The following list contains our Top Reader-Voted Custom IEMs as ranked by the reader. Each ranking position is drawn from a review’s Reader’s Score and applies only to all reviews where an interactive slider voting system exists. If you are looking for universal IEMs only then click here.
Please note the list will change dynamically as readers continue to vote. Higher-scoring Custom IEMs will automatically replace lower-scoring Custom IEMs. They will also continue to change as we progressively work our way through historical reviews and activate a voting system.
These lists are not to be confused with our Award Scores which are the top gear reviewed and scored by our review team. Those scores will form the basis of our Awards at the end of the year. Once the year is completed the Award scores will be deleted and the ‘annual awards race’ will start over again.
Our latest guidelines for scoring can be found here.
The FiR Audio Krypton 5 is one seriously impressive custom monitor with perhaps the most exciting or 'driven' tuning profiles I have heard this year in an IEM.
That Kinetic bass drops bombs left right and center without sounding fuzzy or overly bloomy. This is not a soft enveloping pillowy low-end, it's firm, defined, and breathtaking in its execution.
The Jolene is a heck of an update to the line-up and a worthy flagship hybrid monitor for the JH Audio house sound. It all about natural tones, gritty and interesting texture, and tons of power on tap when you feel like upping that bass module adjuster.
The JH Audio Sharona is a custom monitor designed for pleasurable listening. It delivers a beautifully smooth and detailed performance with a tremendous sense of space to suck you right into a non-fatiguing but engaging sound signature.
Do you want something with fantastic bass extension, detail, and weight with super smooth treble and a balanced midrange with beautifully controlled vocals? That's the A12. Want a deep, 3-dimensional soundstage? That's the A12. Want something that just exudes a natural flowing tonality with no unnerving peaks? That's the A12.
There is nothing dry or sterile about the VX tuning. It takes that musical, slightly euphonic, and vocal-centric tuning of the V6 and adds low-end power, mids richness, and much more detail throughout.
The Custom Art FIBAE 7 Unlimited will correct any issues you had with the vocal forwardness of the original. At the same time, it will beef up those lows and balance out the highs to deliver a more expansive and potentially more emotive successor.
The Unique Melody MEST MKII is an excellent smooth-sounding custom monitor with plenty of complex technology stuffed inside. You also get a quality design, some notable improvements externally such as the flat pocket 2-pin connectors, and that solid cable upgrade with the M2.
The M5's calling card is the excellent bass tuning combined with a really nice harmonic balance and energy through the upper mids and treble. It does not try to push too hard to what I would call an extreme tuning being neither V-shaped nor a detail-orientated reference monitor.
The Westone ES80 is an impressive reference-level custom monitor. The level of coherency from top to bottom is very nicely balanced and the timbre is natural but detailed to a level that is both involving and satisfying. It pairs really well with just about anything you throw at it.
The sweet combination of massive staging, detailed vocal presence, and switchability between a slight bass bias (X1) and a relatively linear audiophile presentation (X2) is the icing on the cake. The shell artistry and first-rate finish are very smooth and comfortable with a fantastic seal.
The Mason V3 is more resolving than the VE8 and more musical sounding than the A18. It is perhaps the perfect hybrid of both sounds. A musical and resolving sound with a coherent and balanced presentation, open mids, strong vocals and a non-fatiguing top-end. What is not to like about that?
At almost two thousand dollars, the qdc Gemini is not a steal. But for that, you not only get a very good monitor, but also the whole high-end experience: beautiful design, perfect fit, flawless production, a nice case, superior cable, and adequate packaging.
The Unique Melody MEXT is the company's most confident and complete use of its bone conduction technology to date. This is a full-blooded tasty bass-centric performer with enough balance in the mids and vocals to please those who like their music to be beefy yet inviting.
Ah, no doubt the FIBAE 7 is Custom Art's best creation to date. It is still quite the CA house sound but it is more complex sounding now, more mature and refined. The magical sauce is how the F7 images so well for a soundstage that is not hugely expensive. It keeps things very clear but also very smooth and engaging at the same time.
The Mason V3+ is a very natural sounding and expansive sounding flagship monitor. Especially so with the silver side of the dual-tone cable which still manages to retain that weighted full-bodied sound of the copper but with superior separation and treble articulation.
Right away this is the kind of signature that bassheads with 'taste' will enjoy. Whilst not a dynamic driver level of power the sub-woofer tuning of the VE4.2 is immensely impressive without being stodgy or lacking in extension.
Overall, I think Unique Melody proves they are prepared to take a risk with new ideas, and with the MEST it really works incredibly well. If you want the flavor of that bone conduction on a budget then the MEST Mini is very sensibly priced also.
Well, what a marvelously tuned monitor this is. The qdc Anole V6-C is a triumph of good tuning over technical glorification. Six drivers might be middling and not by any stretch of the imagination are you getting the final word in micro-detail or vast staging control.
Today, we are speaking to the bassheads. So, when I say the Valkyrie is a riot, a first-class monitor, and just a joy to listen to if you need that strong dynamic driver-driven bass response then you are the target market. For everyone else, go buy a Phantom or something similar.
The Empire Ears Zeus wasn’t designed to be as neutral of reference-tuned as possible. Zeus has a strong, and colored personality. Because of the forward midrange, Zeus sounds powerful and stimulating; tones carry weight, while treble sounds smooth and refined.
The Maestro V2 is actually quite a serious reworking of the old V1 sound. Gone are the more neutral midrange and the sparkling top-end of the V1 and in comes a darker, heavier hitting smoother sounding V2. They are very different in approach yet both are equally detailed and technically very good. The choice is simply down to preference for me personally.
Who should get this? Well, people who enjoy rock, the mosh pit, and being right in the heart of the music should give this a whirl. It does an excellent job of conveying that intimate front-row rock concert experience.