In-Ear Fidelity

The Update Where 393 IEMs Get Added to the Ranking List

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.

System Updates

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.

So… ahem.

  • 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:

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

RankValue RatingModelTone GradeTechnical Grade
S- Elysian Annihilator (DIO)S-S
A+qdc 8SSA+S
A+qdc 8SHAS
A+ Empire Ears Legend X SEA+A+
A Mofasest M14S-A
A Hidition VioletAA+
A Kumitate KL-FocusA+A
A- HYLA SardaB+A+
A- Acoustune HS1695TiA-A-
A- See Audio NeoA-A-
B+ 64 Audio A18SBS-
B+★★Etymotic ER3A-B+
B+ Custom Art FIBAE 7A-B+
B+ 64 Audio A6tA-B+
B+ Ultimate Ears UE4 ProA-B+
B+★★Unique Melody 2HT “Terminator”B+B+
B+iBasso AM05B+B+
B+Libratone Track Air PlusA+B-
B+Acoustune HS1300B+B+
B+ Sennheiser IE800SB+B+
B See Audio KaguyaBA-
B iBasso IT07BA-
B Aya SirenA-B
B Kumitate KL-CoronaAB-
B Unique Melody Merlin V2AB-
B★★See Audio YumeS-C+
BAune JasperB+B
B Shuoer EJ07B+B
B Acoustune HS1655CuBB+
B Acoustune HS1657BB+
B Acoustune HS1677BB+
B Unique Melody MavenBB+
B 64 Audio A4tB+B
B HUM DoloresB+B
B Aroma Witch Girl W12BB+
B Acoustune HS1697B-A-
B Oriolus PercivaliB-A-
B Jomo TangoC+A
B Moondrop CrescentAC+
BOriveti OH300BB
B Kumitate KL-REF Type SBB
B Acoustune HS1004BB
B FitEar MH335DWBB
B Oriveti OH500BB
B Vision Ears VE5BB
B Aya TridentBB
B Aroma YaoBB
B Unique Melody MirageBB
B- Lime Ears LE2B+B-
B- Audio Genetic AG2B+B-
B- Dita TruthB-B+
B- Dita Truth Answer EditionB-B+
B- Soranik Bastille SignatureB-B+
B- Sony MDR-AS800APS-C
B-Shure Aonic 3A-C+
B- Eartech Dual DriverA-C+
B- Alclair Studio3A-C+
B-DUNU Titan 1BB-
B-DUNU Titan 3B-B
B-QoA AdonisBB-
B-Shanling ME200BB-
B- Aroma EarlyBB-
B- InEar StageDiver SD-2BB-
B- Tralucent 1 Plus 2.2BB-
B- Clear Tune Monitors CT-6EB-B
B- Earsonics PurpleB-B
B- Eternal Melody EM-5BB-
B- Final Audio B3BB-
B- Unique Melody Miracle V2B-B
B- VSonic GR07 Bass EditionB-B
B- FiiO FA9BB-
B-Shure Aonic 4B+C+
B- Aroma Witch Girl SC+B+
B-NXEars SonataA-C
B- Aroma AceCA-
B- Hifiman RE400A-C
B-qdc UranusB-B-
B-qdc NeptuneB-B-
B- Aure ElixirB-B-
B- Aure FlameB-B-
B- Anthem Five E4B-B-
C+Whizzer A15 ProBC+
C+ Empire Ears Phantom LEC+B
C+ Alclair ElectroBC+
C+ Aroma TwinsC+B
C+ ikko OH10C+B
C+ Tralucent 1 Plus 1.2BC+
C+ Unique Melody Mini MESTC+B
C+ Fender Ten 5BC+
C+ FitEar Monet 17C+B
C+ Sony MDR-EX600C+B
C+ Soranik SP3C+B
C+ Tansio Mirai TSMR-3 ProBC+
C+ Vision Ears VE6C+B
C+ Alclair Studio4BC+
C+ Astell & Kern T9iEC+B
C+ FiiO FD5C+B
C+ Shozy Black HoleC+B
C+Lypertek BeviB+C
C+ Whizzer HE01B+C
C+★★★Final Audio E500B-C+
C+NiceHCK NX7 Mk3C+B-
C+Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2B-C+
C+FiiO FH3C+B-
C+ Custom Art FIBAE 4C+B-
C+ qdc 3SHB-C+
C+ 1Custom SA05B-C+
C+ Moondrop SpaceshipC+B-
C+ AAW HalcyonB-C+
C+ Eternal Melody EM-5HC+B-
C+ JH Audio JH16v2C-A-
C+ JH Audio RosieB-C+
C+ DUNU DN-1000B-C+
C+ Eartech Triple DriverC+B-
C+ HYLA Nerva-XB-C+
C+ IMR ZenithB-C+
C+ AAW x Custom Art Project 4+2B-C+
C+ JH Audio Roxanne 2C-A-
C+ Tralucent 1+XplusC+B-
C+ AAW A3H PlusB-C+
C+★★★Samsung AKG EO-IG955BC
C+Moondrop SSPCB
C+Edifier TWS6BC
C+ Noble SageBC
C+ Lark Studio LSXCB
C+ JH Audio x L-Acoustics Contour XOCB
C+ JH Audio AngieC-B+
C+FiiO F9 ProC+C+
C+ 1Custom SA03C+C+
C+ Aroma StarC+C+
C+ NocturnaL EdenC+C+
C+ Final Audio B2C+C+
C+ LH StellaC+C+
C+ DUNU DN-2000C+C+
C+ DUNU DN-2002C+C+
C+ Meccaudio ME20C+C+
C+ Soranik BMTC+C+
C+ VSonic AresC+C+
C+ VSonic VSD1SC+C+
C+ Craft Ears Craft TWOC+C+
C+ Final Audio Heaven 4C+C+
C Soranik ION-4CB-
C Aroma Witch Girl ProCB-
C NocturnaL GorhamB-C
C Tralucent 1 Plus 5.2CB-
C Final Audio B1CB-
C BQEYZ Spring 1CB-
C Eartech Quad DriverCB-
C Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 (High-End Sound Tuning mode)B-C
C Stax SR-001 Mk2CB-
C Symphonium AuroraB-C
C Audeze LCD-i3 (No Cipher)DS
C Kumitate KL-Sanka BD+A-
C Kumitate KL-Sanka KD+A-
C Stax SR-002C-B
C InEar StageDiver SD-4C-B
C Azla 01R Mk2CC+
C Tralucent 1 Plus 2.3CC+
C Shozy B2C+C
C Kumitate KL-MeteoCC+
C Azla HorizonCC+
C Westone W20C+C
C Campfire OrionCC+
C Shanling ME500CC+
C 64 Audio A2eCC+
C Klipsch T5 True WirelessCC+
C NocturnaL AvalonCC+
C Kumitate KL-SankaCC+
C Clear Tune Monitors CT-200C+C
C Custom Art FIBAE 2CC+
C Final Audio F4100CC+
C Final Audio F7200CC+
C Final Audio Heaven 7CC+
C Final Audio Heaven SCC+
C Jomo SalsaCC+
C KZ ZS10 ProC+C
C Simgot EN700 ProC+C
C Custom Art Ei.3C+C
C EarFun x Oluv FreeC+C
C Eternal Melody EM-6WCC+
C FitEar AyaCC+
C Grado iGeC+C
C Horluchs HL4300CC+
C LG Tone FreeC+C
C Meze 12 ClassicsCC+
C Onkyo E900CC+
C QoA Pink LadyCC+
C TFZ Exclusive 1C+C
C TFZ Exclusive 5C+C
C TFZ MyloveCC+
C VSonic VC02CC+
C Yamaha EPH100CC+
C Shure Aonic 5C+C
C Sony WF-XB700C+C
C Rhapsodio Infinity Mk2C+C
C QoA VesperCC+
C VSonic GR01B-C-
C FitEar Private C435C-B-
C FitEar Private 222C-B-
C IMR AtenC-B-
C JH Audio LolaD+B
C Jomo x Pantheon Percussion P3CC
C Shuoer H27CC
C Tipsy DunmerCC
C Tipsy Dunmer ProCC
C Atomic Floyd SuperDartsCC
C Jomo JazzCC
C Kinera IDUN DeluxeCC
C Noble SavannaCC
C Peacock Audio P1CC
C Satolex Tubomi DH298-A1BkCC
C Satolex Tubomi DH302-A1BsCC
C Satolex Tubomi DH310-A1SSCC
C Satolex Tumuri DH303-A1CC
C Sony XBA-300CC
C Sony XBA-40CC
C Symphonium MirageCC
C Technics EAH-AZ70WCC
C Advanced S2000CC
C Alpha & Delta KS3CC
C Audio Technica ATH-ANC300TWCC
C CatEar MiaCC
C FitEar Air 2CC
C FitEar FitearCC
C Flicker Ear NormaCC
C NF Audio NF2uCC
C Nuarl NT110CC
C RHA TrueConnectCC
C Soundmagic E11CC
C TFZ Balance 2MCC
C TFZ Exclusive 3CC
C TFZ Tequila 1CC
C TFZ Ti GalaxyCC
C Whizzer A15CC
C Zero Audio Carbo Basso ZH-DX210-CBCC
C Zero Audio Duoza ZH-DWX10CC
C Alclair VersaCC
C Kinera BD005 ProCC
C Fearless TequilaCC
C Tripowin TC-01CC
C- Final Audio FI-DO6SS ANT20C-C+
C- Shozy Black Hole MiniC-C+
C- Custom Art FIBAE 1C-C+
C- Clear Tune Monitors CT-500 EliteC-C+
C- AZLA OrtaC-C+
C- InEar StageDiver SD-3C-C+
C- Audio Technica ATH-IM03C-C+
C- Audio Technica ATH-LS300C-C+
C- Audio Technica ATH-LS400C-C+
C- Earsonics ES2C-C+
C- Earsonics ES3C-C+
C- Final Audio Heaven 8C-C+
C- Advanced M4C+C-
C- Hidizs Mermaid MS4C-C+
C- VSonic VSD2SC-C+
C- VSonic VSD3SC-C+
C- Acoustune HS1003C-C+
C- Noble Dulce BassC-C+
C- Meze Rai SoloD+B-
C- Earsonics ES5D+B-
C- Earsonics VelvetD+B-
C- Acoustune HS1001D+B-
C- FitEar Private 223D+B-
C- Tipsy AuroraBD
C- EarWerkz Legend OmegaDB
C- Fender FXA9DB
C- Earsonics S-EM9DB
C- Custom Art Pro330v2C-C
C- Zero Audio Carbo Doppio ZH-BX700CC-
C- Ultimate Ears UE900SC-C
C- Pioneer SE-CX9CC-
C- Westone W30C-C
C- Audio Technica ATH-IM01C-C
C- Aurisonics KickerC-C
C- Custom Art FIBAE MEC-C
C- Kinera SIFC-C
C- Shozy RougeC-C
C- Shure SE425C-C
C- Advanced M3CC-
C- Cardas A8C-C
C- Eternal Melody EM-4C-C
C- Eternal Melody EM-6C-C
C- Grado GR8C-C
C- HiBy WH3C-C
C- MUNITIO Bullet In-EarC-C
C- Phonak PFECC-
C- Shuoer SingerD+C+
C- Kumitate KL-KanonD+C+
C- HiBy Crystal6D+C+
C- Shuoer Tape ProD+C+
C- UFOEar UFO-111DB-
C- Ocharaku Flat-4 AkakeyakiDB-
C- Ocharaku Flat-4 AkazakuraDB-
C- Ocharaku Flat-4 Kaede Type 1DB-
C- Ocharaku Flat-4 Kaede Type 2DB-
C- Ocharaku Flat-4 Ti PlusDB-
C- Earsonics EM32DB-
C- Zero Audio Carbo Singolo ZH-BS150-CSC-C-
C- Clear Tune Monitors CT-300 ProC-C-
C- Noble DjangoC-C-
C- WG T-OneC-C-
C- Advanced 747C-C-
C- 1More Dual DriverC-C-
D+ Ocharaku Donguri Ti PlusD+C
D+ Ocharaku Co-Donguri ShizukuD+C
D+ Ocharaku Co-Donguri Shizuku S2D+C
D+ Ocharaku Donguri KeyakiD+C
D+ Shure SE315D+C
D+ Kennerton JimoD+C
D+ Noble TridentDC+
D+ Master & Dynamic MW07 GoD+C-
D+ Master & Dynamic MW07 PlusD+C-
D+ IMR SemperD+C-
D+ Westone W40DC
D+ Tripowin TP10DC
D+ NXEars OperaD-C+
D+ Westone W60D+D+
D Aroma ShockDC-
D oBravo CupidDC-
D KZ ED Special EditionDC-
D LH VerbDC-
D Advanced SleeperC-D
D Shozy x AAW Hibiki SEDC-
D 1More PistonC-D
D Massdrop x MEE PlanamicD+D
D Westone W50DD+
D Fearless Crystal BallDD+
D HiFi Boy OS V3D+D
D Sound Linear Fitz 3XDD+
D Sennheiser IE80DD
D 1More Single DriverDD
D NXEars BassoDD
D Audio Technica ATH-LS50DD
D Future Sonics G10DD
D Kinera BD005DD
D- Sony WF-SP800ND-D+
D- Westone UM Pro 50D-D+
D- ddHiFi JanusD-D+
D- Westone UM Pro 10DD-
D- Westone UM Pro 20D-D
D- Westone UM Pro 30D-D
D- Westone W10D-D-
E Hifiman RE800EB
E Empire Ears EVR Mk2EB-
E Final Audio LAB 2EC
E Astrotec VolansDE
E Final Audio Adagio 3ED
E LEAR NatroSound NS-U1EE

The Reranks

ModelPrevious RankNew rank
InEar Prophile-8S-A+
Ultimate Ears UE7 ProB-B+
Audiosense DT200B-B
Rhapsodio SolarB-B
Gaudio ClaridenB-B
Fearless S10 GenieB-C+
Fearless HyperS 12BAB-C+
FitEar Private 333B-C+
Oriolus ForsteniB-C+
JH Audio JH13v2BC+
Empire Ears PhantomBC
JH Audio LaylaC+C
Hifiman RE2000B-C
Earsonics EM10/GraceB-C
Custom Art FIBAE 3C+C
Lear LCM-BD4.2C-C

Data Analysis

Ranking distribution by subgrade
Ranking distribution by whole grades
Subgrade population data

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.

The Future

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:

“Greatest Ever”
Man Ho
yoshitatsu urata

34 thoughts on “The Update Where 393 IEMs Get Added to the Ranking List”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    Kinds regards

  6. 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- ?

    1. 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-.

  7. 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.

    1. He’s already reviewed it, and regarded it pretty highly. The review’s title is called “64 Audio Nio review: The real N8”

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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