Best universal iems featured

Best Universal IEMs / Earphones

Looking for the best universal IEMs? We’ve got you covered! This list is ordered from the lowest to the highest price (List updated Feb 2020).

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.


$1-50

CVJ CSA ($20)
CVJ CSA review featured

This little guy is all-out fun with its upfront, bold and dynamic sound. But it also has some good technical ability, like soundstage, treble timbre and cohesiveness.

This earphone is also super comfortable, really well built and comes with a good accessory set. It’s no wonder that the CVJ CSA is our new favourite budget IEM.

Buy on AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/cvj-csa-review-strong-debut/

KBEAR KS2 ($24)
KBEAR KS2 review featured

Here’s another great example of winning Chi-Fi value. The KBEAR KS2 has a fun V-shaped tuning with punchy bass, clear, articulated midrange and a sparkly but non-offensive treble.

To top off the dynamic sound, the KS2 creates an expansive and airy soundstage that is both wide and deep. All this comes wrapped in comfortable ear-hugging acrylic shells with a detachable 2-pin cable.

$24 from KeepHifi

Review: https://primeaudio.org/kbear-ks2-earphones-review/

KZ ZSX ($45)
KZ ZSX

The ZSX Terminator is a force to be reckoned with in the sub $50 category. 6 drivers (1DD+5BA), authoritative bass, clean midrange and ultra-detailed but smooth treble make this earphone one very strong contender.

This little budget champ does everything right and deserves a place in any budget IEM fan’s collection – and every KZ fan, of course!

$45 from AliExpress or Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/kz-zsx-earphone-review/

RevoNext QT2 ($47)

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.

$47 from AliExpress or $50 from Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/revonext-qt2-review/

Tin Hifi T2 Plus ($59 US)

If you’ve done any research into budget Chi-Fi you will probably be familiar with Tin Hifi and 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!

But now there’s an even better option, the T2 Plus. The T2 Plus brings a more robust, full-bodied sound with improved ergonomics and a better cable. This is (IMO) currently the best IEM in the Tin T-Series.

Check the latest price on Amazon.

Review: https://primeaudio.org/tin-hifi-t2-plus-review-evolved/


$51-100

iBasso IT00 ($69)
iBasso IT00 review featured

iBasso has a history of making great IEMs but I wasn’t expecting their new budget model to kick this much ass! It pretty much swept in and took the number 1 position in the sub $100 segment with force.

What you get with the IT00 is a great build, great comfort and most of all, a class-leading audio quality that sets the new standard for budget inears. There’s no need for me to say more: watch the video or read the review (or both) and then let your fingers do the work on that buy button. This is the new budget BOSS!

$69 from iBasso Audio

Review: https://primeaudio.org/ibasso-it00-review-standout/

FiiO FH1s ($69)
FiiO FH1s review featured_2

The FH1s represents really solid value. These sound great with their linear frequency response and resolving, detailed presentation. The bass is meaty yet fast, the midrange is forward and has awesome separation. Treble is detailed and crisp.

Included in the package is a premium copper cable and high-quality plastic carrying case. The earphones have layered celluloid faceplates and as a bonus, every single unit has its own unique design. The IEMs have a premium build and are also very comfortable in the ears.

$69 from HiFiGo

Review: https://primeaudio.org/fiio-fh1s-review/

KBEAR Diamond ($79)
KBEAR Diamond review featured

This one was unexpected but KBEAR really nailed everything with this earphone. From the solid build quality to the generous accessories and tasty stock cable, it simply does everything right.

Diamond has a V-shaped signature so if you’re looking for something neutral then look somewhere else. But if you want a fun but technically excellent tuned IEM, this is a winner and it has a winning price to match. Bravo KBEAR!

$79 from AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/kbear-diamond-review—cut-glass


$101-200

Toneking 9 Tail

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.

$125 from Penon Audio

Review: https://primeaudio.org/toneking-nine-tail-mythological-audio/

Moondrop Starfield ($109)
Moondrop Starfield review featured

Some time ago in an IEM factory far, far away, a Chinese company was making an earphone. They called it the Moondrop Starfield and equipped it with a 10mm Carbon Nanotube (CNT) driver. It turned out to be awesome and landed right here on my best IEMs list.

A Harman-ish target curve with great tonal balance, lots of detail and clarity is a recipe for one great entry-level earphone. This one is my current number 1 recommendation for the $100 price point.

$109 on HiFiGo

Review: https://primeaudio.org/moondrop-starfield-review—twinkle-twinkle

Hifi Boy OS V3 ($159)
Hifi Boy OSV3 featured

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!

$159 on Penon Audio

Review: https://primeaudio.org/hifi-boy-osv3-review/

Tin Hifi P1 ($169)

The P1 earphone from Tin Hifi has a 10mm planar magnetic driver in a closed back shell. This IEM simply blew me away with its incredible audio quality. Thankfully, the stainless steel housings live up to the same standard, making this an absolute must-buy in the sub $200 segment.

With its natural tonality and superb separation and layering, the P1 can compete on a technical level with much more expensive products. The only real drawback is relatively soft sub-bass but it really doesn’t detract from the P1’s magic. Get one today, you won’t regret it!

$169 on Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/tin-hifi-p1-review-wonder/

iBasso IT01s ($199)
iBasso IT01s featured

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 into any 3.5mm single-ended jack.

$199 on Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/ibasso-it01s-iem-review/


$201-500

Shanling ME500 Platinum Edition ($289)

Although Shanling has just started making their own earphones, they’ve already delivered a real winner with the ME500 PE. This triple hybrid driver IEM has an engaging, lively presentation with a meaty, tight bass, clear and natural midrange plus a crisp, non-fatiguing and detailed treble.

All this is wrapped up in platinum-plated brass shells that are rock solid and built to last. You get a vast assortment of eartips, a silver-plated copper cable and carrying case included too. This is a fantastic IEM at a competitive price and what a way to enter the earphone space Shanling!

$289 on AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/shanling-me500-platinum-edition-review/

DUNU DK-2001 ($299)
DUNU DK-2001 review featured

The DUNU DK-2001 turned out to be an absolute gem in pretty much every way. Crafted from stainless steel these things are built like a tank but they’re tuned like a luxury supercar. Beautiful clarity and timbre with a nice tonal balance, detail and expansive soundstage.

In addition, these come with a high-quality modular cable that lets you switch your termination plugs quickly and easily. So it’s compatible with every source without needing to change the cable which is super convenient. These are an all-round great IEM and I couldn’t even think of anything negative to say about them.

$299 on AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/dunu-dk-2001-review-setting-standards/

UFOEar UFO-112 ($359)

This is an IEM that I think should be getting more attention. The UFO-112 is a triple-driver unit containing 1 dynamic and 2 balanced armature drivers. Not only is it lightweight and super comfortable, but it also has a fantastic and technically proficient sound.

The dynamic bass driver delivers with punch and impact, the neutral midrange is clear and the treble is detailed but non-fatiguing. Not only that but this IEM comes with a fantastic set of accessories, including a metal carrying case and a high-quality cable.

$359 on AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/ufoear-ufo-112-review-celestial/

Queen Audio QM50 ($389)
QM50 featured

Another fairly new and mostly unknown Chi-Fi brand, Queen Audio really blew me away with this release. The QM50 is similar to the Fearless S6RUI but has better treble extension and sweeter treble timbre.

The sound is rich, detailed, resolving and yet buttery smooth. It has a fantastic holographic soundstage with precise imaging and great instrument separation. For a multi-BA unit, the QM50 has really good bass extension and a natural tone throughout. If you’re shopping for something under $500 then this is one you should seriously consider grabbing.

$389 on AliExpress or Amazon.

Review: https://primeaudio.org/queen-audio-qm50-review-monarch/

FiiO FH7 ($449)

FiiO’s FH7 is a beautifully built and comfortable earphone with a super engaging and lively sound signature that will keep you captivated. It is a great example of what good bass sounds like with its powerful yet fast low frequencies.

Using aerospace-grade aluminium-magnesium alloy, the FH7 shells are a joy to behold and feel fantastic in your ears too. Finally, the FH7 comes with a gorgeous cable and a bunch of awesome accessories. Highly recommended.

$449 on Amazon or $469 on AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/fiio-fh7-review-making-waves/

DUNU DK-3001 Pro ($469)
DUNU DK-3001 Pro review featured

DUNU has created magic again with their DK-3001 Pro. 316 stainless steel shells, the modular Lyre cable with multiple terminations and leather carrying case set it off to a good start. But it’s the audio quality that really sets this IEM apart.

This earphone has a very balanced and linear sound signature but it’s one that is intensely musical, resolving, nuanced and non-fatiguing to boot. It delivers in every way and is one of the best sounding earphones in this price range bar none.

$469 from AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/dunu-dk-3001-pro-review-level-up/

Panther Audio Aura DX4 ($469)

Panther Audio’s DX4 is a gorgeous quad-driver earphone with 1 dynamic driver and 3 Knowles balanced armature drivers. It has an immaculate build and is very comfortable. Without a doubt, the best thing about the Aura DX4 is its sound.

Punchy, resolving, clear and detailed are some of the words I use to describe the DX4. End to end extension is excellent but it’s also a very smooth sound that is never harsh or sibilant. The dynamic driver delivers a solid visceral bass that can thump and rumble. Midrange notes are sweet and articulated with above-average resolution and the treble is handled really well too.

$469 from Panther Audio https://www.panther-audio.com/product-page/dx4

Review: https://primeaudio.org/panther-audio-aura-dx4-review-glow/

Fearless Audio S8F ($489)
Fearless Audio S8F featured image

Fearless Audio continues to advance and is showing no signs of slowing down. The Fearless S8F combines excellent build and audio quality into an IEM that provides a great price to performance ratio.

It has a balanced, textured bass, clear, accurate mids with a touch of warmth and crisp, detailed but smooth treble. This one is a real winner.

$489 on Amazon and AliExpress

Review: https://primeaudio.org/fearless-s8f-review

Audiofly AF180 MK2 ($499)

The AF180 MK2 has 4 balanced armatures per side and a 3-way electronic crossover. When Audiofly says linear they mean it because that’s just what the AF180 MK2 is. Don’t mistake linear for boring though because these sound sumptuous and oh so accurate.

Super lightweight, small and comfortable, these can pleasure your ears for hours on end. Also worth mentioning is the solid accessory bundle which includes a high-quality weather-sealed carrying case. I was really impressed with these.

$499 from Audiofly

Review: https://primeaudio.org/audiofly-af180-mk2-review/


$501-1000

Sennheiser IE 800 S ($999)

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 has 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.

$999 from Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/sennheiser-ie-800-s-review/

Meze Rai Penta ($1099)
Meze Rai Penta review featured

After reading mixed reviews on the web, I wasn’t sure how the Rai Penta would perform. But when I put them in my ears I knew right away they would end up on this list! The Meze Rai Penta feels as good in the hand as it looks but the real pleasure begins when you start listening.

This is such a sumptuous, smooth and inviting IEM that wraps you up in the music and is perfect for long listening sessions. It has a fun, boosted but controlled bass, excellent midrange resolution and clarity, plus a buttery-smooth non-fatiguing airy treble.

Although it is the most expensive earphone on this list, it is actually quite reasonable for a TOTL flagship model compared to what other brands are putting out there. In a lot of cases, the Rai Penta also outperforms its more expensive competition and at the same time is one of the most attractive and comfortable IEMs on the market.

$1099 on Amazon

Review: https://primeaudio.org/meze-rai-penta-review-centerfold/

Founder of Prime Audio
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kevlar397
kevlar397
5 months ago

I didn’t expect to only see one pair of IEM’s in the $500 to $1000 range. Are you planning to add more to that price range?

Rusty
Rusty
1 year ago

Hey Crabbo, have you heard the Campfire Audio Special Edition Gold iem’s? Recommended.

Ken
Ken
1 year ago

Nice to find some of my favorite IEMs in this list, on top of all the Dunu DK-3001 which you seem to like quite a bit as well.
Next stop: the 4001. Did you have a chance to check them out, Crabbos? Can’t wait to audition them, the reviews I’ve read so far look very promising.

Keep it up!

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