M-Audio IE-30 Professional Reference Earphones

Reference earphones for music makers on the move

We were a little taken aback to hear that M-Audio were launching a range of 'reference earphones', but in retrospect, it seems like a perfectly logical step for them to take.

The IE series neatly complements the company's portable audio interfaces and keyboards – if people are going to make music on the go, it follows that they're going to need something to monitor it through.

The IE-30s sit at the top of the range, with the cheaper IE-20 XBs and IE-10s also available. Designed for recording/ production work and live performance, they feature high- and low-frequency armature drivers and dual-driver crossover for "accurate audio separation".

Despite the inclusion of a Universal Fit Kit and a step-by-step guide, some of us found it rather difficult to correctly sit the IE-30s in our ears.

Once they're in, however, these 'phones sound terrific, offering far greater clarity than any other in-ear models we've tested. They won't replace your speakers, but if you want high-quality monitoring anywhere – or just a first-class set of earphones to plug into your portable audio player – the IE-30s deliver.

All we would say is that you should try before you buy, as you may decide that the 'insertion' process is simply too much to bear.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars

First class audio clarity.


Some problems with comfortable insertion.


The best sound clarity we've heard from an in-ear set, but may not fit everyone.

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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