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In-Ear Monitors Buying Guide 2021

In-Ear Monitors Buying Guide 2021

In-Ear Monitors, commonly known as IEM’s are one of the most widely used transducer types. They don’t necessarily require HiFi audio setups to enjoy high-quality music. Users can use them easily at the ease of portable music players or even smartphones while on the go or to their desktop chains while chilling at home. HiFi brands also consider this and they are constantly dedicated to bring the new and latest products to the market.

The first quarter of 2021 is almost over now. Many HiFi brands such as DUNU, Kinera, Moondrop, and more have released many latest IEM’s that have got great appreciation from the community. Today, we are going to share our thoughts on some of them that might make it easier for you to decide on your next IEM purchase!! So, Let’s begin.

The IEM’s that we will be discussing today will be,

QOA Adonis

KBear BElieve

BGVP DM8

DUNU DK-3001 Pro

DUNU SA6

DUNU SA3

Kinera Norn

Kinera Nanna 2.0

Kinera Baldr

Moondrop Illumination

NiceHCK EBX21

SeeAudio Yume

SeeAudio Kaguya

SeeAudio Neo

Now I know there are some names that came out later last year, we have included them in this blog as they are also highly appreciated in their price segment. Also, we have tried to include IEMs across different price segments So that users with different price budgets can find this blog useful for them. We will first begin with some images of how these look together and how these fit together, later we will share about their sound tonality and signature. So, let's begin.

Design & Aesthetics:-

IEM Buying Guide-1

IEMs Buying Guide-2

IEMs Buying Guide-3

QOA Adonis:-

QOA Adonis-1

Queen Of Audio, commonly known as QOA is a sister brand to Kinera. It looks like both the brands share their development team as the IEMs from QOA look magnificent. Their latest creation is the QOA Adonis, a triple driver hybrid IEM with beautiful CNC machined Birchwood ear shells.

Sound Signature:-

The QOA Adonis has a musical and detailed acoustic presentation. It presents the output with high-resolution clarity and transparency. It complements genres with its punchy bass and crisp vocals. Treble Extensions are also pretty solid for the price.

Build Quality & Fit:-

As I have said earlier, Kinera and QOA excel in designing their products. The Adonis looks ultimately beautiful with its unique Birchwood ear shells and eye-soothing color scheme. The earpieces have very lightweight, only 7.8gms for both of them. They sit firmly inside our ears covering our entire ear canal and providing a superb fit. With lightweight, they are hardly noticed even after long listening sessions.

A Few Words:-

The QOA Adonis is a combination of brilliant looks with musical, enjoyable sound output. Coming at a price of 180$ the pair delivers what it promises, a smooth, non-fatiguing listening experience. Check out more details here.

DUNU Studio SA3:-

DUNU Studio SA3-1

DUNU Studio SA3 is the first multi-BA IEM from DUNU. The pair is equipped with three high-performance Balanced Armature drivers on each side with high-precision 3D printed earpieces. And not only this, the pair comes with a high-quality monocrystalline copper cable that enhances the sound quality output of the pair.

Sound Signature:-

The DUNU SA3 has a very beautiful and lush vocal presentation with natural tonality and timbre. Both male and female vocals are presented with ultimate clarity that soothes and provides a relaxing listening experience. It shows good impact in the bass with rich texture, treble is transparent and relaxed. I prefer this pair for relaxing acoustic music all the time.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The build quality of DUNU Studio SA3 is fantastic. The ear chamber is made up of high-precision 3D printing techniques and then unique hand-painted face panels are attached to them. They weigh only 13 grams and provide a very comfortable and firm fit.

A Few Words:-

If you love listening to lovely, detailed vocals with crisp clarity throughout the frequency range, the DUNU Studio SA3 is the right one for you. It has a price tag of 159.99$. You can check out more details on our store here.

DUNU Studio SA6:-

DUNU Studio SA6-1

After the Studio SA3, comes the advanced multi-BA pair, the DUNU Studio SA6. As the name suggests the SA6 features six high-performance BA drivers on each side. The pair also presents beautiful craftsmanship of DUNU with UV Resin ear chambers and high-grade solid-stabilized wooden faceplates. Each and every unit of DUNU SA6 carries a unique look thanks to the unique texture of each solid stabilized wooden panel.

Sound Signature:-

The DUNU Studio SA6 has a warm and neutral approach to acoustics. The sound output is rich and retrieves minute details from our music well. There is no genre that doesn’t sound beautiful with the SA6, it complements all the genres that I tested such as Rock, Pop, EDM, Vocal, Acoustic, Live, and more. The pair also has a tuning switch that enhances the bass response when turned on. The bass response with the SA6 is punchy and hits deep leaving impact with every single thump. This is my everyday go-to pair for its technical performance and superb sound clarity.

Build Quality & Fit:-

Earpieces in DUNU SA6 are very gorgeous to look at. They are completely handcrafted by skilled technicians. Various processes such as Mold pouring, grinding, sandblasting, and more are closely monitored to achieve a respectable quality with the SA6. The face panels are made up of unique solid-stabilized wood that provides a unique look to each and every single unit of the pair. The earpieces are super light-weight weighing only 10.6 grams. They provide a comfortable and firm fit, hardly get noticed even after long listening sessions.

A few words:-

The DUNU Studio SA6 is an all-rounder IEM. You can use it for any genre you might listen to, it will perform and make the music experience enjoyable with its superb clarity and detail. The pair comes bundled with a high-quality silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable with swappable termination plugs. It is currently one of my favorite pair of IEMs right now. You can get it at a price of 549.99$, check out more details here.

DUNU DK-3001 Pro:-

DUNU DK-3001 Pro-1

The DUNU DK-3001 Pro came out last year. It has grabbed a lot of positive reviews under its sleeve ever since then. It features a five-driver hybrid configuration equipped with a single DD and four Knowles BA drivers on each side. The DK-3001 Pro comes with a high-quality monocrystalline copper cable with DUNU’s patented modular quick switch technology. The cable has swappable termination plugs and comes bundled with 3.5mm SE, 3.5mm PRO, 2.5mm Bal, 4.4mm Bal termination plugs in the package.

Sound Signature:-

The DK-3001 Pro provides a balanced and natural sound output. Everything right from a well-extended punchy lower end to an engaging, lively treble, the DK-3001 Pro provides all. Vocals are presented with a natural tonality and timbre. The clarity throughout the frequency range is appreciable. I love how smooth, transparent this pair sounds with its unique W-shaped signature.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The DK-3001 Pro earpieces have a small form factor with a long ear nozzle. They have a metallic build but don’t weigh too much. They are actually quite light-weight to hold. The pair sits firmly in my ears covering my ear canal completely and isolating me from the environmental noises. I find the build quality of DK-3001 Pro quite good.

A few words:-

The DUNU DK-3001 Pro is a quality performer, it presents the users with a transparent, lively sound signature. It complements different genres with its clarity and natural tonality. The DK-3001 Pro has a price tag of 469$, you can check out more details here.

BGVP DM8:-

BGVP DM8-1

BGVP’s “DM” series of IEM’s offer multi-BA setups and are heavily appreciated in the community. The latest is their 8BA IEM, the BGVP DM8. It presents the user with a refined, sound output with precise detailing and high-resolution clarity. The pair is available in two different variants, Silver Transparent Resin shells or unique stabilized wood ear shells.

Sound Signature:-

The BGVP DM8 presents the user with a perfectly balanced sound output with excellent tonal balance, smooth, transparent treble, quick lower-end, and engaging mid-frequencies. The vocal response with the pair is amazing, both the male and female vocals sound crisp and clean. It produces a polished, mature sound signature that complements different music genres well.

Build Quality & Fit:-

BGVP DM8 boasts finely crafted earpieces with a perfect finish. It is available in two different variants, Transparent Silver, and Solid-Stabilised Wood. The pair features an ergonomic shape and has a weight of just 8.6 grams for both earpieces. They fit perfectly to my ears covering the entire ear canal.

A few words:-

The BGVP DM8 does its work really well, producing a lovely and musical sound output with excellent tonality.  The pair is extremely comfortable to wear and makes music listening to a pleasurable experience. It is available for 350$, you can check out more details here.

KBear Believe:-

KBear Believe-1

Late last year KBear released the BElieve. It offers a single-dynamic driver unit with a diaphragm made up of the current in hype Beryllium material. Beryllium is a rare material that is ultra-lightweight and super rigid, qualities a high-quality DD diaphragm must-have. While this was previously found only in high-end IEMs and headphones, it really got everyone’s interest with its price of just 180$.

Sound Signature:-

The DD driver in KBear Believe produces a thick and powerful sound performance. It produces thick, heavy punches that hit deep and leaves their impact instantly. Vocals sound lush and convey emotions well. The Treble portion shows good extensions with a non-fatiguing output. It actually has a laid-back relaxed output with punchy bass to complement the other frequencies well.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The earpieces in KBear Believe are on the heavier side as compared to the Resin material shells. They weigh about 22 grams without the cable. They have a metallic cavity with a carbon fiber faceplate design.  The earpieces have a short golden nozzle that complements the look of the pair. In terms of fit, the Weight doesn’t bother me much and I get a firm fit with it.

A few words:-

Beryllium or no Beryllium, the KBear Believe sounds pretty solid. It has a relaxing laid-back signature that makes it one of our favourites for a smooth listening session. The pair is available to purchase for just 180$, you can check out more details here.

Kinera Norn:-

Kinera Norn-1

Kinera is a well-reputed brand when it comes to beautiful HiFi earphones. They have been designing and naming their products taking inspiration from Norse Mythology. The Kinera Norn is their latest five-driver hybrid pair of IEMs. The pair got its name from the three sisters of fate, Norn, according to the Norse Mythology.  It features very beautifully designed hand-crafted earpieces with a reflective back cavity. Not to mention the Kinera Norn comes with a lot of accessories such as a 2.5mm balanced cable, 2.5mm-3.5mm connector, 2.5mm-4.4mm connector, several pairs of ear tips, and more.

Sound Signature:-

The Kinera Norn has a very satisfying sound signature. The dynamic driver produces some deep, punchy bass response where the slams hit precisely at every drum kick. It produces crisp vocals that sound well-detailed and lush. The treble portion is sparkly and lively. It presents the user with a lively and engaging sound output with a wide soundstage. Bass in Kinera Norn definitely hits deep.

Build Quality & Fit:-

Kinera is known for its outstanding craftsmanship. Their products look simply brilliant and catch the eye in an instant. The Norn right here is not different. It features well-made hand-crafted ear shells with a reflective back cavity and hand-painted face panels. The earpieces are very lightweight weighing in at only 8.6 grams. They fit perfectly and provide a very comfortable listening experience for long music sessions.

A few words:-

Kinera Norn is a brilliant pair of IEM priced at 509$. I am in love with the beautifully designed earpieces and their sparkly, engaging sound quality. The pair performs exceptionally well with its deeply extended lower end and energetic treble complementing our music. You can check out more details about the Kinera Norn here.

Kinera Nanna 2.0:-

Nanna is another gem created by the house of Kinera inspired by the goddess of Joy, Moon according to the Norse myths. The pair excels in both looks and sound quality with its premium design and four-driver hybrid setup(1 DD+1BA+2EST). Recently they updated the Nanna to Nanna 2.0 with a new design and look.

Sound Signature:-

Kinera Nanna has a beautiful acoustic performance with sparkling, phenomenal treble detailing. The pair excels in sound output with its powerful punchy bass, wide expansive soundstage, and smooth & airy mids. Vocal presentation is another thing that shines with this pair. The Nanna is a true flagship-grade performer with its quality output.

Build Quality & Fit:-

Kinera is one of the few HiFi brands that are appreciated for their design and build quality of almost each and every single product of them. The Nanna is also a very beautiful-looking product with ergonomically designed resin shells that fit perfectly.

A few words:-

The Kinera Nanna has been one of the most successful products from the house of Kinera. It has received many positive reviews from its users ever since its release. It is available to purchase from our store at a price of 899$, check out more details here.

Kinera Baldr:-

Now comes the latest flagship from Kinera, Kinera Baldr. According to Norse Mythology, Baldr is considered the god of Light and husband to Goddess Nanna. It can be considered as an upgrade to the Nanna with a seven-driver hybrid configuration(4EST+2BA+1DD).

Sound Signature:-

One can say it has a more refined and textured signature with similar tonality as the Kinera Nanna. It presents an expansive soundstage with rich bass, transparent mids, and super-detailed treble frequencies. The treble portion shows ultimate detail retrieval that enhances our music enjoyment pleasure. It indeed is the flagship performer from the lineup by Kinera.

Build Quality & Fit:-

Kinera presents ultimate craftsmanship with the Baldr. The earpieces here are made up of premium Oakwood material and present a unique texture and look with each and every earpiece. It provides a perfect fit for my medium-sized ears. They have a very lightweight weighing only 10 grams.

A few words:-

The Kinera Baldr presents a refined and expansive sound output with rich clarity and detailing. It is currently the flagship offering from Kinera and performs like one. It has a price tag of 1399.99$, you can check out more details on our store here.

Moondrop Illumination:-

Moondrop Illumintaion

Moondrop is another well-renowned audio equipment manufacturing brand based in China. The Illumination is their latest flagship pair with a single dynamic driver configuration. It is one of the best-looking pair of IEMs in the industry with a golden lustrous finish.

Sound Signature:-

The Moondrop Illumination has a neutral approach to our sound output with a hint of warmth. The lower end shows its presence with quick, deep slams, sub-bass has well-extended rumble, mids are pretty lush & detailed, treble portion sounds smooth and transparent. It shows a non-fatiguing and smooth acoustic performance.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The Moondrop Illumination is a superbly crafted pair with a golden lustrous finish making the pair look like a piece of jewelry. The earpieces have an anti-scratch tin plating that protects them from scratches obviously. Despite being completely metallic the earpieces are not too heavy, they weigh in at only 14.5 grams for the pair and provide a comfortable fit. Though I personally feel like the earpieces are a bit on the bigger size and might give fit trouble to small-sized ears.

A few words:-

Moondrop Illumination presents one of its kind looks. The pair has a superb build with a gold lustrous finish that not only looks eye-catch but also premium and well-finished. I loved how open the pair sounds, it is currently one of my favorite IEMs from Moondrop. They have a price tag of 799.99$, check out more details here.

See Audio Yume:-

See Audio might be a new name in the industry but they have grabbed all the attention they needed with their very first product, the See Audio Yume. It is a triple driver hybrid pair of in-ear monitors featuring a powerful DD paired to two custom-tuned BA drivers.  The pair is said to follow the 2020 Harman Target Curve.

Sound Signature:-

The See Audio Yume has a very smooth and transparent sound signature. See Audio advertises it to follow the 2020 Harman Target Curve, well in my opinion the pair produces ample bass to complement the other frequencies, Mids are presented with good air and transparency, Treble has an engaging and lively response. The pair complements different genres well and provides enjoyable listening pleasure for its users. In my opinion, the See Audio Yume is one of the best IEMs under the 200$ price segment.

Build Quality & Fit:-

See Audio Yume has very beautiful resin ear shells with sparkling designer face panels. They have an ergonomic design and weigh only 8.6 grams. They provide a comfortable and firm fit covering the entire ear canal.

A few words:-

The See Audio Yume is a brilliant-looking and excellent-sounding pair of IEMs. It is available only for 169$, check out more details here.

See Audio Neo:-

See Audio Neo-1

See Audio Neo is a multi-BA flagship from the brand housing a whooping 10BA setup on each side. The drivers are arranged in a three-way frequency division here, 4 for low-frequency response, 2 for mid-frequency response, and 4 for high-frequency response. The pair shows the brilliant transient response with a smooth and well-detailed output throughout a wide frequency range.

Sound Signature:-

The See Audio Neo has a dynamic and transparent acoustic performance. The pair has a neutral sound signature with a slight bass boost that complements the overall output and makes it enjoyable and fun. The pair shows good technical performance with a well-balanced tonality and an expansive soundstage. It indeed is a brilliant IEM to listen to.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The See Audio Neo has an exquisite build quality. Earpieces here are made up of skin-friendly resin material with sparkly golden face panels. They have an ergonomic design with light-weight aesthetics and provide a comfortable fit for long listening sessions.

A few words:-

 Crinacle has rated the See Audio Neo an A- grade that is actually very good. With beautiful designer earpieces and a well-balanced neutral sound signature, the See Audio Neo is a fantastic IEM to own. It has a price tag of 1099$, you can check out more details here.

See Audio Kaguya:-

See Audio Kaguya-1

Here comes another flagship from the house of See Audio, the See Audio Kaguya. Kaguya features a unique eight driver hybrid configuration housing 4 BA and 4 EST drivers inside very beautiful ear shells.

Sound Signature:-

See Audio Kaguya has a slight-U-shaped sound signature with ultimate clarity and detail retrieval. The pair has good extensions at both the higher and lower ends. In terms of mid-frequency performance, despite being slightly recessed their clarity is on a whole another level. It is one of those IEMs that you can just plug in and listen to your favorite music.

Build Quality & Fit:-

Just like the other two See Audio IEMs, the Kaguya also has stunning earpieces. In fact, it is one of the best-looking IEMs in the market today. The pair has purple earpieces with sparkly face panels that complement its look. The earpieces weigh only 10.6 grams and similar to other See Audio IEMs have an ergonomic design to them. They fit perfectly and gives no trouble in fit.

A few words:-

The Kaguya is the flagship from See Audio and it performs like one. Brilliant sound detailing, check, superb build quality, check, and the list of its features just goes on and on. It is available at a price of 1399$, you can check out more details here.

NiceHCK EBX21:-

NiceHCK EBX21-1

NiceHCK EBX21 is not an IEM rather it is a pair of flagship-grade earbuds with a premium build and a smooth sound quality output. Earbuds might be different from IEMs but in the end, it's all about music isn’t it!! That’s why we included a high-performance earbud in this list.

Sound Signature:-

The NiceHCK EBX21 has a neutral sound signature with a huge soundstage. It produces a smooth, transparent sound output with decent detail retrieval. The pair performs well with a wide expansive soundstage and a great sense of openness in the output. Not to mention the vocal clarity is simply amazing.

Build Quality & Fit:-

The pair features premium metallic earpieces with a silver matte finish. They sit easily on the outer area of my ears and provide a very very comfortable listening experience. The only issue being an earbud the noise isolation is not that good. The earpieces weigh only 7.9 grams.

A few words:-

The NiceHCK EBX 21 is a very nice-sounding earphone. The expansive sound stage provides a great sense of openness, and the high-resolution clarity throughout the frequency range is simply unimaginable at its price point. It is available for just 219$, you can check out more details here.

Final Words:-

Well, We know this has been quite a long blog but we tried our best to provide you an insight on these latest IEMs about their sound signature, build quality, and fit. We hope this will help you choose on your next purchase as we have covered earphones from different price segments.  If you have any more questions regarding any of the current, new, or upcoming products, feel free to e-mail us at support@hifigo.com.

Fit Comparison Images:-

IEM Buying guide-1

IEM Buying Guide-2

IEM Buying guide-3

Weight Comparison:-

IEM Buying Guide-4

IEM Buying Guide-5

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