In Ear Monitors & On-Site Fitting Services
Custom molded stage monitors require precision earmold impressions made by an experienced Audiologist. While any audiologist can safely obtain earmold impressions for your custom in ear monitors, Dr. Wartinger is uniquely qualified as the only audiologist in the Philadelphia area with expertise as a professional FOH (front of house) engineer, monitor engineer, and touring musician.
Our collaborative on-site fitting services are designed to optimize your monitoring ability on stage and in rehearsals, while emphasizing effective and safe use of your new monitoring system.
For you, Your music, and Your Audience
In Ear Monitors (IEMs) are the professional solution to on-stage monitoring. Available in custom or generic fit models, IEMs are essentially earphones designed to provide uncompromising sound quality and durability to survive years of heavy use. A well made and well maintained set of IEMs are often the touring musician’s most trusted and valued gear.
What Do In Ear Monitors sound like?
In an ideal situation, monitoring through IEMs in a live setting is akin to monitoring through headphones in a studio setting. You should clearly hear all the elements of your ensemble, including your own performance, without the annoyances of washy instruments/vocals and off-the-rails stage loudness. Besides the obvious need to put good sound into the stage microphones to get good sound out of the monitors, the quality of the monitoring experience though IEMs is dependent on three technical factors:
- Quality of monitor mix
- Quality and fit of the in ear monitors
- Experience with monitoring through in-ears
Do I need IN EAR MONITORS?
If you perform solo or your group is acoustic and requires limited reinforcement, monitoring can as simple as listening to each other. Even with larger bands, if you are playing a few shows a year in small clubs with decent sound systems, you may be able to get by with traditional wedge monitors. However, when more than the minimum signal is flooding the stage, many issues arise with wedge monitors that affect the performer as well as the audience's experience of your performance.
Performer Problems with Wedge Monitors: with an array of monitor speakers on stage, the band must contend with microphone bleed, feedback, washy/blurred transients, and high sound levels. Excessive sound levels force your auditory system into physiologic overdrive which can cause you to falter at basic tasks such as pitch perception and self monitoring.
Audience Problems with Wedge Monitors: Out in the house, the audience is hearing two competing versions of your amplified performance: the FOH (front of house) mix coming from the main speakers, and the stage wash coming from the monitor speakers. These two signals combine in unpredictable and often counter-productive ways to destroy clarity and impact of your carefully honed performance.
What are the Advantages of In Ear Monitors?
For larger, more complex stage setups, IEMs far out-perform traditional wedge monitors.
- Each band member can have a customized mix without worrying about the stage layout.
- The performers can monitor at the level of their choosing and aren’t chained to the runaway train that is stage volume.
- The audience can enjoy your performance with no feedback, wash, or FOH blur.
- Finally, and arguably most importantly, the entire concert venue can maintain a lower sound level which will reduce the risk that your performance will cause permanent hearing damage to yourself, your audience, your crew, and the entire venue staff.
All this sounds like a dream for most bands who haven’t switched to IEMs, but it is a daily reality for those who have made the change.
What are the Side Perks of IEM Systems?
Access to an monitor system that is isolated from the audience has some major advantages. The options are limited only by the technical abilities of the monitoring engineer and your creativity, but common uses of this isolated monitoring advantage include:
- Click tracks
- Backing or guide instrument parts
- Stage cues
- Mid-performance reminders (and jokes - so many bad jokes)
Should I Invest in Better stage Monitoring?
In ear monitors come in generic (with pre-made foam or silicone ear tips) or custom models to fit any budget. Though certainly an investment, an individual setup is often less costly than that new guitar, snare drum, tube amp, or microphone you’ve been eyeing. No one is telling you NOT to get that sweet sunburst late 60s Guild T100, but if you’re honest with yourself, will that new gear come close to giving you and your audience all the benefits that in ear monitors can offer?
Contact Earmark to discuss your situation and discover what options will work for you.