IEM - In Ear Monitoring
Thought it might be interesting to hear about other peoples experience, suggestions, recommendations on the subject of IEM's.
I guess we're all aware of the benefits of IEM, they can protect your hearing from damage from high level sounds, and they can feed you with exactly the mix you want and or need to hear while performing. It can also fix the problem of the Doppler effect (this is where reflected sound can reach the ears of the vocalist slightly off pitch and cause them to sing perfectly slightly off pitch and of course no wedge monitors to carry around and or cause feedback issues.
I had been using Shure SE 425's but in spite of them being supplied with an assortment of interchangeable buds I've found it impossible so far to get an ideal reliable fit.
The 'perfect fit' to my way of thinking is, they feel comfortable and stay in place and they have an ideal bleed, or vent so that the ear canal doesn't totally seal air-tight as this causes the Occlusion effect (when the ear canal is sealed from the outside sound reverberates between the seal and the ear drum).
Given the limited success using the Shure devices I decided to invest almost £600 in having professional custom IEM's made. Fair to say the sound quality is fantastic, they fit perfectly, easy to install, easy to remove and easy to forget they are even there after just a few minutes... provided you don't move around or make any vocal sound! The problem is the Occlusion effect still persists as they do not have vents.
Discussing this issue with the tech department of the manufacturer they say quite rightly that venting the IEM's will degrade the overall sound quality, it will leak sound out and they will exclude less external noise. Personally I'd be happy to trade some sound quality and leakage if it dispenses with or at least significantly reduces the Occlusion effect.
Seeing and listening to top-class professional performers who use IEM's I cannot imagine they would put up with unwanted reverberating low frequency sound in their ears. Neither can I imagine they could tolerate singing and dancing with each dance step sounding like rolling thunder in their head!
Has anyone out there got any experience or suggestions to solve the problem... maybe I just went to the wrong 'experts' of IEM's for vocalist fold-back use?
Any thoughts anyone?