In-Ear Monitor Headphone Reviews

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ljokerl Posted: Jun 26, 2015 9 comments

...At the same show two years later, I came across Audiofly again. The company had a new range of in-ear monitors with ergonomic designs, interchangeable cables, and a variety of performance options with prices ranging from $150 to $550. The range-topping, quad-balanced armature AF180 model has taken quite a while to come to the USA, but it's finally here, and it is good.

John Grandberg Posted: May 27, 2015 7 comments
A "new" custom IEM company that's been around for 30 years? Yeah, there's a story in there somewhere.
n_maher Posted: Apr 08, 2015 6 comments
A short time after posting my budget CIEM article I was contacted by another manufacturer, Alclair, and asked if I was interested in trying their Reference CIEM which they thought would be a good fit for an addition to the article. As it just so happened, I had a spare set of ear impressions so I sent them on their way and a little while later received a brand new pair of CIEMs in return.
ljokerl Posted: Nov 07, 2014 24 comments

The bread and butter of the Beats brand have always been the on-ear and over-ear models—the Solo and Studio. They were also the ones most criticisms focused on, but for me the biggest disappointment was actually the original Beats Tour in-ear, which was too harsh for a basshead earphone, yet too boomy for fans of brighter sound. It was never quite sure what it wanted to be, which made the $150 price tag difficult to swallow.

This is not the case with the new Beats Tour 2.0—while it did not impress me quite as much as the new Solo2 impressed Tyll earlier this year, it is a much more focused and purposeful earphone than the original model. The focus just happens to be on bass.

John Grandberg Posted: Oct 27, 2014 10 comments

Noble Audio has been shaking things up in the world of custom in-ear monitors. I take two models for a spin and see if they really deserve all the attention they've been getting.

ljokerl Posted: Aug 12, 2014 34 comments

Priced at $15 in China and about $25 once it gets stateside, the Piston is notable for several reasons. First, it features a 3-button inline remote designed for use with Android devices, whereas most headsets on the US market use 3-button Apple iOS remotes that have limited functionality with other operating systems.

Second, the Piston does not look or feel like a $25 product. The design is extremely well thought-out. The compact acrylic box, for example, can double as a storage case while its paper sleeve unfolds into a user manual.

And then, seemingly to underline how much Xiaomi have thought about the first impression their product leaves on its user, the tray and earphones have a faint chocolate aroma, ticking off four of the five senses in total.

n_maher Posted: Aug 01, 2014 43 comments
This story starts way back in 2004 when I first started getting into listening to music with headphones. At the time there was no such thing as a custom IEM and really, there were precious few choices in the IEM market period. Today there's a new IEM manufacturer around every corner but the custom market has exploded, with manufacturers both large and small providing options to suit just about every taste and budget.
ljokerl Posted: May 29, 2014 14 comments

Philips' latest budget in-ear releases, the TX1 and TX2, do not bear the Fidelio badge but still indicate a trickling down of know-how from the higher-end Fidelio products.

ljokerl Posted: Jan 28, 2014 26 comments

Scotland-based RHA has been around for a couple of years, releasing several sub-$100 earphones and headphones to generally positive feedback on Head-Fi. We've measured a few of their in-ears, which have always been decidedly bass-heavy. The new MA750—the company's flagship earphone as of late last year—also doesn't suffer for lack of bass but clearly deserves a closer look.

ljokerl Posted: Dec 29, 2013 2 comments

Onkyo entered the on-ear headphone market with quite the splash. ljokerl thought it would be a good idea to investigate their in-ear offering as well.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: Nov 26, 2013 22 comments

Damn! I almost fell over the first time I switched them on...the quiet was physically stunning. I spent my last two flights with the Bose Quiet Comfort 20 in my ears...the sense of having my own space and refuge was extraordinary. Go ahead and yell it at the top of your lungs, I'm sure I'll barely hear...

SANCTUARY!!!

ljokerl Posted: Oct 28, 2013 37 comments

Once in a while, however, a solid entry-level product makes me think of how precariously balanced the whole Hi-Fi segment is.

ljokerl Posted: Aug 31, 2013 45 comments

The RE-400 debuted in early 2013, offering the same type of accurate dynamic-driver sound that has become synonymous with HiFiMan earphones. The RE-600, released just recently, is billed as an all-around upgrade but carries a hefty price tag of $399—four times what the RE-400 costs. Let's see what each of them has to offer.

ljokerl Posted: Jul 06, 2013 10 comments
It would be very surprising if China, the world's largest exporter of headphones and earphones, did not cultivate several audio brands of its own. Indeed, there are quite a few, some specializing in assembling ready-made components into generic $5 earbuds and others offering remarkably faithful Beats by Dre knockoffs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are companies producing some of the best-value audio products on the market.

VSonic is one such outfit.

ljokerl Posted: Jun 05, 2013 12 comments

It's not every year that a company as revered as Sennheiser releases a new flagship product, especially one that nudges four figures with its price tag, but last year saw the release of the $999.95 Sennheiser IE 800, along with AKG's K3003 and Ultrasone's IQ. The K3003 and IQ both utilize hybrid driver systems, combining balanced armature and dynamic drivers, along with appropriate crossovers, in their housings. The IE 800, however, utilizes a single dynamic driver, like all of Sennheiser's other earphones. This in itself is likely to elicit groans from some IEM enthusiasts but Axel Grell, the creator of the earphone and Sennheiser's Senior Acoustic Engineer, obviously felt no need to go beyond the dynamic driver for marketing or performance reasons.

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