In the ear

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IEM (In Ear Monitor) are not ‘suited’ or liked by everyone and have foam tips and are inserted IN the ear canal (Intra-aural).

CIEM’s (Custom moulded In Ear Monitor) is a more specialised type of IEM and it must be custom made by the manufacturer. You will need to have a mould made by an audiologist or other qualified person which is sent to the manufacturer and they make an earpiece that fits exactly in your ear.   It is obvious CIEM’s are thus more expensive and can only be used by the one who had them made while (generic) lEM’s with foam tips can be used by most people. Not everyone is comfortable with things tucked away in the ear canal. CIEM’s in general have a better sound quality because of the fit. a small ‘leakage’ of air can already result in the bass being completely gone.

DSCN2428Another common form is the earbud which rests in the outer ear. Because the shape of ears not being equal some people may have problem getting a good seal and thus these earphones may sound bass-less to some while other people hear plenty of low, so not suited for everyone. Try to audition these headphones if you can but most vendors won’t provide that service which makes them kind of a gamble. Buying from an online store where you can send them back within a couple of days if they don’t work for you may be the best way.

Maximum Power ratings range from merely a few milliWatt (mW) to several milliWatts.

Impedances vary between 8 Ohm and 32 Ohm in general.  These headphones are all best driven from a low output resistance amplifier. Preferably below a few Ohms.

There are different types of drivers. BA (balanced Armature) drivers are found in (C)IEM’s, as well as dynamic drivers. These types of headphone provide an excellent attenuation from outside noises and is why you often see musicians/singers wearing CIEM’s as monitors during their performance. Some IEM’s, however, have dynamic drivers with a voice coil and a small membrane.

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When you click on the red headphone type numbers you can find 2 reviews from well known Sennheiser InEar phones. The Sennheiser IE8 IEM is the expensive choice (around E 300.-) and a cheaper alternative (around E 35.-) is the Sennheiser CX300 II. Of course they do not sound the same but the CX300 II is a good alternative to the cheap earbuds that come with a lot of portable equipment when you are looking for InEars. The IE8 is a good sounding IE but at this price point you can find alternatives as well.

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  1. bud merman says:

    i make custom molds for my in ear headphones with moldable thermoplastic. its cheap, so easy to do and improves the sound quality and sound isolation. id like to see this on you site because i cant see this being done anywhere.

    • Solderdude says:

      I don’t do anything with IEM’s. Do you have an article about the process you want to post ?

      • Cédric says:

        I would pay you 150 bucks, if you (if youre capable of) would test and analyise the shure se 535 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. but anyways, appreciate your work very much!

        • Solderdude says:

          I cannot measure in ears and the in-ear measurements that already exist only do so on a standard ‘tube’. The earcanals of people are quite different and so will fit and seal be different. So for this reason (and the fact I don’t want to shove earwax back into my ear canal) and the fact that I do not like to feel something in my ear I cannot check if measurements are accurate.
          You could check Crinacle and Oratory measurements for IEMs

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