In-Ear Monitor Headphone Reviews

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John Grandberg Posted: Oct 27, 2014 4 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 29 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 38 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 25 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 19 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 41 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 9 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.

Tyll Hertsens Posted: May 16, 2013 8 comments

You know what's funny about this job? You travel half way around the world and then talk to people you know well. Fang is one of those people. I'm thinking I should go to China one of these days and talk to him again.

Anyway, HiFiMAN had a couple of cool dynamic IEMs that were a good listen. Check it out.

Ed. Note: I've posted my show impressions for Stereophile, you can read them here.

John Grandberg Posted: May 04, 2013 48 comments

It's extremely hard to compare custom IEMs. Few users have more than one pair, so direct personal comparisons are rare. They can't be measured by InnerFidelity because they don't fit in the measurement head's ears. What to do?

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! In this review 5 InnerFidelity writers, blessed with the generosity of manufacturers willing to put their ToTL CIEMs through the ringer do a massive comparative review of 24 of the worlds best custom in-ear monitors.

Epic!

ljokerl Posted: Apr 10, 2013 43 comments

In a recent reddit AMA Tyll mentioned that Philips offerings have surprised him the most in recent years. Listening to the new Fidelio earphones, I have to agree---Philips did a spectacularly good job with these two earphones.

ljokerl Posted: Mar 01, 2013 29 comments

A few months ago we tested Logitech UE's new in-ear flagship, the UE 900---a top-tier, quad-driver earphone with very impressive sound quality. Continuing the budget theme of my recent reviews, I thought the company's cheapest armature-based model was worth taking a look at as well.

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