• knox

    are there any new findings on this topic or is there a new in-ear monitor that should get regarded?

  • Toby Bateson

    The main problem with a lot of in-the-ear earphones is that because everyone’s ears are different they don’t fit well, feeling painful and uncomfortable. A poor seal leads to sound
    leakage with loss of the higher energy sound waves in the bass and
    midrange regions, leading to tinniness. I have developed a molded
    earphone kit which solves these problems and makes them sound
    much better, more comfortable and far less likely to fall out. The customized
    seal spreads the pressure from the earbud over a larger area of your ear and reduces
    sound leakage which reduces tinniness. You can see them on my website
    here http://www.zenplugs.com/zenplugs-molded-earphones Let me know what you think.

  • Toby Bateson

    The main problem with a lot of in-the-ear earphones is that because everyon’s ears are different they don’t fit
    well, feeling painful and uncomfortable. A poor seal leads to sound
    leakage with loss of the higher energy sound waves in the bass and
    midrange regions, leading to tinniness. I have developed a molded
    earphone kit which solves these problems and makes them sound
    much better, more comfortable and far less likely to fall out. The customized
    seal spreads the pressure from the earbud over a larger area of your ear and reduces
    sound leakage which reduces tinniness. You can see them on my website
    here http://www.zenplugs.com/zenplugs-molde…. Let me know what you think.

  • ithinkmynameismoose

    Can anyone give a quick comparison between the UM1 and UM2? are they worth the extra £200

  • Azex

    The TripleFi’s I’ve heard many good things about, the only annoying thing is that they’re just massive, weird shaped buds…not that that should deter you from using them. And some dynamics are still alright for the job imo, I have a pair of Yammy EPH-100s that are doing nicely. Balanced Armature has issues with bass sometimes anyhow, and dynamic naturally does bass well. I know some higher end IEMs even have BA-Dynamic hybrid systems just to try and take advantage of both worlds.

  • http://twitter.com/ismynamemoose ithinkmynameismoose

    Just wondering, since 2010 do you think that there are any better options nowadays or are these still at the top of their game?

    • http://www.djbis.com Bis

      I have been doing some testing and helping the folks at Sensaphonics tweak their Ambient 3D model for some time now. It is truly ahead of its time when it comes to features and the sound is amazing as well. If your budget is up for it, you should look into it. By far the most advanced, most convenient set of IEM’s you’ll find. http://www.sensaphonics.com/?p=363

  • DJ Peeti-V

    What is a good volume control/ extender cable for your iems?

  • Jvl

    is this like a joke or something DJin with earbuds LOOOOOL but then again i guess hitting auto sync with a midi controller isnt really djing at all haha why do you guys need headphones again???

  • Danalog

    thank you so much for this review guys!! u have open my mind up, and im s glad to have discovered a new way to save my ears! definately investing in these..

  • http://twitter.com/TheDJCollision The DJ Collision

    Great article again like always! Although I have some Shure SE115′s and love them to death! Although, I’m not an audiophile, these are great for the DJ starting out. The frequency response is great for the lows and mids. Maybe not so much for the highs, but they are clear enough to hear. And the noise cancellation is GREAT! I walk into a crowded place and pop these in and can’t hear a thing!

    Also the service for repairs great! after about 7 months of rough use, the cable connecting the earbuds started to fry and made the sound drop out on the right one. But a quick shipment with the original receipt, and I got a brand new pair with a new cord and tips.

    Just like to share my experience of the moderate DJ.

  • http://twitter.com/TheDJCollision The DJ Collision

    Great article again like always! Although I have some Shure SE115′s and love them to death! Although, I’m not an audiophile, these are great for the DJ starting out. The frequency response is great for the lows and mids. Maybe not so much for the highs, but they are clear enough to hear. And the noise cancellation is GREAT! I walk into a crowded place and pop these in and can’t hear a thing!

    Also the service for repairs great! after about 7 months of rough use, the cable connecting the earbuds started to fry and made the sound drop out on the right one. But a quick shipment with the original receipt, and I got a brand new pair with a new cord and tips.

    Just like to share my experience of the moderate DJ.

  • http://www.RSDJz.com RSDJ KayPlaya

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been interested in IEMS for a while now but don’t have anyone in my extended network that uses them to try to get any feedback. After going through a 4th pair of Sony DJ-700′s over the years (broken hinges) i finally want to try these as they are less likely to break from being tossed around while in my gig bag and may be a little more manageable. Price is kind of high but hopefully its worth the investment.. like I said though I’m on my 4th pair of Sony’s and my last set broke on me last night.. while i was on air.

  • http://heisaddison.com DJ Addison

    [quote post="8335"]Hey, I’m planning on buying the CT6/CT7 (custom versions of the Sa6/Sa7).
    http://sleek-audio.com/products/custom/ct6-custom
    Don’t know whether these could be reviewed, if anyone knows something about these just drop me message on soundcloud. ( I’m sure many of you have SC :) )[/quote]

    Im curious as well!!!!

    The SA6′s look amazing! reviews of the sa6 and the ct6 would be great to see on here… also they released the sleek wireless setup and that would also be cool to get your input on them, Ean.

    let us know if this would be possible!!

    • Kurt

      Bump +1

      These things look amazing, I would love to see a review on these IEM’s. Even just a general response here in the comments section would work… Let us know man!!!

  • Bigalonthemic

    Ean, thanks for another great post. Have been so used to my HDJ-1000s and the inevitable buzzing in my ears following a gig that I had resigned myself to total hearing loss by the age of 40. But after seeing the post I picked up a pair of Westone UM2s and had my first chance to test them last night.

    Reaction: Completely stunned!!

    Despite a massive (and spectacular!) Funktion 1 PA system hammering on all sides I was safely cocooned by the UM2s allowing me to hear every facet of my mix. To the point that I became oblivious to my surroundings and had to keep reminding myself I was actually in a club with 1500+ people!!

    Honestly blown away, and best thing – no ringing at all in my ears the next morning…

  • http://intartubez Ostresas

    [quote comment="38905"][quote comment="38894"]ear buds for daily use and IEM’s for club/performance use are 2 very different animals and after years of use I can tell you that only the higher quality monitors with quality drivers/excellent noise reduction and a wide frequency range are usable in a club environment.[/quote]

    So true! I can’t imagine trying to DJ with a pair of cheap earbud headphones meant for an ipod…[/quote]

    You should… might be the only gear you have left at gig. Shit breaks, and almost always at the worst times. I like the Koss Plugs (not Sparkplugs) for casual/out and about use as well, and they work for DJing in a loud club if needed. By the way, my old Plugs had a short cable too, but the two pair I picked up from Amazon recently have a much longer cable. $11/ea and free shipping when I got mine. But it has to be stressed that you guys/gals take care of your hearing! Good luck.

  • Nick Reynolds

    I have been using Ultimate Ears custom ue7′s for gigging and ue5′s for my iPhone for the last 5 years and can say without doubt they are the best iems that I have ever used. I’ve tried the Shures and sennheisers but nothing comes anywhere near the sound quality of the ultimate ears customs!!

  • cnr

    Since I already have the UE TripleFi’s, this got me looking for a place to customize them.

    For cheap DIY options to make custom molded ear buds out of canal type headsets, here are a couple of instructables:

    http://androidforums.com/incredible-accessories/179078-make-your-own-custom-molded-earbuds-15-a.html

    http://makeprojects.com/Project/Custom-Fit-Earbuds/199/

    Will let you know how it turns out if I try one of them.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/aquinox Aquinox

    Hey, I’m planning on buying the CT6/CT7 (custom versions of the Sa6/Sa7).

    http://sleek-audio.com/products/custom/ct6-custom

    Don’t know whether these could be reviewed, if anyone knows something about these just drop me message on soundcloud. ( I’m sure many of you have SC :) )

  • zkflow

    The best: Shure SCL2

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

    [quote comment="38894"]ear buds for daily use and IEM’s for club/performance use are 2 very different animals and after years of use I can tell you that only the higher quality monitors with quality drivers/excellent noise reduction and a wide frequency range are usable in a club environment.[/quote]

    So true! I can’t imagine trying to DJ with a pair of cheap earbud headphones meant for an ipod…

  • http://www.eangolden.com Ean Golden

    [quote comment="38866"]I’ve been using the etymotic ER4′s for about 5 years now and love them. Haven’t had anything I’ve tried since come close really. Clean, comfortable, good freq resp and plenty loud.
    .[/quote]

    Those were one of the first pairs we tested and they have never worked well for me in the club. A very thin sound that does not really work.
    [quote comment="38893"]The Koss(spark) plugs do offer great bass and excellent noise attenuation, I haven’t tried them in a club environment,
    The bottom line, for $15, they are a great set of earbuds, puching way above their weight class, tehy are not designed to be used as IEM’s, but I’m sure they would work just fine.[/quote]

    ear buds for daily use and IEM’s for club/performance use are 2 very different animals and after years of use I can tell you that only the higher quality monitors with quality drivers/excellent noise reduction and a wide frequency range are usable in a club environment.

  • Brian

    The Koss(spark) plugs do offer great bass and excellent noise attenuation, I haven’t tried them in a club environment, but When I went to see NASCAR rumble about Infineon, my friend forgot ear protection. I lent him my shotgunner muffs and I just used the Koss plugs, with a little background music I couldn’t so much hear the cars as feel them. The highs aren’t as crisp as consumer shure ear-buds, but they are much bassier than you would think. Still, they look like they belong with your ipod, but if you only care about looks, well then… They have a shortish cable, and all the versions I’ve had over the years fail at the volume cut button. They also are much harder to talk into than around ear phones when used as a mic.

    The bottom line, for $15, they are a great set of earbuds, puching way above their weight class, tehy are not designed to be used as IEM’s, but I’m sure they would work just fine.

  • Slick Rick

    I’ve been using the etymotic ER4′s for about 5 years now and love them. Haven’t had anything I’ve tried since come close really. Clean, comfortable, good freq resp and plenty loud.

    Are you all going to be doing any more reviews? I’d love to know what you think of the ones I’ve been using.

  • http://wewillbeok.com Jeff

    Not sure if you’re already aware of this, but it looks like for an extra $20 you can get the Westone UM2s or UM3s with a removable cable: http://www.westone.com/UM2-UM3X-Removable-Cable-Press-Release

  • Geoff T

    I had a set of ultimate ear custom fit monitors made a few years back…..They took some getting used as they isolate really well but i would not be without them now. its nice to be able to turn off the booth monitors fire up split cue,do a long set on a thumping PA and go home and listen to silence rather a many hours of whistling and hissing. They have lasted really well and saved my eardrums from a weekly blasting, easily worth the cash compared to permanant hearing damage.

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

    [quote comment="38658"][quote comment="38646"]M-Audio “Does not provide IEM units for reviews” so they were not included in the round-up. The fact that they dont want people looking at their gear with a critical eye makes me question the quality..[/quote]

    I first tried them out at Guitar Center as they have them there to demo, and they have sanitary disposable ear pieces so anyone can go try them out… So it doesn’t seem they are hiding anything, maybe they just don’t care about the review, I don’t know. You could always go to a Guitar Center that has the display and try them out there if you really want to hear how they sound. You would also then see how well they can hold up to constant use and pushing of their limits.

  • Anonymous

    I use the M-audio ie-40. Same as the Tripple fi. I love the sound quality on them. They get louder than you’d ever need. It was a little weird getting used to mixing with them, I rely on being able to fade between pfl and program, so im kind of at the mercy of what mixer is available… if it has crappy cue options i just use normal headphones.

    They are a bit clunky, but durable. I’ve had them for 3 years and just recently had to replace the cord on them.

    I also do live sound mixing and when i’ve had to mix in ear monitors they worked great for that too.

    I am also curious about getting them modified.

  • cnr

    inbituin: I agree with your comment about the weird fit of the UE Triple.fi 10s. They are pretty tight no matter which set of adapters you use. Great sound though. How are you planning to rebuild/customize them?

  • DJSP

    Great article! Best on comparing IEM for DJs I’ve read.

  • mostapha

    I’ve been djing like this since I switched to Ableton (and made my crossfader actually useful for a chance by using it to control pgm/pfl balance to approach split cueing on one side…it’s complicated, but it’s really natural once it works). Unfortunately, my etymotics broke (where they all do, at the end of the cable). I’ve since been using my HD25s again, and switching back is like night and day. Good IEMs are the next thing on my DJ to-buy list (other than music), and I’ll definitely check out the ones you recommend. Shure has a great reputation, but the Westones really do look comfortable.

  • http://www.johndow.de John

    Well…
    That’s strange.
    I really LOVE my IE8 due to it’s very natural sound and awesome bass performance. NEVER heard that in an In Ear system before.
    Yes, they do have a single driver, but that’s a great way to deal with crossover filters etc, since there are none. VERY straight and LINEAR sound. REALLY.
    However, I do recommend, once you find the right settings for the bass level, to cover the screw with a all very little piece of (duckt)tape to issolate surrounding sound to the maximum.

    People they are great!!! I have no complaints with service as well.
    I also own a HD25, and they always have been very helpful and treated my right. I’m in Germany though, that might help.

    They get my full recommendation, and I must stress out I’m NOT affiliated with them.

    John.

  • inbituin

    I agree with UE Triple.fi 10s having the weird shape/fit but it does sound really good due to the 3 drivers inside. I got them for cheaps will have them rebuilt/customized in a few weeks. Custom IEM is the way to go these days since they’re almost affordable than ever before.

  • Otter

    How about a nice review of the TMA-1 you guys are slinging in the store? I’m a producer and just starting to get into Live PA stuff with Ableton and am wondering whether or not to get these phones cause I really need some cans that deliver a mostly flat responce in terms of sound. Just curious about these cause they look so fly… I’d really like to know how good they might be for producing AND for using in the club.

  • Tito

    If it is your first gig in a venue you have not been I definitely not recommend IEM. Happened to me once that there were problems with the clubs sound system and did not notice for a while. I saw weird faces in the audience, then unplugged te IEM and the sound was awful. At the end was a loose connection between the amp and the speakers processor. And when the people comes to you to ask something is way easer to take out your headphones not to mention the possible damage to your ears when in a rush situation you unplugged it and outside is very loud.

  • http://www.djhinteregger.com DJ Hinteregger

    bought these because of your previous post: Future Sonics Atrio: $199, now they are no good?

    :P

  • RK

    “With the rise in popularity of digital DJ software and new automated mixing methods such as clip warping and sync, over-ear headphones may no longer have a good technical reason for remaining in your DJ arsenal other than their professional appearance.”

    Huh? What does it have to do with things being digital and what does it have to do with mixing methods? Over ear headphones will always provide a better sound (way better bass response among other things). So unless you meant that new style of mixing when tracks are overcompressed like hell will sound good on ANY headphones I don’t see how it’s relevant.

  • logikal

    Too bad about Sennheiser. I sell pro audio gear everyday and we sell tons of Sennheiser IEMs. They are usually excellent with customer service – I wouldn’t rule them out completely. Sounds like just a bad experience with them on this.

  • http://thereverand.com The Reverand

    djshaynec: Yes I really do DJ with them and Yes they are loud enough, mostly because of the cancellation effect their foam buds have, which in a normal environment means you ain’t hearing sh**. (My wife has come to loathe them for that)

    I routinely DJ with a guy who insists on being in charge of sound and doesn’t understand that none of us want our ears as F’ed up as his and these are an ear saver to be sure. I also can’t hear him whine that the monitors aren’t loud enough. :)

  • Guust-Fi

    I use Westone UM-1′s with custom molds.
    Custom molds provide the same isolation and comfort every time, unlike foams.
    I would buy full custom iem’s when I could start all over because mine broke slightly using the custom molds. Custom iem’s won’t and are more professional.

    TIP:
    Wear a construction site “ear protection headphone” over your in-ears and gain an uber-cool look!
    That way they also offer better isolation too.
    That takes away the only reason to use headphones…

  • Aaron

    [quote comment="38658"]

    The review will be coming in a few weeks time..[/quote]

    Fair enough

  • http://www.eangolden.com Ean Golden

    [quote comment="38646"]M-Audio IE-20XB’s!!! They are actually made by Ultimate Ear, so you get that sound quality at a fraction of the cost. They fit very well also.[/quote]

    M-Audio “Does not provide IEM units for reviews” so they were not included in the round-up. The fact that they dont want people looking at their gear with a critical eye makes me question the quality..
    [quote comment="38656"]Is that a NI S4 in the picture? Are they out now?[/quote]

    We have 2 of them in the office- they are shipping nov. 1 and you can buy them here:
    http://techtools.myshopify.com/products/traktor-kontrol-s4

    The review will be coming in a few weeks time..

  • Josh Ribing

    Is that a NI S4 in the picture? Are they out now?

  • http://www.durahcell.de Tigris

    I’m using the IE8 for a couple of month now, without any problems- though I invested in custom earpieces. Can’t understand both why they broke as well as the treatment of yours by Sennheiser- I always had good experiences with them.

  • Aaron

    I like how you guys are teasing us with shots of the Kontrol S4. Just give us the review already!

  • Vinicius Hoffmann

    Great article Ean! I think I will try a Shure instead of buying a Seinheiser HD25 II…

    there is a typo on the warp part, the right name of the Shure IEM is 425 and not 415. They are best known as Shure SE425 and Shure SE535 also…

    [quote post="8335"]Good in-ear monitors are not cheap, so plan on spending $200 to $300 for a good pair that will actually work in a club. After trying various lower-end models without much success for years, I finally found two pairs, the Westone UM2 and[b]Shure 415[/b] that are going to keep me DJing for years without further damaging my already-shaky hearing.[/quote]

  • SherpaPsy

    I have a pair of Etymotic Research hf5 IEM http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/hf5.aspx – they have great isolation.

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

    M-Audio IE-20XB’s!!! They are actually made by Ultimate Ear, so you get that sound quality at a fraction of the cost. They fit very well also.

  • DFAT

    I was thinking of getting Monster Jamz In-Ear Headphones, anyone have any reviews they would like to share?

  • StrangeMatter

    I’ve been using Sennheiser earbuds, the OCX880s. Cost me £70 so not a particularly huge deal if they break but sound quality on them is great. Like being given glasses for the first time, everything was so clear.
    The thing you have to remember, expecially if you have waxy ears, is that you have to clean them religiously. A couple of days of build-up can kill the sound coming out of them almost completely.

  • Andrew

    Great article. This clears up a few misconceptions.
    I guess my next purchase will have to be some IEM’s.
    I will research a few more manufacturers before dropping my hard earned.

    This will work a treat with my newly ordered Kontrol S4.

    Informative website for both DJ’s and Muso’s alike. I log on now before and after work.

    Cheers

  • http://www.LQP.se Beatsnatcher

    I’ve been using in ear plugs for about 2 years now and it does take some getting used to, especially if you’re like me or Uri, who like to go back and forth between sound from headphones to sound from speakers etc.

    However, I would probably have dragged out or never made the transition if those were the prices I was looking at in this article.

    Truth be told you can get any silicone in ear buds as a first set and try out before you go banging out the prices mentioned here. You can get away with 20-30 euro, you know, just to get a taste.

    So for all of you who are in between and undecided and don’t want to risk too much money. Just get a pair of silicone in ear buds, use them from one gig and then tell me you don’t love the feeling of going to bed after that with absolutely no ringing in your ears.

    It’s a wonderful feeling and I will personally never, ever go back to regular headphones.

    Thanks DJTT for being both creative AND responsible about the DJing things in life.

  • uri

    Be careful about that.
    Have you considered the fact that the distance between the sound source and the eardrum is much more shorter in IEM? I’d say, critically short. In case of any accident you are in real danger.

    I think it is more reasonable to use good over-ear headphones + good earplugs (Elacin ER FlexComfort). Don’t you?

  • http://www.digitaldjtips.com Phil Morse

    I know of a few DJs who swear by in-ear headphones. But the big disadvantage for me would be not being able to take them off and put them on in a hurry – I like to be able to preview a tune in my headphones, decide if I want to play it next, then put them around my neck and get back into the tune playing in the club, then put them on one ear only with my other ear listening to the monitor – often all in a few seconds, and several times every track. For that reason the idea of having something wired into my ear semi-permanently really doesn’t appeal.

  • http://www.flyingcarmusic.com/ Jordan (FlyingCar) Smith

    I used to have the UM2′s for (non-DJ) gigs and I will say that the sound quality is great. Plus, they are very comfortable. At times, I forgot they were in. Biggest downside is their lack of durability. After only about a year of steady gigging/performances (sometimes using them for 5-6 2hour sets a week) they started falling apart. Also, the left unit gave out. I was able to link it to the cable going bad. If you’re pretty easy on your gear, then you probably won’t notice any problems.

    If the UM2′s got an update and had detachable cables, I would’ve gotten a new set of those. Instead, to replace them, I got the Ultimate Ears Super Fi 5 Pro (I believe it’s the same plastic shell as the one’s mentioned above).

    I’m surprised this review couldn’t get passed the shape. Yes, the shell sticks out a bit, but I’ve found that to be a useful feature. When I’m playing/performing and I want to hear outside the IEM’s, I push one unit back a bit to “bleed in” some sound. When I’m done, I just pop it back in. No need to reach behind the head every time I want to check the mix.

    I think one downside I will mention about the Ultimate Ears design is the size of the piece the rubber tips mount to. Since I have relatively small ear canals, I have to use the smallest tip they make. Otherwise, I experience the pain of my ears stretching. Let’s just say that having to quickly pull out the unit from a sudden burst of sound feels almost worse than leaving it is.

  • Ando

    i need to check on these weststone and compare them to my ultrasone….

  • djshaynec

    Hey Reverand,

    you use “The Plugs” to dj? Or just to listen to music. $15 does seem really cheap but are they loud enough for the club?

  • http://www.djpc3.com/ Dj PC3

    I know this might seem a little wierd (and they don’t go with the non-ipod look), but I bought and use diddybeats. They are great, sound great, look great, have a non-tangled cord and fit pretty nice too…
    Yes they are little over hyped (being in the beats by dre line), but I still love em…

  • http://thereverand.com The Reverand

    If anyone is looking for a cheap alternative I recommend the Koss Plugs. Their buds are made of the same material as ear plugs, so for hearing protection they are great. And they have amazing response for casual listening and club settings. They perform far better than their $15 price tag. I swear by them. But they are what they are and I always have a fresh pair in my bag. But damn they do work. They only drawback I have found is that the cord is a touch short, but I always have an extension cable with me anyway. (JIC)

  • http://facebook.com/kunhohan D!RK

    waiting for this article for quite some time … two thumbs up**

  • andy

    Great article. I’ve always wanted to try out IEMs because most headphones don’t fit over my ears because my lobes are stretched.

  • http://www.djtechtools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11964 Double DutchDj

    Top post, very helpful. I like the idea of going down this route, transition would be hard for me tho as threw all my dj years I’ve tried to use my headphones as little as pos.

  • http://www.gamerscorewhore.com Richard

    I looked into getting volume reducing ear plugs a while ago and came across a company that do custom moulded ones. They also offer a single IEM and volume reducing ear plug combo for people like me who are still doing prefade in one ear and booth monitor in the other. Rather than conventional ear plugs their product doesn’t dull off lots of frequencies, it’s sort of like a hearing aid in reverse, reducing the decibels.
    I wonder if Traktor might offer a split cue feature or a cue/pgm crosfade for headphone output one day?

    • Bis

      I am interested in this setup, can you give me a link/more info? Thank you.

  • Yul

    Thanxs for the article, it clears up some stuff for me.

  • http://ajorbit.com AJ ORB/T

    Make sure to protect your ears ! Protect your assets !

  • first

    first! :D