For musicians like yourself, in-ear monitors (IEMs) are considered a necessary tool for being able to monitor your music while you’re making it. In fact, live performances can be improved completely with the use of IEMs because you can produce clearer mixes and a better sound due to the reduction in stage volume that you require.
IEMs deliver your entire mix directly to your ears, so that you can hear what’s going on with clarity and quality no matter where you move onstage. At the same time, a good quality IEM will block outside noise, providing you with ear protection as well as providing you with your mix. Given the importance of a good quality IEM, we’ve put together a guide to the best IEM under $300.
What is the best IEM under 300 USD?
How do I choose an IEM (In-ear monitor)?
When you decide that you want to buy an IEM in order to help you improve the way you experience your music, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all of the choices on the market. However, by carefully considering each of the features, you will be able to make the best choice for you.
Straight or over-ear cable? – IEMs come in two main configurations when it comes to ear plug style. One fits straight into your ear with the cable hanging down, and is the traditional style you’re probably used to. However, the over-ear design is considered better for professional musicians, as it reduces the movement of the IEM so that you can jam without worrying about losing your feedback.
Foam or silicone ear tips? – The ear tip you use will dictate how comfortable you find your new IEM. Silicone tips allow for grip as they hold the ear bud in your ear better. Comfort foam, however, will mold to the shape of your ear and can be more comfortable for long term wear. Luckily, most IEMs will come with a choice of either, so if you’re not sure, pick a model that has both.
Detachable or fixed cables? – Detachable cables allow you the freedom to change your cable style as you see fit. This helps if your cable starts to fray or you start losing a connection. However, the cables can be difficult to reattach as the pins are very small. Fixed cables will remove the amount of fuss you have to make reattaching cables, however if the cables fail then you don’t have any choice but to buy new IEMs.
How many drivers should I choose? – Drivers are what shape the sound, and are usually designed to service a particular frequency. The more drivers you have, the more ability you have to hear many frequencies at once. However, a high number of drivers can increase the cost of your IEMs. Ensure you have sufficient drivers to give an even coverage of low, mid and high frequencies.
What about a mic? – You can choose an IEM with a built in mic on the cable if you want to use the IEM for listening to music and making phone calls. However, if you are using the IEM strictly for onstage performances, you probably don’t need this feature.
7 Best IEMs under $300 reviewed
If you’re on a budget, then our top pick might be a little out of your range. However, it is possible to get good quality IEMs without breaking the bank. The KZ AS10 IEM is a perfect example of where quality meets affordability.
5 balanced armature drivers: Why accept just two drivers when you can have five? The KZ AS10 IEM contains a range of balanced armatures that can help you hear every facet of your sound. Designed specifically to deliver quality sound from the low to high frequencies, you will experience more definition and appreciate the full sound.
Superior bass: The AS10 IEM features a driver specifically designed for this model that boosts the super low frequencies so that you can really appreciate the depth of the bass. In fact, you will hear far more bass than you could experience with most other headsets. This makes them perfect for bass heavy music.
Perfect detail: Some IEMs can produce a soundscape that give you a very limited window onto the sound that you’re trying to hear. The KZ AS10 IEM combats that by delivering a wide soundstage, allowing you to hear up to 30% more than standard headphones.
- High quality IEM that produces a great sound whilst still being affordable
- Five balanced armature drivers to deliver a well-balanced and full sound
- Big low frequency driver to give you a deep bass sound
- Detachable cables so you have the freedom to move about
- Braided cable that is strong but flexible
- The Y split on the cable is very low
- The bass level is great, but for bass-lovers it may fall somewhat short
Summary: When you’re on a budget, it can be hard to find good quality earbuds that can deliver the quality that you require to hear your music properly. However, the KZ AS10 has managed to produce a five driver design to create a high quality IEM that will leave you speechless.
We’ve already seen KZ on this list, and given that everybody tends to love this brand, it’s not surprising that we find them making a second appearance. The KZ ZSR IEM are another quality product that will have you hearing a rich and beautiful sound.
Triple driver design: The triple driver design of this set of IEMs are formulated so that you have one dedicated dynamic driver to achieve the rich low bass that you expect from your headphones, along with two microdriver speakers that deliver the mids and highs. This leaves you with a rich, full sound that you’ll love.
Comfortable fit: KZ have been upping the ante with the design of their IEMs, and the ZSR possess a great ergonomic fit for your ear. This means that you’ll experience less fatigue and no more aches and pains when you wear them for extended periods of time.
Noise-isolating design: The KZ ZSR IEM come with comfortable silicone ear buds fitted on a highly elastic TPE material. The result is a better fitting ear bud that creates a seal to enclose your ear canal, blocking out the outside noise of your environment.
- Amazing clear sound with good separation of the frequencies
- Detachable cable that can be switched out easily
- Three driver design for a great, rich sound
- Noise-isolating design so you can focus on your music
- Super-affordable price
- It can take some effort to connect the cable as the pins are very small
- May need some EQ adjustments to get the right sound
Summary: As a brand, KZ have been developing and improving vastly over the years. What this means for you is that you’ll get a set of IEMs that represent the research and development that they’re renowned for. The KZ ZSR are an affordable quality IEM that will not let you down.
The Westone UM Pro 20 are a high end solution to your music monitoring requirements. Featuring an elegant design with a super low profile that will fit so well that you won’t even realize you’re wearing them.
Dual driver design: Westone are known for their sound quality, so their proprietary dual driver design delivers the stunning clarity and richness that you’ve come to expect from the brand. These balanced armature drivers feature passive two-way crossover to give robust low ends with super clear highs.
Professional quality cable: Westone know that you value the quality of your audio cable just as much as you do the IEMs themselves. That’s why they’ve included a professional quality twisted cable that not only feels great, but possesses strength and durability so that it will last. The reinforcement helps to reduce cable noise whilst retaining flexibility.
Designed for comfort: We mentioned the super low profile of these IEMs, but they also possess supreme ergonomic features that allow you to wear them for hours without fatigue. Not only that, but the comfort foam ear tips and silicone deliver fantastic sound whilst blocking surrounding noise.
- Dual balanced armature drivers featuring two-way crossover
- Very low profile which means you’ll hardly know that you’re wearing them
- Twisted cable built for strength and flexibility
- Comes with five extra silicone and comfort foam ear tips
- Perfect for musicians and music lovers alike
- Bass sounds are very heavy which may not suit all users
- You may find them cutting out often
Summary: The Westone Pro 20 IEMs were designed to perform well for musicians onstage, as well as music lovers around the world. With their powerful proprietary dual driver system, they’ll deliver perfect quality in a fit that you can wear for hours.
Another IEM model designed for maximum quality at a price you can afford on a budget, the BASN Bsinger IEM focuses on delivering an efficient and balanced sound quality in a comfortable and practical design.
Custom fit design: The only thing better than an ergonomic design is having an ear plug that won’t become loose and fall out. The BASN IEM comes fitted with adjustable memory ear hooks which will keep your IEMs in place. The comfort given by this mechanism means that you can wear them for longer in comfort.
Dual HD dynamic driver: The two drivers used in the BASN IEM were designed and selected to maximize your sound experience. The dedicated woofer allows for a rich low and mid frequency spectrum, and it is combined with a tweeter that allows for amazing high end sounds.
Accessorize with ease: Thanks to the practical design of this IEM, you’ll find that there are many accessories that you can use in order to boost your experience. Not only are there different colored ear pieces, but you can also add a mic or a Bluetooth cable for extra connectivity.
- Detachable cable allows for easy and efficient replacement
- Accessories available which allow you to use your IEMs wirelessly
- Custom fit ergonomic design to ensure extended wear
- Dual dynamic driver system that delivers a rich and well-rounded sound
- Bright and colorful, so they will make you stand out in a crowd
- The frequency response can seem uneven for some users
- The connector for the wires may be loose
Summary: Overall, the BASN BsingerBC100 IEMs are a good choice for beginner users who want to up their game when it comes to sound quality in their monitors. With a choice of accessories that make them even more practical and functional, you’ll get high quality at a low price.
What can we say? We really dig KZ as a brand, because they deliver high quality IEMs at affordable prices. The ZST are just another well designed, quality offering from the brand that has featured in many places on this list.
Hybrid design: This particular model of IEM is the first hybrid design that KZ has embarked on, and they have done well. With the combination of dynamic drivers as well as balanced armature drivers, you’ll experience a wide soundstage with amazing quality.
Warm sound signature: The balance of your sound is important, so you need to know that these IEMs deliver a warm sound signature. However, this is not to say that you miss out on a full and rich sound. Rather, you’ll find that the bass is slightly boosted a little more than you’d expect.
Carbon fiber-like design: The sleek design of this IEM makes for a super low profile and a comfortable fit. Not only that, but you’ll find that the housing on this IEM is made from a carbon fiber-like material which makes it lightweight yet durable and able to withstand heavy use.
- Colorful and eye-catching housing so you’ll stand out
- Hybrid design including balanced armature and dynamic driver for excellent quality
- Available with or without a cable mic
- Boosted bass which is great for rock music
- Two pin detachable cable system for easy replacement
- The heightened bass means that you might need to adjust your EQ before you find the right sound for you
- The cable disconnects easily which can make packing them in your bag or pocket problematic
Summary: KZ are known for making well designed but affordable headphones, and the ZST is the first hybrid model they’ve made. Not only will you experience a rich sound landscape, but you will experience the quality you expect too.
When it comes to an IEM, what you want more than anything is flexibility and quality. The MEE Audio IEM system allows you the freedom to wear them whatever way works best for you. Perfect for on or off the stage, the versatility of these monitors will help you to hear your true sounds.
Detachable cables: When moving around on the stage, the last thing you want to think about is your IEM snagging on something and ripping out of your ears. The MEE MX2 Pro IEM features detachable cables, so you can free yourself up depending on what you need to get done. Not only that, but they come with a spare cable that has headset functionality.
Dual driver technology: The MX2 PRO IEM uses hybrid dual driver technology in order to deliver a well-rounded sound. The moving coil subwoofer delivers the deepest bass, while the balanced armature tweeter allows for a balanced and well defined high end.
Amazing fit: This IEM comes with everything you need to have a comfortable and productive jam. The monitors come with 4 sets of silicone ear tips to allow for a fully personalized experience without the risk of aches and pains of constant use.
- Detachable cable for freedom of movement
- Dual driver system with subwoofer and tweeter for balanced sound
- Headset cable that features microphone and remote
- Extra ear tips for a truly personalized feel
- Memory foam feels silicone ear tips that reduce outside noise
- Difficult to use for running due to the above ear design
- Users have described crackling and dipping of sound in one ear
Summary: Thanks to the flexibility of movement that the MEE Audio MX2 Pro IEM gives you, they make it to the top of our list. When combined with the well balanced and rounded sound provided by the two drivers in ear piece, you will wonder how you ever jammed without them.
Logitech have established a name for themselves in tech, so it comes as no surprise that the Logitech UE 900 IEM has made themselves a place on this list. With a focus on specifications, Logitech present you with a great set of IEMs regardless of your experience.
Quad-armature design: These Ultimate Ears IEM utilizes a quad-armature design. Four drivers are dedicated to the low end, whereas one driver each services the mid- and high-frequencies. This creates a sound that is rich and heavy in bass, but with distinctly represented vocals and instruments.
Three-way crossover: Having the right drivers is only part of the process in developing an IEM that produces the sound quality you’re looking to achieve. The crossover also plays a huge part. That’s why this IEM model is superior: the three-way crossover perfectly filter and combine the frequencies in order to produce the perfect sound.
Noise isolating IEM: When you need to focus on your music, it can be easy to be distracted by the ambient outside noise. The Ultimate Ears IEM are perfect for blocking unwanted outside noise thanks to their noise isolating design. In fact, the noise isolation level you’ll achieve is a huge 26dB.
- Solid punchy bass that provides a lot of detail
- Comprised of four balanced armature drivers for a rich sound
- They produce a sound stage that feels far bigger than you’d expect
- Delivers a high level of imaging that provides great instrument separation
- Three-way crossover separates out channels for a clear sound
- The pinhole becomes clogged easily
- The mid-frequencies are not as impactful as you’d expect from an IEM of this caliber
Summary: For a high end set of IEMs, the Logitech Ultimate Ears 900 is a great addition to this list provided you’re willing to spend the money on them. You will get what you pay for though: smooth sounds with an amazingly wide sound stage that will make your ears happy.
The Final Words (Summary)
If you’re in the market for an IEM, that means you’re ready to step up your music game to a professional level. Using an IEM onstage means that you’ll be able to get better feedback for the sound you’re producing, without having it muddled with the onstage sound around you. When choosing a new IEM, it can be hard to really assess the factors that will give you the best quality given the sheer amount of choices there are out there. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best IEM under 300 dollars. We hope that we have helped you decide on the perfect IEM to help you elevate your sound and step up your onstage performance.
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