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Headphones instead of in ears.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Mike M., Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    At church we recently went to an in ear monitor system. I can't wear them. I've tried every shaped bud in every size with every material for the in ears and cannot get a good seal going. As long as I continually press with the lightest of pressure on the in ears, all sounds great. Of course that makes playing bass a bit difficult, so as soon as I release the pressure it sounds like crap...especially the bass. Sounds like I'm playing thru a 15 watt open back combo that's cranked. Everybody else seems to have no problem with the in ears fitting good except me.

    Our drummer happened to have his Bose AE2 headphones that he use to wear and offered to let me use them for todays service. OMG....night and day differance!! Everything sounded fabulous!! These headphones were a nice size too. Nothing to big or clunky and very light.

    Offhand I'm going to get a pair next weekend to use at church. In the meantime I'm wondering if anybody else uses headphones instead of in ears and what are you using.
  2. Have you tried any of the companies that will make an IEM molded to your ear? They send you out some putty type thing, you put it in your ears to get the shape, send it back and they make you IEMs just for you.
  3. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Get yourself fitted for an ear mold. If you have to wear in ears, that's the way to go.
  4. Check this out first. I use an off the rack set of $100 Denon earbuds for monitors and have for years. One set of these was included and I've turned others onto them. It's not expensive so try them first.


    I hate molds cause they isolate and are expensive.
  5. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Thanks guys. No, I haven't tried any custom in ears yet....but that thought was in the back of my mind.

    I just looked up Denon and it turns out the Denon brand is in quite a few local stores in my area. Apparently, the shape of my ear canals must be odd, otherwise I wouldn't be having so much trouble with the buds we have at church. And believe me when I say they have quite a selection to choose from as well. You name it and they've pretty much got it. But it seems like I can't get them deep enough to where they seal good.

    Is there something differant about the Denon in ears to where they might fit my ear canals?
  6. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I think you misunderstood what he was trying to say. He uses Denon's but with the Comply foam tips. The Comply foam tips are what he was recommending that you try with whatever in-ear monitors you are currently using.
  7. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Everyone's ear canal shape is unique. No mass produced IEM's are going to seal like custom molded ones will.

    One thing, though - the custom ones seal so well that you won't hear much of anything that you aren't feeding them. Mixing for IEM's is a whole 'nother thing.
  8. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Yeah, you're right! I did misunderstand what he said. (Du-uh!)
  9. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Same here bro.

    I'm still getting used to IEM's. I may go the custom route myself. But the $$ are causing me to pause for the moment.

    Everyone who has custom inserts loves 'em.

    However, even with custom inserts, the quality of the mix (or lack thereof) does take some time getting used to. I really enjoy those times when the sound blanks in-and-out! :bawl: That's when I find out how good I can keep the beat (along with everyone else!). :eyebrow: Since we have a cheaper wireless system, cell phones are interfering with the frequency spectrum (so I'm told). But I digress! :)

    I'm still using my bass amp speaker so I can hear the bottom. Since bass is non-directional, you may want to see if your team will go for that (assuming you don't have any sound on stage).
  10. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    I use some shure ear buds with the foam tips. Just squeeze them and stick it in your ear. It will then expand to make a good seal.
  11. bass4worship

    bass4worship Ready For Freddy, let rock Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sebring, Florida
    Yes you can use standed headphone. I use AKG K77
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Find some epoxy foam like this
    The stuff can be found around much cheaper than this.
    You can convert any decent earbuds to have good seal.
  13. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    If you end up going with headphones be sure to duct tape them to your head like
    Keith Moon did.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've seen folks with headphones instead of IEM's and other than Keith, it looks dorky. It worked for Keith because he'd duct tape them to his head, which makes perfect sense. Anyone else...nah.
  15. bass4worship

    bass4worship Ready For Freddy, let rock Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Sebring, Florida
    Guys he only playing at church!
  16. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    So it's OK to look dorky at church? ;)
  17. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Ha! Well, I guess in God's eyes it's okay! :) Personally, I didn't care what I looked like wearing the headphones because it worked! My bass sounded like a bass and the mix was great!

    But I am going to try and find some of those Comply foam tips as a last resort. The foam tips they had at church weren't cutting it...as all the others tips they had weren't.
  18. gr8bassplayer


    Feb 12, 2013
    I use a pair a Klipsch Image S4s. They sound great and have a different shape to them, more of an oval than a circle. There about $100.
  19. Schizoid75


    Apr 27, 2005
    Columbus, OH
    I'll try and be brief with my history of shoving stuff down my ear canals. I used Etymotic Research ear plugs for years--probably more than a decade. So I was used to their design of 3 soft rubber flanges, each increasing in size. No problems with seal for me. When I first tried IEM's, I just used a pair of Etymotic Research ear buds that I used with my ipod. Same basic design, no seal issues. When I ordered my current wireless in-ear system, they came with a pair of Shure IEM's. No matter what tips I tried, I couldn't get a consistent seal. It would sound good for a bit, but then something would move and I'd be fiddling with them for another few songs.

    So after years of being very happy with fit, I do understand the feeling of trying everything and nothing working!

    So once I decided that IEM's were the way to go, I go custom molds and got a top of the line pair of JH Audio's. I'm thrilled with them. But the molds themselves were only $60 from the audiologist I went to. If you combine that with the cheapest pair of custom IEM's you can get, that's probably still less than a decent combo amp and will have better sound. Don't let the hassle and unknown factor with custom molds deter you. Plus, I think JH audio has a guarantee that if they make you custom molds and you're not happy with the fit within the first 30 days, you can send them back for adjustments.

    My $0.02.
  20. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) uses headphones on stage for the same reasons. He can't stand the feel/ can't get a good seal with in ears, so he wears big cans on stage.

    Do what works for you.