When you’re dealing with your In-Ear Monitor setup, you have to remember that all three pieces (your earbuds, your receiver, and your transmitter) all work together, and the whole system is only as good as its worst component.
In a lot of cases, unfortunately, these are going to be your IEM earbuds; because you can use regular 3.5 mm earbuds with most receivers, you might have a tendency to settle for a lower quality model and be surprised when your audio isn’t as clear or dynamic as you expected.
To get the best audio out of your receivers and transmitters, you should trust an audio company with over half a century of experience making some of the best audio equipment on the market today. We are, of course, talking about Sennheiser, and we’ve got a couple of Sennheiser in-ear monitors here that showcase the audio prowess of such a solid company.
#1 – Sennheiser IE 800 Audiophile Ear Canal IEM
Sennheiser’s really got something for audiophiles, music professionals, and anybody who wants the best possible music experience in an incredibly compact package, and it’s their IE 800 IEMs.
The devil’s in the details on these piece of high-end equipment; you’re getting a full ceramic housing for each IEM, an incredibly small and precise transducer, dual channel sound absorption, and an oxygen free copper cable.
Even if you don’t understand all the specifics, they all add up to incredibly clear sound over an immense spectrum, everything you’d expect for the flagship product of such a long-standing audio technology company.
The bass booms, the treble sings, and the whole thing is optimized to give you a level of sound quality you didn’t think was possible. While the price tag on these pieces may put it out of reach of all but the most die-hard professionals, those who do pick up a pair can say it’s entirely worth it. If you want to make an investment in the best audio you can buy, the way to get there is with the Sennheiser IE 800s. You’ll find these are a favorite of ours when it comes to high quality sound and durability. Read our full dedicated review to the IE-800 here.
#2 – Sennheiser IE-80 IEM
If you’re in the market for some real high-end IEMs, Sennheiser’s IE-80s are a cut above the rest of the market; exactly why, however, requires that you take a look at all of the components individually.
For starters, you’ve got all your basic IEM goodies, like detachable and replaceable cables, as well as a full set of earbuds in rubber and foam, a set of earhooks, and a solid carrying case.
The actual IEM has a brushed metal housing that both looks sleek and keeps your important pieces safe and, of course, can block out up to 26 db of ambient noise. But the real stars of the Sennheiser show are the neodymium magnets in the earpiece and the adjustable bass on the outside of the IEM.
For those of you who don’t know what a neodymium magnet is, you should know that a headphone speaker works by running an electric current through a magnet, which causes a smaller fixed magnet to move back and forth at incredible speeds to create sound.
What we’re getting with the rare-earth metal neodymium is a much more powerful magnet; the more powerful our magnet is, the faster our fixed magnet moves, and the better sound quality we can get. In addition to the powerful magnets, you’re also getting a bass adjuster on your IEMs, designed to give you the exact balance for your music at true audiophile levels.
#3 – IE-4 Sennheiser IEM
While the Sennheiser IE4 is an incredible pieces of audio hardware, it may be out of the price range of some musicians or audio technicians. Fortunately, the Sennheiser IE-4s are a much more affordable alternative, combining Sennheiser’s talent for audio with all the features you’d expect with a dedicated single driver IEM earbud set.
You get all the usual IEM features on this model, like 26 db noise reduction and compatibility with most all bodypacks, plus a host of bass boosting features that will give your music that extra clarity that you would expect from a Sennheiser product.
If these IE-4s don’t look like they’re worth the price, looks can be deceiving; these are the same earbuds that Sennheiser includes in their EW 300 IEM monitor system. If Sennheiser trusts these earbuds to their IEM monitor setup, then you should easily be able to trust them as well for your own monitors.
Reviews of the Sennheiser in Ear Monitor
The in-ear monitor reviews for the Sennheiser IE-80 and the Sennheiser IE4 are exactly what you’d expect from high-end pieces; consistently positive. For the IE-80s, reviewers praise the incredible sound-engineer quality they get out of these in-ear monitors, and the phrase “bass cannon” ends up on the list of positives for them as well.
It’s clear that having the fidelity of major studio earmuff headphones in an earbud is a huge advantage for travelling musicians, sound engineers, and audiophiles alike. Talking about the IE-4, we get a lot of surprised reviews; for a Sennheiser in-ear monitor, these earbuds look incredibly basic, almost simplistic.
Once customers put these in, however, they were blown away by the sound quality and the affordable price. While this may look like a cheap model, the IE-4s are simply utilitarian; they do exactly what they promise and don’t waste time on anything that doesn’t.
Conclusion? IE-4s For Musicians, IE-80s For Engineers, IE-800 for Serious Audiophile
Both the Sennheiser in-ear models are great for anybody who depends on audio for their professional life, but if you’re on a budget, you might have to make some choices; in that case, musicians would do well with an IE-4, while sound engineers might want an IE-80.
While both models are top notch for performing (the IE-4 actually comes as part of one of Sennheiser’s IEM monitor systems), the person behind the soundboard could really benefit from the added booming bass of the best IEMs that Sennheiser can offer. No matter which model you choose, however, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest by the quality.