Many DJs, listeners, and producers shy away from in-ear listening options simply because of their connotation. When we think of earbuds, we typically imagine an old pair of Apple’s that we all have an extra pair of laying around. Contrary to common conceptions about in-ear monitors, there has been considerable development within the industry in the past five years. Nowadays a quality pair of IEMs can be found under $500, offering both noise-cancellation and high-fidelity audio. Some IEMs are more tuned for drummers or vocalists, while others are more comfortable for DJs. You can easily find three to four driver earbuds on Amazon for even less than $100! We’ve compiled a short list of our favorites for different applications.
For The Club DJ
If you’re DJing in an extraordinarily loud environment, you definitely want to consider custom fitted IEMs; you’ll need to take a trip to the audiologist, but it’ll be well worth your time. Make sure you get ones with durable and detachable cables, as well as a convenient storage bag or box. We recommend the Westone AC20s but there are lots of similar options and many recommend ACS Customs. These are much more expensive than the Westones, about $1000.
Studio Quality Audio
A drummer, vocalist, casual listening or gamer looking to monitor more professionally will be perfectly happy with many non-custom earphones. We did some searching online and these are some of the best values we found:
BQEYZ KC2 Quad Driver Earphones – $58.99 & Free Shipping
KZ AS10 5BA Five Driver Earphones – $67.99 & Free Shipping
KZ has great reviews on Amazon and we recommend getting some from them if you want some prosumer level earbuds.
If you’re a live performer, wireless in-ear monitors are a great tool to assist you. These are ideal for vocalists and drummers, offering high fidelity sound and on-stage comfort. However, they can be a bit awkward to sing with and there is a learning curve. We recommend the PSM300 or PSM900 for these purposes, as they are high-quality transmitters.
What do you think about IEMs? Are they only for the gym or are these expensive earbuds worth the hype? Let us know on social media.