My bass player and drummer went to the NAMM show in Nashville. When my bass player gets back from Hawaii, I'll let you know what he found out about in ears. We're thinking of outfitting our entire band with them. That would mean no more schleping monitors around. I believe that the expert at the show said that once you have great sounding in ears, you won't even want to go back to regular monitors. I'll let you know what brand he recommended when I find out.
My drummer said that after all was said and done we'll be leaning toward a Shure like system with custom molded earbuds. One thing to consuder though is this. If from time to time you have subs in the band you will want to provide them with the cheaper foam earbuds as I'm sure they wouldn't want to use someone elses. The biggest thing about earbuds is that you want them to shut out ALL outside noise, that's why the custom molded ones are best as well as for comfort. You may want to call Shure and see if they can send you some literature on them. I'm looking forward to the day when we don't have to set up our seven monitors and rack.
Well, I've tried out 3 different kinds of ear monitors in the last month.
First, I purchased a system manufactured and distributed by a company caled DB Technologies. It was inexpensive, I took it on trial, and then made my purchase. The in-ears were Sony buds, similar to a walkman type; round and they just sit in the outer ear. The major flaw was that they do no really block out any stage sound, so they have to be turned up quite lot to be heard. I took them to an audiologist to have them set into a custom mould and discovered it couldn't be done.
Next I purchased an inexpensive pair of Koss foam earpieces. The quality of sound wasn't very good.
Lastly, I tried out a pair of FutureSonic foam earpieces. Absolutely great drivers, clean sound, and the foam cuts out alot of the stage sound; so much so that I had to have the other band instruments put into my mix to hear them.
Now here's the problem. As many of you know, when you block the ears and play saxophone, you can hear the sound of the sax rattling around in your head cavity. It's much louder than a vocal sound. I found that I had to turn up the in-ears considerably to overcome that in-head sound. It had been my hope that I could listen to the in-ear monitor mix at a very low volume, thereby reducing the chance of further hearing damage, etc. If I was a guitarist, keyboardist, bass player, drummer, I would be able to run the in ear volume much quieter than for saxophone.
In conclusion, the in-ears are alot better than stage monitors, the volume is considerably reduced, but maybe not as much as your expectations might be.
I've been using the Shure PSM600 with the E1 ear buds for a while now and they're very good in most situations,
At first I thought the molded earpieces would be the way to go but the problem with too much isolation is it's too easy to loose the beat. Makes it difficult to play along with the other players. It's possible to mix in the rest of the band but that's easier said than done. It was difficult for me to get a mix that was satisfactory (sound techs don't have patience) and you still have to be above the others volume wise.
My favorite earpiece is the Shure one that is soft clear plastic that looks like a small mushroom. The more you push them in the better the isolation. I'll have them in loose so I can still hear the other players and when the volume goes up I'll push them in more.
The biggest problem I've had which I've never seen anyone else mention is that when the stage volume is very high most of that sound makes it's way through your mike and back into your IEM. No amount of earpiece isolation will help this.
In extreme volume situations this can render IEM's useless. That's when you need sound filters or ear plugs. I've walked outside of a club on a song I didn't play on and the noise coming from my IEM was so loud that I couldn't hold a conversation. That was with just me in my IEM mix.
Speaking of sound filters, if you've ever used them you'll know that there is a learning or adjustment period you go through. You'll find the same thing with IEM's.
Like Tenorman said, they are still better than floor monitors.
I owned a pair of "musician's earplugs" for a few years until I left them at a gig, RATS!!!! They blocked about 15 or 20 db of overall sound and the blockage was very even. I did enjoy them and would recommend them to anyone. They're alot less expensive than an IEM system.
A forum community dedicated to saxophone players and enthusiasts originally founded by Harri Rautiainen. Come join the discussion about collections, care, displays, models, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!