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IEM - custom + cheap transmitter/receiver or universal + higher end transmitter/receiver?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by scoopscallahan, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. scoopscallahan


    Jun 14, 2011
    If you had $1000 to spend would you get custom molds + a cheaper transmitter (less than $300) or a higher shure/sennheiser system with "universal" ear buds?
    Robert Lewis likes this.
  2. I use the Sennheiser G3 system and Westone UM pro 20's. Very happy.
  3. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Looks to be three variables in there as far as I can tell rather than just 2 options.
    - Universal vs custom
    - No. & type of driver
    - Wireless system

    I get the 'vibe' around here that a lot of people would recommend going custom with fewer drivers rather than universal with more drivers for the same money, but I'd be really interested to hear any opinions on this aspect specifically.
  4. hufe


    Mar 21, 2011
    Tijuana, Mexico
    The way I see it: If the sound coming out of the transmitter is crap, you'll hear crap even if you have a great set of custom IEM. It's better to invest first in the audio source, you can always move up to better IEMs later.
    Scottkarch and musicman7722 like this.
  5. patrickj


    Aug 13, 2001
    Ellicott City, MD
    Endorsing: Spector Bass Guitars
    Custom molds first. Cheaper ($300) don't sound like crap, they are fine.. and protecting your hearing is vital if you do eventually upgrade your transmitter simply so you can tell the difference.
  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i can't see the $300 wireless as ever being a good investment, i'd never want to rely on it live. i vote either the better system with universal buds just from a "gig-worthy" standpoint, or get the high-end buds and run them wired until you can get a minimally professional wireless for them.
    BassikLee and musicman7722 like this.
  7. I recommend just the opposite. The odds are most people will fit universal buds fine in their ears.
  8. I'd say go with shure psm 300 or sennheiser g3 system then upgrade the buds as you go
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    If Universal buds work for you.. go with them. They never worked for me, so I HAD little choice but customs.. Bit go with TRIPLE drivers (or more) if you can afford them.
    The upper end wireless - like the G3 - is far better than anything in the $300-$400 range.
    You CAN find good deals on the G3 (or PSM300) if you take your time and look.. My NIB G3 cost me $720 shipped..
    You can get pretty DECENT set of universals and a G3/PSM300 system for your $1000.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  10. Custom (or universal if they fit your ears well) multi-driver IEMs and then go wired if there's not enough $$ left over until you can save up for a good wireless. At least that's what I did (eventually).
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I recently got close to pulling the trigger on a new system but backed off last minute. I have resigned myself to not bothering until I can stomach dropping closer to $2,000 or more on the whole deal.
    Geri O likes this.
  12. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    Can you start wired IEMs? You can get a headphone amp cheap. We use a 4 channel behringer 1u headphone amp for 2-3 of us and the quality is noticeably better than our Galaxy audio wireless, which is in the same rack. Show by show I choose between wired quality vs wireless freedom. Many small/midsize bars going wired is no issue. I vote to spend $$ on decent in ears with a headphone amp and go wired. Save up for a premium wireless if you have the money or realize you need the freedom. 2c
    musicman7722 likes this.
  13. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    I'm in the same boat. Universals don't fit or stay in my ears. I went with a 2 driver custom Westone AC20, after using them for a couple of years, I have no regrets that I didn't get a higher end set. The problem is that you can't audition or compare custom molded earbuds, so it's a bit of a leap of faith going into them.
    I also use the Sennheiser wireless and heartily recommend it, but I think I would live with a wire and my custom earbuds if the wireless was out of my initial budget. It would not be a good place to cut costs, as any static or dropouts would be a huge distraction.
    s0c9 likes this.
  14. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    The inability to audition custom buds is a definite "bummer".. unless you live on either coast and can get to the audio shows where the vendors come in and let you try them... Most WILL let you "try" a set of universals (for a fee), but that isn't quite the same.
    When I went from my Westone's to 1964 Qi's, plunking down $550+ S/H was a HUGE leap of faith. But I did my research and luckily a local "mega-church" used them exclusively, so I was able to talk to real-world users. Upgrading to my A8's was a no-brainer after 2 yrs on the Qi's.
    As always. .YMMV :)
  15. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    I just received a set of $20 KZ ZST earbuds. I can't believe they are only $20. They sound as good as anything I've bought for $100. I highly recommend trying them out if you can't afford the quality but spend your units out there. Even as a backup set they are affordable. I'm amazed by them.

    Attached Files:

    superflybass likes this.
  16. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Scottkarch and s0c9 like this.
  17. Really - that looks like a Carvin wanna be. You know for around $500 you can find Sennheiser G2 IEM units on Ebay. I bought one for back up and my lead singer uses it. works as good as my G3.
  18. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Mipro have a good "pro" rep.. ask @Geri O !! :)
  19. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Custom triple driver IEMs ($400) and a Rolls PM351 ($80).
  20. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Might be the other way around.
    MIPRO - Users | Artists
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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