IEMs for live musician: Recommendations?
Jul 28, 2009 at 1:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8


New Head-Fier
Jul 28, 2009
Hello all,

I'm new to the forum, so go easy on me please
I am a singer in a hard rock/metal band that has recently transitioned into the wireless in-ear monitoring world. I have purchased a PSM200 wireless sytem, which came with a set of Shure E1 headphones. They seemed OK, however I never complained, since I only use the wireless to get a small amount of my vocals into my ears.

We recently played a week-long festival, and being the careless musician that I am, I lost them. Now that I have the option of starting over with higher quality IEM headphones that I can use live, and enjoy while I'm listening to music, I'm very excited.

I have read a similar post to mine from '05, however there are so many more options right now that I do not know where to start. I have been looking at the following:

Sleek Audio SA6
M-Audio IE-30
Westone UM3X
Sennheiser IE8

I have one requirement: they HAVE to stay on AT ALL TIMES! I move a lot onstage. I found myself needing to use a triple-flanged eartip with the E1s, which worked perfectly, but wasn't necessarily the best quality.

It seems like the Westone UM3X would be a great choice for me, however I'd like to hear your opinions in the matter. I am also a recording engineer, and although there may not be an IEM with a near flat-frequency response, I'll take the closest thing I can find.

If you have any of the aforementioned models, but don't play live, please put them on and head-bang for as long as you can. If they stay on, and have reference-quality, THAT's what I'm after!


PS: I have a chance of purchasing a set of Shure SCL5 for $250. These seem like they would stay on perfectly. Any comments in regards to these?
Jul 28, 2009 at 1:58 AM Post #2 of 8
Of these I'd probably say the UM3X. These are near invisible when put on (quite important for stage use I'd believe) with minimal microphonics. These are pretty flat in frequency response as far as I can tell, although pretty source dependent (I tried them amped through the Fiio E3 and promptly got massive bass). The ergonomics is pretty much like the UM2/1s, so they'd pretty much stay in ear. Pretty much built for the stage I'd reckon
Jul 28, 2009 at 2:00 AM Post #3 of 8
FWIW the Westone UM3X is the only IEM on that list marketed to and designed for live musicians (maybe even designed by?

Also IE 8 are fun as hell and stay put very well, but they do not really isolate and definitely do NOT have a reference frequency response. Cross them out..
Jul 28, 2009 at 2:02 AM Post #4 of 8
I'm not too familiar with the models you listed, but I did want to just ask, have you looked into some customs? I mean, they are a bit more expensive, but that might be what you are really looking for. Just a thought.
Jul 28, 2009 at 2:06 AM Post #6 of 8
IMO any of these would stay fit, IE8 does come with a pair of ear hooks that really hold the cables
in case of rigorous physical activities, they are pretty light and once you twist them around to fit
your ears you'll forget they are there after a while (that's how I lost one... I forgot that I still wore
them when I took off the IE8)

As for flat frequency response, check out Headroom's graphs to get a geist but take it with a glass
of seawater, because what tip you use will make or break the sound.
Jul 28, 2009 at 2:07 AM Post #7 of 8
I second the UM3X with the Shure Olive/foam tips. Or you could get a UM56 done for it for more seal
Jul 28, 2009 at 2:18 AM Post #8 of 8

Originally Posted by rlanger /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Customs might be your best bet to stay in place while headbanging. What's your budget?

Preferrably up to $400. As I stated before, I never had any problems with the E1s, so before I make the jump into a custom-molded set, I'd like to see what other options are available.

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