IEM Recommendations


I’m asking this here after spending time on the headphone forums - the crowd here offers more curated suggestions.

I’m looking for recommendations for a pair of IEMs. These will pair with a iBasso DX320 and a Dragonfly Cobalt. I’d like 3.5mm and 4.4mm options - I can buy an extra cable if whatever I buy doesn’t come with swappable ends.

I’m looking for something musical, not analytical, that can wear for a few hours of listening without getting uncomfortable. I have over-the-ear cans that I listen to most of the time, so these are supplemental and I don’t want to spend a fortune. I’m thinking under $700USD.

I have some thoughts already but rather than focus on those, I’d love to hear any ideas that people have. I’d like these to be a US purchase.

Thanks for anything you’ve got on this!

I really like my Sennheiser ie900’s, they are musical, comfortable, and scale up well with the quality of your source. Unless there are some great sales, they will be out of the budget you indicated, but their smaller sibling ie600 may fit the bill.

That said, the options for IEMs is enormous and you just need to find a set that allows you to enjoy your music rather than worrying about getting the perfect set. I would go to a headphone shop that has many brands and models that you can try and see what sounds good to you.


@gTunes - Great fit and great sound. I am very happy with my Meze Rai Penta:

And there are DSP settings for Rai Penta:



I love my Meze Elites. These, and the Advars, are very attractive options though the Rai Penta is more than I’m hoping to spend. Maybe I’ll stretch for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

FiiO is well within your budget and has lots of options. Most come with swappable plugs and have great build quality for the price. But yes, all ears are different, so comfort is always a bit of a gamble when ordered online, especially with smaller ears.

Plenty of well-tuned BA/DD hybrids (or even tribrids) in that price range, for example Softears RSV, ThieAudio Oracle MkII.

You will be surprised how much you get even below $300, don’t go too crazy for your first set.

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@gTunes I have a couple of pairs at different ends of the price spectrum you have indicated. A bit more expensive are the Kinera Imperial Nanna 2.0 Pro. Lower Spectrum are the Raptgo Hook X Planar & PZT Driver Open Back IEM. Use both at times with Dragonfly Cobalt and both work well.

The Kinera to me are exceptional and I regularly have them in for 10-12 hours at a time. The Raptgo are different but just not as consistent across all genres of music. As with most IEM, I think that the trick is to take the time to find the right fit and type of eartip.

In the US, you seem to have a huge range of choice (certainly in comparison to Oz). If you have a big store with good stock nearby even better as you might be able to try before you buy. Otherwise check out the recommendations. I’m sure you will get plenty more great recs from the users here as well.

Good luck.

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I can highly recommend the Truthear x Crinacle Zero. I mean $50 for a very good pair of IEMs. And in case you don’t like the sound signature (applicable to any IEM, headphone or loudspeaker) or you want to tune it to your liking: Well it’s Roon. And there is this beautiful DSP parametric equaliser that comes with it :slight_smile:

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You might look into the FiiO FH9… About USD 560…

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If comfort is a goal than custom in-ears would be worth a look (all these have options in your budget):
JH Audio - Iem Detail
Ultimate Ears - Wireless IEMs, Bluetooth In Ear Monitors, Bluetooth IEM Headphones | Ultimate Ears
64 audio - Custom IEMs | Custom In-Ear Monitors | 64 Audio

I have higher end versions of these and have been very happy with them.
They also have universal fit versions if custom is not your thing.
I was also very interested in trying out the “UE Fits” which is a do it yourself “custom” wireless option:

Also, if you can, I would look for a local event (CanJam, or audio show, Head-fi meet) and go listen to what is out there. or would be a good place to start.

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I’m using the FD5s, they look big but don’t feel it when you’re wearing them. For the money they sound really good and I use their DAC with my iPhone.
They come in a nice box and have loads of tips to get the right fit.
Worth a look if you use Amazon

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Thanks, everyone. Bunch of great ideas and suggestions.

I spent the past 22 or so years raising kids and drifting away from HiFi. Before that, though…Sennheiser, Etymotic, UE, Shure, etc. and the required-for-the-hobby self-built CMOY amp in an Altoids tin. Many hours lost on HeadWize. Just today doing enough digging around to learn about Chu May passing, which was hard to read.

I posted this thread thinking I was headed to either the FH7s or FH9s. Some great ideas here. I’m going to go with the FH9s for now. Nicely in my price range, swappable ends, fun swappable filters and a nice selection of tips. The FiiO recommendations here surprised me a bit and helped a bunch. This won’t be my last IEM purchase.

I might actually go down to LA for the next CanJam (in Sept.).

Thank you again!


I went with custom IEMs after a while. I got really tired of Universals falling out of my clearly odd shaped head.
I started with these, made in the US. My oldest kid refit them and uses them I upgraded once I could rationalize the expense.

It cost about $50 a year ago to get my impressions redone. You will want to add that cost.

You can blow up my surroundings and if I don’t see it or get hit by shrapnel I’ll never hear it.


I also am looking into a pair of IEM… And I have no opportunity whatsoever for listening to any model prior to making a choice. Add to that the fact that most ‘reviews’ are based on listening impressions using Pop/Rock/Metal/Rap, and my thing is classical chamber music mostly… So it’s not easy making my mind up.

Until this morning I was decided to go for the FH9… but I now am not so sure anymore… I just read up a bunch upon the Sennheiser IE600… In your original post you said you were looking for comfort and musicality… this Sennheiser IEM might just be what you and I are looking for. Still just in your price range (I would have to stretch somewhat mine…)… Just saying, have a look!


You’ve written FH90 a couple of times - do you mean FH9? Maybe that’s a US-specific model.

Oh I’ve read the Sennheiser reviews. And the FiiO reviews. Ad nauseam :slight_smile: And I’ve owned Sennheisers in the past. It’s hard to imagine you won’t be very happy with them particularly given your musical preferences. I’m going to give the FiiOs a shot - I’m intrigued by the multi-driver + filter approach. The IE600s look amazing, though.

My bad… tired eyes and bad memory-induced error… of course meant FH9… I am still debating about that one or the IE600…

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The FH9 are great all-rounders. If you are listening exclusively to classical, a single dynamic driver like the IE600/900 is probably indeed a safer bet. Or the FD5/FD7. They have all super low distortion across the whole frequency rage, so you can tweak them quite a bit with EQ to your liking. Especially the FD5 would need at least some taming of the bass. Dunu Zen Pro is another popular upper mid-tier single DD, might also need a bit of tweaking in the treble for classic.


So, if it’s classical you are wanting these for, Stax SR003 mkII could be the thing for you. Only caveat is you need an amp dedicated to them. :grin: can get the kit (earspeakers and portable amp) for about $1200. I know, above the OPs limit…

You could also call the companies (JH Audio, UE in particular I have had good experiences with, 64audio has changed quite a bit since I last talked to them) and ask them which model would be right. Sennheiser might be a little harder to get in touch with. It’s been a very long time since I talked to them.


I have to second this. Check the lab test: TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero IEM Review | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum


Welcome to the forum @John_Adams1 !

@John_Adams1, @Bernd_Kurte - I give in. I ordered these, too. Thanks for the recommendation.


I like UE because they’re fitted to each user and I can listen to my AK SP-3000 for hours not even knowing they’re in my ears