The in-ear monitors for guitarists are very important to readily block out all the unnecessary noises onstage. Whether you are live singing onstage or playing drums, or keyboards, you would surely need a reliable monitor that would provide you with a more precise representation of the onstage sound. At your vantage point, the sounds of other instruments and even your vocals may be terribly sounding and mixed-up. Hence, without this reliable monitor, you may easily get lost in the cacophony of sounds created onstage. The need for a precise representation is even more imperative if you are a guitarist because you may mishear the drums and other sounds and may easily play out-of-sync with the rest of the band. Hence, the need for a monitor that could provide a precise representation of the sound onstage is imperative, especially, for a guitarist.
The sound gathered by the onstage monitor, however, may get muddled along the way due to the hodgepodge of sounds created onstage. These in-ear monitors are directly positioned on your ears to send the audio signals of the voice, drums, and other instruments straight to your ears.
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider When Choosing In-ear Monitors That Are Suitable For Guitarist
1) Awesome Sound Quality
The main reason you are wearing those in-ear monitors is that you want to hear clearly the cacophony of sounds created onstage by your band. Hence, it is crucial that you choose a brand or model that is capable of providing quality and precise sound. It defeats the purpose if you are going to buy in-earpiece that give muffled and indistinct sound. In the other hand, it can provide quality audio signals can surely enhance your guitar playing and your performance onstage.
2) Wireless or Wired
It is easy to assume that all systems are wireless because most of the in-ear monitors shown on MTVs and TVs seem to be wireless. The choice, however, depends on you. You can either go for wireless or wired. Several decades ago, buying wireless in-earpiece seemed to be very impractical. But Why? The reason was simple: the quality of audio signal transmissions before was not good. Moreover, they were costly before and hence, impractical to buy for those who were in the budget. Nowadays, however, the audio transmission technology has dramatically improved, and there are many companies that manufacture more affordable wireless ear monitor systems.
3) Consider Its Bass Response
They usually vary depending on the bass response they generally produce. Hence, as an advice, it would be good to consider the bass response of the in-earpiece before shelling out your money for a particular brand. The clearer the bass response afforded by the ear monitors, the better it would be. You will surely get a better feel of playing your guitar if you can clearly hear the bass as well as the low-end frequencies of the audio output. It may be superfluous to stress here the value of the excellent bass response, but it will surely be very important to have sufficient and clear bass response for a guitarist when playing guitar live on stage.
4) Degree of Isolation
Amount of isolation or degree of isolation is sometimes referred to as “noise reduction” or “noise attenuation.” This aspect is usually measured in decibels (dB). It shows the amount of outside sound blocked by the earphone itself. The higher the decibels, the better it would be, for it means that the said earpieces would isolate a greater number of unnecessary noises. It also implies that you can surely hear the ear monitor mix without that unwanted interference.
5) Flexibility of Use, Comfort, and Fit
When you are playing guitar onstage, you would undoubtedly tend to move around, especially, if you get carried away playing an engaging guitar riff. In so doing, you may end up with your ear monitors slipping off your ears. Hence, it is necessary that you choose one that would perfectly fit into your ear and not one that does not fit well or is loosely fitting. Moreover, you should also opt for the more flexible ones that comfortably fit into your ears. Loosely-fitting in-ear monitors are hassles when playing guitar live onstage.
6) Frequency Response
It determines the quality of a set of in-ear monitors and it also refers to the pitches which the earphones can handle or produce. The range of human hearing is from 20Hz to 20KHz. It would be good to note that the more extensive the frequency range of the in-ear monitors, the better it would be for your guitar playing live on stage.
7) Consider Its Sensitivity and Impedance
These two words usually refer to the volume. The higher the impedance and the lower the sensitivity, the greater the power required of the headphone amp, of the wireless pack, and of the personal mixer to produce the actual or given volume.
Recommended In-ear Monitor For Guitar Playing
There are myriads of brands and models that you can find on the market today. So, if you are new in the buying in-ear monitors, you’ll be a bit confused. To facilitate for you the process of choosing the right in-ear monitors, we have delineated here and review three of the most popular in-ear monitors on the market:
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1) Sennheiser EW 300-2IEM G3
Sennheiser is well-known for providing better and premium sound quality monitoring for performers. The Sennheiser EW 300 is highly trusted by many professionals around the world because of its sterling features. First, it features a highly-adaptive diversity receiver that uses the headphone cable as secondary antenna for perfect reception.
Regarding it wireless functions, it does feature the 1680 tunable UHF frequencies, 42 MHz bandwidth that offer interference-free reception. Moreover, it comes with an enhanced frequency bank system with 16 compatible frequencies.
It has a built-in Ethernet port that will enable to control the in-ear setting via your computer. This feature allows for delivering good monitoring and professional data management for multi-channel systems. Moreover, it is encased in metal housings that make it typically sturdy. It also features an illuminated graphic display.
In short, Sennheiser EW 300 is more suitable for the on-stage live performers, musicians, and singers where the sound quality is their primary concern.
2) Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 With SE215-CL Earphones
This is another model that is worth investing in. It has a sound-isolating feature and all metal components and comes with an optional receiver-recharge capability. It also comes with more advanced receiver control.
It boasts of a patented Audio Reference Commanding that ensures an awesome sound that is characterized by ultra-low noise, sans any artifacts. Furthermore, it is easy to set up and offers a one-touch frequency scan and sync in finding a clean wireless channel.
Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 Wireless offers a sound volume that is also easy to adjust, and you can use its Mix Mode technology to readily create a typical personal monitor mix of two different channels of audio.
It is quite comfortable to use and readily fits well on the ears of the user. Moreover, it is highly trusted used by many musicians around the world. Lastly, you can certainly expect a highly-reduced noise on stage whenever you are wearing these earphones.
3) Audi200’s AWM5304U
Audi200’s AWM5304U provides clearer sound with no noticeable hissing sound. Audi200’s audio, however, was a bit weaker on its midrange but is known to be stronger at the bottom end which is basically all you need when playing guitar live on stage.
The good thing about Audi200’s is that it also comes with 100 adjustable frequencies. It also comes with a PVC carrying case. Plus, it features stereo/Mono/Mix, audio output setting. Moreover, it features four equalization settings and Frequency Agility over a 25MHz. Audi200’s is quite use-friendly, affordable, and would surely be a good investment if you are a guitarist who’s in need of reliable in-ear monitors.
4) Sennheiser IE 40 PRO In-ear Dynamic Monitors
The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO are dynamic in-ear monitors that come with precise sound for both high and low levels of sound. With these IEMs, you will gain perfect control when you are on loud stages. Moreover, they fit well, and they come with ergonomic design as well as robust construction.
Compared with other IEM systems, the IE 40 Pro features a next-generation single driver. This means that its frequency range is not split into sections but remains cohesive and harmonious.
These IEMs offer a secure fit along with a high level of comfort. They come with an innovative design of a single driver along with their ergonomic construction. Moreover, they come with optimized design for a secure fit for their users with their three foam adapters.
The Sennheiser IE 40 PRO delivers a warm sound that is characterized by power and precision. So, even if the ambient noise is loud, you will still get precise and clear audio output from these IEMs. They are small, but they are also mightily comfortable to use.
5) MEE audio M6 PRO Musicians’ In-Ear Monitors
The MEE audio M6 PRO IEMs are designed for live performance and built for the road. They come in modular construction. They also provide great sound and are good fitting. These IEMs come with second-generation features. They also provide upgraded sound that introduces the first-ever optional personalization.
The good thing about these IEMs is that they come with refined sound. They offer a more accurate midrange as well as more natural and smoother treble. They also come with an exceptional fit that provides great comfort to their users. Plus, they feature exceptional sound-isolating property that you would surely appreciate.
They are equipped with ear tips made of Comply T-Series memory foam. These ear tips let you safely listen to loud volumes while improving sound quality.
The design of these IEMs is meant to last longer. These IEMs are also engineered for greater reliability along with sweat-resistant design. Their cables are also replaceable and detachable. Moreover, they feature headset cables that come with mic. You can use them with tablets and phones.
User’s Guide: Important Tips for Guitarists Who Are Using IEMs
The use of IEMs come with many significant advantages. Yet, they also come with disadvantages. Before using an IEMs, it would be good to note the following tips for guitarists who would like to use IEMs:
Use in-ear Monitors If You Would Mic Your Guitar
If you are miking your guitar, you should get the right mix to make the sound output great. Yet, after miking your guitar, your guitar’s sound then goes into the mic cable to the mixer. The mic comes with its sonic imprint, meaning it interprets the sound that enters it. The interpreted sound then travels through the connectors, components and reaches the mixer.
If you are wearing an IEMs, then it reaches the tiny speakers of your IEMs. The IEMs then, temper the sound further with their flavor. However, you will notice that you get better monitoring experience if you are using IEMs than if you are relying heavily on the stage monitors. If you rely only on onstage monitors, the sound of your guitar would be drowned by the cacophony of sounds and noises on stage.
Toning Your Amp
If you’ve tried to capture the sound of your guitar by miking your guitar amp, you might be satisfied with the sound that you get from your IEMs. Yet, if you still don’t get the right sound, you might as well try to listen again to your guitar sound. Listen, likewise, to your band’s sound as a whole.
Compare the in-ear monitors’ output with that of the output of the stage monitors. Listen attentively and try to figure out the right blend so that you can sonically go along with the rest of the sound of your bandmates.
If you use IEMs, you can better get along with the groove of your bandmates and produce a better and tighter groove. You can also get a perfect assessment of how you fit into the sound of your band.
In-ear monitors will help you properly tone your guitar relative to your bandmates’ level of volume and sound. Moreover, you get to protect your ear from the cacophony of sounds and noise onstage. Thus, with the use of IEMs, you can easily get into the groove and zone, allowing you to create great music together with your band.
Why Guitarist Should Wear IEMs?
Guitarists play a crucial role in the cohesiveness of a band’s music. If the rhythm guitarist, for example, fails to play well the rhythm part, the whole band suffers. If the lead guitarist, on the other hand, plays the lead part ahead of his cue, the entire band suffers likewise. The bass guitarist also has a crucial role in the cohesiveness of the band’s music. If the bass guitarist does not go along with the tempo of the bass drums, everything becomes out of sync. Hence, every band member must jive well with the rest of the band.
Any failure to hear the monitor will also affect the performance of the band. Yet, during the actual live performance, the guitarist hears a cacophony of sounds on stage. Chances are, he may not hear the other instruments. It is easy for the sound of other instruments to get drowned out by the cacophony of sounds on stage. But if you are wearing in-ear monitors, you can easily get into the groove with your bandmates.
Using IEMs, more often, requires familiarity with their use. At the onset, the use of IEMs may be difficult. Yet, as you and the rest of your bandmates get used to their use, you become familiar with their usage. Moreover, IEMs provide guitarists with a different dimension in monitoring their instruments. Since most IEMs are wireless, they provide a new dimension to the performance of guitarists, allowing guitarists a new level of freedom to amble around the stage without worrying about failing to hear the onstage monitors.
One great advantage of using IEMs is that you get to customize the mix for each member of the band. Thus, each member can have the mix that he is comfortable with. Yet, this process is fraught with complexity. You should have a mixing console for this purpose. But the cost of a mixing console along with the complexity involved in having a custom mix for each band member sometimes dampen enthusiasm for IEMs.