IEM Preference List

Scoring Rational

I score on a subjective scale from 1 to 10 with the latter being the best sound I’ve ever heard. I am taking into account tonality, technicalities, and mainly, my subjective preferences. Please see the following for reference:

  • 3/10 = Average
  • 5/10 = Good
  • 7/10 = Excellent

This is a metric devoid of any other factors including price. Of course, it stands that there are inherent biases from knowing the price alone, but one of my main issues with any grading scale that factors in price is that it subsequently fails to take into account time. So something that is good at one point in time will eventually fall behind the curve thus becoming obsolete. Unless a reviewer is constantly updating said score, it’s not a very useful measure. The only event in which my scale “breaks” is if there’s something that wholly blows past what I’ve heard before or is absurdly bad. 

Testing Methodology

  • Most of my critical listening for reviews is done over a period of 10+ hours. I rarely – if ever – hear audible differences after my first couple hours with an IEM. If I really like an IEM, or it’s mine to keep, then I’ll often throw on upwards of 50+ hours.
  • All listening is done using the stock cable and stock ear tips (if provided). If not, I default to silicon tips. 
  • All listening is done off of an iBasso DX160, and unless specified otherwise, all tracks used are lossless FLAC or higher.
  • I rarely listen louder than 75dB, so take that for what you will if you’re a head-banger.


  • What I hear is not what you hear. There’s a myriad factors that can influence how one hears an IEM.
  • If you don’t hear the flaws that I hear, well, that can only be for the better! I don’t necessarily encourage seeking out said flaws or trying to find an issue with something you’re happy with.
  • Take it with a grain of salt. I have high standards, and I rarely shy away from critiquing stuff. Why should you let me – or anybody else, for that matter – detract from what makes you happy?