Is it just me or am I the only one who just can't stand IEM. So,I just buy cheap and basic just for exercise

Is it just me or am I the only one who just can’t stand IEM’s. Even if they are a tiny bit loose I slam them back in. Or they are tight and uncomfortable.So,I just buy cheap and basic just for exercise.

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I used to be a IEM hater just like you, then I took a CA Comet to the ear… not sure how many will get that line lol.

But honestly it took me messing with different tips, and everything else to get me to like the Comets, and I lucked out on a used buy for the Andromeda, and now I’m really enjoying them. But I think with IEM you really have to tip roll, and move the IEM around to find what works for you. I am very sensitive to things in my ear, so it took me a bit to finding the best combo for both of those IEMs to work without fatiguing or causing ache in my ears. But everyone’s mileage will vary, as everyone has unique ears =)


I hate them too. I use IEMs for the gym, under hats, and when travel minimalism is required. I routinely buy $100 Bluetooth IEMs for these needs (e.g., Jaybird X2s, BeatsX), but only out of necessity.

If I must use IEMs, BeatsX have small, light tips and are relatively comfortable. Super long range Bluetooth too. However, the cable and pairing systems are clunky.

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BTW, I bought a more “expensive” IEM a few years ago. I don’t remember the brand. Had three sizes of ear-pieces to “customize” it. I will use IEM for exercise so there is a lot of physical movement(jogging,treadmill) and they were either too loose or too tight. I ended up throwing them out.

@frank_gyure2 for sound isolation they’re hard to beat. If you can’t find a tip that works for you, you may consider going the custom route and have a mold made specific to your ear canal.

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LOL…then I might start thinking that I am pushing ear wax onto my eardrum. ;/

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agreed, they are not comfortable at first. Your ears have to get desensitized to having an object pushed in them, and it can take a couple weeks…sorry. And can’t say it enough, experiment with different tips, there’s a huge assortment out there.


As others have mentioned, tips are everything. And even then not all IEMs respond to tips changes in the same way so it can take some tinkering around to find what both feels comfortable to you and what sounds good with the IEM. I mostly wrote off IEMs for a while after owning a number of TOTL headphones like HD800, Auteur, Stax, etc. But after getting into IEMs I am very impressed with what they can do. I think Andromeda can hold its own against all the TOTL headphones. But you really need to experiment with tips. I find foam tips are the most comfortable, but don’t always sound the best. Spintfits and Spiral Dots also feel pretty good to me too and usually sound good with most IEMs.


I’m not a big fan of having things in my ears and always had trouble keeping IEM’s in my left ear. Tried some of the wire over ear ones that are shaped to sort of sit in the ear and not just the ear canal, I find them tolerable comfort wife and they do sound pretty good.

Have to use a smaller tip on my left ear though otherwise it just slides out.

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I’ve experimented with IEMs, but the lack of comfort sends me back to the headphones. Personally, I would sacrifice a bit of sound quality for an improvement in wearing comfort.

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Personally I love them-- but I’m pretty sure that 15 years of etymotic use have reshaped my ear canals. :hear_no_evil:


I think it really is a matter of getting used to something along with appropriate fit/tip for universals.
I wear earplugs to sleep and have for decades so the “in the ear” thing doesn’t bother me.
But I’ve always wondered why it seems so hard to get an IEM to fit snugly like earplugs.
I tried Monster coppers that had more tips than any others at the time and still found them a pain to keep seated for any length if time.

I’ve toyed with the thought of custom IEMs but hesitate due to the cost of possibly finding out they’re not my thing

I certainly like the lack of weigjt and isolation but could just never get a tip to stay put comfortably.


Just to re-voice what others have said. I, too, hated IEMs for the longest time and refused to look at them. Then I must’ve found the right combo of fit and comfort and now I have far more IEMs then over or on-ear phones combined.

Love the differences I can hear in each of the ones I have and can now pick something that reflects my mood and music choice (bass heavy BA on Friday, clean highs for classical, dynamics for Jazz).


It’s good you hate them. Your only option for comfort is to go custom, and at that point the price tag starts jumping astronomically.

Ultra high end IEMs like the JH Audio Layla are incredible and regular IEMs will never work for you again, but the price is pretty absurd. And if you go that route your regular headphones will start to sound like crap too.

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Interesting topic…I’m a big in-ear guy. I generally prefer in-ears at my desk as the clamp-force of cans can sometimes get irritating after long hours… For in-ears, I use Comply tips - as they are conforming and super comfortable. These should do the trick if you have issues with fit, irritation, etc. When I work-out, gotta have tunes and can’t see anything but in-ears…


working out is absolutely IEM’s . But I buy the cheap with the over the head band and I just lower expectations.

I use in ears at work or on the go when I don’t want huge cans on my head, or don’t want to bother people with open back noise. I can only wear them for a couple hours before my ears hurt or I get tired of listening. IEM’s certainly serve their purpose, but if you do not fit these use cases, then they aren’t for you.

As others have said tips can make or break a set of IEM’s. Tips alter isolation, sound signature and tone, as well as change the comfort of IEM’s.

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I don’t wear IEMs if I can help it. I already have to wear earplugs for 8 hours a day at work. The last thing I want is to shove more shit in there the rest of the time. I stick to earbuds for most on-the-go stuff.

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the last offerings like Moondrop KXXs or Tin Hifi P1(ordered me a pair) are reasonable priced and get good reviews for the price range - similar to over 1000 dollar iems …

they come with so many different tips, bags and filters to tune the sound…
third party tips are not that expensive

for many years I disliked the feeling and had problems with keeping iems in my small ear channels

but with the upcoming chi-fi (Tin Hifi T2 Pro/ T3) I gave em a try and experimented with different tips and cables.
The way you carry the cable over the ear also helped me a lot keeping them in the ear

now I use for every iem the same third party tips and have no problem with falling out, isolation, sound and comfort
I stay with iems with mmcx connectors and have different balanced 2.5mm TRRS cables and use adapters from 3.5 TRRS balanced male (ifi xDSD) to 2.5mm TRRS female

Bluetooth Dongles like Earstudio ES 100 or Fiio BT3(only single ended) can drive balanced and single ended headphones and IEMs. These devices bring LDAC BT codec support - you can use most modern Android 9 phones or DAPs like Shanling M0, Fiio M6, M9, M11 with LDAC BT Codec - makes it so convenient, not to put a cable in your phone and get decent sound

it is really fascinating what happened in the last years in the mid-fi iem portfolio

if you want flat/neutral sound - Fiio FH7 under 500, Moondrop KXXs 169 or Tin Hifi P1 169 or start cheap with Tin Hifi T2 for 35
if you want more base and more fun… no problem either - IKKO OH10 for 200 or Fiio FH5 for 250

are the examples as good as your best headphone? - maybe not but for on the go most times good enough to listen to a podcast, watch youtube, netflix or listen to spotify

you are afraid the investment may break in your pocket? - have a look at the cheap but sturdy Fiio HB1 micro cases or other solutions like peli micro cases…

the hole iem thing can be fun and the investment has not to be as high as the over ear budget-king Sennheiser 58x! you can even start for the price of a Portra Pro - give them a try

if you use strong amps or a bad phone 3.5 out and use very efficient iems - you hear a hiss? Have a look at the ifi ieMatch 3.5 or 2.5 - brings back deep black noise free backgrounds


I can’t wear IEMs for longer than a few minutes. They make my ears itch like mad. :exploding_head: