Looking for the best universal IEMs? We’ve got you covered! This list is ordered from the lowest to the highest price (List updated 27th Jan 2018).
This is a dynamic list, meaning it will change often as IEMs/earphones come and go. We can’t cover them all but here are some of our favourites.
Previously at the top of our list but recently dethroned by the KZ ZSN, the KZ (Knowledge Zenith) ZS4 fits my ears like a glove. V-shaped, energetic and brimming with clarity. The bass is punchy and the midrange is vibrant. KZ really nailed the treble here too. It’s not fatiguing like a lot of their other stuff but it’s crisp and lively.
The ZS4 is a hybrid model with 1BA+!DD driver and a sound that punches way above its price point. It’s well built, super comfortable and comes with the best of all KZ cables so far, even better than the one that comes with the much more expensive AS10. For less than $20 everybody should have at least one of these.
Just look at that build quality! It’s hard to believe you can get something like this for less than $25 (just $19 with our special offer)! It’s also comfortable and comes with a detachable cable. Add to that a fantastic, energetic and engaging sound and it’s easy to see why the QT5 gets a place in our best IEMs list.
The bass decay is a little on the slower side giving it solid impact but it doesn’t muddy up the midrange. Midrange notes are full-bodied and clear, as are the rich vocals presented by the QT5. If you like steampunk aesthetics and are looking for something for less than $25, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on this gem.
Newcomer and sister to the KZ (Knowledge Zenith) brand, CCA is coming out of the gate strong with the CCA C10. This IEM has 5 drivers per side (4x BA + 1x DD) and has a full-bodied and buttery smooth sound.
Built using the exact same shell as the KZ ZSN, the C10 is extremely comfortable with an excellent build quality and a solid cable. If you like a warm sound with a healthy amount of bass and laid back treble this is the way to go.
A fantastic, comfortable and lightweight body. Triple balanced armature drivers that produce a lively V-shaped sound bristling with clarity and musicality, the AS06 is probably the best KZ yet in terms of price to performance ratio.
This little budget champ does everything right and deserves a place in any budget IEM fan’s collection – and every KZ fan, of course!
The QT2 is a great little IEM that punches above its price. With a really solid but well-controlled bass, clear midrange and energetic treble this is currently one of the top earphones around the $50 mark. It doesn’t have the greatest cable but the sound more than makes up for that.
This was the first IEM from BQEYZ that I tried and I knew right away that they were onto something good. The K2 is a really nicely built IEM that has an incredibly refined sound. It’s not as aggressive as the RevoNext QT2 but it’s warmer than the Tin Audio T2. It has above average noise isolation and comes with a nice cable too.
With its dual dynamic drivers, the V2 gets pretty much everything just right. It was a warm and balanced sound signature that is very organic and natural sounding. It has a punchy bass, a detailed, forward midrange and lively but non-fatiguing and airy treble.
If you’ve tried the Tin Audio T2 but just wanted a bit of extra bass and midrange body then the V2 is the perfect choice. Even though the V2 has a fuller sound it still has an expansive and stable soundstage.
The lightweight metal housings can be worn with the cable down or over your ears and are very comfortable either way. It has a good silver-plated cable too which is detachable so you can replace or upgrade it if desired.
If you’ve done any research into budget Chi-Fi you will probably be familiar with the T2. This double dynamic driver IEM made a huge impact on its release for its neutrality, transparency, tonality, soundstage and build quality. Yes, I did just say all that in a single sentence. The T2 rocks!
Following the huge success of the T2, Tin Audio recently released the T3. Long story short – it’s basically a T2 with some minor physical alterations, a hugely improved cable and the same sound signature albeit with an improved treble range.
The new cable alone adds significant value to this earphone. If you already have the T2 then you probably don’t need this one, unless you really want that slightly improved treble quality. However, if you don’t have the T2, I would suggest you go for the T3 unless you are particularly sensitive to treble.
This is a really unique and special IEM. The 9 Tail has a warm signature with amazing resolution and dynamic range for a single dynamic driver earphone. It has a balanced sound that is extremely addictive; once you start listening you won’t want to take these out of your ears.
The design is quite unusual but it’s actually a really comfortable IEM to wear. It comes with a great cable too. This is one of my personal favourites.
This has become one of the people’s favourite’s and its no surprise why. With 6 drivers per side (2 dynamic + 4 balanced armature) the DMG has a full-bodied and incredibly resolving sound. It also comes with 3 sets of tuning filters allowing you to customize the sound signature.
It’s got a boosted low end, meaning there’s plenty of bass to go around. The midrange is ultra-resolving and the DMG is a master at instrument separation and picking up minute details. Its treble is crisp and airy but super smooth without any harshness or fatigue.
With an exceptional build quality and generous accessory bundle (including a best in class cable) the BGVP DMG offers outstanding value for money and performs well above its price point.
What a way to enter the crowded IEM market! the Hifi Boy OS V3 is a smashing earphone that excels in every way. It’s beautifully crafted, extremely comfortable to wear and it has above average noise isolation.
But it’s the sound that really sets this one apart. The OS V3 has a full-bodied but balanced sound. Its punchy bass, resolving nature and smooth yet detailed presentation are class leading in its price range. This one absolutely gets a place in this list!
Not content to simply update the original IT01, iBasso added an entirely new driver and created a more mature and balanced sound in the IT01s.
This IEM has a nimble, punchy bass, accurate midrange and delightful, detailed treble. On top of that it comes with a high-quality balanced cable with a 2.5mm plug, plus an adapter that allows you to plug in to any 3.5mm single-ended jack.
This brand was previously unheard of in the west until recently and boy am I glad it made its way to us. The S6RUI is hands-down one of the best mid-tier earphones we’ve heard. Not only that but it’s beautifully crafted and comes with a great accessory bundle.
It has a rich, full-bodied and bold sound rippling with resolution, detail and a smooth, non-fatiguing character. This IEM competes with the best mid-tier products out there and comes at a very competitive price considering the audio quality. Highly recommended!
This IEM has been one of my favourites since the first time I heard it. The DK-3001 is built like a tank and comes with 2 cables: 1x 3.5mm single ended and 1x 2.5mm TRRS balanced. This is good news because the black DUNU cables are still some of my favourites.
With a meaty bass, fantastic layering and separation and energetic but smooth treble this IEM sounds brilliant. It’s seems as though DUNU made the DK-3001 just for me because its sound fits my personal preference so well: enhanced bass, fantastic clarity and detail and lively, non-fatiguing treble. Superb!
It’s hardly surprising to find something from the portable audio giant in our recommended list. The Sennheiser IE800 S is a stunning achievement in earphone technology. Its tiny earpieces are exquisitely crafted and very robust. The cable has an adapter system allowing you to switch easily between the 3 available plugs: 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm TRRS and 4.4mm TRRS.
It’s incredible what Sennheiser have done with this single dynamic driver. It delivers supreme coherency and a natural tonality that puts you right in the middle of the music. The IE 800 S remains one of my high-end reference IEMs and absolutely has to be part of this list for its masterful audio capability and triumph of engineering.