Dec 21, 2018

What is the difference between IEMs and earphones?

It might sound stupid, but from my musician background, IEMs are specifically for professional monitoring purposes, not for music listening. In my head IEMs are to earphones what monitor speakers are to hi-fi speakers. Is this valid? Because monitor speakers (or reference speakers) differ vastly from hi-fi ones, and you get a lot of ear fatigue from monitors. Is this the same with IEMs, or the definition just kind of changed?
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IEM's originally came about as a replacement for speaker based stage monitors. At this point it's pretty much used to signify you stick them in your ear canal not just outside. On the speaker front I've seen a lot of shite monitors. I wouldn't get caught on the terminology used in either IEM's vs. Earphones or "Monitors" vs "Hifi speakers". Abbey Road Studios uses B&W 800 series towers, that a professional setting with a "hifi" speaker. Tons of users on this site have little powered "monitors" sitting on their desk enjoying music and not creating it.