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OM Audio INEARPEACE In-Ear Headphones Review

by December 02, 2013


  • Product Name: INEARPEACE
  • Manufacturer: OM Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: December 02, 2013 08:30
  • MSRP: $ 179
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Driver One (highs/mids): Balanced Armature
  • Driver Two (bass): Coiled Bass Driver
  • Driver Diameter: 10mm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 101dB / 126mV @1kHz
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Connections: 3.5mm
  • Mic/controls In-line: controls w/mic
  • Colors: Black, White


  • Cable is tangle free
  • Great bass at low volumes
  • Comfortable
  • Very accurate sound reproduction
  • Non-fatiguing


  • Noisy cable
  • Overly sensitive


OM Audio INEARPEACE Introduction

inearpeace_box_frontClever names are a bit of a red flag for me. I've reviewed a ton of headphones and the ones that have tried to "sell" me on how cool they are with their name or marketing have generally not lived up to their promise. It's not that I don't get it: If you are a new company with a new product, you need to do something to differentiate yourself from the competition. They weren't called "Beats" for nothing and they had the good doctor's name attached to them. Of course, they ended up being hugely successful so who am I to begrudge a small company for trying to stay at the front of your mind with a clever name.

So I almost skipped the INEARPEACE (they capitalize it so I have to as well) because of the name. But something else caught my attention - dual driver design. If you don't know what this is, it is very much like every KEF speaker ever (and many others for that matter). Think of it has nested drivers with one inside of the other (often called coaxial drivers). Most headphones have a single full-range driver that is forced to reproduce as much of the audible frequency range as possible. If you have ever seen a speaker, you know that most come with more than one driver. Asking a single driver to play from 20Hz to 20kHz without distortion is a big ask.

Headphones have an advantage over regular speakers in that they are much closer to your ears and therefore don't have to play that loud (someone needs to tell those kids on the bus and subway about this). A speaker in a room has a much greater distance to move the air before it reaches your ear so there is a much larger volume of air that needs to be moved to create bass. With headphones, the driver is so close that they can usually create bass. A flat frequency response, on the other hand, is a completely different thing.

I've seen a number of headphones that tout more than one driver. Very few are priced under $200. When OM Audio introduced their INEARPEACE at $179, I couldn't pass up a chance to hear a dual-driver in-ear monitor.

INEAR Pieces

inearpeace_box_sideI actually think I would have rolled my eyes a little less at INEARPIECE but with a name like OM Audio, I can see why they went with the Hindu/Budist/Yoga reference. The INEARPEACE headphones came well boxed in a very professional looking case. When I broke it down, there was a case with a bunch of tips, the headphones, and the shortest instruction manual ever (just told you how to operate the in-line controls). OM Audio had the Devanagari word for OM on everything from the box to the back of the earphones. The headphones were pushed into a block of hard foam which surely would protect them from just about anything. The only problem I had was that I had to yank pretty hard on one of the cables to get the headphone out. The other headphone could be pushed out from the other side.

The first thing I really noticed about the OM Audio INEARPEACE was the cable (mostly because I was yanking on it). They tout their flat cable as being "Tangle-Free" (their words). As we all well know, nothing is tangle free - hand anything to my four year old and he'll prove it to you. That said, I rolled up the cable, I shoved it in my pocket, I threw it on my desk, and even dropped them in my climbing bag. No tangles. I'm not going to say that it won't ever happen, but it didn't during the three week review period.

The cable was not just flat - it was dual-colored. At first I thought one cable was black and the other was silver (which would have been another way to tell right from left rather than the tiny lettering on the headphone) but that wasn't the case. The flat cable is silver on the inside and black on the outside. There is also a white version of the INEARPEACE which I believe just switches out the black for white (leaving the silver side). There is a central yoke where the two cables become one that has a slider for...honestly, I don't know what it is for. With many headphones, you can use the slider to tighten the headphone cable to keep it in place. The OM Audio INEARPEACE has in-line controls so you can only move the slider to that point. This pretty much negates this function. It would make sense if OM had an in-line and non-in-line control version of the INEARPEACE  and that the slider was a holdover from the non-in-line version but there is only the one. Perhaps the have a second offering on the back burner.


Button, two-tone flat cable, and silver slider

I like the case that OM Audio included with the INEARPEACE headphones. It is large enough to get the headphones in there (the tangle-free cable is also resistant to rolling up small enough to get into a case), but not so large as to be cumbersome. The case is rigid but the fabric is sort of soft and velvety and has the OM Audio logo printed largely on one side. The other side has the logo again but smaller with INEARPEACE underneath. I think they could have just gone with the logo but I suppose they didn't want to pass up branding/marketing opportunities. Inside is a large area for the headphones and a small pocket. OM Audio has a lapel clip as well but the flat cable made it nearly useless. After I slid it into the clip, there was no way to hook it in there so I would slide out occasionally. I generally don't use the clips unless I'm using headphones for exercising anyhow.

inearpeace_case     inearpeace_pocket_clip

Case outside and in

INEARPEACE Earphone Controls, Comfort, and Use

Like many headphones these days, the OM Audio INEARPEACE in-ear headphones have an in-line control and a mic. The main benefit of these, other than the actual functionality, is that they quickly identify which headphone goes in which ear. The in-line controls are of the one-button variety. If you have an iDevice, you are probably already familiar with the functionality. A single press to start/stop playback or answer/disconnect calls, double click to skip forward, and triple click to skip back. There are no provisions for volume control so you'll need to use the buttons on your computer/phone. If you have an Android device or other, you'll have to look for an app that will allow the controls to work with your particular device/operating system.


OM Audio claims that their headphones have a "pressure-relief" system to reduce the air pressure in the ear canal. Honestly, I have no idea what this is or how it works. I can't say I ever thought to myself that there was too much air pressure and took out my earphones to relieve it - regardless of model. Mostly, it is the tips that are the problem. The OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones have some of the larger in-ear posts I've tested. In the past this has made it hard to correctly seat the earphones in my ear canal. I'm comfortable enough to admit that I have small ears and in-ear headphones, in general, have been a historic problem. But the INEARPEACE headphones fit just fine and I chalk that up to the tips.

Many tips have a focus on the outer bell. It seems to me that OM Audio has put more thought (and material) into the inner (apropos no?) part that grabs onto the headphone post. This rubber is very supple and soft and allowed for a much more comfortable fit. While shoving something into your ear is never a very pleasant experience, the OM Audio headphones, even with their larger post, were some of the most comfortable in-ear headphones I've tested.


That one on the left looks different, but it isn't

The cable may be tangle-free and flat, but it is not without its issues. The most noticeable problem I had with the cable is sound transmission. There are rubber grommets where the cable enters the headphones but it is not enough. Running your finger down the cable is enough to be audible. Rubbing on your shirt, bumping your chest, tapping on it...anything will be audible. If you have your music high enough, it won't be a problem but it is not a great design.

The other problem I had with the cable was that it tended to grab onto my clothing. I took the headphones out to mow the grass one afternoon. Here in Florida, you have the option of mowing and sweating until you are a husk of your former self or not mowing at all. And that's in winter. While the weather has cooled, it is still humid enough to keep your well drenched during any extended stay outside. I put on the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones draping the cable down my back (outside my shirt) and down to the side pocket in my cargo shorts. The INEARPEACE have the standard 4ft/1.2meter cable which, while I can't dock them because it is the industry standard, I find a tad short. Companies like RHA have been releasing 1.3 meter cables which I find much preferable.


When I started mowing, I noticed that the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones kept in fairly well. One wanted to slip more than the other, but it wasn't too much of a problem. As I continued and started sweating, the flat cable would grab onto my shirt or the back of my neck and tug the earpieces loose. By the end, while they were staying in my ears, they were often pulled out of their proper position more often than not. If I had draped the cable down my front (something I don't do because I don't like having my headphones ripped from my head when I catch the cable on something), or used the lapel clip, I might have had fewer problems. Since I didn't find the clip all that useful, I don't think I'd recommend the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones for vigorous exercise. 

Lastly, a word on the tips. I'm not sure if I had an odd pack but I got one pair of small tips, one pair of large tips, and three pairs of medium tips. I can't imagine why this would be. I kept examining them to see if there were some differences in the medium tips but I couldn't find any. Apparently OM Audio thinks most people have medium size ears and lose their tips a lot.


That's a lot of mediums but at least they are happy

INEARPEACE Earphone Sound Quality Tests

The first thing I noticed, even before I started my critical listening tests, was the sensitivity of the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones. They are rated by OM Audio of 101dB / 126mV @1kHz with a impedance of 16 ohms. While this isn't overly sensitive, something allowed the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones to pass on even the slightest noise. I could clearly hear when my phone or my computer engaged the audio output. This took the form of a slight background hiss. During playback, it was inaudible and when I paired the INEARPEACE headphones with a better source, it wasn't present. If you are going to do most of your listening at your computer, you might want to take this into consideration or invest in an external DAC/amp.


The second thing I noticed was the dynamic range of the INEARPEACE headphones. Even at low volumes, the bass still had a really authoritative kick to it. I have to give credit to the dual driver design for this one. As the volume increased, however, the bass evened out quite a bit and the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones had a flat quality that I really appreciated. If you are looking for headphones to artificially boost the bass during your listening, you won't want these. During bass heavy tracks,however, the OM Audio INEARPEACE could really bring the bass. They almost felt like they wanted to jump out of your ear but they didn't sound overly bassy when the bass wasn't there in the original recording.

I tried to do a number of comparisons but the OM Audio INEARPEACE headphones were frustratingly hard to compare to other headphones. Their sensitivity was so much different that comparisons to most headphones was near impossible The volume difference between the two forced me to to both switch the headphones while spinning the volume control on the Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 processor I have in for review. What I ended up doing was spending most of my time flipping (as quickly as possible) between the INEARPEACE and the RHA MA750 in-ear monitors.

inearpeace_post3     inearpeace_post1

inearpeace_box_omIn their review, I established that while I liked the RHA MA750 headphones, they had a bass boost. I didn't mind the bass boost as it afforded the RHA's a bass extension that I had yet to experience in a headphone. While the INEARPEACE did not have the bass boost or the extension, they did have a much more linear presentation and a much more developed top end. While the INEARPEACE only cost $40 more than the RHA's with the in-line controls ($130 with a three-button control unit), the headphones couldn't be more different.

In the marketing materials, OM Audio claims that their INEARPEACE headphones feature "a balanced armature driver delivering crystal clear highs and a 10mm coiled bass driver for smooth, deep lows." I have to say that this claim is right on. If I had to use a word to describe the INEARPEACE headphones, it would be balanced. For some, this will be a turnoff. They've been listening to headphones with frequency response curves that have increasingly been accentuating the bass. You can look at nearly every manufacturer's history and you'll see this is the case. Does that mean it is what the consumer wants? Perhaps. But true Audioholics want accurate sound. If that's what you look for in a headphone, the INEARPEACE is for you.

These are easily one of the least fatiguing headphones I've worn. The highs are clear and crisp but never harsh. The bass is punchy and tight but not at all overdone (with the exception, perhaps, at lower volumes). The midrange sounds just as clear as you'd want. The effect of this is that the presentation of the music sounds so much more natural than headphones that emphasize a particular region. When switching from a bass-heavy headphone to the INEARPEACE, the vocalist suddenly takes a big step forward and the bassist and drummer stop hogging your attention. The OM Audio INEARPEACE in-ear headphones retail for $180. While they are not the perfect headphone, they are certainly worth every penny of that. 


If the OM Audio INEARPEACE in-ear headphones aren't for everyone, it is because not everyone wants accurate sound. With a dual driver design, more comfortable than most tips, and a truly tangle-free cord, the OM Audio INEARPEACE have a lot going for them. The dual drivers give them the ability to have punchy bass even at low volumes while maintaining a balanced presentation at louder volumes. At $180, it is hard to find competitors with dual drivers to this headphone. If you are looking for accurate in-ear monitors, the OM Audio headphones should top your list.

OM Audio INEARPEACE In-Ear Headphones

MSRP $179



The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
About the author:
author portrait

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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