• synapticflow

    After referring to this old article for help, I thought I would look up Mr. Solomon to ask some further questions. Imagine my shock to learn that he died in Thailand at age 34. Was anyone else aware of this? I hadn’t seen it posted on any DJ websites.

  • Steph Seroussi

    I’ve been using in-ears monitors for my Dj sets for 3 years.
    First I started because I was playing within a live band with many musicians, and since in some venues no booth monitor was allowed we all had to work like this.
    With a little Mackie mixer aside, I got the CUE and the Main master in my ears, adjusting the pan of the sources for more confort.
    And it’s true, it’s a real good solution to protect your ears. No more headache when coming back home…
    Still many of the Dj’s I know think I’m an alien, and wonder how I can manage to work like this…

    • Steph

      By the way I have Insono Ear Monitors. I specify I had tem specially designed for my ears, it’s a bit expensive (about 700 €) but it’s worth it.

  • Guust-Fi

    do you mean protective cans? if yes, that would be better of course

  • Kylemac

    Nice article. The one thing I’m most curious about is which method provides better hearing protection. IEMs or Custom molded plugs + cans. It seems like the latter is more expensive but I’m just starting out and would like to have my hearing all my life. I’m also a drummer, so keeping my hearing is EXTREMELY important to me.

  • Brian

    I don’t get it, why re-invent the wheel.

    Why not just use a splitter and put the master mix on one ear and the cue on the other?

  • http://djnunz.com Nunz

    I’ve been using my DreBeats lately, which aren’t a bad set if you’re starting out IEM.

  • Zooforce

    For those of you who didn’t dj in the 80′s &90′s. The term is split cueing. A few mixers have it,why Traktor doesn’t have that option is beyond me? It is the ultimate in accuracy in your mixes but for some this will be to hard to do. You have to train your brain to listen to 2 tracks coming at you … Some just will get confused.
    For the rest us it is perfect solution to monitors.

  • DeVine

    The picture above is rotated,… look the effect section on the mixer, it is on the left side :D

  • http://diymidicontroller.blogspot.com Koen

    I don’t think this is true. As far as I understand in-ears can cause ear fatigue easier?

    Is this because they are closer to the ear?

    This doesn’t mean they cause more hearing loss.

    Headphones offer better isolation I think. At least the good ones. But this means you should keep them on ALL the time when you DJ. Together with earplugs when you go out it might be a better solution indeed.

    Any hearing professionals care to comment?

    I prefer in-ears because they also save my ears with my ipod and because they are always in – and nog sometimes off – as with headphones.

  • Nick

    i think these in ears will cause more harm to your hearing in the long run, the better way to preserve your hearing would be using earplugs and dj with headphones. Anyone else agree?

  • Caryl J

    Also can anyone recommend an accurate but not too expensive dB meter? Cheers

  • Caryl J

    Ok thanks will look into that think it’s a great way to control mix very quickly which is useful when you don’t have time to adjust controls quickly

  • http://diymidicontroller.blogspot.com Koen

    Just use the Controller-Manager in Traktor and map a button to “Monitor Mix”.
    In the button options choose “Set to Value 0.500″ and so on…

  • Caryl J

    That’s very clever Koen how did you do that with MIDI mapping to an external controller?

  • http://diymidicontroller.blogspot.com Koen Verschueren

    I mapped 3 buttons to make DJ’ing a lot easier with in-ears:
    (and with headphones too actually)

    1: Monitor mix = 100% master
    2: Monitor mix = 50% master 50% cue
    3: Monitor mix = 100% cue

    It allows you to quickly adjust what you want to hear (in you in-ears). Using a knob for this function is too slow imho.

  • djpinecone

    the picture is reversed and the “hockey puck” is one ear of the sony dj headphones. I guess he uses that somewhere. I have used in ears before when i have had a major delay with an outdoor gig when i am set up front of house. i only had the ec2′s with a dnx-100. i liked the cue/master mon mix in my mixer, but never knew how loud it was in the house. great for ear protection though

  • http://www.myspace.com/rotemayalon Rotem Ayalon

    sounds like a cool idea….although I’m sticking with my HD-25′s for now

  • http://www.djmarcog.com Marco G

    When you try the Earphone you never go back !

  • http://www.djdnl.com DJ DNL

    Hi Folks,

    I saw this artikel about in ears. I use them with a little mixer. I put one channel on the record out of the mixer, and the other one just in the headphone out. I mix with the little extra mixer the main signal over my in ears, then I put the headphone mix on and pan it to my favorite pre monitor ear. I my case, left. If you do this right, you have absoluty the best mixing experience there is. Don’t put it to load, then you can feel and hear the bass. I’m using a custom moulded soft silicon twin driver in-ear monitor system. The only negativity is the price. But new ears are much expensiver……

    For more info just mail me on music@djdnl.com

  • http://www.djpei.com Det0Nat3

    I started out with a cheap pair of headphones and had no issues but then I decided to take a jump into some entry level earphones (Shure SE115′s) and I wouldn’t switch back. I usually keep only one in all the time and use it to monitor my mix. When I want to cue up my next track I start by turning the cue/mix knob to 80% of just the cued track. then if I like it I put it to the 50% mark and match them up and then got 100% mix and bring the track in with the Vol fader. But I get judged all the time for using earphones because it’s not the “dj image.”

    Earphones get a big thumbs up form me!!

  • Guust-Fi

    TIP: I have custom molds built to suit my ears and they fit very nice. I advise these. The canalphones are westone UM-1… I am very happy with them. I don’t have to replace the tips and can easily clean the tips if needed.

  • FTW

    Awesome, I never take my cans off unless I’m playing with a mixer that doesn’t have the master cue (like the old Rane MP2016) so this would be a natural transition for me… finally something good came out of not having money for monitors when I learned to mix haha.

  • http://www.chrisogrady.com CounterpoinT

    Fantastic article!

  • Brian

    I have been using IEMs for a few years and at nowhere near the price examples shown. I get great background noise reduction and clarity of what I am listening to.

    ps: In regards to the quote… “They did kind of fall apart on me, which you sort of expect it for that price point.”

    I don’t know about you guys, but no product like that, priced at $199 should be expected to fall apart.

  • n:deuce

    here is a pretty good review as well if anyone is interested…

    http://scratchlive.net/forum/discussion/124347/#2223056

  • Robert

    I recently saw Wolfgang Gartner and surprisingly he too was using in-ear monitors.

  • Omar

    I have used the Shure E2c’s for a while now and flip flop between headphones and the Shure’s…..If only them made in ears with a coiled cord….:)

  • Jonas

    Really relevant topic, appreciate the coverage! I own custom-made plugs, and this reminded me once more to use them in the club more often (even when wearing them underneath the headphones).

  • Eurodj

    [quote comment=""]I like htis i dea ive used ear buds on mobile rigs before and they work ok as u dont have monitors with ya and this seems rihght on point. I might get my shure 310s a go and also my 210s to see how they perform.I also have some denon in ear ones, i dont know if id like to go as far as spending 00 bucks on some in ear ones though i have etymotic attenuators alredy[/quote]

  • Anonymous

    What about the longevity and hygiene of the foam? You’re not supposed to re-use disposable foam earplugs because they harbor bacteria like silly, so is it really a good idea to keep using the foam monitors? Is there a good way to keep them clean?

  • Eurodj

    I like htis i dea ive used ear buds on mobile rigs before and they work ok as u dont have monitors with ya and this seems rihght on point. I might get my shure 310s a go and also my 210s to see how they perform.I also have some denon in ear ones, i dont know if id like to go as far as spending 00 bucks on some in ear ones though i have etymotic attenuators alredy

  • BodegaBrad

    [quote comment="22840"]What is that puck-shaped thing stuck to the top of the third deck?[/quote]
    I think it’s a single headphone.

  • RCUS

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but for those of you that are familiar with Bento Sans smart mixer in Ableton, in ear monitors sound like the way to go because your prefade mix IS your master mix. Correct? Not to mention cans make my ears sweaty, lol. I may be sold just on that alone!

  • http://www.djphilly.com phillip

    i’ve gone this route and have not looked back. i’m definitely not as fast as i would be with regular headphones but definitely prefer in ears..

  • http://flickr.com/photos/djresistor DJ Resistor

    What is that puck-shaped thing stuck to the top of the third deck?

  • Xskid

    so this guy doesnt cue up his next track with his ears? he uses the waveforms instead?

  • http://www.lanceblaise.com Lance Blaise

    I use M-audio’s IE-20X.. love them…

  • Fatlimey

    Monitors are only one solution. Etymotic also make custom fitted attenuators, earplugs you wear that will lower the volume of everything unformly across the frequency range by 9, 15, or 25 db. You can choose the “button” you plug into the custom molded plug depending on the situation. You are then free to use headphones as usual but with more protection from high volumes. Everything is just turned down a few notches.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa! Looks like I’ll be pulling out my Shure’s this weekend!

  • kristin

    [quote comment="22818"]The Serato waveform also visualizes more about the audio signal as far as I know. for example you can see better in the waveform the different volume on the different frequency ranges:
    http://www.serato.com/videos/2065

    Since they also have the waveforms running right next to each other you can effectively beat match visually, but like the article states this is not really required .. its just helpful.
    [/quote]

    When I visit the Serato forums everyone there is always bashing the “auto sync” button which I totally never understand….all the visual aids you have on Serato, it’s not like you need to learn beat mixing the way you used to…people just need to face the truth – for the most part, the people paying to hear the kick ass music you are playing don’t really care HOW it gets to their ears…Serato, Traktor, conventional TT’s, CDJ’s, whatever, it’s the music and the mix that matters, not the method….

  • http://www.soundcloud.commarvelousmixinmiguel Marvelous Mixin Miguel

    “DJ Solomon said when using in-ear monitors, you’re listening to the master mix rather than the pre-fade mix, and you keep the in-ears in the whole time, so you don’t defeat the purpose of protecting your hearing.

    Dj Solomon said he keep them as quiet as I’m comfortable with. I’m constantly reminding myself to turn it back down, because in-ears are just like any other monitoring source; you’ll tend to turn it up throughout the night.”

    I think the ear monitor are a good idea if you depend on a monitor to mix.

    I love mixin and I don’t want to stop. I will take any measure to make sure I slow down my hearing loss. When I found out I could have Traktor sync my track I went out and bought a copy.

    Everyone I mix with said I’m cheating and I can’t mix. I tell them I know how to mix and I’m more creative because I’m not spending all my time getting tracks to sync.

  • http://otherwiseband.com Dj Lock Mess

    I used Shure E3′s with custom molded ear buds, I had them made when I got my ear plugs done.
    It took some getting used too at first, the sound was great, but I did have a few issues with them.
    First, was as soon as you get hot they have a tendency to slide out of your ear.
    The custom buds are a harder rubber and much different then my ear plugs with a softer rubber.
    Second, I did feel a bit of a disconnection with the room, I found I was always popping one in and out.
    Third, the thin cable used for ear buds have a quarter of the lifespan of a good set of headphones.
    As you can guess I’m back to headphones and I have a few pairs depending on what I’m doing (I’m also in a Band).
    All in all I spent some good money on custom buds and now they just sit on a self in my studio.

  • Haydz

    “There’s many DJs nowadays who don’t even know how to mix without waveforms, which is kind of sad, but it’s the state of mixing today.”

    Err… that’s a bit of a backwards statement isn’t it? Before SSL/Traktor/FS etc came along, what did DJs do? They used just their ears. I used to use Torq at home, but I’ve totally gone off the idea of using a computer for DJing- laptops are distracting; they take your focus away from the crowd, and depending on where you put your laptop, it can also be a physical barrier which I feel cuts you off from your audience.

    Anyway…

    I use in-ear monitors (currently Ultimate Ears Super-fi 5s) with custom moulds done. Prior to these I used to mix purely through traditional cans. It’s pretty easy to monitor this way; on a DJM800 I have the master cue on, and the individual channels that i’m mixing at the time. Then I can use the cue/master knob to adjust which I want to hear more of. As I bring the next track in, it’ll gradually increase in volume thru the headphones (since I’m hearing it thru master as well as cue). Once it’s all the way in, I turn the cue/master knob all the way to master so the sound coming thru my IEMs is the same as what the audience can hear. Quite often, I’ll only listen to the cued track for the first couple of seconds before I start fading it in. It’s electronic music, it’s not going to drift out of time.

    Really happy with IEMs, getting full custom triple driver ones soon, with wireless pack (so I can jump around everywhere and still hear it all). My only issues are usually a result of a poorly setup venue (MC plugged into DJ mixer not desk, previous DJ cranking trims and master set too low).

  • http://audibletherapy.posterous.com/ Andrew

    Great post. Laidback Luke (a pretty popular Dutch House DJ) has been using in-ears for quite some time now. In fact, he re-tweeted this post on his twitter (@laidbackluke). I will have to try this method of “monitoring.” The advent of Traktor, beatgrids, and the sync button has undoubtedly lessened the need to have a well positioned and clean sounding monitor to ride the mix in. My only concern with this method is that when you are “monitoring” straight out of the master cue, you can’t hear the relative volume levels of each channel as you bring the mix in. I mix using mainly just the volume faders (eq’ing as necessary) and no cross fader, so I want to hear what the audience hears as I bring the mix in (not just both tracks playing at the same volume in the cue).

  • Justin

    Those are some nice backwards playing turntables by the way…

  • http://ifnotwhynot.me djsdive

    The Serato waveform also visualizes more about the audio signal as far as I know. for example you can see better in the waveform the different volume on the different frequency ranges:
    http://www.serato.com/videos/2065

    Since they also have the waveforms running right next to each other you can effectively beat match visually, but like the article states this is not really required .. its just helpful.

    Anyways, I am just speculating here, especially since I never used Serato.

  • Justin

    [quote comment="22811"]The point is instead of using one ear to prelisten and the other one to hear what is currently playing, you always feed the mixed version of what you are cueing up and what is playing in the club. Alternatively you only listen to what is being precued, but you drop this left an right separation of whatever you are monitoring that you have when you put on headphones on just one ear.[/quote]

    So if I understand this correctly, you listen to a mix of the master channel and the track you are cueing up on both ears? I’ve tried this sometimes with normal (closed) headphones before, when I didn’t have monitor speakers, but that doesn’t work well enough for me. I usually make very long mixes, so the bpms need to match very precisely. And I just can’t seperate the different tracks well enough if both come in on both ears.
    I’ve also tried (if the mixer had the option) to separate master and cue on left and right on the headphones, but that didn’t work for me either. I’d get really disoriented.

  • Dan

    The previous comment was mine, sorry

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment="22811"]The point is instead of using one ear to prelisten and the other one to hear what is currently playing, you always feed the mixed version of what you are cueing up and what is playing in the club. Alternatively you only listen to what is being precued, but you drop this left an right separation of whatever you are monitoring that you have when you put on headphones on just one ear.
    [/quote]

    Clear, thanks
    So then, why is it so important to look at waveforms for mixing? Should be able to mix by listening as usual, shouldn’t I?

  • http://ifnotwhynot.me djsdive

    The point is instead of using one ear to prelisten and the other one to hear what is currently playing, you always feed the mixed version of what you are cueing up and what is playing in the club. Alternatively you only listen to what is being precued, but you drop this left an right separation of whatever you are monitoring that you have when you put on headphones on just one ear.

    Other topic, are wireless headsets totally out of the question? I really hate cables .. especially the damage they can do to your setup when moving around.

  • Dan

    I’m sorry I’m not getting the point here at all
    I’m sure I’m missing out something, but for me the need for monitors is purely to help the prelistening of the mix, avoiding the echo of the club when you’re preparing the mix. If I understand properly, in this scenario you’re not prelistening the mix at all, but basing it only on waveforms (and/or sync I guess). So what’s the need for monitors all along? If you’re not prelistening the mix, couldn’t you simply go without earphones and without monitors?

    (I’m sure I’m missing something massive here)

  • kenty

    Why can’t one do a pre fade mix in the ears with these? Surely you would just switch to cue, pre fade, switch back to master and bob’s your uncle.

  • DJ Fe’

    Yeah I need to do something. Especially since at my 2 night a week residency I dont have monitors and one set of speakers is directly behind the booth. fml. plus, if you have to take requests, you just have to smile and nod because everyone expects djing to have huge headphones on and with these in-ears, everyone will think you are actually listening to them when they request boys 2 men!

  • Dave

    I had a pair of Elacin molded ear plugs a few years ago but I struggled to perform up to the standard I was used to, as I play everything & have to be vocal on the mic during the night I really found it hard to speak on the mic without it feeling/sounding weird.

    It was like I was talking with cotton wool in my ears, or as if I was underwater, so after a few weeks I ditched them. I tried taking the plugs out when I was talking and putting them back in after but this was a lot of hassle.

    I really want to use some sort of ear protection as often get tinnitus at the end of a night (luckily so far it goes), but playing out 5 nights a week is damaging my ears so need to find a solution.

    anyone else with this problem? any solutions welcome!

  • judeson

    Interesting, been thinking of going this route.