vape8ion wrote:

Anyone out there able to point me in the direction of a reliable set that does not break the bank? No Bluetooth thank-you.


I know my audio but this is absolutely a market I do not know well... So I'm just here to offer you advice from my perspective, as someone who has been a tester with audio manufacturers and spends a disproportionate amount of money on my own personal audio collections;

Chi-fi is more orientated to the boutique brands of China rather than Chinese manufacturers in general and while it is an interesting rabbit hole to explore, it is going to be difficult for you to get genuine advice as to what to buy given that the majority of people who will suggest a low cost earphone have likely just bought other cheap earphones until they've found one which sounds less shitty than what they have tried before. You're going to get better advice posting this sort of question on head-fi or Superbestaudiofriends.
As it isn't my market, the only genuine chi-fi sellers I would suggest you look into are HCK Audio on Ali and also browse Linsoul for some of the boutique offerings there.

I would therefore suggest Chi-fi is a more attractive proposition to people who like the idea of buying many cheap earphones in order to find one which MAY suit them, or experiment with and thus reading the pages of the giant Chi-fi thread on head-fi is useful if you want impressions and recommendations as a starter;
BEST BUDGET EARPHONES THREAD

That said, what I am saying to you is don't just blinker yourself to chi-fi because you think it will be good value for money when there are a plethora of good value propositions all over the audio market and a plethora of reasons why most chi-fi IEMs are a flash in the pan. If within the next 2 years you purchase 4 earphones for $50 which end up failing every 6 months or sounding crap, you'll have done better to save and spend $200 on something better which will last longer.

Additionally, you haven't mentioned what genre of music you listen to, presentation preferences (simblance an issue? Are you a basshead? Do you require a large soundstage/layering for orchestral work? Do you require mid focus for vocals?) or the source you are using and thus asking for an IEM recommendation without that information is a little like asking what the best food is without mentioning a fish allergy and a dislike of takeaways and a fetish for wagyu beef...

You mentioned KZ (Knowledge Zennith) and they are OK bang for their buck. My personal opinion is that the company's insistence on using their in house treble BA driver is their biggest achiles heel and it leaves most of their lower priced offerings being very shouty and fatiguing. Their build quality is about right for their price range which is average at best.
They can be vastly improved by adding dampening material to their nozzles and drilling out the vent ports but then I refer back to the comment I made about chi-fi being a better proposition for experimenting.