Welcome to the headphone list, where we have listened to and evaluated hundreds of in-ear headphones to help you find the best fit for your needs and preferences. This is ljokerl's table in interactive format that provides an easy way to narrow your selection down to fit your needs. To view all reviews (sorted by most recent), see here: All IEM Reviews. We are constantly adding new reviews, so be sure to check back or follow us on facebook, twitter, or google+.

Don't see your model listed? Try checking the "Show Discontinued Products" box.

For a more concise listing of our favorite sets for various tastes and budgets, check out our continuously updated Earphone Buyer’s Guide by Sound Signature.

Price (USD)
Average Rating
Sound Rating
Build Quality
Isolation Rating
Comfort Rating

Headphones with mic/remote

hold CTRL to select multiple

Show Discontinued Products


ModelMake & model of headphone.
Blue = custom-IEM
Red = discontinued
iHeadsets with mic/remote:
blank = no headset functionality
1 = mic + 1-button remote (universal)
3 = mic + 3-button remote for Apple iOS devices
a = mic + 3-button remote for Android devices
v = mic + 1-button remote + analog volume control (universal)
AccessoriesHow useful and complete the bundled set of tips & accessories is. Depends on the quantity and quality of the accessories, as well as on how well-suited they are for the earphone they come with. BuildDepends choice of materials, assembly quality, structural design, and overall feel. Also includes any observations on the durability of the earphones while in my care. IsolationAmount of passive reduction in ambient noise provided by the IEM. All IEMs isolate external noise by virtue of sealed ear coupling, but some are better than others. The better-isolating IEMs are capable of providing is upwards of 30db of attenuation, an 8-fold reduction in ambient noise volume. MicrophonicsSusceptibility to cable noise, a common malady affecting in-ear earphones. Mitigating factors such as the inclusion of a shirt clip or cable cinch and the ease of wearing the IEMs over-the-ear are taken into account. ComfortHow easy the earphone is to wear for long stretches of time. Typically tip- and ear-dependent, although general trends still apply. The ease of insertion/removal of the IEM is also taken into account. SoundPossibly the most subjective of the categories, the sound rating is an evaluation of the relative merits of the sound signature, scaled to the best earphone I have heard. AverageCalculated average of all scores, with the most weight on the sound score. PricePrice in USD at time of review. N/A indicates the product is discontinued.
JH Audio JH13 Pro Freqphase 1 5 5 4.5 5 5 10 9.85 $1175
Hidition NT 6 4 5 4.5 4.5 5 9.9 9.65 $1100
Sensaphonics 3MAX 5 5 5 5 5 9.4 9.65 $1050
Spiral Ear SE 3-Way Reference 4 5 5 5 5 9.5 9.60 $650
Unique Melody Miracle 3 5 4.5 5 5 9.8 9.60 $1049
Custom Art Music One 5 5 5 5 5 9.2 9.55 $170
Clear Tune Monitors WLS-5 4 5 4.5 5 5 9.5 9.50 $800
Lime Ears LE3 and LE3B 4 5 4 5 5 9.5 9.45 $590
Gorilla Ears GX-4b 4 5 4.5 5 5 9.4 9.45 $799
FitEar To Go! 334 5 5 4 4.5 4.5 9.5 9.35 $1399
Alclair Reference 4 5 4 5 5 9.4 9.35 $399
Clear Tune Monitors CTM-200 3.5 5 4 5 5 9.3 9.25 $400
LEAR LUF-4F / LUF-4B / LUF-4C 5 5 4 5 4 9.3 9.20 $565
EarSonics Velvet 4.5 4.5 4 5 4 9.4 9.15 $950
EarSonics SM64 4 4.5 4 5 4.5 9.3 9.10 $299
j-phonic K2 SP 4.5 4.5 4 5 4.5 9.2 9.10 $400
AKG K3003 / K3003i 3 5 5 3 5 4 9.4 9.10 $680
InEar StageDiver 2 (SD-2) 4.5 5 4 5 3.5 9.3 9.10 $450
InEar StageDiver 3 (SD-3) 4.5 5 4 5 3.5 9.3 9.10 $479
Earsonics ES3 4.5 4.5 4 5 4 9.3 9.10 $399
Westone 4 5 4.5 3.5 5 4 9.3 9.05 $499
Ultrasone IQ 1 4.5 5 3.5 5 3.5 9.3 9.00 $899
Westone UM3X 3.5 4.5 4 5 4.5 9.1 8.95 $399
Ultimate Ears UE 900 3 5 4.5 3.5 5 4 9.2 8.95 $400
Etymotic Research ER4S 5 4.5 4.5 3.5 4 9.2 8.90 $299
Westone 2 5 4.5 3.5 5 4.5 8.9 8.90 $299
FLC Technology FLC8 5 4 3.5 4.5 4 9.4 8.90 $318
Shure SE535 3 5 4.5 4 4.5 4 9 8.85 $435
TDK BA200 3.5 4 4 4.5 5 9.1 8.85 $190
DUNU DN-2000 5 4.5 3.5 4.5 3.5 9.3 8.85 $259
ACS T15 3.5 4.5 4 4 5 9 8.80 $229
Westone 3 5 4.5 3.5 5 3.5 9.1 8.80 $399
RHA MA750 / MA750i 3 5 5 3.5 4.5 4.5 8.9 8.80 $120
Fidue A83 5 4.5 3 4.5 4 9.2 8.80 $280
RHA T20 / T20i 3 5 5 3.5 4.5 3.5 9.1 8.80 $240
VSonic VC1000 3.5 4 4 4 4.5 9.2 8.75 $125
Fischer Audio DBA-02 mkII 4.5 4 4 3.5 4.5 9.2 8.75 $198
Sony MDR-EX1000 4 4.5 2.5 5 4 9.3 8.75 $450
VSonic GR01 3.5 4 4 4 4.5 9.2 8.75 $208
Kozee Infinity X1 Executive 4.5 4.5 4 5 5 8.4 8.75 $189
Rock-It Sounds R-50 / R-50M 1 3.5 4 3.5 5 4.5 9.1 8.75 $120
Olasonic Flat-4 Nami 3.5 4.5 3 5 4 9.2 8.75 $499
Sennheiser IE 800 4 5 3 4 4 9.3 8.75 $800
VSonic GR07 Bass Edition 4 4 3.5 4.5 4.5 9.1 8.70 $129
Sennheiser IE8 / IE8i 3 5 5 2.5 5 4 8.9 8.70 $375
VSonic GR07 4 4 3.5 4.5 4.5 9.1 8.70 $158
Dunu DN-1000 5 4.5 3.5 4 3.5 9.2 8.70 $160
Phonak Audeo PFE 112 1 5 4 3 4.5 5 8.8 8.65 $140
Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS 3.5 4 3 4.5 4.5 9.2 8.65 $1000
HiFiMan RE-400 Waterline 3 3.5 4 4 4 4.5 9 8.60 $79
Yamaha EPH-100 4 4 4 4 4.5 8.9 8.60 $130
Etymotic Research HF5 / HF2 / HF3 3 4 4 4.5 4 4 8.9 8.60 $120
LIFE Headphones 3.5 3.5 4 5 4 9.0 8.60 $250
Sony MDR-EX600 4 4.5 2.5 5 4 9 8.55 $200
JVC HA-FX700 4 4.5 2 5 4 9.1 8.55 $260
T-Peos H-100 5 4.5 3.5 4 4 8.7 8.50 $150
Sony XBA-4SL / XBA-4iP 3 4 4.5 3 4.5 4 8.9 8.50 $350
JVC HA-FXT90 4 4.5 3 4.5 4 8.9 8.50 $78
Brainwavz B2 4 3.5 3.5 4 4 9.2 8.50 $160
Ortofon e-Q5 3.5 4 3.5 4 4 9.1 8.50 $215
Monster Miles Davis Trumpet 3 4.5 4 3.5 3.5 4.5 8.9 8.45 $350
Monster Turbine Pro Copper 3 5 4 3.5 4 4 8.8 8.45 $269
Klipsch Image X10 / X10i 3 4.5 3 4 4 5 8.6 8.40 $110
Future Sonics Atrio MG7 4.5 4 3.5 4 4 8.8 8.40 $175
Monster Turbine Pro Gold 3 5 4 3.5 4 4 8.7 8.40 $249
JVC HA-FXD80 / HA-FRD80 1 3 4.5 3.5 4.5 4 8.7 8.40 $64
Monster Miles Davis Tribute 5 4 3.5 3.5 4 8.9 8.40 $390
Philips Fidelio S2 1 4 4 3 4.5 3.5 9 8.40 $100
1MORE Triple Driver E1001 a 4 4 2.5 4 4.5 9.0 8.40 $100
Ultimate Ears UE 600 / 600vi 3 4 3.5 3.5 4.5 4.5 8.6 8.35 $60
Audio-Technica ATH-CK90Pro 3 4 4 4 4 8.7 8.30 $220
RBH EP1 / EP2 1 3 4.5 3 4.5 4.5 8.5 8.30 $149
Brainwavz R3 (ver. 2) 4.5 4.5 3 4 3 8.9 8.30 $110
DUNU Titan 1 4.5 4 2 4 4 9.1 8.30 $100
MEElectronics A161P 1 4.5 3.5 4 3.5 4 8.7 8.25 $95
Dunu DN-19 Tai Chi 5 4.5 3.5 4.5 4 8.1 8.25 $100
SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro 1 4.5 4 3 4 4.5 8.5 8.25 $100
Audio-Technica ATH-CKM99 3.5 4.5 3 4 4 8.6 8.20 $190
VSonic GR06 4 4 3.5 4.5 4.5 8.1 8.15 $63
Creative Aurvana In-Ear 3 4.5 3.5 3.5 4.5 3.5 8.5 8.15 $100
Westone 1 5 4.5 3.5 5 4.5 7.6 8.15 $120
Astrotec AX-35 3.5 4.5 3 4 4 8.5 8.15 $70
Etymotic Research MC5 / MC2 / MC3 3 4 4.5 4.5 4 4 7.8 8.10 $59
Shure SE215 3 4 4.5 4 4.5 3.5 8 8.10 $99
Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 4 4 8.6 8.10 $100
Alpha & Delta AD01 4 4 3 4 3.5 8.7 8.10 $91
Philips Fidelio S1 1 3.5 3 3 4.5 3.5 8.9 8.10 $90
Fischer Audio SBA-03 2.5 3.5 4 3.5 4 8.7 8.05 $120
Dunu I 3C-S 5 4 3 4.5 4 8.1 8.05 $99
HiSoundAudio Crystal 2.5 4.5 4 3.5 4.5 8 7.95 $69
Rock-It Sounds R-30 / R-30M 1 3.5 4 3.5 5 4.5 7.7 7.95 $70
Brainwavz S5 4.5 4 3.5 4 4 8 7.95 $100
VSonic R02 Silver 2.5 4.5 3.5 4 4 8 7.85 $49
VSonic VC02 3 3.5 3.5 4 4.5 8.1 7.85 $49
MEElectronics A151 / A151P 1 4 4 3.5 5 4.5 7.4 7.85 $45
Rock-It Sounds R-20 / R-20M 1 3.5 4 3.5 5 4.5 7.4 7.80 $40
Phonak Audeo Perfect Bass 022 1 1 4 3 4.5 5 8 7.80 $99
Etymotic Research ETY-Kids 5 / 3 3 3.5 4 4.5 4 4 7.6 7.80 $39
HiSoundAudio BA100 1 3.5 3.5 4 3.5 4.5 7.9 7.80 $63
Thinksound MS01 3.5 4 3 4 4 8 7.75 $90
Moe Audio MOE-SS01 2.5 4 3 4.5 4 8 7.75 $65
Brainwavz S1 4.5 4 3.5 3.5 4 7.8 7.75 $60
Audio-Technica ATH-CKM500 3 3 4 3 3.5 4.5 8.0 7.70 $54
Dunu DN-23 Landmine 5 4.5 3.5 4 3.5 7.5 7.70 $69
PureSound ClarityOne 1 3.5 3.5 3.5 4.5 3.5 7.9 7.70 $60
VSonic GR02 Bass Edition 4 4.5 3 4 4 7.6 7.70 $31
HiSoundAudio Wooduo 2 4 4 3 3.5 4 8 7.70 $80
Fischer Audio Tandem 3 3.5 3 3.5 3 8.6 7.70 $75
Astrotec AM-90 / AM-90-MIC 1 3 4.5 3.5 4 4.5 7.4 7.65 $44
Velodyne vPulse 3 4 4 3.5 4.5 4 7.4 7.65 $60
Fischer Audio Eterna 3 4 3.5 4 4 7.7 7.65 $70
Fidue A63 3 4 3 4 3 8.2 7.65 $60
Xiaomi Piston 3 a 3 3.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 8.2 7.65 $16
Astrotec AM-800 3 4.5 2.5 4 4 7.8 7.60 $40
Yuin OK1 3.5 3 1 5 2.5 8.9 7.60 $229
Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE / MMX 101 iE 1 4 4.5 3.5 3.5 4 7.4 7.55 $84
Bowers & Wilkins C5 3 3.5 4 3.5 4 3.5 7.6 7.55 $180
Rock Jaw Alfa Genus 2.5 3.5 3 3.5 4 8.1 7.55 $72
NHT SuperBuds 1 4 3.5 4 4 3 7.7 7.55 $70
HiFiMan RE300h 2 3.5 3 4 4.5 7.9 7.55 $49
Monster Turbine 3 4 4 3.5 3.5 4 7.5 7.50 $100
ViSang VS-K1 4 4 2.5 4 4 7.6 7.50 $50
T-Peos D200R 1 2.5 4 3 3.5 4 7.9 7.50 $35
Pump Audio Earphones 1 3.5 3.5 3 4 4 7.7 7.50 $50
Brainwavz M3 / ViSang R04 4 4 2.5 4 3.5 7.7 7.45 $80
Sony MH1C 1 1.5 3.5 3.5 3 4 8.1 7.45 $31
NarMoo S1 4 4 3 3 3.5 7.7 7.45 $33
Brainwavz S0 4.5 4 3 3 4 7.5 7.45 $45
Fidue A31s 1 4 3.5 3.5 4 5 7 7.45 $16
Brainwavz M5 1 4.5 4 2.5 3.5 4 7.5 7.40 $35
Soundmagic PL50 4.5 4 2.5 4.5 5 6.9 7.40 $51
Dunu DN-16 Hephaes 5 4.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 7.1 7.40 $79
Spider Realvoice 3 4 3.5 2.5 4 3.5 7.8 7.40 $78
Xears XR120PRO II 2.5 3.5 3.5 4 3.5 7.7 7.40 $45
Nuforce NE-700X / NE-700M (2013 version) 1 3 4 3 4 3.5 7.6 7.40 $65
NarMoo R1M 1 4 4 3 3.5 3.5 7.6 7.40 $25
Popclik Evolo 1 3.5 4 3 4 4 7.4 7.40 $30
Dunu DN-17 Crater 5 4.5 3 3.5 3.5 7.2 7.35 $70
Brainwavz M2 / ViSang R03 4 4 3 4 4 7.2 7.35 $55
Fischer Audio Consonance 3.5 4 3 3 4 7.6 7.35 $51
Dunu DN-11 Ares 5 4.5 3.5 3.5 4 6.8 7.30 $67
Dunu DN-13 Crius 5 4.5 3.5 3.5 4 6.8 7.30 $54
Ultimate Ears 500 / 500vi / 500vm 3 3.5 3 3.5 4 4 7.4 7.30 $37
Xears XE200PRO 3 3.5 2.5 4 3.5 7.8 7.30 $148
Phiaton PS 210 / PS 210i 1 3.5 4 2 4 4 7.5 7.30 $80
Fischer Audio Silver Bullet 2 3 3 3.5 3.5 8.1 7.30 $65
Signature Acoustics Elements C-12 3.5 4 3 4.5 4 7.2 7.30 $50
T-Peos Tank 1 2.5 4 3 3 4 7.7 7.30 $39
Xiaomi Piston 2 a 3 3.5 2.5 3.5 3 8.1 7.30 $25
T-Peos Rich200 1 1.5 4 3 3 4 7.9 7.30 $33
Zipbuds PRO 1 2 4 3 2.5 4 7.9 7.30 $35
JVC XX Elation HA-FR100X 1 2.5 4 3 5 3.5 7.2 7.30 $59
Dunu DN-18 Hawkeye 5 4.5 3 3.5 3.5 7 7.25 $60
id America Spark 1 3.5 4 3 3.5 3.5 7.4 7.25 $40
Hippo VB 4 3.5 3 3 3.5 7.7 7.25 $79
Soundmagic E30 3.5 3.5 2 4.5 5 7.1 7.25 $39
Phiaton PS 20 2.5 4 2 4 4 7.6 7.25 $50
Xears Nature N3 / N3i 1 3 3.5 2.5 4 3 7.8 7.20 $95
VSonic GR99 3 4 3 3.5 4 7.3 7.20 $28
Thinksound TS02 1 3 4 3 4 4 7.1 7.20 $80
LG Quadbeat HSS-F420 1 1 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 7.9 7.20 $30
JVC Xtreme Xplosives HA-FR301 1 3 4 3 5 4 6.8 7.20 $40
1MORE Design Crystal Piston a 2.5 3.5 2.5 3.5 3 8.0 7.20 $30
Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones a 1.5 3.5 2.5 3 4 8 7.2 $18
Dunu DN-22M Detonator 1 5 4.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 6.7 7.15 $45
Brainwavz M1 4 3.5 3 4 4 7 7.15 $45
Beyerdynamic DTX 71 iE 3 4 3 3.5 4 7.2 7.15 $50
RHA MA350 2.5 4.5 3.5 3.5 4 6.8 7.10 $40
Xears Resonance 2.5 3.5 3 3.5 4.5 7.2 7.10 $34
UBSOUND Fighter 1 2 3.5 3 3 4 7.6 7.10 $49
ViSang R02 / Brainwavz ProAlpha 4 4 3 4 4 6.7 7.05 $40
MEElectronics CW31 / CW31P 1 4 4 2.5 4 4.5 6.7 7.05 $29
Paradigm Shift E3m 1 3.5 4 3 4 3.5 6.9 7.05 $40
Dunu DN-12 Trident 3 4.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 6.8 7.05 $25
Pioneer SE-CLX60 2 4 3 4 3.5 7.2 7.05 $75
Tekfusion Twinwoofers 1 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 7.2 7.05 $40
Fischer Audio Ceramique 2 3 3.5 3.5 2 7.9 7.00 $53
Thinksound TS01 / Thunder 3 4 3 4 4.5 6.5 6.95 $45
Klipsch Image S4 / S4a / S4i 3 3.5 3.5 3 4 4 6.7 6.90 $60
Xears Communicate CP100iP 1 3 3 3 3.5 4 7.1 6.90 $54
Soundmagic E10 / E10M 3 3.5 3.5 2.5 4 3.5 7 6.90 $35
Woodees IESW100L Blues 3 3 4 3 4 3.5 6.9 6.90 $70
VSonic R02ProII Silver Cable 3 4.5 3 4 3.5 6.4 6.80 $35
JVC HA-FX40 2 3 2.5 4.5 3 7.2 6.80 $20
Fischer Audio Paradigm v.3 2 4 2.5 2.5 4 7.2 6.80 $55
Maximo iM-590 / iP-HS5 / iM-595 3 4.5 3.5 3 3 4 6.6 6.75 $35
JAYS t-JAYS Three 3 4.5 4 2.5 3.5 3.5 6.6 6.75 $106
JVC HA-FXC80 "Black Series" 4 4 3 4 3 6.5 6.75 $40
Munitio NINES Teknine SITi Nine Millimeter 3 2.5 4.5 3 4 4 6.2 6.75 $103
Earjax Lyrics 5 3.5 3 3.5 3.5 6.4 6.70 $66
Sony MDR-EX300 3.5 3 2 4.5 3.5 6.8 6.70 $60
MEElectronics M6 / M6P 1 4 4 3 5 4 5.7 6.70 $20
Hippo Pearl 3 4 3 3 4.5 6.4 6.70 $28
Woodees IESW101B / IESW100B 1 3 3 3 4 3.5 6.6 6.65 $31
Nuforce NE-600X 1 3 3 3.5 4 7.0 6.65 $15
Spider TinyEar 1 2.5 3 3 3 4.5 6.6 6.60 $40
Apple In-Ear Headphones (ADDIEM) 3 2.5 3.5 2.5 4 4 6.5 6.60 $50
JVC HA-FX101 1 1 3.5 3 5 4 6.2 6.60 $14
Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 4 / 4vi 1 4 3 3 4 3 6.5 6.55 $33
Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Tour 3 3.5 3.5 3 4 3.5 6.1 6.50 $150
RadioPaq Classical 1 1 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 6.5 6.50 $11
Klipsch Image S3 3.5 3.5 3.5 4 3.5 5.9 6.45 $39
Ultimate Ears 350 / 350vi / 350vm 3 3.5 3.5 3 4 4 5.9 6.45 $18
Philips O'Neill SHO2200 Tread 1 1 5 3 4 3 6 6.40 $26
Brainwavz Beta 1 1.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 4 6.7 6.35 $10
Monster Lil' Jamz 3 2.5 3 3.5 3.5 4.5 5.9 6.35 $55
RadioPaq Jazz 1 1 4 2.5 3.5 2.5 6.8 6.35 $44
Monster Jamz 1 3 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 6 6.30 $47
Fischer Audio FA-977 Jazz 2 3.5 3 3.5 3 6.4 6.30 $50
Klipsch Custom 2 4.5 2.5 3.5 2.5 4 6 6.25 $80
H2O Audio Surge 3.5 3.5 3 4 4 5.5 6.25 $37
Yamaha EPH-50 1.5 3.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.9 6.20 $55
Sennheiser CX280 2.5 4 3 3 4 5.8 6.20 $50
Monoprice 8320 / MEP-933 0 2.5 2 3 2.5 7.5 6.20 $11
MEElectronics M9 / M9P 1 4 4 3 4 3.5 5.3 6.15 $20
Blue Ever Blue 866B 2 3 2.5 3 4.5 6.1 6.15 $55
H2O Audio Flex 1 3.5 3 3 4.5 5.9 6.15 $20
Soundmagic PL30 5 3.5 1.5 4.5 4.5 5.2 6.10 $24
Sunrise Aodia i100 1 1.5 3 3 3 4.5 5.9 6.10 $24
MEElectronics M16 / M16P 1 3.5 4 3 4 4 5 6.05 $13
Rock-It Sounds R-10 3.5 3.5 2.5 4.5 4.5 4.7 5.90 $20
Soundmagic PL21 / MP21 1 4.5 3.5 2.5 4 4 4.8 5.85 $22
Rock-It Sounds R-11 3.5 3.5 3 5 4.5 4.2 5.80 $25
Astrotec DX-60 1 2.5 3.5 2 4.5 4 4.9 5.70 $20
Earjax Tonic 3.5 3.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 5.1 5.70 $28
Ultimate Ears 100 1 2.5 3 4 4 4.9 5.45 $10
Skullcandy Holua 1 3.5 2.5 3 3 4 4.5 5.30 $22
Maximo iMetal iM-390 / iP-HS3 1 4 3.5 2.5 3 2.5 4.6 5.20 $39
MEElectronics M2 / M2P 1 1.5 4 2.5 4.5 3.5 4 5.20 $15
elago E3 1 3 2.5 4 4 4.1 5.00 $11
Zune Premium Headphones v2 3 2.5 3 3.5 3 4.2 4.95 $37
Coby CVEM79 Jammerz 2 3 2 4.5 4.5 3.7 4.95 $10
Skullcandy Titan 1 3.5 3.5 2.5 3 2.5 4.1 4.85 $37
JVC HA-EBX85 1 2.5 2.5 4 4 3.6 4.65 $17
Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 1 2.5 3 3 4 3.5 3.1 4.60 $14
Section 8 Earbuds 1 3 3 3 3.5 3.7 4.60 $10
Yamaha EPH-20 1 2.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 3.5 4.55 $20
Kanen KM-948 1 2 3 2.5 3.5 3.7 4.30 $7
MEElectronics SX31 / SX31P 1 1 2 2 3 3 3.2 3.85 $13
DealExtreme Orange IEMs 1 2.5 2 4 2 1 2.65 $3
ModelMake & model of headphone.
Blue = custom-IEM
Red = discontinued
iHeadsets with mic/remote:
blank = no headset functionality
1 = mic + 1-button remote (universal)
3 = mic + 3-button remote for Apple iOS devices
a = mic + 3-button remote for Android devices
v = mic + 1-button remote + analog volume control (universal)
AccessoriesHow useful and complete the bundled set of tips & accessories is. Depends on the quantity and quality of the accessories, as well as on how well-suited they are for the earphone they come with. BuildDepends choice of materials, assembly quality, structural design, and overall feel. Also includes any observations on the durability of the earphones while in my care. IsolationAmount of passive reduction in ambient noise provided by the IEM. All IEMs isolate external noise by virtue of sealed ear coupling, but some are better than others. The better-isolating IEMs are capable of providing is upwards of 30db of attenuation, an 8-fold reduction in ambient noise volume. MicrophonicsSusceptibility to cable noise, a common malady affecting in-ear earphones. Mitigating factors such as the inclusion of a shirt clip or cable cinch and the ease of wearing the IEMs over-the-ear are taken into account. ComfortHow easy the earphone is to wear for long stretches of time. Typically tip- and ear-dependent, although general trends still apply. The ease of insertion/removal of the IEM is also taken into account. SoundPossibly the most subjective of the categories, the sound rating is an evaluation of the relative merits of the sound signature, scaled to the best earphone I have heard. AverageCalculated average of all scores, with the most weight on the sound score. PricePrice in USD at time of review. N/A indicates the product is discontinued.

Color coding:
Blue = denotes custom-fit earphones (CIEMs)
Red = denotes discontinued models (select “Show discontinued products” checkbox on left to display)

i column denotes Headset functionality:
blank = no headset functionality
1 = mic + 1-button remote (universal)
3 = mic + 3-button remote for Apple iOS devices
a = mic + 3-button remote for Android devices
v = mic + 1-button remote + analog volume control (universal)

Rating Breakdown
All ratings are scaled to how the particular IEM peforms compared to the best set I’ve heard to date in a particular category.

Accessories: Depends on both quantity and quality of the accessories, as well as on how well-suited they are for the earphone.
Build Quality: Based on choice of materials, assembly quality, physical design, and overall feel. Also includes any observations on the durability of the earphones while in my care.
Isolation: Amount of reduction in ambient noise provided by the IEM. All IEMs isolate external noise by virtue of sealed ear coupling, some more than others. The most isolating IEMs are capable of providing is upwards of 30db of attenuation, an 8-fold reduction in ambient noise volume (enough to reduce the volume of a vacuum cleaner to a whisper).
Microphonics: Susceptibility to cable noise, a common malady affecting in-ear earphones. See here for more info. Mitigating factors such as the inclusion of a shirt clip or cable cinch and the ease of wearing the IEMs over-the-ear are taken into account.
Comfort: How comfortable the earphone is over long stretches of time. Typically tip- and ear-dependent, but general trends still apply.

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  1. Travis on

    Hi Joker,

    I’ve looked through a large portion of your list, but I’m still having trouble finding headphones that would fit me the best. I use my headphone to listen to everything from electronic music, to rock, to acoustic vocalists. I was looking at the MEE M6 Pros, but I read some reviews that said they were extremely lacking in the low end. Hoping you could give me some recommendations, anything sub $100.

    Thanks in advance,

    • ljokerl on

      Based on my experience with the M6, which is rather bass-heavy, I can’t imagine the M6 PRO is lacking at the low end so significantly.

      However, there’s tons of other options under $100, too. If you’re looking for an all-rounder I’d probably go with a mildly warm or mildly v-shaped sound.

      Right now it’s really difficult to beat the 1MORE Triple Driver for value in that price range. Really good all-rounder, mildly v-shaped sound, great value. If you’d rather have something from a more established brand, you can look at the JVC FXT90 or Sony MH1C – both are good all-rounders, though the Sony has an annoying asymmetrical cable.

      Also if you’re in the US you can get a Klipsch X11 from Newegg or Amazon for just about $100. It’s not the best-sounding earphone at MSRP, but with this sort of discount it might be worth it for the comfort alone. Just make sure you’re getting a warranty with it.

      The 1MORE would still get my cash, though.

  2. ctln on


    I was looking for an upgrade from my Senn. IE80 and I found out that your ultimate recommendation for an warm and smooth sound is the Velvet.
    Could you briefly compare the Velvet midrange with the IE80?
    Are the vocals reproduced with more or less emotion?
    I’ve seen that many people are talking about the Sennheiser veiled midrange, but using the EQ and some crossfade effects on my DAP, I can get pretty decent vocals.

    One last question, ‎how do you find the Velvet for blues, electric guitar solos, male vocals and classical music?

    Many thanks!

    • ljokerl on

      The Velvet doesn’t suffer from veiling but it does have a more sharp and crisp presentation for vocals compared to the IE80. Not sure I’d call it a direct upgrade from the Sennheiser, maybe a more “analytical” take on the same sound signature, if that makes sense? Much in the same way an Etymotic set is not a direct upgrade from a HiFiMan RE-400 even though both are balanced-sounding earphones.

      I don’t think the Velvet sounds flawed with any particular instrument, but then again I typically prefer to think of sound tuning relative to other IEMs, than some objective standard (which i’m not really qualified to set). What sounds “emotional” to you might invoke a different term for me.

      If you’re familiar with other balanced armature IEMs, just try to imagine what the IE80 would sound like if its sound was approximated using BAs – that’s about where the Velvet is at, plus a little more lower treble presence (can be adjusted with EQ if needed).

      • ctln on

        Well, I’m not so familiar with BAs, I’ve tried the Westone UM 10 & 20, IM02 from Audio Technica and some UE Super Fi – 1 & 2 drivers. I didn’t like the Westones – I felt the need for a more livelier sound and the bass was somehow dull. The IM02 sound was too flat, despite their details and clarity. The only ones that I really liked were the UE, but they were lacking bass.
        One more reason for considering the Velvet as an upgrade, was the similarity between how I’m equalizing the IE80 and other dark & laid-back headphones and the Velvet frequency response curve. I don’t know whether it is only a coincidence based on IE80 compensation curve through EQ, or it could really be my favorite sound signature.
        So, what will you consider a direct upgrade from IE80?
        And what BA set would you recommend for an easier transition from dynamic drivers?

        Once again, thanks for your support!

        • ljokerl on

          The Velvet and the FitEar TG334 are indeed the most IE80-sounding BAs I’ve tried, and one of very few that are tuned for a warm and bassy sound. Of those two the Velvet is obviously a better value.

          They are very different from the single and dual-driver BAs you’ve tried, which tend to be tuned flat (more or less).

          It’s not that there’s a better upgrade from the IE80 than these, but more that you can only approximate the sound of a dynamic driver with a system of BAs. The result is better in some ways, but the IE80 is still smoother IMO.

  3. Cameron on

    Greetings Sir,

    I just lost my Westone 4r on an airplane a few days ago. I bought them 3 years ago and they have given me hours of great listening time. I am an educated audiophile/sound engineer but I have limited time auditioning different pieces. In 2012 I went to RMAF CANJAM and got to listen to allot of IEMs but liked very few, plus the game has changed since then. I have also auditioned most of the airport under $1k models as well, plus the KSE1500. The models minus the 4r’s that I like were the AKG k3003 and the JH13Pro. Looking at your table is quite inundating. In home I enjoy Dynaudio and Magico. An accurate yet visceral presentation is important. I tend to stay away from bright or esoteric. As a trumpet player as well, if it doesn’t sound like the instrument then I don’t like it. On your list, there are so many things to choose from. HELP! Knowing the three models that I enjoy what under $750 Universal IEMs should I steer towards.

    • ljokerl on

      These days you can get a K3003 for under $750: http://amzn.to/2ja9wT0 . Since you’ve already tried it and liked it, it would be a strong contender for me.

      If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can get better bang for your buck by going with a less mainstream brand – for example I think the FLC Technology FLC8 (or FLC8S): http://amzn.to/2jCVA02 is a strong K3003 alternative with a similar performance level and sound tuning, at about half the price. Its tuning system is a lot more delicate than that of the K3003, but also more flexible, and once you get it set up the way you like it can be very rewarding.

      Moving away from the K3003 sound tuning and closer to the Westone 4R, I’m a big fan of the EarSonics Velvet: http://amzn.to/2jKWSdD . It’s yet another IEM with a built-in tuning system, but barring that it’s one of the best (if not the best) warmer-sounding balanced armature IEMs I’ve ever tried. Since you like warmer-sounding BA IEMs (of which Westone 4R is one), it’s a pretty natural fit.

      And as a more budget-friendly alternative from a more mainstream brand, you can consider the Sony MDR-7550 (or XBA-H3 if you’re feeling a bass craving). Objectively, the MDR-7550 is the most accurate and smooth out of all the sets I’ve mentioned, but still manages a pretty natural bass presentation thanks to the large dynamic driver.

      • Cam on

        Thank you for the reply!

  4. Josh on

    Hey dude,

    Thanks for doing all of your reviews! I know virtually nothing about this compared to you but I appreciate all of the effort you put into doing this.

    I’m looking to spend $50-$150 on a new pair of IEMs. I typically listen to a lot of folky, acoustic music (The Lumineers, Bon Iver, etc.). Do you have a set that you would recommend for me to buy?


    • ljokerl on

      Anything I normally recommend from the balanced category should be fine – VSonic GR07, Philips Fidelio S2, DUNU Titan 1 – if you don’t have any specific form factor requirements just pick the one that looks the most comfortable and that you can get the best deal on.

  5. Hechun Ouyang on

    Hey man! I’m torn between the JVC HA-FRD80-Z and the JVC HA-FXT90’s. I saw your very positive review of them and also noticed that they’re both under 30$ on ebay now!
    My favorite pair of earphones were the A161p’s which sounded amazing for me (broke it) and I also had a pair of Xiaomi Piston 3’s, which I didn’t like the signature (lost it).
    These two earphones were so closely matched that honestly, i’ll probably go for the closest sounding to the A161p’s.


    • ljokerl on

      They are both good earphones (I tend to prefer the warmer FXT90) but neither has the mids of the A161P, which are very forward and clear, and always remain the focus of the presentation. The Piston 3 doesn’t have those mids either. If that’s important to you, I’d probably avoid v-shaped sounding earphones like those (and most other) JVCs and Pistons. But if you just want something that will be reasonably clear, with plenty of bass and treble and good dynamics, I’d get the FXT90. For under $50 it’s killer value.

      If you’re looking for something more A161P-like you’d probably need a balanced armature IEM with a strong midrange focus and very crisp sound. The closest earphone you can buy today to an A161P is probably the Final Audio Heaven II, but it’ll run you closer to $100. For under $50, the Phiaton MS100BA is quite decent.

      • Hechun Ouyang on

        Hey thanks for the reply! Yeah, I would prefer a more mid centric sound, those A161p’s were awesome! Though I can’t really find a like terminology for them, they’re kind of a niche I guess. Never really found a list of them. Do you know any budget headphones that are close to it?

        • ljokerl on

          It’s not a very common sound tuning for sub-$100 earphones, but the two I recommended (Final Audio Heaven II and Phiaton MS100BA) would get you closer to it than the JVCs or Pistons.

            • ljokerl on

              HiFiMan tuning is very different from the FXT90 so having both in your collection wouldn’t be the worst thing 😉

  6. AngryAsian on

    Hi ljokerl,
    I have a question, what do you think about the shure se846? I did not see se846 on the list. The reason why I mention that is because I am using se215 currently and I love the sound isolation and the sound. I am planning to upgrade.
    Are you planning to review UE 18 pro? I am looking to buy an iem around $1000 range and these two just came to my attention. Thank you.

    • ljokerl on

      I had an SE846 for a while but unfortunately it was too large for me to get a comfortable fit and gauge the sound, so I’m not really a fan.

      Sorry, no UE customs in my collection. I did try the UE Reference Monitor (a universal demo version) in the past and really liked it, but I understand that it’s flatter compared to the UE18 model.

  7. Jenny on

    Do you have any plans to review the Meelectronics M6 Pro? Would like to hear your thoughts on them. This is an amazing list, unfortunately a lot of these headphones are hard to find here in Canada or are way more than the price you listed because of the low Canadian dollar.

    • ljokerl on

      No, not at this time. I have a Pinnacle P1 that I may review later, but no m6 pro

      • Jenny on

        What is the best most widely available iem under $50 that you would recommend?

        • Greg on

          Hi Jenny , My personal opinion is Senfer 4in1 2 driver IEM , I bought them from Aliexpress Ak audio, and they are way better than all my other IEM i.e. Jays 4, re400, Fiio EX1 and even I preferred it over Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 on ear headphones , it only cost US$25 or you can try their 3 driver ones Senfer DT2 as little as US$35. They are fantastic in quality Bass, Sound Separation / stage Mids awesome-not recess at all, Highs is it’s high light crisp and sparkling, my next plan is to get MusicMaker Shockwave III for US$260 a breathtaking 5 driver IEM little beauty, I know these Brands is unheard of in foreign Countries, But it definitely shouldn’t be ignore. Reviews are available in Headfi blogs, hoping everyone should try them, there shouldt be no harm for spending so little to Start try them out .Be Explore to a new wonder for a wow effects……………cheers !

        • ljokerl on

          Widely available? I’d say Philips SHE3580 / 3585 / 3590 / 3595. These can be found in retail stores and they sound really really good for $15-20.

  8. Al on

    Have you tried the RHA S500i? If so what’s your opinion on them?

    • ljokerl on

      Generally good earphones but a little bright. Great if you’re into that but there are other sets I prefer in most cases.

  9. Al` on

    How is the CKX9IS? I am told it can be bulky, but how is the material and feel? How does it compare to the CKX5IS and 7IS models?

    How is the durability on the Sennheiser Momentum? What’s the difference between the version one and the newer M2 variant or is there a difference? Is that durable enough for light gym duty like the CX300 is?

    • ljokerl on

      I’ve only tried it once, but it pretty much feels like a larger CKX5. These Audio-Technica sports earphones all feel pretty solid, I just liked the smaller and less bassy CKX5 better.

      Momentum durability has been fine for me but I don’t know if I would put it though gym duty… that flat cable and the unusual cable attachment at the earpieces could create some weak spots in the long term.

      Not sure what was updated for the M2 variant, sorry.

      • Al on

        Thank you. Have you tried out the CKX7IS? How do those sound? What about soundstage and naturalness of the CKX line? Beside the bigger size and more bass(more isn’t my cup of tea, as I prefer sound that is more balanced leaning), what other advantages does the 9 offer over the 7 and 5? Is there much of a difference between the CKR and CKX line? I am really only familiar with the COR150(lost them), which I got for under $15 and it was durable, but also felt and sounded a little too budget(lacked instrument separation and soundstage imho). I also use to use CX300 for gym and my daily for years before I forget to take them out they got washed. Would the CX5.0 be better as it seems to be using the same drivers as the M2?

        Have you tried the Beyerdynamic Byron Wired, which are also going for $50? Anything else you suggest for $50 and under that is durable, natural sounding(like as the artist intended)?

        • ljokerl on

          I definitely haven’t tried all those IEMs – I’ve tried maybe 1 out of 10 that are out on the market. The CKX5 I happen to own, but I don’t recommend it for balanced sound – it is very much a budget Audio-Technica IEM – big bass, slightly subdued mids, crisp and edgy treble that can be a little harsh. It’s good enough for the price, but it’s not a high-fidelity listening experience by any means, and not at all balanced-sounding.

          As for what I recommend i the price range, you can find my recommendations, including those for “balanced” sound, in my IEM buyer’s guide here: http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/ . Just updated it last week with a few new recommendations.

  10. Dennis on

    Hi Joker,

    Really like your site and your reviews are great!

    I am looking for an IEM that,
    – is less than $150
    – has microphone
    – great for saxophone, orchestra, vocal, jazz
    – good isolation
    – easy to drive using mobile phone (I also have a Westone UM-3X but it doesn’t sound marvelous without an amp…)

    Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

    • ljokerl on

      Hmm… interesting challenge at $150. I’d get the Etymotic HF2 or HF3 myself – they are priced right, isolation is pretty much unbeatable, sound is very balanced and versatile. If you’re not into flat/neutral sound and prefer something a little warmer and more UM3X-like, maybe the Klipsch X11i. They’re a little mid-bassy and have some treble roll-off, but for the price very smooth and plenty competent, have great isolation, and are supremely comfortable. They’ve dropped to below $150 recently, have even seem them below $100.

      If you want a safer/more common choice there’s also the Shure SE215 with the Shure MIC cable… ticks all the boxes but is a little boring and far from the best sound you can get for $150.

  11. Robert on

    Hi Joker,
    What do you think would be the next worthy upgrade from the DUNU Dn-1000? Is it worth upgrading at all below a certain budget?
    I think my preference lies with a mild V shape, having impact full but not overshadowing bass. I think the dunu gets that quite right, but the treble is too harsh sometimes (comply helps) and theres something missing overall, after having heard a variety of TOTL universals (that I can’t afford)
    I normally listen to a mix of mild House/Arcade/EDM/D&B or Classical/Orchestral music, but moving more away from EDM as it is starting to get a bit too “energetic” for my tastes. However I also enjoy a variety of other styles, with my preference lying with how certain artist/bands present their music rather than the genre itself.
    Theres one used pair of In ear SD4 for sale at $390, which look tempting and reviews say it fits what I’m looking for. However you haven’t reviewed them, so are there any other pairs you would suggest?

    • ljokerl on

      I think the FLC Technology FLC8 is the next step up if you ignore the half-step that is the DN-2000. It’s a more versatile earphone – still has similar “pros” to the DN-1000 but the cons are much more mild, which is really what you want if you’re spending upwards of $300.

      I am not familiar with the SD4 but I would not recommend the SD2 or SD3 coming from the DN-1000 – their treble will sound quite “shelved” in comparison and you’ll definitely miss the clarity of the DUNU. Again, not sure if the SD4 shares any of the SD2/SD3 house sound, but a milder “v-shape” makes for a much better upgrade from the DN-1000.

    • Greg on

      Hi Everyone, sorry to interrupt you , I’m trying to introduce some fantastic Mutidriver IEM to Every Audiophile Friends from Aliexpress My favorite one’s MusicMaker Shockwave III, they are no joke price is around US$260 is being compare to FLC8 and it’s edge over it for Better quality/impact bass and more thicker mids, I personally recommend to every audiophile friends to take a close look on it, it shouldn’t be ignore by our world, cheers everyone ! stop wasting time on single driver IEM , they will never be better than mutidriver IEM , we all chase up for better and better IEM, this is exhausting ,there are many best value in the world IEM from Aliexpress, it’s just lack of understanding how awesome and fantastic they are , cause Chinese IEM is ready to compete the world’s well known IEM , all high-end IEM from China are no more crappy Quality Anymore , believe it or not ! Thank You……..

  12. Sidd on

    Are you planning on reviewing the FLC8s anytime soon? So far I’ve had the SE215’s for almost two years and they’ve been good, although at times I’ve had issues with the audio cable cutting out or one of the earpieces losing their volume and am looking to upgrade since I primarily want to use my SE215’s for wearing to the gym.

    • ljokerl on

      As far as I know the driver setup is the same between the FLC8 I reviewed and the FLC8S. Either one will be a very solid top-tier earphone.

  13. Sidd on

    Are you planning on reviewing the FLC8s anytime soon?

  14. Darren on

    Hi joker,

    I’ve used the hf5, se215, and klipsh r6i in that order, now looking for an upgrade. I enjoyed the se215 as it was very comfortable although I want an upgrade in the clarity department. Requirements are over the ear and decent isolation. Budget is $200. Music I listen to can range from muse, fall out boy, john mayer, coldplay. I did my research through your website and a few options jumped out: dunu titan 3/5 (which is not really over the ears), gr07 bass, 1more triple driver (also not over the ears).

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • ljokerl on

      Audio-Technica ATH-IM02 would be my pick, can get Japan imports for around $170 -$180. It’s a pretty flat earphone, so more like the HF5 in terms of sound out of what you’ve had, but the bass is a little punchier and the treble is a little smoother. It has a nice over-the-ear form factor though, more like the SE215 than the other sets you’ve listed, and the isolation is higher compared to the GR07/Titans/1MORE Triples. Earbud-style IEMs like the DUNU Titans and the 1MORE, in addition to not being over-the-ears, usually don’t isolate a whole lot compared to an SE215 or HF5.

  15. Zack Halverson on

    Hey joker,
    Can you compare the 1MORE triple driver, Alpha & Delta AD01?
    I’ve listened to the triple drivers and they sound far more dynamic than my Ostry KC06A that just broke. That being said i’m willing to try other sound signatures for 100$ given that there’s a little more bass than the KC06A. It’s just that I like the idea of a detachable cable for durability sake and was wondering if I would be missing anything by not getting the triple drivers…

    • Zack Halverson on

      Actually I just ordered the HiFiMan RE-400 on sale for $50 on amazon, so nevermind that. How will they sound compared to the Ostry’s anyways? Could you explain the sound signature neutrality.

      • Zack Halverson on

        All of the reviews on Head-Fi say they could use more bass. Most likely I will EQ them or return them.

        • ljokerl on

          Yeah, RE-400 might be a little more linear but it won’t have objectively “more” bass than the KC06. The 1MORE triple would be a much better choice for that, bass on them is plentiful and the v-shaped sound is way more dynamic.

          The AD01 will go too far in the bass-heavy direction, I think. It has even more bass but the sacrifice in clarity from the KC06 will be much more noticeable as well.

  16. Gugman on

    Hi ljokerl

    your great list and reviews made me decide and pull the trigger to spend some amount on iems, as I was never into it and all my money was always invested in full size over the ear ones, at this point in terms of source and amplification I do own Matrix M-Stage HPA 3B (Dual LME49710) , Purity Audio K.I.C.A.S. Caliente , NuForce HA-200, Parasound Zdac v.2 , Cayin C5 , Hidizs AP 100, LG V10
    But my most expensive and advanced iem is Ostry kc06a :)))) as a material I only use high quality staff , so no mp3s or what so ever here, so as i already wrote, your reviews and charts have made me decide to buy my first “expensive” iem lets say 400-500 tops, but somehow I narrowed my choice to Dunu DN2000 or Custom Art Music One (you can make it look so fantastic while ordering) but just now I found a deal in UK that offers DN-2000J for almost same price as DN-2000, but I also remembered your quote “I’m not a huge fan of the DN-2000J over the regular DN-2000” so I wanted to ask what is the issue, as I cant find your review of DN-2000J. also I have a question regarding custom one, as mainly i do listen to blues, rock, jazz, would it be better choice over Dunu? as far as I understood custom one could be lacking low end for me, or maybe I am mistaken? once again thank you so much for your amazing reviews and superb job that you have done!!!
    P.S. signature I am looking for would be a bit warmish, tight bass and great mids, good sound stage and seperation, with no harsh treble and with no analytical/boring attitude, if I can say so :)))

    • Gugman on

      ordered trinity audio phantom hunter

      • ljokerl on

        I think you may be happier with those than the DN-2000 or custom one, based on your description of your preferences.

        Have to try some Trinity IEMs myself one of these days..

  17. apaar on

    which is the best between rhat20i,senheiser ie80,ue900,and dunu dn2000. I listen to basically all kind of songs but mostly pop,classical,metal and all. Can anyone help me out please??

    • apaar on

      and also ibasso it03

  18. jeremy on

    Hi ljokerl,

    I must say, i really appreciate your list and have been anxiously checking back to see if/when you might update to includes some more recent and/or diverse models. I am very intrigued what you thoughts are with some of the recent offerings given you vast experience and refined analysis.

    I don’t know if you are familiar or not, but would be particularly interested in your thoughts with regards some of nuforce’s and fender’s offerings. My latest purchase has been the Nuforce Primo 8 and Fender Fxa2. While I really enjoy the Primo 8, which are some of the more detailed and well rounded IEMs I have personally owned, I do wish it had a bit more bass and dynamic sound though, and am looking for a potential upgrade/sidegrade to get closer to my desired signature. Of note, while the Fxa2 had some of these features I was looking for, ultimately they were just too uncomfortable, forward, and peaky.

    Based on your reviews it sounds like either the Earsonics SM64 or Velvet would be a solid choice, or perhaps even the Fidue A83. Am I correct in this thought? Also, it seems like you frequently recommend the Yamaha EPH-100, JVC FX850, and Sony XBA-H3, and am curious if those would be just as good of an option, or if they would have too many trade offs to be considered a solid upgrade/sidegrade, such as loss of detail or balanced signature? I listen to all kinds of music, but mostly alternative rock and EDM.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.


    • ljokerl on

      Sorry, I don’t have any of those so I can’t use them as a reference. As for the rest, yes I recommend them all under different circumstances, but since I haven’t tried the two you own I can’t tell you if they would be a downgrade, upgrade, or sidegrade. I probably would stay away from the A83 if you’re worried about “peaky” sound – like most other hybrid earphones it’s not all that smooth when compared to the rest of these.

      The EPH-100, FX850, and H3 are sets I recommend specifically for warm, enhanced-bass sound. They are not very accurate and don’t make very good monitors (which I think is what the Primo 8 and FXA2 are supposed to be). The Earsonics are more well-rounded, but of course each have their own caveats as you’ve probably read. SM64 tends to be a little relaxed in the upper midrange, which again is not very monitor-like although it helps with smoothness. The Velvet doesn’t have this dip but still has a colored sound overall thanks to its enhanced bass and lush mids.

  19. glyko on

    First off, I really appreciate the work you are doing here, keep it up!
    Moving on, some lunckheads stole my RHA MA750s I bought after consulting this list a year and a half ago, which means I’m back in the market for some earbuds…
    My budget has stayed the same and now I’m wondering if I should just pick up another pair of 750s, which still seem to be the highest ranking “affordable” IEMs on the list, or if there are better offerings nowadays. I’ve seen a lot of buzz surrounding Dunus on headfi…

    I listen to all kinds of music, but my favorite is chill “synthpop-y” music like purity ring.

    I really appreciate any help and greetings from Germany!

    • ljokerl on

      Generally speaking, I am a fan of both the DUNU DN-1000 and the Titan 1, but these both sound quite different from the MA750. The DN-1000 has a more “v-shaped” sound and tends to be less full and “rich”, but more clear and detailed than the MA750. The Titan 1 has a much more forward midrange and an overall leaner, tighter sound. Its treble is energetic and quite a bit brighter than the MA750.

      Honestly, unless you’re tired of the MA750 I’d probably stick with it for the type of music you listen to, but if you’re looking for a change then either of the DUNUs is a good option. There’s also the 1MORE Triple-driver, which is another ultra high-value set in a similar price range. Again, it’s really not better than the MA750, but it offers a comparable overall performance level with a flatter/more balanced sound tuning. It’s a (relatively) inexpensive way to see if a slightly more Hi-Fi sound signature will work for you in place for the richer, more mainstream sound of the MA750.

      • glyko on

        Ok, it thanks a million. Seems the MA750 is still the best bet for me. Feels kind of bad ordering the same pair twice, but watcha gonna do…

        On a different note, it seems I can get them 15 bucks cheaper off Amazon Warehouse deals. I was wondering if you have had any experiences with this. Is this a good idea or would you recommend paying the extra cash and just buying new?

        • ljokerl on

          Amazon Warehouse is hit or miss. If you’re in the US it’s safe since you can send the item back for free if you don’t like something about it.

          I usually avoid Warehouse Deals if I’m in a rush and need to be sure the item will work out of the box, or if I really value a hassle-free warranty on that particular item (some manufacturers won’t warranty warehouse products).

          If I have some flexibility and can be sure I’ll test the item thoroughly within the 30-day return period, I’ll risk it. It took me two tries to get a good phone off of Warehouse Deals, for instance – the first one had an obvious screen defect, but the one I got as a replacement worked fine and still saved me $100+ compared to buying new.

  20. UcuzEloBoost on

    Hi joker, what would be an upgrade to Yamaha EPH-100 ? I listen mostly bassy music like Future house, edm. Thanks !

    • ljokerl on

      If you’re listening primarily to EDM I’m not sure there is an upgrade from the EPH-100. You can read through the comments on the EPH-100 review – http://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/yamaha-eph-100/ (make sure to click on “Older Comments” at the bottom). There’s a lot of upgrade discussion in there.

      I usually recommend the Sony XBA-H3 as a 1/2-tier upgrade and the EarSonics Velvet as a full tier upgrade (especially for those who want to move in a more detailed/resolving direction). These are both quite expensive, though, and if you’re listening primarily to EDM I’m not sure the few strengths those earphones have over the EPH-100 will justify the cost of upgrading.

      However, that’s with a very strict definition of “upgrade” being a set that’s 1) tuned similarly and 2) at least as good as the EPH-100 in all of the areas that I consider “strengths” of the Yamahas. The fact that I think the tuning of the Yamahas works extremely well for EDM factors in here as well.

      If you’re fine with trying a different sort of sound tuning and treating your upgrade as more of a “give and take” (i.e. not expecting it to be identical or better than the EPH-100 in every way), you will have lots of other options, such as the RHA T20 someone recommended in that same discussion.

      • UcuzEloboost on

        First of all thank you very much for your detailed comment 🙂

        I actually dont listen that much of edm, mainly future house, dnb, chill step, trap and a bit kanye west 😀

        Well Tomorrow im going to order from amazon cuz its black friday as u know, I had yamaha eph-100 really liked it but i sadly lost it 1 year ago. Thats why Im looking for an upgrade.

        I dont want to give up the bass quality on eph-100, dont really know about other features tho. Just want a better – (not outdated ?) newer version of the eph kind of iem.

        I will read through the links you provided, but if you can give me one more reply to clear things off I would be really happy !


        • UcuzEloboost on

          By the way the sony one u recommended is affordable but other one is too expensive 🙂 so yamaha eph-100 or sony xba according to my previous comments ?

          • ljokerl on

            Either one, honestly. The Sony XBA-H3 is more expensive and I’m not sure it will give you a better overall listening experience than the EPH-100, but it is newer so if you’re worried about picking up something “outdated”, it’s probably a better choice than the Yamaha.

            There’s not many earphones that can keep up with either of these for what you want.

  21. Prism on

    Hi Joker, right now im contemplating on getting either the Westone W50 or the Westone UMPro 50. I really love a great impactful bass but I also don’t want it to ruin the details, separation, imaging and soundstage. Really need your advice. Thanks a lot!

    • ljokerl on

      Unfortunately I haven’t tried the 5- or 6-driver Westone universals so I couldn’t tell you how these compare to each other or to anything else I’ve tested.

  22. Sean on

    Hi Joker,

    I greatly appreciate your list, but it’s a bit overwhelming. I’m a college student and I need a pair for walking around campus / for use in the library (so I would like pretty decent isolation). I have a pair of headphones already for use in my dorm. I’m interested in more bass, as I largely listen to EDM / hip hop. I don’t really care for accessories too much, and I find that pretty much any earbud fits my ear fine.

    As for my budget, I would be fine paying anywhere from $50-$150 as long as the jump in quality is worth the extra price. I would prefer paying on Amazon if I were able to choose, but I’m fine with other sites as well.

    • ljokerl on

      The Yamaha EPH-100 is the ideal choice here: http://amzn.to/2dslUM8. Very good isolation, very good bass and especially favored for EDM and hip-hop.

      Usually I recommend several sets for you to choose from but here that wouldn’t make sense. If you find yourself on a tight budget then a Philips SHE3580 or SHE3590 would be the next reasonable “step down” from the Yamaha. Those are less than $15. Any amount you want to spend in the middle would be best set aside/saved up for the EPH-100.

  23. Kyle on


    I have an older pair of Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10’s and the MEE M6’s currently. The M6’s are mostly for running and working out but are a great, great value
    I’m fairly sure the right UE TripleFi is dying, or at least it distorts hard from a smartphone output at higher volumes.

    I love love love my UE’s and was going to get them reshelled over the winter, however now that they might be dying I’m looking to perhaps replace them with something a little more budget and every-dayish.

    I quite like the aesthetics of the Yamaha EPH-100, I’ve also thought a pair of Beats Tour2’s or Marshall Modes?

    Any recommendation for something that can be had that has a similar sound signature to the UE’s? a replaceable cable or a very very durable build are optimal.

    • ljokerl on

      I don’t know about the Marshall but the Beats Tour 2 are only recommendable if you’re looking for as much bass as you can get. Great basshead earphones, but fidelity is terrible compared to TripleFi 10s.

      EPH-100 is a great choice for a warmer/bassier hi-fi earphone. It doesn’t have detachable cables, though, and if you’re looking to maximize durability I think the RHA MA750 would be more compelling. Neither of these two will quite reach the clarity of the triple-BA TF10, but they’re both miles ahead of the Beats.

      Detachable cables, unfortunately, aren’t too common in the sub-$200 bracket. The two better ones I’ve tried recently are the Audio-Technica IM02, which is very good but has more a flat/balanced studio monitor sound compared even to the TF10, and the MEE Pinnacle P1, which is a bit more TF10-like in sound signature but still not as fun/colored. It’s harder to drive as well, pretty much the opposite of a “consumer” earphone like the Beats Tour 2.

      There’s also the Alpha & Delta AD01, which is much less expensive. This one performs a little lower than EPH-100/MA750 but is a good value. Cables are proprietary, though.

  24. JazzFanWhoHatesJazz on

    Hi Joker,
    I really liked the sound of the Radiopaq Jazz for a cheap Fun sounding earbud,
    Is there anything you could recommend that sounds similar to the jazz only ‘better’? preferably under £30/$50 but anything that sounds similar would help me find a sound signature I like.

    Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the hard work on the above table and associated reviews… I must have spent 10hrs+ browsing that table and those reviews, so….

    • ljokerl on

      I actually haven’t heard the Jazz in a long time as the unit I reviewed was a loan and not my own, and that was many years ago. I don’t think any of the earphones I compared the Jazz to back then are still around.

      Anyway, based on what I remember of its sound, I’d consider the JVC FXT90 – I’ve seen some sub-$50 prices lately, hopefully those are genuine units. They are warm, fun, and dynamic but with very good underlying technical performance. I’d also consider picking up a Philips SHE3580 or SHE3590 as a spare or even as your primary – these are super cheap, but they sound very good and have the right type of signatur. Hard to beat for anything close to their $15 price.

      • Nickdino on

        @Ljokerl, why are the philips she35XX not included in your list? How would you rank them on sq and overall?

      • Nickdino on

        @Ljokerl, why are the philips she35XX not included in your list? How would you rank them on sq and overall? Oh and which one of the 35XX do you rank highest overall?

        • ljokerl on

          Just never got the chance to review them in full. They are so inexpensive that I just include them in various guides and recommendations because I like them. I’ve tried the SHE3580 and 3590 and they sounded the same or very similar to me. The other versions are just different colors and mic/headset variations and whatnot.

  25. Pete on

    Hi Joker! I’m fascinated by your reviews and the amount of dedication, accuracy and expertise for each of your reviews.

    I wanted to ask a unique request. I’m looking for a pair of earbuds or IEMs with the absolute clearest MIC quality or phone quality. Basically something that would be great for conference calls or phone calls. Granted, if I had my way I’d just use a Blue Yeti, a Samson Go or an ATR-2100 but I’m looking for a set of earbuds that have excellent mic quality. What would you recommend?

    • ljokerl on

      Honestly, they all sound somewhat similar and you won’t fool anyone into thinking that you’re not using a built-in earbud mic. Finding a mic that’s easy to position properly (i.e. keep it oriented towards your face even as you are walking) is probably going to be just as important as the quality of the mic itself.

      Anyway, in terms of actual mic performance the best you can do is going to be “better than average, but still not very good”. AKG and Harman Kardon mics are better than average, and you can usually pick up a Harman AE or NI model for $25-30 on ebay. You also can’t go wrong with a pair of Apple buds – if there’s one company that pays attention to the call experience with their earbuds, it’s Apple.

  26. Steven Chang on

    Hey joker

    I’m from Ecuador and im travelling soon to the US to buy stuff since everything is more pricey here and I want to find a better suited pair of headphones for walking around, taking public transport and stuff (was using my pair of B&W P5s2 for that). A friend recommended me to ask your opinion about some good IEMs for me since he did ask u in the past and u nailed it for him. I’m a gorillaz, red hot chilli peppers guy and love music that have strong vocals too, i’m always walking around and taking public transportation since I’m a street photographer and I don’t want to carry those chunky p5s around anymore. My budget is around 300 or less.
    BTW my friend told my to tryout hybrid earphones, he got a pair of FLC 8s that u recommended to him and he’s been in love with them. Also he told me to look out for the Shure SE215 and the RHA M750i.
    I’m really lost and can’t decide on which ones to get, or maybe u can recommend me some better ones. I’ll be in the US Oct 16th ’til Oct 26th, please can I have a response before that so i can get them while I’m there?. Here u can’t really get good Hi-Fi IEMs, and if you are lucky to get some it costs twice as much as in the US.

    Thanks for your amazing work,


    • ljokerl on

      The MA750i is a good all-rounder, always a safe option for around $120.

      I’d also consider the Yamaha EPH-100 if you can get it for $150 or less. It’s not something you’ll find in retail stores, but they still have decent online availability. I like these for a warm, enhanced-bass earphone that still has good midrange/vocal presence, much like the P5. MA750 is going to be more readily available and probably more durable, but the EPH-100 is a little more unique in terms of sound tuning and works even better for vocal-heavy music. It’s like an SE215 on steroids.

  27. ajax11 on

    hi joker,
    I am looking for new iem and currently confused between fiio ex1 and 1more triple driver.
    Both are available for 70$.
    I have read that fiio ex1 has poor isolation but better clarity than 1more.
    which do you think will be a better over all choice?
    or would it be worth to spend few extra bucks and get something like gr07,
    considering that my main source of music will be a smartphone.

    • ljokerl on

      Can’t argue with that – the EX1/DUNU Titan have very mediocre isolation, but the clarity is very good.

      I’m not sure which is the better overall choice for you – depends on what you want your earphones to sound like, and also how important a *slight* increase in isolation would be to you, because the 1MORE still has average at best isolation.

      Generally, I think the sound signature of the 1MORE triple is “safer” than even the GR07 Classic as a starter mid-tier earphone because it has a little more bass, smoother treble, and lacks the very forward vocals that the EX1/Titan 1 are known for. In other words, it’s a more conventional sound tuning that, while not objectively better, is more optimal for the average listener who is new to higher-end IEMs.

  28. Mike on

    Hi Joker,

    Are the mouldable ear hooks on the RHA T20i going to annoy me? I love the ear hooks on the MA750i (which I purchased on your recommendation – thank you) because they hold their shape. A few years ago, I owned a pair of Shure SE215 and their mouldable ear hooks drove me crazy. Any time they weren’t on my ears, they would get bent out of shape. Every time I put them on my ears, I needed to bend them back into shape. Are the ear hooks on the T20i better engineered or am I likely to suffer a similar level of annoyance?

    Love your work,


    • ljokerl on

      I like the memory wire on the T20 better than what Shure uses because it’s just the right amount of “flexible”. Shure memory wire tends to be stiffer so it’s harder to reshape, but still needs to be reshaped every time as you mentioned.

      That said, with the T20 you still get the same behavior – the memory wire will lose its shape when put the earphones away unless you coil the cable just so and leave it in the oversized carrying case.

  29. Chris on

    Best IEMs to use for PC gaming/working out?

    Transitioning from Logitech G35s which shows how out of my element I am. Looking anywhere from 200-250$ if need be but would like to try and stay at 150$ if possible. Listen to trap, hip hop, dubstep, and metal. Bass is important. Isolation is important. Clarity is important. Comfort is important.

    Let me know if you need any further follow up from me. I considered the Custom Music Ones and the IE80s, but want to make sure I am getting something that is going to provide an overall boost to my audio for working out and for gaming.

    Any help is appreciated man and thanks for this list regardless of if you respond.

  30. Chris on

    Thank you for taking the time to make this table for people like me that know nothing about this kind of stuff. Looking to make the transition from gaming headset to IEMs. Hopefully this allows me to have a solid set of noise cancelling IEMs for gaming and for working out. This is my first real purchase of high end headphones and am a bit out of my element. I wouldn’t mind spending up to 200-250$ if it is worth it, but I am unsure where to even begin.

    These will be used for gaming and music. I listen to hip hop, trap, dubstep, and metal primarily so I need bass, but also need clarity and distinction in the sound. Isolation is a serious plus, but given I am transitioning from G35s which have limited noise isolation, it won’t hurt if it isn’t top notch.

    Let me know if you need any further information. As stated, I apologize for not being more knowledgeable on the topic.

    • ljokerl on

      Not sure if it’s worth it to spend $250 for a few reasons. First, since this is your first purchase of a decent IEM, it’s hard to know for sure that the sound will be exactly what you’re looking. There’s a lot of sets that fit under the umbrella of good bass and good clarity. Second, if you sweat, you may damage your $200 IEMs. Most higher-end IEMs aren’t sweat resistant. Sports sets are, however, so if you do sweat a good amount I’d recommend getting a “beater” set for the gym and a nicer one for music and gaming. Something like a MEE M6 or ATH-CKX5 works well for the type of music you listen to and will survive the gym better than a higher-end non-sports set.

      One of those might be good enough for the time being and give you a better idea of what to look for in your “main” set. However, if you prefer to also get your main set at the same time I’d go for something with a decent soundstage and warmer, more conventional sound tuning. The RHA MA750, for example, or the Yamaha EPH-100 if you’re willing to trade some of the RHA’s durability off for more noise isolation. Either one of these gets you to a high level of sound quality – on-par with many sets in the $300 range – and also leaves more than enough room in your budget for a gym set.

  31. Grant S. on

    Hi ljokerl,
    It’s been a fun month or so reading your entire site about twice, with earphones plugged in, and I’ve enjoyed all the questions and comments.
    But I’m still stuck with my own dilemma. 🙁 I’ve used Vsonicgr02BE for the last 5 years – so they’ve burned into my brain now 😉 – but would still like to upgrade, because although the sq is pretty much perfect for me, (strong but not overwhelming bass, crisp highs, loud and energetic..but sibilant and a bit hot, and that gets a bit wearing) I am sure that there must be somethin close in character but *smoother* without the sibilance that burns after a while. I would love higher end Vsonic but I have deformed ears from birth and can only accommodate small neat “torpedo” cases like the GR02BE.
    Thought SoundMagic would be a crossgrade, sorely disappointed, Klipsch S4 are worse, $1-200 budget, ideas would be so much appreciated.
    Thanks for all this work even if you don’t have time to answer.

    • ljokerl on

      Hmm… the GR02 BE is pretty severely v-shaped, it’s not common for higher-end IEMs to be tuned this way, or to have a similar form factor (bullet-shaped and relatively small). I would consider the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, it should fit you well and it has a v-shaped signature that fits your description. It’s a little more mellow compared to the GR02 and I think the mids might be a touch more recessed, but overall it’s in the ballpark and fairly popular for this type of sound.

      I’m not personally a huge fan of the Momentum, though, so the riskier choice I’d go for is the DUNU DN-1000. Riskier because it is larger, and because it’s a hybrid earphone which has naturally different voicing compared to the GR02 BE and Momentum. It’s not as warm or full-bodied, but in return you get stellar detail resolution and clarity while maintaining pretty high bass output.

      • Grant S. on

        Thanks very much for replying.
        I bought a second pair of GR02BE and sad to say they don’t sound as good as my old pair – very harsh, sibilant and lacking some bass, my wife listened to check it wasn’t just me and she reckoned the new ones weren’t even close! Now I wonder if I got an exceptional pair first time around (maybe, because everyone who hears them goes “wow”) or the new ones have changed for the worse. They have a new cable now but otherwise look the same. #puzzled.
        I tried a whole bunch of IEMs at Jaben, found the Sennheisers too trebly/shrill. Disliked all the Beyerdynamic, was disappointed with Alfa Genus, and liked most of all the JVC woodies, FX750 and 850. Pricey and so damn big, but sound wonderful! 🙂
        Hopefully I have found a pair of RC02 Silver which I have hopes for on the smoothness front. Otherwise I might chance the Dunu, can’t trial though 🙁 which is a pain, but they look awesome.
        I’ll let you know in case it helps anyone else.

        • ljokerl on

          If you found the Momentum too treble-heavy then DUNU is not an option. I was going off my own GR02 BE, which has pretty intense treble. Sounds like that’s more similar to the second pair you got, while your first pair is quite warm. You liking the FX750/850 confirms that.

          Going forward, I would focus on earphones more on the warm/smooth side of things in your research, and also ignore others’ comparisons with the GR02 BE.

          • Grant S. on

            This has been an education, that’s for sure! And sincerely appreciative of you doing the heavy lifting for us, instead of wasting hundreds chasing the perfect sound.
            Because I just got my pair of R02 Silver, and oh my, oh my, how do earphones like this still get made? OK, I exaggerate, but how you scored these above the BE baffles me, they sound like they are resonating in a tin can. 🙁 Definitely a sound signature to avoid! Noted on the Dunu. Cheers!
            I certainly need to cherish my “golden ears” BE pair, and now going on those thoughts I’m considering Alpha and Delta 01…seems that they would fit, in both senses. Reckon?
            Thanks for your help..its invaluable. 🙂

            • ljokerl on

              The R02 Silver and the BE don’t really sound anything alike.

              AD01 is good sound-wise but it’s rather large, and doesn’t have the angled nozzles for a better fit like the JVC units. Sound also won’t be quite as rich or as clear as the JVCs.

  32. slimjourney on

    No plans of reviewing the MEE Audio M6 Pros? Ive been leaning towards getting those for their balanced sound signature and bang-for-buck package. Any thoughts on those or things I should know about beforehand?

    • ljokerl on

      No, still haven’t had these in for review. I have the higher-end P1 model, which is quite good for a balanced sound.

  33. Anurag on

    hi Joker, had a great time reading and going through this page over the months, u once recommended me ostry and titan 1 because of the sound signature I preferred, I ended up buying the vsd3, which was another of your recommendations, now I am completely bored with its bass signature, it sounds the same to me on every track, I want something more dynamic now, I prefer airy soundstage with a lot of depth and layering, I enjoyed the bass depth on the vsd3 being deep and warm, I was eyeing the Yamaha eph100, but I realise it might be too warm for my taste, since I come from the sound magic e10 , I cant get the Titan 1 in india cause it costs 3 times the price of what the GR07 bass edition costs here, so I’ve made my mind to buy the GR07 , I’ve been blind buying earphones, since a while now, and I need you to back me up on this decision. I need a great pair now, which is durable as well, ostry durability is questionable I’ve heard. , I really enjoyed my e10 soundmagic soundstage and I use them more than my vsd3 now, even though it is v shaped but I don’t know why the vocals come out so much better. the mids have an elongated crunch to them , Yamaha also is mid centric I believe but Yamaha is too warm I guess for my tastes, airy and out of the head with depth and fantastic layering, and extension on vocals is what i am looking for, also, i steer clear of the likes of HIFIMAN re 400 cause i believe they may be too analytical for my tastes and dry, i understand GR07 is also a balanced signature earphone like Re400, so i need you to back me up on this, cause i don’t want anything sounding too analytical lean and dry. My budget again is 100$ around and i am wondering what step to take next, would u recommend the titan 1 es? it costs hald the price of titan 1 but it has no vents and is made of plastic and is less bulky than the titatn 1, i have no clue as to its sound signature but the price makes me vary of it. also i need a gym paid for my workout and i was looking at branwavz xfit 100, these looks great and promise good build at a tiny price, half than that of the melec m6, do you know whether this would suit my taste ? is it at par with e10 or anywhere around it. thanks for everything you are doing, i seriously love it

    • ljokerl on

      How about the Fiio EX1? It’s closely related to the Titan 1 and a lot less expensive in some markets. I don’t have a Titan 1 ES so I can’t tell you how it compares but there’s probably some head-to-head comparisons where you can at least get an idea if it’s in the ballpark or not.

      I haven’t tried the Xfit 100 either. M6 is nice for workouts, anything with a similar form factor should work fine as well, but unless the Xfit sounds noticeably better than the M6 it won’t be up to par with the E10 or VSD3 in terms of sound quality.

  34. Theo on

    Hey joker, many thanks for your lists and always useful responses, you have helped me immensely in choosing the right IEM.

    I currently have the DN-1000s and GR07 BE and I would like to upgrade. I really like the DUNU’s bass and clarity and the GR07’s soundstage and balance. Ideally, I would like a (slightly v-shaped) IEM with articulate bass, not so prominent mids, balanced treble, wide soundstage and more “character” than the DN1000s.

    I tried the DN2000s but couldn’t get a comfortable fit. I am now looking into the Pinnacle P1 and FLC8s but I’m open to any suggestions under $500.

    Thank you very much!

    • ljokerl on

      FLC8 would be my choice for sure – the P1 will not give you the bass of the DN-1000/DN-2000 while the FLC8 can get pretty close while also doing really well in terms of overall balance, soundstage, etc. Also, FLC8 is super light and shouldn’t give you any fit issues as long as you’re okay wearing it over-the-ear.

  35. jamesd on

    Hey Joker,

    I am planning for an upgrade from the VSD3S since I am down to my final replacement cable (silver ones).
    I like the sound/bass and the fact its detachable.

    Any recommendation where the average score > VSD3S + Detachable



    • ljokerl on

      For something that has a detachable cable and also sounds more or less like a VSonic earphone, your options are all going to be very high-end – DUNU DN-2002, FLC Technology FLC8, etc. Unfortunately the reasonably-priced detachable-cable sets like the Shure SE215, Westone 10, and the Onkyo IEMs aren’t comparable in sound quality or at least don’t have the right sound signature. The one that seems like it could work is the MEE M6 PRO but I haven’t tried that one.

  36. junmilreyso on

    Hi, would the Philips TX1/2 be considered a budget alternative to the Philips Fidelio S1/2? What is the TX1/2’s sound signature in comparison with the Fidelio S1/2’s balanced sound signature? Im asking this since Im having trouble looking for Fidelio S1/2s in my country and am a bit budget-constrained. Would like to have a balanced, flat-cabled IEM basically.

    • ljokerl on

      TX1/2 are more v-shaped than the Fidelio sets and lack much of the smoothness and full-bodied midrange that makes the S1/S2 interesting in their price range, so they wouldn’t be a great alternative IMO. Good IEMs in their own right, especially for those who want a brighter, more energetic sound, just not tuned like the higher-end models.

  37. Michael on

    Hello Joker i posted this question on mobile and i am guessing it didnt went thru if it did i am sorry for double post.

    What i am looking for is my end game iem or ciem for $1000-$1200 unless spending another buying a $2000 ciem is a night and day difference compare to $1000-$1200, I was looking into the Fidue Sirus or the Shure 846 or ciem that i am saving up my money for. My favorite soundsignature is musical with Silky Smooth mids like the 425, Smooth laid back vocals and very good vocals, Super Wide Soundstage, Analytical, Accurate, Amazing Clarity, Sub bass like the my favorite dunu dn 1000. This is for Edm like House, Monstercat, Trap, Pop, Country, Kpop basically anything in top 100s

    Here is some of the songs I will be listening to so you have a good idea, I want something that has the best vocal on female and male because i am a vocal head


    My favorite iem are the dunu dn1000, First iem to wow me with sub bass clarity and vocals. Im03 basically a upgrade from dn 1000 with better vocal and clarity. Shure 425 because of the smooth mids


    • Michael on

      Opps it did double post my bad. Delete my first one and keep this one

      • ljokerl on

        Can’t be of much help here – I don’t have experience with the IEMs you’re looking at, and the CIEMs I have in that price range tend to have a more neutral sound with a lot less sub-bass than the DN-1000. I am sure there is one out there that can match the DUNU in that regard and still do everything else you want, I just don’t have it in my collection.

  38. Isaac on

    awesome list, part of the reason i bought the DN1000 which i love very much. any plans to review the latest from Dunu, the DN-2002?

    • ljokerl on

      Yep, I will have my hands on those pretty soon.

      • Isaac on

        lovely, i can hardly wait to hear your thoughts.

  39. Michael on

    Hey. Apparently there is a huge hype on headfi on the Chinese thread about how the senfer 4 in 1 are better then a83, Dunu dn 2000j and can compete with akg 3003 for $30 also the vivo ex800 can compete with gr07 for like $15 and has the same sq.

    Maybe you can do a review on it?

    • ljokerl on

      I’m not too big on trying to chase down every hyped-up IEM out there. I’ve lost count of how many times something has been labeled a “better X for half the price”. Usually it’s X that remains popular/recommended once the dust settles.

      If these continue to be popular in the long term I’m sure they’ll hit my desk eventually.

      • Michael on

        Thanks. What do you recommend for like $80 that has amazing vocals, wide soundstage, great clarity and smooth on the mids.

        I do like my vsd3s

        • ljokerl on

          Ostry KC06, or maybe Fiio EX1 (based on others’ feedback that it’s similar to the DUNU Titan 1). Both are rather mid-forward but not generally harsh, and have wide soundstages and excellent clarity.

          • Michael on

            Are the ostry a upgrade from the vsd3s? And are they better then the havi?

            • ljokerl on

              All three are about on-par, just different tuning. KC06 is the most mid-forward and has the widest soundstage.

              • Michael on

                How about the trinity audio vyrus?

                • ljokerl on

                  Not a clue, never tried any Trinity earphones

            • Greg on

              Ostry, Vsd3s are better than average IEM only, not great at all, go and try Senfer 4in1-it’s 2x better than any of them it’s a 2 unit driver IEM, don’t waste time on them, my next purchase are MusicMaker TK13 and Shockwave III, They all have WOW Factors, cheers my friend

              • Michael on

                The senfer 4 in 1 is good. But i heard some good things about the shockwave.

    • Greg on

      I’ve own one for 2 weeks now with 100 hour burn in, I enjoyed the Senfer 4in1 more than my MSR7, re400 , ath- m50 , fiio ex1, I’d rated them 8/10 to high end IEM, i.e. amazing for us$30 with performance equal to $200 value IEM, my next buy will be Musicmaker tk13 for it value and performance delivered or Shockwave III – I believed it’s performance can knocked down a lot of IEM that cost more than $500 price range, I think the high praise on the Shockwave III is really worth for a review if you check it out on head-fi review blogs, it’s your lost if you ignore it as a top performer IEM !

  40. Nir Nisim on

    Hi Joker
    I’m looking for a good pair of IEM
    Mostly listening to rock , punk rock,house
    Budget – 250$
    Source – S7 Edge
    Thanks !

    • ljokerl on

      Depending on the sound tuning you prefer, my recommendations can be found here: http://theheadphonelist.com/earphone-buyers-guide/

      Typically, unless you already know exactly what type of sound you’re after, I recommend a balanced to slightly v-shaped sound for that sort of mixed-genre application – a VSonic GR07 Classic or GR07 Bass Edition, for example. These have been a staple of the portable Hi-Fi scene for 5+ years now and are a great way to get into high-end IEMs. Should only run about half your budget, too. The Bass Edition has a bit more bass, as the name implies, and can be the safer choice (for EDM especially) than the more accurate GR07.

      • Nir Nisim on

        I just want to enhance to sound of the drums and the guitar
        What about the DUNU DN-2000 , they’re v-shape too

        • ljokerl on

          DN-2000 has a slightly more colored sound signature with a more pronounced v-shape, so it’s more polarizing and therefore harder to recommend as a “starter” IEM without someone specifically requesting a v/u-shaped sound.

  41. Lecks on

    Hi Joker! Just want to know if you can recommend a better/comparable IEM (with detachable cables) to the RHA-MA750? Same price point, same build, and same (if not, better) sound. Thanks!

    A big fan of your reviews btw. ☺

    • ljokerl on

      Something like that would be a fantastic IEM considering that the MA750 is one of the best values in its price range even without detachable cables.

      The only sets I can think of that compare in terms of sound quality and have detachable cables without costing an arm and a leg more than the MA750 are the DUNU Titan 3 and Titan 5, but these (1) are tuned nothing like the MA750 and (2) have both failed on me at the cable connector while my MA750i is still going strong (though to be fair DUNU claims to have fixed the connector issues on the Titan series).

      • Lecks on

        Thanks Joker! Will definitely try the Titans too. I’m also eyeing the IM50 and 70 as viable options. What do you think? I also like the fact that they have replaceable cables too.

        Would like to know your opinion on which is better between the 50’s and 70’s as well. Thanks!

        • ljokerl on

          Not too familiar with those models, can’t really tell you where their sound quality falls on the spectrum. I have heard the IM50 once – it’s a smooth-sounding earphone, doesn’t have the enhanced bass of the MA750 or the more v-shaped sound of the Titans, but seemed good for the price. Never tried the IM70.

          • Lecks on

            Thanks Joker! Appreciate your input. For soundstage, do you know any IEM with great soundstage, and also has a great overall sound quality? Would appreciate it if you can recommend something with a detachable cable as well (to protect the investment).

            How about the vsonic VSD’s or the Audio technica E40/E50/IM70? If you are to pick, which one do you prefer?

            As always, thanks for your help!

            • ljokerl on

              VSD detachable cables are pretty useless (not standard socket) and the soundstage is better on some of VSonic’s higher-end fixed-cable models. A DUNU Titan 3 or Titan 5 have a wider soundstage.

              Not sure about the audio-technicas you mentioned.

              If you’re feeling spendy the Sennheiser IE80 is always a good sturdy option with detachable cables as well.

              • Lecks on

                Finally bit the bullet and bought an IE80 as per your recommendation. Enjoying the great bass and soundstage on these at the moment. With that said, I think the bass tends to get muddy-sounding, resulting to the mids getting overpowered. Can you recommend an IEM that has detailed sound across the board, and at the same time still has the great soundstage and Bass (tighter and quicker but still ear-banging), as the IE80? Would like to still get a recommendation that has a detachable cable.

                As always, thanks Joker!

                • ljokerl on

                  It’s a little difficult to have bass that is both ear-banging and also completely clear of the midrange. You can get close with some BA sets but they tend to be pricy and still won’t have the impact of an IE80. The best compromise would be a hybrid BA+dynamic set, which tend to be more reasonably-priced

                  With a detachable cable you’re looking at something like the DUNU DN-2002, FLC Technology FLC8, maybe Oriveti Primacy. These tend to have moderate amounts of bass though. There are hybrids with more, such as the Sony XBA-H3 and XBA-Z5, but those start to get muddy again (especially the Z5, despite its high price).

                  I’d probably choose to compromise on bass quantity in order to get the clarity, detail, and soundstage up as high as possible, with the FLC8.

  42. Mathews Joseph on

    Dear Joker,
    I’m looking for a pair of earphones that could give me a wider and more immersive soundstage than my present RHA MA750.
    I’d be really grateful if you could compare RHA MA750 against Audio Technica IM70. The latter, as it comes with two drivers is well known to create a 3D effect. Can you suggest some iems that would deliver me a greater sense of space..
    In the same direction, would it be reasonable to get an amp that would enhance the immersive effect of my MA750? Are amps known to expand the soundstage?
    My budget is 200$..

    • ljokerl on

      I haven’t tried the IM70. I did try the 1st-generation dual dynamic earphone from JVC (the FXT90) and that had a nicely layered soundstage, but not very wide. If you’re just looking for better layering and separation, the FXT90 or Yamaha EPH-100 would do nicely without dropping in overall sound quality or bass quantity compared to MA750.

      If you’re looking for something that also sounds as wide/spacious (or even wider) than MA750 it will be very difficult without going with a different sound signature. The Sennheiser IE80 is what comes to mind but it’s pretty pricey.

      Unless you’re using a poor source to begin with I wouldn’t try to use an amp to affect the soundstage significantly (switching to a different earphone would give you a much bigger difference in that regard). That said, there are some amps that are considered to have a wide presentation (as compared to other amps), and there are even some that “artificially” widen the soundstage using some kind of crossfeed effect. I’m not too familiar with all the different amps out there so I can’t name specific ones, but if you do a bit of digging on Head-Fi you’ll find them.

  43. Conor Brennan on

    Hello Joker!
    I’m finally planning to get my first good pair of headphones, and I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the choices. I’m looking for a headphone with the following qualities:
    1) Price range from $100-$200 (USD), ideally in the middle but willing to spend all $200 if it fits the rest of my requirements.
    2) Good Isolation- want to be able to use these in a school cafeteria.
    3) A sound signature which would work well for the following bands: Pink Floyd, Rush, Nirvana, Muse, Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots and generally other rock music. I don’t know which would work best, whether it be V-shaped or neutral. I’m fairly certain I don’t want warm, though.
    4) A relatively good amount of comfort would be nice.
    5) Lastly, relatively good build quality would be very nice.

    Thank you very much for any help, Joker!

    • Conor Brennan on

      Oh yeah, as an edit:
      I’ve (not bought or even listened to music with) been browsing through potential pairs for a while and a few that have caught my eye are:
      RHA MA750
      Etymotic Research HF5

      If you could additionally talk about how these would work for my needs that would be very nice.
      Thank you for your time, Joker!

      • ljokerl on

        Those are both at the top of my recommendations in your price range, albeit at different extremes (for your genres) in terms of sound signature. The MA750 is about the bassiest thing I would recommend for rock music (though it’s far from the most bass-heavy earphone in its price range). The HF5 is about the most neutral/analytical. Honestly, without more info I’d recommend splitting the difference and going with a VSonic GR07 Classic (or GR07 Bass Edition). It has a less neutral, punchier sound than the HF5 but not as warm/bassy/v-shaped as the MA750. Build is decent, about on par with the HF5. Comfort is very good. Isolation is fine for daily use, about on par with MA750.

        • Conor Brennan on

          Thank you Joker!
          So I still have a few questions.

          The first is: Why exactly would you reccomend the VSonic over the Ety HF5?

          Secondly, what defines a punchier sound? I know it’s associated with bass, is this how prominent the beat is (if that makes sense)

          Thirdly, you said “without more info.” Could you please elaborate upon what you want? I’d like to help you help me as much as possible!

          Lastly, are there any specific sources you recommend buying the Vsonic off of? And other headphones?

          Again, can’t thank you enough!

          • ljokerl on

            The HF5 is a pretty flat earphone, for many people that type of sound is an acquired taste (and for some a complete no-go). The GR07, while balanced, is a little easier to get into, especially for someone new to higher-end IEMs. In a way it “splits the difference” between the HF5 and more conventional/consumer-friendly sound.

            This also relates to what I said about additional info – if you could say, for example, that you are fine with having little to no bass enhancement, that would make me less reluctant to recommend the HF5 as a first high-end earphone. As is, I’m going mainly off my own experience and the hundreds of comments of feedback from readers.

            Yes, punch has to do with how visceral the bass is. The HF5 doesn’t have too much of it.

            You can get GR07 from Amazon if you’re in the US, or from lendmeurears if you’re not. There may also be a small price difference between them.

  44. AndyT on

    Hey Joker, I’ve enjoyed reading your lists over the past year or two, I appreciate how you seem to genuinely care and seem to reply to everyone, must take some effort!
    I was wondering if you could give me some advice.
    I’ve tried quite a lot of iem’s over the past few years and I want to get my ‘endgame’ pair, so to speak.
    I guess you could say im a bit clumsy/careless. I need to buy a new pair of iems every 6months-1year because the wiring almost always ends up coming loose. I tried to rectify this by buying a detachable pair, so I only have to get a replacement cable, but that didn’t really help. Guess I must be too violent with them.

    sound signature: tl;dr – Analytical? TPeos H300 > Brainwavz b2 along this sort of sound.
    I used to really love the sound signature of my Brainwavz B2’s, so I came to the conclusion I loved analytical sound. From there I purchased a Sennheiser558(headset). I had mixed feelings regarding that, but I put it down to the fact it was a headset and not IEM’s. My current daily driver is the T Peos H300, and it’s essentially perfect. I can hear the tiniest detail in everything, sadly I managed to break one of the connections in the earpieces. I’ve successfully re-soldered all of the four wires inside, but it still occasionally cuts out(once a day or so), and stops working until I don’t use it for 10+minutes (very strange… I can’t explain it).
    I love the bass on these earphones though, which I know sounds strange considering I said I enjoy the analytical sound, but it just really packs such a great punch, and when i’m playing CSGO, I hear things that I literally should not be able to hear. I would love to just buy another pair of these, but with the import tax and high price tag, it’s a bit unreasonable.

    build quality: tl;dr – smallish earpieces(mandatory), braided cable is a plus,
    This will sound insane because every review I have read about these have said they have absurdly bad build quality; but to me, the HiFiMan Re-400 takes this hands down. The cable from the connector to the Y-split was braided and very flexible/floppy. It had a nice solid ‘toggle?’ to hold the earpieces in place. The earpieces themselves were the perfect size, sat right inside my ear, as opposed to other ‘bullet shaped’ ones(e.g T-Peos H-300) that stick out what I would consider too much.

    price: tl;dr – anything ‘reasonable'(<$400?)
    Now this will sound ridiculous, but I don't really have a price limit per se. If it is a perfect pair of headphones, i'd probably pay whatever they cost within reason, I paid about $300 for these H300's, and i'd say they were worth it, but If I were to buy another pair of IEM's around/above this price, I would need to be certain they are top notch, and not going to fail within the year; or at least be fixable to an amateur solderer.

    other: inbuilt mic would be a plus, not mandatory, don't care about accessories.
    Don't really care about accessories, I've gathered more than my fair share through the years, and if I need something specifically, i'll just probably buy it aftermarket. in-line Microphone would be a huge plus, but not mandatory, as I have a separate lapel mic which is pretty decent quality. A nice 'toggle' on the Y-split would be appreciated too.

    Hope I haven't put you to sleep with all of this, and it would be appreciated if you could give any insight.

    • ljokerl on

      Thanks, I really appreciate that!

      My experience with the RE-400 is similar to yours – I’ve had the unit for 3+ years and it’s still going strong. That said, there’s not a lot of bullet-shaped earphones that are equally compact and also can be considered top-tiers in terms of sound.

      Honestly, what immediately came to mind is the FLC Technologies FLC8. It’s a little more complex than most IEMs thanks to the sound tuning system (not very plug-and-play) and the form factor is unusual, but I think it’s very comfortable. It also has replaceable cables and you can pick up a mic cable for it later I suppose; there isn’t one included. Probably not easy to work on with the complex internals, but I wouldn’t expect any part of it to fail aside from the cables.

      Unfortunately I am not familiar with the H-300 so I can’t tell you how the two compare when it comes to sound, but the FLC8 is one of the best uses of a hybrid driver system that I’ve heard, combining really high levels of clarity and detail in the mids and treble with some (but not too much) extra bass impact from the dynamic driver. Plus it gives you a bit of flexibility in getting the sound you want, again thanks to that same tuning system.

      Usually I like to recommend two or three different sets for every request but in this case I can’t think of anything else that would fit your requirements this well.

      • AndyT on

        That’s absolutely fine, thank you for the help!
        It’s very much appreciated.

        If only I could somehow take the internals and insert them within the RE400, bit too difficult there though tbh.

        I’ll probably stick with the h300’s for now, and grab a pair of FLC8’s when I can / if these fail.

        • ljokerl on

          The housing has a large role in sound tuning, especially with something like the FLC8 with all of its vents and ports, so the results of a transplant like that would be hard to predict even if it were feasible.

          Perhaps by the time the H300 fails there will be some viable new options, too.

    • ljokerl on

      I don’t think so. I have some inexpensive IEMs from China that look like those (generic custom-turned-universal form factor) but I think the are from a different brand. The few pairs I have look the part but don’t sound very good.

  45. xern on

    Hi Joker!
    Recently my Steelseries Flux in-ear pros started failing. They were still under warranty(just barely), but sadly they’re no longer manufactured and the after a month long wait the shop that I’ve bought them at refunded me. I realized that this might happen, so I started looking for new iems over a month ago, but so far I’m not sure which iem to choose. I’m currently back to my old Sennheiser iems(It’s CX-300-B I think) – EQ did help them a bit, but they don’t sound great…

    Here’s what I’m looking for:

    Neutral sound signature with as much detail as possible. I would prefer if it leaned towards bright and analytical than towards warm sound.
    Bass – I would prefer tight and controlled but it would be fine if it lacked in quantity.
    Mids – bringing out as much detail as possible (I enjoy noticing all the details and even imperfections in recordings)
    Highs – Neutral to bright and with good extension.

    Other features
    Durable – like I mentioned my sennheisers are over 10 years old and they still work fine and I honestly hope that my next purchase will be just as robust.
    In-line microphone and control(android) – I got used to it with my Flux in-ear pros, and it’s a convenience that can’t live without any more.
    Over the ear cable – same as above.
    Detachable cable(MMCX or similar) – it would be a very nice feature to have as it would certainly help with longevity of the headphone, but it’s not a must.

    Honestly I’m not even sure if my perfect iems exist, but I keep searching.

    Headphones that I’m considering so far:
    * Rock-it Sounds R-50M – out of stock, I’m not sure if they’ll be available again
    * AKG N20U – kind of hard to find reviews on those
    * Westone UM Pro 10 – I’m a bit concerned about the QC on these
    * MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 – seem to have everything I need, but are the most expensive. Impedance might be a problem when driving them with a smartphone.
    * SoundMagic E80s
    * HiFiMan RE-400a – not sure about the over the ear wear and durability of the cable

    I’m not sure how those headphones compare to Flux in-ear pros and if they’re approaching the sound that I’m looking for.
    Maybe there are other iems in the 200$ and below price range that I should consider but aren’t on my list?

    To my knowledge no reviewer has reviewed all of the iems that I’m considering, and it’s very difficult to compare reviews of different products written by different people when it comes to something as subjective as sound. Inner fidelity doesn’t have FR graphs for most of the headphones above, so that’s no help either. I will be grateful for any and all input from you. I’ve spent too much time going through hundreds of reviews and graphs and not coming to any conclusions.

    Thank you.

    I really appreciate your help.

    • ljokerl on

      This gave me a good brain workout. I like the very detailed requirements but it is a two-edged sword in that very few IEMs can hit at least 2 of 3 in what you want. I guess any MMCX earphone can be turned into a headset (just need an MMCX headset cable like the ones Shure and MEE Audio sell separately) so points 2 and 3 in other features go together, but still:

      * Rock-it Sounds R-50M – not detachable and I wouldn’t put the long-term durability on par with an MMCX earphone
      * AKG N20U – never heard of it
      * Westone UM Pro 10 – I wouldn’t worry about build quality but I don’t think their stuff has the tonal character you’re after until you get to to the W20, which is $300.
      * MEE Audio Pinnacle P1 – difficult to drive (ok with my Moto X Pure but still not optimal; not so good with my Nexus 5) but otherwise probably the best compromise on your list
      * SoundMagic E80s – are these detachable? I only tried them briefly, don’t know too much about the sound
      * HiFiMan RE-400a – durability is not a strong point of HiFiMan IEMs. No detachable cable. Might as well go Etymotic HF2 if you’re going this form factor.

      Likewise, sets not listed typically hit 80% of what you want, but never reach 100. Dunu Titan 3/5 sound pretty good and have detachable cables but are not worn cable-up. Shure SE215 has the right form factor and cable configuration but is the opposite of neutral-to-bright when it comes to sound. VSonic has the right sound/fit but no detachable cables and no mic. ATH-IM02 pretty good too but cables are proprietary (not MMCX) and I don’t think there’s one with a mic available.

      As you go up in price there are some sets that would be a better match – the FLC Tech FLC8 comes to mind, for instance, but that’s way above what even a P1 costs.

      • xern on

        Thank you for your reply joker!

        I didn’t consider ATH-IM02 before, but I did some research and it turns out that Audio Technica does offer a headset cable for those iems( http://sea.audio-technica.com/products/headphones/professional/in-ear-monitor/at-hdc1is ).
        I tested my smartphone with my ATH-M40x(35 ohm impedance) and turns out that it’s able to drive those headphones beyond my comfortable listening levels. That doesn’t mean that it’d work well with MEE Pinnacle P1, but it does give me some hope.

        When factoring in the extra cable I’d have to buy for ATH-IM02 the price increases to the point where it’ll basically cost the same as MEE Pinnacle P1.
        So that narrows my choices to those two iems. How would you compare them and which one do you think will sound closer to what I’m after?

        Thanks a lot joker! You’re a lifesaver!

        • ljokerl on

          Hmm.. similar price tier on top of the similar comfort, isolation, etc. Build quality is about on-par too – generally I would trust ATH build quality more but I like a standard MMCX socket over a proprietary one.

          That means it all comes down to sound, and I think the P1 delivers more of what you want assuming you can get decent performance out of it with your phone. Neither has too much bass and both deliver pretty good detail, but do so in different ways. The IM02 is more forward in the midrange, which is a plus for midrange detailing, but overall it’s a little more smoothed-over and dull-sounding with a neutral-to-dark tone. It would be the better choice if you were after something non-fatiguing and mid-centric. The P1 has slightly less forward mids, but keeps up in detail because it’s generally more crisp and somewhat brighter. Soundstage is a little wider too, which doesn’t hurt.

          • xern on

            ATH’s proprietary connector was designed to be more robust than standard MMCX(I’m not sure if they’ve succeeded), and as it turns out cables with ATH connectors are already offered by lunashops ( http://www.lunashops.com/goods.php?id=4402 ).
            Interestingly I like the looks of ATH-IM02 better, it looks more utilitarian and “less form over function” than Pinnacle P1.

            But going back to the most important aspect of this choice, the actual sound, I’m very surprised that you mention that Pinnacle has less forward and brighter sound. I assumed that BA drivers would have a natural tendency for brightness and detail, and I certainly didn’t expect a single dynamic driver iem to win in that regard over a dual BA design.
            After reading reviews of both iems I had the impression that IM02 had a more balanced sound(leaning towards analytical), and that P1 was more mid forward, but I guess that that’s what I get for comparing reviews from different reviewers…

            Thank you again for your amazing help!

            • xern on

              I just wanted to add, that I’ve called an official MEE Audio distributor and asked him if it’s ok if I ordered the Pinnacle P1 and later returned them if it turns out that my smartphone can’t drive them properly, and he told me that he’d prefer if I transfer him a deposit and he’ll send me a review unit for testing. I’ll most likely do that, and if it turns out that my phone can’t handle them I’ll try to get the ATH instead.

              After careful consideration it turned out that there’s one other thing that I didn’t take into account regarding ATH-IM02 – namely I’d have to import them, and that means that they’ll most likely not be covered by warranty. And even if they would be covered it’d still be a major hassle to send them back and forth across the world in case something happens. Not to mention that I might have to pay customs on top of the the price and the shipping charges.
              I could probably buy them used thus avoiding customs, but then I’m sure they won’t be under warranty.

              • ljokerl on

                That seems reasonable RE: the P1. Can’t get service like that here in the US.

                P1 has a spacious sound in general, and is balanced to slightly v-shaped. It’s not a very conventional sound tuning and I can see why the information out there would be conflicting – it really depends on what you’re comparing them to. If you put them against a DUNU DN-1000, for example, then the P1 will definitely be the flatter, less bright earphone with the more forward midrange.

                Comparing the P1 with the IM02 is akin to comparing the VSonic GR07 with a flat BA earphone (e.g. an Etymotic). The GR07 is a very balanced IEM, but its wide and mildly v-shaped sound means the Etymotic will sound more forward in the midrange (and more intimate in general). Doesn’t help that the IM02 is a little more relaxed at the top end than your average dual BA.

  46. Jeremy on

    Hi Joker, thanks for all this information, it has been great. I do have a question I can’t find an answer to though, and that is how my current shure e4c iem pair compare to today’s quality. What would be a comparable set? I want to upgrade sound quality, and while I realize some are just simply different due to FR response, I don’t really know if I could spend 100 due to improved technology, or if I would still need to spend more than what these cost.

    I am looking for a warm / sweet sound, good bass, detailed, not harsh treble. I listen to indie/alt/rock/edm/rap. Looking at between 100 and 300 +/-. I’ve been thinking of titan 5 or dn2000, ie80, vsonic vsd5, or mee audio pinnacle…any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • ljokerl on

      I’m not too familiar with the E4c – I think i had one like 10 years ago but that was long before I was seriously comparing different IEMs. It’s long gone, so I can’t really tell you where it lands these days. On paper it seems like the IE80 would be your best bet out of the sets you’re looking at (which are all over the place, by the way) based on your requirements, but I also don’t remember the E4c having particularly good bass or warmth.

      • Jeremy on

        Haha – yes, they are a bit all over the place, which is why I am going a bit crazy, since it seems everything that has 90% of what I think I want, there is some sort of other deal breaker. I am not necessarily looking for something with the exact same sound signature as the e4c, as it was one of my first IEMs and purchased before I even knew what I liked, just want to upgrade. You are correct, it doesn’t have much bass, and I definitely want more bass in the next IEM, but I also really appreciate the clarity and smoothness in the mids and lower treble area…but ultimately would like something a little more rich and dynamic/fun (not sure if these are the correct terms, but best I can describe). Another one that I have found recently and seriously considering is the Fender FXa5 or 6….but perhaps I’ll just keep my eye out for a good deal on the ie80 and make the jump if/when I find one. Thank you for your response!

        • ljokerl on

          You can also consider the Yamaha EPH-100 as a more affordable alternative. Similar performance of the IE80, slightly different sound signature, and much less expensive.

          In general, I think trying a few inexpensive IEMs with different sound signatures to get a better feel for what you like isn’t a bad idea before diving in and spending $300 on a top-tier set, unless you live in a part of the world where IEMs can be demoed in stores. The E4c is a starting point but it’s fairly outdated so it will be difficult to find comparisons between that and today’s popular sets.

  47. Mathews Joseph on

    Dear Joker,
    I don’t know whether this is the exact way to approach you. However, i’m in great need of your advice.
    “What I need is a next level sonic experience in terms of a more wider and immersive soundstage (instrument separation), and a slight more bass.”
    What I currently have is a Cowon C2 (permanently set in Hip-Hop EQ setting; otherwise which the player sounds mediocre), and an RHA MA750. I mostly listen to academy award winner A.R Rahman’s music. With my current sourcegear and iem, I do have quite a satisfactory experience.
    However, in order to have a more immersive sound, should I get a new DAP like Fiio X1, or buy an iem like audio technica im70, or get an amp?
    I understand that RHA MA750 is pretty much the best iem in sub150$ range.
    And my budget for any sort of upgrade is not more than 100$..
    Eagerly looking forward to your advice.
    Thanks a lot….

    • ljokerl on

      At $100 you’re not going to get an MA750 upgrade unless you would prefer a different sound signature, but since you want even more bass than the MA750 provides while keeping at least the same soundstage, that eliminates pretty much all earphones that could be considered better or even equivalent.

      In almost all cases I think that upgrading your earphones will make a bigger difference than upgrading your source, especially if you’re still in the low-mid price ranges, but in this cases I don’t know of an earphone that you can upgrade to.

  48. Juan on

    Looking for Bluetooth in ear headphones that have a decent noise isolation but are on the cheaper side. Any recommendations? I was looking at the xiaomi pistons

    • ljokerl on

      Sorry, I don’t really know of any good inexpensive Bluetooth earphones. Not really a focus area for me.

  49. The Chosen One on

    Best in-earphones that don’t fall out especially when laying in bed, running/working out?

    I’m looking for great sound quality, comfort and my budget isn’t too high as I’ll be using it for everyday use.

    • ljokerl on

      If you’re going to be resting against a pillow you want something low-profile and ergonomic. MEE M6 is very affordable and is what I use for gym duty a lot of the time. Soundmagic PL50 and E30 are good alternatives but more expensive and harder to find.

      Fidue A31s is even more low-profile than the above but the fit is not as secure for running (and I’m not sure it’s sweat-resistant). Audio-Technica CKX5iS is sweat-resistant and well-designed for active use but you won’t be able to lay down with it like you will with the M6.

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