2024 Reader voted Best Gear polls – Update 4!

Apple Airpods Pro 2

In this article we give you a fourth status update on the 2024 Reader voted best gear polls. 


It’s been about five months since we launched the 2024 Reader Voted Best Gear polls. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, check out the page below where we announce and explain the Reader Awards.

Anyway, it’s time for a new and third update. Let’s find out what you so far in 2024 find to be the Best / Your favourite Gear on the market! 

There are more categories this year and they are the following:

  1. Headphones
  2. Universal IEMs
  3. Custom IEMs
  4. TWS IEMs
  5. Portable Players/DAPs
  6. DAC/AMP Combos – Including Dongles
  7. Amplifiers (only) – Tube or Solid State
  8. DAC (only)
  9. Streamers
  10. Cables & Accessories

The Status on July 5th is the following:


  1. Meze Audio Empyrean 2 – 23.69%
  2. Audeze LCD-5 – 11.65%
  3. Sennheiser HD800 S – 11.64%

The Meze Audio Empyrean 2 is still in the lead, but it is loosing ground. The Sennheiser HD800 S and the Audeze LCD-5 have switched places again but they’re still strongly in the top 3. It will be tough to change this strong top 3.

Universal IEMs

  1. Sennheiser IE900 – 16.97%
  2. Empire Ears Odin – 11.19%
  3. UM MEST MKii – 9.75%

The number 1 position still is for the Sennheiser IE 900 but it’s position decreased from 19.12% to 16.97%. The Empire Odin is still second but it went down from 14.71% to 11.19%.The Unique Melody MEST MKII is still in 3rd position, now with 9.75%, coming from 12.75%. The Sony IER-Z1R is now in place 4 with only 4.69% of the votes. HAs the top 3 settled already now that the ThieAudio Monarch MKIII has dropped to position 6?


Custom IEMs

  1. JH Audio Layla – 19.44%
  2. 64 Audio A18T – 11.11%
  3. 64 Audio A12T – 9.27%

The market is mostly focusing on universal IEMs now and even the CIEM companies are now offering a whole series of universal IEMs. I personally will take a custom over a universal any day, simply because of the comfort and sound quality. That said, the CIEM market is getting very niche and that shows in the number of votes and the models in the list.

The first position is for the JH Audio Layla with an impressive 19.44% of the votes. The second spot is for the 64 Audio A18t and also their A12T is in third place with 9.27%. These two actually changed positions. The fourth place is for the Unique Melody Multiverse Mentor with 5.56%. It is one of my personal fav custom IEMs.


  1. Apple Airpods Pro 2 – 33.96%
  2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 – 24.53%
  3. Sony WF-1000XM4 – 11.32%

The top places have switched here and the Airpods are now in the 1st spot with 33.96% of the votes. The Sennheiser Momentum TWS3 is now2nd with 24.53% of the counts. The Sony WF-1000XM4 still is in the third spot with 11.32% of the votes. 

Portable Players/DAPs

  1. Astell&Kern SP3000 – 24.75%
  2. Astell&Kern SR35 – 11.62%
  3. FiiO M15s – 7.07%

The Astell&Kern SP3000 always is one of the best scoring DAPs and it is an incredible DAP to own if you have larger budget. At this stage it has the most of the votes with 24.75%. The second spot is for a newcomer and it is for the AK SR35, which has 11.62% of the votes now. The Fiio M15s is now 3rd with 7.07%. The excellent Hiby RS8 with 6.57% is close to taking the #rd spot back. All great DAPs!

DAC/AMP – Dongles included

  1. Chord Electronics Mojo 2  – 22.18%
  2. Chord Electronics Hugo TT2 – 14.55%
  3. Cayin Audio RU7 – 7.27%

Absolutely no change here. The Chord Mojo 2 and the Hugo TT2 are still doing very well with the top 2 positions. The TT2 won this category last year, but it’s still a bit of a surprise to see it here. The third position still is for the Cayin RU7, which is one of my personal favorite DAC/AMP dongles. It however is closely being followed by the Fiio Q15

Amplifiers only

  1. Astell&Kern PA10 – 9.39%
  2. Ferrum OOR – 6.63%
  3. Linear Tube Audio LTA Micro ZOTL 2.0 – 5.52%

The first spot now is for the Astell&Kern PA10, though we’re looking into voting fraud for this one. At the moment is has 9.39% of the votes. The popular Ferrum OOR amp, which is especially impressive with the dedicated power supply, now is second with 6.63% of the votes. The third place is for the LTA Micro ZOTL which is getting close to the OOR. The Niimbus Audio US4+ is back in 4th place.

DAC only

  1. Chord DAVE – 24.65%
  2. Chord TT2 – 17.61%
  3. Holo Audio May DAC – 7.75%

The Chord DAVE is a TOTL unit and I really enjoyed my time with it. It’s a bit surprising to see it in the lead, but it seem you all like the DAVE, a lot. The second spot is for the Chord TT2, which is scoring well in our DAC/AMP poll as well. The popular and excellent Holo May DAC is now on 3rd position.  The Ferrum Wandla (7.04%) is advancing fast and it has almost caught up with the Holo.


  1. Eversolo DMP-A6 – 21.17%
  2. Eversolo DMP-A8 – 14.60%
  3. FiiO R9 – 13.14%

This is a new category and Eversolo is strongly performing as you can see. Both their A6 and A8 are strongly in the top 2 and they are just ahead of the Fiio R9 all-in-one unit. The DMP-A6 won our streamer of the year award last year, so I have a feeling it will stay in this top 3. The FiiO R9 is coming up strong here and I expect to keep climbing fast.

Cables & Accessories

  1. Effect Audio Signature series – 22.39%
  2. Linum SuperBaX – 17.91%
  3. Eletech Sonnet of Adam – 5.97%

Cables, you like them or you don’t but we are running a poll about them anyway. The first spot is for the multiple award winning EA Signature series. Second we still have the more affordable SuperBaX, and in 3rd spot we have the high-end Eletech Sonnet of Adam cable.

Don’t forget that you can still vote and participate in all of these polls. If you don’t agree with the intermediate results or you want to see your favourite piece of gear in the results, you know what to do. Start voting!

Full links:

  1. Headphones
  2. Universal IEMs
  3. Custom IEMs
  4. TWS IEMs
  5. Portable Players/DAPs
  6. DAC/AMP Combos – Including Dongles
  7.  Amplifiers (only) – Tube or Solid State
  8. DAC (only)
  9. Streamers
  10. Cables & Accessories
4.3/5 - (65 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

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