How to Choose the Best IEM for Gaming?

If you are a gamer and want to choose the best IEM for your gaming you are in the right place! Our guide to the best gaming in-ear monitors (IEMs) of 2024 is perfect for gamers of all levels.

What are gaming IEMs?

iems for gaming

In-ear monitors are a type of earphone that fits inside the ear canal and is sealed using silicone or foam ear tips. The in-ear design offers excellent noise isolation, blocking out external sounds for an immersive listening experience.

Many IEMs are also designed specifically for gaming, including features like surround sound, gaming mode for low latency, and a built-in boom mic for voice chat.

However, gaming IEMs have not become as popular as gaming earbuds, especially gaming headsets. If you search for gaming headsets online, you’ll find tons of reviews, recommendations, and options.

In contrast, there are good gaming IEMs out there, but they only offer about a tenth of the selection. Simply put, the scope for gaming IEMs is non-existent and this may be a direct reflection of the gaming audio market as a whole.

That hasn’t stopped some of the biggest names in gaming audio from releasing gaming IEMs, with brands like Razer, HyperX, and EPOS offering gaming-focused IEM models.

How to choose the best IEM for Gaming?

What are gaming IEMs

When looking at the gaming audio product space, the focus is often on headphones and headsets, while earphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs) are often overlooked.

Major gaming brands like Logitech and Razer often promote the idea that larger-designed headphones provide superior sound for gaming.

The rationale behind this view is that larger products allow for more features to be integrated, allowing these brands to command higher prices compared to gaming IEMs.

However, the demand for IEMs in the gaming community continues, and if you’re looking at this guide, it’s likely for one of four main reasons: portability, isolation, and latency.

1. Isolation

A notable advantage of using IEMs for gaming is their impressive isolation capabilities. IEMs are excellent at blocking outside noise by entering and sealing the ear canal, surpassing the noise-blocking capabilities of headphones.

In professional esports, we see players wearing earphones underneath their headphones to maximize noise isolation so they can focus solely on game audio and communication with teammates.

2. Portability

Gaming headsets are logical for a PC or console setup, but the dynamics are different when gaming on the go. Although you can technically wear the HyperX Cloud headphones outdoors, the gaming IEMs offer the convenience of slipping easily into a shirt or jacket pocket, making them a more practical choice for mobile gaming sessions.

3. Delay time

For discerning gamers, wired IEMs are preferred due to their optimal latency compared to the wireless alternatives popularized by mainstream audio brands.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, latency refers to the delay between in-game actions and the corresponding sound effects played through your speakers or headphones.

While this may not be an issue for most game genres, players in competitive shooters prioritize minimizing latency to fully perceive the game. Likewise, in music and rhythm games, minimal latency is essential to prevent the game from becoming truly unplayable.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Gaming IEMs?

How to Choose In Ear monitors

For many gamers, IEMs offer advantages over bulky gaming headsets. The small and lightweight size makes the IEM highly portable and ideal for mobile gaming.

Noise cancellation lets you focus on game audio even in noisy environments. IEMs also take up very little space, making them great for gaming in tight spaces or on the go.

Many products include a detachable boom microphone to enable clear voice communication for multiplayer.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to choosing IEMs over headphones for gaming purposes. Closed designs lack the wide, open soundstage that many gaming headphones offer.

This can limit the ability to accurately pinpoint directional audio signals in games such as first-person shooters. The audio signature of IEMs tends to be more neutral compared to the boosted bass and vibrant highs of gaming headsets.

This may make the sound duller and less exciting for some gamers.

When comparing IEMs to dedicated gaming headphones, both have their advantages. Large over-ear headphones surround your ears with large audio drivers, producing a wide dynamic range and clear positional audio.

This is perfect for experiencing the game’s fully immersive soundscape.

Headphones made specifically for gaming fine-tune their sound signature to emphasize important in-game frequencies like footsteps or reloading sounds.

IEMs, on the other hand, are an excellent choice for certain gaming scenarios due to their superb noise isolation and portability. If you primarily game on the go using your Nintendo Switch or phone, IEMs are much more practical and offer better listening privacy.

For voice chat-based team multiplayer games, many IEMs now integrate high-quality boom mics and game-optimized controls to balance game and chat audio.

Ultimately, choosing between IEMs and gaming headphones comes down to considering your priorities. If an immersive soundstage and customizable gaming audio are most important to you, over-ear headphones are a better choice.

But if you value mobility, voice chat clarity, and noise isolation over an expansive movie experience, today’s gaming IEMs can deliver.

Are more expensive in-ear monitors better for gaming?

How to choose iem for gaming reddit

All IEMs are equal in terms of functionality. Of course, resolution is a different story and largely depends on driver type and price.

The advantage is that you can get it cheaper and still get a good gaming experience. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to spend extra money or not.

Should I Buy IEMs for Gaming?

Everyone’s preferences will vary, but this gives you a broad overview of the gaming IEM landscape. There are now a variety of choices designed to deliver an optimized gaming audio experience in a highly portable format.

Carefully select the IEM model features that fit your specific gaming needs.

Why Do Pro Gamers Use IEMs?

Many professional gamers choose IEMs to achieve a focused sound that effectively minimizes external noise during live events. Due to their ear-sealing design, IEMs typically provide superior isolation compared to over-ear headsets.

Interestingly, professional gamers are often seen wearing headsets over IEMs for three main purposes: First, it physically covers the entire ear, enhancing isolation.

Secondly, the headset is great for team communication thanks to its clearer microphone. Lastly, the headphones’ reputation makes them an excellent advertising tool for gaming brand sponsors.


In the end, whether you’re jet-setting the gaming realm or just love your personal gaming audio bubble, IEMs designed for gaming are your gaming sidekick.

But if comfort and full gaming audio acceptance are important to you, gaming headphones could be your gaming audio soulmate. So what are your gaming choices? Try both and let your gaming ears decide!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top