As a musician, practicing your music in the studio is the easy part. Yet, when you play to a large crowd, it can be difficult to hear your voice and easy to become overpowered by the energy of the crowd.
In-ear monitors are used by many musicians, allowing them to listen to their music while they are playing in performance without having to shout loudly to compensate for it.
The Introduction to In-Ear Monitors
In the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, trying to hear your fellow bandmates was done by listening to each other through the current amplification system you were playing through. In some cases, this worked, but as the British Invasion happened and rock got louder and crowds got bigger, hearing on stage became harder.
The screams from the fans and the lack of a proper public address system made it very difficult and, in some cases, impossible to hear the other musicians on stage.
Amplifier manufacturers started making amps bigger and louder to overcome the noise, but this posed another problem – hearing loss damage.
Sound Through the Eras
The ‘60s and ‘70s saw a boom of technology in PA systems to bring sound to the masses, but it was still hard to hear on stage due to the lack of proper monitoring.
The ‘70s and ‘80s saw the advent of a floor monitor that allowed a musician to hear himself better, but it still created noise exposure and hearing damage to those that chose this profession.
The late ‘90s and 2000s ushered in the age of the in-the-ear monitor or IEM. This monitor, instead of being on the floor, was now in your ear. The IEM gives you isolation from the sound that is on stage and gives the musician a clearer picture with less volume and less damage to the hearing. If you ever watch the Grammys, you will notice that every artist has something in their ear – the IEM!
What Is an In-Ear Monitor?
The IEM comes in many different flavors, depending on what your needs and requirements are for monitoring sound. IEMs have drivers; they are like miniature speakers that can reproduce a small portion of the audio spectrum or the whole audio spectrum.
Having multiple drivers divides the audio spectrum into lows, mids, and highs. This allows the tiny speaker to be more efficient, producing more clarity and robust low-end sound to the ears. IEMs can have 2 to 8 drivers in them to give the musician all the clarity and robust low end that they would hear on stage with lower volumes.
This means that they can be custom made to specifically tailor to the musician’s ear, allowing you to target areas of weakness and produce an overall richer sound.
If you go down the custom IEM route, most manufacturers will ask you to go to an audiologist to make an impression of your ears. This is a process of making a mold of the inside and outside of your ear using a silicone type material to fill the ear canal.
These impressions are then sent off to an IEM manufacturer, where a custom-designed IEM is made for you by using the impressions and the drivers you want to produce the sound you desire.
When you visit All About Hearing, you will receive long-term audiological care that monitors your progress throughout your journey, allowing you to be supported every step of the way. To us, you are “patients for life”.
Single driver options can be great for general overall listening, but sometimes the clarity gets lost.
Guitar players may want 3 to 4 drivers to separate lows, mids, and highs to be able to distinguish the sound mixed in with the whole band. This is similar for a bass player, as they may want more than 3 drivers to help with low-end efficiency.
Drummers might want more than 4 due to the great array of frequencies that a drum kit can produce.
Either way, it is a personal choice, and the more drivers and custom options chosen can increase the price of the devices.
All About Hearing can answer any questions you might have when it comes to making an informed choice on what type of IEM to get.
We stock many in-the-ear monitors and can also make bespoke impressions that are tailored to your ear.
Our team of specialists has many years of experience working with the different hearing aid brands and has witnessed the many changes in technological advancement, ensuring we can offer you the best advice moving forward.
By choosing All About Hearing, you can be confident knowing that you’re being cared for by highly experienced and advanced doctors of audiology, ensuring that your hearing is being cared for to the highest of standards.
Simply get in touch or come see us today for a consultation at any of our offices for all your IEM needs.