Disclaimer: The InEarz Nirvana, flagship CIEM from American brand InEarz, was sent me free of charge for this review. I covered the expenses of taking my impressions, sending them to InEarz and the customs taxes when I received the CIEMs. The current price of the Nirvana is 1099 USD. InEarz is not affiliated with Headfonia, and this review reflects my own, upfront opinions.
Believe it or not, I’ve never used CIEMs in my years of audiophile journey until I got the InEarz Nirvana. I get surprised every time I think about it; but that’s the way it is. For some reason I always went for universals, even with the flagship or mid-fi monitors.
I thought about having custom monitors made for myself, but the plan always was postponed because I’m really lazy sometimes. I don’t like the idea of the waiting game as well as having to go the audiologist for impressions. But, our tribal chief pushed me just enough to activate the plan again, and then I started looking. One of the brands that we hadn’t talked about on Headfonia was InEarz Audio and so I contacted them and well the rest is history.
InEarz was originally founded as “Fisher Hearing Technologies” back in 2003 by Kim Alan Fisher, a former US Air Force member. He then started to work on his own custom monitor, which would be branded as “InEarz”. Kaysen Fisher, his daughter, is the GM and she handles the customer relations. His son in-law Matthew runs the lab with his very experienced team of technicians.
The InEarz family has loads of practice and experience about custom monitors and reshelling services. Actually the first time I heard about InEarz was via the Custom Remold Owner’s Thread on Head Fi. The thread consists out of around 200 pages, so one can bet that they’re really popular among the audiophiles who look for a company to reshell their custom/universal monitors, especially in the US.
InEarz have an excellent customer service, as I’ve also experienced. I was in communication with Kaysen most of the time, and she was very responsive and in touch, even during a tough period when Hurricane Irma hit Florida in late summer last year.
They had to settle down after the unfortunate hurricane to continue to take orders from their customers but thankfully everything looks fine now. Working with Kaysen and InEarz was a very smooth and good experience for me, and I bet their customers think the same way.
I of course can’t say that I’m an experienced bloke with custom monitors, as I’ve already mentioned, but I have lots of friends in our audiophile community here and some of them have/had CIEMs and I checked them out a lot of times. Some of them were perfect, some were not and I can definitely distinguish the good from bad.
So build quality-wise, the InEarz Nirvana is absolutely good. The shell is acrylic and there are only some glue tracks for sticking the drivers to the shell, but nothing overdone. The rest of the shell is pretty clear, although the canal parts are not absolutely perfect. The packaging of the internal cables and drivers is very tidy. The transitions of the shells is smooth and seamless, as well as the face plates, which are closed perfectly.
As this is my first custom I had some concerns about the fit. When I first opened the carrying case I was somewhat nervous, but after inserting the monitors to my ears everything was great. There was an adjustment period for me at first, since my ears weren’t used to custom monitors but after 1 week it started to get really comfortable with them and they started to disappear. When you get your first CIEM and don’t feel very comfortable, I recommend to give yourself a week to adjust to it, unless the fit is very problematic of course.
Overall, InEarz did a perfect job here, even though my ear impressions were far from the best. Despite that, they managed to produce a great shell out of those. I was a victim of my inexperience in terms of ear impressions, but in the end it worked out. If you search the Head Fi thread you can clearly see they have full knowledge of making custom shells, so it’s not a surprise.
The seal is very solid and steady, and my jaw movement does not affect the fit. I can’t really comment on isolation as I don’t have other CIEMs to compare yet. I will have some others in time, but surely this is much much better than the universal-fit monitors.
I did not choose or ask for a specific design for the monitors. I received them with the typical “watch gear” design on the face plates, with base colors of carbon black & wooden brown. They definitely look beautiful and classy. This design is optional of course, and it sets you back 75$ for each side.
Speaking of it, you of course have several options to personalize your monitors during the ordering process. The first thing you’ll notice is the ADEL module. We’ve seen the ADEL modules before with 64 Audio and Empire Ears and you’re probably aware of this new technology for some time now. The ADEL module adds a 200$ price increase for your monitors for a better and safer sound reproduction. You can get more informed about this topic here.
You can choose to have clear canals, if you’d like to have the CIEMs in an opaque color. This allows you to see the earwax in the canal and tube parts better, therefore making them easier to clean. Other than watch gears design, you can also choose “swarovski cyrstals” for your face plates, not to mention a lot of different color options. You can also choose a custom artwork or the InEarz logo on top of the face plates. InEar also offer recessed cable sockets for your shells for additional 20$. Lastly you can add ambient ports to your monitors to be connected with your environment.
InEarz ship the monitors with a crushproof case on which they engrave your name, it comes with a cleaning cloth & tool. They ship with a classic 2-pin cable but you can have an upgraded SPC version as an addition. There’s also an InEarz Audio sticker. The base price of the Nirvana is 1099$, and can increase up to around 1500$ with all the options (including 200$ for the ADEL module). It’s a fair price point in today’s market, and actually quite cheaper than most, especially in the TOTL category.
Go to PAGE 2 for sound impressions