Difference Between Earphones, Earbuds and IEMs (In-Ear Monitors)

How frustrating is it to search for one thing yet another thing shows up - not the thing you're looking for, quite similar, but not the same? Or be fed with questionable information in the form of satire? That's why this article is necessary to appeal to audio gear vendors to please get things right.

Audiophiles know better than to interchange terms when describing stuff. A pure audiophile would forget your existence if you dare describe an IEM an earbud! I mean, I would, and I'm not even a purified audiophile! As a non-purified audiophile with vast knowledge of souwnd sciense, I will try my best to differentiate and encourage everyone, vendors and consumers alike, to use the correct product terms when talking, recommending, buying and selling headphones/earphones. A good way to illustrate my point is by using sanitary products as a comparison; open your mind and use your imagination:

Earphones - sanitary products
Earbuds - sanitary pads; put on not inserted
IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) - tampons; inserted
In-Ear Headphones - no; stop complicating things

Headphones - diapers; bigger than pads; more features

When buying earphones gets complicated, please, think of this image:

difference between earphones, earbuds and iems

» «