In-ear monitors produce a better quality sound and are equipped with drivers that are specially designed for audiophiles and musicians. In general, not just musicians, even ordinary people have developed a good understanding of good quality sound. Therefore, many people these days want to look for an IEM that gives not only louder sound but also features some noise cancellation quality and ability to produce music with proper high, mid and low.
IEMs are available in plenty of sizes, shapes and have a lot of options to match your needs. Understanding the terminologies of these IEMs can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are not someone from a music background. Also, if you are under budget, the more the high-powered or heavy bass is provided by the IEM, the more are they expensive. In this article, we cover in-ear monitors that fall within the under $200 range and still manage to get most of the qualities you are looking for in a pair top-notch IEMs. Picking the right choice not only ensures better music, but it also means better comfort and durability.
Read our latest guide about the best creative headphones.
Most of the manufacturers of regular headphones use terminologies like ‘over-the-ear headphones’, ‘heavy-bass response’ and ‘Bluetooth ear buds’. However, IEMs are not headphones.
IEMs have small components inside the ear-pieces that produce proficiently engineered sound.
The two terminologies that you hear frequently are balanced-armature drivers and dynamic drivers.
Dynamic drivers – These allow the air to flow between currents to produce superior bass. However, the airflow also tends to reduce the noise isolation.
Balanced-armature drivers – These have less bass frequency and are more isolating with better noise cancellation. These kinds of drivers are also seen to be used as hearing aids. These are smaller than dynamic drivers but can be more expensive than the dynamic drivers.
Read our complete guide about the best pioneer headphones.
What’s the fuss about decibels?
IEMs use this terminology to describe the amount of noise they can isolate. Higher decibel means better isolation. In general, if you are looking for a good number, 25 decibels should be the right pick for you. It works for most people as it does isolate the excess noise at 40% volume or even less.
What are you using your IEM for?
While expensive IEMs can be great in almost all spheres, budget-friendly IEMs tend to compromise on one or two things. So, it is important that you specifically choose what you really need. Most of the time, people don’t realize that the sound quality does not only depend on the IEM you are using but also the device you are using it with. If you are using it with a Smartphone, the chances are that Smartphone will not regulate the right sound even if your IEM is actually good. So, if you are going to use for your Smartphone, considering the sound quality of the Smartphone is important too.
Things you should consider before choosing an IEM
Fitting – The better the fit in your ear, the better will be the sound quality. You won’t even be able to use your IEM if it does not fit you well. Some of the IEMs come with silicone earbuds that adapt in your ear perfectly. Also, you can get some customized earbuds too that fits perfectly in your ear.
Features – A good noise cancellation and sound quality are the most important features you should be looking for in IEM in $200 range. Other than these, you should also be looking for clarity from the device you are using it with.
Connection type – IEMs are available in two different options- wired or wireless. If you tend to use IEM when you are sitting on your desk or walking, then wired IEMs are the right choice, but if you are looking to use them for gym or even music concert where you can’t be seated, or you tend to move a lot, wireless option is the right pick for you.
Exterior- In today’s era of insta-ready generation, looking good is equally important with a better performance. There are a lot of choices nowadays that are not only performance-ready but also are aesthetically appealing. So, it would be even better if you can find an earphone which both attractive and well-performing. Many good brands offer different colours, designs and material that can fit right into your budget.
Brand – With so many brands advertising their products these days, it can be difficult to choose one brand that marks your entire checklist. It is essential to do your investigation and find the right choice for you. So, look for a brand that fits your budget and covers most of the features you are looking for in your ideal IEM. Most importantly, make sure the product is durable and would last for at least some years. Looking for brands with one or two year warranty should be the goal in terms of durability because music devices like IEMs or even headphones tend to be not very durable and are prone to damage even due to small accidents.
Sound quality – IEMs with evenly distributing sound on all frequencies are better. Rapid progression of notes should not smear together and should be audible individually. Remember, that you can’t expect them to deliver the deep, spacious sound quality of headphones but still they can deliver excellent highs, mids, and bass.
Benefits of an IEM
- They are portable and lightweight. Unlike headphones, you can keep them in pockets when you are not using them
- Fit perfectly in-ear.
- They are tightly sealed and provide excellent noise cancellation.
- They are less expensive than headphones.
Importance of proper fit
The key to finding an ideal IEM is to find the right fit and seal. Even if you are wearing the IEM correct way, you may have an incorrect seal if –
- The sound is treble-heavy, tinny, or lacks bass response
- You are experiencing inappropriate stereo imaging with a consistently ‘distant’ sound.
- Your IEMs do not stay inside ears during even light activity.
- Your IEMs do not reduce outside noise.
Whenever customers complain about no-bass from a known heavy-bass IEM, the chances are that the user is not putting it in-ear correctly. However, there can be chances of the product being defective, but before you return the product, make sure you fit it right in your ear. Also, make sure that ear tips fit correctly in your ear to avoid the improper sealing. Too small ear tip may not reach the ear canal to provide airtight fit which too big ear tip can make it difficult to get deep enough in the ear and will be uncomfortable to wear.
Top 15 Best IEM Under 200 in 2020
|1. Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones||Lightweight, low-profile shape||$$$||4.7|
|2. MEE Professional MX2 PRO Musician’s in-Ear Monitors||10mm moving coil subwoofer||$$||4.6|
|3. Sennheiser IE 40 Pro||Good fit and wearing comfort||$$||4.6|
|4. Westone UM Pro10||TWISTED MMCX AUDIO CABLE||$$$||4.5|
|5. SIMGOT EN700 PRO||10mm Dynamic Driver||$$$||4.4|
|6. HIDIZS MS1 in-Ear Monitor||High Fidelity Sound||$$$||4.3|
|7. MEE audio M6 PRO||detachable, replaceable cables||$$||4.3|
|8. SIMGOT MT3 Hi-Res in-Ear Monitor Headphones||standard 3.5 mm jack||$$||4.3|
|9. KZ AS10 Earbuds Pure 5||HIFI Earphone Sound Feature||$$||4.2|
|10. CCA C10 HiFi 5 Drivers Hybrid in-Ear Monitors||DURABLE Zinc Alloy Shell+Resin||$$||4.2|
|11. KZ ZSR in-Ear Headphones||Comfortable Ergonomic & Noise Cancelling Design||$$||4.1|
|12. BASN Professional in-Ear Monitor||block out up 20dB noise||$$||4.1|
|13. KZ ZSN HiFi Noise-Isolating in Ear Monitor||Eye-catching Look||$$||4.0|
|14. KZ ZST Pro Dynamic Hybrid||Solid ergonomic wear experience||$$||4.0|
|15. LyxPro ERP-10 in-Ear Monitors||DEPENDABLE SOUND ISOLATION||$$||3.9|
Looking for a budget earphone to upgrade your sound quality? Shure SE215-CL deliver personalized comfort and stunning sound quality at an entry-level budget. Emerging as one of the best budget earphones, customers are relying on this for both performance and its appealing design
Shure has built something that is far from traditional throw-away that comes with your Smartphone. It is constructed with proper design adjustments that allow it to fit extra hardware in it. These IEMs are wedged to fit right inside the ear canal to maintain noise isolation, but not deep enough to cause any discomfort to ears. The noise isolation is good because they easily slide into the ear, sealing the excess noise from outside.
These earphones are appealing to the eye with its little translucent, grey plastic parts which are designed to fit almost all kinds of ears with ease and feel comfortable. The earphones are provided with cords that are detachable, a feature not easily found in wired earphones in this budget. Also, it makes maintenance and repairs convenient.
One impression that some users might not like is that the cables are oriented upwards and cradle around the ear. However, manufacturers constructed it in this way to prevent them from slipping out of ear all the time due to its hefty size and weight. Unfortunately, there are no control features for music, and you won’t be able to control your music player without having it in your hand.
Shure SE215 may seem a little obtuse compared to some other IEMs, but it is surely packed with some amazing drivers in that extra space. While you might find it difficult to adjust to design at first, it will surely impress you with its high-quality audio. The overall sound is neutral but is dynamic in giving proper warmth and coolness to the songs. While the treble is not brash, the bass is just good enough to give good sound quality when you increase the volume.
The earphones come with different sizes of ear tips that allow you to find a perfect fit for yourself. The models are available in both wired and wireless designs. Wireless designs consist of Bluetooth connectivity features with decent controlling features. They stay in the ear even when during some head-shaking activity. It is provided with a soft zip storage case that allows you to keep it untangled even when you are travelling.
- Variety of ear inserts
- Detachable cords
- Decent sound quality
- Come in a handy travel pouch
- Super long cord
- Bass is little boomy
- Inserting it in the ear may take some practice
Adapting just right in the crazy competition of budget IEM market, MX2 Pro in-ear monitors from MEE Professional brings a lot of features and good performance to the table. Redefining the quality of music with its IEM model, MX2 makes a perfect fit for people looking for budget-friendly IEMs.
The cables provided with MX2 Pro are detachable which means you can easily disengage the stereo stock cable and plug it with a stereo to mono wire allowing you to switch to single-ear mode. It also comes with a ¼ inches adaptor, which is something that even high-quality brands do not provide. This extra accessory definitely helps MX2 setting its reputation among professional IEMs. Designed to be more reliable, MX2 Pro attributes it amazing performance to its sweat-resistance. However, the transparent envelope of the MX2 Pros comprising of a dual driver and few visible wires gives a cheap look to the driver unit. MX2 Pro has a secret weapon to attract its customers. You can buy custom made engraved faceplates from MEE and stick them on the side of the driver unit. It immediately brings style in the outlook of the IEM.
The entire kit comprises of two cables, casing, adjustable memory foam ear tips, four silicone ear tips and an adapter. Another bonus point is its one year warranty that makes you feel secure about the product.
MX2 Pro is an upgraded version of M7 Pro but still maintains the positive features of the previous version. It has some heavy bass sound with clear highs and mids, making it ideal for anyone looking for an IEM with a good bass response while still retaining the excellent clarity in the mix. You can wear them for long sessions without getting uncomfortable as MX2 Pros utilizes a flexible and adaptable over-the-ear memory wire that allows you to secure the fit for all kinds of ears and decreases the need to readjust your earphones. The isolating tips provided in the package are amazing and cancel any kind of excess noise from the background efficiently.
The fact that these are modular IEMs; you can easily upgrade or replace its parts. The customer service is quite responsive, and even if you get any problem with the product, you can easily reach out to the services and your issue will be resolved quickly.
- Detachable wire
- Custom faceplate
- Strong bass
- One-year warranty
- Good customer service
- Not really great looking
- Background detailing feels flat
- Cable is short
Sennheiser is quite popular for its pro audio devices and has been making audio products for decades, earning the distinction of one of the most reliable brands in terms of product and sound quality. The IE 40 series is more about the accuracy and details. It is a solid choice for users who want to enjoy their music with less bass and tend to use their IEM for home studios.
The IE 40 Pro is worn with the wire dangling over your ears, with the upper part holding its shape using the Sennheiser’s innovative internal cable duct. The over-ear design might not suit all the music lovers, but it can be ideal for stage musicians as it helps to reduce the noise from cables when you move. Unfortunately, there is no option to detach the cable or noise cancellation, or of the in-line remote. The kit and the accessories include a small leather case, three pair of silicone and memory foam ear tips. While most of the high-quality IEM manufacturers use balanced armature drivers, this model from Sennheiser utilizes a pair of 10 dynamic drivers that produce suitable audio that matches the Pro label.
The in-ears are quite balanced and detailed, though they tend to lose some weight bass and warmth. They have whittled down the mid-bass to avoid lower frequency obstructions, often used by various other manufacturers to produce loud sound with relatively low-quality hardware. You will still get some punch and depth in the bass, produced by the dynamic driver.
Another off point that you might notice is the recessed and a little anaemic mids sound. Vocals can be a bit hard on the ear if you listen to them for a long time. The emphasized treble enhances the perception of detail and does not feel sibilant or harsh, but can be a bit obvious.
Sennheiser has dropped its common sonic security blankets in this model, making it better among its equivalents.
Overall, it is a decent product with good performance and builds quality. They are easy to put on and can be used for a long time with some intervals. If you don’t want to go for something that cost high, but still want a good performance from your IEM, IE 40 Pro can be exactly what you are looking for.
- Removable cable
- Balanced and detailed sound
- High-quality construction
- Cannot be used as wireless
- Treble is a bit splashy
Westone is known for its high-quality in-ear monitors, and UM Pro is one of their entry-level product that features a single-balanced armature driver. Handcrafted in Colorado Springs, USA, the product promises good quality and durability.
With an excellent build quality and durability of polymer, the earphones look clean and do not feel like some cheap plastic product at all. The casing is pretty small and fits all kinds of ear nicely. These can be considered one of the most comfortable IEMs out there in the market in this price range. These are lightweight and less prone to falling out of the ear. The wire is in MMCX twisted helical form that not only provides durability but is also replaceable. The wire is constructed with an aramid fibre that makes it less rigid and increases the acoustic transparency while also managing to decrease the cable noise. Also, the cable is provided with a Y splitter 3.55 mm L jack, which tends to be more durable than a straight jack. However, L jacks can be a bit inconvenient when the cable turns to the opposite direction of your movement.
The package comes with their patented silicone tips, foam tips, mini-motor vault and wax removal too. The mini-motor vault protects your IEM and helps to release the pressure, especially when you are travelling on high altitudes. Both silicone and foam tips are available in multiple sizes and give a customized fit, ensuring the right comfort level. Sound isolation is pretty decent; it is not the best but can work for most of the users.
The sound stage is not too great, but not too bad either and you can hear the width and depth clearly. You can use STAR tips if you want a wider soundstage. For a more intimate and enclosed experience, you can use TRUE tips. Bass is quite subtle. If you are not using them for monitoring, it can be a bit disappointing compared to a dynamic driver IEM. Bass appears to be less defined and seems missing at times. Also, the drivers deliver an analytical sound which feels flat. High is not too overpowering; there is no sibilance and sounds natural, which is good for monitoring purposes where you require a balanced and clean sound.
Westone UM Pro 10 gives you a detailed, clear and natural flat signature. The device may lose some point on the quality of bass, but we would still encourage its use for monitoring. It works great if you are listening to jazz, vocal, instrumental, classic and non-bass genre.
- Good quality accessories
- Well built
- Replaceable MMCX connection cable
- Detailed sound
- Poor bass
New brands are getting famous for their price point and quality day by day. These brands are offering features of high-end brands at fewer budgets managing to attract many music lovers and retaining them as their fans. Simgot is one such brand that has been evolving for the better and outdoing their rivals with their value for money products.
EN700 Pro is included with a beautiful high-quality leather box which gives a premium look to it, making it quite different from the generic cases you find in other brands in this range. It is lined with smooth fabric and has enough space to store EN700 Pro with its ear tips. The design is classy, almost vintage, and its aluminium casing impresses you with its great finish and fit.
Cables are detachable and replaceable, which means you can have them customized the way you want and be assured that even if you break them, you can switch it with a new one easily. In terms of comfort and isolation, EN700 Pro is decent enough to be worn for a long period of time and also offer significant noise cancellation from the background. The weight of the IEM is acceptable, but the size of the casing can be a bit uncomfortable for people having small ears. The body is wide and needs a lot of space in the outer ear.
This model from Simgot provides high energy and excitement with a lot of detail and the ability to give good bass. While highs have a lot of presence and sparkle, mids are not the main feature of the earphone but still manage to be airy and detailed. Vocals are pretty good due to the spaciousness of the mids but not might provide much depth in the voice. The speed is good enough to push through complex songs without getting trapped or confused in the way.
Overall, this is a nice product and will surely make a good expression on its users. Their customer service is quick to respond, and the bonus marks can be given to their 30 days free return and replacement, and one year warranty that ensures that you get a full refund or exchange for your defective product.
- Looks classy
- Punchy bass
- Incredible vocals
- Come in a beautiful leather box
- Feels too big for small ears
HIDIZS has brought out their brand new Mermaid series utilizing their proprietary dynamic driver engineered to deliver warm and rich bass and clear highs. If you are someone who loves mild to severe sound signatures, you will definitely love this one.
Made of a solid metal body, the earphones look finely finished and free from useless structural design and manufacturing defects. It comes in the standard cardboard box packed with a cable, 12 pairs of ear tips and a plastic case. There are four types of ear tips – bassy, foam, treble-oriented, and vocal. There are three different colours: blue, red and dark grey. The shape of MS1 is well designed and can easily fit all kinds of ears; however, they can be a bit large for small ears in some cases. You can expect above-average isolation and comfort even after a long time of usage. These are over the ear IEMs so you cannot wear them any other way even if you change the cable. Of course, the cable is detachable and come with 2-pin connectors. It comes with silicone isolation, twisted helical cable after the Y-split, and ear hooks without memory effect. The cable is good enough for daily use without being too noisy and springy. The overall build quality is good and looks attractive.
MS1 is kind of a half hybrid IEM that brings in the combination of good bass with depth and firmness that feels great to listeners who love to roll and rumble bass sounds. The bass might not seem armature in regards to resolution, but for dynamic bass, it provides good speed and makes the sound detailed and well-layered. Overall, the bass is well controlled and balanced and does not interfere in the middle. Mids are tuned to have a typical V-shape detailed accent. The upper mids are good enough to give a good resolution, expressive vocals, and almost all the enhanced and positive features of upper mids. Lower mids may feel like it lacks presence but only on some of the tracks. The soundstage is not too great in terms of width and might feel a little short in-depth, but layering and separation of instruments are without any congestion.
Overall, the sound quality is crisp and clear with a theatre or concert-like experience. It would have been better if they were wireless; nonetheless, the quality of the MS1 is comparable to high-end brands and can certainly make a huge difference in your audio. These are a perfect blend of comfort and durability. The company makes this deal even better by providing 30-day money-back guarantee and one year warranty on defects and damages.
- Easy fit
- Amazing sound quality
- Detachable cable
- One year warranty
- Does not fatigue the ears
- Average soundstage
The MEE Audio M6 Pro definitely gives a look of decent ‘Pro’ earphones. The over the ear cables design ensures that you except stability and proper noise cancellation from this model.
Cables are removable, and the smoky translucent layer looks classier than a plain opaque structure. Earphones of this design usually use balanced armatures; however, M6 Pro sticks to standard dynamic drivers, which can be a bit disappointing because of its transparent design has nothing amazing to show off inside. One more flaw that you can point out is the lack of an in-line remote, but this is not a major problem as even most common Pro earphones don’t have them these days. Once fitted right, these can work well for your daily running or gym routine, or on stage. The IPX5 rated label makes them sweat resistant.
The M6 Pro sounds significantly better than its previous versions. But, the manufacturers have kept the core features almost the same. The changes can be felt in the beefed-up sound that does away with the thin sensibility of the previous versions. It would have been better if they had tackled the sharp treble too because it is pronounced but still lack the quality that drivers need to pull off the signature without any sibilance and harshness. Although sharp treble does help to lift some songs by enhancing the detail of higher frequency, the balance should be important. Sibilant tunes tend to feel fatiguing with sharp sounds crowding the ear. Otherwise, the elements not in the higher frequencies feel good. Bass is punchy and deep, and well balanced for an IEM in this price range.
If you need an earphone that gives you heavy and exaggerated bass, you should be looking somewhere else, but these are definitely good for on-stage musicians who need flat sounds to hear the instruments accurately.
- Passive noise isolation
- Rich and clear audio sounds
- Simple to use modular design
- No need of DAC
- Sharp treble
- Average quality construction
Simgot has gained its reputation for its IEMs that are well constructed. While EN700 was also a solid choice, MT3 is a much more traditional approach to building an IEM. Featuring various colours and attractive sound signature, it maintains the legacy set by its predecessors.
MT3 is mainly constructed of transparent plastic with few exceptions being in the faceplate and the nozzles that are made of soft metal. The plastic construction gives it the lightness it requires to be stable in the ear. Most of the interiors seem carefully assembled, and you won’t find any sign of sloppiness in the entire structure. The nozzles of the MT3 are made of metal and have a standard size diameter. It also has a meshed debris filter that works great and remains firmly attached to its place.
You will also find 2-pin connectors that are raised above the shell, which means you can use them with third-party cables.
MT3 is a V-shaped IEM with an excellent extension into the lower register. Mid-range is not overly-coloured but might feel a bit recessed. Its mid-bass is placed just in front of the treble. However, MT3 does a reasonable job in terms of treble extension. It may not pierce the upper-trebles; it does do its job well within the V-shaped sound signature. Sibilance tuning does not affect the quality of MT3. It won’t falter when you try to portray poorly mastered and notably sibilant songs.
MT3 is suitable for staging a wide range of genres, particularly pop and rock. While the recessed midrange will affect some fine details and resonation, it won’t block the MT3’s ability to resolve complex textures and tones.
Simgot has got its reputation for its reliability and durability. In addition to its amazing product quality, they offer 30 days free return and replacement warranty and one year of product warranty to satisfy their customers completely. They are designed only to be worn cable up, and without any sharp edges, they can be one of the most comfortable IEMs you can choose from the market.
- Justifies its price
- No sibilance
- Recessed mid ranges
KZ has always been known for their dynamic drivers, but with the AS10, KZ has moved away from their traditional dynamic drivers to balanced armatures and has also managed to tune the product with all part in right places properly.
The AS10 has a new cardboard packaging with a premium look with the same accessories as other models. It includes the earphones, two sets of ear tips, and a cable. On the contrary, earphones interiors are changed, but the exterior remains almost the same as in KZ ZS10. The housing and the nozzle part of the earphones are made of black plastic. The grille is inside the nozzle which can make it prone to the easy entrance of dirt and makes it difficult to remove if it goes in.
In terms of comfort, the earphones are better than expected at this range and are great for listening for long hours. However, it does not provide a high level of isolation from the noise in the background, offering a little reduction in volume. Form tips can help to minimize noise, but they can’t be the ultimate solution for good isolation.
KZ AS10 is a better version in terms of performance too with their improved balanced sounds without any dips and spikes. The upper mids are not aggressive; you won’t feel overpowering mid-bass, and the treble is not fatiguing anymore. The soundstage is better and does not stretch to far-reaching distances, which also means that it won’t produce an echo-like experience. However, its music might feel a bit compressed. Imaging is sufficient to come to assist the soundstage in allowing the listener to find the instruments with acceptable accuracy. Separation of instruments might not be great, but it is good enough to work well with dynamic tracks when the instruments are playing at different volume levels. Bass can’t be considered as one of its best features; it has limited depth and struggles to reach even the lowest frequencies and stop at approximately 59 HZ. You will also feel it emphasized in the mids. This combination tends to a bit bloated appearance, as the absence of proper punch and depth coming from notes is absent, and the emphasis in the mids feel intrusive.
Although KZ has improved on tuning than its previous versions, it is not perfect either. Still, improvement in the spikes and dips and aggressiveness of the sound is a welcome change. The overall quality of sound is good and balanced. They are comfortable to wear and are competent enough in terms of technicalities. It comes with a 12-month warranty and a customer-friendly service, which is another reason to trust the product.
- Crisp and balanced sound
- Detachable cable
- The transparent cover is not attractive
- Bass with limited depth
CCA is a brand that has newly emerged in the market and successfully making its marks in the audio market. The CCA C10 is pretty identical to KZ models, and even the casing looks like them.
There is a detachable cable with bi-pin 0.75 mm connectors, which is also like KZ models, but with a better quality of metal instead of plastics. These are extremely lightweight and ergonomically designed giving great comfort level even after a long time of usage. If you are looking for an excellent balance of sound and still want to remain in your budget, these can be great ear buds for you.
With five built-in drivers, you can expect a powerful musical experience for long training. The earphones are suitable for active workouts, in that they are portable, flexible and durable.
It comes with noise cancellation technology that is incorporated intelligently with more attention on producing a wide sound for space for your audio. Also, the wires are designed in a way that it does not get tangled easily. Durability is one key feature of this product.
The earphones are most suitable for people wanting intense bass. Sub-bass feels deep, and mid-bass can be considered strong and firm. Intense bass means you should be expecting a sound signature with a strong propensity towards the lower frequencies. However, mid-bass might feel a bit out of control. The male vocals are alive and do not feel distant, but they might show some congestion in lower mids. Higher mids are very clear and crisp but might feel harsh when spikes are there on some songs. Highs are decently bright and have some detail.
Sound isolation is efficient and strong at most of the volume settings. The earphones are neither too big nor too small and help to adapt to most of the shapes and sizes of ears.
- Super light design
- Five built-in drivers
- Durable and flexible
- Perfect for active workouts
- Reasonable price
- Not wireless
- No provision for in-built voice command
KZ certainly introduces a lot of products in the market, constantly upgrading their models with various in-ear earphones. As usual, KZ has come up with the ZSR model meant for people who are looking for a good product at a much lesser price, and this can be the product that is worth considering.
KZ ZSR comes with basic accessories that include three pairs of silicone ear tips and a wire. You also get an option of silver wire, though it does not have a remote. The KZ ZSR continues to provide a colourful plastic body coupled with a transparent green or black housing. The material does not give a premium look but seems more robust than their appearance suggest. Considering the price, the results are acceptable.
Considering noise isolation, KZ ZSR provides average cushion from ambient noise and do not shield your ears from the loudest sounds. It is enough to minimize low-volume noise in quiet surroundings such as an office or home, but its efficiency seems limited when you enter noisy surroundings.
ZSR provides great clarity, especially in the mids. Separation of the instrument is also superb considering the price of the earphones; in general, too, it is pretty good. You can easily tell the difference in instruments no matters how complex tunes you listen. The soundstage is wide enough to give a hint of depth that adds an immersion which is not seen an affordable IEM. This also means that it offers good imaging capability with acceptable accuracy.
The bass is more than neutral, with an emphasis on sub-bass and mid-bass. Though emphasized, the bass does not feel excessive and do not overpower the mids. Also, you won’t find it to be murky or muddy in character. Mids might be a bit recessed, but they are audible and finely crafted.
KZ ZSR is a value for money product, and it’s sound signature is certainly good if you can bear with a bit of treble than usual. It does not sound like a cheap IEM you get free with your device and be an excellent addition to your audio collection, especially for beginners. Again, a 12-month warranty allows you to trust the product a bit more.
- Decent quality
- Excellent soundstage and imaging
- Removable cable
- Lower sharp treble
Starting from 2009, BASN has been creating some really high performing earphones. This model from BASN Professional really reaches the mark of worth calling ‘Professional’ You can even call it a hybrid of a professional and personal device.
With an amazing audio experience, BASN offers a broad response of frequency range between 20-20,000 Hz. They are known for deep and fully satisfying bass, while still managing to retain the details between the mids and highs. The result is a good quality of sound in a wide range of music styles. Also, you can easily control the amount of isolation and bass using different ear tips. Triple-layer ear tips offer the best isolation and bass response.
The earphones are quite comfortable but might feel a bit bulky. You can choose from nine ear tips that are given a nice touch, and you can definitely find something that more comfortable. The 130 cm wire is strengthened to provide durability. It can be a bonus for some users but might feel more rigid than usual, which means the motion of cable against the skin is a bit distracting. Also, the cable tends to curl up when you store it.
Bass is punchy and decent, though it might feel a bit more than required. Vocals, mids and highs are pleasant, not too great but overall give a good experience. You can compare the performance to KZ series, but BASN offers a better sealing and comfort. Again, the bass is great, but mids and highs can be better.
These earphones can be great if you want to use an alternative of some high-end good quality earphone within a reasonable price. Of course, it won’t give exactly the same top-shelf performance, but it can work for who want to experiment with music systems and do not want to spend too much money on it.
- Decent bass
- MMCX cable
- Mids and highs are pretty average
- Can feel a bit bulky
KZ seems to appear everywhere, and you can certainly not ignore them with a wide range of product they have to offer. With some up gradations and twists, KZ keeps enticing their customer into picking their product for all the good reasons.
This model features the hybrid configuration of drivers with one dynamic and one balanced armature which is housed in the translucent casing which is adorned by a metal plate at the back. The blend of it all gives a fancy and aesthetic appeal to earphones. The cable is provided with a bi-pin connector which is detachable, same as all other KZ earphones. You can even convert your ZSN into a Bluetooth wireless earphone by adding some extra Bluetooth compatible cables from KZ. Of course, you will need to buy them separately.
KZN is packed in a simple and compact white box which includes all other accessories like cable, four pairs of silicone STAR line tips, and a user guide warranty.
There are three colours available – silver purple, black, and cyan. The aluminium alloy made faceplates with an interesting zigzag pattern looks appealing. Earphones are light in weight but do not feel brittle at all. It does not look like a cheaply made earphone with glue marks still visible on it.
The sub-bass is excellent and feels quite impressive and powerful yet does not feel overpowering. It does not dominate or interfere on the track. It can be a bit hard on your ear when you listen for a long time. Mid-bass is quite conservative in contrast but still lines up with the treble and mids, regulating a good tonal balance. The treble can be considered quite well for the price you pay for the earphones. It is lively and crisp without any harshness. The peak offers a lot of clarity and sparkle. Also, notes have decent decay and timbre.
For many of the users, these worked even better than the expensive earphones. Of course, it won’t compete with above $300 earphones, but if you look for anything that ranges from $100 to $200, these can give pretty tough competition.
- Work as great starter IEM
- Strong bass
- Reasonably priced
- Strong cable
- Can be too big for some users
- Recessed mids
This is the first hybrid earphone from KZ that they launched proudly as one of the high-performance budget-friendly earphones. ZST is the part of their over the ear IEM series, so if you are not comfortable with this type of earphones, it can be a bit awkward initially.
With an exceptional structure and design and useful accessories like detachable wires and hybrid drivers, this model is one of the cheapest and accessible. There is hardly any compromise on the construction quality. They are made of solid plastic material that feels sturdy enough to tolerate the exertions of daily life. It does not have a microphone, but you can buy the other option with an in-line microphone and controller. The package comes in a standard small cardboard box with a transparent plastic material on the front. Inside it, you will find three pairs of ear tips and a detachable bi-pin cable.
The dynamic driver delivers excellent bass reproduction while the mid-bass adds a nice punch to the music. Sub-bass is also impactful and deep. Overall bass feels fun and does not bleed into other frequencies. You can even use KZ ATE ear tips if you want to amplify and boost the sub-bass effect.
Mids are emphasized and forward on the upper and middle frequencies, but for the worse. It may sound harsh and boxy to some users but don’t sound muffled. If you feel the mids and vocals are fatiguing, you can fix it to some extent by turning down the frequencies in the range of 1 kHz to 3 kHz. Make sure not to go overboard with it; otherwise, you will end up having a muffled sound.
The highs can be recessed, resulting in lack of definition and non-piercing peaks. There is no sibilance. Equalizing your frequencies at above 5 kHz can make a lot of difference in getting some definition.
ZST does a very good job of blocking the excessive background noise. The earphones might feel a bit heavy due to balanced armature but still does not feel fatiguing to the ears. Overall, it is a exceptional product that offers good performance and comfort at such an affordable price.
- Value for money
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent sound isolation
- Super responsive bass
- Mids and highs are not properly balanced
Lyx Pro is another extremely inexpensive and impressive brand that covers most of the audio requirements for people who are just beginners and are still searching for their true passion in the music industry. If you are not sure about selecting a highly expensive earphone just yet, why not choose wisely and select something that is not only a budget friendly but also allows you to experiment with your tunes and tracks?
It features amplified HD sound, amazing bass and perfectly detailed sound for stage and studio recordings. The noise isolation is also pretty decent, and you can have clarity of sound even in lower volume. It comes with two sturdy braided cables that are detachable, preventing snags and also give you an option to attach an in-line microphone. You get six pairs of ear tips – large, medium and small: they come in double, soft, moldable flange foam that protects your ear and makes you feel comfortable even after a long time of usage.
Another notable feature is its storage case, which allows you to store headphones, extra tips and cables easily.
Sound quality is incredible, and the excellent noise cancellation allows you to use this IEM in day to day listening. These are even used by drummers, and music lovers because of its reliable isolation, improved treble. Bass is not that great, but it does its job.
Overall, this is a nice, well-performing product. Many users wished that it would have been better if it were wireless, but then it would have increased the cost too. Also, cables might feel short to people, especially guitarists, who tend to sit and play the music from a distant to their devices.
- Soft foam ear tips
- Detachable cable
- Average bass
- Short cable (depending on use)