Welcome to The Headphone List

various earphones Welcome to The Headphone List, where you will find one of the most comprehensive resources on headphones and earphones, from entry-level through top of the line. The site is based on several review lists in table format, with filtering capability to help narrow down your options. If you are just getting started in your search, one of our concise Buyer’s Guides can help find the best set for you. 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

Rock Jaw Alfa Genus

Rock Jaw Alfa Genus Review

Rock Jaw scores a value win with their very first official US release, the variable-tuning Alfa Genus.

0 comments
VSonic VSD3S

Brief Review: VSonic VSD3S, Ostry KC06 & Havi B3 Pro I

A head-to-head review of three popular sub-$100 earphones – the VSonic VSD3S, Ostry KC06 and Havi B3 Pro I

29 comments
Tekfusion Twinwoofers

Tekfusion Twinwoofers Review

The Tekfusion Twinwoofers are competent bass-heavy earphones that suffer from a spot of bass bloat but still offer up good midrange presence and a smooth, inoffensive top end.

4 comments
Perfect Seal Sportbud Silver canal only custom in-ear monitors

Perfect Seal SportBud Silver canal sized custom in-ear monitors for sports

The Perfect Seal SportBud Silver is a high-end workout earphone that provides the perfect fit and audiophile quality sound at a reasonable price.

0 comments
LEAR LUF-4B

LEAR LUF-4 (LUF-4F / LUF-4B / LUF-4C) Review

The LEAR LUF-4 models offer a competitive, yet well-differentiated alternative to more mainstream multi-BA earphones with an unprecedented level of customization for universal IEMs

0 comments
JAM Transit Buds

JAM Transit Buds wireless earphones review

The JAM Transit Buds deliver what they promise – easy-to-use Bluetooth functionality with a design that’s suitable for workouts thanks to sweat resistance and a secure fit in the ear.

2 comments
Nuforce NE-600X

Nuforce NE-600X Review

The budget-minded Nuforce NE-600X draws on the tuning of the company’s higher-end earphones to deliver an unabashedly bass-heavy sound without sacrificing overall performance

4 comments
Brainwavz R3

Brainwavz R3 (ver. 2) Review

I’ve noticed that earphones in the $100-$150 range are let down by the sound quality more often than expected – maybe 1 in 3 are worth recommending on sound alone. This is not at all the case with the Brainwavz R3

5 comments
Alpha Design Lab X1 DAC-amp

Alpha Design Labs ADL X1 portable DAC + headphone amp review

The ADL X1 is a superb DAC/amp with plenty of upside potential and one caveat. Check out the review to find out if it is right for you.

2 comments
VSonic GR07 Classic - Blue

Brief Review: VSonic GR07 Classic (plus warning for GR07 buyers)

The VSonic GR07 Classic represents a cut in price but not quality for the acclaimed GR07. Beware of some sellers passing the Classic off as the GR07 mkII.

18 comments
DIY Impressions with resulting CIEM

Ear self-impressions for custom in-ear monitors – what you need to know

Taking self-impressions can save time and money or waste it. Here’s what you need to know about making your own ear impressions for custom in-ear monitors.

6 comments
EarWerkz Legend custom in-ear monitors

New CIEM manufacturer: EarWerkz

EarWerkz is a new custom in-ear monitor manufacturer with complete lineup ranging from a dual driver CIEM to a 8-driver, 7-way design.

1 comment
EarSonics Velvet universal custom in-ear monitors with sound tuning

EarSonics Velvet: 3-in-one universal IEM announced

The EarSonics Velvet universal custom in-ear monitor has been officially launched, offering sound tuning and fitting in the lineup between the SM64 & S-EM6.

0 comments
1st-birthday

The Headphone List: A Year in Review

The Headphone List officially launched last September. We wanted to thank all who have come along for the ride so far and share some statistics and takeaways from our first year.

20 comments
custom-wrap-on

Comply Custom Wraps – foam wraps for custom in-ear monitors

Comply Custom Wraps are a new product designed to improve the seal with CIEMs.

5 comments
BuySonic

Introducing BuySonic – daily deals on headphones and earphones from Sonic Electronix

Introducing BuySonic, a new, members-only daily deal site focused on headphones and earphones worth keeping an eye on

0 comments
Beat Audio Prima Donna Custom In-Ear Monitor Cable

New Beat Audio Webpage: Aftermarket cables that don’t just look good…

Beat Audio Cables have a new website where you can buy their cables direct. Check out their eye-candy.

0 comments
Dunu DN-2000

The Headphone List + CTC Audio Contest: Win a DUNU DN-2000 Hybrid Earphone

CTC Audio, the official North American distributor for DUNU, FIDUE, T-Peos, and Hisound, has partnered with THL to give away the highly regarded DUNU DN-2000 triple-driver hybrid IEM. Check out the contest app below.  The more ways you enter, the better your chances of winning.  Don’t forget to share the contest! Find out more about …

67 comments
CTC Audio Logo

Introducing CTC Audio – Authorized North American distributor for Fidue, Dunu, T-Peos, and more

Introducing CTC Audio, the official North American distributor for FIDUE, DUNU, T-Peos, and HiSound Audio

3 comments
Unique Melody 12-driver Reshell

Unique Melody launches 12-driver upgrade for JHAudio JH13/JH16 CIEMs with introductory discount

Unique Melody has introduced an upgrade service for owners of JHAudio JH13 and JH16, which will upgrade either unit to 12 drivers per earpiece

0 comments

 

53 comments


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  1. Hi, ljokerl
    Thanks for the lists! They’re really good!

    Currently I am using Vsonic GR02 bass edition and I love them, but, sadly, the left side stopped working today (Accidentally, I dropped them on the floor two months ago and my sister stepped on them. Only the left side was damaged, but I managed to repair them and they worked perfectly. I suppose that’s why they stopped working after just five months of buying them). So, I want to buy a new pair, but I don’t know which one to get. I was thinking about Vsonic VSD1S or JVC HA-FDX80-Z, but I’m not really sure. What do you suggest? I listen mostly to hard and progressive rock.

    Thank you very much!

    • The VSD1S would make for a nice upgrade from the GR02 heading in a more “Hi-Fi” direction. It still has a v-shaped sound signature but just more balanced and refined overall while maintaining some tonal resemblance, being another VSonic product. The FXD80 is also v-shaped but moves towards a thinner, brighter sound that might be too much of a change from the warmer GR02, so the VSD1S is the one I’d go for. If you don’t want to risk the slight decrease in bass quantity that comes with moving to a higher-end VSonic product, you can also check out the Brainwavz S1 or the recently-reviewed Rock Jaw Alfa Genus, which make for pretty good GR02BE replacements with plentiful bass.

  2. Dear TheHeadphoneList Team,
    First of all congratulations on the reviews I find them really good and very detailed.
    I wanted to ask, as I’ve read many articles lately, if you’re going to review the UBSOUND Fighter aluminum IEM and if they will be tested against the competition?
    Thanks,
    William

    • Yes, the Fighter is in the queue for a review. So far I’m finding it pretty good but a little light on value at $80+. Then again, IEM prices are definitely higher in Europe where it’s from, so maybe it makes sense there. In any case, a full review will be up in due time.

  3. @ljoker, average_joe

    Visiting 2014 CanJam @ RMAF?

  4. Hi ijoker
    I really like and admire your reviews. As I am short on budget,so looking for some budget iems with descent sound. I came across a hongkng based brand called Awei with iems Es900i. I want your expert openin on these as people really seem to like their bass and soundstage.

  5. Can anyone recommend some of the pink noise videos on Youtube to use for breaking in? The longer the video the better.

    I am not sure if some are of higher quality than others or if that matters at all?

    Thank you.

  6. Hey ljokerl!

    Not sure how easy of a question this is gonna be, but I’d appreciate any feedback you can muster. I’ve been going insane reading and reading, and more reading about what to buy. Problem is, no matter how hard I try to understand all the “terms” of sound signatures, it’s getting me nowhere. I do realize that makes a recommendation harder for you to give, with me not understanding the differences in just simple sub bass/midbass terminology, or twin BA, hybrids, analytical, and so on so on. I’m looking into getting some IEM’s, or earbuds, I know there’s a difference but can’t remember what they are now. I’ve never tried these kind before, but am looking for something more discreet to walk around the streets with. I do know that I don’t want the kind that go over the ear, I think they’ll eventually annoy me in the same way on ear headphones irritate my ears. Also, they’d have to be able to use some sort of the memory type foam tips, because I also think that any sort of non secure rubber tip would irritate my ears.

    As far as the type of music I listen to, it’s very very simple – I listen to every last genre of music there is – Punk to Folk, Classic Rock to African, Pop to Really Friggin’ Weird. As far as sound signature goes, obviously that’s where the hard part comes in. My listening habits in my house with earphones are kinda totally different than walking around outside with my iPod. ***I would never say that I’m a basshead – BUT – when I’m outside amongst wind and noise, I definitely turn my bass up considerably to counter the elements.*** With that being said, if I were to describe what I like soundwise “inside” the safe environment of my house, using very non technical terms, lol – balance is definitely the most important thing I like. I don’t want any one thing overshadowing another thing. I “think” I like warm. If something is brickwalled, it’s usually the treble and mids making it so I would imagine, so overly bright would not be something I’m after because of ear fatigue. So I’m guessing this might be what warm is(?). I also use Rockbox with it’s EQ, to add or subtract a little here and there.

    Please feel free to ask me anything, I know that was a little vague in describing what I like soundwise. The most important thing is I live in a sometimes windy, noisy beachtown, and my bass and mids need to be able to overpower these elements while still trying to not overblow the balance of the mids and trebles. I have no idea what a “thick” sound would encompass, but I gotta believe I’d like it – cause if the opposite is a thin sound – well that just doesn’t good at all if one is listening to music. I guess “meaty” would be a good term when I think about a balanced sound. Thanks, hope you can help some.

    CT

    • One thing you didn’t list is your budget but something from the warm-and-smooth category of our buyer’s guide (http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/) – whatever is in your price range – would be a good start (especially with Rockbox EQ on hand). No previous experience with in-ears and no set sound signature preference means you’ll probably have to try a couple of sets firsthand before you can zero in on exactly what you like, but getting there is half the fun. You can read all you want, but you’ll need a reference point for your ears to start making sense of it all.

      Most in-ears will take foam tips of some kind so if you need those just leave room in your budget for a pack of Complys (about $15). Also, certain IEMs have a problem with windy environments where the wind will create noise as it passes over the earphone body, so for your purposes one that’s flush in the ear would be best. The Shure SE215s might be a good one if you can spend $100.

      • Excellent page, thanks! Had I been a bit smarter and listed it, my budget woulda been under $200.

        • Well, in that case the SE215 is well within budget. You can also just explore a few different-sounding in-ears to see what you like best – for example, for the same $100 you can pick up a Sony MH1C ($30), VSonic VSD1S ($40), and Philips SHE3580 ($10). From there you can either stick with one (and pick up foam tips for it if you need them) or figure out an upgrade path based on which one you like best.

          • Thanks, I’m gonna try and narrow it down to about three, order, and hope for the best!

          • Hey ljokerl – was wondering if any on this list sound atleast somewhat close enough to one another that I could cross some off. I’m trying to get down to only three, so if some of these are almost doubling up on one another, that would help me out.

            1. Fidue A63
            2. HiFiMan RE-400
            3. VSonic GR07
            4. Fischer Audio Silver Bullet
            5. Sony MH1C
            6. Yamaha EPH-100
            7. RHA MA600

            Don’t even ask how I picked these out over others – I still don’t really know what I like in a sound signature – I’m just kind of guessing here, lol! I did kinda take one thing into consideration that I hadn’t thought of when I mentioned the needing of bass for outdoor use, and that was that these IEM’s basically plug into your ear, which probably has better noise cancellation than the on ear phones that I’m using now to walk around in. Thanks for the help.

          • Those are all over the place and the only one out of them I wouldn’t recommend is the MA600 – it just doesn’t sound that good for the price. If you want me to narrow it down for you, I think the MH1C (crappy cable aside) and EPH-100 would make for a great bass-heavy first IEM and the GR07 Classic (the $99 version discussed here: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-gr07-classic-plus-warning/) makes for a great accurate/neutral one.

          • Damn, and I thought they were all sorta similar, lol! I’m just gonna order those three, and atleast from there I’ll be able to tell you what I liked and didn’t like incase there’s a “next” IEM down the line. Just a couple last things…….can you guide me towards an Amazon link for those Comply memory foam tips. I didn’t realize there were so many different kinds. Like a mixed pack with different sizes. Also, will the complys fit on all three of those IEM’s? That’s a definite must, I have sensitive ears, and I think the memory foam are gonna be way better suited for me than whatever comes with ‘em stock. Thanks alot, I’ll come back in a month or so and let ya know which one I ended up with.

          • I don’t have all Comply sizes available to me so I am not sure which fit. They come in multiple inner diameters (100, 200, 400, 500). The VSonic GR07 already comes with Comply-style foam tips in the box but if Complys are a must for whatever else you buy, just cross-reference your potential list with the models listed on their website (http://www.complyfoam.com/). The HiFiMan RE-400 and Silver Bullet are on there, for example, listed as being compatible with the 400 size (you can find the T400 sampler on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1rCz4Gv).

          • OK, thanks. I’ll see what’s available.

  7. Hello Joker,
    are u planning to reviewing the new iem Fighter by Ubsound?
    It seems to be a cool Italian brand as per other reviews online.
    Go well

  8. Will you be reviewing the RHA T10i anytime soon?

  9. are u planning on reviewing havi b3 pro I/II?????

  10. Hi joker and joe! I’m not asking any questions.

    As two of my most trusted reviewers in portable audio gear, THL has become my to-go audio website, whether it is for buying guide or just merely informative stuff about gears I could not afford :P I have also referred THL to friends who want trusted insights on certain products or just general info on portable audio. So, THANK YOU and keep up the awesome work!

    • That’s great to hear! This site has been a long time coming and we’re very thankful for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received from the headphone community. Thank you for sharing us with your friends, and keep an eye out for more website functionality (and more reviews, of course) in the near future!

  11. Joker, for the average listener. rha ma750 sounds too bassy, hifiman re400 not enough bass for many, brainwave b2 not enough bass and analytical instead of musical in many reviews. I am trying to choose from the vsonic gr07 cce, brainwave b2 and a used custom art music one which may not have enough bass like the hifiman re400 which i really wanted, but decided on the gr07 cce because of the lack of bass. Can you break it down for me. I listen to soft rock and classical for 90 percent of the time. not a basshead but i do enjoy a good tight bass.

    • The B2 doesn’t have any more bass than the RE-400 or Custom Art Music One. Your best bet would be the GR07, which is between the MA750 and the RE-400/B2/Music One in bass quantity. The GR07 Bass Edition is an even safer bet as it gives the GR07 a little extra in the bass. There’s some on eBay at $129: http://bit.ly/1rO41Uw

  12. 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?
    Thanks.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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! :-)

  16. 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.

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

    • 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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