Being a musician isn’t as easy as just picking up a guitar and playing some music. Many musicians refine their craft with the right equipment. This equipment aids them in better performing in front of crowds.
IEM’s (In-ear monitors) are perfect examples of equipment used by musicians to better their live shows. Fortunately, great-sounding, quality well built IEM doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Based on product specifications, overall performance, owner reviews, and price, we believe the Shure SE215 is the best in-ear monitor under $100, currently on the market.
In the rest of this article, we take a more in-depth look at each in-ear monitor, how they compare, and what to look for when buying an in-ear monitor.
IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) Under $100 FAQs
What is an IEM (In-Ear Monitor)?
What are the benefits of IEMs for live performance?
Is over the ear or straight IEMs better?
The 5 Best IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) Under $100 (Reviews):
Below we list and review the 5 best IEMs (in-ear monitors) under $100, currently on the market:
1. Shure SE215-K In Ear Monitors
- Comfortable sound isolating sleeves
- Reinforced cable built to be durable
- Strong isolation
- Smooth sound
- Detailed and non-intrusive bass delivery
- Good build
- Treble does occasionally roll-off
Shure’s SE series are all made with quality in mind. The SE215 are no exception to this ethos, they’re designed to last. Made with hard plastic, they remain light and barely noticeable.
Featuring well-made MMCX connectors they should last a decent amount of time before needing to be replaced. The SE215 is comfortable and features a good fit. Once you manage to hook the cables around the ears, you’ll find they stay on without any issues.
They come with two options for ear tips which are either silicone or foam, with other options available on the market. The choice in the tip is vital as it determines the comfort and isolation of IEMs. This is more of a personal choice, so make sure you test out your options before knowing what suits you.
Overall sound performance is inviting, warm with strong bass. The single dynamic driver is what is mainly responsible for the deep bass and smooth sound. The SE215’s feature a well-controlled impact that integrates smoothly with the mids. These Shure IEMs shine in the midrange department.
They are slightly forward, yet insanely smooth with excellent vocals. With the sound isolating sleeves you are able to block out the world, like 37dB of ambient noise disappeared.
The treble is the weaker point of the SE215’s, which is a tad rolled off, instruments can sound a bit distant or blunted. For the price of these IEMs, you’ll find they do an adequate job ticking most of the boxes. They come in black, blue, and clear.
The Shure SE215’s are perfect for any beginner audiophiles who are aiming to level up in the ranks to become a veteran audiophile.
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2. Linsoul TIN Audio In Ear Monitors
- Dynamic 10MM woofer
- 6MM Tweeter (2DD drive unit)
- Metallic Body
- Great Price
- Lightweight Build
- Neutral Sound Signature
- Not the best bass delivery
Tin Audio (part of Linsoul), is a relatively new company in the audio industry. Regardless of the time, their products have managed to secure their spot in the IEM market globally. In the time it’s been on the market the TIN AUDIO T2 has garnered a great deal of popularity.
The earpieces are made with metal which is amazing considering the price. They are constructed to not only be stylish but also lightweight. They’ve marked off the left and right side with a different color with left being red and right being blue. You have the option of wearing them with the cables hanging or behind your ears. The cable is 1.2m, very durable, and has a 3.5mm gold-plated plug at the end.
The build sports a barrel shape which aids the TIN AUDIO T2 with stability. One minor set back with the T2’s is that their noise isolation is on the more average side. They are suited for normal situations. The biggest contribution to their poor noise isolation is the pinholes found around the earpieces. These pinholes are found at the base of the nozzle and the other on the back of the housing. While this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, it is something worth noting.
Due to the price point of the Linsoul TIN AUDIO T2, it is safe to assume that it isn’t an out of the world experience. You’re purchasing into a low priced, yet still well-performing set of IEMs. It has a standard bass that doesn’t go too overboard but isn’t lacking either. It’s a more realistic sounding bass than anything else, which some love. The voices found in the midrange are well rendered and natural in sound. The treble is slightly enhanced but tends to be a bit overwhelming at higher volumes.
With the TIN AUDIO T2, you get a neutral balanced sound for a great price. It’s the perfect starter IEM for any professional.
3. Linsoul KZ ZSX In Ear Monitors
- BA driver for the medium and high frequencies
- Dynamic driver for the low frequencies
- A powerful dynamic bass
- Top-notch KZ tuning
- Slightly uncomfortable fit
- Strange design
Another Linsoul product on the list is the KZ ZSX which is a hybrid IEM. Featuring two Balanced Armature Drivers and a Dynamic driver, this IEM has all frequencies covered. Not only are you receiving powerful sound but also a more comprehensive, bright. and dynamic experience.
The IEM itself is made up of a zinc alloy faceplate and a resin cavity. This helps present elegance, but also give durability. The KZ ZSX is able to be upgraded further due to its detachable 2-pin cable.
With the cavity having a decent structure, the vocal channels are better balanced. This helps the IEM to provide the sound field with the opportunity to produce a deeper performance. All the components work together in unison to provide a smooth and sensible experience filled with detailed music.
The cavity is designed to fit the ear as if it were custom-made. This means a long period of usage won’t matter to your KZ ZSX which will stay firmly in place. It comes in three color options; cyan, black and purple.
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4. HiFiHear BLON BL03 In Ear Monitors
- 10mm Carbon Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Kirsite Mirror Polished Metal Shell
- Decent bass control
- Great imaging
- Performance is great for the price you pay
- Solid build
- Isolation is a bit below average
BLON BL03 has managed to acquire vast popularity since its debut. It’s easy to understand why that might be the case. Made of metal, more specifically zinc alloy, these small IEMs were built to withstand the test of time. They give off an elegance, regardless of their price.
The biggest flaw noticed with the BLON BL03 is the ear tips. They feature a nozzle with a substantial tip, which is meant to hold it firmly in place. Sadly many have noted that this might cause problems for some as the nozzle is somewhat short.
Isolation on these IEMs is considered to be slightly below average. They are easily influenced by where you are using them. A general consensus states to further look into changing the tips to solve this issue.
The isolation is also affected by the vents found on the IEM. In better news, the bass is of a much higher quality and delivers a great impact which is well controlled and unobtrusive to the midrange.
The bass has been the biggest selling point of the BLON BL03 as it also influences the midrange providing it with warmth. Due to the even and open delivery of the midrange female vocals tend to shine brighter than male vocals do. The treble is able to withstand higher volumes while still producing a neutral tone.
With all these capabilities it definitely does rank well considering the price point. The BLON BL03 is able to produce energetic, dynamic sounds at a great cost.
5. MEE audio M6 PRO In Ear Monitors
- Memory foam ear tips for the best possible noise reduction
- Built-in microphone/media remote
- Over-the-ear configuration
- Sweat-resistance model
- Brilliant sound isolation
- Bluetooth can be tough to establish a connection
- Extreme levels can see distortion
MEE Audio brings you their M6 Pro Musicians IEM. The M6 Pro’s are claimed to be an improvement on past models in a big way. They feature a far superior audio experience with a more precise midrange, a natural and even treble resulting in a smoother performance, that is also consistent. MEE designed the M6 to last, with the ability to upgrade and replace certain elements of the IEM.
The M6 comes with seven pairs of foam and silicone ear sleeves. This means they have options for you to consider which one suits you. Each type of sleeve can offer something different to the experience, such as the memory foam ear tips which are known to reduce outside noises as well as improving overall sound quality.
There is a cable included in the kit that features Bluetooth capabilities for calls, and a remote to use for media on your devices.
The most important thing to note however is that this IEM was made from feedback with many industry professionals. They consulted musicians to ensure their product kept true to its claims.
In-Ear Monitor Driver Types
IEMs are not all the same, they all are made up of different drivers to reproduce sound. They are smaller versions of ones found in headphones. The different types found in IEMs are balanced armature, dynamic, electrostatic, and planar magnetic.
Balanced Armature Drivers (BA Drivers)
BA Drivers are mainly found in in-ear headphones. They have an arm which is called the balanced armature, magnets, a coil, a driver rod/pin, and the diaphragm. Audio signal flows through coils to magnetize the armature. The BA moves up and down before being transferred to the driver rod/pin and finally the diaphragm.
The biggest downside of a BA driver is that they lack superior response in terms of bass frequencies. Dynamic handles the high-frequencies better than dynamic drivers which focus more on low-frequencies.
Dynamic drivers are the most common type of driver found in IEMs. This is mainly due to the fact that they’re cheap to produce. Dynamic drivers are made up of magnets called neodymium, and a diaphragm which is attached to a voice coil. When the magnets static magnetic field and audio current meet, the coil is moved to and from the magnet. This movement makes the diaphragm move as well to create sound waves.
Dynamic drivers are great at reproducing bass frequencies. Sadly they are known for audio distortion which does degrade the quality of the audio.
Electrostatic drivers use, you guessed it, static electricity. This is achieved through a diaphragm sandwiched between two perforated stators. The audio current brings about the static electricity which draws and repels the diaphragm. As it moves the air is displaced through stator perforations that produce audio.
These are rather rare and it’s mainly due to their cost. When found you will experience a near distortion-free sound that is also spacious, more accurate, and detailed in comparison to other drivers.
Planar Magnetic Drivers
Planar Magnetic uses two magnets and a diaphragm that has embedded wires. Audio currents move through the wires in the diaphragm. This then creates an electromagnetic force, which moves it up and down, towards both magnets to create sound.
These feature mainly in over-ear headphones. They are not the most frequently used drivers.
Removable IEM Cables
If you find an IEM that features removable/detachable cables then you are able to consider upgrades and replacements to suit your needs more personally. This expands the life of your IEM now that you’ll be able to simply replace a faulty cable, instead of purchasing a brand new IEM. Additional features that can be considered in an upgrade can be Bluetooth, Mics, and more.
Well, there you have it. With all this information at your fingertips, you are now one step closer to making a big decision. You can’t go wrong with an IEM to further advance your performances. As time goes by and you further invest in your career you’ll be able to start breaking out into other price ranges for IEMs. For now, you get to enjoy some of these great options as your first IEM!
IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) Under $100 Summary Table
We looked at all the leading products in this category and carefully selected the very best options. The table will allow you to compare important features and then we review each one in detail.
|Linsoul TIN Audio T2||TIN HIFI T2||Dynamic||MMCX||16 ohms||102 dB||$$|
|Shure SE215||SE215-K||Dynamic||MMCX||17 ohms||107 dB||$$$$|
|Linsoul KZ ZSX||KZ ZSX 5BA+1DD Hybrid IEMs||Hybrid||2-Pin (0.78mm)||24 ohms||102 dB||$$$|
|HiFiHear BLON BL03||BL-03||Dynamic||2-Pin (0.75mm)||32 ohms||111 dB||$$|
|MEE Audio M6 Pro||EP-M6PROG2-BK||Dynamic||2mm DC||16 ohms||100±3 dB||$$|
|Price Label||Price Range|
|$||Anything Under $25|
|$$||$25 – $50|
|$$$||$50 – $75|
|$$$$||Anything Above $75|