The IEM market is booming. And some might even say it’s oversaturated at this point. With so many choices out there, it’s hard to find the very best. For this reason, MajorHifi has put together its personal favorites at every price point. (To find our picks for best over-ear headphones of 2020, click here). Don’t get us wrong. There are tons of other great earphones that aren’t on this list. But the following earbuds have left the most indelible marks in our little brains. So, let’s take a look at the Best Earphones of 2020.
What are the best in-ear headphones of 2020?
$2000 and Up
InEar Promission X
Elegantly balanced and versatile, check. But every memorable IEM has at least one unique quality. And the expansive, stunningly multidimensional soundstage, along with the fantastic resolution are the two lasting impressions you’ll be left with after listening to the ProMission X. Overall, it’s one of the classiest and most enjoyable IEMs I’ve tested in a while. In fact, we gave the Promission X the MajorHiFi Gold Award at the end of last year.
64 Audio Tia Fourte
To quote our favorite reviewer, Carroll Moore: “The Tia Fourte does just about everything right. With beautiful highs, present mids, and a rock-solid bass, there’s really no weak point to the sound. Naysayers may miss super bassy lows, but fans of classical, acoustic, pop, and pop rock will LOVE this sound. The highs are probably the biggest selling point for the Tia Fourte. Not that any other part of the frequency range performs less admirably, but the high end in particular just sounds incredibly well-crafted. Listening to violins on this earphone was similar to hearing them for the first time.” Indeed, the Tia Fourte is, without a doubt, the most perfectly balanced and enjoyable IEM in the 64 Audio lineup. It’s pricey. But if you want the best IEM out there, this is it.
Final Audio A8000
The A8000 may not be the ideal choice for someone looking for their first IEM. There are more versatile or well-rounded (and more forgiving) options out there. However, amongst audiophiles who already own everything, the A8000 has become a huge seller because nothing else sounds like it. It’s not just skilled, but also highly memorable. Incredible resolution. Fast and fluid. A glowing, lustrous quality. Dynamic vocals. This is an IEM that stands out from the crowd. And if you’re a sucker for classical music, it doesn’t get much better this.
Campfire Audio Solaris 2020
For audiophile who also like to have a bit of fun. The Campfire Solaris combines an incredible sense of clarity with some bass bump, active dynamics and a brilliant soundstage. These earphones won’t be for those of you in the market for a perfectly neutral IEM. But for folks looking for an aesthetically gorgeous yet realistic sound that can truly convey a harmonically complex instrument, the Solaris is a fantastic option.
Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020
This orgasmic IEM is an audiophile’s dream. I own one, everyone and their grandmother owns one. To put this sound signature into words would be doing it an injustice. Well, to be honest, so many great things have been written about the Andromeda online, to talk about it further would be redundant. But I can confidently say, that if you’re looking to invest in your first “pricey” IEM, you HAVE to get the Andromeda. In terms of listening enjoyment, nothing else comes close. Also be sure to get the Andromeda 2020 edition. This year, Campfire has refined the Andromeda to deliver an even more controlled, resonance-free listening experience.
Meze Rai Penta
The only other competitor in this price range is the Rai Penta. A beautiful, harmonically complex and natural sound with a little bit of a bass oomph for extra impact. It also shows off level of separation that beats every other IEM at this price point. These buds have mad skill. The fit is also super easy on the ears. If you’re not into the Andromeda, you’ll be into this one.
Have you noticed how many times we’ve put Campfire on this list? No, we’re not ho’s for the company. They’re just damn good IEMs. Though the Polaris’ V-shaped sound signature may not be the most versatile, when it comes to pop, hip-hop and EDM, it’s a sh-tload of fun. Massive bass and snappy, crystal clear highs make this extremely active and dynamic IEM a huge seller for kids who listen to modern genres.
The W40 was the very first “expensive” IEM I bought. And it remains one of my favorites to this day. The balance is relatively flat, except for extended lower frequencies, which give it a warm, lush and impactful sound. There’s plenty of meat on the bone and it can handle anything you throw at it. There’s a reason it has been a best seller for so many years. It’s one of the most the most skilled IEMs at this price point. But more importantly, it provides the most satiating listening experience for under 500 bucks. You can also get it in B-Stock for $399 with the same 2 year warranty.
Final Audio E4000
200 bucks is a tough price point for IEMs. There’s not too much available above $100 and below $400 that I think deserves to be on this list. But the Final Audio E4000 is an exception. At $149, the E4000 is lively, realistic and super smooth. It works for all kinds of genres and delivers premium transparency for the price. The fit is also great for those who don’t like an IEM design. And it uses a detachable MMCX cable, which means it can be swapped out or replaced when the time comes. A solid purchase.
Sennheiser Momentum / HD1
The Momentum/HD1 is my favorite earphone at this price point. If you’re a sucker for rich bass, lush lower mids and tons of detail throughout, it doesn’t get better than these earbuds. This an incredibly meaty, full-bodied sound signature. At the same time, it can handle more delicate acoustic instruments with grace. Rock and hip-hop sound just as fantastic as classical music on these things. The Momentum is a must-have entry level audiophile earphone.
Final Audio E3000
Few companies can offer the level of fidelity that Final Audio is able to pull off in the more affordable price ranges. In terms of balance and detail, the E3000 is the most talented and versatile earphone you can get for around $50. And it’s the only earphone I know that can give you audiophile quality at this price point. Regardless of the genre you listen to, the E3000 will deliver and then some.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but when it comes to great in-ear sound at an affordable price, Final Audio is hard to beat. The E1000 makes every genre sounds fantastic. The bass is powerful enough to satisfy those hungry for some punch in their pop, but it’s far from overblown. And when you combine the E1000’s warm low-end with a perfectly balanced and forward-leaning midrange, rock songs sound full-bodied and sweeping. There’s no sign of harshness. No hint of cheap muddiness. Listening to folk music, guitar strums felt natural with a decent amount of separation and detail. The highs are smooth and fatigue free, lending themselves well to strings and even high pitched brass instruments. There’s just no song that the E1000 can’t conquer.
You can find all of these earphones for the best price at:
And yes, Amazon, unfortunately.
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