IEMs are ruining my headphone experience

Years ago, after enjoying Apple ear pods, I said to myself, I should probably invest in a nice pair of IEMs. I bought a set and immediately got a horrible ear infection and set them back. Years later, I heard hype around the Tin T2 and was going to try giving IEMs another chance. The Tin T2 tips wouldn’t fit my ears. I had to push them far into my ears and hold them there to get anything near reasonable sound. As soon as I let go, they would push themselves right out of my ears.

Many years and expensive headphones later, I heard about Moondrops Starfield and again decided to try them since they were so inexpensive. I immediately fell in love with them vs the sound of over ear headphones. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with learning all I can about IEMs and have bought a bunch, Fiio FH7 & FH5, ThieAudio Legacy 3 and the Blon BL 03. I also did my homework and purchased tons of different tips to learn what works for me and what doesn’t.

The last few days I’ve been comparing them to my over ear headphones. I’m now seriously contemplating getting rid of many of my headphones in favor of IEMs.

It is really upsetting for me to be coming to these conclusions because I ignored IEMs for so long because of the reasons I mentioned before.

Do any of you have stories of how your audio chase has taken you down roads you found were unexpected?


I had that problem, hasnt happened with the blon03 or kz zs10 pro. I think the spinfit might have solved the problem for me with the T2 but I didn’t really give it the time to find out.


I too am using Spin Fits as my preferred tips. I like the fit of Dekoni foam, but I find it effects the sound too much in comparison.

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Niceeeeeee. I really enjoyed reading ur story. Very interesting stuff. I remember a guy who left and ohmboy as some of the only members here who prefer IEMs over other stuff. So it’s nice to have another one like yourself! What over ears do u have btw? Just curious


Personally I’ve really really enjoyed IEMs and in fact in many ways I think they brought me deeper. Since I was able to try diff sound sigs with chifi. In addition I remember how shocked I was with the tin t2 because I prefered them over my DT 770 by ALOT. Pretty miraculous stuff, being able to carry IEMs too is much more portable!

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To add another tidbit, the only high quality after market tips I have tried are the spin fit, so some of the other brands may have also have solved my problem with the T2. Also, I am preferring the comfort (lightweight) of IEMs now that I have given some other models a try over headphones. They just disappear!

As for sound, the highest price IEM that I have tried so far are the Tape, so I definitely prefer my Edition XX over any IEM I have tried. However, the IT03 are coming in on Monday, so I guess we will see. (Although I doubt I will like them over the IT03)


Just like me, I much prefer IEMs to over ears. How do you find the L3?


So a little after my headphone journey started I picked up a cheap iem to use at work which was replacing a cheap bluetooth headphone that broke. At the time I got the bl03 which is something I didn’t really enjoy but it made me realize how much i could use an iem both at work and out and about (pre quarantine at least).

I upgraded to the it03 and was very surprised at how much i used them but also I did prefer them to most of the headphones I had at the time, with the exception of my x00. I quickly switched gears from “not being an iem guy” and “not wanting to spend too much on iems” to climbing up the iem tiers to see what the more expensive options offered.

I can say fully I really enjoy my IEM, and at least with the ones I picked up along the way I have consistently been impressed with what I’ve heard. Do I prefer them to headphones? I’d say it’s a different experience and for me, more importantly a different use case. IEM cables tend to be too short for me to use comfortably at my desk and my headphones tend to be too big and bulky to want to take out of the house. Also i like the feel of big plush pads like zmf and audeze, and I find tip rolling and getting a good seal can be a bit of a pain in the ass.


Thanks for the story, I largely feel the same, I have parsed down my headphones significantly to try and save space and afford iems for this reason. IMO iems are more fashionable, (largely) more comfortable, and have better sound per dollar. They are more portable as well so they take up less space. My original kz purchases were oh now I got iems… Until I got my OH10s and then I changed drastically in my thought process. Now I basically just by Iems. I think my spring 1s will be in this week and then the long wait for the L3… :frowning:


Youre not alone. My personal preference has shifted due to lifestyle/convenience and preferred sound. As I first joined the journey it was all about the desktop experience and headphones for me. But I shifted and worked my way up the IEM chain and I wouldn’t go back. I’ve started to offload my headphones and am getting rid of my DAC Amps as Im pretty much going fully portable.

ZMF Aeolus, Focal Clear, Elegia & Elex, Ether CX, Sendy Aiva, and many Fostex TR-X00s to name a few off the top of my head.

Here are a few old pictures I’ve shared previously…




I’m still getting my head wrapped around IEMs in general, so I am a complete noob and can not talk from experience, but I am learning! IEMs in general seem to give me a more accurate representation of the music. I can hear elements in songs that were inaudible in over ear headphones. In certain IEMs, I’m hearing frequency response, soundstage and imaging I didn’t know was possible, especially in an IEM. I’m a big dynamic slam guy and I’m extremely impressed I am hearing any dynamic slam at all in an IEM! I am totally blown away by the sub bass performance in IEMs. Comparing back and forth, there are bass drops in my headphones that I thought were impressive, only to find out, they are almost inaudible compared to in-ears which have so much more extension, detail and texture.


I go back and forth between IEM’s and headphones, I seem to have developed a love hate relationship with each. My primary listening is mostly done with speakers, I picked up the headphone bug on a whim after watching a few of ZEOS’ videos, curiosity got the better of me.
My issues with Headphones stem from the fact that I seem to have oversized, elephant style ears :crazy_face: After any prolonged use my ears get hot and uncomfortable and any relaxation ability is lost, this negates the whole experience for me.
I enjoy IEM’s BUT i learned I have tiny ear canals and thus have to be very picky with tips or I wind up with itchy ears and constantly pop the IEM’s out with the slightest movement. Thus negating the experience or the ability to go mobile…

Oh well…


Yeah, one fo the reasons I prefer IEMs is that I personally feel I can hear more detail and it’s more intimate. I like hybrids the best as you have the slam of the DD bass with the detail of the BAs for mid and high frequencies.

I am yet to try a tribrid with an estat driver in it. However IEM estats aren’t real estats apart from the Shure KSE stuff, but no one really wants to lug about a purpose-built portable amp for real estat stuff.

I am going to get the estat soon, as an upgrade for my blons. I didn’t really like the Pioneer or Shure IEMs I have had in the past but I think that the L3 will serve me well.

My Sennheiser HD650 still give better detail but that is to be expected over my blons. I am going to have a small upgrade soon and am planning a massive endgame upgrade in the coming years.
I am still waiting on buying a DAP first though

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It’s amazing to me the quality of sound you can get in an IEM today for the cost. I’m already venturing into more expensive territory with the Fiio IEMs, but I don’t see this addiction ending anytime soon.

I agree, the hybrids seem to be more detailed than single dynamic drivers at the cost of of some FR possibly. I have yet to hear a BA only IEM so I can’t speak from experience. I am a big fan of dynamic slam so I’ll probably want at least one dynamic in any IEM moving forward.

I’m looking at the Andromeda as a possible next step.


I loved the Andromeda’s when I tried them out, but I was torn between them and the Polaris as to which I preferred more. The detail on the Andromeda’s was better but the Polaris felt like I was in a club.

I have heard some nice detailed sets in all BAs like some of the VisionEars stuff, as well as the Jerry Harvey reference stuff

I have owned a few BA only sets, they are detailed which is good but once you’ve had DD bass I personally can’t really go back; BA only stuff just feels a tad lean.

I never really liked the Fiio IEMs, they felt a bit boring to me. Their M11 DAP was cool though


I am in the same boat! The Legacy 3 sounds really, really good, and I love the sound of my YBF and KZ AS10 in games. I’m not sure if I’ve heard an IEM yet(only heard up to about $180 so far) that sounds better than an HE-6, LCD-3, or Mobius, but that isolated intimacy of direct audio being lazer-fed into your brane is a quality of its own. And it’s just awesome that such great sound is so affordable with today’s IEMs. Headphones are my main game, though, but we’ll see where I end up.


You can pry my 95x and my Nighthawks from my cold dead hands… that being said yea pretty much no other headphones for me. Hell I’ve liked all my recent iem purchases except for the ZSX and the X6. I mean the X6 worked great for work at least, but still 2 for 8ish is not bad. Oh and did I mention they don’t take up room, sorry I don’t have a wall like Zeos LOL.

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I prefer the sound of headphones, but overall I’m leaning towards IEM usage more because that better suits when I want to be listening to music. More often, I want to listen to music when I’m up doing things, or I’m listening to music that make me want to move, and being wired to a spot is a real drag!

Well I’m in a pretty similar position as you are. I’m pretty new to this too, and I got the FH7s a month ago and just got the 2020 Andromedas yesterday. It’s still too early for me to give detailed impressions, but I’ll give you an analogy to show where I’m at with them now.

Imagine two chefs making pizzas. One chef is making pizza with a bunch of really high-quality ingredients. The chef is competent enough, but is a little confused as to what he’s aiming for, so there’s maybe a few too many ingredients and spices, and some don’t work well with the rest, but you get a ton of flavor. That’s the FH7.

The second chef is making a pizza with decidedly fewer indredients, still really high-quality. This chef, however, knows exactly what he is aiming for and knows exactly what he’s aiming for, and each ingredient is carefully chosen to work in perfect harmony with the rest. That’s the Andromeda.


Thanks for the analogy! I love to collect. I had plans to add more headphones to my collection, but I have no gas for headphones at the moment. Looks like IEMs are going to be the next addiction and the Andromeda is high on the list. I still have tons of listening time I need to get in on the IEMs I already own.