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Stock IEM Earbuds + Molded Earpieces ?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by el murdoque, Mar 7, 2018.


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  1. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    I currently own a set of Shure SE535 Ltd earbuds. I am quite happy with the sound, though I never tried higher quality ones to compare.

    [SHORT VERSION]
    Will adding custom molds to my SE535s improve sound and comfort far enough to justify the money spent?


    [LONG STORY]
    The only thing that gets on my nerves is that I need to use the foam bits to wear them - If I use the rubber cones, I don't get enough bass.
    So it means that I need to squeeze the foam, insert the earbuds and wait for a bit for them to seal me off. During band practice that means that when we stop to discuss a part, I need to take them out to be able to hear what people say and when we get back to play, I have to re-insert them, including the wait.
    My local shop for hearing aids where I had my hearing protection molded offers custom molds for any IEM earbuds. They will cost me about $150 and the sales guy told me that they will be able to adapt the molds for the sound I desire, so if I wanted a better bass response, they could do that. From my protection molds I know that these just pop into your ears and seal off instantly, which is very convenient. If molds were improving the sound of my Shures and make using them more convenient, I think that's 150 bucks well spent. If there were issues with the connection of the Shures and the molds, the sound, the overall comfort or something I can't foresee at the moment, I'd rather leave it as is and maybe get a molded set in the future. Has anyone here used the 535s and added the molded pieces and can share the experiences made?
     
  2. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    Didn't know about this.. Curious to see any responses
     
    el murdoque likes this.
  3. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    I changed the title and would like to expand the question beyond the specific Shure model.

    Has anyone here used normal stock IEM earbuds and has had an aftermarket set of molds added to them?
    If so, what are the experiences on that? Money well spent or meh?
     
  4. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    NOT exactly your situation, but....
    I did that (9?) years ago with a set of Westone UM1's. They were NOT full molds - just half - and fit over the stems one each bud. They rotated on the stem and in my ear, were difficult to insert, NOT a good fit and quite painful after a while. It was a few years later after trying a range of universal buds with all kinds of tips that I had a hearing test done and the audiologist told me I had small canals, and that universals would probably not work for me! Basically. I had the same issues you have explained above, except the seal would be gone if I opened my mouth, twisted my head, sang, etc.
    I went to full customs soon after that. Best decision I ever made. And yes, forking out close to $600 (6 yrs ago) was a HUGE leap of faith.
    They are EASY to insert and remove. My current set (1964 A8's) have pressure equalization diaphragms in each ear that act [a bit] like ambient ports.
    Thru much use.. I can now leave them in all night and still have reasonable conversations with others between sets, and can hear folks talk on stage as I keep my volumes REAL LOW!
    I DID splurge on a custom cable for the A8's tho, as the stock cables are pretty wimpy and I'd been thru 3 sets in as many years of weekly use.
    Been fully IEM for the last 5 years.
     
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    How do half molds work? I've never heard about such a thing.
     
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Do they work? Yes.. but I don't know if folks still do (or use) that anymore.. You'd have to inquire. You STILL need impressions made even with half molds.
    I DID NOT like them.. but they were my first experience with molds, and did not go so well.
     
  7. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Can't really help regarding the molds, but I would guess you don't have vocal mics? If not, you should consider setting up a room mic or two - muted most of the time, unmuted as needed so you can hear conversation. A couple of cheap mics with on/off switches would do, but also most popular vocal mics will have a version available with a switch (SM57/58 etc.).

    It's common for live show IEM setups to have a mic pointed out toward the audience so that the band isn't completely isolated from the audience energy - kinda the same concept. Mute while playing to prevent feedback, or use a very directional type of mic strategically placed.

    Continually removing and re-inserting IEMs, I'd be worried about stressing IEM wires and/or irritating my ears.
     
  8. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany
    Feedback would not even be an issue since we don't have any speakers running during practice (apart from the instrument amps). I found that running overhead mics for drums (or any other kind of mic that is meant to pick up sources that are not directly in front of them) will have a negative impact on the sound while playing. We have 3 SM58s in the room / on stage for vocals, but three members of the band have no mic and the SM58s will not pick up enough of their voices for a discussion.
     
  9. Get a talk back imke at rehearsal and leave your buds in. We use one onstage as well. Only the IEM users can hear it.
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    We did the same .. after trying ambient mics.. which were a real PITA to tweak to our satisfaction.
    Heavy gate on it, so you have to be "on it" .. and only routed to IEM's.
     
    kittywithabanjo likes this.

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