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Recommend: Stage performance IEMs sub-$400?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

If you could name ONE sub-$400 (or give a very convincing argument for one slightly outside that price point) for a workhorse, doesn't-need-to-be-perfect-but-needs-to-be-effective IEM for onstage performance, what would it be?

 

More details:

 

- singer, playing small, acoustically iffy venues like rock clubs & bars with a full band

- soprano range, probably in need of good mids (& treble that won't make me go deaf/stab my eardrums)

- good isolation/keep Autumn from making her tinnitus an indisputable reality

- custom not mandatory but would be nice (haven't fit customs before, any pointers also welcome)

 

Recommendations on wireless rigs and/or sharing experience with corded IEMs also appreciated.

 

I HAVE read the Huge IEM Thread by joker & the average_joe customs thread, but would like to get additional perspective from people who have used IEMs in live performances.

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post

 

- singer, playing small, acoustically iffy venues like rock clubs & bars with a full band

- soprano range, probably in need of good mids (& treble that won't make me go deaf/stab my eardrums)

- good isolation/keep Autumn from making her tinnitus an indisputable reality

- custom not mandatory but would be nice (haven't fit customs before, any pointers also welcome)

 

I would recommend a single driver or dual driver custom IEM.

 

Why custom? It's an investment you'll find useful. Your ears will thank you for the comfort of using a CIEM after several hours performing live. The superior isolation (only Etymotic models isolate on par or better, but they're usually not as comfortable as their proponents say they are) will allow you to monitor at levels that won't cause long term NIHL (<85 dBA, per OSHA/NIOSH recommendations). As comfortable as the Shure and Westone style earphones are, they really don't provide as much isolation as you'll actually want when you're performing day in and day out. I would recommend something like the InEar StageDiver SD2, which is universal-fit but very isolating, but it's a little out of your budget. The SD1 fits your budget, but I don't really recommend it on the basis of sound quality, which I find wanting.

 

As you're a vocalist, you need accurate monitoring of vocals. Usually single driver models and dual driiver models (such as the 1723 AcuPass models) will do well in this regard, because single driver models are relatively immune to phase issues, giving you a more accurate lay of the land when your monitor engineer is giving you what he's picking up on the instruments and from the ambient microphones. Single driver models won't give you the "body", "richness", and "texture" of something more upmarket, but they'll do the job just fine. You're using them mostly for work, not for fanatical audiophile pursuit. An AcuPass dual driver is also fairly immune to most phase issues as well.

 

For silicone, your best bet would be to go with CustomArt. Peter's Music One is very good --- very natural and very resolving, with just the right amount of mid focus to give you the upfront visualization of vocal fundamentals that you might need to hit your notes at just the right rhythm and cadence. Overall, it's got a response that's just warm of neutral, so you'll get a great lay of the land. Both Joker and Average_Joe reviewed it (and rated it highly); and I'm in the process of reviewing it (previously, I reviewed the Pro100, but I find the Music One to be better for more purposes). 

 

For acrylic, while I don't have experience with the brand at all, the new Perfect-Seal Laboratories looks promising. Its SportBud line looks affordable and it's less obtrusive looking because it uses an ITC design (read: smaller shell) rather than the traditional ITE design. In addition, it uses heat-reactive resin for the canal tips just like Westone's Elite Series, making it more comfortable.

 

I'm trying to recommend things <$300, because an audiologist's visit will run you anywhere from $30-$100. Add in options that you may want, such as aesthetic stuff, and you might be pushing $400.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Perfect, that's precisely the kind of feedback I needed! Thanks for the thoughtful, thorough advice.

 

Quote:
 Single driver models won't give you the "body", "richness", and "texture" of something more upmarket, but they'll do the job just fine. You're using them mostly for work, not for fanatical audiophile pursuit.

 

Got it in one. I have my AKG k272s for casual, not-trying-to-save-my-hearing listening at home. 

 

I definitely had my eye on the CustomArts after reading Joker's thread before posting this, but it's nice to get the second nod. I see that on their site, the MusicOne seems to be targeted more towards casual listening while the Pro series explicitly states it can be used for stage work-- but you suggest the MusicOne works just fine for stage use as well?

 

I'm excited! Audiologist isn't a problem, I already took that into consideration for budget.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
 

Perfect, that's precisely the kind of feedback I needed! Thanks for the thoughtful, thorough advice.

 

Got it in one. I have my AKG k272s for casual, not-trying-to-save-my-hearing listening at home. 

 

I definitely had my eye on the CustomArts after reading Joker's thread before posting this, but it's nice to get the second nod. I see that on their site, the MusicOne seems to be targeted more towards casual listening while the Pro series explicitly states it can be used for stage work-- but you suggest the MusicOne works just fine for stage use as well?

 

I'm excited! Audiologist isn't a problem, I already took that into consideration for budget.

 

Yes, Peter actually will be discontinuing the Pro100; he himself has recommended the Music One over the Pro100 to some performing musicians. My take --- the Pro100 has a bit more warmth and minor roll-off on both ends by design. This kind of coloration, psychoacoustically, gives the listener a heightened sense of midrange focus. While that's great and all, the Pro100 loses versatility. The Music One is therefore better suited for more uses, but actually still preserves a nice warm-bodied midrange, without losing an overall sense of neutral response. The Music One is also more overtly detailed.

 

I fully believe that Custom Art really pushes the boundaries of what you can get out of a single driver and two drivers. I myself ordered the Music Two, and it'll deliver the bass much more convincingly (without boosting the overall quantity by much) and add a bit more detail into the mids and highs. However, I still recommend the Music One, because it doesn't have as much by way of upper midrange. While the upper midrange is an important range in the reproduction of human voices because it holds many vocal harmonics and directional cues, the human hearing system is naturally most sensitive in that range. When you're performing over a span of a few hours a night, it's best not to overstimulate your ear's hair cells responsible for that region --- there's a reason why most noise-induced hearing losses occur at 3 kHz, 4 kHz, and 6 kHz. The Music One still has enough for accurate reproduction, but won't have so much that it'll fatigue your ears over long periods.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post

 

While the upper midrange is an important range in the reproduction of human voices because it holds many vocal harmonics and directional cues, the human hearing system is naturally most sensitive in that range. When you're performing over a span of a few hours a night, it's best not to overstimulate your ear's hair cells responsible for that region --- there's a reason why most noise-induced hearing losses occur at 3 kHz, 4 kHz, and 6 kHz. The Music One still has enough for accurate reproduction, but won't have so much that it'll fatigue your ears over long periods.

 

Wow. That's a degree of medical-level care & consideration that I wouldn't have at all been able to intuit through independent research alone-- I really appreciate that perspective.

 

Going to haul my ass to an audiologist ASAP & get this done-- thanks very much for your help & insight!

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