In-ear monitors (IEM) have gained a huge popularity among audio files recently because of their pristine sound quality. Let's see what sets them apart from other listening devices.
What is an in-ear monitor?
There's a good chance you have some kind of audio-listening device on your ears right now. It may be a pair of wireless earphones, such as Airpods, or a large, wired pair of headphones. In-ear monitors are another type of audio device. They are primarily intended for professional use. In terms of fit, they are somewhere between the hard headphone seal and the low profile earbuds.
They are called monitors because they were originally created for musicians and artists to "monitor" a combination of audio sources in different locations. For example, a member of a band would hear a mix of different instruments and vocals that would come directly into his or her IEM. They were also used by singers to listen to an instrumental guiding track when recording songs. Artists and media professionals usually have IEMs specially tailored to their ears.
Nowadays, IEM is available to everyone. Stores offer a wide range of prices, designs and sound profiles for all types of listeners. You can probably find them in your local audio shop or music store.
While IEMs costing tens of thousands of dollars are still there, you can get a fantastic-sounding pair that costs no more than a regular pair of earphones. There are also many audiophile communities that are dedicated to comparing, optimizing and discussing headphones.