In Ears Headphone Recommendations
The list is sorted based on price, starting from the lowest to the most expensive. The categorizing is meant to be a rough guideline, for more detailed sound impressions please refer to the reviews.
- HiFi: Warm sound signature with full midrange and bass.
- Rockin’: Aggressive forward and lively sound with fast pace, good for Rock and similar music.
- Monitoring: Precise sound lets you hear the recordings in an uncolored manner.
- Custom Molded: Requires you to send in your ears’ impressions which you can get from an audiologist. Expensive and demands extra effort for ordering, but offers an exceptional sound quality in return.
Sennheiser CX300-II – HiFi
Sennheiser’s entry level IEM is one of the best value in IEMs. Sparkly treble, good laid back sound and good bass body. You’ll be surprised by how much quality you get for merely $30. A must try.
$33.24 (CX300) | Beware when buying the CX300 since they are fairly popular with counterfeiters. Make sure that the product page you’re buying from is marked “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com“, which is a Sennheiser authorized reseller.
Shure SE215 – HiFi
The SE215 is one of the best buys in the IEM market today. Great sound and solid build quality. This is the IEM that I use day to day. It comes in translucent black shell or a clear shell. From experience, we tend to stay away from the clear shell version as it doesn’t age as well as the black (the cable would turn greenish over time, due to oxidation).
$94.99 (Black) | $99.00 (Clear) | (no review available)
Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 – Rockin’
An old triple-driver balanced armature IEM that’s been a crowd favorite for a few years now, even after the other newer models have come and go. Highly recommended for Rock fans.
$164.29.00 from Amazon.com | $300 IEM Shootout
Etymotics ER4P, ER4S – Monitoring
This is the IEM for those of you who wants to hear the smallest details in the recording. There are newer IEMs with more drivers, but nothing quite like the Etymotics ER4. The ER4P version is relatively easy to drive from a portable player, while the higher impedance ER4S offer an even more precise sound, but requires a headphone amplifier. An alternative is the HF5 model that offers almost identical sound to the ER4P for much less.
$279.99 (ER4P) | $149.00 (HF5) | Detail Experts
JHAudio JH5 – Custom Molded
The entry level custom molded IEM from JHAudio is quite pricey at $399, and requires you to go to an audiologist to get an impression of your ears’ profile, which you then need to send in to JHAudio so they can mold your JH5 exactly to fit your ears. This results not only in a best-in-class noise isolation, but also a sound quality that’s noticeably better than the flagship universal-fit IEMs in the market. If you’re feeling rich, go for the top of the line JH16 model which comes with a total of 16 drivers (8 per side, 4 drivers for bass frequencies alone).
$399.00 (JH5) | $1149.00 (JH16) | Triple JH Comparison
Sony EX1000 – HiFi
Taking the approach of single dynamic driver design, the EX1000 from Sony offers the kind of sound you don’t get with multiple driver balanced armature IEMs, even the JH16. The sound is not going to be as complete as the JH16, but single drivers give a coherent and sweet sound that is hard to rival with multi drivers. The frequency balance of the Sony is best left for Jazz, female vocals, and audiophile recordings. The pace is moderate and the bass is just okay, so these are not rock IEMs.
$499.99 from Amazon.com | Japanese Flagship Sony MDR EX1000
Only list the most popular products are listed here. If you feel it to be too limited, feel free to browse the reviews on the Headphones Category: