Best In Ear Monitors (IEMs) Under $99
In ear monitors have really changed the game for singers, musicians, and live performers. Instead of having multiple wedge monitors taking up valuable stage space, you can have one set of in-ear monitors. I was skeptical myself when making the transition between stage monitors and IEMs. It seemed like it was going to involve a huge learning curve and would take alot of getting used to.
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However, I was pleasantly surprised the first time I used my new IEM's. After a little bit of adjustment to my personal in ear mix I was using them exclusively, week after week. I credit our brilliant sound engineer and the product's very easy to use App for making the experience very rewarding.
I've been using the same set of IEMs for over three years now, and it's very hard to imagine ever going back to regular stage wedges. In fact, when purchasing the new IEMs our sound engineer also bought two 1500 watt powered stage monitors to help ease the transition. The funny part is, we really didn't need those new wedges, we have been using the IEMs exclusively ever since.
So, in the interest of helping others discover the benefits of this in ear technology I've created this product Roundup of the top 5 In Ear Monitors under $99. I've included customer reviews from multiple retail sites to help you get a fair and unbiased overview. I've also included my own review of the brand that I own.
I hope it helps you to feel more confident in your decision to try In Ear Monitors. I'll include the set thats that I have used and the best rated IEMs on the web. If you find this Roundup valuable I encourage you to subscribe at AxeDr.com, it would mean alot.
Best In Ear Monitors Under $99
Whats the rest of the interenet saying?
Full disclosure here; These are the set of IEMs that I currently own and use regularly. I have been incredibly happy with these In Ear Monitors. I play lead guitar for our Worship Team at Obi Community Church. I've used them five times a week for the last three years, and they never once let me down.
Our entire team uses these every week, and not once have we had a pair short a wire or blow the drivers(micro speakers inside of IEMs). These are the only Headphones/Earbuds/IEM's I've had over the years that haven't failed via a broken wire or other failure. I even use them for practicing at home when I'm not using them at a live venue.
The sound quality is incredibly bright, having absolute clarity.
The only reason I didn't give them a full five stars instead of 4.5 is because they could use a TINY bit more punch in the lower end frequencies. However, if you have any experience with IEMs you'll know that this is very common, especially in single driver IEMs. Drums and Bass Guitar still sound very very good in these. I can't imagine going back to wedge monitors after using these, it's just so much better having IEMs.
These things are actually quite comfortable as well. I'll practice for hours without discomfort. I'm constantly surprised at their durability as well. I've accidentally had feedback at ridiculous, ear bleeding volumes and was certain I'd just blown the drivers. But no, they were totally fine, sounding just as good as the day I got them.
I encourage you to try these IEMs. I would most certainly buy them again.
As usual, I scoured the old interweb for reviews and ratings from reputable sites. Here's what I uncovered. Guess I'm not alone in my high opinion of these.
These seem to be the most popular IEMs for a small budget, though I'm not convinced it's because they are the best product. It's probably more popular just because of the Shure brand name being so recognizeable. I mean, when you are shopping, are you more likely to click on the Westone product or Shure product? If you are like me, you probably would click on the Shure IEMs first.
Perhaps you are the type of person that likes to go with the "underdog". If so, the Shures are not the choice for you. Try the Audio Technica or FiiO F9 Triple Driver IEMs. I'm rather intrigued by the triple driver FiiO F9, might even buy them.
Side Note: A few of my fellow team members made the choice to switch over to these in particular for Drums and Bass Guitar. Our Sound Engineer suggested they might handle the the lower frequencies better than the alternatives.
Whats the rest of the interenet saying about Shure SE215-CL?
Up until recently I had not heard of FiiO products. There are alot of "off-brand" or Chinese Rip-Off brands in the Earbud/Earphone market, I honestly just assumed FiiO to be one of those brands. However, after reading alot of enthusiastic reviews and ratings from confirmed buyers of FiiO IEMs I'm starting to change my mind.
Anyone who has shopped in the IEM market knows that dual driver and triple driver IEMs are well above the 2 digit price range. In fact triple driver IEMs that you'll find from musicians friend.com or sweetwater.com are generally mid 3 digit price range. (Shure, Westone, & Audio Technica). So yeah, FiiO is definitely the underdog here, but they are apparently making IEMs that compete with the big dogs
Whats the rest of the interenet saying about
Outperforms conventional dynamic drivers using revolutionary 10mm high-magnetic circuit coil driver technology. Hear incredible high-resolution detail and clarity. Copper cores of high purity effectively reduce the distortion and the loss of signal transmission.
The delicate cavity is sampled from huge large of ear canal data. It well fits the auricle, comfortable and free .Built with craftsmanship and equipped with three different sizes of ear hooks and tips to ensure a comfortable and secure fit even during work-outs for most people. Formable wire ensures secure placement over the ear.
A silver-plated mixed detachable reinforced cable at the ear allows for easy replacement and customization. By analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of multiple kinds of detachable connectors, we design high-grade 6N single crystal copper and a 0.78mm 2 pin connector equipped with protection slot to prevent being broken and outstanding transmission of sound performance.
A good seal is key to optimizing sound isolation and bass response as well as maximizing comfort during extended wear. This earphones are designed for the latest generations of iPod, iPhone, and iPad. They work with all Androids, tablets, mp3 players, and related devices with a standard 3.5 mm jack .
Customizable Accessories: Protective carrying case is included to provide a convenient, tangle-free solution to store and travel with your earphones. Ergonomic design allows for ultimate wearing comfort to match your active lifestyle like running, jogging, cycling, driving, camping,hiking, gym exercise and other outdoor sports.
Whats the rest of the interenet saying about
There are alot of great options for budget IEMs today. Our team also uses Presonus Headphone Amplifiers to hook our IEMs into the PA system. Chances are, no matter what you ultimately decide, you'll find that these little pieces of sound tech can really enrich your live sound experiences. They allow you to take control of your dynamics much better than with standard wedge monitors. I'll leave you with a few tips that I've learned over the past few years in terms of getting the most out of your IEMs.
Here are a few things I've learned that make all the difference for a very good mix.
1. Pan everything in your mix to the Left and Right.
This increases sound quality times ten. Divide the various instruments and voices.
Ex 1: Drums L pan 100% Left, Drums R pan 100% Right
Ex 2: I have 2 channels for my guitar, Guitar Left pans all the way to the Left. Guitar Right pans all the way Right.
2. Have a dedicated "House Mic" out in the crowd.
I crank this in my mix and that gives me an awesome "Live Version" feel, I'm hearing what the house hears with the added bonus of the venue's natural acoustics. This alone really sold me on the use of IEMs. Try it, you'll be blown away.
The Axe Dr.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is IEM?
IEM stands for In Ear Monitors. In short, they are fancy sound isolating earbuds developed for singers and live musicians. They are a relatively new technology designed to block stage noise while providing excellent sound quality.
Can you use IEMs as headphones?
While in ear monitors are designed for live sound on stages, you can indeed use them as headphones. I do it all the time. They are basically just over engineered sound isolating earbuds.
Are IEMs bad for your ears?
When used as intended, IEMs are just as safe as any other types of headphones or earbuds. They are absolutely safer for your hearing than their counterpart, the wedge monitor. That being said, always use IEMs in both ears, never just one. The volume level can be decieving when using just one, and can cause you to compensate by increasing the volume to dangerous levels. Always use both.