Best In-ear Monitors

Review & Comparison, Last Update March 16, 2017
If you enjoy listening to music everywhere, you know how important sound isolation is. The best earphones to cope with this problem are in-ear monitors that are frequently used by musicians during live performances. Here's our top 5 of the best in-ear monitors! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
IMPEDANCE
SENSITIVITY
PACKAGE
EXTRAS
WARRANTY
 
PROS
The stereo mode allows controlling the balance for each earbud individually. The operating temperature range is from -0.4°F from +145.4°F. Wireless signal transmission is very convenient.
CONS
A bit expensive.
OUR VERDICT
Shure is a professional model providing any musician with a 24-bit sound and freedom from wires. The quality of your performance is now in your hands. Use any radio frequency you like to avoid noise interferences.
detailed parameters
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
22 Hz - 17.5 kHz
IMPEDANCE
20 Ω
SENSITIVITY
107 dB
PACKAGE
1 x Set of earbuds, 1 x Wireless bodypack receiver, 1 x Mono wireless receiver, 1 x Demountable 1/4 wave antenna, 1 x BNC cable, 1 x BNC bulkhead adapter, 1 x Peripheral power supply, 1 x Zipper bag, 2 x AA batteries
EXTRAS
Effective range of the receiver is 300 ft, The cable length is 64", Comfy beltpack, Noise attenuation - up to 37 dB
WARRANTY
2 years (limited)
PROS
A demountable cable turns these earbuds into a telephone headset assembly for Apple devices. A set of premium tips provides an exceptional convenience in use.
CONS
Needs an additional cable for connecting to Android devices.
OUR VERDICT
These earbuds have been designed specifically to optimize the music listening experience. Hear all the tunes exactly like a musician plays them. There is also a model with enhanced specs.
detailed parameters
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
20 Hz - 16 kHz
IMPEDANCE
27 Ω
SENSITIVITY
122 dB
PACKAGE
5 x STAR silicone sleeves, 5 x Premium True-Fit foam tips, 1 x MFi G2 cable, 1 x EPIC Replaceable cable, 1 x Monitor Vault, 1 x Cleaning tool
EXTRAS
Demountable cable for fast replacement, The cable length is 50", Noise attenuation - up to 25 dB
WARRANTY
2 years (limited)
PROS
A gold-plated MMCX input allows rotating the cable without quality losses or unwanted noises. The sound quality remains excellent. The carrying case is firm and durable.
CONS
The cable is vulnerable to dirt.
OUR VERDICT
A professional sound is simple if you choose these Shure earbuds. Formidable drivers provide clear and natural sound with an enhanced low-frequency band.
detailed parameters
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
22 Hz - 17.5 kHz
IMPEDANCE
20 Ω
SENSITIVITY
107 dB
PACKAGE
6 x Flexible sleeves in multiple shapes, 1 x Detachable cable, 1 x Carrying case
EXTRAS
Durable kevlar cable, The cable length is 64", Noise attenuation - up to 37 dB
WARRANTY
2 years (limited)
PROS
Patented detachable sports earhooks allow listening to the music for hours without any signs of weariness. A 8-mm driver guarantees deep bass and excellent acoustics.
CONS
The cable is not long enough.
OUR VERDICT
These earbuds will serve you for ages thanks to a metal frame and a cable binding braid made of kevlar. Forget about the irritating internal breaks of wires and enjoy the superior sound quality!
detailed parameters
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
2 Hz - 25 kHz
IMPEDANCE
16 Ω
SENSITIVITY
105 dB
PACKAGE
16 x BLISS 3.0 (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) fittings in 4 sizes, 2 x ActiveFlex sport earhooks, 1 x Carrying pouch
EXTRAS
The cable length is 46", Built-in 3-Button Remote Mic (optimized for iOS devices)
WARRANTY
2 years (limited)
PROS
The bass pipe provides emphasized lows to fully convey the sounding of the track. The ambient noise isolation is really superb. Metal inserts make the earbuds look quite stylish.
CONS
The set doesn't support standard cables.
OUR VERDICT
An overwhelming sound accuracy and an ergonomic design! The sound quality gives you the maximum joy from listening to music whereas the shape of earbuds keeps them snug in your ears.
detailed parameters
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
10 Hz - 25 kHz
IMPEDANCE
16 Ω
SENSITIVITY
110 dB
PACKAGE
8 x Silicone earlips, 2 x Detachable cables, 1 x Mini protection box, 1 x Shirt clip
EXTRAS
The cable length is 47.2", Metal inserts
WARRANTY
10 months

What are In-Ear Monitors

In-ear monitors are special vacuum earphones with professional-grade specifications. The design of these devices allows placing them in your ears with excellent sound isolation. Hence, they are mainly used in personal sound monitoring during live performances or studio recording sessions. Using these earbuds, you will be able to hear clearly when it's time to start playing (or singing), and thanks to this, you will have an opportunity to record the tracks at the first go-off that will save you a lot of time, effort, and even money!

You should be in a good mood to engage in sports activities and wireless earbuds will help you. Check out our review of the best wireless earbuds and gain even more pleasure from sports! If you are not a musician, you will probably take interest in our top of the best MP3 players, since good earphones need a decent output device. The vocalists may find our top 5 of the best USB microphones really useful.

What Features to Compare

Performance Specifications

The first thing to consider while choosing a personal sound monitor device is, of course, its specs. They will determine the quality and clarity of sound along with noise attenuation. The frequency response is one of the most important parameters as it affects the playback, making the track sound brighter and more natural. You should choose earphones according to the music you are going to listen or play. The lower band limit of 20 Hz - 40 Hz is optimal for the music with lots of low frequencies and if you are searching for vox monitors, 10.2 Hz - 20.4 kHz will suit you perfectly. Of course, there exist one-box solutions but does overpaying make sense?

Extra Features

Some in-ear monitors can be used as an ordinary telephone headset assembly. Since nearly any device has a 3.5 mm slot, the applicability of earbuds is extremely wide. The long demountable cable won't cause any discomfort and will save you a lot of money in case you tear it, so you won't have to buy new earphones just because your cable is out of order.

Design

In-ear monitors usually have a design that differs from ordinary earphones due to special needs of the core audience. Most monitors have a well-thought-out shape that allows them to snugly fit in your ears. Some earbuds have changeable color inserts, others have a unique design that follows the shape of your ear pavilion. You will always be able to find a stylish gadget!

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Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300

Professional Policy

A decent sound quality is a result of many hours spent in the music recording studio with a professional equipment. There are lots of devices which will improve the quality of your performance nowadays, from microphones to special in-ear monitors. Shure PSM300 is one of the best! Having excellent specifications and a secure in-ear mounting, this monitor gives you an opportunity to increase the quality of your performance. This is a stereophonic device that transmits a 24-bit sound to any point of the scene or the studio thanks to the wireless technology. Since live performances don't always happen when the weather is fine, PSM300 has the operating temperature from -18°C to +63°C. This is why your audience will always get the best sound from you.

Review of Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System

Carte Blanche

The control over the sound monitoring system is rather important as it affects your performance. You should be able to hear your voice or music all the time in any place of the scene, so the distant balance and volume control come in handy. The PSM300 has a special remote control with a belt clip that will give you a chance to adjust volume and balance. It also has a small display which shows the battery charge and adjustable settings.

Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System in the use

More Products to Consider

A microphone is one of the most important factors of cool performance. It affects the clarity of your voice and sound quality. To improve your sound, we recommend you to use one of these best USB microphones.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300
Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300
 

Westone W10 Single Driver Universal Fit Noise Isolating Earphones

Managing Customer Needs

Westone W10 boasts many useful features. It can be easily used as a telephone headset, as it has a special remote and mic on the cable, which supports Apple devices. Thanks to the efficient design, the earbuds snugly fit your ears, so they won't drop whatever you do. Moreover, there are special foam tips that increase the level of comfort. So, forget about weariness after using the earphones for several hours. The transportation of this model is no problem at all because they are provided with a firm container for earbuds and cable. Speaking of which, have we mentioned that it is demountable? Thus, the device is not only easy to store but can be replaced. Each set of earphones goes with 5 unique color tips and you will always be able to choose the one according to your mood. No matter whether you are a musician or just a music lover, you will appreciate all the features Westone W10 provides!

Review of Westone W10 Single Driver Universal Fit Noise Isolating Earphones

About Westone

Westone has manufactured custom earpieces since 1959, the year it was founded. Even the U.S. armed forces use their production to protect pilots from the deafening sound of jet plane engines. It shows the level of sound isolating quality of the company better than any advertisement does. Weston does not shy away from the medical industry, either. Thanks to it, many disabled and old people use custom deaf-aids which help them hear the world. Participation in such important business provides a valuable experience, giving a possibility to create more elegant and efficient earpieces. This is why the production of this company will always be above all praise!

Westone W10 Single Driver Universal Fit Noise Isolating Earphones in the use

More Products to Consider

Even the best earphones in the world won't make your favorite music sound cool without a decent output device. The Westone W10 earphones aren't an exception, hence make sure to read our review of the best MP3 players.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Westone W10 Single Driver Universal Fit Noise Isolating Earphones
Westone W10 Single Driver Universal Fit Noise Isolating Earphones
 

Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones

Personal Assistant

The quality of any performance depends on every musician in a band, so it is very important to play right on time. It is rather difficult because sometimes you just cannot hear the music! That's when IEMs are the best solution to this problem. The first in-ear monitors appeared in the early sixties when the members of one rock band realized that they performed a lot better when they heard each other in the monitors. Nowadays, technologies have substantially developed, so you don't need huge monitor speakers - a soundboard will send the signal right to the earphones!

The Shure SE215-CL uses the same technology. The specifications of this model provide an extremely high sound quality allowing you to hear the slightest tunes in the song, so you can also use them for mixing tracks. The earpieces have a glassy sleek design, so they are really hard to notice for other people. The gold-plated jack plug also proves the top-grade quality of the device.

 

Review of Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones

Long-standing Leadership

Shure has been producing the best musical devices for decades and it is not going to stop. The enormous experience the company has gained helps it create nearly perfect stage equipment including microphones, monitor speakers, and in-ear monitors. Numerous popular artist use Shure production in the recording process along with live performance equipment since it never lets them down and provides professional support.

The Shure SE215-CL is one of the most popular IEM devices, as it guarantees the perfect sound isolation, wide frequency response range, and strong detachable cable that will serve you for ages. The input plug is designed specifically for concert performances, where a user is likely to move a lot. In all, this in-ear monitor is a formidable choice for musicians who praise the ease of use.

Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones in the use

More Products to Consider

If you are an avid smartphone user, you would, probably, like the ability to receive calls without taking your cell phone from the pocket. To do so, get a Bluetooth headset!

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones
Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones
 

V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones

Fancy Device

We all like to emphasize our individuality with the help of various accessories that form our lifestyle. And earphones obviously belong to this group of products. Millions of people listen to music on their way to work, during sports activities, etc. The better the earphones are, the more joy you will get from your favorite music. And of course, if you never part with your earphones, they should suit your personal style.

The V-MODA in-ear headphones are the perfect choice for customers who wish to get the best from their MP3 players and to have a classy appearance. The V-MODA Zn model has excellent specifications and guarantees a formidable sound along with deep bass and clear tremble. Moreover, the casing of this model is made of a special zinc alloy, so it not only looks cool but is also resistant to rust and scratches. The kevlar cable has a special remote with several buttons to take calls and switch music. By the way, you can even control your smartphone with the help of Siri - just give it orders via the microphone on the cable!

Review of V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones

Total Sound Isolation

There exist dozens of various earphone types and the choice depends on how you plan to use them. The V-MODA belong to in-ear headphones and their main advantage over other similar models is a superb sound isolation. The vacuum design means the headphones will fit your ears perfectly well, so the monitors are great for a morning jogs as well as for stage performances. Each set of these earphones comes with 2 special earhooks that are great for sports activities as they provide better stability and fit. The specifications of this model are not the best for mixing tracks because of low impedance but they are ideal for listening to music. And of course, they are nearly perfect sound monitors thanks to the ultimate sound isolation!

V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones in the use

A Piece of Advice

All earphones will be comfortable in use only if a cable is long enough, so always remember to check the length of the cable before buying. This model has the shortest cable among all the 5 devices we've reviewed, its length is just 46". Of course, it's not that bad, but it may be insufficient for some people. And remember, the cable should not be strained since it might tear up.

Detailed review of V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones

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A smart watch will surely be a handy accessory for any active person.

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones
V-MODA Zn In-Ear Modern Audiophile Headphones
 

GranVela R8 IEM ALL METAL Noise-Isolating Earphones

Enter the Universe of Music

Can't imagine your life without music? The GranVela company has taken care about ardent music lovers and offers the brand new GranVela R8 IEM. These superb earphones follow the shape of your ear, providing nice sound isolation and snug fit, so you can do whatever you want without worrying that the earbuds will drop. Moreover, the design of these earphones includes stylish metal inserts that look quite cool. The specifications of this model offer a decent sound for any kind of music: the deep bass adds volume to any song and the clear tremble allows to hear each wrinkle of the track. A low impedance guarantees excellent output volume level for any MP3 player.

Review of GranVela R8 IEM ALL METAL Noise-Isolating Earphones

Comfort Above All

The GranVela R8 IEM is designed specifically for people who spend their life with an MP3 player in hands. This is why the top priority of the company is not only a high-quality sound but also an ease of use. The cable length is not very long but it is sufficient for listening to music on your way to work or during a morning run. A special shirt clip reduces the risk of losing earlips or dropping the earphones on the ground. A special shape of the earphones guarantees the perfect fit along with sound isolation, so you won't hear any disturbing external noises while listening to your favorite tracks. Each set of these earphones comes with 8 silicone earlips of different size and a special protective case for transportation.

GranVela R8 IEM ALL METAL Noise-Isolating Earphones in the use

More Products to Consider

How do you enhance your mood? Well, you most likely adore listening to your favorite music or taking pictures. Unfortunately, you won't always be able to find a person who will take your photo. So, what can you do? Buy a selfie stick and enjoy taking pictures and shooting videos!


GranVela R8 IEM ALL METAL Noise-Isolating Earphones
GranVela R8 IEM ALL METAL Noise-Isolating Earphones
 

Sources:

1. Jon Burton An Introduction To In-ear Monitoring, Sound On Sound.  February 2013.

2. Keith Crusher Getting Started with In-Ear Monitoring, AskAudio. April 13, 2014.

3. Why choose in-ear monitors? Audio-Technica USA.

4. Stage & Studio: Musician’s In-Ear Monitors Buyer’s Guide, The Headphone List. July 18, 2014.

5. Basic Guide To In Ear Canalphones, Head-Fi. March 22, 2012.

6. Joe Shambro How to Mix In-Ear Monitors, About Tech.

7. Aaron Staniulis 4 of the Most Common Misconceptions About In-Ear Monitors, Sonicbids Blog. February 10, 2015.

8. Nachiket Mhatre All you need to know about buying in-ear earphones, Tech2. June 4, 2013.