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IN-EAR EARPHONE REVIEW LIST

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.

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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1,181 Responses

  1. When could we expect an update to this list? Some functions don’t work properly like sorting the list by price doesn’t display the items correctly, and also there are many iems that are discontinued or unavailable. This list is pretty amazing, and an update to it could really help everyone out a lot! Thanks for all your work Joker!

  2. There’s a shed load of discontinued stuff in this list. Shame really because I really like it.

  3. Where’s the filter option? Earlier it will be easier to filter earphones within certain price range and then compare

  4. Hi there,
    I’m very impressed with the in-depth reviews and rating system.

    Years ago I bought the Shure SE215 special edition iem’s and loved them. From my understanding they’re an entry level, single-driver monitor not needing an amp (fine straight from a mobile or iPod back in the day).

    Despite going through the washing machine a few times they were still great to listen to, until I lost them recently.
    At the time I think they were about $180 AUD. What I loved most about the Shures were their excellent isolation achieved with the foam tips.

    I figured in the time since I bought them, IEM manufacturing tech would have improved, so I don’t think I’ll buy them again given their price is about the same now.

    Given this, what would you recommend in the sub $200 AUD (~150USD) range? Would there be a marked improvement in something available for that price now?
    It seems that Shure have offered the same IEMs for a long time. Should I stick with Shure?

    The highest-ranking IEM of this sort in your table are the Custom Art Music One, but I can’t seem to find them for sale!
    Any help would be appreciated 🙂

  5. Hello Joker!

    Great to see someone so influential in the community and so helpful to indivudals 🙂
    Your list is hella impressive!

    I am new to IEMs and coming from headphones… my current favorites are the AKG K712 pro which are extremely analytical and pretty comparable to the HD800s. I enjoy extremely true representations of the music with some very slightly punchy bass and am looking for something more on the go (sold my MDR-1A and Momentum), hence my venture into IEMs. I’m also flexible with the sound signature as I generally enjoy change as well, so feel free to give your full opinion!

    Budget is something below 200$, but I’m living in the EU so it’s hard to get my hand on a lot of things. My options are:

    Shure SE215 / 315 / 425 (didn’t see the latter two mentioned which is why I thought I’d ask)
    RHA MA750 / T20

    I am generally a careful person (so I don’t think I’ll be ripping out cables) but I do think the modularity of the Shures is nice. I’m trying to convince myself not to splurge over budget on the 535 which costs something like 340 here and stick to the analytical 425s at most.

    What do you think?

    Thanks a lot! 😀

  6. Adding DATE to the search is critical. At least half of what I look at are not available anymore.

  7. Hey Joker!! Its been a long time, a year i think since i’d been here last time.. You already gave me two rommendation that really2 suits my personal taste.. Just last year you told me to go with piston if i have a budget below 50$ and like the sound of gr07.. And here I am, asking you again, what to pick if i want to upgrade my piston? My budget is below 100$.. Thank you in advance!!

  8. I am curious on your thoughts on the MEE Pinnacle P1 and the Brainwavez B400. I went to look for the Custom Art Music One and they don’t appear to be available. It looks like they have been replaced by the FIBAE 1. I am looking for a neutral IEM in the $200ish range.

  9. I am an old Klipsch X5 user and really enjoyed it, sadly cable build quality and accidental bath killed it. Microphonics on that was also pretty bad. I moved to a Sennheiser CX5.00G, which I also really liked, but that had an accident and lasted a year. So, right now I am trying to decide on a balance set in the $50-60 range. Thinking about doing another CX5 as I really like it a lot and really the only one to come with an Android variant. Downside is sound stage could be a tad wider, like the X5 I had. Another model I have my eye on are the Klipsch X6i(seen it going for $60, which is at $100 savings or maybe it was just priced $100 to much?). X6i looks to more or less like proper successor to the X5, with detail & balance sound sound, but sadly no Android variant(play pause work, but I’d like volume control). The other con is microphonics is still an issue on the X6i and cable build still maybe a bit questionable. The other models I am looking at are the Final Audio E2000C, which only has a mic & no volume control. If it’s anything like the E2000 microphonics could be issue, as can cable build quality. There is also the Meze 11 Deco, but like the E2000C only has mic, no volume control, and I am seeing reports of microphonics also being an issue. Seems like the common thread is good balance sound bring microphonic issues with it. Ugh

    Both the CX5.00 and X5 worked fine day to day and at the gym, so really just want something that will last and has the least microphonics and build quality issues of these choices. That is unless you know of a product that will better suit my needs of balanced, detail sound with good build and minimal microphonics? Thank you

  10. Hi ljokerl,

    Nice website and better comments. Congrats. I bought the Music One about 3 years ago following your recommendations at the head-fi forums. They were the best IEM’s I’ve ever had and your review matched my own opinion about them. Even though the sound was amazing, the build quality wasn’t. I had to change them once because one of the drivers started sounding in a lower sound than the other, and now they have failed again. I was about to order the acrylic version but I just don’t want them to fail me again, they cost some money.

    My question is: Do you know any non-custom IEM’s with similar sound for around 100€? I can raise my budget if necessary.

    Best regards.

  11. Hi Admin,

    Would like to know whether you have plan to review Shure KSE1500 and would love to see how it par in your headphone-list.

    Thanks,
    Loo

  12. Hi I’m new and I have a tiny question. Considering that I am a bass-head (I repeat, Im a bass-head), what’s the best Earphone in the range of 300-400$? Could FLC8s do it?
    Of course, I wouldn’t hate sound stage, clearity, imaging, build quality and …
    Thanks in advance

  13. Hi Joker, thanks for your review list it has always been useful as a benchmark for purchasing new pair of earphones.

    I was following the review table and got to buy an amazing pair of budget earphones Xiaomi Piston 3!!

    Now I’m looking to upgrade it. I have a few on my list at my 100£ budget. Which one would you recommend/ I’m open to any not on my list. I normally use them during commute with my Iphone 7 and noise isolation / good microphonics would be useful as I do some travelling on the plane too.

    1More triple (85£)
    Same shape as piston 3.. 3 drivers and with good review on the sound quality. I like it’s package with airplane adapter as well! Sound quality seems to be one of the highest in this list?

    Ma750i (85£)
    Always a highly reviewed/recommended pair and now it’s available at 55£(Ma750) which might be the deal!!! However, my concern is that I have never tried over the ear and I’m wearing specs. A bit worried that it might not be comfortable. In terms of sound quality, is this better than the others on the list?

    Titan 5/1 or DUNU 1000 (110£)
    Heard good reviews about the Dunu but it’s a bit hard to find them in the UK. Not researched much about them yet.

    I’m open to any other recommendations but my main priority is obviously comfort, sound quality, and noise isolation. I’m sure a lot others had the same question at this price point! Any recommendations would be welcomed!

    I’m open to any type of sound signatures as I’m new into this price range and iem market. I listen to any type of music from pop to classical to rock on Spotify.

    Hope to hear back from you on the comparisons.

  14. Can I get some opinons on the ..Kozee Infinity X-1
    Does it have decent ,clean bass?
    Are they comfotable?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  15. I’d add to this list a Shure SE215 with Westone bluetooth cables @ $180 and an RHA MA 750 @ $170. I’d try to avoid them (cost) unless they are far superior than the rest. Thanks again.

  16. Hi there joker, I’m in the search of a nice bluetooth IEM and these are potential finalists (current prices):

    – Focal Spark ($70)
    – MEE X7 ($80)
    – Brainwavz Blu-100 ($40)
    – Plantronics Backbeat Go 2 ($50)
    – Plantronics Backbeat FIT 300 ($80)
    – JLab Audio Epic 2 ($100)
    – SoundMAGIC E10 BT ($55)
    – beyerdynamic Byron BT ($90)
    – Optoma NuForce BE6i ($80)
    – 1More E1006 ($60)

    Any suggestions, would you avoid some in the list? Would you add some I’m not considering? Thanks a lot!

  17. This is really helpful! thanks! I am looking for a good bassy and warm presence IEMs. would you recommend westone UM PRO 30? or do you have any other recommendation? my budget is under $400. thanks

  18. If only we could order this list by sound signature, it would be perfect.

    I am looking for a budget flat/balanced in-ears. I listen to lots of podcasts and I only own V-shaped pairs at the moment. Any recommendations?

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