best in-ear monitors for singers

The Best In-Ear Monitors for Singers

Last Updated: June 22, 2021

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best In-Ear monitor for singers is then I’d recommend Audio-Technica ATH-E70 Professional In-Ear Studio Monitor as the best one.

Every week, the worship team is trying their best to lead the congregation in worship. Their success depends so much on how well they can hear – hear themselves, hear the instrument, hear the worship team, and hear the congregation.

As a singer, you wouldn’t want that nightmare of standing in front of a big crowd, ready to sing your heart out, and suddenly you realize you can’t hear yourself.

Well, wearing in-ear monitors is the perfect way to solve this dilemma. Those little tiny speakers we put in our ears sometimes get overlooked. 

In-ear monitors have wowed musicians and are now drawing a growing number of them. In-ear devices provide many benefits for the singer, performers on stage, the sound engineer, and even the crowd.

As we go in-depth about the best IEM, you will surely get an insight into what suits best for you and your daily activities. 

Here are the Best In-Ear Monitors for Singers we’ll be reviewing:

What is an In-Ear Monitor?

IEM or In-ear monitor is like an earbud that is made for professional use. They pose as stage monitors for each specific musician. They are called monitors because they were built for artists to track their vocals and better insight into their live performances without straining.

In-ear monitors assist musicians to draw away any unwanted noise and distractions from loud drums, guitars, and the audience. 

Without them, every music performer relies on the same speakers to hear themselves. With in-ear monitors, each performer gets to have their headphones and their mix. 

This is a system that utilizes a transmitter to direct the audio right into the artist’s ear. It isolates unnecessary noise and allows musicians to focus on their music with clarity.

There are two parts of an in-ear monitor: the transmitter and a receiver.

The function of the transmitter is to send the monitor mix to each set of receivers.

Each set of receivers consist of a smartphone-sized belt pack that the musician wears. Each receiver picks up the signal from the transmitter and sends it through the connected earbuds.

Despite being seen as a live performance luxury for some, In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) are now offered in almost any price range.

The Importance of In-Ear Monitors for Singers

In-Ear Monitor has affected the music industry from on-stage performance to real-time recording. This tiny device is a turning point for every musician – enabling them to conduct easier monitoring of their voice and giving high-quality results to their audience like never before.

History

Before the boom of IEMs, performers were using wedge-shaped loudspeakers on stage to observe their live performances. This is placed in front of the singers and plays the music back to the musician to hear themselves.

This was a clever invention and helped a lot of performers. Concerts are loud, and singers tend to stay near the speakers to hear themselves and make sure that they are not doing it the wrong way. Also, over the years, it was proven to affect sound quality and hearing. 

In 1995, a sound engineer for Van Halen, Jerry Harvey, created the first-ever dual speaker custom in-ear monitors that allowed a greater frequency to be heard. Since then, the works of sound engineers have evolved and improved in-ear monitors. Currently, it is available to everyday musicians at a very affordable price.

Why do singers need In-Ear Monitors?

During live and loud venues, singers tend to make their voice more audible, and sometimes it almost looks like they are shouting. In-ear monitors allow artists to listen to themselves and to cut the risk of vocal strain.

1. For better performance. IEMs offer precision, dependability, and consistency to every singer. They have also stepped up the game of live audio monitoring. Plus, it allows artists to move at their own pace. This device can help musicians boost their confidence to feel more superior on stage. They also provide better coordination with each band member to have personalized mixes.

2. For health benefits. Musicians are more prone to hearing loss because they are much exposed to higher noise. In-ears are like a safe space for singers as they promise to block any outside blast, from the cheering audience to amplified instruments.

When to Use In-Ear Monitors

In-ear monitors are not only limited to use during live venues. Listeners can rely on them for recording high-quality music, radio stations, and even while you’re relaxing at the comfort of your home. This device has been so popular because of its discreet size and supreme isolation during live performances.

What’s their difference over regular headphones?

It is easy to mistake regular earbuds for IEMs because they are both compact and used for portable audio listening placed right into the ear. Their big difference is that while earbuds rest on the outer ear, in-ears are inserted right into the ear canals – creating a seal between the ear canal and the device itself, providing accurate isolation.

Can I use headphones as a wired IEM?

Headphones that don’t have limiters can strain the user’s ears whenever there is an accidental spike of audio or feedback. However, the answer is yes. You can use headphones as IEMs, providing that they have a built-in headphone amplifier. But be mindful that it may complicate the setup because everyone must have their separate mixers if you perform as a band.

In-Ear Monitors for Church Use

The first IEMs are pretty expensive and not affordable for small churches that are on a tight budget. However, over the years, the growth of technology has increased and changed — making it more affordable for different people.

Here are some of the benefits of using in-ears during a worship service:

Controlled volume on-stage

When you use in-ears for worship service, it enables you to lower the volume coming from the stage. This can significantly help control the volume on stage, especially for the overall mix in the sanctuary. 

Less time spent on sound checks

Pastors and musicians often encounter and listen to the sound engineer’s routine, going through and getting sound levels right when the worship team is setting up. Most of the time spent doing that has been eliminated by using in-ear monitors. Each person on stage can now conduct their mixes. 

In-Ears Over Studio Recording Monitors

We have already tackled the advantages and benefits of using in-ear monitors during live events. Now, let us talk about its major asset on music recording.

With the continuous advancement of the quality of today’s IEMs, complete records can be mixed on in-ear monitors. It can solve a lot of problems in regards to mixing, producing, and editing. Ditching the idea of spending thousands of dollars when recording on big studios using studio monitors. 

Also, it is noteworthy that when using IEM to mix, the sound is directly played into your ears while studio monitors are using speakers. This means you will perceive your voice differently depending on the placement of the speakers, increasing the presence of the phenomenon called “Crossfeed”.

Plus, as most people are using earbuds or headphones regularly, you already know what most people hear and the quality they want to get. Detecting harmonic conflicts, hearing phase issues, and precise reverb placement becomes more manageable when using great in-ear monitors.

Types of In-Ear Monitors

There are two types of IEMs that provide the same benefits for their users. You may choose between the two depending on your preference.

Wireless

If you wish to move around while monitoring your vocals or enjoy your daily music while doing your chores, we suggest going wireless. It may cost a little extra, but they are worth the price. Wireless IEMs can guarantee you fun and memorable experiences during the onstage performance as it enables you to move freely throughout your routine.

The only downside with this is they are vulnerable to potential audio interference.

Wired

If you are an artist, like a drummer or a keyboardist, you can settle with wired IEMs and you can save yourself a penny. The wired setup eliminates belt packs as the earphones are directly connected to the mixers.

What are Customized Fits?

If you have an extra budget for IEMs, you can go for a customized pair as they eliminate the feeling of discomfort that generic fits might deliver. Custom focus in-ears are modeled from the ear tips of your ear canal to make sure that they fit in your size.

As custom fits ensure high-quality comfort and performance, they may double or triple the regular in-ear price.

Important Factors to Consider Before Buying IEMs

Ear tips

There are two types of ear tips that you may choose from. There is no right or wrong answer; pick whatever it feels right to use depending on your purpose.

Silicone

Silicones are an intelligent pick for singers and performers who love to move around a lot because their stability is almost limitless. But they provide less isolation.

Foam

Ear tips made of foam provide denser isolation. But, they are not capable of proper suction plus they may bring discomfort to your ears because of fit pressure.

Specifications

Acquiring an amount of knowledge and testing different ear bands can spare you a lot of time and effort in finding the right brand for you. In-ear specifications vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There are no standard testing methods that they need to follow when building their product. They make their devices unique and stand out among other competitors in the market.

Strength and Durability

If you often find yourself throwing good IEMs and see your hard-earned money being put to waste in a couple of months, then it’s time to look in-depth at the materials that your in-ears are made of.

Keep reading this article because we will reveal the best brands that boast their specifications in the market and have excellent product reviews from various customers.

How to Maintain In-Ear Monitors

Since in-ear bands are placed into the ear canal, sweat and ear wax can manifest wear and damage over time. Doing regular and proper cleaning can extend the life of your in-ear monitors.

Wipe them off after removing them to prevent moisture from finding its way to a driver and ear wax from collecting on the sleeves.

It’s also best to wrap the cable without bends or twists and dry each connector. Do not forget to store them in the included pouch or case after use.

Also, you may use a soft hearing aid dryer to leave it dry and clean to maintain its durability and accuracy. Consider cleaning the driver’s soundhole if either or both of the earphones stop sounding.

Audio-Technica ATH-E70 Professional In-Ear Studio Monitor

Audio-Technica is the first Audio Equipment Company known for making excellent earbuds producing the highest-quality products that focus on professional series models. This ATH-E70 model has a three-balanced armature driver that gives concise and extended responses over the entire frequency range. It also provides an intelligent, flexible cable loop over ears for a custom fit and remarkable convenience.

ATH-E70 provides excellent, sound quality and doesn’t only fit for vocal singers of the band but also provides remarkable experience for the bassist. With its long cable feature, you can move around without an ounce of hassle. Their over-the-ear character makes sure that there will be no room for falling out even when doing extreme activities or movement during live venues, and it is made from high-build quality. 

This ATH-E70 Professional In-Ears Studio Monitor is a smart choice for professional musicians who regularly perform on stage and even for audio engineers who’re working on a project or doing the checks at the works of an artist; they give neutral tone and nuance.

Pros

  • It is an over-the-ear IEM that helps them sit on the ear without any discomfort on the back of the ear
  • It has detachable cables that offer exceptional durability and advanced audio performance
  • It also comes with foam and silicone ear tips, a plug-on adapter, and a convenient carrying case
  • Their low-end response gives a smooth, profound, no detectable distortion, or discernible peaks in frequency response

Cons

  • Small bulky earpiece
  • They are not quite the best choice for regular listening
  • Mediocre accessories

Shure SE846-CL Professional Sound Isolating Earphones

Shure SE846-CL is an In-Ear Monitor with a quad high definition micro driver and true-subwoofer. It was engineered in a transparent, plastic shell. Unparalleled audio is delivered through four custom-engineered drivers that are accurately tailored to blend with the audio. 

The SE846s has four balanced armature drive units which work in a three-way bass driver. These bass units use a reliable tuning system that they claim extends the low-end response. Shure also made it fine-tuning by providing three interchangeable filters in tiny colored tubes, adjusting the tonal balance. You will have to use the supplied tool to swap them, but it would only take a few seconds to do so, and the effect is subtle.

We cannot deny that there was a lot of engineering work that has been applied to this simple yet unique masterpiece. Plus, the mid-bass did not disappoint because the tight and punchy bass is very well balanced and pleasant to the ears. There were no fluctuations and such, and it certainly did not overwhelm other frequencies. And the vocals are detailed and crisp.

Pros

  • Reliable Tonal Balance
  • Three-way System Configuration
  • Adjustable Frequency Response
  • Sound Isolating Design
  • Groundbreaking low-pass filter
  • Great Sound Separation
  • Shures uses Kevlar reinforced cables to make it more robust and lightweight

Cons

  • Non-existent luxurious aura
  • Stiff wire
  • Price is not reflective of the overall packaging
  • Slight awkward fit

Sennheiser Pro Audio EW IEM G4-Twin-G Dual Beltpack

The receiver is packed with 1680 tunable frequencies in 25 MHz steps. It has rigid frequency banks with up to 16 compatible FR presets and 6 user banks that reach up to 16-user programmable frequencies. The receiver’s menu backlit display shows present frequency, frequency bank, the channel, RF and AF metering level, lock, and battery status. It has an auto-lock feature that prevents accidental alterations of the settings.

Also, this receiver is equipped with a switchable multi-level limiter. The limiter can be adjusted from -18 dB to 6 dB. It is built in a sturdy metal housing powered by two 1.5V AA batteries or rechargeable ACU packs. The earphone output has a 3.5mm stereo jack socket.

Furthermore, it comes with easy-to-manage and flexible wireless synchronization between transmitter and receiver through infrared. It has a  hefty bodypack receiver delivering sound clarity along the whole frequency spectrum for frequent on-stage usage.

Audio engineers can significantly benefit from this product as they give proper consistency and quality. This is a vast improvement to the music industry over traditional floor wedge monitors. These IEMs are more suitable for on-stage live performers, playing acoustic guitars, and singers where the sound quality is their primary concern.

Pros

  • Compatible with Sennheiser WSM Control Software for frequency allocation
  • OLED Display
  • Up to 16 Compatible channels
  • User-friendly Menu
  • Fast wireless synchronization between transmitter and receiver
  • Enhanced AF frequency range

Cons

  • Expensive

Fender FXA7 Professional In-Ear Headphone Monitors 

Fender FXA7 In-Ear Headphone Monitor has a precision dual hybrid-dynamic well-balanced armature array. Matched to a 9.25mm driver and a custom rare-earth driver for concise, realistic, and lush audio. A custom molded-like fit is provided through 3D-printed DHT (Digital Hybrid Technology) shell, and a smartphone can quickly drive its monitors for daily playback.

We can safely say that FXA7 is entirely made for those people who are fans of bass and even for drummers who are very particular to every element of their sound. This promises to give unapologetic bass, unrestrained, and a bit of exaggeration. Fender is known to be the world’s largest guitar manufacturer, and to be able to announce their new range of in-ear monitors is such a huge milestone for them.

Inside the ear-shaped case lies a pair of tweeters, a bass port, and a 9.25mm rare-earth driver. The manufacturer claims that this is a perfect combination that eliminates the need for a crossover, thus improving the fidelity of the audio. FXA7 can deliver 110dB for 1mW that provides the necessary headroom to avoid distortion, and maintain clarity at minimal sound levels — though it is not intended for giving an ear-shredding listening experience.

Pros

  • Robust build quality
  • Has several sizes of ear tips
  • Great instrument separation
  • Lesser distortion

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Small movements of this IEM within the ear may cause to affect the amount of bass that you will hear

MEE Audio M6 PRO Musicians’ In-Ear Monitors

This is the 2nd generation M6 PRO in-ear monitor that features improved mid-range accuracy and natural treble compared to its previous version. They are built to last with detachable, IPX5 sweat and weather-resistant construction and replaceable cables. It is packed with a Bluetooth audio adapter that features HD audio that works amazingly with Qualcomm aptX and aptX low latency technology.

This ergonomic earpiece specification gives all-day comfort and security. T-series memory foam tips for additional noise-cancellation and a personalized fit with seven pairs of ear tips come with T-series memory foam tips. With their stability and durability, they can be decent to use for sports – they are built with an ear-hook design that is guaranteed comfortable for the ears.

M6 Pro is specifically designed for live events and certainly built for the road as they provide impeccable construction, convenient fit, and enormous sound. The unit delivers a moderate and well-balanced audio response, but the outcome may sound a bit sharp for some critical users.

Regarding the sound-isolation feature, the sealed in-ear design of M6 PRO memory foam ear tips has significantly reduced outside noise. It enables safe listening volume and improving audio quality for a maximized audio experience.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Removable cables
  • Fixed G1 concerns of harsh mids
  • It comes with two cables
  • No audio leak despite the high volume
  • Waterproof feature

Cons

  • A bit too much of bright audio reproduction
  • May not fit to use for gaming
  • Needs for bass without EQ
  • Basic construction

Conclusion

A better way to know what type of in-ear monitor to buy depends on your purpose, preference, and on the kind of instrument you’ll play.

Based on our team’s research and roundup reviews, we recommend ATH-E70 Professional In-Ears Studio Monitor. From its competitive price to its exceptional features, this is an intelligent choice for live performing artists, audiophiles, or even people who would just want to up-level their audio listening experience.

ATH-E70 meets the criteria of a good in-ear monitor. Whether you are a beginner or a professional musician, you will surely appreciate its features and the unit itself. They are genuinely high-end and we can guarantee that you will never go wrong with this one.

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