What are IEMs & should you just use headphones?

These new IEMs are going to replace my onstage monitors!

Eh, they can, but should they?

Whether you’re a musician who’s trying to decide between wedges on a stage or IEMs. Or a weekend warrior who wants more substantial sound than the basic earbuds that come with a phone. Knowing what IEMs are, and how they’re best, or not the best for certain situations, can be a huge help.

We’re going to go over what these nifty headphones are best used for, what the advantages are, what separates them from earbuds, and why you might need to stick with onstage monitors if you’re a performer.

What are IEMs? 

In Ear Monitors (IEMs) are basically earbuds used by musicians and sound engineers, and soon to be audiophiles ;).

These specialized headphones are used to hear a personal mix of vocals and stage instrumentation during a live performance or studio recording, which makes them a great tool for musicians. source

Earbuds vs. IEMs

To compare IEMs to earbuds is like comparing open back to closed back headphones. The sound quality is going to be completely different between these two seemingly similar headphones.

In ear monitors are like listening to a pair of closed back headphones, because they isolate the music and block outside noise passively. Much like a pair of closed back headphones.

Earbuds are the open back version of these headphones, because there’s very little passive noise cancelation that happens with your apple earbuds. However, some of the newer models of apple earbuds have a more direct speaker shape that isolates the sound a little better. But on the whole, it’s nothing like a pair of IEMs.

In Ear Monitors prioritize sound isolation and blocking outside noise

The cone shape of these specialized headphones clearly prioritizes the direct delivery of sound straight to your eardrum. This shape also blocks your ear pretty well, like we said before, creating a passive noise cancelation effect. Which is a great benefit if you’re not wanting to deal with the world.

Earbuds don’t produce high quality sound

There is a pretty good final argument to choose the in ear monitors over the typical apple ear buds, and that is the overall sound quality!

The tech in these specialized headphones makes the music experience such a great experience compared to the fast and loose sound of the default ear buds…

Sources-

http://blog.sonicbids.com/4-of-the-most-common-misconceptions-about-in-ear-monitors

https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/iem-vs-earbuds.547367/

Cory H.

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