Earbuds Vs IEM’s: The Battle For Best Fit!!

When we enter into the world of audiophilia we experience many new things. Our music Player’s becomes Digital Audio Player’s, commonly known as DAP’s. Earphones gets divided into different types.…
earbuds vs IEM

When we enter into the world of audiophilia we experience many new things. Our music Player’s becomes Digital Audio Player’s, commonly known as DAP’s. Earphones gets divided into different types. There are two different types of earphones, IEM’s, commonly known as in-ear monitors, and Earbuds, these are traditional types of earphones that we used to get with cell phones. Even though both the types of earphones do the same thing produce good quality sound for us audio enthusiasts. But they do it quite differently, let’s find out more about them.

So let’s start with IEM’s First:-

IEM’s are compact earphones that can be inserted deep in our ear canal, covering the ear canal completely. These come in various different shapes and sizes. Some are simple cylindrical single bullet designs just like Tin T2, T3, and more. While some have 3D printed Resin shells which provide the users with a comfortable and firm fit. People can always contact hi-fi brands to get custom made IEM’s that would be made as per the ear impression of the user and will provide the best fit.

Finding the perfect fit is an issue which people commonly face. Though it’s not that difficult and one can simply find the best fit by exploring different ear tips included in the package or available aftermarket. IEM’s come in different configurations too. Some are single drivers, some have multiple drivers, and some even have hybrid driver units. Hybrid Driver IEM’s have multiple drivers of different types like a combination of BA and DD and more. IEM’s have many benefits like a good level of noise isolation, better bass response, and also multi-driver options.

Shanling ME500 IEM

Features of IEM’s:-

>They come in different configurations, single driver, Multi Driver, Multi Driver Hybrid Units. Multiple driver units can be tuned specifically for different frequency zones, like Dynamic driver handling lower end while different Balanced Armature units handling mids and highs. And with current progress in technology, we are also getting some pairs with electrostatic drivers.

>They provide great levels of noise isolation. Since the earphones cover the ear canal entirely, IEM’s provide users with great levels of noise isolation.

>The ear shells are usually made up of 3D printed Resin shells, Aluminium Alloys, and more providing a rich and premium look to your earphones.

>Usually comes with detachable cables, having two connector types.


>IEM’s have different fits, people have to explore ear tips to find the perfect fit, though people can obviously also opt for custom fit made IEM’s but that costs way too much.

>IEM’s provides great levels of isolation. It is not safe for using IEM’s while driving or commuting.

>Since the IEM’s insert deep into the ears. They are near to the eardrums. This might damage ears if used at louder volumes for longer listening sessions.


Earbuds are our traditional earphones with simple shells. They don’t go deep in the ear, they simply sit at the inner cavity outside the user’s ear canals. This provides a very comfortable fit but they might fall off quite easily. They come in different types of shells, MX500, Yuin shells just to name a few. Earbuds usually have a single large dynamic driver unit, which produces musical sound output that is full of details and usually has a wider staging.

There are several good earbuds available in the market like Shozy SG. There are several custom earbud tuners spread all around the globe too who will tune a pair just as per your listening preferences. These are designed with one size that suits all. Since earbuds sit outside the ear canal, they don’t seal the ear canal completely. Hence allowing ambient and environmental noises. They are not good at noise isolation.

Shozy SG

Features of Earbuds:-

>Mostly made up of either MX500 shells or Yuin shells. 

>Earbuds provide a very comfortable fit, these are very comfortable for long music sessions.

>Usually have a single large dynamic driver unit.

Cons of Earbuds:-

>Since earbuds don’t seal the ear canal and sit on the outer part, there is no noise isolation, and are also prone to falling off.

>Even though the drivers are big size dynamic driver units, the bass that earbuds provide is nowhere near to IEM level.

>They only feature single dynamic drivers so multi-driver benefits are not there.

Basically at the end, both the IEM’s and Earbuds do the same thing though they have their own shortcomings. Like fit is a major issue with IEM’s, finding the perfect fit sometimes is hard and on the other hand getting that deep and heavy bass response from Earbuds is difficult, earbuds also lack in providing a good level of noise isolation. So it comes to the users what they prefer for their sound preferences.

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