IEM for competitive gaming

Yo I’m top 200 in overwatch and I’ve been struggling with hearing some stuff here and there. I don’t hear certain abilities that are generally on the upper end and I sometimes don’t hear things because some sounds are like layering over or something idk.

I’m looking at getting into IEMs for home use, I’ll take game zeros to any tourneys. I don’t care about the need for a mic, I’ll just get a standalone mic.

I think imaging is what I’m mostly prioritizing. I need to it be able to image vertically as well not just on the flat x-axis. I want something crunch crunch but not fatiguing and I still need some big characters who have bass-heavy footsteps (ikr, wth, bass heavy footsteps? craaaazy, just google a picture of roadhog and you’ll understand, it’s not crunch crunch, it’s doof doof)
I’m not sure what I want when it comes to the sound stage, I just want it to have some sort of depth but not too far because then I think the further sounds will get drowned out.

Also, budget-wise, I’m young, aspiring esports pro, I don’t have much money. So, let’s keep that in mind. But I do have money saved so I’m looking at under $200. Shiesh but if you tell me the best option is the moondrop blessing 2… idk man maybe I’d splurge but I’d have to really believe you.

Please help thanks.

I would look into Fresh Reviews channel on youtube, he is probably the guy who tests the most IEMs for competitive gaming and is actually somebody who plays at a high competitive level, so I´d value his opinion over some audiophiles who casually play.

You should be aware tho, that the perception of IEMs can differ quite a lot from person to person, because our pinna is acting as a natural filter, which is changing the sound before it goes into our ear canal. IEMs will go directly into our ear canal, so they bypass our pinna/filter and the manufacturer of the IEMs will have to guess how your pinna affects the sound. But everyone has different ears, so thats basically an impossible task, thats why you probably won´t get around trying different IEMs to see what works best with your ears. So just because somebody says IEM A a is a better than IEM B, that doesnt necessary have to be the case for you.

That being said, I actually had a good experience with Fresh Reviews recommandations, I´m personally using the Truthear Zeros and think they are really good for gaming, I still think you can get something better if you go with open backs like the HD560s or Tygr300R, but thats obvious not an option for tournament play. However, I would rather use the Truthear Zeros than any other closed back headphone/headset I have heard until now.

You also have to look at your sound settings in the game. I know a lot of people use the “night mode” preset, but honestly i think thats just terrible. It lowers the dynamic range, which makes everything sound close to each other in volume, which results in worse soundstage and depth perception. So I would keep that at studio reference or headphone.

Dolby Atmos should be on too, unless your ears really dont work with it and it fucks up your ability to tell directions. But if they dont work with atmos and you are forced to use stereo, you are already at a competitive disadvantage anyway, because other people have an easier time to locate stuff just because their ears works better with atmos.


Top 200 worldwide? I’m not a gamer so I’m just curious.


I’d stretch the budget for a pair of Raptgo x HBB Hook-X. They’re really really good but they are also maybe the best scaling IEMs I’ve ever heard so if you upgrade your source down the line, they’ll just keep getting better. Pair them with some SednaEarfit Xelastics and they isolate ridiculously well and they have actual separation and depth to the soundstage instead of just layering like most IEMs and they have really good imaging and verticality.

And for what it’s worth, the Blessing 2 are kinda dog shit for gaming despite several big names swearing by them.

Also a cheap pair of ear protection to go over the IEMs in a tourney setting is like $30 and will isolate a lot better than just IEMs and it really helps.

1 Like

Top 200 in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Currently rank 71 on the leaderboard now. Not sure what this would be worldwide.


Fantastic thanks for the response man I appreciate it! I’ll look into the Raptgo x HBB Hook-X then. What makes the Blessing 2 dog for gaming though? Just curious. If not the Hook-X is there 1 other IEM you’d say, “yup, this is the one”?

I’ve actually recently stumbled upon this channel while waiting for responses to this thread. My bad for not seeing these sooner, I didn’t receive any notifications. I actually use the PC38x at the moment with the mayflower arc Mk2. It’s all great except for some sounds kinda getting lost due to the open-back nature, especially in intense situations. The dynamic range is also something I didn’t take into account. Like when sounds are pretty far away they just don’t exist where they usually would with closed-back headphones.

Yeah with sound settings I keep it at studio reference. For some reason, the headphone setting seems to up the bass a bit.

I have the Dolby Atmos setting on as well yeah.

Recently he posted a video about the Orchestra Lite from Kiwi Ears, seems pretty interesting. But idk much about Balanced Armature drivers and I’m kinda worried they’ll be a bit more distorted than normal dynamic drivers. Any thoughts on that?

FreshReviews just had a gem drop for the same price as the HBB Hook-X. The Kiwi Ears Orchestra are supposedly outstanding but I personally haven’t tried them. I trust Fresh though, he’s pretty critical of most stuff and isn’t afraid to call garbage out for what it is, even if it makes the companies hate him. I’d guess that because its an all BA IEM that it might fall apart at high volume so if you’re someone that games at very high volume, maybe try it and the HBB Hook-X, but the scaling on the HBB Hook-X on a class A amp is pretty ridiculous and being a planar, it doesn’t care at all about volume compared to a BA driver. Food for thought.

1 Like

I can’t attest to how they work in a competitive environment, as I haven’t had much time to play competitive shooters lately, but I will say the Raptgo HBB has some beautiful, encompassing soundstage and pinpoint precision as to where the sounds come from. Makes sense they would work very well in competitive games.

They are my current favorite for any videogame, and I will find myself hearing sounds and microdetails I have never heard before, even vs much more expensive IEMs like the Moondrop Variations. Every now and then I have to check behind me to see if the sound I thought was something happening around me, in fact came from the IEMs or not. And I have yet to find anything behind me lol. It’s odd and brilliant at the same time

Even though they have a decent amount of bass (which is also great for music), they are never bloaty or distracting as well. Build quality is also superb, with the cable being one of my favorite cables ever.

I would trust Fresh Reviews’ when it comes down to which are good. The Orchestra Lite may be just as good of an option, or even better, depending on your preferences. In each description he also has a “wallhack tier list” which you may have seen already, where he adds his top picks, even in the more budget friendly range.

1 Like

Yeah that most recent video he posted really piqued my interest and I’m genuinely considering going for the Orchestra Lite. They’re also damn beautiful. I do have a concern for the distortion of BA but it seems to be a nonissue as long as the volume isn’t too high, as you kind of mention. I don’t personally listen to music at very high volumes and I don’t game at high volumes either. I still need to hear my teammates’ comms lol. Also, I have the mayflower arc mk2 and no real interest in changing that any time soon. I don’t think I’m gonna go much higher in cost for something like that.