Why iems ideally should not have midbass for a proper play back of songs with lots of natural instruments if the song is recorded properly

so have you ever asked yourself why so many iem tuners remove midbass too much since to have a natural and realistic sound you need proper mid bass and lower mids to sound real life like? play an instrument in a normal room, go to a concert where they play real wind/ string instruments or where they play percussion etc… you hear a fullness in the lower parts of frequency spectrum that is satisfying to ears if its not too much. a part of that occurs because the way bass is omni directional in nature unlike other frequencies that are directional also lower wavelength are longer so they take longer to travel and they bounce off the walls/ environment( depending on the wavelength and the room size) so they get amplified compared to other frequencies ( thats why a flat in room is a bit bass heavy and not a flat line) so in a natural environment where you are closed in(room, concert halls that have acceptable room acoustics but not anechoic chamber levels of treatment), you should expect an slight fullness to the instruments.
so the main question is, whats the point of removing this part of the frequency when its necessary to have a natural sound?
1)some can say because in iems you have no room acoustics to deal with, so you can afford to tune the bass like anything you desire but this is a matter of taste,not the answer to the question we have here also bass production is not the only result of bass itself bouncing off walls or rooms anyway.
2) this is the real answer imo, because iems have no out of head soundstage. every instruments play inside of your skull within a few cm or mm in your head unlike in real life where you can afford to have a drummer and a bassist/ guitarist/ synth player to be a few meters apart from each other so muddling up is not a fear here( in a proper room eqed hall of course). or unlike the speakers where you can put them 1 to 2 meters apart and create a 180 degree stereo field that can be as wide as your room you are in so you have snares deep in in front of your eyes , vocals in the middle, bass closed in to your skull, guitars, snares, high hats, any other support instruments are placed at the sides or far sides etc… and these instruments can be like 1 or more meters apart from each other so having a meaty natural heft to something like snare or bass guitar will not mud up up the other instruments because they are well separated in the stereo field. in audio NOTHING is more satisfying that a full snare hit in front of you imo.
but in iems however, imagine boosting up the 100hz to 500hz to have a natural sound to instruments like bass or snares just like we hear them irl or on a speaker. it would benefit these instruments alot but they will ruin other instruments clarity and sense of space/detail because as i said above, these instruments are playing a few millimeters apart in your head, and adding that in room or natural bass boost to instrument will make the song muddy up and you will lose the sense of clarity/resolution so as an overall package it won’t sound ideal imo.

so my conclusion is, in speakers or irl where they portrait the music like a massive way like a 1000 inch cinema screen for example, you HAVE to have the midbass. because its natural, satisfying and harmless to other instruments since they are well separated outside of head.
but in iems that portrait the music like a 5 inch iphone display , adding midbass cram things up, fullness in a closed in small area in your skull=losing clarity of other instruments and you experience the feeling of choking/closeness of sound.


  • keep in mind some songs that are recorded anemic need extra bass to make them enjoyable, but they are not the norm anyways.
  • you don’t care about the that perceived clean separated sound and you prefer punch/bass to clarity and sense of separation, that way you can have a natural boosted midbass.
  • you listen to pop, rap or songs made with synthetic bass. you need midbass even in iems but as i said in the title im talking about genres with 2 or more real instruments in them.
  • you only want to listen or play/replay one instrument like a bass guitar, in that situation buying an iem with no midbass is retarded since 1) you lose the accurate sound of your instrument playback. 2) there are no other instrument that you worry muddying up.
  • you care about the vocals the most, like you need natural sounding male vocals or you want fuller female vocals and you don’t care about the perceived sense of instrument separation.
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It’s the eternal question, like the chicken and the egg :grin:. In my opinion, if the music has a mid-bass, it should be played by an IEM. If the IEMs are technically competent, they should separate it well from the rest of the sound. I don’t understand people who listen to metal for example and have IEMs without mid-bass, that’s stupid. The same goes for other music libraries. I think it’s more important what the mid/subbass ratio is!
However, I agree that for some music libraries the midbass is not that important, but are they that many?
For more information you can ask Crinacle, he hates mid bass :smiley: :woman_facepalming:.
But seriously, there should be a mid-bass, no matter how much you want to listen to only the midrange. It’s just that these are IEMs, not a concert hall or an acoustic room. Get used to it and you will live easier with your IEM collection, I already did.
PS: Buy AirPods pro and enjoy the music :smiley:

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it comes down to personal preference and the type of music you’re listening too.

I have spoken.
this is the way.



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Why get used to when you can get what you want with eq or buy the real thing. Like i have been auto eqing alot and thinking about 2 iems atm, symphonium helios and blessing 3.
Helios tuning is so niche bit im in love with it actually, it got good subbass, recessed lower mids but the upper mids is cut at 2k. the treble is linear up to 10k, then it rises after 10k up to 20k, it overal has a dry crystal like texture to the sound that i never expected any iem to have, i thought oracle mk2 is dry but this is on another level. it works well with modern and well recorded songs with natural instruments in them and i much prefer it to any iem on the current market but idk if its worth 1100$ .but im 99% sure ill buy it soon. Another one is blessing 3, it sounds clean but on some tracks it sounds very shouty. too much 1k to 3.5k imo so not worth it to me.

It will anyways, but the focus and volume of the midbass would be lower to help achieve that speaker like sense of separation and feel.

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I really have fun with you. :smiley: :smiley: :fire:

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yes, if you want that feel of separation and clean sound of kick drums that you get with a light boost of subbass, and the clean sounding snares that is well separated from the guitars specially when guitars have the lower tones then you want it to be recessed, if you don’t care about it then more bass equals more joy.

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Exactly. For guitar loops, the mid/sub bass ratio is very important and not only that.

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no…it’s about personal preference. what you like and experience will not be the same as everyone else. that’s why there are so many options out there! :smiley:

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i think you got it wrong, read what i wrote carefully in the op i mentioned taste and preferences clearly. go above and read the exceptions part.
the main point of my talk is to achieve a separated feel to the sound just like you do with the speakers but in your head with iems and how midbass tuning affects that aspect.

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Some people like the mid-bass, and they also care about the texture of the bass. If you remove it, many people will lose the fun.


I don’t know if this adds to the conversation, but I was a musician before getting into headphones and all I can say is I seem to be chasing the sound of acoustic guitars [nylon and steel string] when played live, even in a bedroom. It has been frustrating to say the least. These days I keep looking to reviews to see if any gear can add some coloration to the sound of recordings that might get me close enough to satisfy me, especially with my own recordings, but I haven’t found much. The trends are aimed at neutrality for both sources and headphones which sound incredibly sterile to me, but that is my preference I guess. I am sure it is a preferable sound signature for certain genres. Anyway, I don’t see enough people talking about genre matching let alone instrument matching with gear, so thanks for the write up, it certainly is an interesting topic.

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Who said that ideally IEMs should not have midbass? :grin:

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Psycho people. Gimme more midbass


I don’t care :person_shrugging: what study or argument can be had that an IEM shouldn’t have midbass. Give me midbass or give me death :skull:! IEMs without midbass are boring :yawning_face: and do nothing for my preference. They just seem so lifeless to the rhythm section with no authority and punch :boxing_glove:. To each their own it’s just not a camp you’ll catch me in.


im talking about the congested feel, not about the punch and slam that all people love. how can i explain it… lets share these 2 tracks .one sounds more spacious/clean and separated and one sounds muffled and closed in. thats like the effect of boosting low end and blending everything together im talking about. high frequencies is another reason that these 2 songs sound different but thats not the topic now.

Part may be due to many sound engineers cutting sub bass and boosting specific ranges of mid-bass of the recording. This is done in the name of eliminating “mud” in their opinion.Some will cut everything under 100 Hz. Neuroscience and psychoacoustics say that is not a practice that leads to satisfaction. Notably, because bass is a region where feeling it is/may be as or more important as hearing it.

Hip hop and EDM engineers usually tend to keep the sub bass in a recording.

Edit: check out some recording/musician forums. It is almost like they think our audio reproduction equipment was stuck in the early 1970s and never progressed.

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To me, too much mid-bass makes instruments and songs sound „boomy“ and put a sort of „bass blanket“ over the other frequencies which not only obscures them, but also makes the instruments in those lower frequencies sound oddly boosted/amplified, resulting in them sounding unnatural as a result.

Now, there is obviously a place for this, since such a „fun“ or „non-fatiguing“ listen has it‘s fans, and I occasionally like this stile of tuning as well.

But generally, if I want accuracy and a reference sound, it just sounds unnatural and muddy to me. There are some IEMs which are bass heavy, yet very controlled and precise in their mid-bass presentation (like FatFreq sets or the Monarch Mk3), which leads me to believe that acoustic engineering and driver quality plays a big role here. But those IEMs are either uncommon and/or more expensive.

As an example, I love the Moondrop Variations precisely for how clean and sparkly they are, without missing that Sub-bass impact. I rather have a flat-ish mid-bass response like on this set then an overly boosted one.

Now I know some people need more mid-bass than that, and that is completely fine. But I think that‘s mainly them preferring a more bass centric tuning, and those people generally being bass heads.

I just personally cannot stand one frequency spectrum be drowned out by another one, especially since my library contains pretty much all kinds of genres, so I am more inclined towards Allrounder sets that can play back everything at least good.

Pretty much for me:

  • I need good sub-bass extension
  • I need a proper amount of mid-bass, but not so much that it muddens everything above it, so I rather have a bit too little of it than too much
  • I need proper midrange presentation of both male and female vocals
  • I need sparkly, proper treble extension. I can also easily listen to Sets others find too „sharp“ or „sibilant“ since I am not Treble sensitive

Basically the impossible „perfect set“, but there are enough in my collection that get close enough, with the Monarch Mk3 being by far the best of them.

So in the end, „too much“ or „too little“ mid-bass is something completely depending on a person and their:

  • HRTF
  • preferences
  • library

So there isn’t one absolute answer to this, much like with most things in this hobby.



i mainly listen to 3 genres, older rock 70s and 80s, older metal from 80s to 2000s and modern metal post 2000.
rock songs don’t have subbass at all, most have very light punchy bass. toto the iv album comes to my mind as a album with actual subbass but most got none or light subbuss. its the same story for old metal albums, all sound tinny and bass light. most warm iems work for these tinny bright sounds pretty well.
most modern metal songs however are cancer, like too much low end focus that makes me vomit sometimes. they go for a dark low fi bassy sound with rolled off treble thats apparently popular, i even see most users here like bassy and dark sounds so if market demands you can’t go against it.

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really don’t know how mk3 sounds irl, i auto eqed my oracle mk2 to them and the sound became very bass focused and pretty relaxed compared to the aggressive bright tilted sound of my oracle that i like better. if you compare the graphs you don’t see that radical difference but the eqed mk3 sounded VERY different and darker.

i can’t spend 1000 for a risky purchase that i might not like, 1k is alot for me actually.

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I love Metal, so I am fully agreeing here when I say that so many Metal tracks are Mixed and/or Mastered absolutely atrociously bad. Metal is one of the more „dense“ genres with so much happening at once, but so many songs are just sounding bad regardless, like a blob where everything melts together.

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