Last week MajorHiFi delved into the Best Headphones for Jazz Music, and today we’re returning to the subject of Jazz. This time, however, we’re covering the Best Earphones for Jazz Music (or the Best In-Ear Headphones for Jazz Music). So cue up some Coltrane, dial up some Davis, or meditate to some Monk while we dish out our highest recommendations.
Best Earphones for Jazz Music
Best Earphones for Jazz Under $100 – Shure SE215 (
A tried-and-true earphone with a ruggedly simple design, the Shure SE215 delivers quality sound at an affordable $99 price. Interchangeable MMCX cables only sweeten the deal, but the true boon of Shure SE215 is the phenomenal sound quality that perfectly jives with every one of our Jazz test tracks.
With a naturally warm and accentuated low end, the Shure SE215 offers a fun and engaging listening experience. However, this earphone still features the kind of overall fidelity needed to capture the technical virtuosity of great Jazz musicians. The resultant sound will drag you into a new world of sound, where Dizzy Gillespie’s brash trumpet splashes out among taps and cymbal splashes. Or where Thelonious Monk’s sudden interjections on a piano seem to meld, mellifluously, with the outpourings of an accompanying sax.
Get the Shure SE215 for the snazziest price here:
Best Earphones for Jazz Under $300 – Final Audio E5000 ($279)
For those shopping around the $300 price point, no other earphone can compare to the Final E5000 when it comes to Jazz. Like the Shure SE215, the Final Audio E5000 uses removable MMCX cables. Unlike the Shure, though, this earphone also sports a slightly v-shaped sound signature. Leading to more extension in the lows and highs, this sound also affords more overall detail than most other earphones at this price. But its the precise and exacting nature of the sound that really steals the show here.
With a sense of fidelity that shines through on any track, the Final Audio E5000 provides an immersive and intoxicating sound. While highly detailed, there’s still some leeway here with older recordings, allowing this earphone to work with almost any kind of music source or recording quality. Older recordings retain their energy and nuance without showcasing too many artifacts or static inherent to the recording. The result is an impressive Jazz earphone (or Jazz in-ear headphone) that works flawlessly with newer and legacy recordings.
Find the Final Audio E5000 for the best price here:
Best Earphones for Jazz Under $600 – Westone W40 (
Normally retailing for a solid $499, at the time of writing the Westone W40 can actually be found for a lot less on rebate. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this markedly mid-fi offering goes toe-to-toe with some of the best IEM’s around $500. With a long history making everything from hearing aids to stage earphones for performing artists, Westone has serious chops when it comes to crafting sound.
Evidenced by a resonance as well as a rich, articulated sound, the Westone W40 remains perfectly poised to handle the tonal shifts of more frenetic compositions. And yet, on older recordings, the Westone W40 still handles tracks with a characteristic grace. Dinah Washington, crooning alongside strings in This Bitter Earth, showcases a reserved smoothness that takes full advantage of the W40’s sound. Likewise, the low, somber tones of Chet Baker on My Funny Valentine maintain a rich tonality that meshes smoothly with crawling bass and lilting piano notes.
Get the Westone W40 now for an absolutely great price here:
Best Earphones for Jazz Under $1700 – Campfire Andromeda ($1099)
No list of the best in-ear headphones for jazz would be complete without mention of the $1099 Campfire Andromeda. Even compared to models up to $1700, the Andromeda comes out on top thanks to a rich, enveloping warmth and fine attention to detail. This model has proven incredibly popular due to a high-quality sound, and while it sounds great with most genres of music, it seems heaven-sent for Jazz.
The rumbling of a timpani at the start of Ambrose Akinmusire’s a blooming bloodfruit in a hoodie registers with jarring precision, giving way to the mellow meanderings of violins. Meanwhile, the bluesy, reedy musings of Charles Mingus’ Goodbye Pork Pie Hat draw on the same strengths. Because the Andromeda isn’t just a fine earphone for Jazz; it’s an incomparably fine earphone for Jazz. Detail and soundstage seem only limited by the source material, but the Andromeda don’t care. It takes in everything you give to it, and it delivers a sound that seems to hold something more – fidelity, yes, but that natural warmth that seems to work so effortlessly with the slow strum of an upright bass, or the finite attack and decay that brings a piano or drum to life.
Secure a pair of Andromeda earphones for yourself from one of these fine merchants:
Best Earphones for Jazz Under $4000 – 64 Audio Tia Fourte ($3599)
The Holy Grail, the Big Kahuna, or the Prize Peach. I call the 64 Audio Tia Fourte by many names, but most people just utter a single word: “Wow”. With an unassuming four-driver design, the Fourte is a premium earphone with a premium design and a premium sound. The $3599 pricetag might scare some folks away, but audiophiles will vouch for the sound quality and overwhelming soundstage. These traits alone would make it a contender for the very best jazz earphone, but it’s the rich bass and brilliant high-end extension that solidifies its position on our list.
With characteristic detail and fervor, the 64 Audio Tia Fourte perfectly showcases the palette of sound present in a Jazz landscape. From more intricate recordings where a separation between instruments is a must, to more minimalist recordings with a lonely trumpet or saxophone, the Fourte delivers. Less a distinct kind of sound than a full-fledged religious experience, the Fourte seems designed to decode the mysteries riding Coltrane’s Blue Train, or the enigmas scattered throughout Dizzy Gillespie’s Salt Peanuts. The fine nuances rising to the fore in a landscape of sound, and the fine high end extension that gives a glistening veneer to strings and female vocals, or that rich low end that seems to hang on the beat of a drum or a beating bass note – these elements propel the Tia Fourte above and beyond any competitor.
A solid headphone no matter how you cut it, for Jazz music the 64 Audio Tia Fourte represents a Gordian Knot – not so much to be understood and undone, but something so intricate as to constitute a work of art in its own right – and the perfect lens through which to enjoy such a demanding taste in music.
Attain sonic bliss with the 64 Audio Tia Fourte from these retailers:
Jazz is some heady stuff. And the first step to really enjoying jazz is taking the time to listen to some Jazz music. Do you need the most expensive pair of earphones to go out and start enjoying this kind of artistry? No. I would say that the cheapest pair of earphones on our list, the Shure SE215, makes a great start. Can shelling out more shekels for a better pair of headphones (or in-ear headphones) result in a better listening experience? Absolutely. But any entry on this list would provide a FINE place to start your journey in Jazz. Indeed, I think the real beauty in regard to Jazz music comes from how we identify with it.
“The emotional Reaction is all that matters.”
Less than the technical virtuosity that makes Monk…well, Monk, or the closeted grandeur of Charlie Parker’s playing, Jazz comes from how those things – the cerebral mindset and the raw emotion, whether preserved in wax or written now in binary – come rushing back to us in the here and now.