Rock and metal are arguably the two most eclectic genres of music. With so much variety, idiosyncrasies between different artists, and decades of culture and history, they’ve grown together and around each other, offering a myriad of unique records and tracks.
That’s precisely what makes finding the right earbuds for them hard. Even if we are to neglect the fact that the best tunes came from the ‘70s and ‘80s when production was vastly different in terms of quality and techniques, each producer emphasizes different things with different artists.
Rock & Metal Earbuds – What to look for
Black metal fans need buds that can handle the soaring highs of scream vocals; the vast majority of ‘core’ sub-genres put accents on heavy drums while progressive and technical virtuosos scoop the mids and are best when listened to with buds with an enhanced dynamic range.
From classic rock, over pop, punk, and electronically influenced rock varieties of today, the genre always welcomes a slight bump in the bass that is almost traditionally blended in the mix, emphasizing big riffs and chords on the guitars.
In a nutshell, you will need a set of earbuds with a neutral sonic signature if you’re a musician or a set that inches towards the lower frequencies if you want to immerse yourself into your favorite tunes as a fan. Soundstage-wise, versatility is paramount, but not at the expense of any of its fundamental aspects (bass, mids, highs, and every sub-category in between).
We’ve compiled a list of the best earbuds for rock and metal music for your convenience, so without any further ado, let’s dive into the reviews:
Best Earbuds For Rock & Metal Music
Best Overall – Sennheiser IE 80 S Adjustable Bass Earbud Headphone
Sennheiser’s IE 80 S is essentially at the zenith of rock & metal earbuds, offering the broadest soundstage, a healthy bump in the bass division, and impeccable sound quality, allowing you to hear every minute detail that your favorite artists had put in their songs.
Comfort-wise, they’re superior to most IEMs and earbuds due to the custom in-ear canal fit feature, alongside their petite size backed by a robust frame.
These earbuds are powered by remarkably strong neodymium drivers, which complement Sennheiser’s acoustic design. This essentially means that they sound as natural as possible while adding subtle touches and enhancements to the already vast dynamic range.
Finally, what sets IE 80 S apart from other earbuds on the market is the manual sound-tuning function, which allows the user to customize the frequency response on the fly.
In a nutshell, the immense versatility and strength of these earbuds make them an excellent fit for any style of rock or metal, although lovers of technical sub-genres will get the most out of them.
- Perfect for all genres of rock and metal
- Customizable frequency response range
- Rugged, sturdy housing
- Powered by vehement neodymium magnets
- Exceptionally comfortable
- A bit pricey
Best Premium Pick – HIDIZS MS4 HiFi In-Ear Monitor Headphones
If you don’t mind paying top dollar for a set of superb IEMs, HIDIZS’s MS4 may be the best choice for you. These high-end in-ear monitors feature triple armature drivers with a unique diaphragm design, offering the most detailed soundstage among boutique earbuds.
The fourth KDD driver complements the triple-magnet arsenal, substantially enhancing the bass-handling capabilities of these in-ear headphones.
The MS4’s cord looks great, it’s detachable, and it’s built to withstand decades of use and abuse. Furthermore, the ergonomic design of the tips offers a comfortable, snug fit at all times.
One of the best things about HIDIZS’s MS4 is the fact that they offer consistent, superior performance, as the macromolecule diaphragm design mitigates audio and signal losses throughout the frequency range, which consequentially means that you should not expect any clipping or distortion.
While excellent for all styles of rock, MS4 is also ideal for most metal subgenres. Grindcore, brutal death metal and similar styles with an accent on super-low bass may sound a bit ‘too clear’, but nevertheless still enjoyable on these buds.
- Four top-shelf drivers
- Superb comfort and snug fit
- Detachable, robust cable
- Outstanding connectivity
- Macromolecule-diaphragm design
Best Budget Pick – Sabbat True Wireless EarbudsSabbat’s True Wireless Earbuds are best for rock and metal fans on a budget. These inexpensive buds are surprisingly sturdy, and the features they are outfitted with outclass most similarly priced models.
First and foremost, they’re compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 technology and offer more than six hours of total playtime, which can be quadrupled by the complementary quick-charging case. Onboard controls can make taking calls easier, as these earbuds feature four built-in microphones and Qualcomm’s proprietary ambient noise reduction technology.
They’re excellent for immersion in your favorite tracks, as they can nullify any and all sounds and noises in your surroundings. Quality-wise, they’re powered by 10mm drivers that offer a clear, varied, but somewhat quiet sonic performance. The soundstage is decently well-built, with a slight emphasis being put on the bass.
In terms of comfort, the brand offers seven sets of tips; although the one-size-fits-all solutions are far more practical and consistent, most budget brands provide up to three.
Sabbat’s True Wireless buds are great for classic rock, hard rock, and fairly great for post-rock; as far as metal goes, their clear soundstage makes them suitable for everything from thrash and speed, over death and black metal styles, to the most intricate avant-garde genres.
- Fairly inexpensive
- Surprisingly sturdy and durable
- True wireless operation backed by Bluetooth 5.0 technology
- Complementary charging case
- Excellent ambient noise reduction features
- Potential issues with comfort if neither of the seven sets of tips fit
- You may need an amp, as these aren’t the loudest buds on the market
Best True Wireless – JBL Live 300
True wireless buds aren’t connected by cords, even between each other. They’re perfect for performing metal and rock musicians, which essentially means that they should be good enough for music lovers as well.
JBL’s Live 300 is the best True Wireless set of IEMs on the market for more reasons than one. They’re loud, consistent, and capable of handling extreme frequencies with ease.
The ‘Talkthru’ feature offers simplified and more convenient conversations on the fly while the ‘Ambient Aware’ mode toggles the active noise cancellation feature.
In comparison to Sabbat’s six hours of battery lifespan, JBL’s twenty offer dramatically more consistent performance.
The soundstage of JBL’s Live 300 earbuds is fully customizable, although tweaking it requires a fair amount of skill and patience. Even so, these are arguably some of the finest IEMs for metal that the current market has to offer.
- Outstanding sound quality
- Powerful and remarkably loud drivers
- A variety of convenience controls and features
- Long battery lifespan
- Potential connection issues depending on the size and number of obstacles between the buds and the source
Best For Loud Music – 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Earphones
If you prefer to crank your music to 11 whenever you’re enjoying it, you may want to take a peek at 1More’s Quad-driver in-ear earphones.
These earbuds are equipped with four drivers, including a carbon dynamic magnet and three balanced-armature mini-tweeters, which yield a powerful, yet optimal combination of loudness and sound clarity with minimal harmonic distortion.
The housing of 1More’s IEM set is made of streamlined aluminum, offering much in terms of durability and sturdiness. Sound-wise, the soundstage of these earbuds was tuned by a Grammy-winning engineer called Luca Bignardi.
It’s supplied with convenient in-line controls, which allow the user to tweak volume, converse, or skip songs at a whim. They’re perfect for all styles of rock and metal, particularly thrash, death, and deathcore due to their ability to handle the lowest bass frequencies.
Best Sound-cancelling Feature – KZ AS16 Earbuds
KZ’s AS16 got the name after the sixteen balanced armature drivers the set is supplied with. In addition to sheer strength, these earbuds are also highly versatile and able to cater to the needs and demands of all lovers of heavier music styles.
The high-fidelity performance of AS16 makes it one of the finest IEMs on the current market, but aside from that, they’re famous amongst audiophiles and metalheads alike due to their exceptional sound-canceling features.
Namely, KZ’s AS16 sports a built-in active noise canceling feature that eliminates surrounding sounds with a click of a button, allowing for a fuller immersion into the music.
- Excellent sonic performance
- Sturdy cable
- Decently wide soundstage
- Sixteen drivers
- Exceptionally loud
- Slightly heavier buds
Best Bluetooth – OGG K6 Wireless Earbuds
While most old-school rockers and metalheads would argue that true music should be listened to through wired headphones on a vinyl turntable, modern age technologies helped us achieve similar results with a lot more convenience.
OGG’s K6 Wireless earbuds are Hi-Fi headphones that sport a long battery lifespan, support for the latest versions of Bluetooth technology, remarkable ambient noise reduction features, and in-line control features.
Sound-wise, they offer a rich soundstage powered by a set of 10mm drivers; they’re accurate with tracking, but they aren’t particularly loud, so a headphone amp should come in handy to sort these problems out.
The customized ear tips offer a comfortable fit and are not prone to falling out despite their somewhat higher-than-average weight. These buds are supplied with 400 mAh batteries that offer up to 10 full hours of lifetime, complemented with a variety of quick-charge features.
These IEMs are built with convenience in mind, and given that their soundstage is versatile and dynamic range broad, they’re great, but not exactly exemplary for all styles of rock and metal music.
- Eclectic and highly versatile soundstage
- Elastic diaphragm
- Proprietary ambient noise reduction technology
- Superb Bluetooth compatibility with automatic updates
- Somewhat heavy earbuds
- Relatively weak drivers
Best for Active Metalheads and Rockers – Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
Lovers of rock and metal music who prefer to remain active by working out, jogging, and generally engaging in outdoor activities need consistent comfort, dependable connection, and reliable ambient noise reduction features in their IEMs and earbuds. Razer’s Hammerhead offers all of the above, and then some.
They’re powered by custom-tuned 13 mm magnets that shift the emphasis of its soundstage towards the bass, although both mids and highs are clear and accentuated. Dynamic range-wise, these buds are better-rounded than most mid-range IEMs.
Hammerhead earbuds are compatible with the latest Bluetooth version and are IPX4 rated in terms of water resistance, allowing them to be used in almost any setting short of scuba diving and similar underwater activities.
- IPX4 waterproof rating
- Compatible with Bluetooth version 5.0 (and above)
- Snug in-ear fit
- Up to fifteen hours of battery lifespan
- Complementary charging case
- Not terribly loud, but not too quiet either
- Very small and easy to misplace
Best for Heavier Styles of Rock and Metal – Soundcore Anker Life P3 Earbuds
Let’s wrap it up with a set of IEMs that offers the most thundering bass response in comparison to the rest of the models on the list – Soundcore’s Anker Life P3.
These headphones have a custom-tuned soundstage that puts a heavy emphasis on treble and the lowest bass frequencies, accentuating guttural growls, drop-tuned guitar riffs, and the slickest slap bass techniques.
They’re powered by 11-mm drivers, and even though they may be slightly quieter than most, they feature an app-based feature called ‘Bass Up’, which can drastically increase their performance on the fly.
- Bass Up feature
- Petite-sized and lightweight
- Decently broad dynamic range
- Not as clear as some of the models on the list
Senior editor for Ultimate-Guitar, passionate about good music and quality gear. Bassist. King Crimson fan. Travel enthusiast. Compulsive buyer of Bose headphones and old Fender amps.