In-Ear Monitors (IEM) have gained widespread popularity among music fanatics due to their amazing sound quality. Let's take a closer look at what makes them so different from other hearing aids.
Most of you have a type of hearing aid in your ears. It could be a pair of wireless headphones, such as Airpods, or a large, wired pair of headphones. They all do the same job but In-Ear Monitors are a completely different kind of audio device. They are intended mainly for professional use. If we have to classify them in a homogeneity, then they are somewhere between the absolute sealing of the ears through a pair of headphones and the lice type earbuds.
They are referred to as monitors because they were originally created for musicians and singers to "watch" a combination of audio sources from different places. For example, a band member will hear a combination of different instruments and vocals coming directly to his IEM. They were also used by singers to listen to the music carpet as they recorded the vocals. Artists and media workers usually have IEMs specially adapted to the shape of their ears.
Today, IEMs are available to everyone, but at quite high prices, compared to very simple headphones. The stores offer a wide range of prices, designs and audio profiles for every type of listener. You can find them at your local audio store or music store, by 35,00 3.000,00 to euro.
While IEMs that cost tens of thousands of euros still exist for professionals, you can get a pair of IEMs with fantastic sound, which will not cost much more than a quality pair of headphones. There are also many music-loving communities dedicated to comparing, optimizing and discussing in-ear monitors.
What makes IEM unique?
The most obvious difference between in-ear monitors and other devices is the way they look. IEMs are shaped to look like an ear. They usually come with silicone, foam or rubber and their tips fit the tip of your ear. Many monitors also have a bent wire that hooks to the top of your ear.
Because they fit so well in your ears, IEMs tend to be very comfortable to use for long periods of time. Their shape and edges also exclude ambient noise.
Another unique feature of IEMs is their modular nature. Almost all models have detachable cables and headphones, which are interchangeable with other models. You can change your cable with one that is more durable or with a very long one if you have to give a live show. Of course the IEMs are wired, with a 3,5 mm plug.
Perhaps the biggest reason music lovers tend to be attracted to IEMs is the way they sound. Audio devices use a transducer, also known as a driver, that converts electronic signals into sound waves. Most modern IEMs use what is called balanced armature, which is a tiny, powerful transducer originally conceived for hearing aids. Others use a dynamic driver, which can improve bass performance.
High-end in-ear monitors can have many drivers, each designed for different frequencies, so you can customize a sound to your liking.
Use IEM for the average listener
There are many benefits to using an IEM as a daily audio listener.
Even if you are a simple listener, you will probably notice a significant difference in sound quality between a normal pair of headphones and an in-ear monitor. More bass, more sharpness and higher frequency range are just a few things you can expect.
The way the IEMs "sit" in your ear and the application of its tips to the tip of your ear, also allow you to try a more complete range of audio.
Many headphones block the flow of air and so your ears and the surrounding area become warm and sweaty. Hearphones can also be heavy. IEMs are lightweight and comfortable to use for long periods of time.
While IEMs do not have active noise cancellation, they block most noise from the surrounding area. Even at low volume, you are unlikely to hear anything from your surroundings. This means that you can play the sound at a reasonable level while maintaining the properties of a noise cancellation.
Should I get an IEM pair?
If you are interested in audio fidelity and want an excellent isolation of external noise, getting an IEM pair is not a bad idea. However, if you prefer wireless headphones or think that high fidelity technology is too much, then IEMs may not be right for you.
However, getting an IEM pair is a great way to get into the music-loving community. You will find many reviews, guides and deals with technology and music lovers. There are also many sources for achieving the best performance of your equalizer through your IEM.
Of course, before you buy an IEM, make sure you have a 3,5 mm headphone jack on your device. Many cell phone manufacturers have completely removed the headphone jack on their latest devices, so you may need to purchase one. USB-C converter to jack. However, most laptops and desktops still have built-in audio outputs.