Custom IEM Recommendations - Headfonia Headphone Reviews


The list is sorted based on price, starting from the lowest to the most expensive. This is an ever evolving list. There are so many good sounding CIEMs out there that we can’t list them all, but here are our favorites for now.

CustomArt FIBAE 2

I really like this dual BA-driver and it performs even better than I expected it to. The build quality and comfort are good and with its musical, rich character it will win you over in no time. Like I said earlier it can’t compete with the very best on the market but the fact that we’re thinking about them means it is a really good monitor, especially for the price it’s going for. The FIBAE 2 delivers extremely good sound and that with only 2 BA drivers, it’s almost unbelievable.

€475 from CustomArt


Cosmic Ears CE6

Cosmic Ears is to blame for my CIEM addiction. Cosmic is the Fiio of the CIEM world and I mean that in best possible way as the UK build/Swedish designed CIEM company, delivers THE best value for money on the market. The 6-driver CE6 (what’s in a name) is a very good all-rounder and it’s strength is in the fact that it does everything really good and with the same ease. It doesn’t really excel in voices or treble or bass, but the complete picture simply is one of the best. The way CE manages to make bass, mids and treble sound as one coherent “part” is one of the best in the market. If you’re in to bass there also is a B-version available that will rock your world.

$775 from Cosmic Ears


Lime Ears Model X

In my opinion Lime Ears is one of the most overlooked brands in this field. They don’t launch many products every year like others, but when they get one out in the wild, it is a killer product. Aether was one like that two years back and Model X is one right now. It definitely is the monitor to beat in the sub 1000$ category and does also rival some higher tiers. For me it has become my reference below 1500$ and one model I certainly don’t want to part with – ever!

It is refreshing to see so much quality audio at a still affordable price, even though 900€ still is a tough pill to swallow for many, this price bracket has weirdly become mid-fi now. Lime Ears proves the contrary can be the truth and provides a CIEM with exceptional price performance ratio! X has become one of my easy-recommendations for everyone looking for a custom monitor in the sub 1000$ region or that does it all and that can adapt to your preferences.


€890 from Lime Ears

Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered

Nathan insists that this CIEM is included in the CIEM buyer’s guide as it is number one monitor. If I were to rethink my custom lineup in terms of preference, I’d have a hard time not putting the UERR first. It’s its flat, unaccented voicing and wide image that really does it for the music I most often put through my DAPs. For the daily grind, and for longer, more varied listening, the UERR is intensely satisfying.

$999 from Ultimate Ears


Jomo 6R

This 6-driver from Singapore is part of Jomo Audio’s Pro series. It has a very balanced and tight sound but it stays musical at all times. Precision and clarity are key words with the 6R but don’t expect big body or big bass. This is a reference tuned monitor and int wants to show the detail in your music. It might take alittle bit of getting used to in the beginning but once your mind has adapted you’ll love it’s precise sound signature.

$1000 from Jomo Audio


Warbler Prelude

The performance Warbler brought to the market is incredible. You may or not like its typical signature with more forward voices but it’s tonality, detail, speed and precision are exemplary and Warbler certainly sets the bar very high for the competition and who knows for their own multiple driver customs down the line if they do decide to go there. The Warbler Prelude is easy to pair and I basically liked it with every single amp or DAP I tried it with, you’ll just hear the characteristics of your source appear in the sound, but isn’t that exactly what we want? If you then realize they all doing it with one single BA driver, you can call it a small miracle.

$1099 from Warbler Audio


CustomArt Harmony 8.2

The Harmony 8.2 is the successor of their excellent H8P. The new eight driver ciem – I fully recommend going for silicone – is wonderfully constructed and sounds detailed, clean and clear. It has a little more body compared tot he original with softer treble and overall this “update” scores better. The 8.2 is the perfect marriage between an analytic monitor and a musical sounding one. A TOTL monitor that can’t be missing from this list.

€1100 from The CustomArt


Lime Ears Aether

The Aether was the first CIEM in my collection that had a switch to turn on/off sub bass. It won our best CIEM award back in 2015 but it today still is a CIEM to take into account when shortlisting monitors. Aether is nice, Aether seduces, Aether rocks, Aether does it all. Aether is the kind of monitor that makes all types of music sound good, it’s engaging, has great imaging and sounds musical. The bass switch basically gives you two different sounding sets of monitors and that’s a great added feature. The overall sound signature is on the warmer side of neutral with a slight focus on bass and key characteristics are detail, depth and layering. For a 5 driver, it is sublime.

€1150 from Lime Ears


Unique Melody Maestro

This Chinese made 12-driver is one of the CIEMs I always keep going back to when I want to take a great CIEM with me that does it all. With it’s 12 drivers it manages to deliver a lot of detail and precision. Speed, width and depth are excellent and the Maestro is easy to drive on top of that. The Unique Melody Maestro impressed me right from the start. Build quality and presentation are top notch and it simply sounds extremely good. Make sure though you have a good source, amplifier or cable because the Maestro doesn’t easily forgive. Feed it top quality however and you’ll be in heaven.

$1979 from UM via MusicTeck


Noble Audio Kaiser Encore

I can honestly say, the Encore is a masterfully crafted in ear monitor with outstanding clarity and detail, superior control and coherence and the most natural iem I know. An earphone that undoubtedly deserves to be positioned at the top of the line. The Kaiser Encore is a clear step up from the original Kaiser 10 and deserves to be called its evolution, as it has gained many new abilities while still retaining what made the K10 so special. These little gems are comparable to some very expensive high end floor standing speakers and share similarities with even the finest and most prestigious PAs I know.

$2099 from Noble audio


Vision Ears VE6 XC

The Cologne based German company knows how to build great monitors. Their build quality and eye for precision are exemplary, their sound to die for. Nathan is a big fan of their six driver with the X control: The separation of musical elements along an X, Y, and Z linear path, is wide. If the VE6 wasn’t plugged into your ears, you might imagine the sound coming from a large headphone. The biggest, and most lasting impression is one of dynamic contrast. Not dynamic as in constant change, but dynamic in terms of the lively rendering of both lows and highs, and the degree to which each offsets the other. The two dance back and forth on the edge of a knife. Attack and decay on both ends are fast and powerful. Balance between them is perfect, and so, too, is the distribution of weight.

€1930 from Vision Ears


Jomo Audio Flamenco

The Flamenco is Jomo Audio’s newest flagship monitor. It is replacing the Samba (still great) as Jomo’s recommended flagship CIEM. What an awesome sounding monitor the Flamenco is. The competition nowadays is fierce and several companies have really great sounding monitors but to me, Jomo Audio with the Flamenco, is clearly one of them. Joseph managed to create a truly high end, TOTL custom IEM, and it performs exactly how you expect a flagship to do. It’s the best unit Jomo Audio has created so far and it has quickly become one of my favorite monitors. Yes I still use and love the Samba, but this just tops it.

$2200 from Jomo Audio


Vision Ears VE8

The VE8 is Vision Ears latest development and it only just has been released. I without doubt can say this is one of the very best 8-driver monitors in my collection. The VE8 delivers a very balanced sound where bass, mids and treble have the same body and perfectly flows in to eachother. The VE8 strongest point are it’s clarity, precision and extension. Could this be the very best treble I’ve ever heard from a CIEM? While the VE8 is expensive it really is very good. If you don’t have the money budget for one I advise you not to listen to it, cause you’ll be hooked even after listening to half a song already.

€2330 from Vision Ears


64 Audio A18t

The A18t is to me the most resolving and balanced sounding monitor out there, with the absolute best treble ever paired with the most impressive sound stage of all. Bass that goes deep and is dynamically liquid and realistic. Thick and life-like mids on top of that. Within 30 seconds you can change the signature of it from powerful bass to the richest treble by going from the M20 to the M15 module. These and many more reasons made the A18 Tzar go directly to my short-list for Custom In Ear Monitor of the year (2017)!

$2999 from 64 Audio


Only 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:





  • Reply June 16, 2017


    I know that Headfonia has written a review on the MH335 before, and I’m a little bit curious about fitear. What do you think about fitear? Is there any iem(s) in their lineup (JP exclusive or not) that are worth buying? Does the MH334 / 335 still have the best mids in the iem category?

    Yay I’m 1st 🙂

    • Reply June 20, 2017


      Nathan should know this best, I think.

  • Reply December 12, 2017


    What about the Spiral Ears Ultimate? I’m thinking to buy a pair as my reference CIEM. Thanks

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