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IEM headphones

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Zbysek, Jan 17, 2018.


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  1. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Which IEM heaphones do you use? Can you recommend?
     
  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Sorry, but that's like asking "what bass do you use?"..

    More details are needed to provide assistance.
    such as:
    Church player or gigging musician?
    First time user of IEM's?
    Budget?
    Universal or custom IEM's ($$$)
    Wired or wireless ($$)
    Do you have the ability to control your own mix, or does someone else run that?
     
    musicman7722 and Zbysek like this.
  3. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I've been using Westone UM2s for the past 6 years. They've worked fine but don't carry bass as clearly as vocals. I decided to get some custom molds and checked every review and comparison I could find and decided to ordered some 64 Audio A3s....they should be delivering in early Feb.
     
    musicman7722 and Zbysek like this.
  4. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    I don't see what's wrong with my query... But I am happy to provide the requested details:
    • gigging musician
    • first time user of IEMs
    • wired
    • I have the ability to control my mix
    As regards budget: I have no hard limitations. So, I would like to seek advice on this issue as well. I will make my choice considering mainly "value for money" factor

    I hope the above helps

    Thank you in advance
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  5. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Btw: what bass do you use? :)
     
    Renaissance likes this.
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    FWIW - There was nothing "wrong" with your query at all.. other than it was VERY BROAD in scope - to which I alluded in my first reply :)
    So...
    As a 1st time user that wants to go wired, I recommend that you do NOT SPEND HUGE amounts on a system, but focus the $$ on your buds - as those will stay with you a while.
    Whether you go univerals or customs, if you play bass you REALLY NEED TRIPLE drivers (or better) for GOOD audio. This allows you to boost the bass so you can HEAR it above everything. DO NOT go wild and spend $1500 on buds your first time out.

    That said, most folks cheap out on buds, buying single drivers. Cramming EVERYTHING thru one speaker tends to turn it all to mush pretty quickly and hastens ear fatigue - this is the primary reason why folks try IEM's then dump them. GET DECENT BUDS.

    For wired, I would suggest something like the Rolls gear
    the PM55 - https://www.amazon.com/rolls-PM55P-Personal-Monitor-Battery/dp/B00J4VHTSW
    the PM50 - https://www.amazon.com/Rolls-PM50s-Personal-Monitor-Amplifier/dp/B00J14G7OO

    Which mixer/console do you have ?
    You can take a feed off an output buss (or AUX send) directly into the Rolls, then run the headphone cable (zip tied) to your bass cable and up to the buds.
    Or you can but one of these combo cables - TC-Helicon Guitar + Headphone Cable

    PS: since you asked.. I run a Senn G3 wireless unit with 1964 A8 IEM's. Was a long journey getting there.. VERY happy with that hookup.
    Run an X32 IEM rack and control my own IEM mix at every gig. FOH has NO control over it as we split feeds from (or to) their system.
    For bass.. I have a few - but mostly use my Ibby BTB 5-str.
     
    bucephylus and Zbysek like this.
  7. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    I use these. They've served me well for years, and I have no need for a cab's boom on stage. Btw, I am not a fan of custom molds, as acrylic and silicone fall out of my sweaty, oily ears, so the universal foam really does the trick for me.

    Westone W40 Earphones w/ MFI Control & Mic
     
    Zbysek likes this.
  8. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    LOL - I have the opposite problem.. Universals don't stay put in my "small canal" ears.. Even the SMALLEST tips (and I've tried them all over the last 7 yrs) do NOT work.
    Slightest movement.. and BLAM. .SEAL gone. .no bass. Wide open ambient port active :(
    Customs was my ONLY viable option.
     
    bucephylus likes this.
  9. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    What do you consider "decent buds"? I have been recommended Shure SE205, KZ ZS6, KZ ZS5, KZ ZST...are they decent, in your view?
     
  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I didn't like the SE215's - single drivers.. Spent about 5 mins listening to the ZS6 .. THEY SOUND good - 4 drivers IIRC.
    If universals work for you.. Westone are GREAT.. and there are LOTS of choices.
    I still recommend TRIPLE (or better) driver whichever you do with.
    STAY AWAY from single driver buds.. you'll not like them and play IEM's in general.
     
    Zbysek likes this.
  11. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    As a first time time user, I find it difficult to get oriented in your recommendation..."IIRC", "universals", "single drivers", "4 drivers"...I am getting lost... Are there any particular models you would recommend?
     
  12. Scottkarch

    Scottkarch

    Sep 11, 2012
    Chicago
    I'd recommend starting with the KZ ZS6 model. I'd recommend getting some Comply foam tips or various tips for you to try and find what fits in your ears best... it's common to have a particular earbud tip type that works best for you, and it's rarely what they ship with.
    515UIFuEkBL._SX425_.
    THe ZS6 is a quad driver.. this means there are 4 drivers/speakers inside there to make the sound.. think of a stereo speaker with separate woofers, midrange and tweeters. You can get them at Amazon for about $50 and if you look in the forums here, there are a few threads and even favorable comparisons to $200-$300 units. It's a great way to start. If it works for you, you're done.. if not, they should make a great set of backups if you decide to go higher end.
     
  13. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Thank you!
     
  14. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    GLOSSARY
    IIRC = If I Recall Correctly. Internet slang.. like BFF
    Universals = universal fit buds.. meaning, NOT custom fit (molds) for your ears. Stuff you can buy at any store.
    Single drivers = ONE speaker in each ear.
    4 Drivers = FOUR speakers in each ear. These would also have a crossover.
    Crossover = a device that splits the incoming audio into various frequency ranges. A 2-way crossover splits the audio into high and low signals. The frequency (Hz) at which that split occurs depends on vendor, but is often between 1300 and 2000 Hz. More drivers in an IEM usually requires more crossover outputs, and more $$$

    UPDATE:
    NOTE: speakers are not efficient mechanical devices. If you spread the audio spectrum across a single speaker, it can sound muddy, and does NOT reproduce the entire spectrum very well, especially when you have Low Frequency (LF) and high Frequency (HF) being needed to be reproduced at the same time.
    With a 2-way crossover, each speaker will have a specific frequency range to reproduce.
    With 4 drivers and a 4-way crossover you can TUNE the range each speaker produces. This provides far better speaker efficiency and MUCH better audio (separation, definition, clarity) for your ears.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  15. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    My 64 Audio A3s arrived a few days ago and I had a couple of days prior to our gig to get used to them, listen to some music, adapt to the custom mold fit, etc.
    Used them for the first time at last nights gig and the difference is night and day goodness between the A3s and the old Westones. Clarity of kick drum and bass is outstanding. Vocals are clear and present, and the isolation with the -20 filters is perfect. No slippage of ear positioning like the universal fit ear buds have. It was all good, all night. I can only imagine what more drivers per ear would bring to the mix but these were within my budget and I am 100% happy with them.
    PS: I've been running a mono IEM mix but changed to a Stereo mix recently. Stereo is the only way to go if you have enough alts on your mixer. I'm using a Shure PSM 600 for wireless and have a wired multi channel box coming in next week that will mount on my pedal board. I prefer wired whenever possible since the signal is cleaner.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
    s0c9 likes this.
  16. jaco944

    jaco944 Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2005
    I use these and they are pretty solid for $50. No matter you go with try as many tips as you can to find a good fit.
     
    Zbysek likes this.
  17. Zbysek likes this.
  18. Zbysek

    Zbysek

    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Thanks!
     
  19. Scottkarch

    Scottkarch

    Sep 11, 2012
    Chicago
    To me, the KZ ZS6s are noticeably better than the ZS5s and well worth the additional cost. They also fit better for me.
     
  20. I will also give a vote for trying the kz zs6 i was uber skeptical about trying them at first but after seeing the amount of bassist here saying give them a try i took the plunge. I couldn't be happier with them at $47 from skymusic on amazon I got them in about a week and they sound phenomenal at least as good as my sennheiser over the ears and they completely destroyed my shure se215 single driver in ears. I decided to pit them agaist some more expensive in ears so compared them to a set of $500 shure se535 triple drivers and the kz zs6 still came out on top. I havent been able to compare to anything higher end then the se535 yet but comparing them at cost $47 to $500 im not looking else where unless kz offer aeven better model which there is rumour of a new zs10 5 driver set this year so I may end up trying those.
     

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