For musicians, nothing beats the roar, emotion, clapping, or finger-snapping excitement of an audience moved by a live performance.
Being able to accurately hear band members — including singers and instrumentalists — is an important part of delivering a remarkable experience each and every time.
Enter in-ear monitors (quite possibly a musician’s best friend), which have time and again proved their value on the performance stage. Learn what they do, why they’re worth it, and how to choose one that’s right for you.
What In-Ear Monitors Do
In-ear monitors, or IEMs, are the drivers placed in musicians’ ears to better hear the band and singers around them. These devices help isolate sounds, reduce external noise, and ultimately facilitate consistent performances.
The business end of IEMs — they can be clear or colored per the musician’s preference — sits within the ear and is connected by wire or paired wirelessly to the stage box.
In-ear monitors are best when professionally customized to the musician’s unique ear shape and hearing needs, helping ensure a comfortable, snug fit and a better overall audio experience.
Noncustomized IEMs can lead to potential problems:
- Poor in-ear fit, resulting in potential dislodgement during head bobbing or other physical movement on stage.
- Poor seal, resulting in loss of bass sound. Nonmusicians might not discern various bass differences — also called “difference limens” — but musicians can, and thus need the strongest seal in their ear canals.
- Reduced sound clarity and consistency, which could lead to flatness on stage or inability to pick up important sounds from other instruments. Those milliseconds or seconds of lost signal can mean the difference between a great performance and one the band would love to forget.