In this post, I am comparing the sound quality of four different In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) while listening to “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed. I’ll be exploring the challenges presented by this song and the unique qualities of each IEM, as well as providing a comprehensive ranking based on our listening experience.
“Down with the Sickness” is a hit single by the American heavy metal band Disturbed. The song was released in 2000 as the second single from their debut studio album, “The Sickness”. It features intense guitar riffs, heavy drums, and a powerful vocal performance from lead singer David Draiman.
The song belongs to the nu-metal genre, which emerged in the late 1990s and combined elements of heavy metal and hip-hop. Nu-metal is characterized by its heavy use of distortion and down-tuned guitars, as well as its fusion of various genres, including rap, funk, and alternative rock.
The Challenges in This Song
“Down with the Sickness” presents several challenges for IEMs, including reproducing the heavy guitar riffs and drums with clarity, while also maintaining a balanced sound signature that doesn’t overwhelm the vocals. The song also features a wide dynamic range, with loud and quiet sections that require the IEMs to handle sudden changes in volume without distortion or loss of detail.
For this comparison, I used a MacBook Air M1 as our audio source and paired it with a DAC/AMP SMSL M300 MKIII to drive the IEMs.
1st place: AudioSense DT600
The drums, in the beginning, are very precise and in the foreground, with less treble than the other IEMs. The DT600 sounds a little bit more laid-back compared to the OH10 or 7Hz, with more focus on the voice and drums. The ride cymbal sounds a little bit further away, making the room sound surprisingly bigger than with the OH10 or 7Hz. There are not as many layers in the sound, but it works well with this song.
2nd place: IKKO Obsidian OH10
The drums have less influence than the 7Hz at the beginning, but the guitar is more present. The OH10 is a little bit more laid-back compared to the 7Hz, but it’s not as harsh and sounds more rounded. There is still a lot of impact from high frequencies, and the stage layers narrowly within a small room, but with good precision. It’s fun to listen to, but a little bit more low frequencies would be nice. Overall, the sound fits well with the destructive nature of the song.
3rd place: IKKO Asgard OH5
The drums are similar to the DT600, but the voice is more in focus and front-positioned. There is more energy from the guitars, but with all instruments and vocals in action, it sounds too laid-back. The OH5 plays very neutral and less engaging, with nothing wrong with the sound, but it’s just too laid-back for this type of song.
4th place: 7Hz Timeless
The start is impressive, with good snare strokes and a small room sound. However, later on, there is too much treble, making it too harsh. The high frequencies are too overwhelming, causing a lack of balance in this song. The sound fits the song, but it’s not very enjoyable to listen to. Later on, the bass drum has a good presence, but it’s not enough to make up for the overwhelming treble.
After rocking my ears, I’ve ranked the best IEMs for Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness“. The AudioSense DT600 takes the top spot with its precise and laid-back sound signature, followed closely by the rounded and fun IKKO Obsidian OH10. The IKKO Asgard OH5 comes in third with its neutral but less engaging sound. Unfortunately, the 7Hz Timeless falls short due to its lack of balance and overwhelming treble. If you want to ‘rock’ this track, I recommend the AudioSense DT600 or the IKKO Obsidian OH10 for the ultimate listening experience.
If you’d like to check more songs where I did A-B tests with these IEMs, you can find details here or you can check my “My Ultimate Guide to Affordable In-Ear Monitors in 2023“.
Try it by yourself, you can find my current heavy stress test for headphones and IEMs here (@ Apple music).
If you have any suggestions or would like to share your own experiences, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram.