Jump to content

In ear monitors for production sound

Recommended Posts

I have a pair of Etymotic, isolation is very good (especially with the foam tips which are basically just like ear plugs) and they sound great. Cable noise has prevented me from ever using these at work. Drives me nuts.


 I wish the manufacturers would make in-ear cables with a short portion of soft, coiled suspension next to the ear piece that would serve as “shock mounts”.


I also have a pair of the shure 215, which are slightly better in terms of the cable noise. The part of the Cable that attaches to the ear piece is “moldable”, goes up-and-around the ear. This seems to help a bit with the cable rubbing noise. Sounds good. Isolation is good. I have used these for work a few times when it was practical.


The thing that prevents me from using any of these more is the unplugging/plugging to be aware of what’s going on around me and people start talking not realizing I cannot hear them. 


With cans, popping one ear off, or even taking them off to put them down is a matter of a half-second to get them back on. Might just be a matter of getting used to doing this quick with the in-ears, but I feel like I’m messing around for a minute getting them situated in the ear, and getting the cable in place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find with in ears and good isolation I listen at lower volumes, which I believe will help save my ears over time.

I used to use the Etymotuc ER4P, but the cable is extremely microphonic and I got tired of it.  I now use the Etymotic HF5, which are a lot cheaper and have very little microphonic noise.  Not perfect, but little enough that handling noise is not an issue.  The balanced armature drivers are the same as the ER4 series, but don't go through the hand tuning and matching that the ER4's do.  

I spoke to Etymotic about doing the ER4 series with a softer cable, but they said they had no plans to change it and didn't seem interested in the idea.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find there to be no cable noise in my Westone UM Pro 20s, and I also turn my headphone feed way down.


As I mentioned before, I use the smallest silicone tips to allow some escape for loud surprises, and to hear some ambient sound around me. It's my intent, however to try a more fitted tip when I'm stuck outside when recording a quiet scene inside.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the etymotic er4pros with custom tips for a specific job. The sound was great, but the cable noise drive me crazy. 

I then got some Westone es50s, and it was a revelation. The sound is amazing, and the isolation is too, and zero cable noise. They’re not so quick to put in and take out, so I only use them occasionally for production. But on an airplane, everything fades away and I’m in my own very pleasant bubble...

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

... on-air broadcast talent use the old-school Telex style buds with the nickel-sized driver and the curly clear plastic tube because that system transmits less cable noise to the ear?


If the talent is sitting (or even standing still) there shouldn't be too much noise from the cable. And they're using these phones for cues and director notes, not to evaluate sound quality.


I always thought they used them because at the time they came out, they were less obtrusive visually than a large driver in their ear. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I've started using the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered in february and haven't used my Beyerdynamics once since then.
I can confirm, that I'm mixing with way lower levels now and I'm still able to differentiate better between sounds coming from the surrounding and the microphones.
It is a lot easier to tell if a noise like a passing car somewhere behind you is on the recording or not.
Of course there are some cons also:
Because of the isolation of the in ears you sometimes won't realise when people talk to you. Something like a whispered "boom", telling you that the mic is in the fram, on one man jobs might not reach you. If you don't take them out between takes you might seem rude because of not answering questions because you simply didn't hear them.
I haven't had the situation yet and I guess I would change to normal headphones then, but I imagine that it might be dangerous sometimes to hear "only" the microphone signals. I wouldn't want to miss hearing an aproaching car while crossing the street during some docu-shoot, or any signals working on sets like construction sites...
You have to get used to wearing the in ears a bit, and taking them out between takes and putting them back in might feel strange a bit but after a few days it felt completely natural. I also never experienced any pain from wearing them for too long.
You will get some strange looks for not wearing over-ears and you can't be recognised as the "sound guy" as easily anymore but most people were really interested in it.
The price is a negative factor also. Paying around 8 times more than I did for my DT770s made me think quite a bit.
But all in all I can definitely recommend in ears but I would still carry around a regular pair of headphones for some situations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/4/2018 at 4:21 PM, Wandering Ear said:


I find with in ears and good isolation I listen at lower volumes, which I believe will help save my ears over time.



While they may not be in-ears (although I think the company makes a version that is) if anyone is interested in great sounding cans that can preserve your ears, I’ve been using the Puro BT5200 which features a Db monitor to gauge the volume and help audio fatigue and hearing loss from extended listening. The legitimatly flat frequency response is a bonus too. Double bonus: they sound amazing. Triple bonus: Bluetooth and cabled. 


Puro Sound Labs BT5200 Studio Grade Bluetooth Wireless Headphones - The Healthy Headphone (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019GD45X4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_k9IuBbT2RE0W4




Evan Meszaros

Link to post
Share on other sites

Update to my post above:
Having read comments here and elsewhere about how the Westone in-ears don't have the problems with cable noise, I started looking into this.

Turns out they have one version with the same connector as the Shure 215. There is a slight difference - the connector is a little bit recessed. But I read about how others had made this work, and ordered a Westone cable. After carefully trimming back a tiny bit of the rubber around the connectors, they actually snapped in to my Shure ear-pieces just fine. Truth be told, that cable is definitely the best one I have tried so far (in terms of the cable noise). Might give this combo a shot on a job soon...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...