What are the Best In-Ear Monitors Around Today?

The best in-ear monitors can be a lifesaver for any live performer. They give much-needed clarity on-stage for anyone who can’t hear themselves over the cacophony behind them.

When looking for the best in-ear monitors in the market, you need to look for a system with an excellent sound mix, is comfortable to wear, and with a good operating range.

This sort of system has been bailing out musicians for years worldwide. The great thing about many of the best in-ear monitor systems is they can be used both on stage and in the studio.

It’s a combination that makes a vital part of any performer’s repertoire – whether you are a singer, guitarist, or even a drummer. With that in mind, what are the best in-ear monitors?

The best in-ear monitors revealed

Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds - Professional Sound Isolating Earphones, Clear Sound & Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure Fit in Ear Monitor, Plus Carrying Case & Fit Kit - Clear (SE215-CL)
Sennheiser Pro Audio In-Ear Audio Monitor, IE 500 Pro Clear
Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones, Black
Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds - Professional Sound Isolating Earphones, Clear Sound & Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure Fit in Ear Monitor, Plus Carrying Case & Fit Kit - Clear (SE215-CL)
Sennheiser Pro Audio In-Ear Audio Monitor, IE 500 Pro Clear
Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones, Black
$99.00
$499.99
$99.00
Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds - Professional Sound Isolating Earphones, Clear Sound & Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure Fit in Ear Monitor, Plus Carrying Case & Fit Kit - Clear (SE215-CL)
Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds - Professional Sound Isolating Earphones, Clear Sound & Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure Fit in Ear Monitor, Plus Carrying Case & Fit Kit - Clear (SE215-CL)
$99.00
Sennheiser Pro Audio In-Ear Audio Monitor, IE 500 Pro Clear
Sennheiser Pro Audio In-Ear Audio Monitor, IE 500 Pro Clear
$499.99
Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones, Black
$99.00

Shure SE215 Pro

Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds – Professional Sound Isolating Earphones, Clear Sound & Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure Fit in Ear Monitor, Plus Carrying Case & Fit Kit – Clear (SE215-CL)
  • ROAD-TESTED BY PRO MUSICIANS – The SE215 provides detailed sound with enhanced…
  • STRIKING FULL-RANGE SOUND from a single, vented balanced armature driver. Hear…
  • CUSTOMIZED FIT – Includes three sizes (S, M, L) of the flex and black foam…
  • SOUND ISOLATING TECHNOLOGY – Blocks up to 37 dB of noise to eliminate…
  • SECURE, OVER-THE-EAR DESIGN – Wireform fit ensures earphones stay in place and…

For an all-around package, it’s hard to beat the combination the Shure SE215 Pro offers. Sitting in the mid-range of Shure’s IEM offering, there’s something to like for everyone here. The SE215 delivers sounds through a sole driver platform, maintaining an excellent base between treble and bass sounds. The superior sound quality is accentuated further by the headphones able to isolate and eliminate up to 37dB of background noise to minimize potential interruptions.

Alongside the excellent sound quality, much thought has gone into the system’s design. The over-the-ear connection allows for a snug fit and the earbuds to stay in place no matter how much you move. Furthermore, the cord is reinforced to give extra durability from show to show, and it has a 360˚ rotating joining to provide great flexibility on how you use it. Throw in a travel pack and different size buds to suit your ear, and it’s the perfect IEM for any musician to enjoy.

Pros:

  • Eliminates lots of background noise
  • Good sound mix
  • Easy to wear

Cons:

  • Bulky case
  • Some connectivity clashes with smartphones

Sennheiser IE 500 Pro

Sale
Sennheiser Pro Audio In-Ear Audio Monitor, IE 500 Pro Clear
  • The best possible control in the loudest surroundings thanks to a linear frequency response
  • Detachable twisted cable with reinforced ear hook and break-proof ducting (patent pending)
  • Delivers higher SPL, maximum robustness and resistance against structure-born noise
  • Perfect fit due to compact, extremely lightweight earmold in a superior ergonomic yet rugged design
  • Highest flexibility and wearing comfort with silicone & memory foam ear tips in all sizes, individually adaptable to your ear canal depth

Sennheiser is no stranger to the audio business, and they’ve proven their expertise once again with the IE 500 Pro. In this IEM system, you will see some of the best sounds produced in any audio system. Generated by a 7mm driver, the IE 500 makes excellent mid-range sounds and uses a ducted magnetic system to promote and amplify sound waves produced through the system. The device further supports these by using low vibrations to filter out any background noise.

It’s also an exceptionally well-designed system to cater to any need of a performing musician. They fit very in a musician’s ear thanks to the earbud’s foam setting that molds into the shape of the ear canal itself. This bold connection keeps it in place no matter how hard you move around. You will also find that the entire system can be voice-activated to minimize the need to carry extra weight with you when heading on stage. With an estimated battery life stretching over 10 hours, it’s a system that can go for an entire recording session or tour leg easily—an excellent option for serious professionals.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Great fit
  • Outstanding battery life

Cons:

  • Some longevity issues with earbud nozzles
  • Lead can move around behind the ear

Audio-Technica ATH-E40

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Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones, Black
  • Proprietary dual phase push-pull drivers excel in monitoring applications by providing exceptional accuracy and clarity
  • Flexible memory cable loops over ears for a custom fit and long-wearing comfort
  • Specially designed housing provides maximum isolation, allowing you to focus on the music
  • Detachable Cable offers exceptional durability and optimized audio performance
  • Includes a carrying case, silicone ear tips and 6.3mm (1/4″) plug-on adapter

If you want an in-ear monitor system that works anywhere, Audio-Technica’s ATH-E40 could be just what you need. The ATH-E40 delivers rich sounds generated through a dual-driver system that provides excellent bass and mid and treble sounds. This superb blend works well for all levels of music and doesn’t suffer any dropout in quality levels. They are also encased in a silicone lining designed to help reduce the onset of any background noise in what you are listening to.

Their ability to work as a stand-alone device helps them stand out. The earbuds can detach from the main system lead and operate as a wireless device when necessary. This eliminates any annoying need to move cords out of the way in the middle of the show. The setup also comes with multiple-sized earbud tips to suit whatever size you need and has a protective case to protect during travel—a great all-around bundle.

Pros:

  • Excellent bass levels
  • A detachable cable to earbuds
  • Protective case available

Cons:

  • Speaker holes can get clogged
  • Not easy to clean

CTM CE320 In-Ear Monitors

CTM CE320 Triple Driver in-Ear Monitor | Noise Isolating Professional Musician Wired in-Ear Monitor | Detachable Cable (Smoke)
  • Speakers: 3 (Each earpiece)
  • Crossover: Passive, 2-way
  • Input Sensitivity: 124dB-SPL @ 1mW
  • Freq Response: 20 Hz to 16 kHz
  • Impedance: 20 ohm @ 1 kHz.

If you want excellent sound quality, then CTM’s CE320 system is a great choice. CTM’s offering differs from the rest because individual drivers are used to source treble, bass, and mid-sound levels. This triple-driver setup gives a rich mix that few other IEM systems can match and offers excellent sound quality overall. This is all backed up by the ability to reduce background noise by anywhere up to 26 dB.

CTM has put a lot of thought into packing everything into an ergonomic design package. For instance, the earbuds sit tightly within your ear and are comfortable to wear anytime. They are connected to the primary system through a braided 2-pin cable that is extremely sturdy when hooked up together. However, the earbuds can also operate wirelessly should you wish to move away from a more fixed setup. The CE320 is a tremendous in-ear monitor setup that rivals many of their more established rivals.

Pros:

  • Separate drives for all sound levels
  • Detachable cable
  • Good noise reduction features

Cons:

  • One standard earbud fit
  • No spare earbuds provided

Mackie MP-240

Mackie MP-240 Monitor Earphones
  • Dynamic plus balanced Armature hybrid driver design
  • Shielded, Braided Cable is designed for extra durability and sonic performance
  • Detachable MMCX connector that swivels for increased comfort and durability
  • The audiophile-grade cable is internally braided and features an outer shielding for enhanced durability and sonic performance

Matching quirky design with superior technology, the Mackie MP-240 is an IEM that leaps out at you. Regarding sound quality, the MP240 uses a dual driver system that splits sound frequencies to give a finely-balanced high-quality sound mix. This is backed up by a unique oval-hook-shaped earbud design that loops straight into the ear canal. The MP-240 system can reduce noise interference by a staggering 40 dB by providing a unique design and molded earbud tips.

There’s also plenty to like within the custom look itself. Sporting a funky design pattern on the casing, they are also a great piece to wear when on stage. On top of that, the cable wirings are braided to give added strength between the body and the earbuds whenever they are in use. They are also well-protected in a hard-reinforced case which keeps them safe when heading between gigs—an excellent combination for anyone wanting a system that looks as good as it sounds.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • Reduces noise reduction by up to 40dB
  • Reinforced transportation case

Cons:

  • Earbuds are difficult to change
  • The case can be difficult to pack

LETSHUOER S12 Pro

LETSHUOER S12 Pro 14.8mm Planar Magnetic Driver in-Ear Monitor, HiFi IEM in-Ear Earphones with CNC Machined Aluminum Alloy Ear Cavities (Blue, S12 PRO)
  • LETSHUOER has updated the tuning of the S12 Pro and ensures it gets a balanced…
  • Large Performance With Large 14.8mm Planar Driver: LETSHUOER S12 Pro comes…
  • Upgraded Stock Cable With Swappable Termination Plugs: LETSHUOER has upgraded…
  • 5-Axis CNC Machined Aluminum Alloy Cavities: LETSHUOER S12 Pro features…
  • Easy & Comfortable Fit With New Acoustic Cavity Design: In order to get a better…

Specializing in mainly producing IEM devices, LETSHUOER only jumped into the market in 2016. However, they have delivered big very quickly, as proven by their S12 system. Using a sole magnetic driver to amplify the sounds, the S12 provides a great blend of tones with a good mix of bass and treble levels. Their ability to fit nicely into your ear enables you to hear everything playing and reduces the impact made by unnecessary noise around you.

A lot of thought has gone into the S12 design too. The earbuds are incredibly lightweight thanks to their aluminum casing, making them easy to wear for hours. The casing has also been reinforced, making them highly durable when used in more vigorous settings. In a rare opportunity, users can also vary the color scheme of their earbuds by having the option to select between silver and black earbuds—a great way to diversify yourself from your contemporaries.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound
  • Extremely durable
  • Light to wear

Cons:

  • The cable can slide across the ear easily
  • Low bass mix compared to treble/mid-sound levels

Westone AM Pro 30

Westone Audio AM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors with Ambient Patented Technology and Removable Twisted MMCX Audio Cable
  • TRIPLE BALANCED-ARMATURE DRIVERS WITH THREEWAY CROSSOVER: The AM Pro 30 features…
  • THE MOST COMPACT, LOW PROFILE, ERGONOMIC DESIGN IN THE WORLD: Designed and built…
  • TWISTED MMCX AUDIO CABLE: Westone Audio’s professional-quality MMCX Audio…
  • TECHNICAL SPECS: The Westone Audio AM Pro 30 features three balanced-armature…
  • IN THE BOX + WARRANTY: Purchase includes; 1 pair Westone Audio AM Pro 30 In-Ear…

Westone’s AM Pro 30 In-ear monitor system is a package that should not be overlooked. What stands out immediately is the excellent sound quality given through the overall package. Blending a tri-driver sound mix that crossovers frequencies, you can hear every fine detail in each track played through the system. The sound quality is further reinforced by comfort-foam-lined earbud tips that naturally shape your ear once inserted.

There’s plenty of versatility found in the setup too. Westone has included its system with five sizes of earbuds to allow you to find the right fit for your ears. You will also find that the cable has been interwoven with multiple fibers to maintain a stronger connection between the earbuds and the system, allowing it to last hours without interrupting your performance. This combines into a pack that is an excellent choice for performers looking for big sounds and unique designs.

Pros:

  • Powerful sounds
  • Customized fix
  • Multiple earbud sizes included

Cons:

  • Poor noise reduction
  • The cable can get knotted in storage

BASN Bmaster IEM

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BASN Bmaster Triple Drivers in Ear Monitor Headphone with Two Detachable Cables Fit in Ear Suitable for Audio Engineer, Musician (White)
  • 【Great Sound Isolation】This sound isolation in ear monitors headphone could…
  • 【HiFi Stereo Sound】This in-ear earbuds headphone monitor is full of low…
  • 【Comfortable & Secure Fit】Ergonomic in-ear earbuds shape is based on…
  • 【Detachable Cables Design】The iem with MMCX connectors design can be rotated…
  • 【Added Accessories】A stylish carrying case allows to store and travel with…

Few in-ear monitor systems look as classy as the BASN Bmaster does. With an all-white casing, cable, and gold-plated connector, it’s an audio device that looks classy and high-end. Even the finer details, such as the Bmaster italic stylings, ooze in class. Available in a host of different casing colors ranging from red, green, and even pink, you can customize the look to suit your overall stage persona.

However, this is an audio product with both style and substance. There’s a good range of sound delivered from the triple-driver setup providing crisp bass and mid-tones to showcase the power of the music playing. Furthermore, the accompanying cable is easily adjustable with a 360˚ rotating connection and can also be detached to allow the earbuds to act without any physical connection. It’s a robust package that is both classy and full of purpose.

Pros:

  • Excellent look
  • Customizable finish
  • Detachable and adjustable cable

Cons:

  • Poorly designed case
  • Cable connectors can be fragile

What to look for in the best in-ear monitors?

Searching for the best in-ear monitors for you can be tricky. After all, your needs may vary depending on whether you use them on stage or in the studio. Yet, some factors are universally vital, no matter how you intend to use them. Just what are some of the critical components you need to look for?

Fitting of earbuds

One thing many people won’t consider when searching for an in-ear monitor is just how it will fit within their ear. Yet, how they sit hit plays a big part in how effective the entire system is on the stage. That’s because this severely affects how much background noise might seep through the gaps between the ear canal and the outer lining of the earbud itself.

If there are any gaps, then any noise cancellation features become redundant. That is why IEM developers have taken several steps to overcome this. Firstly, many earbud tips are made of soft materials such as silicone or foam to sit within your ear. Not only are these excellent insulating materials, but they also can mold their shape to fit their surroundings – like your ear canal. This molding provides a tighter fit and improves noise reduction.

The other major factor is that systems mostly come with multiple tip sizes to give a performer a way to refine their setup. Providing multiple sizes lets them discover the best fit for their ear and find something comfortable and effective at reducing noise.

Ease of use

The other main factor with IEMs is how easily they can be used for what the musician needs. You will find that many of the best in-ear monitor systems will have several unique ways to make them easy to use.

Some designers will give performers the option of detaching the cable that links the earbuds to the primary system. It is much easier to move freely around the stage without worrying about any cords on your body. It also prevents any annoying tangles or readjusting of the cable throughout the performance.

Another design quip that is used frequently is the introduction of a 360˚ rotating connection cable. Having that fully rotational joining helps find the best way to angle the earbuds within the ear to get the best volume settings. On top of that, it allows you to angle the connection over your ear without getting in the way when moving across the stage.

FAQ

Are all in-ear monitor earbuds fully wireless?

Not really – earbuds’ ability to operate independently will vary from different systems. If you are a performer who moves around a lot on stage, finding a system with a detachable cable would be a wise choice.

Do all in-ear monitor systems offer noise-canceling features?

Yes – that is one of their primary purposes. Using one of these devices is to hear your performances against overbearing sounds around you. Many of the best in-ear monitors will offer noise reduction features of at least 25Db to help focus on how they sound on stage.

Are all in-ear monitor earbuds just one size?

No – you will find that many of the best in-ear monitors offer multiple tip sizes within the package. This helps musicians find a comfortable tip and reduces the best noise from sounds around them.

Conclusion

Many options are available for anyone wanting to find the right in-ear monitor for them. You will find that many of these systems use different audio driver settings to deliver rich sounds at a high level of quality. Whether it is a single, dual, or triple-driver setup, this is the same. If you are looking for pieces that also look the part, then options such as the BASN BMaster and the LETSHUOER S12 are great.

You will also find that several companies also use detachable cables to give performers much more freedom in their performance. That’s where the Audio-Technica ATH-E40 and the CTM-CE320 come into their own. Others have looked to take noise reduction as their main selling point, and that’s where both the Sennheiser IE500 Pro and the Mackie MP240 excel the most. However, Shure’s SE215 Pro is perhaps the best all-around choice. With excellent noise reduction and ease of adjustment, the overall package has very few weaknesses. That’s why many musicians and performers have deemed that one of the best in-ear monitors today.

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