Welcome to The Headphone List

various earphones Welcome to The Headphone List, where you will find one of the most comprehensive resources for information on universal-fit earphones and custom in-ear monitors, with products ranging from entry-level through top of the line. The site currently consists of two lists with filtering capability to help narrow your search, one for (mostly) universal in-ear earphones by ljokerl and the other for (mostly) custom in-ear monitors by average_joe. If you are just getting started in your search for the perfect in-ear earphones, the concise Earphone Buyers Guide can help you decide which ones will suit you best. Please use the comment sections on the articles to let us know if you have any questions!

Review Lists

In-Ear Monitor (IEM) reviews

Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM) reviews

Portable Headphone reviews

Buyer’s guides:

2014 Earphone Buyer’s Guide by sound signature

Custom In-ear Monitor Buyer’s Guide

The Best Earphones Under $50


Recent Reviews

News & Articles

Lime Ears LE3B Custom In-Ear Monitors

Lime Ears LE3, LE3B, and LE3SW custom in-ear monitors review: 2 for the price of 1

Polish custom in-ear monitor company Lime Ears LE3 and LE3B fit in the often neglected mid-price category. See how they perform against their peers in this review.

Xiaomi Piston 2

Xiaomi Piston 2 Review

While higher-end in-ears can point out where the audio quality of the Xiaomi Piston 2 falls slightly short, the dearth of choices among full-featured Android headsets makes the Piston 2 a bargain, and a must-have for any Android user.

15n comments
T-Peos D200R

T-Peos D200R Review

As far as reasonably-priced earphones go, the T-Peos D200R has a lot going for it – sturdy build, headset functionality, and a sonic signature that makes all the right concessions.

14n comments

OPPO PM-1 Review (with comparisons to LCD-2, HD600, and HE-560)

The OPPO PM-1 is a full-size, open-back planar magnetic headphone with fantastic craftsmanship, and is superbly comfortable in both fit and sound.

6n comments
Rhines Custom Monitors Stage 3 custom in-ear monitors

Rhines Custom Monitors Stage 3 custom in-ear monitor review

Well known Compact Monitors of Germany split into 2 companies. The founder of Compact started Rhines Custom Monitors and continues the Stage series legend. Read the in-depth review of the Stage 3 and see what they are all about.

NarMoo R1M

NarMoo R1M Review

The NarMoo R1M is an excellent first effort, offering pretty much everything one could want from a budget earphone – a solid construction, built-in mic and remote, and the ability to select between three levels of bass ranging from “basshead” to “mild enhancement”.

Astrotec AX-35

Astrotec AX-35 Review

The Astrotec AX-35 is a dynamic + single BA hybrid earphone that utilizes a Knowles ED armature driver and competes with the likes of the T-Peos H-100 and Dunu DN-900, albeit at a significantly more attractive price point.

14n comments
Custom Art Music One silicone custom in-ear monitor

Custom Art Music One silicone shelled custom in-ear monitor review

The Custom Art Music One is a silicone shelled custom in-ear monitor that recreates the emotion within music rarely recreated in headphones in the price range. While it isn’t going to be everything for everyone, it offers a glimpse into the world of higher-end music recreation.

4n comments

TDK BA200 Review

With sound that is reminiscent of well-regarded high-end earphones from the likes of HiFiMan and Shure, an ergonomic form factor, and good noise isolation, the TDK BA200 is a solid all-rounder with plenty of mass appeal.

3n comments
ProGuard P2+1 custom in-ear monitors

ProGuard P2+1 custom in-ear monitor review

The ProGuard P2+1 was designed for the gigging musician, and the sound signature is perfect for that use. With good detail levels and a 3D presentation, the P2+1 should suite many audiophiles as well.

Fidue A83

Brief Review: Sony XBA-H3, Dunu DN-2000, Fidue A83, and T-Peos Altone200 triple-driver hybrids compared

A brief look at four new triple-driver hybrid earphones – the Sony XBA-H3, Dunu DN-2000, Fidue A83, and T-Peos Altone200

7n comments
Musician Playing On Stage with In-Ear Monitors

Stage & Studio: Musician’s In-Ear Monitors Buyer’s Guide

This Musician’s In-Ear Monitors Buyer’s Guide is designed to help musicians and engineers make more informed decisions about in-ear monitors and find the monitoring solution that will help them perform better.

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Perfect Seal Fusion 11 silicone hybrid custom in-ear monitor

World’s first silicone shelled hybrid custom in-ear monitor: The Fusion 11 by Perfect Seal

Hybrids are becoming ever more popular, and Perfect Seal has released the world’s first silicone hybrid custom in-ear monitor, the Fusion 11.

Hidition Viento-R custom in-ear monitors

Hidition announces new CIEM – Viento-R

Introducing the Hidition Viento-R: a quad-driver custom in-ear monitor with timbre control switches that is added to the New Tears lineup.


Deal Alert: 20% off all Noble Audio IEMs and CIEMs for 24 hours

Noble Audio is celebrating the birthday of one of its founders, The Wizard (aka Dr. John Moulton), with a 20% off sitewide sale, which includes both custom-fit in-ear monitors and universals.


[Expired] Deal Alert: Sony MDR-V6 studio monitors for $54.99 (Amazon deal of the day)

Sony’s classic MDR-V6 studio headphones are available for $54.99 from Amazon.com today. Typically these run $75-80. While a little treble-deficient to qualify for true “reference” sound, at $55 these are a perfect 10 for value and make for an especially great “first headphone” – an all-purpose set that will last years.

EarSonics SM64 ICE limited edition in-ear monitors

EarSonics SM64 ICE limited edition in-ear monitors available now

EarSonics is at it again, adding variations to their existing lineup.  This time, the SM64 gets a makeover with a white inner shell, clear outer shell, and silver cable. Same sound signature as the SM64 Only 15 units will be available Available on the EarSonics website Read the EarSonics SM64 reviews by average_joe and joker.

Advanced AcousticWerkes CIEMs

Null Audio announces new low cost hybrid CIEMs from Advanced AcousticWerkes

Null-Audio is at it again, this time partnering with Advanced AcousticWerkes of Singapore to bring low-cost hybrid custom in-ear monitors (CIEMs) to the market with fast turn-around times. There are two product lines, the entry level Musiker line and the Meister lines. A focus of the new line is better coherence between the dynamic and …

EarSonics SEM6 Devil Edition

Deal Alert: Musica Acoustics Weekend sale – 10% off sitewide + free Fischer Audio earphones

Japanese Hi-Fi boutique Musica Acoustics is offering 10% off site-wide this weekend plus a free pair of Fischer Audio earphones with orders of $100 or more

Minerva Mi-Artist Pro

Brief Impressions: Noble FR & PR, Perfect Seal SportBud Silver, Minerva Mi-Performer Pro & Mi-Artist Pro

A brief look at the Noble FR & PR, Perfect Seal SportBud Silver, Minerva Mi-Performer Pro & Mi-Artist Pro In-Ear Earphones.

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  1. Hi Joker, thanks for the reviews, it’s very informative, currently I’m using soundmagic PL30, and I’m loving it, airy, analytical but smooth at the same time, but I got a problem with isolation, I can’t use it in a noisy environment, the best tips that works for me is the stock single flange, the double flange make the treble too prominent and the foam tips make it too mid centric.
    If I want to upgrade to something with the same sound character but more refined with better isolation & fit what are your suggestions?

  2. Hi Joker,

    Would you consider reviewing the JVC HA-FXZ200? It’s similar to the design to the HA-FXT90 using the same dual carbon armature element but in adding the extra subwoofer component and changing the tuning of the sound signiature I’m interested in how much that changes or imporves over the HA-FXT90 model, which I’ve got. I’ve read through Head-Fi forums but I’m interested in your opinion of them given that you have so much experience and your website being a reference point.

    Thanks, Jason.

  3. Hello! Do you have plans to review the SE846? Have you heard them yet? I’ve read a bunch of reviews and am really curious 1) if they justify the cost compared to values like the VC1000 or expensive ciems and 2) if they make any pretense at neutrality.

    • So far I’m not a huge fan of the SE846 as an overall package. They sound good and are well-made but the housings are enormous even compared to something like a Westone W40 or EarSonics SM64 and put pressure on my ears. If it was my $1000 I wouldn’t risk it without trying them out first just for the potential comfort issues.

      The bass seems to be noticeably enhanced even with the most “Balanced” filters (the slightly v-shaped white ones), but not in a bad way. There’s no bloat and they don’t sound unnatural. Still, a direct VC1000 upgrade they are not.

      • Thanks a ton!

        I really like the VC1000. Its just so balanced, musical, detailed and neutral at the same time…its tough to find anything wrong with it! That being said, I’d like to find an upgrade but I don’t know if I will before going to UERM or JH13, etc. Not a bad problem to have.

        Any stones left to overturn before getting into customs? Maybe the Primo 8? (Do you have plans to give that a listen?) I honestly prefer the VC1000 more than the ER4S; that additional bass really helps on some tracks though I do miss a little the vividness of the ER4S.

        The VC1000 is like a going to get a presciptions for glasses. You think it’s perfect, until the optometrist flips the switch one last time, and you see there is one last step.

        • I’m a big fan of the VC1000 as well. I don’t think I will get to hear the Primo 8 any time soon but can’t be sure. I would also add the Noble 4S to your list of neutral $1000 customs :)

  4. Hi, just as a general question, how do you manage to remember the exact sound of every headphone you have reviewed? Do you have to look back at your reviews or do you manage to remember them off the top of your head? Keep up the outstanding work, thank you!

    • I don’t look at the reviews, but I do have detailed notes just on the sound, including more A:B comparisons than are published in the review. Those help a lot. Occasionally, if it’s been a very long time, I’ll take a look at the measurements.

      • That’s very insightful, thank you. Your site is definitely one of the few review sites which give full and accurate reviews. Keep it up! :-)

  5. hi there..
    ijoker you have not talked about a very capable headphone brand called SOMIC in your list. Any specific reasons?coz i am using cans by somic, an older model cost me only $5, but i must say its awsum with nice bass and good overall performance even better than beats cans.

  6. wana ask about aliexpress.com, are they secure source of buynig headphones? as their add is on your site.

    • The ads on this site are served by Google and not in our direct control. Aliexpress is just a marketplace, like eBay or Rakuten/buy.com, so your experience will ultimately depend on the individual seller you’re purchasing from. For Chinese brands, it’s probably fine. For Western brands, especially those with known counterfeits, it’s always best to buy from a retailer like Amazon rather than from a marketplace.

    • No. aliexpress.com is materially likely to rip you off.

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