The 200 USD price point is one of the most competitive areas when it comes to IEMs. IEMs in this price range are no longer held back by their price point, hence all of the options here are technically proficient. And this is also the price point where many high-end companies such as Campfire Audio, are found are offering their entry-level models.
The best performer in this list is the Moondrop KXXS. Alternatively, if you want a lower-priced version of the KXXS, there is also the Moondrop Starfield. But if you are more interested in a more versatile and innovative IEM, then the Thieaudio Voyager 3 is an excellent fit with its tunable drivers.
Of course, these are only some of the options. There are still plenty of unique and interesting products on this list. So to find out more, keep on scrolling below.
Also, if you are on a tight budget, don’t forget to check out our Best IEMs Under 50 USD article. It has lots of solid options both for professionals and casual listeners.
Please note: At the time of publishing, all recommended products were selling for $200 or less but prices fluctuate.
Best IEMs Under $200
Moondrop KXXS – Best Performer
1 DD (Graphene Coated Driver)
Detachable (2 Pin 0.78 mm)
The Moondrop KXXS is the follow up to Moondrop’s highly successful Moondrop Kanas Pro. It is once again a single dynamic driver IEM that has an excellent tuning. The KXXS once again proves that a single well-tuned driver can beat multi-driver IEMs.
In terms of the build quality, the KXXS is rocking a full metal build on the shells, just like the Kanas Pro. The design has a subtle but more refined look. It also once again using a detachable 2 pin cable for stability.
Its faceplate is still, however, similar to the Kanas Pro. The Kanas Pro’s faceplate was known to acquire scratches easily. That still seems to be the case for the KXXS, so users should be more careful with the faceplate.
In terms of the sound signature, the KXXS has Moondrop’s version of the Harman Target Curve. It has a lively sound with nice detail across the spectrum. It has a lively treble section, which is similar to full-sized headphones such as the Sennheiser HD800s. However, the highs are not too sibilant and do not cause hearing fatigue over long listening sessions.
The bass found in the KXXS is well detailed. It is not the most bass-heavy IEM, so bassheads may not be satisfied. But there is enough bass to fit most songs and does not bleed into the midrange.
The midrange is slightly scooped in the mix. However, it is still well detailed, transparent, and realistic. Fans of vocal-based tracks will be satisfied with the KXXS.
Compared to the Kanas Pro, the KXXS and even the lower tier Starfield both perform better than the Kanas Pro. The overall detail in the highs and the better-defined lows make the KXXS a significant improvement over the already excellent Kanas Pro.
Overall, for the price that you are paying, there is very little to complain about in the KXXS. The Moondrop KXXS is one of the best tuned single dynamic driver IEM. It can easily beat or compete with any multi-drive sub 200 USD IEM in the market. If you like the detailed V-shaped tuning with an emphasis on the highs, then you should definitely check this one out.
The Moondrop has a solid tuning. The single DD outperforms other multi-driver IEMs at this price point.
The only con that the KXXS has its faceplate. Despite the beautiful aesthetics, it could easily acquire scratches, so users should be careful.
Thieaudio Voyager 3 – Most Innovative Product
3 BA (Tunable Drivers)
Detachable (2 Pin 0.78 mm)
Thieaudio is a newcomer in the IEM market. However, they already have a strong lineup that covers everything from midrange to the high-end market. Most o their offerings are innovators that punch above their price range.
For under 200 USD, the triple BA driver Thieaudio Voyager 3 is an excellent introduction to their offerings. It perfectly showcases their innovation by bringing a unique feature that was previously exclusive to higher-priced models.
This feature is the tunable drivers that can be configured using the dip switches located in the IEM. This concept is the evolution of the tuning filters that were introduced by high-end models such as the Shure SE 846 and IMR Acoustics R1.
The dip switches control several aspects of the IEM, such as the bass and treble quantity. There are two switches, one for controlling bass and one for controlling highs. Each switch only has two positions.
In terms of the sound signature, engaging both switches gives the Voyager 3 a V-Shaped sound signature. Having them both down gives the IEM a more mid focused sound signature. This option is great to satisfy different kinds of listeners who have different preferences.
Engaging the switches does not negatively impact the sound quality of the IEMs. Increasing the bass does not result in bass bleed in the midrange. Increasing the highs also does not introduce any treble peaks.
The mids are a consistent performer regardless of the switch positions. When the switches are off, the mids are forward and pop out. It can easily be heard over the instruments in most tracks. And as stated earlier, increasing the bass does not negatively affect the mids.
Bass is very satisfying for a BA IEM. They don’t punch as hard as dynamic drivers but are still satisfying for bass lovers. They are well extended, and they do their job well in giving the required low-end body of the songs. And when boosted, they become even tighter.
Highs are also well extended and are not offensive. They give enough detail and air both in the stock configuration and when boosted.
Overall, Thieaudio has managed to pull off a sub 200 USD that can achieve multiple sound signatures. If you are looking for a great performing IEM that is versatile for multiple listening styles, then you should check out the Thieaudio Voyager 3.
The option to change the tuning of the Voyager 3 makes it a highly versatile pair.
The bass response may not be as good as other IEMs that utilize a dynamic driver.
Moondrop Starfield – Best Value
Detachable (2 Pin 0.78 mm)
If you want a lower-priced alternative to the Moondrop KXXS, then there is no better option than Moondrop’s very own Starfield. Despite having a lower price tag, the Moondrop Starfield has many similarities with the KXXS. Some reviewers have even claimed that apart from the small differences, the Starfield and the KXXS are functionally the same IEMs.
The Moondrop Starfield is rocking an original design that has not been previously done in Moondrop’s IEM lineup. The Starfield has a look that is heavily based on its name. It has a striking blue finish with subtle glitters of stars.
The driver is a modified version of the driver used in the KXXS. The diaphragm that is used in the Starfield has a different design, but the overall tuning is similar between the two. Aside from a few subtle differences, the Starfield manages to get closed to the sound quality of the KXXS.
The Moondrop Starfield shares that same neutral Harman sound signature that the KXXS is well known for. Highs are well controlled and have plenty of detail. It manages to avoid the peaky frequencies. Bass is not too forward but is adequate enough to add body to songs. The mids are once again slightly recessed but manage to keep that same satisfying detail that is found in the KXXS.
When compared to the KXXS, there are a few differences apart from the build quality and packaging. The upper midrange of the KXXS is a bit more forward and emphasized compared to the Starfield. This forward upper midrange also gives the illusion of more detail in the mids.
However, apart from these minor differences in sound, both of these IEMs are nearly identical. If you do not have enough budget for the KXXS, then the Starfield is an excellent alternative. It beats most IEMs under 100 USD and remains competitive in the under 200 USD price range.
The Moondrop Starfield manages to achieve a similar tuning to the KXXS despite having a different architecture.
The overall design and several aspects of the Starfield are different from the KXXS and thus results in some differences in the sound. However, this is hardly a con for its asking price.
Electrostatic Dynamic Driver (Magnetostatic drivers)
The past years have presented some interesting innovations in the IEM market. We have seen multi-driver and hybrid configurations from different companies at all sorts of price ranges. However, we are now starting to see different kinds of drivers being implemented in IEMs.
And in true Chi-Fi fashion, this innovation comes from a company that you have never heard before. This innovation is the Shuoer Tape that’s rocking electrostatic dynamic drivers (Magnetostatic drivers to be precise). While these drivers are not entirely the same as the ones seen on high-end full-sized headphones (those require a dedicated electrostatic system), they present enough innovation to stand out from the usual dynamic and BA driver IEMs.
The packaging is worth mentioning here. The whole box resembles the keys of a piano. This design is a lot better compared to other companies offering bland packaging.
The IEM itself is rocking an interesting design. It has a slight resemblance to Campfire Audio’s IEMs in terms of the shape and the presence of screws. However, it has enough uniqueness to it to be considered its own unique design.
Now for the most interesting part, the sound quality. The Shuoer Tape has a lively and dynamic sound. It has a V-Shaped sound signature that has a good extension in the lows and the highs.
The bass response is excellent. It has strong sub-bass that manages to reproduce low notes with authority. It sometimes bleeds into the midrange, which makes the midrange a bit recessed.
The upper midrange has a peak at around 3-4 kHz, which may present some sharpness to the sound. The highs, on the other hand, has an excellent detail retrieval without introducing too much harshness.
The benefits of the electrostatic driver are immediately noticed. The detail retrieval is excellent, and the soundstage is wider than usual. Some of these stands out features make it punch above its price point.
Despite some downsides such as the recession in the midrange and upper midrange peak, the Shuoer Tape’s lively and detailed sound will appeal to most people. If you want to experience a different kind of IEM, then you don’t want to miss the Shuoer Tape.
The electrostatic driver inside the Shuoer Tape has distinct characteristics that set it apart from its BA and DD competitors.
The recessed midrange and overpowering bass response may not be for everyone.
Tin Hifi P1
Requires a Powerful Source (Headphone Amp or DAC/Amp)
Tin Hifi is already known in the IEM market. They have made several “bang-for-the-buck” IEMs such as the Tin Hifi T2 Pro and T3. This time around, they are once again innovating the IEM market by releasing an IEM with planar magnetic drivers. This is the Tin Hifi P1.
Planar magnetic drivers are commonly seen in high-end headphones such as the Audeze LCD 4 and Hifiman Arya. That is why it is quite surprising to see it in an IEM. Despite having its drawbacks compared to Balanced Armature and Dynamic drivers, its strengths more than make up for it.
A quick disclaimer for users who do not own a DAC/Amp, headphone amplifier, or DAP. The Tin Hifi P1 is more power-hungry compared to other IEMs due to its planar magnetic driver. You need a powerful source in order to drive this IEM properly.
The sound signature of the Tin Hifi P1 is unique from its competitors. It manages to have amazing detail retrieval, wide soundstage, good imaging, and excellent instrument separation. This is done without resorting to using multiple drivers.
The mids and highs are the highlights of the P1. Mids are forward and benefit both male and female vocals. It is also quite natural and not affected by bass bleed.
The highs have a lot of clarity and present a good amount of detail without being peaky. The bass, on the other hand, is not the P1’s strongest suit. Planar magnetic headphones are known for their punchy bass, but the P1 keeps the bass neutral.
It is still present and maintains the body of most tracks. But this is certainly not for bassheads.
Overall, if you have the proper gear to drive these IEMs, the Tin Hifi P1 is a solid choice for those looking for a headphone sound in an IEM form factor. This is arguably the most unique sounding IEM on this list, and it can definitely compete with IEMs twice its price.
With the help of the planar magnetic drivers, the Tin Hifi P1 manages to achieve an excellent detail retrieval across the spectrum. It once again manages to punch above its price point and stand out among other IEMs.
Due to the planar magnetic drivers, the Tin Hifi P1 requires a more powerful source to operate properly. Also, some users may not be satisfied with the bass response.
Campfire Audio Comet
Campfire Audio is a very reputable brand responsible for creating high-end IEMs such as the Campfire Audio Andromeda and Campfire Audio Solaris. Their entry-level offering used to be the 1 BA Orion. But since then, Campfire Audio has refreshed their lineup, and the Comet is now the new entry-level model.
Despite being an entry-level model, the Campfire Audio Comet is very much worthy of being called a Campfire Audio product since it has the same attention to detail and excellent sound tuning that is found in its more expensive siblings.
The Campfire Audio Comet has a metal build quality and has a design that is very similar to the Campfire Audio Atlas. The Comet also has a bullet-style design compared to the CIEM style that is found in most of their models. It also shares the MMCX sockets that are found in all of their models.
In terms of the sound signature, the Comet is not a direct replacement to the Orion. It has its own identity and its own unique sound signature. The Campfire Audio Comet is leaning towards a more fun and V-Shape tuning. Both bass and highs have good detail and extension without sacrificing too much of the mids.
What is impressive here is that despite using only one BA driver, the bass is thick and well extended. It can easily match the bass quality of lower-priced IEMs with hybrid or single dynamic driver configurations. The highs roll-off at 7k and prevent harshness in the top-end without sacrificing clarity, detail, and airiness.
The mids take a bit of a hit but are still enjoyable in the mix. The tuning is very safe and should appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
Overall, despite not being as creative or as innovative as the other IEMs on this list, the Campfire Audio Comet is still a solid IEM that is coming from a reputable company. The combination of the industry-leading build quality, top-notch driver design, and, of course, sound quality make the Campfire Audio Comet an appealing choice for anyone shopping in the 200 USD price point.
The Campfire Audio Comet retains many qualities from its higher-end siblings. Both the build quality and tuning are remarkable for the price.
The Campfire Audio Comet plays it too safe and does not have many unique traits that set it apart from the rest of its competitors.
Triple Driver Hybrid (2 BA + 1 DD)
As a bonus, we are including a universal offering from a CIEM company. 1Custom is a brand that is exclusively available at Jaben Singapore and primarily specializes in custom IEMs. However, they have recently expanded their universal IEM lineup.
The entry-level model in this lineup is the 1Custom Jr. It is a triple driver IEM that combines a single dynamic driver for the lows with dual balanced armature drivers for the mids and highs. It also has a dip switch for tuning the IEM, which is similar to the Thieaudio Voyager 3.
In terms of the aesthetics of the shell, you can clearly see the CIEM based design of the 1Custom Jr. There are grooves that should match most ears. This helps in creating a more comfortable experience, as seen on other universal IEMs from CIEM brands like the QDC Neptune.
In terms of the sound signature, the 1Custom Jr., it has a U-shaped signature with thumping bass, smooth treble, and detailed mids. It has good instrument separation and an above-average soundstage.
Despite the U-shaped signature, the mids are incredibly detailed, giving the impression that they are not recessed. Listeners who enjoy vocal-based music would surely be delighted in the 1Custom Jr’s mids.
The thumping bass does not overextend to the mid-range. The dynamic driver allows it to have a good extension and makes low notes full-bodied. Highs, on the other hand, are also well controlled. There are no signs of harshness in this IEM.
The only thing that is not well executed is the dip switch system. There is an included diagram that shows the possible positions and the sound signatures that they can achieve. However, the changes are subtle, unlike other offerings such as the Thieaudio Voyager 3.
Overall, even without the dip switches, the 1Custom Jr. is a solid value IEM. It has a pleasant sound signature and very good technicalities that manages to outclass other similarly priced IEMs.
If you are a fan of a fun sounding sound signature that does not sacrifice the technicalities and detail retrieval, then you should check out the 1Custom Jr. The 1Custom Jr. is an excellent introduction to what they can truly do. If you like what you see with the Jr, make sure to check out their higher-end and CIEM models as well.
The combination of the 1Custom Jr’s excellent tuning and technicalities make it a very competent IEM in the sub 200 USD price range.
The dip switch system only introduces minor changes to the sound. This should not be an issue since the stock sound signature is already great.
Stephen is a musician, cinematographer, and headphone enthusiast who is passionate about reviewing audio equipment. He has been playing guitar for at least a decade, which introduced him to professional recording equipment such as headphones and in-ear monitors. With the help of reviews and online content, he was able to learn the ins and outs of the hobby. His goal is to give back to the community by providing quality content to help others enjoy the beautiful (and expensive) world of audio.
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD660s