IEM Purchase Guide 2022: Your Personal Guide On Finding Your Perfect IEMs
In our evolution from a regular music lover to a seasoned audiophile, our earphones have also evolved from earbuds to in-ear monitors. But let us clear you one thing here, in-ear monitors form a huge sub-category for earphones. If I have to put this in simpler words, In-Ear Monitors are the earphones that sit in our ear going slightly deep into our ear canal, hence covering it completely. If you are in the market looking for an IEM you need to consider several different factors such as the sound signature, driver configuration, build material, Universal or Custom build, budget, and several other factors. With the huge catalog of IEMs available in the market that is also getting upgraded on a regular basis, this increases a lot of confusion for the consumers. To help you out in making these buying decisions easier, we are writing this guide on how to choose your next pair of HiFi In-Ear Monitors. Without wasting any more time, let’s begin.
First and foremost, we should narrow down our search based on the sound signature we prefer with our IEMs. Each set has got its own characteristics in terms of tuning like V-Shaped, U-Shaped, W-Shaped, Dark, Bright, Warm, Balanced, and more. We have written a blog primarily for understanding sound signatures, you can check it out here. Understanding your sound preferences will help you choose your next pair of in-ear monitors easily. For example, If you like a V-shaped profile that means elevated bass and treble region with a recessed midrange, you can have a look at the Kinera Norn, IKKO OH10, and many other options. If you want a U-shaped sound, Kinera’s latest URD is an excellent offering. You can easily find the sound signature of any new or old product either on the product description page or on their respected Head-fi page where audio lovers from all around the globe have posted their impressions. We can assure you, once you buy IEMs with your preferred sound signature you are simply gonna love it!!
Second after the Sound signature comes the Build material of any given IEM. Most IEMs in the market have got either metallic or resin build. Brands have now opted for medical-grade resin ear shells that are not only skin-friendly but also give lightweight aesthetics to the cavities. Metallic ear shells on the other hand look richer but at the same time are usually heavier. Examples of Metallic Earshells in IEMs would be the 7Hz Timeless, Eternal, Shuoer S12, Moondrop Kato, DUNU Falcon Pro, Tin HiFi P1 Plus, and more. Nowadays brands have also featured Metallic faceplates on Resin cavities like in the Moondrop Variations. Resin cavities featuring IEMs are Kinera URD, Unique Melody MEXT, Tin HiFi T3 Plus, and more.
Shape, Universal or Custom Design, Fit:-
Fit plays an important role for any IEM. If it doesn’t fit well, you won’t be able to enjoy it well. Many brands including See Audio, Kinera, QDC now offer custom-fit in-ear monitors too for which they design the shell matching our ear impressions that we have to send to them. For universal fit, most brands now design their products in an ergonomic shape after studying thousands of ear samples to achieve a comfortable fit for most users. It is hard to determine the fit before purchasing any IEM, but if possible trying via a friend or a local store near you would be the best option to find your perfect fitting IEMs. With a perfect fit, we also get proper passive isolation cutting down on the surrounding noises greatly.
As we all know there are multiple configurations for drivers that are being used today in designing HiFi In-Ear Monitors. We have single dynamic driver IEMs, multi-driver hybrid configurations(DD+BA), multi-BA IEMs, Planar driver IEMs, and different Tribrid configurations(DD+BA+EST+Bone Conduction). Each driver type has its own sound characteristics for example, Dynamic Drivers are known to produce a powerful bass response, balanced armature drivers provide you with excellent resolution and they can be tuned specifically for particular frequency segments, EST drivers are known for their high-resolution clarity in high-frequencies, and so on. You will get a variety of products from each of these categories like Moondrop Kato for single DD, Moondrop Variations for Multi-driver tribrid configuration, Kinera Norn for multi-driver hybrid configuration, and the list goes on and on.
After all the above-mentioned points, Budget is what allows us to finalize our decision on any given set of IEMs. There are IEMs available at every price point, we can get the Tanchjim Ola at around 40$, DUNU Falcon Pro at around 200$, DUNU Zen Pro at 899.99$, Softears Turii at 1399$, all of these feature a single dynamic driver configuration. Each of them delivers quality performance with respect to their price point, Ola is a great entry-level set while the Softears Tuirii is an absolutely brilliant flagship. Finalize a budget and look for options available in your budget.
Who doesn’t love to buy new in-ear monitors, we just made this guide to help you make your decisions easier. After all, with all these newly launched products getting added on a daily basis, it might get difficult choosing our next set. All the above-mentioned points like Sound Signature, Build, driver configuration, any known fit issues can be easily found online with just a little effort. We sincerely hope this guide helps you in making your purchase experience better with us. If you have any questions or queries, feel free to ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to assist you.
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