IEMs for hiphop

Hi guys,

I am fairly new in here. Been reading a lot of posts and often wonder what music you base your recommendations on - especially if some of you are giving your feed-backs based on a substantial preference for hiphop. If so then I would really love to hear…

…what are some of the iems you highly recommend for hiphop listening?

…what are some of the parameters that you think are important or less important when listening to hiphop?

…have you experienced a more pronounced limit to the gains from higher end gear (e.g. monarch, z1r) when listening to hiphop compared to other genres?

Some characteristics of hiphop: bass and drums are often a main ingredient. Vocal are often delivered by African-American males. Use of non-analog instruments. Use of samples. Lots of lo-fi recordings.

Myself. I mainly listen to hip-hop music (been doing for the last 25 years) with some soul and old funk records. I do love some nice bass rumble (think I prefer quantity and slow decay - but not entirely sure). I also like an iem that gives you the feeling that the sound is coming from outside of your head (not sure what this is is called) and some clarity + air?..but i basically lack experience with a wide variety of sets.

I have been following HawaiiBadBoy since 2016 who listen to some of the same albums as I do - but I dont listen to ANY of the rock records that makes up a large proportion of his library.

My IEMS: BLON 03 (currently my daily driver - love the bass rumble), Hifiboy OV3, Sony xb90ex, Audio Technica IM70 (love bass rumble but lacks treble ). Owned multiple pairs of the original Vsonic GR07 BE (loved them even thou they could use some more bass slam). Currently using lg v30 as source.

Fiio FH3. Better sub-bass than Blon 03, a massive leap in bass definition, and the highs are shaved off to bring sibilance under control.

1 Like

Sony XBA-N3, perfect for hip-hop. Its an upgraded Blon BL-03.

Sony XBA-Z5 an the LZ A7 are runner ups.

Warmer tonality, lots of bass quantity but not too much so it is very bloated but not too fast/tight either.
Pretty even mids/treble, so bass-boosted neutral or L-shaped iems works great.

Here are some of my favorite tracks:

1 Like

If your library most consists of Hiphop and Rap then I can’t think of a better set than the Z1’s, the bass is so, so solid not in the quantity of the EE LX but deep, fast and textured with no bleed into the mids, people say the lower mids are a tad scooped but I don’t really miss that if that is the case on this set. The super tweeter does an amazing job of providing both detail and timbre, cymbal splashes sound just so.The harder you drive them the better they sound too :+1:

An honourable mention to the CF Vega…again a great HipHop set, the sub bass on these surpasses that of the Z1 but it lacks the control and detail, I find mids are similarly displayed to that of the Sony and might be a bit better? (going by memory here I have both sets but not A/B’ing at the mo) the treble can get a bit hot for some but I like it although it doesn’t have timbre or the control of the Z1…I use it more for EDM, Dance and stuff.

If someone asked me what’s the best set for Hiphop and Rap no :dollar: cap I’ve heard then the Z1 all day long :+1:

I’ve not heard the MEST but that’s suppose to be super good at soundstaging, the Sony’s no slouch either… but to be honest soundstage is never going to be an IEM’s strongpoint that’s the domain of speakers and to a lesser extent HP’s.

1 Like

Yep been A/B’ing the Z1’s and Vega…Z1’s :+1: Rap and HipHop…Vega :+1: Drum n Bass and Dub :loud_sound:

1 Like

When you say Z1s do you mean sony z1r?

I too am searching for the perfect iem for hip hop to listen to when i am on the go

I have the blons and they are good but the fit aucks for me

Im hoping for something with a better fit and isolation

Sony XBA-N3

Yep Z1R’s a very hard set to beat for hip hop imho.

1 Like

Where can i find the Sony XBA-N3? I dont see them on amazon and ebay wants 540 for them.

1 Like

Thanks alot

np, thats where I bougth mine and they still got new units.

Yes, thanks for all of your guys feed back!

Lots of references I wasn’t aware of (XBA-N3, vega) or considering (LZ A7). Currently reading the reviews of the XBA-N3 over at headfi. Would love to try out that Z1R but not near of tricking my into that price bracket yet :slightly_smiling_face:


Very useful insight. Would this be an argument against Fiio FH3 (maybe too fast bass)? Before reading your suggestions I had been considering getting both the FH3 and ISN H40 as I guessed the both be good for hiphop, but in different ways. Anybody in here still recommending the H40?

The FH3 bass works great for Hip-hop as well. But the bass on the N3 for example is still more suited for it. (along with the mids/treble being better for that as well).

If the N3 bass is “perfect” for hip-hop. Then the FH3 would be “great”.

1 Like

Well you are making a pretty clear argument :grinning: Thanks

The N3 cable look awful. Is that an easy mcmx swap? Also from the looks I guess it is not to be worn over the ear (been years since I last tried that).

You can wear it both over-ear and down.

I changed the cable to the tri through and it works fine and I wear over ear. (although I definitely dont recommend swapping cables more than necessary as it has been reported on head-fi that the connector is fragile.)