Universal v. Custom IEMs

Comparing Universal and Custom In-Ear Monitors

"Drew, should I get custom or universal IEMs?" We get this question all of the time.

The truth is, while there are no differences in the sound specs between universal and custom IEMs, there are differences in terms of fit and comfort.

Universal IEMs

Many people choose universal IEMs when first entering the high end audio world. Universal in ear monitors can often be an easy and generally more affordable way to get your hifi music. There is also a shorter wait time for universal IEMs because they are ready to ship.

However, with universal IEMs you can not get that fit custom IEMs offer and you often do not get the noise isolation you may be looking for.

Comfort from universal IEMs generally stem from the tip material and size. JH Audio universal IEMs have foam tips that come in multiple sizes to custom fit your ear.

We tend to suggest universal IEMs to those who want a more affordable IEM solution or to those in an office environment where you want to separate yourself from your fellow employees but still need to be able to hear if others are talking to you.


  • More affordable
  • Ready to ship
  • Easy to buy


  • Less noise isolation
  • Tips need to be cleaned and replaced

Custom IEMs

People tend to be more hesitant to buy custom IEMs due to commitment. Custom IEMs can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to ship because the IEMs are custom molded to fit your ear canal.

The benefits of CIEMs are incredible, though. The custom mold of the IEMs is sealed to your ears, creating amazing noise isolation. This means you can turn down the music because you are not having to overcome outside sound interference.

Another benefit of the fit is that CIEMs do not slip out of your ear. This means you can move all you want and they will not fall out.

Custom IEMs are great for many different people. We suggest using CIEMs when working out, cutting the lawn, traveling on planes, trains or subways, or if you just need to cut off from the world and concentrate.


  • Amazing noise isolation
  • No slip
  • Incredible comfort
  • Easy to clean


  • 4-6 week turnaround
  • More involved ordering process

Learn how to order CIEMs

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