Top Earphones For under $50
When it comes to in-ear monitors the competition has grown and there has never been a better time to get high quality iem’s for every price range and budget. While there are many options under $50, here are some of the contenders for best in class.
The Blon’s have had hype surrounding them for months now and they live up to the expectations. Their signature is a unique L-shape making them sub-bass forward with no peaks or harsh highs accompanied by a relatively neutral mid and high frequency that is still engaging and full of energy. Even being bass-forward there is a minimal bleed into the mids.
Cons: Fit, with its short nozzle. Poor stock cable.
Solutions: Replace the eartips with Spinfit CP100, Spinfit CP145 or a double flange tip. Both Spinfit tips will fit but the CP100 will create a tighter seal.
.78 2-pin Replacement Cable
The successor to the popular V80 is a worthy upgrade. The V90 keeps the same 5-driver configuration with 4 Balanced Armatures and 1 Dynamic. The soundstage is expansive and they have an overall neutral sound signature with a rare mid emphasis that’s done well. They're the most suitable for monitoring on this list with their accuracy but they still sound very lively.
Cons: Highs may be thin for some given their mid-centric nature. Poor stock cable.
Solutions: Spinfit CP145 with its larger bore will add some sparkle to the highs.
.75 2-pin Replacement Cable
KZ has come out with many iem’s under $50 and these might be their best offering so far. They have an impressive 6 driver configuration on each side, utilizing 5 BA + 1 DD. The highs are detailed, have speed and clarity with an overall brighter sound signature; the bass has punch and is on the boomy side so the low-end is more preference.
Cons: Recessed mids. Another poor stock cable.
.75 2-pin Replacement Cable
The C12 might have the best fit out of these along with a modern look. The signature is more U-shaped so the detail across all frequencies is good including the clean mid-range instead of some V shape signatures that may recess the mids too much for your liking. The highs are full and extended and the bass is forward but not as boomy as the ZSX with more control. The cable is more passable than the rest but still advised to replace.
Cons: More laid-back sound which is user preference and fatigue won’t be an issue.
Solutions: .75 2-pin Replacement Cable
Whether you’ve tried many budget iem’s or are just starting on your first pair, all of these in-ear monitors have a potential place in your collection. So which one is the best for you?
Blon BL-03: The tuning is something every audiophile should experience.
TRN V90: If you desire great mids and overall coherency.
KZ ZSX: For detailed highs and if boomy bass is your preference.
CCA C12: Balanced and relaxed listening.