Audiophiles talk incessantly about sound stages, resolution, detail retrieval – all well and good, but today we’re taking a dive into the hedonistic basics by getting into the best bass heavy IEM’s for a good old brain-shaking listen. We’ll be covering a range of price points to make sure there’s something here for everyone. Let’s see what we got.
Under $100: QKZ x HBB Khan
The QKZ x HBB Khan isn’t just one of the best bass heavy IEM’s you can get for under $100; it’s simply one of the best IEM’s in this price tier. While a lot of cheaper bass heavy IEM’s miss out on decent low-end and mid range separation due to swollen high bass tunings, the QKZ x HBB Khan packs a punch in its mid bass, leaving everything from high ba ss to high mids with a flat and natural presentation. Kick drums push through mixes with the slamming excitement you want from a bassy IEM without imparting a dark character on the overall balance. The Khan offers awesome dynamics with its punchy bass popping out of its pleasantly standard Harman-like tuning, and should be a top option for the value-hunting audiophile.
Purchase or read more about the QKZ x HBB Khan here.
Under $250: Final Audio E5000
Okay, I’m cheating a little since the E5000 comes in just a few bucks over $250, but I nonetheless think it deserves this spot. The Final Audio E5000 has been out for a few years, but receives high praise for it’s bass-focused signature and ethereal sound stage. The E5000 is a warm IEM with a creative and darkly-colorful balance. Subs, mid bass, and high bass alike come front and center, providing a smooth and velvety texture that defines the E5000’s overall signature. Though its upper frequencies are light in amplitude relative to the rest of its balance, the Final Audio E5000 exhibits a high frequency performance of IEMs multiples of its price by providing ample detail and resolution within its gentle treble.
You’ll also find delight with its airy and floaty imaging that encompasses and pushes out beyond a listener’s head, as well as its simple and comfortable fit as a result of it “bullet” shaped physical design. If you want an IEM that goes beyond power and dares to get creative and artsy with its low end and staging, the Final Audio E5000 is a pleasant option.
Purchase or read more about the Final Audio E5000 here.
Under $500: iKKO Asgard OH5
The OH5 is a bit of an oddball, from its industrial design, to its distinct triangular shape, to being the first IEM in the world to feature a lithium diaphragm in its dynamic driver. The OH5 is an intense in-ear monitor with a full and rich “forward everything” kind of sound: rumbling subs, punching mid bass, warm high bass, and a rich mid range. Its bombastic balance pairs with a fluid and intimate felt-on-the-face stage that serves to heighten its aggressive character. I’ve included the Asgard OH5 on all sorts of lists, and it ranks as a personal favorite of mine in this mid-level price tier (and beyond). If you want a booming IEM with a real one-of-a-kind character, the Asgard OH5 from iKKO delivers.
Purchase or read more about the iKKO Asgard OH5 here.
Under $1000: Sennheiser IE 600
If you’re okay with an IEM that’s as bright as it is bassy, the IE 600 from Sennheiser is one of the absolute best IEMs you can get under $1000 for more than a few reasons. Released just a little over a year ago, the IE 600 has built quite the reputation for itself from reviewers, audiophiles, and everyday listener’s alike. Though “V-shaped” signatures (emphasized lows and highs with recessed mids) may have small stigmas attached to them in certain audiophile circles, the IE 600 sets a standard in doing it right. The tight and twangy treble of hi-hats land in sharp contrast against a back drop of utterly thunderous, sub-bass bolstered kick drums and bass lines. The IE 600 also wins major points for its highly accurate and articulate imaging and immersive staging. Also, a little secret: the IE 600 gets you surprisingly close to the performance of the top-of-the-line IE 900 at just about half its price. With its clean and exciting balance, superb spatial character, and highly durable metallic build, the IE 600 is a (moderately) affordable bass heavy IEM that can get you end game quality for less than $1000.
Purchase or read more about the Sennheiser IE 600 here.
FiR Audio In-Ear Monitors ($2300 – $3900)
Yup, every IEM in the New Frontier Series from FiR Audio – as well as the limited edition Radon 6 – qualifies as a top-of-the-line IEM for bass heads. FiR developed a proprietary technical design they call Kinetic Bass that gives their in-ear monitors a physically felt wallop. Most IEMs struggle to produce truly realistic deep-bass frequencies as they’re directing their sound waves straight down a listener’s ear canal. FiR opens up the chamber side of their IEMs to expose a 10mm dynamic driver, which blasts bass towards ear cartilage and the sides of a listener’s head, in turn giving a more realistic presentation of bass frequencies as they would be heard from speaker monitors. The most affordable IEM from their New Frontier series is the Neon 4 at $2300, followed by the Krypton 5 at $3000, and finally the Xenon 6 at $3900. The closely related limited-edition cousin to these IEM’s is the FiR Radon 6 at $3300, and happens to be my personal favorite of the four IEM’s in this group.
“Shut up and tell me which one is the bassiest.” Easy answer: The Xenon 6, which may be the most ludicrously bassy IEM I have ever gotten to listen with, and is likely the most bass heavy IEM on this list.
Purchase or read more about FiR Audio’s in-ear monitors here.
Empire Ears Legend Evo ($3099)
It’s great to see an IEM include a dedicated subwoofer for its low end. It takes a different breed of IEM like the Empire Ears Legend Evo to bring things one step further with a bone conductor driver. If you’re a bass head but haven’t been made aware of bone conduction before, you’re in for a treat. While virtually all IEM drivers rely on air conduction to vibrate the eardrum and in turn send vibrations to the auditory nerve, a bone conduction driver bypasses the eardrum and instead shoots its vibrations across the ossicles – bones in our inner ear. This method of audio transmission results in expanding our hearing range below 20 Hz (and above 20 kHz, for that matter) and delivers sub bass in a way that is, very literally, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. The Legend Evo from Empire Ears is nothing short of being an absolute cannon that sends its deepest frequencies rippling along your skull and through your brain. My first time listening with the Legend Evo, I was as unnerved as I was excited by feeling my jaw muscle vibrate from the sheer power of its Weapon X bone conduction. The highly tactile intensity of this IEM’s deepest frequencies makes for an addictively powerful listening experience that never grows old.
Purchase or read more about the Empire Ears Legend Evo here.
Kinera Imperial Loki ($3099)
Kinera built a respectable reputation from offering high quality IEMs at moderately affordable price points, so it was a bit of a surprise when they dropped their new $3100 flagship IEM, The Kinera Imperial Loki, in the middle of 2023. Unsurprising, however, is that the Imperial Loki walks the walk to back up its intimidating price tag. The Loki sports a bone conduction driver similar to the one in the Legend Evo, though to somewhat more subtle effect. Instead, the Loki finds a spot on this list for not only blasting a listener’s head with subs bass, but also showcasing incredibly exposing levels of detail within low end timbres. It’s worth noting that the Loki is about as intense in its uppermost frequencies as it is in its lowest. So while it may not be for the bass heads who are also sensitive to treble, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a thoroughly intense and a detail-laden listen.
Purchase or read more about the Kinera Imperial Loki here.