It is not easy to develop a comfortable, stage-suitable in-ear monitor system with a high sound level that is universally applicable. Nevertheless, there is nothing to complain about in the InEar SD-5. The flagship of the StageDiver series has a high price but is still recommended as a very high quality, uncompromising all-rounder for professional use, which also has great hi-fi qualities.
The top-of-the-line StageDiver SD-5 series comes with five drivers per side, offering an excellent seated fit, high isolation and huge output. At the same time, the Hessian manufacturer InEar has created an impressive monitoring system for the stage, which is both elegant and powerful.
The housing of the in-ear system is ergonomically adapted to the auricle and fits like a glove, making it comfortable to wear. This is not surprising since more than 500 ear impressions were used to determine a cross-section for the housing shape. The effort was worth it because the results speak for themselves! It is also worth mentioning that the SD-5, like all the StageDiver models, is available in two variants, one for medium to larger ears and one for smaller to medium-sized ears, denoted by the suffix “S”. Due to the high accuracy of the fit, comfort is guaranteed. At the same time, this provides a noticeable shielding with an external noise attenuation, which is, according to the manufacturer, up to 26dB, because the ear canal is almost tailor-made sealed. To ensure that the twisted cable can be safely routed behind the ears, this is, as is the case with many in-ear monitor systems, usually equipped on the housing side with a flexible reinforcement which provides support and fixation as a bracket. Thus, the system has a lot of stability and freedom of movement on the stage.
On the material side, the housing is made of acrylic, making it resistant to perspiration and easy to clean. The replaceable cable is connected to the headphones via a 2-pin plug, which gives a stable impression. The overall robust and durable 3-way system is equipped with five drivers per side, of which two are responsible for the low, one for the middle and again two for the high frequencies. To preserve the sound quality, the so-called cerumen filters of the in-ears can be exchanged, as they can become clogged during use and affect the reproduction.
It is also nice that, as an alternative to the current standard version in black, housing variants of different woods, such as olive or ebony, are available at an additional cost. As such, the headphones can be individualised optically and haptically according to personal preferences.
There’s no doubt that the in-ear monitor system can be called universal, as it skilfully displays both instruments and the human voice. Here, the rhythm section benefits from the bass-driven tuning with a full, round sound, as well as the fast, direct response and a lively dynamic, especially since the system scores points for strong level stability on the drums.
Despite the presence in the bass, I also like the mids a lot. Thanks to the substructure, they have assertiveness and depth, are by no means covered and give vocals (but also guitars) an appealing charisma with clarity in the presentation. The high-resolution capability of the in-ears, a finely contoured stereo image, offset in depth and spatial positioning also make the monitoring system ideal for studio applications.
Simply listening to music is also a pleasure with the SD-5, as they do not sound too clean, but rather have a warm timbre. However, this does not mean that something dull is attached to the sound. No, the sound is perfectly clear, but at the same time soft without any hardness, which, in my opinion, blends wonderfully with the direct response and provides a great listening experience.
As an audiophile hi-fi headphone, even high demands are met effortlessly. Especially when stylistic diversity is in demand, the strengths of the in-ear system come to fruition. From metal to rock and pop, jazz and classical music are also a must. However, I would like to point out the following for hi-fi use: The SD-5 are significantly louder than is usual with hi-fi headphones, which is why the significantly lower volume control settings need to reach the usual listening level. Those who want to use the monitoring system to listen to music must remember to reduce the volume before switching back to their primary use. They’re to be used with caution in this regard.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic (3-Wege System mit 5 Treibern pro Ohr)
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance15,9 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)122,81 dB
- Weight with cable21 g
- Cable length130 cm
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of ear-tips (XS, S, M, L)
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- 3 cleaning cloths
- InEar travel case IE11
- Optional: Cerumen filter set; cleaning tools; replacement cables in black, transparent