In-Ear Monitors are devices used primarily by sound engineers, musicians, and audiophiles in order to hear a live band mix of live stage music or recordings and to hear the singer's vocals. The In-Ear Monitors are worn on the performer's ears, and they have special connectors that send the sound waves through the performer's eardrum and into their ears. The headphones allow them to block out all other outside noises while listening to the music. In-Ear Monitors also have an incorporated microphone which allows them to pick up live vocals.
There are two types of In-Ear Monitors. First, there are full-range monitors which allow you to hear the music without allowing any external noise to interfere with your hearing. Then there are noise isolation (or noise reduction) headphones. With these types of headphones, you will need to place the headphones on your ears so that only the music can be heard. The two different types of technology use completely different methods in order to accomplish their results.
Full-range monitors operate using transducers and power electronics on the amplifiers and speakers. Some manufacturers, such as Sennheiser, produce MP3-style headphones, which work very well for this job. The headphones cancel out all other background noise and allow the musicians perfect hearing ability even when surrounded by noise.
The main drawback to using these headphones is that the music can get lost when the volume is turned up too high. Also, the isolation provides little noise reduction if the speakers themselves are also being affected by the increased volume. As a result, most manufacturers use a sealed ear impression and a built-in watertight connection system. A superior option is an MTM (microwave transducer), which performs much better than the latter and seals the canal for excellent noise reduction.
Stage or neutral sound is very important for people performing live music and for monitoring purposes. In addition, it is impossible to hear the band members singing from the audience. As a result, stage monitors must be able to reproduce an appropriate level of sound from each of the band members' guitars and voices and transmit that accurately to the listener. Acoustic headphones may be used for this task, but they are limited in their capabilities. They provide only average noise cancellation and do not handle external noise properly.
Subwoofer units are usually found in bass shakers that are installed on the front of the speaker and then connected to the rest of the stage speakers. It is important to have good quality subwoofers in any system since they add low-frequency noise to the signal, which can degrade the sound quality. Good In-Ear Monitors will ensure each subwoofer has enough sound energy to generate a sufficient amount of noise cancellation. In addition, each subwoofer should receive adequate power from the amplifier.
The third main component that needs to be handled properly is the custom molded clip-on connectors. A generic fit earpiece may not work well with certain clips because they may not have the same curvature or degree of curvature. An additional consideration is that some generic fit clips may have a tendency to break away from the earpiece over time. A customized clip-on connector will not break and will ensure you get a consistent fit every time. In addition, a custom mold can provide better sealing and make it easier to keep the cables within the enclosure.
One of the main benefits of using In-Ear Monitors in stage performance is that they can help performers hear the sounds clearly from a distance. Acoustic headphones are often used when there are performance stages because they limit the amount of feedback that is available to the performers. For bands and live acts, however, the use of in-ear monitors is essential so that the sounds coming from the stage can be controlled and directed towards the performers. If they did not have an option for monitoring their performances using headphones, they would need to rely on stage lighting or microphones to assist them in hearing well. Using custom-molded earphones also offers the added benefit of eliminating feedback.