5 Best Earbuds For Music Production (Ranked)

Last updated:
Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
  • Just like headphones, there are earbuds suitable for music production
  • Many earbuds can be used for monitoring, mixing, and recording
  • We’ve compiled a list of earbuds suitable for casual or pro music producers
  • Also, check out our post on the best music-making apps for iPhone & iPad

Every musician needs a great monitoring system in or over ears, whether in the studio or on the stage.

IEM or in-ear monitors are great tools that allow you to eliminate the discomfort caused by ill-fitting headphones squashing your skull.

There are many earbud models with different prices and qualities as personal monitoring systems for music production and live performances.

They allow you to protect your ears, hear every detail of your sound, control your mix, and play to a ‘click’ while delivering the highest-quality and flattest sound possible.

What Are The Best Earbuds For Music Production?

Our best-recommended earbuds for music production is Audio-Technica ATH-E70, which shines with its outstanding sound quality and balanced, accurate sound stage with 3 different drivers.

Our budget pick, Etymotic Research ER3SE, holds an excellent value for the price offered, thanks to its cost-effective design. 

If you’re after the most professional earbuds for serious music production or live-stage use, then the Shure SE846 earbuds are the way to go, as it is considered to have the best sonic performance by many audiophiles.

Here are five of the best earbuds for recording music, monitoring, and mixing to immediately start your music production journey.

  1. Audio-Technica ATH-E70 (Our Pick)
  2. Etymotic Research ER3SE (Best Budget)
  3. Shure SE846 (Best Premium)
  4. Sennheiser Pro Audio IE 40 PRO (Best Comfort)
  5. Shure SE215 PRO

1. Audio-Technica ATH-E70 (Our Pick)

Our Pick
Audio-Technica ATH-E70

Audio-Technica ATH-E70 in-ear monitor headphones deliver incredibly accurate, high-resolution response across the entire frequency spectrum, thanks to a trio of balanced armature drivers.

Why We Love It:
  • Fantastic sound clarity with a neutral response
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Three separate drivers for lows/mids/highs
View Price On Sweetwater View Price on Guitar Center

With triple driver earbuds, lightweight and comfortable design, and flat and clear sound, these premium-quality earbuds are serious competitors to headphones in the studio.

Overview

Audio-Technica ATH-E70 is a premium-quality pair of studio earbuds.

Its unique triple-driver design delivers great clarity and sound with a flat frequency response for critical listening in the studio or on the stage. The flagship model has everything you need for music production.

Key Features:

  • Three balanced armature drivers provide neutral and accurate sound
  • Wide frequency range; 20Hz – 19 kHz and 39 ohms impedance
  • Comfortable and lightweight design with detachable cable
  • Good sound isolation

Review

Our top pick is Audio-Technica ATH-E70, the flagship studio earbud model of the famous brand.

The premium quality IEM (in-ear monitor) is an ideal choice to use in the studio for music production as well as using on the stage for monitoring.

It comes with a triple-driver earpiece for balanced audio reproduction for neutral and flat sound. The sound quality is outstanding, along with a balanced and accurate sound stage.

The unit weighs only 9 grams and is highly comfortable with silicone ear tips. If you want more sound isolation, you can use the Comply foam ear tips.

The unit also has flexible memory cable loops for ease of use, custom fit, and long-wearing comfort.

Overall, they are some of the best earbuds for recording music or mixing, but quality comes at a price.

Pros

  • Exceptional sonic performance with clear and neutral sound
  • Impressively accurate sound stage
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Great construction
  • Easy-to-use flexible memory cable

Cons

  • Slightly pricey

2. Etymotic Research ER3SE (Best Budget)

Best Budget
Etymotic Research ER3SE

Flat frequency response, cost-effective design, and a detachable cable. The Etymotic Research ER3SE is a great pair of studio earbuds at an affordable price.

Why We Love It:
  • Highly accurate sound signature with clarity
  • Flat frequency response
  • Detachable cable
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Amazon

Flat frequency response, cost-effective design, detachable cable… a great pair of studio earbuds at an affordable price.

Overview

Etymotic Research ER3SE offers great value for the price, thanks to its high sonic performance with honest, accurate, and neutral sound signature with fantastic clarity.

Plus, it comes with many accessories, a detachable cable, different-sized ear tips, and a carry case.

Key Features:

  • 20Hz to 16 kHz frequency response range and 22 ohms impedance
  • Pure flat response sound signature
  • Detachable cable and handy accessory bundle
  • Good 35 dB to 42 dB of external sound isolation

Review

Etymotic Research ER3SE is a relatively affordable pair of studio earphones ideal for entry-level music production and monitoring.

Their high-performance, balanced-armature micro drivers provide a highly accurate sound signature with amazing clarity.

The frequency response range is 20 Hz to 16 kHz, which is a drawback as most studio earphones go up to 20 kHz, but this would be a dealbreaker only for professionals.

The studio earphones offer great value for the price for most music producers who want an affordable studio, in-ear monitor.

They have 35 dB to 42 dB of external noise isolation, a pure flat response sound signature, and a great accessory bundle, including a filter removal tool and replacement filters, assorted ear tips, a carry pouch, and a shirt clip.

These earphones are not for electronic music lovers as the bass reproduction is not the best in radically low frequencies. Electronic music producers will have to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Great value for the price
  • Accurate sound reproduction with amazing clarity
  • Detachable cable
  • Includes many accessories such as extra ear tips, and a carry case 

Cons

  • Frequency response range only up to 16 kHz
  • Not the best bass response

3. Shure SE846 (Best Premium)

Best Premium
Shure SE846-CL
$719.00

The Shure SE846 sound-isolating quad-driver earphones feature a state-of-the-art design with four balanced-armature high-definition MicroDrivers.

Why We Love It:
  • Superb sound quality with quadruple high-res drivers
  • Extremely precise sound reproduction
  • Considered the best audiophile-grade earbuds
View Price On Guitar Center View Price On Amazon

With outstanding clarity, impressive detail, and top-quality neutral sound reproduction, these high-end professional earbuds are best-in-class and are some of the most capable earphones.

Overview

Shure SE846s are considered the best studio earbuds by most professionals and audiophiles. They provide an extremely precise and clear sound stage and reproduction with top-quality sound with their quadruple high-res drivers.

If you are after the best of the best sound possible, Shure SE846 is the way to go. 

Key Features:

  • Superb sound with quadruple high-definition balanced armature  
  • Wide frequency range, 15Hz – 20kHz, and extremely low impedance, 9 ohms
  • Excellent noise isolation up to 37 dB
  • Great accessory pack with three sizes of ear tips and a carry case

Review

If you are serious about music production and want to have the best studio earbuds possible, Shure SE846 is ideal.

Its quadruple high-definition balanced armature drivers provide impeccable sonic performance, and an amazing sound stage, delivering superb sound quality with a wide and flat frequency response range perfect for studio monitoring.

Furthermore, it provides top-class sound quality with extremely precise sound reproduction for critical listening, mixing, and recording.

That is why most audiophiles consider these the best-sounding earphones.

The unit comes with a handy accessory bundle, including three ear tips of different sizes, a carry case, a 1/4” adapter, a fit kit with a wide selection of sleeves, and a nozzle removal tool with changeable inserts for frequency response adjustments.

Finally, it also has an outstanding noise isolation system that works up to 37 dB. Although it is one of the most pricey earbuds, it is the best choice for recording music, monitoring, or music production for professionals.

Pros

  • Top-class sound quality with extremely precise sound stage
  • Great noise isolation
  • Handy accessory bundle
  • Plenty of customization options

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • Not the best looks

4. Sennheiser Pro Audio IE 40 PRO (Best Comfort)

Best Comfort
Sennheiser Pro Audio IE 40 PRO

Dynamic in-ear monitoring headphones with precise sound at both low and high sound pressure levels - the IE 40 PRO's are affordable earbuds from an extremely reliable brand.

Why We Love It:
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Great value for the price
  • Balanced and articulate sound
View Price On Amazon

Affordable earbuds by one of the most reliable brands with balanced and articulated sound and fantastic comfort and fit.

Overview

Sennheiser Pro Audio IE 40 PROs are one of the most comfortable studio earphone models.

It shines with its balanced and natural sound, single-wide band dynamic drivers, medium-sized in-ear module, quickly replaceable tips, and sonic versatility. 

Key Features:

  • High comfort with the ergonomic earmold 
  • Balanced sound with 20 Hz to 18 kHz frequency response and 28 ohms impedance
  • Three different size foam ear adapters

Review

Sennheiser Pro Audio IE 40 PROs are one of the most comfortable studio earphones that can fit decently to any size ear.

Its ergonomic ear mold provides high comfort, while the package includes three different-sized ear adapters for different ear sizes.

The sonic performance of the earbuds is pretty good, with a balanced and richly articulated sound that has 20 Hz to 18 kHz frequency response and 28 ohms impedance.

The single-wide band dynamic drivers deliver a good performance for either live, monitor, or simply everyday listening duties. 

The low ends are punchy but not overwhelming, while the mids and highs are articulated and rich. They are slightly bright on higher volumes, but it is not an issue.

The earbuds are also pretty affordable for professional studio earphones. We really liked the design and performance of these earphones, as the only real drawback is the short cable length.

Besides that, they are ideal for basic and semi-pro music production.

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Natural, balanced sound
  • Great value for the price
  • Detachable cable

Cons

  • A bit too bright on the high end
  • Short cable

5. Shure SE215 PRO (Best All-Rounder)

Best All-Rounder
Shure SE215-CL Pro

Shure SE215 PRO Professional Sound Isolating Earphones provide clear sound and deep bass through a single, high-definition driver.

Why We Love It:
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Outstanding noise isolation
  • Affordable price
View Price on Sweetwater View Price on Amazon

Versatile pair of studio earphones for different uses with outstanding sound isolation, thickened detachable cable, secure over-the-ear design, clear sound, deep bass through a single high-definition driver, and great accessory kit.

Overview

Shure SE215 PRO is a highly versatile pair of earphones with a feature-packed design, allowing you to use it in the studio for monitoring, music production, and casual music listening outside the studio.

Key Features:

  • Impressive noise isolation up to 37 dB
  • Decent frequency response range of  22 Hz to 17,5 kHz and 20 Ohms impedance level
  • High-quality Shure construction with detachable cable
  • Great accessory bundle with a variety of sleeves for the perfect fit

Review

Shure SE215 PRO is the ideal choice for musicians looking for a versatile pair of wired earbuds to use in the studio and outside for music listening. It features high-level noise isolation of up to 37 dB, which takes you to another world.

The frequency range is decent, from 22 Hz to 17,5 kHz, enough for entry-level music production and monitoring. The sound quality is impressive, as we would expect from Shure.

The bass response is excellent, making these earphones perfect for electronic music producers or simply listening to electronic music. The highs and mids are rich and sound pretty balanced.

Finally, the earbuds come with a nice accessory pack, including various sleeves for the perfect fit, a detachable 3.5 mm cable, a 1/4” adapter, and a carrying case.

Shure SE215 PRO may not have the widest frequency response range or the most powerful sound as it only features single drivers, but it is one of the greatest earphones for the price to use in any setting.

Pros

  • Balanced and flat sound with great bass frequencies
  • Versatile performance for studio and outside use
  • Great value for the price
  • Nice accessory bundle
  • Outstanding noise isolation

Cons

  • Not the widest frequency response range
  • Single driver design

FAQs

Can You Use Earbuds For Music Production?

Professional-grade earbuds are good choices for music production, as they are comfortable, reproduce the audio well, and are highly portable.

Headphones have bigger and better drivers, performing better sonically, but top-level earbuds are great rivals for headphones.

You can use in-ear monitor earbuds for monitoring, mixing, and mastering, as they feature flat and natural sound in all frequency ranges.

These earphones will provide great performance for critical listening, allowing you to have honest sound for mixing and recording.

But, wireless earbuds are not recommended for studios as they have latency and data compression. Wireless earbuds are highly comfortable and ideal for casual music listening or monitoring but not for music production.

Even the best Bluetooth earbuds for music production are not enough for professional use.

What To Look For When Buying Earbuds For Music Production?

When buying studio-grade earbuds, you should look for good drivers, flat and wide frequency response, comfortable fit, noise isolation, and price.

For monitoring, noise isolation and balanced sound are more important, while for mixing sound quality, flat and wide frequency response and drivers are crucial.

Wireless earbuds are not recommended, as even the best wireless earbuds for music production suffer from latency and data compression.

Before you go, check out our guide on Wireless vs Bluetooth Headphones!