Best In-Ear Monitor Systems For Musicians | Top Picks By Budget

Musicians and audiophiles know how hard it is to find an excellent in-ear monitor system at a reasonable price, as this gear tends to be very expensive, especially if you plan on buying multiple transmitters. We’ve researched the options on the market and gathered together this shortlist of the best budget In-Ear monitor system for you to choose from.

Close up of Bono (U2) wearing in-ear monitor during a concert (Image by Todd Poirier)

Although many of these are budget options, they offer excellent quality for the price and should fulfill your studio needs.

We’ve also included some of the best high-end options for musicians that demand a more robust set up for paying gigs and larger venues and bands that need the scalability to add multiple units and coordinate with all the band members on stage as well as some excellent lower-priced entry-level options for musicians on a budget.

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, we suggest you look at this In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System by PyleThis affordable system kicks out very decent sound considering its price tag and comes with a good quality earpiece.

Below, we’ve also provided some recommendations that you can buy with additional receivers, but which also can be purchased with a single receiver if that’s what suits your needs.

In any case, be sure to see our detailed reviews if you’d like a complete set of details about each monitor system.

Budget In-Ear Monitor Systems:

Overall Budget Pick:  

Pyle Audio in Ear Monitor and Receiver System, 100 Pre-Set Selectable Audio Frequency UHF Wireless Monitor System, 2 Combo XLR + 1/4-Inch Audio Input Jack. (PDWMN49)
Pyle Audio in Ear Monitor System (Image: Amazon)

Audio In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System by Pyle

Sound Quality: The sound quality is one of the things that surprise the most from this IEM. You’d think that buying one of the cheaper wireless ear monitor systems wouldn’t guarantee a great sound, but in this case, it does. The issue might surface when it comes to the bass, but the audio tones are right where you need them to be. It’s pretty well-balanced.

Bass: Generally excellent, but during some low-frequency tones, you might notice a bit of a hissing sound in your ears. It could prove to be a bit annoying sometimes, but it’s not an ever-present issue.

Build Quality/Design: Made almost entirely out of plastic, it’s far from being low-quality. Solid all-around IEM and functions just as intended.

Fit/Comfort: These don’t come with any over-ear grip, but they fit well, and you shouldn’t need to replace them with other earbuds anytime soon. They work as intended.

Battery: The batteries on this system seem to last longer than they do on the AWM model by Audio2000. A pair of AA batteries should last you at least 8 hours, but it might even get to 10, depending on the brand.

Pros:

  • Great audio quality. Not only for the price tag, but in general!
  • Wireless range of up to 330 feet.
  • Batteries last longer than the competing IEMs
  • The earphones are solid

Cons:

  • Bass could sound better.
  • The setup might be a bit difficult at first.

Runner Up Budget Pick

AWM6304U Monitor System by Audio2000

Audio2000'S In-Ear Audio Monitor System (AWM6304U)

Audio2000’S In-Ear Audio Monitor System (Image: Amazon

Sound Quality: The sound quality of the AWM is very good for such an affordable monitor system. You’re probably not going to hear any hissing noises when using them as well, which is a great feature to have, considering how common this issue seems to be with most monitor systems.

Bass: A bit too high in some cases, but generally, it sounds excellent. It might not work as intended if your audio frequency is too low, so keep that in mind if you’re going to use this with audio under 130hz.

Build Quality/Design: Nothing too fancy, but does seem relatively durable for the price point.

Fit/Comfort: The included earbuds are honestly nothing out of the ordinary. It comes with sets of generic earbuds that do a job and aren’t very comfortable after an extended time in your ears. We strongly suggest that you get a couple of better quality ones if you intend to buy this system.

Battery:  Runs off AA batteries, not included. 

musicians playing live music
Band playing on stage

Pros:

  • Excellent audio quality with no hissing sound “on the back.”
  • Affordable price compared to other monitor systems on the market.
  • They work well at home as well as at most music stages.

Cons:

  • The bass could be better at lower frequencies.
  • The included earpieces aren’t excellent, and you might want to upgrade by purchasing new ones.

This same model made it as our top budget pick for church IEM systems. If you sing or perform in a church setting, you may want to look at these top picks; apart from this cheaper option, we’ve selected some from a slightly higher price range.

RW2080 In-Ear Monitor System by Xtuga

Xtuga RW2080 in Ear Monitor System 2 Channel 2/4/6/8/10 Bodypack Monitoring with in Earphone Wireless SR2050 Type! (Only one bodypack)
Xtuga RW2080 in Ear Monitor System (Image: Amazon)

Please note, this system is sold individually, with the wireless Bodypack and Transmitter sold separately.

Sound Quality: Although the sound quality is very good and balanced, some hissing issues might present themselves at times. There’s also a built-in limiter that can’t be turned off, but if you intend to use it, then this might be what you’re looking for! 

Bass: Not out of this world. It’s acceptable, but others sound better. In any case, we strongly suggest you get some dual-driver earbuds as this will assuredly improve the quality of the sound!

Build Quality/Design: Very well built and could be the best-looking item out of the three we’re reviewing today. It’s pretty sturdy and does what it’s supposed to.

Fit/Comfort: They aren’t exactly comfy, but they are well designed as in-ear earbuds, and they work as intended. You could get a better set if you’d like – there are some cheap headphone options out there, which could work very well with this monitor system.

Battery: Although the battery life is excellent, the other we reviewed will last longer. A regular set of AA batteries should make this monitor system work for around 5 hours.

Pros:

  • Works as intended and shouldn’t cause you too much trouble when setting everything up.
  • Excellent sound can be improved by getting some new earbuds

Cons:

  • You might need to purchase better earpieces if you want to get the best out of this system.

Best Pick for Drummers

Shure P3TR112GR PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System 

Shure P3TR112GR PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System with SE112-GR Earphones, J13
Shure PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System (Image: Amazon)

Sound Quality: If you’ve never owned a high-quality monitor system, you’ll instantly notice the difference as soon as you use this device for the first time. Sounds are incredibly crisp, and the noise-canceling headphones complement them. Shure is a well-known maker of high-end microphones and audio electronics.

The kit includes rack mount and hardware, antenna, BNC bulkhead adapter and cable as well as the power supply, 2 AA batteries, zipper bag, and user guide. The included SE112 earbuds do a good job with sound isolating due to its dynamic micro driver.  You can read more about the benefits of owning a top-quality Shure monitor system here.

Bass: Just like the sound the bass of this in-ear system is great. It can reproduce the balanced sounds just as intended, which is a massive plus as you won’t need to get new to take full advantage.

Build Quality/Design: As you would expect from a high-quality system, this is built to last. It shouldn’t break down quickly by any means. The design is slick and doesn’t feel overloaded with unnecessary additions; it has everything you need you to configure your in-ear system swiftly.

Fit/Comfort: These in-ear buds don’t feel intrusive at all. This is something complicated to achieve with these types of headphone designs, and Shure does it very well.

Battery: Uses a simple pair of AA batteries, which should last for quite some time if you turn off the device between jamming sessions.

Pros:

  • Amazing balanced audio sound 
  • Comes with in-ear headphones capable of reproducing crisp audio

Cons:

  • Although durable, is made out of plastic instead of metal
  • Doesn’t include rechargeable batteries

Looking for more info about this (visit Shure Website)?

Best Pick for Guitar Players

Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System

Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System with SE215-CL Earphones, J13
Shure P3TRA215CL Wireless Stereo Personal Monitor System with SE215-CL Earphones (Image: Amazon)

Sound Quality: This monitor system might be a tad more expensive than the last Shure IEM we reviewed, but its audiophile sound is even better. You’ll hear no interference while playing instruments, and the volume is incredible. It’s especially good for guitar players and lead vocals, as the sound quality will help them improve their performance level. This system also comes with Shure’s SE215-CL sound isolating earbuds, a cousin of the SE215-K  that made it on our list of best earbuds under $100.

Build Quality/Design: The system is built to last. Everything feels sturdy – especially the system itself. It feels like this could almost literally outlive most bands! The design is straightforward but pleasant to look at, as is the case with most Shure products.

Fit/Comfort: Easy to carry, which makes the system very practical. Even if you don’t replace them, the ones included with your purchase are decent.

Battery: The bodypack drains life very quickly. You should be ready to replace them soon. It is recommended that you buy a couple of pairs of rechargeable batteries before you start jamming.

Are you having trouble figuring out how to use your in-ear monitor system? Don’t panic; it’s easier than you think.

Pros:

  • Clean and high-quality audio
  • Lightweight system
  • One of the best in-ear monitor systems for guitar players

Cons:

  • You might want to get new headphones
  • The bodypack eats batteries very quickly

VocoPro IN-EAR BAND Professional PLL Wireless In-Ear Monitor

VocoPro SILENTPA-IN-EAR-BAND Professional PLL Wireless In-Ear Monitor Package with Stationary Transmitter
VocoPro Pro In-Ear Monitor Package (Image: Amazon)

Sound Quality: It offers one of the best sound qualities that you can find in any wireless monitors system on the market. The sound passes through the receiver on to the headphones without causing any interference. Instruments sound clean and crisp, even with the default headphones.

Bass: Just like it happens with most of these monitor systems, the headphones don’t offer much bass. The system is capable of transmitting it, but you might want to get a new set of headphones to go along with your purchase. You’ll be thankful that you did – it will sound much better.

Build Quality/Design: Comes with four different receivers, all of which feels very well built. It’s also designed to be used in many ways, not only as a monitor system. You could use this as a remote to power speakers thanks to the system’s dedicated audio outputs.

Fit/Comfort: One of the best features of this is that you can move around freely without having to worry about signal loss. The receivers are also small and lightweight, which makes them easy to carry and comfortable fit for most ears.

Battery: You need a couple of AA batteries, but these come included with your purchase. You might still need to buy rechargeable ones, as they tend to drain pretty quickly.

Short on cash? There’s new software that lets you turn your phone into an in-ear monitor system.

Pros:

  • You can move around freely while playing without suffering signal lose
  • It can be used for many different purposes
  • Outstanding sound
  • Includes four receivers

Cons:

  • Consumes battery pretty quickly
  • LED lights aren’t of the best and could break down relatively soon

Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3-A-US in-ear monitor

Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3-A-US in ear monitor EW system
Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3-A-US in-ear monitor system (Image: Amazon)

Sound Quality: The audiophile sound quality of this device makes musicians enjoying playing music more than ever. The included earphones are not great, using a quality pair (like the Shure 215s mentioned above) will improve your overall experience with this monitor.

Bass: This system’s balanced bass is well-made and also complemented by its stable features. You can set the monitor system to stereo/focus mode, good bass response depending on the type of live music you play.

Build Quality/Design: Comes with plenty of customization options and works very well. These are durable, sturdy, and the design is entirely user-friendly.

Fit/Comfort: As it happens with most of the ones we’ve reviewed, the receivers are very lightweight and easy to carry.

Battery: Uses two AA batteries.

Did you know? P!NK uses Sennheiser equipment in her gigs.

Pros:

  • Enjoyable sound
  • Easy and pretty straightforward setup

Cons:

  • It doesn’t connect well with other Sennheiser instruments

The system itself is pretty heavy

 

If you are a budding musician or small band getting started, it’s understandable that you may be able to invest in a professional in-ear monitor system or maybe can’t justify the price if you are not playing regular gigs or in the recording studio. Hopefully, our research and this brief overview, along with our three picks for decent and affordable IEM systems, will help you make your purchase decision.

Traditional in-ear monitors (Image Credit commons.wikimedia)

While professional audiophile equipment can sell for thousands of dollars on custom ear monitors, you can still get good studio sound and stable audio connections out of these more reasonably priced systems. This price range is also a good stepping stone before upgrading to a higher-priced IEM system. We’ve eliminated some of the very cheap options on the market since we didn’t feel the sound quality was up to par.

closeup of IEM
In-ear Monitor with triple flange earbud. (Image Credit: wikipedia.org)

These systems we selected have a balance of price, comfort, sound, and overall audio quality in a price range that we feel is affordable, given the wide range of systems on the market.

64 Audio A12 Custom In-Ear Monitors (Image Credit commons.wikimedia.org)

You may be interested in this article about why IEMs sometimes fail, forcing singers to remove their earpieces mid-performance. 

At very loud venues musicians may want to consider earplugs (if you only wear IEM in one ear when playing live music).

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