There must be a cheaper way to save my ears

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by eKay, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    I really want to go IEMs with the custom impressions. I've been reading all the threads, websites, and other propaganda. Seems the best choice for me as a bass player that also plays guitar, sax and sings (not to mention I'm often the engineer) would be something like the 64 Audio Quads. I think these are called A4 now, and they go for $899 on their website. Plus $25-$200 for just getting the impressions done (yes I have seen the whole range). Or I could go all out and get the A12 (yes, 12 drivers) for $1,999.

    Seriously? This is way more than I can afford! I love great sound but I just need to hear everyone else in the band. It doesn't need it to sound like it was recorded on a Neve console at 3 jillion bits resolution and played back through a McIntosh amp. This is rock n roll.

    I don't need wireless so I can skip that expense (yay). But can I get away with using a cheaper earphone? There are instructables on making your own custom ear thingies with the actual earphone shoved through some goop that then hardens to make a cheap IEM.

    I'm willing and able to spend $100 or so on earphones, and another $100-200 on getting impressions and/or custom ear pieces. I can upgrade when I'm rich and famous. I'm willing to do the audiologist thing because I've never been able to play sax with earplugs. I believe this is because of an effect called occlusion, which I probably need some professional help to resolve.

    Or... am I better off getting custom fitted earplugs?
  2. I purchased the Quads and then the A12s and when those got stolen (both) I got the A6s from 1964 ears. Is there a difference between them? Yes. Is it night and day? No. I could have continued gigging the quads without any problem.

    The thing is that custom IEMs are a replacement for an amp and cabinet. Any good quality head and cab are easily going to cost you at least a $1000 so that is one way of seeing it.
    MrLenny1 and eKay like this.
  3. Silas Stingy

    Silas Stingy

    Feb 19, 2009
    An inexpensive solution would be something like Pioneer DJE1500 with memory foam tips. Not the most elegant solution as they aren't exactly the discreet but they can handle the low frequencies with ease.
    eKay likes this.
  4. Grumry

    Grumry Guest

    Jul 6, 2016
    I spent $400 on some UE900S and they're amazing. Not custom molding but they come with several interchangeable pieces to get the correct fit and seal. Their response is pretty flat and they isolate very well.

    I've heard others liking the cheap generic Shure IEM 335/535/etc if your budget is a little less.

    Edit: the same pair of Ultimate Ears ue900s I have are only 250-300 on amazon, which is closer to the amount you wanted to spend.
    eKay likes this.
  5. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    I do get that, but I'm not ready to sell my amp and monitor... which would probably get that $1000 back pretty easily, now that I think of it. My wife would probably love it if I replace 3 big things that I have to store in the house with 1 thing that fits in my pocket!

    Long story short, I'm not in the position to get rid of the amp yet.
  6. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    Looking... Yeah, these look pretty good, I'll read up on them. I've also looked into the Comply foam tips, and these come with a set! That's cool.

    Edit: Looks like the step-up model DJE2000 is a two driver deal. Hmm...
  7. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    Yeah, those look really nice, with 9 different tips!

    I'd still be concerned about getting a good fit and the occlusion thing with any of the "universal" tips. Is there a company that will make custom earpieces for any of these earphones, like the UEs or Pioneers? Or anyone have good luck with the DIY goop? I guess doing it DIY you can try several times for cheap.
  8. Grumry

    Grumry Guest

    Jul 6, 2016

    How To Make Custom Silicone Ear Molds for Your In-Ear Monitors

    This method looks fairly easy and will probably help a bit. I've never tried it, though.
    eKay likes this.
  9. You might luck out with foam tips fitting your ears fine.
    Just kind of massage them to a small cone, put them in your ears, open you mouth while they spring back and they just might fit. Somewhere there's a video on this.
    eKay likes this.
  10. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    Yeah, I've seen a video like that. It's just like with the plain foam plugs, squeeze them and shove 'em in.

    I like the idea of just trying the foam tips, I've heard that some singers actually prefer them, and they more or less adapt to the movement of the jaw. However, if they don't work out... I may then try the DIY goop.

    However #2, if the DIY custom fit doesn't work, which earphones mentioned can I then get custom earpieces for? Or are there places that will do it for any type (within reason) of earphone?

    I really appreciate all the comments and help. :)
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    uh, there's a whole lot between those two extremes :wacky:

    some good dual-driver or triple-driver universals for $300-400 would do just fine, and would make great backups should you decide to go big with custom molds later.
    Groove Doctor and Grumry like this.
  12. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    Right. I would actually love to have $900+ to throw at some earbuds. I was being cheeky.

    Let me put it this way. I'd pay up to $300 for custom fit, about $100 for universal. For now.
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    Yeah, I'm not sure the first one is even a thing and the second one would be kinda crappy, especially for bass. $300 for universals would be more realistic, you could get at least dual-driver buds that way.
    eKay and Groove Doctor like this.
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    I'm pretty happy with my Westone UMPro-30's.
    Many sizes of foamy and silicone earseals and you get one of each in the package so you can try to see (hear?) what works best. Their perceived NRR is pretty good with the right seals, IMO...
    eKay likes this.
  15. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Before you spend money on customs, you owe it to yourself to try a decent pair of universal in-ear monitors with some good isolating foam tips. If you do decide to go custom, there are several companies that can set you up for under $400. As you've seen, there are plenty of companies who charge much more if you have disposable income.
    eKay likes this.
  16. Ampless = at least dual-driver IEM's.

    Do you sing? If not, customs aren't essential, unless you have awkward canal.

    Will you have a Monitor Engineer?
    Self-mix with mixer on stage?
    Or individual iPad/iPhone control?

    I bought Sennheiser CX300 music headphones for $80AUD on recommendation. Sit in my ear canal perfectly (and sound almost as good as the $300AUD Shure single-driver universals). Wouldn't like to play ampless with these, but no need for a monitor, excellent isolation & can hear the band better than any basic earplug.

    Great backup IEM's down the track, plus they are cheap/small/light enough to use as headphones for music when I travel.
  17. daddymactx

    daddymactx Texas Bassist Club #245 Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: Wyn Basses, Curt Mangan Strings,
    Ive been using Shure 315s for about 8 months at a church with a Behringer powerplay and a couple of particular gigs where I can use my tablet as my own personal mix station. I know their not like gorilla, or 1964 etc, but they work period and I get great bass response and can hear everything at lower volumes thus saving my ears!! All that At a way lower cost!! I use the flanges vrs the foam..
  18. eKay


    May 8, 2014
    I do sing, and do harmonies, though not much lately. If singing was the main reason for me to get customs, I could put it off for now.

    I'm doing everything from bar gigs to self-mixing on stage (with a Mackie DL1608, ie. iPad/iPhone control) to having a monitor engineer. Note, I am NOT playing ampless and don't expect to any time soon.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i'm digging the earlier versions of those, the UM-3X.
  20. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Another vote for the UM Pro30s. I have a set as spares. I bought them after I had to use a set at church when I broke the cable on my 1964 Quads.

    Yeah, the UMs will run around $350, but they are the minimum I'll recommend for generic IEMs.

    There's a town full of musicians that hate IEMs, because they spent $200 or even less on some cheap IEMs and they had bad experiences with them. I've lent my UM Pro 30s out to players who were amazed at how much better the Westones sounded than what they were used to.

    Of course, the mixer set-up plays a big part is how well, the IEMs will work out.
    walterw and Groove Doctor like this.