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The ClieOS's List

This is my list of IEM ranking, originated from my Concise Multi-IEM Comparison that has been discontinued and now stands as a simplified independent list that will continued to receive update. Scroll up and down for ranking, left and right for sound signature. Note: This is only a personal assessment and far from be-all-ends-all of a guide. It should be seen as as starting point of your own research, rather than an easy workaround that could cost you more down the road. The fact is, there is no simple way to fully evaluate an IEM and certainly no universal consensus that everyone will agree on. This list is merely my interpretation and should be taken as just an opinion and nothing more. ~ ClieOS



Scroll ↕ for Ranking. Scroll ↔ for Sound Signature




*Value of 4.85 (in red) and above have my highest personal recommendation for an outstanding price/performance ratio.


How each IEM is judged: SQ rating comes mostly out of comparison with other IEM in the list - this gives an IEM a rough position in the list. Fine adjustment depends on the 'completeness' of the sound - what kind of sound signature and function (if available) a particular IEM is trying to achieve, i.e. stage monitor will not be judged in the same fashion as mass market / consumer orientated product. Some weaknesses often weight more than others. i.e light bass is better than muddy bass, overly smooth is better than harshness. In general, not offensive weakness is less damaging. Value rating is based on all aspect of the IEM, including SQ, design, build quality, general fit, availability, customer support, warranty terms street price, etc.


Please do not ask for recommendation in this Wiki. Instead, go to the individual discussion thread for the particular IEM of interest and ask your question there.

Comments (7)

Hi Clieos,
you have given a 6.63 for the Brainwavz B2 - presumably a typo
Corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.
Is there going to be an update on the SQ value numbers anytime soon? Each pair of IEMs were reviewed at different times, so it would be no surprise that something like the Brainwavz B2 would be outstanding for it's time thus scoring 5/5 for value, yet today, at best would be 4.8 whenever it's on sale for $110 which happens quite often since we now have the R-50 which obliterates it both price and performance-wise in the analytical structure.
The SQ of an IEM doesn't change with time, so there is no reason to change it unless there is something revolutionary enough to upset the whole ranking (and market), So far, I haven't heard any IEM that qualifies. As for value - the problem is, regardless of how soon I updated it, it will be outdated in months, maybe even just one month (especially if it is the holidays season). I simply don't have the time to do price check every month for hundreds of IEM. That's why the reader should be smart enough to look at the difference between quoted price vs. current price and try to add/deduce value by themselves. After all, this list is only meant to give a quick start, not a quick fix.
Actually the reason why B2 is 5/5 in value but R-50 is 4.9/5 have less to do with the time of review, but more to do with B2 having slightly better build quality, accessories and packaging, while R-50 isn't as good a build and, more importantly, has a less-than-stellar warranty terms. There is a hidden cost and that's why it didn't get the 5/5.
I like this list I own a lot of some of the Hifiman's over ear and Bowers&Wilkins and PSB and I like to experiment! Why is there no Sennheiser on the list because I was going to buy a pair of IE 60's . Would you buy the sennheiser  or ? thanks for the information.
I have nothing against Sennheiser, just the fact that I don't come across their IEM very often locally and those that I do come across tends not to interest me.
Thank you! The list is going to help !
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