It’s tough to say you’ll ever go back to regular headphones, once you’ve tried the best in-ear monitors, popularly known as IEMs.
While IEMs aren’t any better than studio headphones, but I find them incredibly light, comfortable and they feel awfully good on the ears.
While these little guys are normally associated with music professionals such as guitarists, singers, and drummers, they can practically be worn by anyone who is looking for a convenient pair of music gear that won’t fatigue them.
For the professionals, however, IEMs are more than getting over fatigue; it’s all about performance.
IEMs will let the professional listen to the finer music details that you wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
And depending on your choice of IEM, you can benefit from tons of functionality, including better sound reception, better sound isolation, and more.
Now, if you're confused about how to select the best In-ear monitor, we're here to help.
We shall list the top 5 IEM’s in the market, and include a handy in-ear monitor buying guide to simplify your purchasing process.
This as you would expect from us is an EPIC post so grab a coffee before you start and see how we cut through every product and review it with precision. IF YOU ARE SHORT ON TIME and need to know the results of our reviews , CHECK THE RESULTS TABLE BELOW!
Quick Comparison Table & Our Pick!
Other Great Recommendations
Top 5 In-Ear Monitors in The Market for The Money
Shure SE846 - Editor’s Choice
I couldn’t be more excited to review the Shure SE846. For those who know about me, you understand the love I have for Shure products.
Shure SE846 is the flagship IME model from Shure, and part of Shure’s SE line that is characterized by budget-option IMEs.
Despite being in the market for years after its initial release, it’s still one of the most outstanding pairs we have today.
In this IME, you’ll find an impressive amount of audio engineering: everything from the twin bass drivers, our armature drive units to three interchangeable filters that work together to craft the ideal tonal balance for your listening and enjoyment.
Features and Benefits
The design of the SE846 resembles any other IEM in the Shure SE line, but this model is more refined and honed.
The transparent carapace, for instance, improves the overall aesthetics of this audio equipment, while at the same time adding a unique character to the design language.
Comfort on the SE846 is emphasized through the ergonomic design that allows the IEM to sit comfortably without any trouble.
Even though it’s a bit bulkier than other IEMs in the SE series, it’s ergonomic enough for a comfortable fit.
The SE846 won’t leave you feeling like you’re listening to earphones.
Instead, the soundstage on this audio equipment is enormous, and I’ve to say that listening audio through SE846 feels much like listening to your favorite track for the first time all over again.
The clarity achieved is super impressive, and this is particularly true for the in-ear models.
Every frequency stands out on its right, and better yet, it won't overwhelm you as you listen.
The bass component is tight and deep, and it feels very well controlled.
The mids, on the other hand, are warm, and if you love vocals, you’ll surely fall in love with the SE846.
The only letdown on this device was the treble, which I feel is not extended enough, even though it feels detailed and present.
- Great build
- Awesome sound quality
- Treble not the best
Westone UM Pro 10 Single Driver In-Ear Monitors - Best for Drummers
Westone is yet another famous brand in the audio equipment domain.
The Westone UM Pro 10 is their entry-level ear monitoring earphone.
It's less bulky than the Shure SE846, but despite its small size, the earbuds on this model deliver big on sound.
Features and Benefits
For the earpiece itself, the build quality is excellent.
The polymer construction feels solid with a clean finish.
I’m quite impressed with the build quality, and though it’s designed from plastic, it doesn’t feel like “cheap plastic” at all.
Instead, it oozes premium construction and isn't going to break down any time soon.
Size and Comfort
As we had mentioned earlier, the size of this model is a bit smaller, but it's a good thing since it can comfortably fit in most of the ears.
Better yet, it comes with proprietary True-Fit Tips that promote ease of wear and comfort.
These tips are available in multiple sizes, to provide a personalized fit, and awesome noise isolation.
Better yet, these in-ear monitors will stay put as they’re designed for over-the-ear wear.
For most drummers, what matters a lot in IEMs is the sound quality and noise reduction, which the UM Pro 10 does exceptionally.
This audio equipment is well rated by professional drummers, and this is despite having only a single driver.
Yet, the single driver seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to sound quality, and it provides a crisp sound in any frequency range.
The sound stage on the UM Pro 10 is okay, and it's easy to hear the depth and width.
Using the proprietary, Star Tips allows for more space and makes the soundstage wider.
It offers a well-rounded bass and considerable treble.
However, I would avoid using the UM Pro 10 for monitoring because it only features a single balance amateur, which moves less air and generates lesser impact and slam, as compared to the dynamic drivers.
Nonetheless, it delivers big on sound and has incredible noise cancellation properties making it a suitable option for the loud musical genres such as metal and hard rock.
- Personalized fit
- Delivers a wider soundstage
- Bass is less defined
MEE Audio M6 - Best for Singers
It's hard to believe that you can get a fantastic pair of in-ears on a budget.
With the MEE Audio M6, however, you get a pair of professional in-ears without digging too deep into your pockets.
Despite the inexpensive nature, this IEM comes with improved sound quality and amazing features.
Features and Benefits
Overall, the M6 is built fairly well, especially considering the price point
They come with a premium design feature, including two sturdy cables that make the earphone sturdy for your performances.
They also come with a transparent shell, which helps to enhance the overall aesthetics.
Finally, they fit well in the ears of the users with minimal chances of slipping of.
Overall, I like the fit on these in-ear monitors.
The ear tips are made from foam, which makes them comfortable for any users, and they come with hooks to ensure they fit well with every user.
They also lack stiffness, which makes the headphone quite stable and ideal for live performances.
The formable cable further underlines their use for live performances as they allow users to wrap around the ear s for a tight fit and prevent the monitor from falling out.
Honestly, the sound quality on this headphone won’t blow you away immediately.
However, after some experimenting, and maybe comparing it with a few pairs in its class, you’ll see why this model is a choice for many.
A notable highlight on this headphone is that it emphasizes the frequencies.
The high frequencies let you hear a detailed audio output, exactly what you would need for your jamming sessions.
Though the bass sounds a bit muddy and lacks clarity, the mids and highs are crisp, and so is the treble.
- Solid brass and clear mids
- Sharp treble
Audio In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System by Pyle - Budget Pick
Like the Audio M6 we’ve reviewed above, the Audio In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System by Pyle is yet another budget option in-ear monitor.
Despite the budget tag, it’s a functional headphone that delivers impeccable sound quality.
It’s also a comfortable model, and it won’t fatigue you down even when using it for extended periods.
Features and Benefits
The headphone is entirely made from plastic, which is typical of the budget option models.
However, it’s far from being a low-quality
Instead, it’s all-around a solid model, and more importantly, it functions as intended.
We were concerned that these headphones don’t feature any over-ear grip.
However, to our surprise, they fit incredibly well, and will not wear you down even after using them for extended periods.
You would think that purchasing a budget-option IEM won't guarantee you great sound, but in this case, it does.
Sure, I have to agree that the sound output is not the best we’ve seen and is nowhere comparable to what we had seen on the Shure or UM Pro, but I would say it’s quite decent.
The bass, in particular, is not well developed, and it’s not refined either. But the good thing is, the audio tones are right where you need them to be.
As we have mentioned above, the bass is generally good, but during the low-frequency tone, you're likely to experience some bit of hissing in your ears.
While it could prove to be annoying at the time, it's not an ever-present issue.
- Great audio quality
- Long-lasting batteries
- Solid headphones
- Bass could be better.
ROCUSO GLE300 - Most underrated
If you're an ardent follower of my blog, you know well that now and then I always make a point of trying a new brand or trying a slightly underrated product.
And today, we shall look at the ROCUSO GLE300; this IEM has plenty of positive reviews, with users claiming it offers an incredible performance.
But is the model ideal for you?
Features and Benefits
The design look and feel on the ROCUSO GLE300 is solid and long-lasting.
It’s aesthetic too, and in particular, the transparent shell casing will let you see the entire working mechanism of the earphone.
I also like how it’s easy to manage the cords so that they don’t get in your way while working.
Better yet, you’ll not have to get concerned with adjusting this IME at regular intervals, because it stays magically put.
According to the manufacture, ROCUSO GLE300 is designed "to rock your soul."
Now, I might not know about you, but that takes some work.
With the ROCUSO, GLE300 expect impressive audio elements such as crisp sound.
Better yet, I love that the device is compatible with the most device, and this should take a load off your mind.
The sound quality is not the best in the market, but there’s nothing to complain about. Generally, the ROCUSO GLE300 isn’t the ideal option for the pros, but if you’re a beginner and looking to get some decent work done, then they’re not a bad option.
With the ROCUSO GLE300, you get powerful bass, which isn't too overpowering, and the high notes are delivered crisply.
My favorite feature on this monitor is they’re completely water and sweat resistant.
The resistance feature is great, especially if you love listening to music while working out, or even while going on walks.
- Decent sound
- Ideal for beginners
- Water and sweat proof
- Sound quality not the best
Best In-Ear Monitors Buying Guide
Choosing the best in-ear monitor might feel like choosing a TV set or making any other large purchase.
There’re several things that you should take into account when making a selection.
Fortunately, we shall help you with that because, in the text below, we've listed the critical elements that you should consider.
What to Consider When Selecting the Best In-Ear Monitor
Wired or Wireless
The choice of whether to go with a wired or wireless IEM depends on the purpose for which you’ll be using your monitor.
For instance, the choice of either will depend on your position in a band.
If you’re a drummer or a keyboard player, a wireless in-ear monitor doesn’t make a lot of sense for you due to your static position.
However, if you’re the lead singer or guitarist, a wireless IEM would make perfect sense for you since it gives you the freedom of movement.
However, the choice of either goes beyond convenience.
While wireless IEMs provide freedom of movement, they often suffer from interference issues and are more complex.
With the wired IEMs, you don't have to worry about audio dropout or interference, and better yet, they cost less than the wireless options.
Noise isolation, also known as noise attenuation, is measured in decibels (dB).
It indicates how much an IEM blocks outside sound.
Regardless of how we discuss IEM, if they don't sound good, it's better to throw them out of the window.
Sound quality depends on an array of factors, but more often than not, it directly relates to the type of connection of your IEM.
Other audio features that determine the overall sound quality are the frequency response and the impedance and sensitivity.
The frequency response shows what frequencies the IEMs can produce.
Models with a bigger range generate better sound quality.
On average, the good IEMs have, on average, 2500 Hz frequency response, which I sufficient to transmit maximum sound details.
Impedance and sensitivity, on the other hand, is measured in decibels, and it shows how much volume IEMs produce. It also affects the amount of power needed to produce a certain amount of volume.
Unlike the low-cost in-ears that use a cable down wear style that doesn’t offer much support, the advanced IEMs feature an over-the-ear design that enhances greater comfort and helps to keep the cable away.
You don’t want your IEM to break down in the middle of a concert, so you would want to choose durable equipment.
Better yet, your equipment should be waterproofed or rather sweat-resistant, since you’re likely to get soaked up in sweat during your playset.
Generally, I'd recommend that you choose IEMs carved out of robust aluminum or high-density construction.
In-ear Monitors are the perfect audio equipment for those in search of clarity and better sound performance.
While they’re generally associated with the professionals, IEM can virtually be used by anyone who is looking for better audio performance.
However, like the good things in life, it can take some time to find that perfect pair.
Fortunately, our article above will put you on the right path.
Are in-ear monitors better than over-the-ear headphones?
This depends on the individual needs. The In-ears are perfect for details, especially with music professionals. They are known for their lightweight nature, comfortable and portable. Unlike over-the-ear headphones, these are almost invisible and easy to use everywhere without experiencing the bulkiness seen in the over-the-ear headphones.
Can I use in-ear monitors for a long time?
Using earphones for a very long time will have adverse effects on your hearing. Therefore, you’ll need to have breaks in between your sessions to safeguard your ears. You need to occasionally inspect the earphone monitors to ensure they don’t damage your ears over a long period of usage. Use comfortable in-ear monitors to avoid getting fatigued down.
Are in-ear monitors durable?
Not all of them are durable, but manufacturers have tried to include the best materials when crafting the earphones to ensure they run you long before the next replacement. However, the cheap plastic options are not good for your investment, and professionally, they won’t give you the quality of sound you need for years.
Do in-ear monitors have a warranty?
This depends on the brand you are getting. The warranties will differ in years and terms, so you’ll need the monitors that give you a longer warranty period.