Top 5 In-Ear Monitors Under $1000

Top 5 In-Ear Monitors Under $1000

This probably isn’t your first IEM. Or, maybe it is, and you just want a premium option that costs less than a wedding ring. Regardless, you’re in luck: I myself am looking for an IEM in this range. Tag along with me if you want to see the top 5 in-ear monitors under $1000 that I’m considering buying as Black Friday and the holidays come rolling in.


Sennheiser IE 600 ($699)

If the $1,500 Sennheiser IE 900 is a little too intimidating, its little sibling can get you pretty close for a lot less. The IE 600 features the same metallic, audiophile-brutalist design as the other IEMs in the series with its 3D-printed AMLOY-ZR01 metal housing. Its tiny size may take a second to get used to, but it results in a highly universal fit that should feel comfortable in most listeners’ ears.  With its controlled bass, perfectly balanced mids, and exposing high-end, the IE 600 is a serious audiophile IEM.


The Sennheiser IE 600 can be purchased here from Audio46.


Drivers (Per Side): 7mm Dynamic

Impedance: 18 Ohms

Frequency Response: 4 Hz – 46.5kHz

Moondrop S8, IEM, in-ear monitor

Moondrop S8 ($700)

If you’re as much of an IEM nerd as I think you are for checking out this list, you’ve probably heard of Moondrop before. The Moondrop S8 features an impressive 8 balanced armature drivers on either side, which are left visible thanks to the S8’s modern and transparent housing. Moondrop IEMs are generally tuned with some degree of a mid-scoop, and the Moondrop S8 follows suit in this regard. Though I’m normally critical of “U” shaped frequency responses, the S8 is one of the most refined iterations of this EQ, which provides ample space for its revealing and airy high end.


Moondrop S8 can be purchased here from Audio46.


Drivers (Per Side): 8 Balanced Armature

Impedance: 16 ohms

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz

ThieAudio, Oracle, MK2, MKII, IEM, In-ear monitor

ThieAudio Oracle MK2 ($589)

Nobody really makes IEMs that look like the ones that come from ThieAudio. This pretty little in-ear monitor was released fairly recently, and features an upgraded dynamic driver in its second generation. Coming from the company’s tribrid line of IEMs, it features the aforementioned dynamic driver that’s dedicated to low end, 2 balanced armatures dedicated to mids, and finally 2 electrostatic drivers that deal exclusively with higher frequencies. ThieAudio tuned the Oracle MKII to mimic professional studio monitors, resulting in an extremely balanced and layered timbre and as vivid imaging.


ThieAudio Oracle MKII can be purchased here from Audio46.


Drivers (Per Side): 1 Dynamic, 2 Balanced Armatures, 2 Electrostatic

Impedance: 11 ohms

Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz

Shure SE846 Pro GEN 2

Shure SE846 Pro GEN 2 ($899)

The Shure SE846 Second Generation is something between an in-ear monitor and a lego kit. It comes with an enormous number of accessories for maximal customization, including a variety of acoustic nozzle inserts that effect the balance. Want some lift and extra air? Insert the white filter for a +1.5dB boost from 4kHz to 12 kHz. Some extra twang? Try the red filter to boost 1-8kHz +1.5 dB. Now mix and match all of the various ear tips and nozzle filters and find the sound you like the most. The SE846 Pro 2nd Gen is a way to get multiple IEMs contained in just one unit. It’s perfect for an audiophile that likes to get hands on and technical with hardware.

Also worth noting is that its “L” shape fit gives it an impressive -37dB of passive isolation. With a design like that, who needs ANC?


Shure SE846 Pro Second Generation can be purchased here from Audio46.


Drivers (Per Side): 2 Balanced Armatures

Impedance: 9 ohms

Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 20 kHz

Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote Second (2nd Gen)

Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote (2nd Gen) (Wired Version) $999

I have to admit that the Xelento is not something I would expect from a company known for its highly analytical, no-nonsense studio reference over-ear headphones. Yet, here we have the wired Xelento Second Generation: shiny, tiny, and engraved with 24-karat gold, proving itself worthy of its moniker “an audible piece of jewelry.” Skeptical of an IEM that gets slapped with 24-karat gold and gets priced at just about one grand? I can’t blame you. But the Xelento sounds as good as it looks. It has a predominantly warm and weighty sound signature that comes across as soothing and artistically blended. Not including the cable, the two buds weigh 8 grams in total, which makes it one of the lightest in-ear units that I’ve come across. This light weight leaves you forgetting that the Xelento is even in your ears, which, combined with its heavier balance, produces an expansive sound stage in a way that is truly unique to the IEM. I would also award the Xelento Second Generation as being the most comfortable IEM on this list thanks in part to the unique variety of ear-tips that come included.


Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote Second Generation (Wired) can be purchased here from Audio46. 


Driver (Per Side): 11mm Dynamic with Tesla Sound Transducer

Impedance: 16 ohms

Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 50 kHz


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