When it comes to getting the best sound quality from a portable audio device, it’s hard to beat the professional grade of in-ear monitors. While they look and operate similar to regular earphones, in-ear monitors – or Chifi IEMs – usually come with better hardware, making them more suitable for artists and musicians who can’t compromise on quality.
IEMs offer a superior listening experience compared to typical earbuds, and while most audiophiles will tell you to ditch your earbuds for a pair of in-ear monitors, most options are going to be far more expensive than your standard earphones.
At least, until now. Thanks to the ingenuity of the ChiFi scene in China’s shadowy tech industry, the market’s flooded with the cheapest, yet best-sounding IEMs you can get your hands on today. Despite being available at a fraction of the price of current brand leaders like Sennheiser and Sony, these ChiFi IEMs offer superb audio quality that can impress even the most discerning of audiophiles.
Top ChiFi IEM on Aliexpress
IEMs can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and while most people are happy to pay a premium for the best sound quality, the new ChiFi IEMs offer a great, cheap alternative. If you’re in the market for a new pair of in-ear monitors, have a look at our list of the best ChiFi IEM’s you can buy safely and conveniently online.
First on our list is the Knowledge Zenith ZS6. Not only is this model one of the best IEMs you can get your hands on in terms of overall quality, but it’s also one of the least expensive options on the market.
The successor to the widely popular KZ ZS5 (one of the best-selling ChiFi IEMs so far), the KZ ZS6 retains all of its predecessor’s audio quality, but this time in a sturdier aluminum alloy build and a new design. It features the same hybrid speaker setup with two dynamic drivers and two balanced armatures in each earpiece, so fans of the KZ5 will definitely appreciate the KZ6’s audio quality.
For just under $25 retail (or $22.25 on AliExpress), you can get great build quality and superior audio performance with the all-new KZ ZS6. If you want to save even more, you can pick up a pair of the older, but still excellent KZ ZS5 for under $15.
We’re big fans of ChiFi manufacturer BGVP, and with good reason. BGVP continues to impress us and its many other customers with clear, high-quality sound and durable build at every single price point. It’s most budget-friendly offering – the BGVP DS1 – is a testament to that.
It doesn’t quite have all the features like you would get from a more expensive option – like the BGVP DMG – but for $23, the DS1 does a great job. It’s got great lows and impeccable highs, and the build quality feels like that of a much more expensive pair of in-ear monitors.
If you’re worried about the sound quality you’re getting from a pair of $25 IEMs, this budget option from BGVP could be a great introduction to ChiFi tech.
The Tin T2 from TinHiFi is a great mid-range option that’s now available at budget prices. Although it’s sound quality is superior to most earphones in this price range, the TinHiFi T2 doesn’t really stand out in the IEM crowd – at least not for sound. It does, however, offer a great, comfortable sound experience thanks to being one of the first breakthrough ChiFi IEMs that were fully metallic.
That said, the TinHiFi T2’s still produce a great range of sound with its double dynamic drives, so it’s a great option for your very first high-quality IEM. However, users coming from other, more expensive options may miss the balanced armature offered by other devices.
We don’t know how to feel about the Tripowin TP10. On one hand, it looks like a knock-off of more expensive IEMs from Knowledge Zenith (KZ), both in terms of quality and design. But, on the other hand, it’s also available at a fraction of the price.
While KZ does offer budget, mid-range, and high-end options, the Tripowin TP10 attempts to take what KZ does in the high-end market and brings it down to mid-range prices.
The Tripowin TP10 does do a good job of punching beyond its price point in terms of sound quality, but to keep the price that low, they had to cut corners somewhere. The Tripowin TP10 is one of the less-comfortable options out there, and it’s definitely a little bulky, even when you consider that each earpiece holds five BA drivers.
The BGVP Zero IEM has to be our favorite mid-range option, simply because they’re a joy to wear. Designed for comfort and quality, the BGVP Zero is a great pick for audiophiles on-the-go, who need a comfortable pair of high-quality IEMs to work as their daily driver.
While the BGVP Zero’s offer a great, comfortable feel, the sound quality is less astounding. Audio enthusiasts will still get great range over regular earbuds, but compared to other IEMs at this price range, the BGVP Zero falls a bit flat. In our experience, only the most discerning of audiophiles will feel disappointed by the lows and mids coming out of the BGVP Zero, but they’re so comfortable that most wearers might not even notice once they put them on.
Another all-metal IEM from TinHiFi, the T4 is a great mid-range choice that gives you a lot of value for the money. Just like the rest of the Tin T-series of IEMs, the T4 doesn’t really impress in terms of audio quality, but it makes up for it in other ways. Its 10mm CNT Dynamic Driver may feel a bit lacking right out of the box, but the high dynamic range and customizability makes the TinHiFi T4 a great option when paired with an equalizer.
At close to $100, the TinHiFi T4 is definitely a high-quality buy that’s well-built and feels premium. Its sound comes off balanced and clear, except for a slightly mediocre bass. That said, just like the rest of the products we’ve reviewed from TinHiFi, the T4 feels and sounds like a much more expensive product.
Another IEM from BGVP? What can we say – these guys know their stuff. The BGVP DMG is one of the pricier options in the mid-range IEM scene, but it’s a top-performer. In terms of sound quality, the DMG packs a lot of bunch with two dynamic drivers and four balanced armature drivers in each ear. The 2DD+4BA setup makes for a balanced, crisp sound that gets excellent highs and very impressive, thumpy lows – perfect for those who love bass.
In terms of build quality, the BGVP DMG does not only satisfy – it impresses. The DMG is a fully-metallic IEM that’s light, durable, and feels premium. The detachable cables are flexible and attach securely, so there’s never the fear of accidentally unplugging them or wearing out the sockets.
If you have $130 to spend on an IEM, the BGVP DMG is the one we can’t help but recommend. Plus, thanks to the discounts on AliExpress, chances are you’ll be able to pay even less for such a great product.
Shozy HK has been in the audio device game for a while now, and one of their most popular IEM lines – the Shozy Hibiki – just got even better with the Shozy Hibiki Special Edition. Created in collaboration with AAW, the Special Edition is made from stabilized wood that allows for extended dynamic range, so you’re getting better highs, mids, and lows across the board.
Since it's a Special Edition, the stocks are in limited supply and they won’t last forever. Fortunately, you can still get the Shozy Hibiki Special Edition on AliExpress for as low as $121.46.
Last, but definitely not the least, we have the BGVP DM7. It’s not the most expensive IEM that BGVP has available, but it’s a premium, flagship-grade IEM that’s available at mid- to high-range prices. At just under $300 retail price, the DM7 is the most expensive option on this list, but artists and musicians love it because of how it offers similar quality and sound performance to the IEMs they use professionally, which often cost several times more than the DM7’s $300 price tag.
THe BGVP DM7 offers superior audio quality designed for professionals and hardcore music enthusiasts that require the absolute precision. With six Knowles Sonion BA drivers in each ear, the DM7 delivers impeccable sound that matches, and even exceeds, the kind of quality you would get from far more expensive devices.
Buying Chinese HIFI Earphones
We put together this list to help introduce our readers to a whole new world of high-quality, affordable, and accessible audio devices. Although the IEMs mentioned above hand-picked and reviewed based on their popularity and demand, there are still hundreds of brands and models out there that could have exactly what you’re looking for, at your precise budget.
In this list, we included IEMs that went up to as expensive as $300 USD, but several ChiFi IEMs are available for upwards of $1000, usually aimed at sound technicians and professionals in the music industry.