Disclaimer, as per usual: this unit is a loan by @ttorbic which kindly sent me his own set to do this comparison. I’m eternally grateful for that.
Another disclaimer I want to do is towards biases, as I already feel the pitchforks incoming. Most people will call me out because I’m a Mangid Tea lover, but they are wrong. I’m as impartial as I can be, although a human being and I have my preferences. If people think I’ll smash anything that comes close to Teas, they should think twice or even check my rankings. My dream is to have cheaper Tea beaters, not to keep them on a throne or something like that. The moment something better and cheaper arises, the easier the community can access. If you don’t believe this, please try to rec Teas to someone that is looking for a budget set and check their reaction or try to find an answer when they ask you about a budget version of Teas.
All critical listening was done using the same tips, the same amp on 4.4mm balanced and marginally the same volume.
If you ever looked for 300usd dark IEM, it’s very likely that Mangird Tea has come on your way. And if that happened, you probably heard about Yanyin Aladdin as well. Aladdin is a Penon exclusive, kicking in at 245usd (55 usd cheaper than Teas).
They are both hybrids and the reason they always get compared is because their tuning is marginally equal. And no, it’s not a meme. During this A/B I will safely say that, with the same tips and amp, the differences between them fall almost under the unit variance margin. Of course there are very subtle differences, but for the average user, you basically looking into the same FR:
The biggest difference, even though small, would be the lower end where Aladdins feel an hair more elevated. Above that, it’s not a deal breaker and anyone claiming they are vastly different, I’ll call bullocks.
Regarding build and fit, they are also pretty even, although, to my surprise, my ears seem to prefer Yanyin’s set – which also slightly influences the isolation for me. Aladdin fit deeper and are ever so slightly thicker and heavier, but we are talking decimals here. But they are dead close anyway.
Given that, I’ll try to keep this ramble short, and focus on the point. Honestly, my brain forgot about driver composition, and wasn’t until equipping Aladdin for the first time that it instantly struck me: Bass and separation felt different. I was talking to @ttorbic and I even commented on this, and to my surprise, it seems my ears still catch these things: Tea has a different DD and double the BA count of Yanyin’s set (six versus three).
Preparing in advance, I took the Teas out and was using them for some periods in the day before, so it was pretty present still and after A/Bing now, it’s even clearer: Tea’s have better quality and quantity drivers – there’s no way around that.
No, more drivers don’t equal to better (lol Dark Magician looking at me and laughing hard), but the reason this is as masterclass is way more complicated than that: Give marginally the same tuning, closer to same shell (I have no clue of the insides, dampening etc.) but different drivers and check results – Einstein said that the definition of madness is to the same experiment multiple times and expecting different results, so guess I am (or we all are) insane in this case.
So why are the Teas more technical?
They are more coherent, have better timbre to my ears, better separation and stage (width, height and depth). They come out more resolving and this clarity is pretty obvious when you quickly switch between them – it feels like some veil is up on the Aladdins. Vocals also feel more natural and organic on the Teas, but I’d say both excel at it. I’d say dynamics are way more present on Teas as well, by some margin.
So all that talk is probably related to the BA count, right? But what about the DD?
Tea’s DD is tighter, cleaner and more detailed. The texture difference is there and so is the extension – Even though they both have great extensions, the rumble on them is just different. Mid-bass is just more visceral on Teas, that feels like a sleeper until the track calls it and bam, some punch added (slam) on your skull.
I just wanted to add some quick notes here so people could catch it, but more were used. Genres that needed more bass texture like techno or separation like classical, were all in favour of Teas.
Agnes Obel – Curse
Viola and lower frequencies feel more prominent on Aladdin – I like it;
Mids feel more in your face on Aladdin, mostly due to separation and depth, blurring other frequencies;
Vocals are pretty close to each other, Tea just feel an hair more organic due to timbre;
Agnes, starting around 30 secs into the song, comes in from above you and slight to the left. Aladdin couldn’t reproduce this the same way as my other sets, including Teas, showing lack of height.
Teas feel more airy, detailed and effortless.
Hyper – FCKD
Tea’s bass is much more visceral. It comes out with more slam punch, faster decay. Tighter and cleaner I would say.
Better bass detail and texture;
Separation is worse on Aladdin;
Cymbals are more around you on Teas, more disperse but more hearable. Dynamics on Tea are superior;
Jay Cosmic – The Tunnel (0:58s drop)
Tea rumbles more, with better texture and clarity. Keeps it up after other frequencies chime in, while Aladdin falls shorter.
Beyoncé ft. Jay Z – Dejá Vu
Bass and roland is the same as other songs before. By an hair or two, I think I prefer Beyoncé on Teas and Jay on Aladdin. Hi-hats feel an hair less fatiding on Aladdin as well.
AC/DC – Let there be rock
Separation takes a toll on Aladdin. Teas still feel more effortless. The kickdrum is more impactful as well and the imaging/staging give a whole new color to the presentation.
By now, I think it’s pretty obvious that to me, Teas are a superior set, but they also cost more. So that raises the question: Are you buying Aladdin to save money? If you do, you might as well look into Timeless/S12 as they will blow your mind for even less. S12 costs 150usd when not on sale, so there’s that. If you have 300usd to spend (or less during sales), I’d say get the Teas.
Nonetheless, I would like to disclose again that we’re talking the last 10% here, between the two. I don’t think that if you have Aladdin and love them you should run and buy the Teas – but the opposite, just keep saving and go up the ladder or buy a planar.
There shall be no war between the two and, in fact, I would even say that Yanyin Aladdin lovers are also Tea cultists, and they praise the same thing on a set – and we all have an awesome tuning taste.
Long live the princess and prince of darkness. Welcome on board.
nymz, the dark shaman
CEO of Yanyin Tea Cult
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