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Headfonics 2020

Top Reader Voted Earphones

The following Top Reader Voted IEM & Earphone scores are assigned by the readers, (Score) and apply only to all reviews before this calendar year and where a slider voting system exists. This list includes the top 30 universal type monitors only.

Please note the list will change dynamically as readers continue to vote. Higher-scoring IEMs will automatically replace lower-scoring IEMs. They will also continue to change as we progressively work our way through historical reviews and add a voting system.

These lists are not to be confused with our Award Scores which are the top gear as reviewed and scored by our review team in the calendar year. 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.

Top 30 universal IEMs as voted on by our readers

FiR Audio Radon 6 Review featured image
The FIR Audio Radon 6 is the most complete and natural-sounding monitor I have heard from the company to date. It works wonderfully well with almost everything, especially if you want an open midrange with excellent levels of detail.
9.3
Reader's Score
Vision Ears Phönix
The Vision Ears Phönix is a pricey but beautifully designed high-end monitor built for blissful and stress-free listening. Its coherent timbre has an inviting and intoxicating blend of smooth-sounding mids and gorgeously rich vocals backed up by a punchy low-end performance when called upon.
9.2
Reader's Score
Vision Ears EXT
I can still see vocal lovers cling dearly to their Elysium but for those who wanted bombastic lows and a much bigger soundstage whilst still retaining the magic of a dynamic driver timbre for the mids then the EXT should answer that and then some. 
9.1
Reader's Score
Noble Audio Viking Ragnar Review
The Noble Audio Viking Ragnar is probably the company's most high-fidelity in-ear monitor to date. It is also unique from the competition in its spatial grandeur but no less of a technical performer with impressive levels of precise imaging and detail.
9.1
Reader's Score
Empire Ears Odin
The Odin is a technical beast bar none with masterful levels of control from the dual subwoofer configuration right up to that nuanced treble tuning. Nothing is overdone, even those forward upper mids are beautifully tempered by a coherent treble tuning.
9
Reader's Score
Lime Ears Anima
The Lime Ears Anima is a balanced yet joyful tuning with a deep resonating bass performance and almost ethereal highs with plenty of headroom from those e-stat drivers. It competes well with other hybrid electrostatic standard-bearers such as the Odin and the EXT but is unique enough to set it apart as a viable alternative on your shopping list.
9
Reader's Score
€3400
Nostalgia Audio Tesseract Review featured image
The Nostalgia Audio Tesseract is a top-tier competitor with an ambitious internal design and a unique external aesthetic. More importantly, it has the 'audible chops' with a beautiful analog sound backed by a huge soundstage and wonderful imaging.
9
Reader's Score
SWEEAR SR11 Review featured image
I am genuinely surprised by just how good the SWEEAR SR11 is. It is right up there as a high-end monitor with a fascinating tapestry of punchiness, resolution, and speed. It copes exceedingly well with both complex musical passages as well as simply modern rhythm-centric rock and pop. 
9
Reader's Score
$2599
64 Audio Volur Review featured image
The 64 Audio Volür has some of the 'tastiest' lows to date in the company's universal monitor line-up and provides a clear upgrade path for Nio fans who crave a bump in tonal clarity and technical proficiency. 
9
Reader's Score
Noble Audio Kadence Review
The Noble Audio Kadence is a delicate presentation, one with excellent micro-detail but one that does not forget the pleasurable listening side of things either.
9
Reader's Score
PLUSSOUND Allegro Review
The PLUSSOUND Allegro looks beautiful on the outside but more importantly, it has the chops sonically to appeal to a wide range of audiophile listening tastes.
9
Reader's Score
$3499.99
Noble Audio Ronin Review featured image
The Noble Audio Ronin is the company's most balanced and detailed-sounding monitor to date. It is also one of their most accessible tunings with a natural tuning that makes it a non-fatiguing pleasure to listen to.
9
Reader's Score
64 Audio U18s
The U18s is one of the most balanced offerings I have heard to date from 64 Audio. Nothing feels out of whack with a tuning that is effortlessly smooth, non-fatiguing yet every bit as resolving as the original A18t. 
8.9
Reader's Score
Empire Ears Legend EVO
The Empire Ears Legend EVO is a bass monster, but a monster with refined taste and also one that brings some sort of A-game to the mids and treble table in terms of resolution and timbral balance. 
8.9
Reader's Score
Campfire Audio Solaris SE
The sound is smoother, more coherent with a better mids presence. The timbre is more natural to my ear and sweeter sounding for vocals and instrumental notes. This is a clever tuning with less of an apparent traditional hybrid driver separation from the lows to the highs.
8.9
Reader's Score
InEar ProMission X
The InEar ProMission X is lightly colored with some nice quality bass for a BA, a slightly forward midrange, and almost the perfect treble for my tastes. It also looks bloody nice out of the box with that two-one hybrid wood and aggressive contouring design.
8.9
Reader's Score
€2089
Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar-Horizon Review featured image
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon is the most mature offering I have heard to date from the company with a more balanced tuning, improved resolution, and an excellent and very open soundstage.
8.9
Reader's Score
Campfire Audio Trifecta Review featured image
The Campfire Audio Trifecta is one of the most unique-looking and sounding high-end in-ear monitors I have reviewed to date. With the right genre and a clean-sounding source, it conveys a very powerful and emotive quality from its triple dynamic driver setup.
8.9
Reader's Score
THIEAUDIO Monarch MKIII Review featured image
The THIEAUDIO Monarch MKIII is an excellent 'tribrid' multi-driver IEM. You get excellent power, clear vocal performances, and a very resolving staging performance in a relatively comfortable customizable shell with a cable that caters to the most popular connector outputs.
8.9
Reader's Score
Noble Audio Sultan
I honestly cannot pick any holes in the Sultan's performance, at least from a personal perspective. It is a vivid and exciting blend of different driver timbres that tease out some excellent power, clarity, and above-average headroom. If you are sitting on the Savant II wondering where to go to next then this is it.
8.9
Reader's Score
Jomo Audio Pretty Little Beast
The Jomo Audio Pretty Little Beast has achieved its goal with a warm full-sounding signature that is easy on the ear in many respects and delivers excellent slam for a 3-driver BA design. It is also packaged really nicely and is certainly an eye-catcher for those who are looking for something a bit different.
8.9
Reader's Score
JH Audio Contour XO
The JH Audio Contour XO has a physical, articulate, and high-energy tuning that, whilst top class for detail retrieval, also never really loses a sense of joie de vivre when it comes to pure listening enjoyment.
8.8
Reader's Score
Noble Audio Jade Review
The Noble Audio Jade, like the previous TUX 5, is tuned for an enjoyable listening experience. It is not a reference-style monitor but neither is it all bass and treble in its presentation. This is a balanced but lively performance, great for rock and pop and for anyone looking for a stronger vocal focus. 
8.8
Reader's Score
Elysian Acoustic Labs DIVA-2023 Review featured image
Known as the “Songstress”, the Elysian Acoustic Labs DIVA 2023 is a gem. The mid-range of the DIVA 2023 is simply a divine showcase of how a mid-range should be tuned with its a lush, detailed and smooth presentation.
8.8
Reader's Score
Kinera Imperial LOKI Review featured image

The Kinera Imperial LOKI is a sonically exquisite masterpiece and one that produces a euphoric and captivating listening experience.

The company's first shot at a multi-kilo-buck flagship level IEM delivers a lush and hyper-detailed mid-range and excellent bone conduction implementation.

8.8
Reader's Score
Oriolus Szalayi Review
Make no mistake, the Oriolus Szalayi is an impressive IEM. For bass heads, this is pure delight as it is capable of delivering a thunderous bass response with a clean and crisp mid-range.
8.8
Reader's Score
Vision Ears EVE20
The EVE20 is a faithful and beautiful interpretation of the classic Vision Ears house sound. This time they have gone for a clever mix of low-end body and a more ethereal treble with excellent headroom to combine for a sweet-sounding midrange with just the right balance between instrumental and vocal positioning.
8.8
Reader's Score
64 Audio tia Trio
This is not an analytical tone but it is a detailed one. There is just enough flair and warmth in the 64 Audio tia Trio™ delivery to make most genres outside of gut-wrenching low-mids guitar work sound engaging and immersive. There is very little that it trips up on and next to no DAP or source that it fails to mesh well with.
8.8
Reader's Score
Effect Audio Gaea Review
I consider the Effect Audio Gaea a very successful collaboration. One that offers a mature tuning with great synergy between the cable and the IEM. You get an outstanding performance on smaller outputs and decent distortion control also.
8.8
Reader's Score
Noble Audio Katana Wizard Edition
As a cleaner more neutral and balanced flagship sound the Katana Wizard Edition is going to be very hard to beat in our universal IEM reviews this year. It ticks plenty of boxes with a sound that's close to neutral with a little boost at the low end, vocals, and treble to give it a very engaging but detailed sound.
8.8
Reader's Score

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