Best In Ear Monitors for Singers and Musicians Reviewed

Published Categorized as Vinyl Gear Guides

Performing live can be a bummer if you don’t actually hear what you’re playing because you don’t have the best in ear monitors. Luckily, the technological era has graced us with a new way of getting rid of that little problem. The right in-ear monitor can give a singer, guitarist, or even drummer the ability to hear the piece the band is playing as a whole – making it an indispensable piece of equipment for a band that respects sound quality.

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Table of Contents

Our favorite in-ear monitors for live performances.

1. Westone UM Pro 10

Here we’re looking at UM Pro 10 in-ear Musician’s Monitors. It’s granted that they are a bit expensive, but they’re our top pick today. These monitors come outfitted with a single armature driver that provides a fully-immersive dynamic soundstage with exceptionally high detail and outstanding clarity.

Westone Audio Pro X10 IEM Earphones - Single Driver Noise Isolating Professional Musician in-Ear Monitor Wired Earbuds

Brief overview of key specs and features:

They’re incredibly compact and boast an ergonomic design, which ensures a snug fit at all times. The beautiful MMCX cable they also come supplied with is incredibly durable as it features an aramid fiber reinforcement. Singers and band-mates can use this in ear monitor with ease and control.  

Out of the box, you’ll get the Westone UM Pro 10 monitors, MMCX twisted cable, five pairs of silicone eartips, exquisite true-fit foam eartips, an impact-resistant monitor vault, as well as a cleaning tool.

What we liked about these:

Well, there are plenty of goodies, and free things are always welcome – you’ll get plenty of eartips, a vault, and a cleaning tool completely free of charge, and that’s not what most brands can say about their in-ear monitors.

Now, we really liked the professional-grade sound quality of these monitors. They’re absolutely ideal for musicians who perform live, as they have a near-perfect soundstage, as well as a dynamic range of frequency response.

What we thought could be improved:

Frankly, the only thing we didn’t like about UM Pro 10 is the price. It belongs to the upper bracket of the “expensive” price point category. Even though it’s expensive, it does a major bang for the buck.

Our Verdict:

If you’re prepared to pay top dollar, these in-ear monitors will change the way you hear your music while performing live. They’re absolutely great, excelling in numerous fields of performance and packing a huge value for the money.


  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Highly durable and fashionable cable
  • Plenty of gratis items (eartips, vault, cleaning tool)
  • Balanced soundstage


  • Highly expensive


KZ ZS10 are referred to as “Hybrid Earphones”. They feature a single dynamic and four armature drivers which provide unparalleled sound quality – listening to music is one thing, but with these drivers, you’ll hear each of your band-mates onstage as if you were recording in separate studio rooms.

KZ ZS10 Pro in Ear Earphone 4BA+1DD IEM HiFi Metal Earbuds Noise Cancelling in-Ear Headphone 2 Pin Detachable Cable Earphone

Brief overview of key specs and features:

The cable these in ear monitors come outfitted with is detachable, so packing them and carrying them around shouldn’t be that much of a deal. On top of that, the ergonomic ear hooks ensure comfort at all times.

What we liked about these:

If we’re to summarize how they perform in a couple of words, the ones we are looking for are “pure power”. They’re outfitted with bleeding-edge technology, and it’s only natural that they excel in numerous fields of performance in turn.

What we thought could be improved:

They are expensive, although not as much as Westone’s model. The only real issue is the durability – the cable is sturdy, but the monitors themselves aren’t.

Our Verdict:

Any live musician who wants to redefine how they hear themselves onstage should give KZ ZS10 a shot. These in-ear monitors are more than worth the money, and they provide high-fidelity sound like no other.


  • Ergonomic ear hooks
  • Detachable cable
  • Five premium-quality drivers
  • Outstanding value for the buck


  • Flimsy monitors
  • Expensive

3. FiiO F9 Pro

In all truth, trusting an obscure brand is what most people would shy away from – we’re here to bust some prejudice and hope you’re onboard. Fioo’s F9 Pro earbuds are professional-grade in-ear monitors outfitted with three drivers – the main is a 9,22 dynamic driver that provides exceptional lows and heavily accentuated highs.

FiiO F9 PRO Best Over The Ear Headphones/Earphones/Earbuds Detachable Cable Design Triple Driver Hybrid (1 Dynamic + 2 Knowles BA) in-Ear Monitors with Android Compatible Mic and Remote (Titanium) ...

Brief overview of key specs and features:

Though they’re wired, the cable is detachable and outfitted with special MMCX connectors, which makes replacements and upgrades an easy job.

What we liked about these:

What’s best about them is the huge level of frequency response – the range goes up to an astounding 40 kHz, and you can expect quite a lot from them. On top of that, the sound isolation they provide is great, and you can further enhance it if you use the gratis eartips that come along.

While we’re at it, you’ll get several bonus complementary features – the package includes twelve pairs of quality ear tips, a highly durable and waterproof easy carry case, as well as a second water-resistant carry pouch made of neoprene materials.

What we thought could be improved:

There are just two things that FiiO’s F9 pro lacks, one of which can’t be “improved” per se. Namely, the brand isn’t as famous as Sony, Bose, or Audio Technica, so most people who know what they’re looking for might skip it without knowing the benefits it provides.

Secondly, the F9 pro costs quite a bit – it belongs to the medium bracket of the “moderately expensive” price point category, although it does a major bang for the buck.

Our Verdict:

Excellent, professional-grade in-ear monitors that deliver full-spectrum sound. These earphones isolate most of the ambient noise, boast a huge frequency response level, and come with a plethora of gratis features.


  • Amazing sound quality
  • Comes laden with gratis goodies
  • Hi-Fi performance
  • Durable and comfortable


  • Obscure brand
  • Cost quite a lot

4. BASN BSinger BC100

Next up are BC100. They were specifically made for vocalists who perform live, so we decided to review them for the sake of diversity. They come in a plethora of colors (10, to be precise, including black, red, blue, orange, and other), and look very hip and cool.

BASN Bsinger BC100 in Ear Monitor Headphones Universal Fit Noise Isolating IEM Earphones for Musicians Singers Studio Audiophiles (Blue)

Brief overview of key specs and features:

Bsinger’s BC100 comes supplied with two high-def drivers with integrated neodymium magnets that provide accurate, all-around sound. The MMCX connectors allow you to easily switch between (or replace/upgrade) the eartips or cables while the ergonomic memory hooks ensure that you feel comfortable wearing them.

What we liked about these:

Basically, these in ear monitors have a well-balanced soundstage and powerful drivers. They were designed for live musicians, and it’s safe to conclude that they’re amongst the most convenient monitors out there due to the exquisite MMCX connectors.

What we thought could be improved:

It appears that these in ear monitors won’t work so good for drummers or bass players – the lows aren’t as pronounced, and you might need to turn the volume up a bit if you want to actually hear them.

Our Verdict:

BC100 is a great option if you’re performing live and need a good set of in ear monitors for low cash. They’re decently affordable and do a great job for the money.


  • Inexpensive
  • Good sound for the buck
  • Come in a plethora of color variations
  • Easy eartip/cable replacement due to MMCX connectors
  • Comfortable and light


  • Mediocre lows
  • Not exactly durable

5. Rocuso

We’re wrapping it up with Rocuso’s Noise-isolating in ear monitors. These are very cheap, but they provide deep bass (like something with a DJ turntable ), as well as crispy clear highs due to high-quality drivers they come supplied with.

ROCUSO Noise-Isolating Musician's in Ear Monitor, Wired Over Ear Stereo Bass Headphones with Microphone, Waterproof Sport Earbuds for Running, Jogging, Gym, Clear

Brief overview of key specs and features:

What’s more, they provide excellent ambient noise reduction (not isolation) and boast an ergonomic design – they’re very comfortable to wear and allow you to shut yourself out from the crowd and remain focused on what you’re playing. Singing at a metal show and breaking one of these? Buy another one without sweating it! They’re also labeled IPX5 waterproof and boast remote control options.

What we liked about these:

Even though they’re cheap, Rocuso’s are great for the money. Good sound quality, decent noise reduction, and remote control options are enough to label them as one of the best in ear monitors for live performance in the price range.

What we thought could be improved:

Generally, these are cheap. They’re not flimsy per se, but won’t last for years, let alone more.

Our Verdict:

Great if you’re low on cash, mediocre performance overall – we recommend trying out other options if you’re not in a rush, but these monitors will do the trick if you’re on a tight budget.


  • Very cheap
  • Come in a variety of colors
  • Ergonomic design
  • Great with Hip Hop Vinyl
  • Waterproof
  • Good sound quality


  • Lag behind other more expensive monitors in every aspect of performance


Picking the best in ear monitors for live performances from a plethora of models on the market is a tough job – there are so many models and but a handful of reliable brands, so what is it that you should do? Aside from spending countless hours on research, you can trust our reviews and take a gander at our top picks! We wish you good luck in finding the best monitors.

Are you a live performer who needs to hear his bandmates better, or are you a studio engineer who’s fed up with that old set of headphones? In either case, you might need a set of in ear monitors.

‘What these are’ basically relates to a smaller, more portable, and, perhaps, intimate version of headphones since they go directly in the ear of the wearer rather than over it.

So there are still a few models we really like, ready to dive in?

6. Sennheiser IE800S

Essentially, it doesn’t get much better than IE800S. These earbuds are the pinnacle of in-ear monitors and they provide absolutely everything you’ll need for critical listening.

Sennheiser IE 800 S In-Ear Audiophile Reference Headphones - Sound Isolating Ear-Canal Fit With XWB Transducers and D2CA Technology, Detachable Cable, Includes Balanced Cables, 2-Year Warranty (Black)

They come supplied with a major set of features, including Sennheiser’s XWB drivers, an ergonomic design, 7mm transducers, and a robust cable. In essence, you should be aware that these in ear headphones cost a ton, but if money is not an issue for your audiophile needs, then there’s simply no point in looking elsewhere.

These headphones are designed after Sennheiser’s standard in-ear headphone format, so aesthetics are pretty standard in every aspect. The only thing worth mentioning is that the housing is sculpted and made from a special kind of ceramic ally that is surprisingly robust. The IE800S earphones were definitely built to last.

Sound-wise, the soundstage is massive, delivering excruciatingly strong bass, very accurate mids, and highs bright as day. That was, however, only to be expected from headphones as expensive as this. On a brighter note, the IE800s also feel remarkably comfortable to wear, even after hours of use.

The silicone tips feel exquisitely gentle and won’t give you any problems concerning ear fatigue or pain after using them for a while. Now, most people say that these headphones are superb for studio, as well as for live performance, but they’re not exactly good for day-to-day listening – they’re just too expensive for that.


  • Unmatched sonic performance
  • Exceptionally durable and robust
  • Comfortable fit
  • Superior reliability
  • Awesome soundstage


  • Expensive
  • Overkill for day-to-day listening

7. Sony IER-M9

Next up on the menu is IER-M9 – a premium-quality audiophile grade in ear monitor set. These cost a small fortune, and most people would ask why are they so good, and the answer is all but simple.

Sony IER-M9 in-Ear Monitor Headphones Black

Namely, they pack an unmatched hardware outfit comprised of 5 balanced armature drivers, magnesium alloy tweeter and housing, ear hangers, and plenty of complementary features. It goes without saying that these buds sound great, they’re durable, and their soundstage is unparalleled, to say the very least.

The only real bad thing about these in ear headphones is that they cost very, very much. In fact, they’re 100 or sometimes more expensive than budget earphones, so is the difference really this big? In short, it is.

There’s not just one, but five driver units that deliver groundbreaking bass and uniquely sharp highs. What’s more, they’re so light you won’t even feel them, so one could say that these headphones will give you everything you need out of a pair of monitors.

As we’ve mentioned, the only issue is that they cost a ton, but other than that, they sport a massive value for the buck.


  • Exceptionally great audio quality
  • Five BA drivers
  • Awesome with these top rated albums
  • Astonishingly comfortable to wear
  • Huge value for the money


  • Very expensive

8. Audio Technica ATH E40

It’s true that ATH IM50 is great, but that model is still in the realm of ‘expensive’, being over $100. What we’re looking at here is the E40 model – a relatively cheaper set of in ear monitors that come supplied with a slightly different hardware outfit.

Audio-Technica ATH-E40 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones

The IM50 in ear monitors pack two-phase push pull drivers that were specifically manufactured for monitoring applications, ensuring unparalleled accuracy and tonal clarity at all times. The cable is also a bit different – the so-called ‘memory cable’ sports enhanced flexibility at the expense of durability. Namely, it’s more comfortable to wear by a long shot, but it’s also flimsier.

This is one of the few in-ear monitors that actually provide any ambient noise isolation. They’re not just good for monitoring tasks, they’re also perfect for all kinds of studio work.

What’s more, they’re virtually weightless with only 0,3 ounces of weight. If you remove the cable, they can be carried around so easily that they’re perhaps the most compact in ear monitors on the market. A good boost for the value for the buck is the fact that you’ll also get a set of gratis goodies, including a carry case, four sets of silicone ear tips, and a 6,3mm adaptor.

The only thing these monitors lack is, like the previous model, durability. They’re not flimsy per se, but they do not excel in this field of performance as much as they do in other fields.

Overall, they boast a tremendous value for the money due to the plethora of benefits they provide, including amazing sound quality, superb sonic performance, great drivers, and terrific ambient noise reduction.


  • Superb sound quality
  • Excellent sound performance
  • Strong ambient noise isolation
  • Very affordable


  • Flimsy
  • Overly long chord

9. Shure SE215-CL

Following up on Audio Technica’s duo is Shure’s SE215-CL. They come available in three color variations, each excelling in aesthetics more than the previous one.

Shure SE215 PRO Wired Earbuds-Professional Isolating Earphones Sound and Deep Bass, Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure in Ear, Plus Carrying Case and Fit Kit-Clear (SE215-CL)

Now, for the more important part – performance. These monitors deliver an exceptionally balanced soundstage and plenty of character in tone. The bass is superbly deep and groovy, although the sound signature is fairly close to being characterized as ‘completely neutral’, making it more than suitable for monitoring and other studio applications.

The ambient noise reduction is also pretty great. Namely, these in ear headphones can block some 37 decibels of noise, which is pretty solid if you’re working in a studio or casually commuting (noisier areas will leak sound in).

They’re pretty comfortable on their own, but what else is great about them is that they come with the so-called ‘Fit Kit’ comprised of several tip types and sizes. That means that even if you don’t find them as comfortable, you just have to switch tips.

Though they’re comfortable to wear even by a long shot, even the slightest hints of pressure will induce ear fatigue – for instance, you shouldn’t sleep with them on or partake in a hobby where your ears might get hit, bumped, or anything similar physical wise.


  • Awesome soundstage
  • Deep bass
  • Lightweight design
  • Fit Kit
  • Available in several colors


  • Moderately comfortable

10. Sennheiser IE 40 Pro

We’re closing up with another Sennheiser model, and this time it’s IE 40 Pro. In essence, these are the cheapest Sennheiser monitors you can get, so if you really like the brand but don’t have the cash for their premium monitors, IE 40 Pro should be perfect for you.

Sennheiser IE 40 PRO, molded in ear dynamic monitors (Black)

These headphones feature a 10mm transducer that greatly complements the already versatile soundstage. There are plenty of warm highs, the treble section isn’t overly aggressive, and the bass doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the gig.

Their great fit, and comfort is on point, and they’re also available in two color variations. The bad thing, though, is that the cable is quite thick, so it can feel very uncomfortable at times.


  • Decently balanced soundstage
  • Great bang for the buck
  • Deep bass
  • Minimal harmonic distortion


  • Uncomfortable cable


There are plenty of in ear monitor models that could easily compete for the title of ‘best of the best’, but after carefully examining the market, we’ve handpicked only the ones that actually can provide the benefits required from them. We hope you liked our selection!

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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