. But honestly, I find the sound to be very enjoyable on this set. Moreover, the IEMs are very light and sit pretty comfortably on my ears.

Tin HiFi T2

These were very popular chinese IEMs at some point in the $50 range. They sound pretty good, they dont emphasize bass, resulting in a more “neutral” sound. I think these sound pretty good for many kinds of instrumental music I listen to. Not crazy about the way it sounds for vocal music tho.

Tin HiFi T2

They also come with a selection of tips, including these funk blue foam tips. I think these IEMs look very stylish and go well with my switch:


However, there is something about the shape of the iems or the shape of my ears, but they just do not work very well for me, especially on the go.

Moondrop Nekocake

I guess technically these are not IEMs, but “true wireless earbuds”. However, for me they serve the same purpose: listening to the music outside. These cost 40 EUR.


Nekocake is absolutely an AirPods Pro ripoff, at least design wise. I have not listened to AirPods Pro, but I've listen to regular AirPods, and Nekocake sounds waaaay better. It actually sounds decent, less bloated than KZs, but not as clear as Arias. I really did not mind listening to music through this. It is not particularly neutral, but neither the treble nor bass is offensive to my poor ears.

I was very lucky with the fit, because I find it very comfortable, and the earbuds themselves are very light. It does provide the benefits of having a wireless buds, however, it is not really better at being a TWS than many other wireless earbuds. – The battery lasts for 4 h max without charging. That's relatively low. – The case is the most basic compact-but-thick charging case with micro USB.. – Very bad quality microphone – ANC was pretty good when I tried it on a train, I was surprised; doesn't work as well when walking on the street – Laggggg – The touch controls are awful, especially combined with the lag, for my personal taste.

I would like to expand a bit more on the topic of controls. In the original AirPods Pros, that these are trying to copy, the controls are on the stem of each earbud, and you have to squeeze the stem. Later models also include haptic feedback, which makes also makes it 'feel' like you are clicking something. In Nekocake, just like in a lot of the other tws, they just have these light sensors that you can trigger just by brushing your hand against the earbud, or just handling it. To the last point: you need to be very careful and particular about the way you put and remove them from your ears, otherwise you will trigger the touch controls.

Luckily, Moondrop provides you an app for your phone in which you can tweak and set up the touch controls the way you want. And I ended up disabling almost all of the touch controls, so, not too bad in the end.

Oh, and of course, because this is Moondrop, you got not only weeb packaging, but a weeb voice assistant. In fact, the voice assistant is Mitsukiyuki, a fucking vtuber from Moondrop:

Overall, I think these sound alright, and it is quite nice to use them on a train or in a supermarket. However, if I am to be nitpicky, these are not great when walking because of the wind noise. A good seal and a deeper insertion will work better against the wind.

Moondrop Aria

The most expensive IEM that I have, and also the best sounding, overall. These earphones cost around $70. But honestly, they sound really really good. Surprising, for a “cheap” IEM, soundstage; the instruments are clear. It is mostly neutral sounding, with a slight bass boost.


Oh, and the shell is made out of some sort of metal. Which I guess is cool, in terms of build quality, but it means that they are a bit heavier on your ears than IEMs in a plastic casting.

These come with additional tips (silicone), additional mesh filters (!), tweezers, a rounded case, and, of course, the waifu box.

The cable is really nice, nylon sleeve, doesn't fight you at all. But is prone to getting tangled up.+


I don't know how to conclude. I am “actively” using Aria and Nekocake. I am not sure what to do with the rest of the stuff, I guess I will keep it in a collection; or maybe I will send them out to some friends. I will keep the mismatched pair of the KZs just for the lulz.

foam tipz