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Signature for performer use (IEM)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 




I'd be really grateful if anyone could advise not on specific models but on the general sound signature which is likely to suit my situation. I hope that you will forgive that although I have a rough and ready audio knowledge, I'm aware I lack the technical expertise of posters here - hence the noob question...



Originally I thought I might be able to get one IEM for multiple purposes:


  1. Portable audio listening
  2. Monitoring while performing music
  3. Monitoring as live sound technician


Without boring you with details, having read several posts here I think I can see that would require significant compromises.


So, if I was to say the main focus was to be for use monitoring while performing, please could anyone advise what sort of signature I should be looking at?


Essential information:

  1. I play keyboard and sing backing in a 4-piece band
  2. The music is mainstream and balanced in instrumentation
  3. The main venues are bars and the band is generally tightly packed
  4. The ambient sound can frequently be very loud, highly reflective and bass-heavy due to corner effect
  5. I would be listening to a monitoring mix with other instruments pushed back - I would ideally like to hear everyone clearly, but most importantly I need to hear my keyboard and my backing vocals
  6. Although I might otherwise favour a colouration which enhances my vocal, it is more important not to lose spectral content from the keyboard as this tells me how the sounds are blending in
  7. Vocally I am a baritone and my keyboard sounds span most of the audio spectrum


If anyone can advise the ideal signature, I will then look at the multi-reviews by ClieOS and ljokerl and decide within my budget (currently pitifully low, but hopefully increasing later!).


Thanks very much in anticipation! Gaz (Raggor)

post #2 of 15

Welcome to Head-fi!


You probably want an IEM with a pretty forward midrange to emphasize voices and the keyboard part. The bass definitely should not be overwhelming.


I know you don't want models yet, but Clear Tune Monitors specifically caters to live performers.

post #3 of 15

TF10s are probably the cheapest professional IEMs. you can visit impressionist and reshell them for like $150. People love balance of these babys

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks tzjin and cj. Have just had a look at those specific suggestions...




Although those aren't at the top end of the scale, for me at the moment unfortunately that would be a significant investment which I can't yet justify frown.gif. But I still hope to do as best and most appropriate as I can within my budget! 



So I'll be starting with an off-the shelf budget pair which should also inform me of more specific needs of a better pair (I plan). I'm hoping before too long I will be at that point where I can consider custom moulds - the suggestion of Clear Tune will come in then...



The TF10 is an interesting suggestion also which I quickly looked at - from a brief scout, some concerns about build quality but I think the main thing that doesn't draw me to those is they seem to be described as leaning toward a scooped profile. Assuming this is true and that tzjin has a good assessment of the ideal signature, it sounds like ideally I'm after something more the other way?

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

So a strong mid-range, yes?


Not knowing, I had several conflicting theories - that I might want more mid for definition, that I might want a completely flat response to get a true sound, or that I might want extra bass to compete with low-end spill and body resonance!


Ok, great I will look at mid-centric phones then - thanks again!

post #6 of 15

The Etymotic HF5 would be good for monitoring because of the balanced and very detailed sound but the bass is on the light side for some people.  Also you might want to look at the GR07, its tuned for monitoring and has very good bass.

post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by Techno Kid View Post

The Etymotic HF5 would be good for monitoring because of the balanced and very detailed sound but the bass is on the light side for some people.  Also you might want to look at the GR07, its tuned for monitoring and has very good bass.


I feel the bass is extremely well balanced with the other frequencies, which helps give it it's switchblade precision. Much more bass and it would start to sound artificial, which is what I believe the Etys are not. And this is me coming from bass-heavy earphones like the Atrio MG7 and Klipsch S4. 


A proper seal is crucial, as always.

Edited by Bcool06 - 8/11/12 at 9:11pm
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input Techno Kid and Bcool.


Definitely liking the reviews of HF5 and GR07 and price point is viable as a second step pair if you think those have good mid presence. With my current budget for a first entry into IEM though unfortunately I just can't stretch to what I would call a proper pair such as those yet! 


So just thinking about a first pair then, how about lower price GRs such as GR06 or SoundMAGIC E30 (which is actually one I first considered) as cheap substitutes for GR07? Clearly I have no illusions that I will get as good a performance out of a cheaper pair, but I must cut my cloth!...

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

(Sorry, I didn't plan to get into models since my options are clearly limited but the discussion seems to have gone that way!)

post #10 of 15

Well, what is your budget? I'd think you'd want something with a neutral frequency response and good isolation. Earphones with excessive coloration can tend to mush the different frequencies together. I did hear that the SoundMAGIC E10 and E30 are a solid earphone for the price, but I haven't tried them so I wouldn't know if they would fit your needs.


The Etymotic HF5 can be had for $100 on Amazon right now, which is a steal.



Edited by Bcool06 - 8/12/12 at 8:38am
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link bcool - I'm actually in the UK, guess that doesn't show on my posts! We get the same models here but prices vary differently - for that reason it might not be too meaningful to look at price, I appreciate you weren't to know that if it doesn't show on my posts so sorry if you were misled.regular_smile%20.gif


That said, if you happen to know of a suitable budget IEM aimed within the bracket up to about $60, chances are it would be affordable here also so I'll definitely have a look at any suggestions you might have. If not, no worries - I'm conscious that not everyone will be familiar with the price bracket and my options are also limited at the bottom.




Specifically, though, if anyone has experience of E30, low bracket GR's or comparable IEMs with the mid to flat profile needed, it would also be useful to receive opinions how they would fit this situation as a budget option. Thanks again.

post #12 of 15

If $60 US is your budget then the Sony XBA-1 might do the trick.  Its has a single BA driver with a warm balanced sound and the bass is really quite good with nice punch and depth.  Slightly forward mids and relaxed highs with good detail.  Soundstage is average in width and depth with a nice cohesive sound.  They cost $62 on Amazon so they should be around 40 pounds I would think.


Yea on Amazon.co.uk they're 46.78 and I think they're well worth what they cost.

Edited by Techno Kid - 8/12/12 at 10:26am
post #13 of 15

I will highly recommend the RE0 because there soundsignature is great to use for monitoring and daily use. They are very detailed in mids, highs and good for complex music, they shows acurate locations within the soundstage and vocals sound great. BTW they are easy to drive and get loud with or without AMPs help. The other IEMs like Philips SHE9850, JVC FXD80, Shure SE215, Sony EX510 are also great buy.

Edited by ZARIM - 8/12/12 at 11:28am
post #14 of 15
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks that's probably enough to be getting on with - I will have a look at all of those suggestions and get back to you...

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