Table of Contents
I’m great at titles.
Yes, you heard that right. 393 new entries to the ranking list, making this update the biggest update in IEF’s history by a country mile. This is done to keep parity between the ranking list and the measurement database, and also because I’m a sore winner and don’t want other ranking lists to catch up anytime soon.
This brings the total number of IEMs ranked to 886. I have no idea how I managed to get this far.
Some brief changes on the ranking system before we get into it.
First, the star value system has been slightly tweaked, particularly pertaining to the criteria for awarded single stars (★). Previously, only those “C” rank and above are eligible for their first value star rating which resulted in many IEMs being considered for the “Worth the price” tag despite them being, by most accounts, utterly mediocre and only getting the award due to their extremely low prices.
In order to keep the star awards more prestigious and prevent “mediocre but very cheap IEMs” from getting recognised, now only IEMs with “C+” rank and above are eligible for their first value star.
Second, and this is more about disclosure than an overhaul of the ranking system itself, how the weighting between tonality and technical grades works in order to calculate overall ranks. To ease work on my end as well as to prevent any errant human error, the calculation is now automatic and based on the following:
The “3-to-1 weighting” idea mentioned in the initial update post is still somewhat followed here, hence the weighting formula of [1+n(n-1)] for each metric.
As an example:
- An A/A IEM has a combined point score of 42. This is the maximum score required to be eligible for an overall “A” rank.
- An A/A+ IEM has a combined point score of 34. This is lower than the max requirement for an A rank (42), but still higher than the max requirement for an A+ rank (26). The overall rank is therefore still A.
- An A/S- IEM has a combined point score of 28, which is still higher than the max requirement for an A+ overall rank.
- An A/S IEM has a combined point score of 24, which is lower than the max requirement for A+ (26) but still higher than the max requirement for S- (14). Its overall rank is therefore A+.
And so on and so forth.
It is to be noted that these calculations are hidden to reduce clutter in the ranking lists themselves. But if you ever want to know how the weighting is calculated in purely mathematical terms… here you go.
The Usual Disclaimer
Before I begin, I shall copy and paste the disclaimer that has been on the Ranking List since its very inception.
Yes I know it’s wholly unnecessary for most of you dear readers, but it’s no secret that some of you have some literacy problems and require the section to be crammed down your slimy throats before you acknowledge its existence.
- The IEMs are ranked purely by sonic performance. Fit, isolation, durability, build quality etc. are ignored unless they interfere with the sound itself.
- The IEMs are not ranked in terms of price-to-performance value. They are ranked according to what I think is “objectively” the best.
- Most of the IEMs in this list are determined based off (universal) demo units from shops.
- Customs tried will be specified as “custom”. A “Third party custom” is someone else’s customs that I forcefit into my ears. Any other use of the term “unit” will be universal.
- The positions are not set in stone. I’m only human; I may miss out on certain details or traits that may only be apparent with repeated listening. Expect changes.
- Ranks will be determined based on the best unit tried. Because of this, I am not accounting for unit variation. I cannot guarantee that what I’m hearing is what you will be hearing.
- This will revert to the most recent unit tried if there is a significant time gap between the last and most recent times I tried a particular model.
- Unreleased products will not be included in the ranking list until they are officially out of preorder stages or have production units sent to distributors. I will still be talking about them in my subreddit if I ever get the opportunity to try such units.
- Prices are at MSRP in USD. Prices not directly available in USD are based off the exchange rate during the time of writing.
- A (non-complete) list of IEMs that I’ve tried can be found on my measurements database.
- If you can tell, some of IEMs on the database (that I’ve tried) may not be in this list. This is could be due to lack of interest or lack of enough ear time to make a proper decision on tier placement.
- Yes, this is the opinion of one person on the internet. Please do not get too offended if your favourite IEM isn’t graded as highly as you’d like. (vice versa applies)
- This list is meant to be used as a reference point. I highly recommend against blind-buying and suggest to have a listen to the IEMs yourself. By all means, use this to shortlist what you should try in the future but don’t take it as gospel.
Also, here I reference my “Big Breakdown” post which highlights the process in which said IEMs are ranked:
The Big Breakdown (Ranking List Update)
An overhaul of the ranking list system, ranking list changes and other interesting stuff.
So if anyone has any complains on certain rankings on certain IEMs, do acknowledge the whole “tonality versus technicalities” split. Just because an IEM may be “technically excellent” does not necessarily mean that it may be tonally so, and vice versa. And since I rank by a weighted system… well, the criteria for good rankings get even stricter.
The New Entries
|Rank||Value Rating||Model||Tone Grade||Technical Grade|
|S-||Elysian Annihilator (DIO)||S-||S|
|A+||Empire Ears Legend X SE||A+||A+|
|A-||See Audio Neo||A-||A-|
|B+||64 Audio A18S||B||S-|
|B+||Custom Art FIBAE 7||A-||B+|
|B+||64 Audio A6t||A-||B+|
|B+||Ultimate Ears UE4 Pro||A-||B+|
|B+||★★||Unique Melody 2HT “Terminator”||B+||B+|
|B+||★||Libratone Track Air Plus||A+||B-|
|B||See Audio Kaguya||B||A-|
|B||Unique Melody Merlin V2||A||B-|
|B||★★||See Audio Yume||S-||C+|
|B||Unique Melody Maven||B||B+|
|B||64 Audio A4t||B+||B|
|B||Aroma Witch Girl W12||B||B+|
|B||Kumitate KL-REF Type S||B||B|
|B||Vision Ears VE5||B||B|
|B||Unique Melody Mirage||B||B|
|B-||Lime Ears LE2||B+||B-|
|B-||Audio Genetic AG2||B+||B-|
|B-||Dita Truth Answer Edition||B-||B+|
|B-||Soranik Bastille Signature||B-||B+|
|B-||★||Shure Aonic 3||A-||C+|
|B-||JBL LIVE 300TWS||A-||C+|
|B-||Eartech Dual Driver||A-||C+|
|B-||★||DUNU Titan 1||B||B-|
|B-||★||DUNU Titan 3||B-||B|
|B-||InEar StageDiver SD-2||B||B-|
|B-||Tralucent 1 Plus 2.2||B||B-|
|B-||Clear Tune Monitors CT-6E||B-||B|
|B-||Eternal Melody EM-5||B||B-|
|B-||Final Audio B3||B||B-|
|B-||Unique Melody Miracle V2||B-||B|
|B-||VSonic GR07 Bass Edition||B-||B|
|B-||★||Shure Aonic 4||B+||C+|
|B-||Aroma Witch Girl S||C+||B+|
|B-||Anthem Five E4||B-||B-|
|C+||★||Whizzer A15 Pro||B||C+|
|C+||Empire Ears Phantom LE||C+||B|
|C+||Tralucent 1 Plus 1.2||B||C+|
|C+||Unique Melody Mini MEST||C+||B|
|C+||Fender Ten 5||B||C+|
|C+||FitEar Monet 17||C+||B|
|C+||Tansio Mirai TSMR-3 Pro||B||C+|
|C+||Vision Ears VE6||C+||B|
|C+||Astell & Kern T9iE||C+||B|
|C+||Shozy Black Hole||C+||B|
|C+||★★★||Final Audio E500||B-||C+|
|C+||★||NiceHCK NX7 Mk3||C+||B-|
|C+||★||Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2||B-||C+|
|C+||Custom Art FIBAE 4||C+||B-|
|C+||Eternal Melody EM-5H||C+||B-|
|C+||JH Audio JH16v2||C-||A-|
|C+||JH Audio Rosie||B-||C+|
|C+||Eartech Triple Driver||C+||B-|
|C+||AAW x Custom Art Project 4+2||B-||C+|
|C+||JH Audio Roxanne 2||C-||A-|
|C+||AAW A3H Plus||B-||C+|
|C+||★★★||Samsung AKG EO-IG955||B||C|
|C+||Lark Studio LSX||C||B|
|C+||JH Audio x L-Acoustics Contour XO||C||B|
|C+||JH Audio Angie||C-||B+|
|C+||★||FiiO F9 Pro||C+||C+|
|C+||Final Audio B2||C+||C+|
|C+||Craft Ears Craft TWO||C+||C+|
|C+||Final Audio Heaven 4||C+||C+|
|C||Aroma Witch Girl Pro||C||B-|
|C||Tralucent 1 Plus 5.2||C||B-|
|C||Final Audio B1||C||B-|
|C||BQEYZ Spring 1||C||B-|
|C||Eartech Quad Driver||C||B-|
|C||Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 (High-End Sound Tuning mode)||B-||C|
|C||Stax SR-001 Mk2||C||B-|
|C||Audeze LCD-i3 (No Cipher)||D||S|
|C||Kumitate KL-Sanka B||D+||A-|
|C||Kumitate KL-Sanka K||D+||A-|
|C||InEar StageDiver SD-4||C-||B|
|C||Azla 01R Mk2||C||C+|
|C||Tralucent 1 Plus 2.3||C||C+|
|C||64 Audio A2e||C||C+|
|C||Klipsch T5 True Wireless||C||C+|
|C||Clear Tune Monitors CT-200||C+||C|
|C||Custom Art FIBAE 2||C||C+|
|C||Final Audio F4100||C||C+|
|C||Final Audio F7200||C||C+|
|C||Final Audio Heaven 7||C||C+|
|C||Final Audio Heaven S||C||C+|
|C||KZ ZS10 Pro||C+||C|
|C||Simgot EN700 Pro||C+||C|
|C||Custom Art Ei.3||C+||C|
|C||EarFun x Oluv Free||C+||C|
|C||Eternal Melody EM-6W||C||C+|
|C||LG Tone Free||C+||C|
|C||Meze 12 Classics||C||C+|
|C||QoA Pink Lady||C||C+|
|C||TFZ Exclusive 1||C+||C|
|C||TFZ Exclusive 5||C+||C|
|C||Shure Aonic 5||C+||C|
|C||Rhapsodio Infinity Mk2||C+||C|
|C||FitEar Private C435||C-||B-|
|C||FitEar Private 222||C-||B-|
|C||JH Audio Lola||D+||B|
|C||Jomo x Pantheon Percussion P3||C||C|
|C||Tipsy Dunmer Pro||C||C|
|C||Atomic Floyd SuperDarts||C||C|
|C||BGVP DS1 Pro||C||C|
|C||Kinera IDUN Deluxe||C||C|
|C||Peacock Audio P1||C||C|
|C||Satolex Tubomi DH298-A1Bk||C||C|
|C||Satolex Tubomi DH302-A1Bs||C||C|
|C||Satolex Tubomi DH310-A1SS||C||C|
|C||Satolex Tumuri DH303-A1||C||C|
|C||Alpha & Delta KS3||C||C|
|C||Audio Technica ATH-ANC300TW||C||C|
|C||FitEar Air 2||C||C|
|C||Flicker Ear Norma||C||C|
|C||KBEar TRI I4||C||C|
|C||MEE M6 Pro||C||C|
|C||NF Audio NF2u||C||C|
|C||TFZ Balance 2M||C||C|
|C||TFZ Exclusive 3||C||C|
|C||TFZ Tequila 1||C||C|
|C||TFZ Ti Galaxy||C||C|
|C||Zero Audio Carbo Basso ZH-DX210-CB||C||C|
|C||Zero Audio Duoza ZH-DWX10||C||C|
|C||Kinera BD005 Pro||C||C|
|C-||Final Audio FI-DO6SS ANT20||C-||C+|
|C-||Shozy Black Hole Mini||C-||C+|
|C-||Custom Art FIBAE 1||C-||C+|
|C-||Clear Tune Monitors CT-500 Elite||C-||C+|
|C-||InEar StageDiver SD-3||C-||C+|
|C-||Audio Technica ATH-IM03||C-||C+|
|C-||Audio Technica ATH-LS300||C-||C+|
|C-||Audio Technica ATH-LS400||C-||C+|
|C-||Final Audio Heaven 8||C-||C+|
|C-||Hidizs Mermaid MS4||C-||C+|
|C-||Noble Dulce Bass||C-||C+|
|C-||Meze Rai Solo||D+||B-|
|C-||FitEar Private 223||D+||B-|
|C-||EarWerkz Legend Omega||D||B|
|C-||Custom Art Pro330v2||C-||C|
|C-||Zero Audio Carbo Doppio ZH-BX700||C||C-|
|C-||Ultimate Ears UE900S||C-||C|
|C-||Audio Technica ATH-IM01||C-||C|
|C-||Custom Art FIBAE ME||C-||C|
|C-||Eternal Melody EM-4||C-||C|
|C-||Eternal Melody EM-6||C-||C|
|C-||MUNITIO Bullet In-Ear||C-||C|
|C-||Shuoer Tape Pro||D+||C+|
|C-||Ocharaku Flat-4 Akakeyaki||D||B-|
|C-||Ocharaku Flat-4 Akazakura||D||B-|
|C-||Ocharaku Flat-4 Kaede Type 1||D||B-|
|C-||Ocharaku Flat-4 Kaede Type 2||D||B-|
|C-||Ocharaku Flat-4 Ti Plus||D||B-|
|C-||Zero Audio Carbo Singolo ZH-BS150-CS||C-||C-|
|C-||Clear Tune Monitors CT-300 Pro||C-||C-|
|C-||1More Dual Driver||C-||C-|
|D+||Ocharaku Donguri Ti Plus||D+||C|
|D+||Ocharaku Co-Donguri Shizuku||D+||C|
|D+||Ocharaku Co-Donguri Shizuku S2||D+||C|
|D+||Ocharaku Donguri Keyaki||D+||C|
|D+||Master & Dynamic MW07 Go||D+||C-|
|D+||Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus||D+||C-|
|D||KZ ED Special Edition||D||C-|
|D||Shozy x AAW Hibiki SE||D||C-|
|D||Massdrop x MEE Planamic||D+||D|
|D||Fearless Crystal Ball||D||D+|
|D||HiFi Boy OS V3||D+||D|
|D||Sound Linear Fitz 3X||D||D+|
|D||1More Single Driver||D||D|
|D||Audio Technica ATH-LS50||D||D|
|D||Future Sonics G10||D||D|
|D-||Westone UM Pro 50||D-||D+|
|D-||Westone UM Pro 10||D||D-|
|D-||Westone UM Pro 20||D-||D|
|D-||Westone UM Pro 30||D-||D|
|E||Empire Ears EVR Mk2||E||B-|
|E||Final Audio LAB 2||E||C|
|E||Final Audio Adagio 3||E||D|
|E||LEAR NatroSound NS-U1||E||E|
|Model||Previous Rank||New rank|
|Ultimate Ears UE7 Pro||B-||B+|
|Fearless S10 Genie||B-||C+|
|Fearless HyperS 12BA||B-||C+|
|FitEar Private 333||B-||C+|
|JH Audio JH13v2||B||C+|
|Empire Ears Phantom||B||C|
|JH Audio Layla||C+||C|
|Custom Art FIBAE 3||C+||C|
As it has been since the very beginning, the ranking list has sort of targeted a “normal-ish distribution”. And with this update where a vast majority of entries landed in the C-ish categories… looks like the data has finally skewed itself back into the proper shape.
Some notable stats:
- Getting at least a C+ rank puts you in the top 50-ish percentile. C+ is, quite literally, “above average”.
- Getting at least a S- rank puts you in the top 1-ish percentile. The S ranks are hard to get.
If I have to hear about another “potential S-rank” again…
- Getting at least an A- rank puts you in the top 10%.
- The top 25% lies around B.
- The C-ranks make up almost exactly half of the ranking list (50.11%).
- There are only five 3-star (★★★) IEMs, making it the most prestigious award where only 0.56% have it.
- There are twenty-five 2-star (★★) IEMs, making up only 2.82% of the population.
- The 1-star (★) award is a lot more attainable in comparison. 105 awardees, or 11.85% of the population.
Now I run into another dilemma: this is too much.
This is waaaaay too much data for your average person to process. EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHT-SIX ENTRIES? I have no doubt most readers would have their eyes glaze over after the first hundred or so entries, so thank god for the sorting function.
But this does justify me making more buyer’s guides in the future, one in a similar vein to my TWS Buyer’s Guide but for IEMs at different price points. It’s not information that one cannot gleam from the ranking list, but it’s certainly more digestable information and one that is more hand-selected rather than a complete overview.
Also it means more traffic for me, but I digress.
So the guides I have in mind are:
- Buyer’s Guide: World’s Best IEMs (money no object)
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $1,000
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $500
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $300
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $200
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $100
- Buyer’s Guide: The Best IEMs under $50
I’m not sure if any price points in-between the ones I listed are any popular, so do let me know if I should any others.
And remember kids: if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist.
Support me on Patreon to get access to tentative ranks, the exclusive “Clubhouse” Discord server and/or access to the Premium Graph Comparison Tool! My usual thanks to all my current supporters and shoutouts to my big money boys:
34 thoughts on “The Update Where 393 IEMs Get Added to the Ranking List”
Heh, Sony MH755 is now “discontinued”, even if it was newer really available. Goodbye champ.
Greatly appreciate your update, the buyer’s guide seems like a great idea for those who want to try an iem of a specific rank within their means. Looking forward to it
Impressive work here. I see you are taking the “full-time job” seriously. Keep kicking butt
Crinacle you added a lot of new entries but not Mangird Tea, one Iem really appreciates by several audiophiles. I don’t have it, but I have Moondop Blessing 2 Dusk and several people compared the Tea to the Dusk: the reason of my curiosity.
The Mangird Tea has been ranked a while back, hence why it is not in the table above.
Buds pro is missing in the Ranking List
Wow 886 iems! Congratulations on the hard work! I know this takes a lot of time and dedication. My one point of criticism is you’ve reviewed 886 iems and not a single one from Penon Audio. With all these obscure iems in your list, I don’t understand why the likes of the Sphere, Orb, and flagship Volt have been neglected here… they are more than deserving of your time!
Conflict of Interest, Penon has been somewhat known for their influence to the review
Ergo… They want to change the review content if it doesn’t work in their favor.
Really? Do you have a source for this info? So Crin can’t purchase a Penon iem and including it in the rankings without being pressured by Penon? I call BS on this. The Orb and Volt are slowly gaining a following due to the merits of their tuning, not from paid reviews as there really aren’t any high profile reviews of them.
Would it be possible for you to do a short review of the FH3? There seems to be quite a bit of praise for it, but your score seems to be against consensus.
I do feel the same. Please clarify.
If you could get your hands on a KZ DQ6 for measurements, it would greatly appreciated. That way we’d could at least have an AutoEq settings generated for it.
I suspect it would be of some benefit as many find it to be one of the better inexpensive IEMs on the market currently. A little EQ might take to from satisfactory to fantastic.
Your “3-to-1 weighting” stated that : C/A- = C+ (5 sub-grade difference, still 1 sub-grade increase). Then by that system, HiFiman RE-400 should be C+, not B- ?
A- tone is 31 points. C technicalities is 111 points for a combined 142 points. Maximum allowable for B- is 146 points, so it just makes the cut for B-.
I love you Cron-sama
Correction needed in the AAW x Custom Art 4+2. It’s noted as 6BA, but it’s 4 BA and 2 DD.
As usual I look forward to looking at the notes, but think that quick glimpse at two models sound signatures I’m familiar with made me finally give up at comprehending the differences between “v”, “v-ish” and “balanced” (with caveats) tunings.
In any case, thank you.
I’m curious about the new 64 Audio Nio, haven’t you tried it yet?
He’s already reviewed it, and regarded it pretty highly. The review’s title is called “64 Audio Nio review: The real N8”
Thank you 🙂
Impressive work! Hope you could add Inear Pro Mission X on this list in the future.
Is there any reason the iSine 10/20 (with Cipher) was removed from the tier list? It used to rank quite highly up there but I can’t see it anymore. I only see the non-cipher ranking.
why was the Audeze iSine 20(with cipher) Removed? All of your Audeze IEMs should have cipher/no cipher reviews so we can know what they can be with them.
an explanation would have been nice
Glad I’m not the only one that noticed this! Cron sama pls let us know
Mackie mp-460 please!!
BQEYZ Spring 2
Hi. Acoustune hs 1004. For 4 years I already have the second pair. True, one speaker burned out. I can’t find an alternative to them. Probably because of the peaks at 9 to 5. They just give a revelation on vocals and guitars. I really like the scene. Of course , not the same as isine20, but good. Creen, advise me an iem with a similar sound. The whole line from acoustune, empire ears, 64A did not fit me. Another question for you. How do you like hifiman r2r2000 red on the sound? Thank you. Valeriy. Kiev . Ukraine. + 380677517840
Bqeyz KC2 and Moondrop Aria would be great
Thank You for your work, Crinacle. Keep it up. Might want to cover more “promising new averages” in the market, who knows, might find a gem.
Can you review DUNU ZEN ?
Thanks for your hardwork!
I would be great if you do the review of japanese brand “Radius hp-nhr 31”
Whats grades would the Blessing 2 Dusk get in this table? S+ / A ?
Hi there… may I know how’s the qdc v3 ii? The anniversary version
There are two instances for Acoustune HS1003 in your list. Which is the accurate one?