IEMs for studio vocalists?
Feb 27, 2006 at 11:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


New Head-Fier
Feb 27, 2006
So IEMs are great for live performance vocalists, but why don't vocalists seem to be using these while recording in the studio (or are they)? What are the drawbacks (if any)? You get occlusion with closed headphones anyway, and fit/comfort issues become non-issues since hopefully you've already dealt with those when using the IEMs live. Plus you're already used to singing with these in while singing live anyway! Seems like the perfect solution... so I wonder why I've never heard of them being used in this way...

Any issues with sound leakage into the mic -- are some of these not "closed"? I've noticed that Shure advertises their Beta 87C mic specifically for performers using IEMs to avoid bleed. Hmm.

And if any vocalists out there ARE using them in the studio, what models would you recommend (hopefully under $200)?
Feb 27, 2006 at 11:42 PM Post #2 of 3


500+ Head-Fier
Oct 11, 2005
Well Westone ES3s are designed for vocalists but theyre a just a little bit over your budget.
Feb 27, 2006 at 11:47 PM Post #3 of 3

Dusty Chalk

Head-Fi-holic: With headphones would just be a benny.
Jun 22, 2001
I've used 'em live. The problem is, if you're active at all -- I.E. with your jaw muscles -- then you're constantly reconfiguring your ear canals, and could break the seal. Even if you don't break the seal, they're constantly moving around in there, and therefore changing the frequency response and stuff.

Also, I had bad experience once, where we couldn't get sound for the longest time, then all of a sudden, the engineer figured it out, and there was a loud feedback loop! My ears were ringing for the rest of the gig. I don't trust engineers any more after that, in terms of getting sound right -- I make sure he gets the sound right before I put those things in my ears "for good".

That said, I agree that they should be really good for studio recording of vocals, since most of the time they leak less than most any other headphones. The thing is, to prevent taking them in and out all the time, you'd have to set up a good talk-back system. Which, for example, I don't have on any of my mixers. With regular headphones, you just slip it off the ear -- DJ style -- and slip it back on when you're done listening to instructions.

Yeah, like singers ever listen to instructions. Well, they pretend to listen, anyways...maybe they could learn to read lips.

Oh, yeah, recommendations -- if you just want straight IEM's (no wireless, etc.), I would think the Shure E2c's would be fine, as would any of the Etymotics in your price range.

Unless you're talking about mixing for binaural, you don't need the best set of headphones just for monitoring.

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