Yes, I’m still working on that Headphone Ranking List update you’ve all been asking for. In the meantime, here’s a little pre-show entertainment to whet thy ravenous appetites.
This update also pushes the total number of IEMs ranked past the 900 mark, bringing to the total to a whopping 913. The big 1,000 looms ever-closer.
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 “Tonal-Technical” post which highlights the process in which said IEMs are ranked:
An update of the “Technical Ability” article, explaining the concepts of ‘tonality’ and ‘technicalities’ which are the cornerstones of the IEF ranking system.
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
|Model||Rank||Value Rating||Tone Grade||Technical Grade|
|Dita Project 71||C||C||B-|
|Dita Sakura 71||B-||B-||B|
|DUNU EST 112||B||★||B+||B|
|EarFun x Oluv Free Pro||C+||B||C+|
|JH Audio Jolene||C-||D||B-|
|Kiwi Ears Orchestra||A||★★||A+||A|
|Monoprice Monolith M-TWE||C||C+||C|
|Neusonk direm E3||C+||B||C|
|Neusonk direm PRO||C+||C+||C+|
|oBravo Ra C 21||D-||D-||D|
|qdc Anole V14||A+||A+||A+|
|Shanling ME700 Lite||B-||B-||B-|
|Tin HiFi T5||C||C||C|
|Unique Melody MEST Mk2||A+||A+||S-|
|Vision Ears VE7||A||A||A|
And here’s a list of changes to existing entries on the ranking list. Not a lot really, but good to keep a changelog at the very least.
- Hidition Viento: awarded ★★ value rating (up from ★)
- ★ value ratings removed from the following:
- In-Ear ProPhile-8 (no longer competitive at $1,600 MSRP)
- 64 Audio Nio (no longer competitive at $1,700 MSRP)
- qdc 8SH (barely competitive at $1,450 MSRP)
- ThieAudio Clairvoyance: tech grade adjusted to A (down from A+). Overall rank unchanged.