Hey need some help understanding something

Hey guys
I got a bit confused what is the difference between in-ear monitors and in-ear headphones is there a difference? Most guides online just got me more confused and wanted to know if my pair of in-ear are monitors or headphones

Iems usually insert deep into your ear canal and rest fully inside the canal. I don’t know what they mean by in ear headphones, but earbuds typically refer to the design that rests in your ear like apple ear/airpods

1 Like

so these are earbuds right?

No those are iems, and this post is being extended to meet the character requirement

Edit: they are iems because they use a tip to insert into the ear canal

1 Like

Thanks a lot dude! and I just wanted to make sure I understand :slight_smile:

Yeah I feel ya, it can be confusing to me as well. Sometimes it describes fit, sometimes its marketing, sometimes its somewhere of the middle of the two, who knows.

You should keep in mind that “Earbuds” is still the prevailing term used for both by people outside the hobby (or who aren’t professionals). For example The Wirecutter has this article when everything on that list are IEMs.

Yeah, if I ever have any one ask what I’m wearing, I just say earbuds, since it’s a commonly understood phrase. Its like if anyone asks about my dap and amp stack, I just say it’s an MP3 player or iPod or definitely not an explosive, since more people can make sense of that. So you may see both iems and true earbuds labeled as earbuds as @marcgii states

I agree with Marcgii here. I haven’t heard the term “in ear headphones”, but IEM’s, earbuds, and in ear headphones are fundamentally the same, it just depends on the audience who is labeling them. Like if you go up to a crowd of normal people and try to talk to them about IEM’s, you’ll get blank looks. But if you talk about your earbuds, they’ll understand. But I don’t think it has to do with the style of the way they sit in your ear. There is no difference between “on ear” and “over ear” like there is in headphones. All earbuds/IEM’s go into the ear canal, the difference from there is just the nozzle type and ear tip type. Like foam, silicon, or plastic.

Well, the main difference is weather they go in the ear using whatever material and nozzle, vs earbuds that typically don’t have a nozzle at all, and rest in the outer ear. That’s the main differentiating factor from my knowledge.