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Is it possible to get by with regular earbuds for monitoring?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by MakoMan, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Long story short. I auditioned for a jam band consisting of a drummer and guitarist over the weekend and they liked me.
    The drummer has a custom built jam room, complete with a recording sound booth, so it is an amazing practice spot. The one issue is they both play with in-ear monitors and they play loud. My ears were ringing by the end of a 3 hour session.
    The drummer says all I need is a set of earbuds and he can plug me into the system to greatly reduce my volume.
    My question is, seeing as how I have no idea how long this will last are there standard earbuds which will do for this purpose? Not sure I want to get a set of Shures or Ultimate Ears right off the bat for something that may not last. I really don't have a use for in ear monitor earbuds for any other reason that when I get together this these guys (bi weekly).
    Thanks in advance.
    For the record, I'm 52 and have perfect hearing, mostly due to only having started to play bass a year ago. I never played music prior to the age of 50, so really never had the exposure to loud volumes that some on this board have had.
  2. No chance. Anyway this makes no sense- if they can 'plug you in and greatly reduce your volume,' why do THEY play so damned loud? Ordinary earbuds will do NOTHING for you at all. You won't hear them, and they won't block sound.
    If it's just guitar drums and bass, why don't you just use earplugs? That should work just fine.
  3. FellowBass

    FellowBass Bass Player Extraordinaire. OK, just ordinaire.

    Jan 22, 2011
    Nashville, Tennessee
    ^ Yup. No way. Earplugs to reduce overall noise.
  4. there is a difference between IEMs and earbuds.
    IEMs are usually custom fit. So they do fit very snugly and block out a lot of "stage roar". A lot of artists that came up through clubs arent used to this so you often see them pull out one ear so they can hear more of the stage.
    IEMs cost a lot, like hundreds. But they sound great and can save your hearing, or make it worse. IEMs can get stupid loud!
    Of course it does not make sense to play with a headphone monitoring setup and play loud. Okay, maybe for drums, his particular drumset is setup for loud rock, with lots of volume. But no reason the guitar needs to be loud unless he relies on a lot of feedback. Even then, just boost the mids and stand close to your amp.
  5. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Thanks for the input folks. Yeah, I figured regular noice reduction in-ear phones would not do the job and I would at the very least have to go to some Shure SE215s.
    This is the drummer's jam room and yes, his drumset is set up to go LOUD! He is a major Rush fan and has the exact kit as the drummer in Rush. I must say it is pretty darn impressive, but LOUD. It's all miked into the central PA as well (which might also be an exact replica of Rush's concert system LOL!
    I had them turn down as much as I could and it was liveable compared to where we started out. I also tried some standard foam earplugs, but I did a fair bit of the lead singing as well and had to pull them out as I just was not comfortable with them. Maybe over time.
    I'll have to do a little more research on what I can use. In my limited musical experience volume has not been a problem until this past weekend so it's not something I've really studied. Certainly though, a $500 set of custom IEMs is not an option at this point in time.
  6. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    iem won't solve your venues complaining you're too loud
  7. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    There's no venues. This is a jam band only at this point and will most likely remain so. The drummer doesn't like to play out, mostly because it would take a small army of roadies to move his drum kit alone. I'm not kidding.
    He just loves to play for fun and was looking for people to jam with. I was looking for someone - particularly a drummer - to practice with to help my playing. We both live out in the boonies where it is quite difficult to find other musicians for get togethers. It's really just to get more experience playing with other people.
    Just trying to come up with a way to reduce the volume somewhat for myself, and still hear the instruments and vocals clearly.
    I don't think it's loud to the point of driving people out of a club, but for me it's loud because I'm really not used to it. I practice by myself, play in a fun acoustic trio (which is not loud), and a jam band that practices in a basement jam room at a reasonable volume. I'm much more likely to gig with one of those two, than this most recent group.
    This new group is just a big step up in volume from my previous experiences and the first time I ever thought 'dang, I this could hurt my ears'.
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Well, if you're not gigging, you have more options. For example, depending on the earbud design, you *could* use earbuds fed by the rehearsal PA, w/ shooter's earmuffs over the buds.

    Make sure that the drummer has a limiter strapped across the headphone mixes.
  9. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    I've given those a look and am still considering them. I'm going to take a look at some SE215s today and talk to the folks at my local store for some recommendations.
    I'm also considering these Apex Earbuds from Long & McQuade , as my local L&M has them in stock. I've had very good with Apex products in the past, particularly their microphones, as well as a set of Apex headphones I've had for a decade.
    Reviews are decent and for $34.99 it's hard to go wrong:

  10. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    That's not a bad thought. I actually do have a set of shooter's earmuffs and some 'acceptable' earbuds. Might be worth trying for this weekend's jam if I can't come up with anything else by then.
  11. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    There's also the low-cost DIY approach:

    1. Drilled out mold

    2. Simple press mold

    I haven't done this, so this isn't a personal endorsement. Worth a look, although I'd suggest reading around for other users' pointers on potential problems and how to avoid them.
  12. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    The SE215 are excellent IEM for the money. They are actually god for bass as they are more bass heavy then the SE315/SE425. They isolate very well and are affordable. You will be surprised how well they are.
  13. Drums miked through the PA in a jam room???? And just how big is this jam room, and how does the drummer fit his ego in there?
  14. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Appreciate the recommendation Duke!
    Derrico, I've read a bit on the do it yourself ideas and they do look intriguing.
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I am using Yamaha EPH50 ear buds. Single driver, not custom molded but have good isolation and stay in. $80. Rolls personal monitor box, $50. Extension cord for buds, $10. Simple but effective wired IEM system, $140. Not bad and will be fine for church.
  16. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Just to provide an update, I picked up a pair of the Shure SE215s toay. They seemed to be about the best combination of reasonable price and suited for my purposes.
    Ultimately I decided $100 was a small price to pay to protect my hearing.
  17. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    So what du you think about them?
  18. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    They sound absolutely fantastic for listening to music and for practicing! Won't know about jamming until our next get together, however the sound isolation seems excellent. I can't hear anything when they are in, even with no sound through the earphones.
  19. drea2304


    Feb 13, 2012
    Central IL
    This works great. I don't use this for practice but use same set up when mowing. JVC ear buds are awsome for 20 bucks.