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definition of an IEM

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I come from a HIfi background and am seeking definition of what an IEM actually is.

To my understanding IEM stands for In Ear Monitor. A monitor (or reference) speaker has a flat response and designed not to colour the sound in any way ie they are designed for monitoring either in a studio or at a live event. IEMs were designed to replace the front monitor speakers at live events for the band and for the guy at the mixer. Monitors are a different type of speaker to ones you find in a home for easy listening with your own personal preferences. Often people dont like the sound of a flat response and prefer bass or mid heavy and often the really high end phones which the manufacturer has spent a lot of effort ensuring a flat and clear output.

Now I see posts like "I would like a bass heavy IEM", how can that be??? Its not a monitor if its bass heavy. I see a universal use of the term IEM when origionally is was for the high end, flat response, serious professional equipment. We should use the term IEM correctly. Things like skullkandys etc are not IEMS there Canalphones. I am actually looking for a good quality IEM but I find everythings called an IEM!

Stop using the term Monitor for a headphone unless its designed as a monitor.
post #2 of 11
I guess IEM is easier to type than canalphone and has no become synonymous with phones that insert into your ear.
I see your point though
post #3 of 11
Are you seeking a definition or providing one?
post #4 of 11
i think that even in its original context as in-ear live performance analogues of studio monitors, there was some equalization involved since they are not in a studio, but playing to a live audience accustomed to the 'v shape' equalization sound that everyone seems to enjoy... im not sure tho, this is just conjecture... but if that is true, IEM's of today would still be properly named
post #5 of 11
I'm going to start using 'OEM' for ear buds, just to be a pain.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesda View Post
I'm going to start using 'OEM' for ear buds, just to be a pain.
'out of ear monitors' ? first of all that is nowhere near as specific, its everything from the earbuds you talk about to the studio monitor speakers that the topic starter mentioned
secondly 'OEM' has been overwhelmingly accepted as 'original equipment manufacturer' , somewhat like 'IEM' is accepted as the definition we use it today

i'd be surprised if you can even keep on using 'OEM' the way you said you are going to use it
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmatic View Post
'out of ear monitors' ? first of all that is nowhere near as specific, its everything from the earbuds you talk about to the studio monitor speakers that the topic starter mentioned
secondly 'OEM' has been overwhelmingly accepted as 'original equipment manufacturer' , somewhat like 'IEM' is accepted as the definition we use it today

i'd be surprised if you can even keep on using 'OEM' the way you said you are going to use it
post #8 of 11
Deleted.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TopPop View Post
lol
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by elanma View Post
...Stop using the term Monitor for a headphone unless its designed as a monitor.
As part of my IEM guide, which is sticked on this forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Is it a canalphone or an IEM?
Due to its great portability, high sound quality and noise blocking ability, specially tuned (and often custom molded) canalphones have been used on stage very early on by musicians and audio engineers alike. These canalphones are part of the In-Ear-Monitor-System (IEMS), which can be either wired or wireless. For the ease of naming, canalphones used in such system are referred as IEM. Later, as canalphone manufacturer began to make high quality canalphone available for the general consumer (iPod generation), the word ‘IEM’ becomes popular thus replacing ‘canalphone’ as how we refer to all canalphones. Technically speaking, only canalphones on an IEMS should be called an IEM. However, there is no hard definition on the word ‘IEM’ and it is easier for general consumer to use a simpler terminology. Sometime ‘IEM’ is also used only to refer to high quality canalphone...
Also, you are not really right about the 'flat response' part of the IEM. In an actual In Ear Monitor System used on stage, the sound on each channels are mixed according to the each musician's preference, and never really flat.

The first reason is, a 55yrs-old rock star will have different hearing range and response to Miley Cyrus (or any other person) due to different degree of accumulated hearing damage (occupation hazard, no doubt). To appear 'flat' in the musician ear, the sound actually needed to tuned to un-flat for compensation.

The second reason is, not every person on the performance (including the singer) listen to the same channel with the same mix. The real situation is, each musician (guitarist, drummer, singer, etc) get their own mix. Singer often has their own special mix cause they need to mix a bit of their own voice back to the channel to sound 'more natural' (compensation of the lack of bone conduction). Sometime singer also like to mix some of the crowd's noise back to channel so not to be too isolated. Drummer on the other hand often like to isolate most of the drum sound from their channel to better protect their hearing (since the sound already transmitted by their body). Also, the main instrument that set the tempo usually get mixed more heavily to all the channels.

Musicians do not need the extra high detail that all audiophile love because they will get drown by the noise anyway (even with the best IEM, noise reaching the musician's ears are still on the high 80dB or even higher, plus they are not there to listen to music). Instead comfort and good resolution (separation of notes) are more important. They also don't really need flat response as everything needed to be mixed according to what they need to listen so they can better perform their job.

The kind of monitor you are referring to are those belong to the recording studio, not the IEM used on stage. They serve two very different purposes.
post #11 of 11
I get what you're saying but a tiny bit fastidious do you not think?
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