Do you often get disturbed by loud music or unwanted crowd noise when performing on stage? Well, wearing In-Ear monitors can be of great help to you and your entire musical performance. In-ear monitors help music performers to draw away any unwanted noise and distractions from loud drums, guitars, and the audience. An In-ear monitoring device is a system that includes a transmitter that is used to project sound to a set-off earphones worn by a user.
Singers usually can’t hear the monitor because of the cacophony of sounds coming from different directions while singing. Inability to hear the monitor may lead to miscues and lack of synchrony with the instrumentations. Hence, to prevent such occurrence and to enable the singers to synchronize their voices with the instrumentals, they must wear an in-ear monitor (IEMs). In this article we are going to review some of the best IEMs and accompanying systems available on the market at present:
Table of Contents
- A) In-Ear Monitor Earpiece Reviews
- 1) MEE audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cables
- 2) Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver
- 3) BASN BsingerBC100 Singer Headphones
- 4) ROCUSO Noise-Isolating Musician’s In Ear Monitor
- 5) Yinyoo KZ ZST Dynamic In-ear monitors Earphone
- B) Best Wireless In-Ear Monitors With Bodypack and Receiver Systems
- Benefits of Wearing In-Ear Monitors
- Factors To Consider When Buying In-Ear Monitors For Singing
A) In-Ear Monitor Earpiece Reviews
1) MEE audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cables
The M6 Pro in-ear monitors are perfect for off stage use, gym and on the street. They provide great sound with crystal clarity plus a tuned deep bass. The headset cable features a remote, volume control that can be used with tablets and smartphones, also a protective carrying case, 6 sets of silicone ear tips and an awesome mic for recording sounds.
2) Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver
SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones provide detailed sound in a secure, over-the-ear design for long-lasting comfort and superior audio experience. It is available wired and wireless versions with detachable cables. It is characterized by a secured over-the-ear configuration that keeps the earphones in their proper places while keeping the cables out of the way likewise. It offers unmatched long-time wearing comfort.
These wireless earphones pair well with most laptops, phones, and tablets. They even have Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. They also make use of Universal communication models (UNI) and thus they come with a remote plus mic control functionality as well as iOS/Android functionality with 3.5 mm connection, and up to 8 hours battery life. They also have a range of around 30 feet (10 meters).
These earpieces evolved from earlier personal monitor technology that has been tested by pro musicians. Moreover, the SE215 earphones provide detailed sound and very much enhanced bass for professional monitoring and personal listening. They also offer comfortable sound isolating sleeves that could block up to 37 dB of noise from the environment. They are also equipped with a sound isolation technology that prevents the interference of outside noise while you are listening to the monitor.
The Shure SE215-K is durable with a reinforced cable that allows for easy customization or replacement. It also comes with a gold-plated MMCX connector with a lock-snap mechanism that allows for 360-degree rotation when used. Overall, the SE215 is the best IEM on the market today.
3) BASN BsingerBC100 Singer Headphones
The BASN BsingerBC100 is a very much affordable IEM. It has dual HD drivers, equipped with powerful neodymium magnets for balanced and accurate sound. This set of earphones is also designed for the webcast or use onstage. Its MMCX connector offers efficient and easy-to-use earbuds and cables for various occasions. It has ergonomic memory ear-hook with medical silicon ear-tips that provide cool comfort and fit.
It has a detachable design wherein you can detach the cable with the MMCX connector. This ensures longer earphone lifespan, while at the same time, it allows for easy replacement and upgrades. All in all, the salient features of this set of IEM earphones are those of its dual HD dynamic driver, detachable design, best custom fit, and noise isolation features. If you are on a budget, this IEM earphones would be your best choice.
4) ROCUSO Noise-Isolating Musician’s In Ear Monitor
When it comes to high sound quality, the Rocuso Noise-isolating Musician’s In-ear Monitor is one of your best choices. These earphones are perfect for enjoying stereo, acoustic, and HD sound quality, and they are perfect for sports activities like running and jogging. It is likewise ideal for stage monitoring and home studio sound monitoring.
Rocuso Noise-isolating Musician’s IEM is very versatile and lightweight. Most musicians appreciate the quality of sound that it produces. It enables clear relaying of varying range of tones from clear highs to powerful, clear bass. It is also waterproof and makes it an ideal item for jogging and heavy workout.
Its salient features include its ergonomic design which is uniquely comfortable and fits well when running and working out. It has an excellent clear housing design that is great to look at. It makes use of a durable stranded wire that is tangle-proof and sweatproof at the same time. Its noise isolation feature with its differently-sized ear tips is highly commendable and can reduce up to 90% outside noise. It is very portable and comes with a carrying case that allows you to stack them safely inside the case when not in use. All in all, this product is one of the best IEMs on the market today.
5) Yinyoo KZ ZST Dynamic In-ear monitors Earphone
This set of IEM earphones comes in a colorful housing made of acoustic resin material. It also has enhanced sound quality and makes use of hybrid technology. It sports an ergonomic-wear feature that enables comfortable use of this set. It is very durable and is designed with a memory-wire technology which allows for smooth movement together with its locked-in fit feature.
With regards to the sound channel, it provides an independent sound channel for each of the drivers, and thus, it prevents distortion of sound. The sound it produces is genuinely immersive with the mid bass and treble driver unit performing vigorously and energetically. It also has a noise-canceling feature that makes use of silicon tips for awesome noise-cancellation of ambient sound.
Yinyoo KZ ZST IEM can surely enhance sound quality with its hybrid technology. It has a particular armature and dynamic driver that is also user-friendly in design. It also sports a removable-cable design for easy replacement and placement. It is also perfect for use with iPod, iPhone, and iPad. If you are looking for inexpensive IEM earphones, the Yinyoo KZ ZST is surely an excellent choice.
B) Best Wireless In-Ear Monitors With Bodypack and Receiver Systems
In-ear wireless monitors use almost the same exact system used by wireless microphone system. The only main big difference is that IEMs use the central unit as the transmitter. One of the greatest advantages of having wireless monitors over wired is the freedom of movement. With a wireless IEMs, one can have better monitoring and full control on a stage. Some of the high-end in-ear monitoring systems enable wearers to set their own mix preferences to balance their instrument sound / singing voices with the overall band sound.
1) Shure P2TR215CL-H2 PSM 200 Hybrid In-ear Monitor & Bodypack System
The Shure in-ear monitor is one of the best systems that one can have; it’s comprised of a full body pack with a built-in limiter and amp that support both wired and wireless with input level control and frequency selection features.
You can use the P2TR215CL Hybrid Bodypack Receiver for both wired or wireless in-ear monitor applications. In fact, it’s the first ever bodypack receiver in the recording industry that works for wired and wireless in-ear monitors.
2) Galaxy AS-900-K1 In Ear Monitor System (K1 – 630.2MHz Frequency)
The AS-900-K1 has a better signal and good IEMs than most competing monitors. I personally like the fact that I can easily switch stereo/mono and that I have some individual level control on every channel. The AS-900-K1 IEM features audio output control, on/off switch, RF/low battery indicator and an earphone jack.
If you are looking for a reliable and well-performing wireless IEM, consider having the AS-900-K1 in-ear monitoring system that provides an excellent performance and stiff monitoring on stage.
3) Audio2000’S AWM6305U In-Ear Audio Monitor System
The Audio2000’S AWM6305U IEM Monitor System is a reliable wireless monitoring system that you can use in different sound monitoring occasions whether it be onstage, in the home studio, or in speech or lecture. It features 100 selectable frequencies. Moreover, you can use more than one Audio2000’S AWM6305U unit at the same time when transmitting multiple languages as in the case of speech or lecture.
It makes use of UHF-band frequencies over 25 MHz bandwidth. As mentioned above, it has 100 pre-programmed frequencies available. It also has a built-in limiter circuitry that eliminates distortion even under excessive input levels. Its 1/4-inch front-panel stereo-monitoring headphone jack is very conducive for use. It also has a stereo mode or Mono Mode LCD display low battery indicator on its receiver.
It functions as a transmitter frequency response of 50-15,000 Hz. Its receiver frequency response is 80–15,000 Hz. It also comes with two balanced combo audio inputs with two balanced audio outputs. It is very compact and versatile allowing users to use it onstage wirelessly and in-home studio. This system is undoubted of exceptional quality; yet, it is very much affordable.
4) Pyle Audio In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System
The Pyle Audio In-ear monitor and receiver system is basically one of the most recommended systems for musicians and singers. This system is designed by professionals using professional-grade technology. It is user-friendly that allows users more enhanced sound experience. It also produces excellent sound for various range of sounds like music, vocals, and speech. Undoubtedly, it is perfectly designed for on-stage live performances in whatever venue sizes. You can totally enjoy a reliable and hassle-free wireless sound transmission if you opt for this awesome In-ear and Receiver System.
This IEM system can be used on stage or in studio. It features UHF wide audio signal transmission with a concomitant frequency range from 902-928 MHz. This system flawlessly operates in such venues like onstage or home studio environment. As a reliable system, it offers consistent sound performance and relaying of sound that is markedly free of feedback issues and distortion.
Benefits of Wearing In-Ear Monitors
- Helps to Builds confidence and can be more superior to stage monitors.
- In-ear Bands can be coordinated where each band member can have his/her own mix.
- While In-ear bands are designed to fit on a user’s ear perfectly, they help to block unwanted noise and, reducing the user from exposure to ambient and damaging sounds.
- They help to reduce the time for sound checks.
- They are very compatible and can be easily transferred.
- In-ear bands provide consistent sound regardless of where the user stands on stage.
- While hearing loss caused by exposure to loud music is not reversible, wearing in-ear bands can help to reduce noise through their powerful noise reduction properties.
- In-ear bands offer personal listening experience when not on stage by providing noise isolation.
Factors To Consider When Buying In-Ear Monitors For Singing
In-ear devices can be inserted into an artist t ear using the ear-canal, most of them work by isolating the canal from receiving unwanted noise, and there are so many factors that enable their effectiveness of noise reduction. Custom-made IEMs are one of the best isolators, and they vary depending on shell type, shell fill, and anatomy. Some several IEMs make use of ear-tips to block unwanted noise between the earphone and the ear canal. Nowadays there are so many models of In-ear monitors being developed; each model comes with different ear tips that provide various levels of sound isolation.
2) Form Factor
When we look at the form factor, most low-cost in-ears uses a cable down wear style that is so old fashion and outdated, plus it doesn’t provide enough support. Advanced In-ear monitors are typically designed to be used by pro users and usually, come with an over-the-ear design that provides more comfort and helps to keep the cable away.
3) Sound Quality
When it comes to sound quality, some brands of in-ear monitors offer better sound quality than others; this is due to factors such as manufacturer, technology used and quality of the ear bands. In-ear monitors use (ADSR) to deliver the quality of sound to the user. ADSR is so accurate and produces several notes that are as a result of harmonics and room reflections. Wearing in-ear bands is very helpful, especially when performing at live events where the sound of musical instruments and devices such as guitars, drums, and piano suppress that of the singer. Accurate ADSR recreates stereo imaging and proportions that helps one to create a precise musical performance. Some of the in-ear monitors that have been found to be highly priced usually contribute to better on-stage performance while singing and this makes them the best in-ear monitors for singers.
4) Sound Signature
Sound patterns are quite different in all instruments. If you want to have a great performance on stage, you should get an in-ear monitor that neutralizes all instrument sounds to make a quality output sound that is clear and more precise.
When it comes to suitability and comfort, wireless in-ear monitors are great since they allow the user to have total freedom of moving around the stage without any interference. Wireless monitors offer better features than wired in-ear monitors and it considerably good to buy wireless monitors instead of wired. However, besides portability and comfort, wired ear monitors are also great and can be used by drummers and guitarist since they don’t often move around the stage. The only downside of wearing wireless monitors is that you have to deal with interferences issues and reception stability. Furthermore, wireless in-ear monitors cost more than wired monitors.
6) Driver types
There are two types of drivers used in-ear monitors; balanced armatures (Bas) and Dynamic drivers.
1. Balanced Armatures
These drivers are mainly designed to help singers with some sort of hearing aid but sometimes they are used together with in-ear monitors due to their high level of resolution and efficiency. When it comes to in-ear monitor drivers, there are several drivers that one can use to enhance or maximize the effectiveness of in-ear devices but all drivers are different, and they provide different sonic characters.
2. Dynamic Drivers
These drivers are one of the most commonly used by professionals and are highly regarded as one of the best drivers due to their miniaturized properties that help to recreate the entire frequency spectrum.
Nowadays, hybrid designs are incorporating both balanced armature and dynamic drivers to improve the effectiveness of in-ear monitors.
For most earphones and headphones, one of the most crucial parts is the cable. Wired earphones have a common failure of cable detachment and usually, don’t last for long. Detachable earphones allow one to disengage the cable with the earphones, minimizing risks and damages. Since in-ear bands are normally placed inside the ear canal, ear wax and sweat can cause a lot of damage over time. Regular cleaning, Proper care and using a soft hearing aid dryer can substantially extend the durability of the In-ear device.
In-ear monitors manufacturers use different specifications to make their products unique and best in the market. Furthermore, they are no standardized testing & reporting measures for every manufacturer. If you don’t have enough technique knowledge on how in-ear monitors work, you can easily get confused by the overcrowded market of in-ear monitors, and end up making the wrong choice. Having vast knowledge and testing different in-ear bands will help you to select the best in-ear monitor to use in a live performance.
Should I Use Headphone As A Wired In-Ear Monitor?
Wired In-ear monitors are one of the cheapest IEMs. If you want to wear headphones, be ready to buy a Headphone amp. Some people use headphones that come with their own inbuilt amps, the disadvantage of having these types of headphones is that if you are performing as a band, everyone will have to his/her own separate mixer and that would complicate the setup. Something else that you should consider when selecting headphones is the need for a limiter. Headphones that don’t have limiters can damage the user ears when there is an accidental audio spike or feedback.