– only on SBAF I figured this place could use some added IEM content, so here it goes... I’ve had the pleasure of hearing (owning, borrowing and auditioning) hundreds of in-ears and thought I’d share my top recommendations/favorites across all sound signatures and technologies. List will be updated as I continue to explore the rapidly growing portable market. All MSRP’s are approximate. To see a comprehensive list of all in-ears I've heard, follow this link to google docs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13oa1VMMKY0UjYbRuY0zsIEqGKp2R29O8tCYCKPzf82E/edit?usp=sharing Balanced Armatures Audio-Technica ATH-CK10 – MSRP $350 (discontinued; occasionally available from Japan importers). Universal. A portable audio classic. Neutral to analytical frequency response. Blazing fast bass; crisp and transparent midrange; super sparkly treble with very good timbre. Deep fit required. Super tiny housings. Others worth consideration: ATH-IM02; ATH-LS200 Brainwavz B400 – MSRP $189.50. Universal. 3D printed shells of so, so quality. Sightly warm and sweet signature that is moderately lower midrange centric. Impressive imaging and layering. Easy to listen to with slightly shelved down treble. Not too far of the neutral reservation but certainly thicker and richer than more neutral leaning sets. Huge bang for buck value. Campfire Audio Andromeda – MSRP $1099. Universal. Downward sloping signature with a rebound in treble for plenty of sparkle. Just slightly north of neutral. Excellent transients and leading edges of notes. Just lovely treble sparkle and shimmer. Super shallow fit due to squat nozzles. Large, industrial housings. Orion– MSRP $349. Universal. Mid-centric, somewhat neutralish signature with middle/upper mid bump. Great Campfire Audio family treble. Large housings for single armature. Empire Ears Spartan – MSRP $749. Custom and Universal. Slight U shaped response. Bass is deep bass focused; clear and engaging midrange; sparkly but relatively easy going treble. Zeus (R) – MSRP $2099. Custom and Universal. Well balanced signature. Excellent treble clarity, resolution and sparkle; full midrange and bass with deep bass tilt. Exceptional at layering and imaging. Others worth consideration: Cerberus, Athena Etymotic ER-4S – MSRP $299. Universal. A portable audio classic. Diffuse field tuned neutral reference. Perhaps the best in-ear treble I’ve heard. Can be slightly hot in the upper midrange (2-4k). Noticeable bass roll off under 60 Hz. Second bend fit required and can be annoying/itchy. Microphonics are unbearable without shirt clip. Final Audio FI-BA-SS – MSRP $999. Universal. Perhaps my favorite tuned single balanced armature. Somewhat V shaped and super transparent signature. Often described as RAW sounding. Plentiful bass with Final Audio’s BAM technology; transparent and crisp midrange; edgy and raw treble that either performs magically or disastrously. Art deco design. FitEar F111 – MSRP $500. Universal. The FitEar single balanced armature homage to the ER-4S. Slightly warm take on neutral. Full mid bass with mild sub roll off; fuller lower mids but still good upper mid presence for great male and female vocals; slightly laid back treble. Horn design nozzle for help with treble extension. Easy shallow fit. Hard to obtain due to Japanese market manufacturer limitations. Others worth consideration: TG334 InEar ProPhile-8 – MSRP $1399. Universal. Neutral Reference. Reminds me of the Etymotic ER4XR but clearer, more transparent and much more resolving. Comes with 2 switches: Bass switch that tastefully elevates bass evenly across the spectrum about 3 db's; Treble switch that supposedly elevates lower to middle treble by 2 db's (very subtle change). Biggest criticism is it’s lacking presence in the top octave. Jerry Harvey Audio Angie – MSRP $1399. Universal. Midcentric take on a neutral signature. Variable bass with mid bass focus; fantastic midrange with intimate and evocative vocals; laid back treble. Lacking reference level treble extension. Others worth consideration: Layla Lime Ears Aether – MSRP $1250. Custom. Downward sloping signature that’s somewhat similar to Andromeda but more V shaped in comparison. Aether has very slightly more bass emphasis, particularly in sub/deep bass. Excellent bass texture. Overall note thickness is slightly warmer and thicker than Andromeda. Treble is not quite as prominent as but still maintains plenty of sparkle; slightly accentuates sibilance. Massdrop Plus– MSRP $299. Universal. Diffuse field neutral signature with an approximate 7 db deep bass boost. Similar tuning approach to Sony MH1 but much better implemented. One of the most ergonomic shells on the market. Extreme clarity, excellent distortion guitar crunch. Masters what the Ety XR failed to achieve. One of the best bang for buck iems on the market. Noble Savanna – MSRP $499. Universal. Slighly midcentric take on a neutral signature. Very good balance across the spectrum with just a bit of warmth through midrange. New Savannah tuning was peak free in treble, unlike previous Noble 4. K10U – MSRP $1650. Universal. Midcentric signature. Full, plentiful bass with deep bass focus; lush and engaging mids with excellent vocal; easy going treble with decent sparkle and good extension. Massdrop X– MSRP $250. Universal. Downward sloping signautre. Reminiscent of the NAD HP50. Visceral bass, slight bump in upper mids and smooth treble. Recommend wide bore, large tips with shallow fit. Ortofon E-Q8 – MSRP $389. Universal. Neutral leaning signature with focus on upper midrange. Very well extended bass for a single balanced armature. Midrange made to showcase distortion rock guitars. Could use a bit more treble sparkle; treble rolls off early. Perfect Seal PS4 – MSRP $450. Custom. Balanced but fun presentation. Mild bass and treble boost. Engaging clarity, sparkle and rumble. AR6 – MSRP $950. Custom. Available in acrylic or silicone (silicone is more expensive). Neutral frequency response with slight upper mid focus. Excellent bass extension and holographic presentation. Deca– MSRP $1450. Custom. 10 drivers with seamless coherency. Very slightly downward sloping neutral signature. Everything the UERR should have been. Absolutely bottomless bass that rumbles strongly down to 20hz. Clear and energetic midrange with fantastic resolution. Slightly laid back treble but still more presence and sparkle that the UERR. Others worth consideration: PS6 Ultimate Ears UERM – MSRP (discontinued; used only). Custom. My personal neutral reference. Bass is mid bass focused with roll off under 50 Hz. One of the most resolving midranges I’ve heard. Sparkly and slightly analytical treble with upper mid treble focus; extension to 16k +; Open and airy presentation. UE18+– MSRP $1500. Custom. Balanced stage monitor signature. Very slight upper mid veil but otherwise natural and resolving. Much better treble presence than UERR. Pleasing and easy to listen to. Others worth consideration: UERR, UE4 Unique Melody Maestro – MSRP $1449. Custom and Universal. UM’s North American take on a neutral signature. Slightly fuller bass and lower mids over Miracle, with more refined, less peaky treble. Hybrids AAW W900 – MSRP $2100. Custom/Universal. Easy going, polite all rounder. Bass and lower midrange enhanced with shelved down treble. Superb dynamic texture and decay with tame, yet very even and extended treble. Zero treble spikes. Fun done right. May be a hair dark and bassy for those looking for a more neutral signature. AKG K3003/i – MSRP $1299. Universal. Not the first hybrid and no longer the best but THE hybrid that started the craze. Moderate V shaped signature. Moderate deep bass boost with slow, lingering decay; engaging upper midrange; super sparkly treble with fantastic timbre. Non-removable cable with minimal strain relief. Treble may be too bright for some. Aurisonics ASG 1 Plus – MSRP $499 (discontinued; used only). Universal. Very slight V shaped response that is extremely fun and engaging but doesn’t stray too far from a more neutral signature like the Rockets. Satisfyingly powerful deep bass and effortlessly engaging and very sparkly treble. Campfire Audio Solaris – MSRP $1499. Universal. Neutral with an upper mid/lower treble dip. Dip gives very slight hallow effect and affects treble timbre. Otherwise bass and mids are evenly balanced and natural sounding. Vocals are very forward and layered. Class leading separation and sense of space; superb staging and excellent micro dynamics and resolution. Large, industrial housings. Some early reports of unit variation. Dunu DK-2001 – MSRP $299. Universal. V shaped, upfront signature. Fun bass with very good texture and surprising speed for the amount of boost. Very sparkly lower treble has a resonance affecting timbre. Good for low volume listening. FLC Technology FLC8S – MSRP $359. Universal. Comes with 10 tuning filters (3 sub bass, 3 bass, 4 mids/treble) to adapt to most preferences. Recommended setup: clear sub bass, clear bass, gold mids/treble for most neutral signature. iBasso IT03– MSRP $259. Universal. Bass forward signature that can sound like a minor V sig or downward slopping sig depending upon source. Balance of midrange tilting upper mid versus lower mid. Slightly plasticky treble timbre. Loads of fun. Concha housing protrusion can be physically fatiguing for some ears. Oriveti Primacy – MSRP $299. Universal. Downward sloping response. Warm with mild bass boost; smooth treble. Very comfortable housings. Unique Melody Martian – MSRP $700. Universal only. Slightly bulky but ergonomic and comfortable shells. Midcentric signature: Mild deep bass boost, clear and engaging midrange, laid back but crisp treble. Dynamic Drivers AKG N20 – MSRP $119. Universal. Slight U shaped response. Moderate deep bass boost; full upper mid presence; sparkly but moderate treble. Aurisonics Rockets – MSRP $250 (discontinued; used only). Universal. Neutral frequency response. Bass is neutral and linear with roll off under 50 Hz; intimate and engaging midrange; very slightly shelved down but linear treble with excellent extension. Tiny shells with micro driver and Kevlar cable. Hifiman RE-262 – discontinued; impossible to find. The mids Hifiman known for. JVC HA-FD01– MSRP $399; Needs to be imported from places like Accessory Jack. Universal. Requires simple and reversible mod found HERE. Pre-mod: bloated and harsh. Post mod: U shaped signature leans slightly more fun than neutral. Slightly hazy bass but fantastic timbre and naturalness. Mee Audio Pinnacle P1 – MSRP $199. Universal. Downward sloping response. Warm with mild bass boost; Treble has mild lower peak, then middle to upper treble focused; thin treble note in comparison to bass. Better than average head stage. Midcentury modern design. Periodic Audio Be Beryllium – MSRP $299. Universal. Requires simple and reversible mods. Stock signature is much too bassy with slightly uneven treble. After mods, the signature is slightly warm and smooth with excellent timbre and tonality. Bass speed is very good for a dynamic driver. Fixed cable and housings are cheap feeling for a $299 product. Sony MDR-EX1000 – MSRP $399 (discontinued in USA). Universal. A Sony classic. Very mild V shape take on a neutral signature. Fabulous bass rivaling the best I’ve heard in an in-ear. Transparent mids and slightly analytical treble with a controversial 7k spike. Odd perpendicular fit to ear. Others worth consideration: MDR-7550 Tanchjim Oxygen – MSRP $269. Universal. Single dynamic driver from Tanchjim. Tuned to the newer Harman target for IEMs. Slightly warm, neutral tuning. Fast, natural bass; forward and clear vocals; an extended but easy going top end. Very shallow fit-dual flange tips recommended. Vsonic GR07 Classic – MSRP $99. Universal. A portable audio classic. A fairly neutral but warm signature. A baby EX1000 with slightly more agreeable treble. Others worth consideration: GR07 mkII Budget [Less than $99] Alpha & Delta D6 – MSRP $94.99. Dynamic driver. Universal. Another modder’s gem. Stock signature is analytical and lean. Modifications with micropore tape can bring it to a more neutral and natural signature. Super clean and transparent. On the aggressive but engaging side. Could use more sub bass. Final Audio E1000 – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver. Universal. Warm and smooth signature. Male vocal and acoustic instrument specialist. Natural tone and timbre. Lacking macro dynamics and attack; a hair on the euphonic side. Fostex TE-02n – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver. Universal. A modder’s gem. Stock signature is neutral leaning analytical. Modifications can bring it to an even more neutral signature. Great timbre and bass speed. Plastic but durable housings. LG Quadbeat 3 – MSRP $25. Dynamic driver. Universal. Neutral signature with significant sub bass boost. The sub bass boost can make the mid bass be perceived as lacking. Fantastic clear mids and treble. Moondrop Crescent – MSRP $29. Dynamic driver. Universal. Harman target neutral with mild mid bass boost. Good rumble, hits hard when called for; clear and sparkly. Could use a bit more refinement overall. Not much to complain about. NuForce Massdrop EDC3 – MSRP $99. Triple armature. Universal. Slightly warmish take on a neutral signature. The upper midrange gets a bump for upfront and very engaging vocals and guitars. Lower treble is laid back and treble timbre slightly plasticky. A true 'do nothing wrong' signature and wonderful bargain. Ostry KC06 – MSRP $49. Dynamic driver. Universal. Midcentric signature. Plentiful bass boost peaks in mid bass but has good extension; lush, inviting midrange with excellent vocals; sparkly, slightly peaky treble. Sony MH1/C – MSRP $79 (but can be found for less than half). Dynamic driver. Universal. Warmish to neutral signature with prodigious sub bass boost. Similar to Quadbeat 3 but more sub bass; slightly warmer mids and slightly easier going treble. Worst flat cable known to man but there are many out there to re-cable them. MH755 – MSRP $7.95. Yup, Seven dollars and 95 cents. Dynamic driver. Universal. Exaggerated Harman type frequency response with large sub bass boost, very clear upper mids and slightly easier going treble. Less warmth than MH1/C. Once again Sony makes a budget gem and then screws us over with a J cable. SoundMagic E10 – MSRP $39. Dynamic driver. Universal. Bass first signature. Bass boost peaks in mid bass but has good extension; full, engaging midrange; smooth treble with some sparkle. Metal housings and springy, stiff cable. Zero Audio Tenore – MSRP $35. Micro dynamic driver. Universal. Warm, fairly neutral but downward sloping signature. Treble is virtually free from peaks and extends to 18k +; bass gives gentle rise to sub bass; inviting vocals. Build quality is inconsistent. In Retrospect [IEMS that just missed the list but probably should have made it] Audio-Technica ATH-LS200 – The LS200 was originally on the list and was bumped off, due to small, in-head presentation. Good introduction to neutralish tuned in-ears. Hidition Viento-R – Missed due to compressed dynamics; Otherwise very versatile with neutralish tuning and well implemented switches to tailor the sound to preference. Dynamic Motion DM200H – Missed due to excessive brightness. One of the first coaxial in-ears made. Coherent and exciting but a bit too bright. If I'm not mistaken, Dynamic Motion is no longer in business.