Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I feel that I should start this Opinion Piece with a disclaimer, I have never spent more than $1000 on a single piece of equipment, but plenty more than that on the whole set up. I have a reciever, players, computers, speakers, headphones, iems, all kinds of stuff. Of the equipment my ears have graced, I have yet to find a headphone I keep going back to besides my HD650's or my T3's. I'm not saying that equipment that's more than $350 or under $60 is crap, but that the market is changing. "Chi-fi" is a term that has been thrown around quite a bit lately. Chinese products flooding the market at all angles of attack, lots of products quickly and without a majority of quality.
But, on the flip side is some great quality at amazing prices. Take a look at Linsoul, they distribute audio products from Chinese companies and try to fine good ones. From their website ,
"We maintain a strong connection with Chinese HiFi brands in order to offer a curated selection of the very best that Chi-Fi has to offer. We also go a step further in providing customization services so you can acquire a uniquely styled or custom molded IEM. " -Linsoul Website (about us section)
From the selection, Tin Audio to Moondrop to Fearless, they have $1k plus and quite a load under $100. If it seems like I'm stroking an ego here, I am only making a point. Companies are poping up that are changing the way we see Hi-Fi or supporting Chi-fi, making it more affordable. And making it harder for american companies to get away with high prices. Yeah, I'm calling out Beats and Apple. While I am not a fan of the AirPod headphones, I feel that its the first time a headphone from these people was reasonably priced. From the features it came with, simplicity, and good (not hi-fi) sound make it a good buy if strange looking wear. But $60 corded headphone that sounds better than $160 wireless convenience? I'd take the better sound, even if it comes with Tariffs.
Besides this rambling, what am I saying? Times are changing. Beats, Apple, Sennheiser, Audiez: these companies need to catch up. Shanling, Fiio, and Tin are going to be the big names unless everyone else steps up to meet what China is dishing out.
At least, it may make it cheaper for the rest of us?