I bought the TCL SOCL300 for around Rs. 400 ($5) from Amazon India.
The earpiece is super tiny and it sounded very weird on first listen with stock M-size tips. Everything seemed to be imaging to the right. I thought it had a channel imbalance so I measured them and it turned out to have great channel matching. Turns out it was a seal issue and going up to the stock L-size tips solved it.
Despite the big and wide bass-boost and the peak between 8-9kHz (which gives too much bite to snare drums and makes cymbal sound very splashy) it’s not bad for it’s price as a beater/starter earphone compared to other locally (India) available earphones from big brands like Sony, etc I’ve tried at this price point.
Based on a suggestion by KopiOkaya (aka Larry Futon) to cut the bass, I tried an irreversible vent mod by making holes in the filter through the bass vent using a needle (simple mod but took many attempts to get the channels to match).
This cut the bass by about 10dB with more sub-bass roll-off and slightly boosted the 5-8kHz region.
I prefer the bass levels on the modded one but not the sub-bass roll-off. Cutting the treble with EQ around 8kHz by about 5dB significantly improves snare drums and cymbals for me.
I did some tip rolling with MH755 and final E tips which made the treble peak worse. Will experiment with more tips soon. Also, since mine is irreversibly modded now, I’ve ordered some more to do more experiments on it.
Here’s how the SOCL300 and the vent-modded SOCL300 graphs compare to the Sony MH755 for reference.
Overall it was a fun learning experience and it sounds pretty good to me with the mod+EQ for it’s price. Don’t except it to beat things at higher price points especially in terms of technicalities (transients, details, staging, etc.).
All measurements were done on v1.0 of my IEM Measurement Rig.