Today I want to share the most interesting finds from the world of inexpensive in-ear headphones. A fairly solid number of them have accumulated, both purely dynamic and all kinds of hybrid models. So, it’s time to organize and sort it somehow. The list, as usual, will include only those headphone models that I personally tested. Moreover, I managed to compare all of them with each other on different cables, nozzles and even sources.
For each model, as usual, we will determine the nature of the sound, the possibilities and landing features, if any, of course.
And at the end of the selection, a bonus awaits you — a pack of promotional codes for a discount on any purchases from Aliexpress.
Headphones KbEar KS1
I suggest not touching some completely outdated models, so let’s start with KbEar KS1.
The balance of this model is noticeably shifted towards low frequencies, which is why bass connoisseurs will like it for the most part. This is more of a choice for bassheads. At the same time, the sound here is thick and very dense.
They look good, sit comfortably, and the cable, surprisingly, goes well with the headphones. So you can use them as is, right out of the box.
Headphones KZ EDX Pro
KZ EDX Pro has a sharper, rougher presentation, but they are also endowed with very good expressiveness, clarity and depth for their segment.
The bass is still well-reserved here, so fans of this range should be satisfied. At the same time, the manufacturer well emphasized the upper half of the spectrum.
The cable included in the kit is normal, therefore, it is not necessary to buy some more advanced one separately.
Headphones KZ EDS
Although there are those who find EDX Pro too bright. But the manufacturer did not ignore this nuance either, releasing a softer, warmer-sounding model: KZ EDS.
It has a bit less bass on the balance sheet and not such a clear picture, but the listening comfort was brought to the level of KbEar KS1.
They look nice, the cable and nozzles migrated from the previous model. In general, an option for those who appreciate above all natural sound.
Headphones CCA CRA
Well, the new development of CCA, using the developments of EDX Pro, is the CRA model.
It gives us a completely different, very interesting perception of music: natural, voluminous and super comfortable.
The bass seems to be even less here, the vocals do not move out of the track so much, but the same timbre volume has appeared, excessive sharpness has disappeared and, most importantly, CRAs sound almost a level cooler than their competitors.
Headphones CCA CSN
CCA CSN is a rather old model, but these are already hybrids, and at the current cost it is positioned exactly in the same segment.
Moreover, I managed to compare it with all the headphones described above, as they say, face to face.
It is interesting primarily because the bass here is like that of EDX Pro, the comfort is like in KZ EDS, and the volume is like that of CCA CRA. But at the same time, like most inexpensive hybrids, we have an obvious hole between the speaker and the high-frequency armature. That is, the sound structure in them is not as homogeneous as in the same EDS or CRA.
But, thanks to the armature, the high frequencies are sharp, clear and very detailed.
Headphones TRN MT1
TRN, too, apparently decided not to stand aside and released its own model of dynamic headphones.
By nature, MT1 is a bit dry and very calm. It does not have any impressive low frequencies, excessive harshness or aggression at the top.
This solution is chosen more by adherents of a smoother soft sound.
For the kit, I would recommend replacing the cable, but this is more of an advice for squeezing the maximum out of the headphones.
Headphones TRN ST2
TRN ST2 is already a hybrid model with one 30095 reinforcing radiator responsible for high frequencies.
Indeed, it noticeably outperforms the MT1 in terms of the amplitude of low frequencies, expressiveness, juiciness and vocal articulation.
The sound here is more clear, juicy and technical. However, you have to pay a price for a good disclosure of high frequencies.
They made a noticeable accent on the armature driver, which can give artifacts on poorly recorded music.
Otherwise, the solution is super interesting, which, in my opinion, can compete with KZ EDX Pro and CCA CRA.
Headphones KZ ZEX
Headphones KZ ZEX are already an unobvious hybrid of dynamic and electret emitters.
In terms of presentation, this model draws backgrounds very well and better positions sounds in space.
At the same time, there is no intimacy familiar to many, that is, when the voice of the vocalist sounds almost in your face.
The stage is located at an average distance from the listener. It’s a matter of taste, some like it this way, some like it differently.
The sound here is sharper than the MT1 or EDS, with an emphasis on the upper half of the spectrum.
Headphones KZ ZEX Pro
KZ ZEX Pro is in fact a refinement of the model described above, together with the Western blogger Crinacle. Also called KZ x Crinacle CRN.
Here we already have three emitters: a speaker, an electret and an armature.
The goal of the experiment was to get a cheap sound with the so-called «Harman» tuning. As a result, the sound turned out to be a little clamped, weakly emotional, with a small but sharp peak in the upper middle.
In terms of the separation of instruments at speed and the elaboration of nuances, everything is really very good, however, in terms of expressiveness, technicality and emphasizing emotions, the headphones are obviously weaker than the CCA CRA.
I would focus this model exclusively on connoisseurs of heavy music.
Headphones Blon BL-Max
Also in the list of inexpensive and at the same time quite interesting headphones I would like to include the Blon BL-Max.
This is a rather rare hybrid consisting of two types of dynamic emitters.
Immediately, we note their disadvantages: the model turned out to be heavy and with a very controversial fit. The hulls are too impressive in size here.
In terms of sound, we have a very deep and at the same time very dynamic bass and clean, moderately dense mids. With the same firm restraint and pleasant to the ear mass throughout the range. Without unnecessary harshness and sibilants at the top.
If not for the landing, I would confidently call them one of the leaders of the dozens I proposed.
I hope this selection has helped you understand the whole variety of inexpensive in-ear headphones and choose for yourself exactly the model that meets all the requirements for configuration, price and sound quality.
I’ll make a reservation about the segment: it’s clear that it would be naive to demand the same level from headphones for $14 and $100. But for their category, the presented models work out every penny invested in them and already have a solid segment of admirers. Moreover, some of them are often noted as a more advantageous option compared to solutions several times more expensive. By the way, detailed reviews of all the described models can be found on my profile.
Also, just below there is a link to my telegram channel — for those who want to be aware of sales with Aliexpress, always have access to working promotional codes and buy at the best prices. Check it out and join!
You may also find it useful to have a selection of headphone cables that I use myself.
Promotional codes are relevant at the time of publication of the collection, if you read it after a long period of time and they do not work, I recommend that you look at my telegram channel (the link to it is under this collection). There you will always find fresh and working ones.
Active promo codes for ALL goods in Russia/CIS:
20MAXI22 — 150₽ from 1000₽
MAXI22 — 200₽ from 1500₽
PES2021 — 200₽ from 1500₽
Active promo codes for Russia/CIS for MOST goods from China (I recommend checking in the shopping cart).
HEYJAN – 50/150₽
JANSHOP — 250/1300₽
LETSBUY – 350/2000₽
JANHOT – 400/2500₽
BEST2022 – 450/3000₽
HOT2022 – 500/3500₽
JANBUY – 700/5000₽
JANHAPPY – 1000/7000₽
JANFUN — 1500/12000₽
HEY2022 – 2000/17000₽
*** Each specific promotional code can be applied once per account, when you try again, the message “All promotional codes have been used” appears.
FOR CIS (except RF) for all goods:
HAPPYGIFT1 — 0.5/5$
HAPPYGIFT2 — 1/10$
HAPPYGIFT3 — 2/20$
HAPPYGIFT4 — 3/30$
HAPPYGIFT5 — 5/50$
HAPPYGIFT7 — 30/300$
FOR EU and Ukraine:
for many products, you need to check:
TOP17 — 17/140$
TOP25 — 25/200$