Best In Ear Monitor Systems of 2022

by Alex.   Last Updated On August 19th, 2022.
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A great in-ear monitoring system can make all the difference; gone are the days of relying on floor speakers to figure out how good the vocals and instruments are sounding on the screen. With a wired/wireless monitor system, you can ensure that the performers can freely listen to their monitor mix without interference.

So in this article, I’ve listed some of the best wireless in-ear monitoring systems and a few wired options as well. I’ve talked about their defining qualities, the different specs, and how each option would affect your purchase decisions.

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Comparison of the Best In Ear Monitor Systems

Best Wireless In-Ear Monitor SystemSee On Amazon
photo of the Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G4 SeriesSennheiser
EW 300 IEM G4 Series
Best Wireless In-Ear System in Terms of FunctionalitySee On Amazon
photo of the Shure PSM 300Shure
PSM 300
In-Ear Monitor System with the Smallest Form FactorSee On Amazon
photo of the Xvive U4Xvive
U4
Best Wireless In-Ear Monitor System For Musicians on a BudgetSee On Amazon
photo of the KIMAFUN KIMAFUNKIMAFUN
KIMAFUN
Most Budget Friendly UHF In-Ear Monitor SystemSee On Amazon
photo of the Anleon S2Anleon
S2
Best Wired In-Ear Monitor SystemSee On Amazon
photo of the Fisher Amps In-Ear StickFisher Amps
In-Ear Stick
Best Wired In-Ear Monitor System for Dual MixesSee On Amazon
photo of the PreSonus HP2PreSonus
HP2
Most Affordable Wired In-Ear Monitor SystemSee On Amazon
photo of the Behringer PowerPlay P2Behringer
PowerPlay P2

Reviews of the Best In Ear Monitor Systems

If you want the best system overall, I suggest going for the Sennheiser EW 300 G4 Series. Everybody has had good things to say about it since it’s efficient, reliable, and built to last.

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Tech Specs

  • Frequency Range: 566-608MHz
  • Transmission Range: 330ft (100m)
  • Battery Life: Approx 8 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: RJ45, 1/4″ Loop out, XLR
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

The base system comes with a half-rack stereo transmitter (SR IEM G4) and a belt pack receiver (EK IEM G3). The other option offers a dual beltpack that shares the same transmitter signal. (Although you can get separate signals by setting either to the left or right.)

The receiver looks quite sturdy and durable. It accepts two AA batteries and can last around 6-8 hours on a full charge. The beltpack receiver has a single 3.5mm headphone output which can be either mono or stereo.

The receiver also has a display that shows information such as the battery life, connected frequency, and the amount of interference in the current band. There are controls for adjusting the volume along with frequency scanning. The system is compatible with Sennheiser’s WSM control software and can work within 16 channels for each frequency. There are 1680 frequencies available with Sennheiser’s adaptive diversity technology.

The transmitter accepts XLR, with both mono and stereo options. Its output options are RJ45 ethernet and balanced loop out (1/4″). Also, for each beltpack, you get a pair of earbuds.

What We Like

Automatic Frequency Scan

Durable Exterior

Thousands of frequencies to choose from

Know Before Buying

Expensive

Included earbuds are not that great

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The Shure PSM 300 is a reliable wireless in-ear monitor system. It features a transmitter, single or dual beltpacks with a surprisingly efficient pair of over-the-ear earphones (SE215) for each receiver.

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Tech Specs

  • Frequency Range: 566-590MHz/518-542MHz/488-512MHz
  • Transmission Range: Approx 295 ft (90m)
  • Battery Life: Approx 7 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: Coax,
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

The half-rack transmitter operates on a frequency range of 488-566MHz and includes features such as a one-touch automatic frequency scan and switching between stereo, mono, and mix. It takes in coax inputs and gives out the left and right loop via coax. It also includes a 1/4 wave RF antenna.

The mixed mode allows the transmitter to transmit two separate mixes (usually the lead singer VS the band) and allows the musicians to adjust the relative volume between the two via the volume control knob.

The beltpack receiver comes in a rugged aluminum case and includes rechargeable Li-Ion batteries along with the option to add in two AA batteries. There is an included display that shows the battery level and necessary frequency information (channel number and signal fidelity).

This in-ear monitor system offers a pair of IEMs (the Shure SE215), which are noise isolating (up to 37dB) and has an over-the-ear design.

What We Like

Durable enclosures with an impressive build quality

Built-in battery for emergency power

Stock earphones that are decent

Frequency Scanning

Know Before Buying

Expensive

Only Coax inputs

Narrow(ish) frequency spectrum

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The Xvive U4 is one of the most compact and affordable in-ear monitoring systems out there.

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Tech Specs

  • Frequency Range: 2.4GHz
  • Transmission Range: Approx 90ft (27m)
  • Battery Life: Approx 5 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: XLR
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

The Xvive U4 transmitter is almost the size of an XLR connector head, and the beltpack receiver is half the size of other conventional beltpacks.

The build quality isn’t half bad either: the transmitter has a sturdy metal enclosure, but since it’s small and lightweight can survive a 5ft drop (or two). The transmitter plugs in via XLR and recharges via Micro-USB. It takes around 90 minutes to fully recharge and can last 5-7 hours, depending on the situation.

Since it’s a 2.4GHz system, the frequency range is limited to the digital waveband. You are more likely to encounter interference since it runs on the same wavelengths as Wi-Fi, mobile phone signals, smart devices, etc. Also, the signal range is limited to 90ft instead of the 330ft maximum found in RF signals.

The controls are simple and easy to use. You’ve got a channel display, a button for changing the channel along with indicator lights showing the connection status and battery levels. The volume control knob is independent of the on/off switch, so you can always switch it off without having to change the volume.

You can purchase this wireless in-ear monitor system in either pack of single, dual, or four receivers.

What We Like

Inexpensive

Compact

Can be used while charging

Know Before Buying

2.4GHz signal more likely to cause dropouts

Lower battery life than other devices

No option to switch between two mixes

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The KIMAFUN US KM-G150-3 is one of the most budget-friendly yet reliable in-ear monitor systems on the market today. You can purchase it either as a single unit or go with up to four receivers at once.

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Tech Specs

  • Frequency Range: 2.4GHz
  • Transmission Range: Approx 60ft (20m)
  • Battery Life: Approx 5-6 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: 3.5mm (1/4″ adapter included)
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

Both transmitter and receiver have the same guitar body-like shape, and although it looks gimmicky, holding the device and clipping it on is not bad and the same goes for the transmitter. (As long as you can plug it into your mixer without other cables getting in the way.)

Unfortunately, the build quality of these devices is not that great. They are built from plastic and tend to break easily. Regardless, it has a simple design and is very easy to use.

The wireless in-ear monitor system supports six channels and uses LED indicators to show a successful connection. Since it uses 2.4GHz, the connections are instant but have a reduced range and are more susceptible to dropouts.

These wireless systems charge via Micro-USB, and the included cable can charge both devices simultaneously. It takes around two hours to recharge and will last around 5-7 hours.

What We Like

Inexpensive

Easy to use with many positive reviews

Complimentary earphones with an over-the-ear design

Know Before Buying

Operates on the 2.4GHz Network

Built-in Rechargeable batteries with no option to plug in consumables

Accepts only 3mm I/Os. Need adapters for XLR and 1/4″

Cannot set up a personal mix of vocals VS instrumentals

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If you want an affordable wireless in-ear monitor system that caters to analog frequencies, the Anleon S2 might be worth your time.

See On Amazon

Tech Specs

  • Frequency Range: 561-568MHz
  • Transmission Range: Approx 330ft (100m)
  • Battery Life: Approx 12 hours for the receivers
  • Transmitter I/O: XLR stereo
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

2.4GHz is nice and all, but you can’t beat the high frequencies found in radio waves.

The base option comes with a transmitter with three receivers and three earphones (although I recommend getting separate earphones for less than $100). The transmitter takes in DC power (adapter included) and has a decent build quality.

The system accepts six channels, and you have the option to switch between mono and stereo. The transmitter takes in XLR inputs and includes a small RF antenna for better signal coverage.

The receivers have an LED display that shows the battery life and connected frequency. There are not many controls; you only have a button to change the channel along with a volume control knob. Overall, it looks decent and pairs instantly with the transmitter.

So if you’re looking for a versatile system, the Anleon S2 is a reliable option on the market today.

What We Like

Inexpensive

Operates on a higher frequency

Relies on consumable batteries

Know Before Buying

Lacks automatic scanning

Accepts only XLR

Included earphones are unreliable

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The Fisher Amps In-Ear Stick may not be the cheapest, but it’s got an amazing frequency response and studio-grade sound.

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Tech Specs

  • Battery Life: Approx 11 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: XLR
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

This wired headphone amp takes in XLR and pumps out 100mW power to drive a 3.5mm TRS out where you can plug in headphones or In-Ear monitors.

The In-Ear stick requires two AAA cells for operation and will last around 11 hours on a single charge. The entire housing is built out of Aluminum and feels quite sturdy (although I wouldn’t drop test it if I were you). The belt clip is made out of stainless steel and feels solid.

The volume knob doubles as the on/off switch, and there’s an LED indicator that lights up when you switch it on.

This is one of the best wired options on the market today, so if you’re a drummer, or bassist looking to set up a wired In-ear monitoring system, the Fisher Amps In-Ear stick might be for you.

What We Like

Impressive audio quality and amplification

Easy to setup

Uses consumable batteries

Know Before Buying

Somewhat expensive

No dedicated on/off switch

No dual inputs for personal mix and instrumentals

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The Presonus HP2 is another wired alternative, but unlike other personal headphone amplifiers, this in-ear system can support two separate mixes simultaneously.

See On Amazon

Tech Specs

  • Battery Life: Approx 7 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: Mini XLR (Adapter provided)
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

The HP2 comes in two variants: the XLR and the TRS, either way, you can plug in two different mixes and get them both on the stereo channels (one on either side). However, you need the adapter for this to work.

The headphone amp relies on a 9V battery, but you can also set up wired power using the included AC adapter, and the battery can last around 7 hours.

On the top panel, you’ve got two status LEDs for power and battery low along with two control knobs: one for the volume and the other to pan left and right channels (when using mono and two mixes).

What We Like

Affordable

Uses consumable batteries with a wired power option

Can setup dual mixes

Know Before Buying

Won’t work without the included adapter

Slightly bulkier than other wired options

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If you want an affordable and compact personal headphone amp that you can use for recording and rehearsals, the Behringer PowerPlay P2 would be right up your alley.

See On Amazon

Tech Specs

  • Battery Life: Approx 12 hours
  • Transmitter I/O: XLR
  • Receiver I/O: 3.5mm (1/8″) TRS

It looks cool and is one of the smallest wired monitoring systems around. The device relies on two AAA batteries for power and can last up to 12 hours on a full charge. You can directly plug in via XLR and use the volume control knob to switch on the amplifier.

You can switch between stereo and mono, but you have to open up the housing to get to the switch; hence, you won’t be able to switch back and forth while playing.

What We Like

Inexpensive

Uses consumable batteries

Long Battery Life

Know Before Buying

Cannot setup dual mixes

Difficult to switch between mono and stereo

See On Amazon

In-Ear Monitors and Systems Buying Guide

But hey, before you mount up, let’s take a closer look at some of the decision factors you’ll face when considering the best in-ear monitors and monitor system. If you don’t consider aspects such as your budget, I/Os, sound quality, and many more, you won’t be able to find the best system that matches your expectations.

So here’s a quick overview of the basic decision factors you need to prioritize before deciding on an ear monitor system.

I/Os

This one’s pretty simple: most In-ear monitoring systems come with either TS/TRS or XLR. Most compact receivers will usually side with 3.5mm (1/8″) TS/TRS, whereas the transmitter of the ear monitor system tends to side with XLR.

Regardless, you can always use adapters; it’s only a matter of transporting these extra cables and making an even bigger mess near the monitor mix. (I always recommend keeping an XLR to 1/4″ adapter, female to female.)

Most In-ear monitor systems will include 3.5mm to 1/4″ adapters, so you won’t have to worry about that receiver end (that much) whenever you need to plug in your compact monitors.

Budget

Let’s face it: Wireless systems are not cheap and when you want to plug into a clean wireless channel (free from dropouts or static) you need to expand your budget because the more complicated the electronics are, the higher the cost.

Also, depending on the overall sound quality, natural frequency response, battery life, and range, the price of a decent in-ear monitor system can be twice that of most budget-friendly or wired-only models, so remember to consider your budget and spend wisely.

If you’re a beginner, you can make do with a system that’s under $1000, but if you want amenities such as multiple channel operation, one-touch frequency scan, a transmitter that can fit onto a rack, along with multiple compatible receivers, you might need to spend upwards of $1000.

Automatic Frequency Scan

More common among high-end wireless monitoring systems is the one-touch frequency scan feature; this allows the wireless monitoring system to scan the entire band of supported frequencies and pick the operating frequency with the least amount of interference.

Unfortunately, to carry out this one-touch frequency scan, you need to have complicated circuitry; hence, transmitters with this feature can be expensive. But, if you are playing for a larger crowd and need to transmit to the in-ear monitor system without any static or dropouts, a high-end transmitter/receiver with an automatic frequency scan will be a vital component.

For musicians who perform live, I highly recommend opting for a setup with an automatic frequency scan feature. On the flip side, if you are recording music in a studio or practicing, you can make do with an inexpensive wireless monitoring system that’s limited to a few select channels.

Sound Quality

Frequency scanning is nice and all, but if the digital and analog signals passing through this in-ear monitoring system do not reproduce great sound with higher signal fidelity, then it’s all been for nothing.

Fundamentally, these wireless ear monitor systems operate on the same level as a DAC or a headphone amplifier since they are basically catching the signal from the operation frequency and converting and amplifying it into an analog signal to drive the in-ear monitor system.

If the DAC components or the in-ear monitors do not have well-designed drivers and components to reproduce the audio accurately, it will affect the performance of the musicians. So, whenever you pick out an in-ear monitor setup (especially wireless systems), make sure they have an acceptable frequency response, the option to pick between mono and stereo, and high-quality components powerful enough to drive the IEM systems.

Battery Life

Regardless of wired/wireless iems, you always need to provide external power to decode, amplify or duplicate the audio signals. This power usually comes from batteries since it’s clean and there’s less cable management. (Even most wired IEM systems prefer batteries.)

The majority of in-ear monitor systems rely on consumable batteries (AA, AAA, or 9V), and they have operating times of around 6-10 hours. More high-end options come with built-in rechargeable batteries but are sized up to have the same amount of battery drain. (Although they may be a bit more compact.)

The thing about in-ear monitor systems requiring consumable batteries is that it’s easy to replace. You don’t have to wait while it’s charging: pop in a fresh set of batteries, and you’re good to go; hence, extremely useful in-between long gigs.

Because of this reason, I recommend going for an in-ear monitor system with consumable batteries. Also, it’s even better for you (and the environment) if you go for rechargeable AA and AAA batteries.

In-Ear Monitors

Lastly, you need to purchase a good pair of In-Ear monitors. Although there are hundreds of IEMs to choose from, I recommend considering IEMs based on the number of drivers, budget, and overall shape.

The more drivers you have, the better the frequency response across the entire band. More is always better, but they can be expensive, so I recommend sticking with three.

The shape of the monitors can also affect your listening experience. Most IEMs have an earbud design, allowing them to fit snugly inside your ear canal without falling and letting ambient sound leak in. On top of the earbuds, some IEMs come with an over-the-ear design, which makes them more stable.

I recommend going for inexpensive IEMs with an over-the-ear design. For a few examples, check out our list of the top ten IEMs.

Common Questions Regarding In-Ear Monitor Systems

What are the advantages of a Wireless IEM System over Floor Monitors?

There are several reasons why you would want to go for a wireless in-ear monitor system over floor speakers/wedges or wired systems.

For starters, with a wireless in-ear monitor setup, there’s more freedom of movement. You can move around while still receiving a consistent audio output. I.e., the mix is the same no matter where you are on the stage. Apart from that, there are no feedback issues.

However, with a wireless system, you are more susceptible to dropouts and static.

What’s the difference between wired and wireless IEM Systems?

Wired systems will always have a physical connection (either via XLR or TRS) to the bodypack receiver/headphone amplifier. Meanwhile, wireless systems will transfer audio signals over 2.4GHz or UHF radio waves.

Wireless systems need extra circuitry to decode the frequency signals into analog; hence, they are more expensive. Regardless, both systems need external power for amplification via batteries or mains power.

Should I Output Mono or Stereo on an IEM system?

That depends on the IEM system and the mixes. If you want two separate mixes (one for the lead and the rest for the band), you can set up dual mono inputs for these two mixes and allow the musicians to control which mix they listen to. (Assigning either mix to the left and right of the stereo).

Unfortunately, most 2.4GHz systems and compact wired amplifiers may not allow this feature, so make sure to check for this beforehand.

What’s the range of a typical Wireless IEM system?

A 2.4GHz wireless in-ear monitor has a range of approximately 60ft, while a UHF system (dealing with the MHz frequency band) can reach further (330ft). So if you are playing on a larger stage, I recommend a UHF system.

UHF systems operate on a wider selection of channels, and their frequencies rarely run into interference. The 2.4GHz wavelength is used by a lot of devices such as Wi-Fi routers, wireless cameras, and smart gadgets; hence, there’s a higher chance of causing dropouts and catching interference.

Final Thoughts

Best Wireless In-Ear Monitor System
Best Wireless In-Ear System in Terms of Functionality
In-Ear Monitor System with the Smallest Form Factor

An IEM system (wireless or otherwise) is a vital component of any musical performance. Even if you are practicing, a good In-Ear monitoring system will allow you to listen to the mix and outdo yourself every time.

When deciding on an IEM system, especially wireless ones, make sure to invest in rechargeable batteries, adapters, and a good pair of IEMs.