So you're a musician or a music lover on the quest for great in-ear earphones or monitors. The question is, do I get universal IEMs or spend money on a fancy set of Custom IEM? We hope the following helps you understand some differences between Universal and Custom IEMs. We are not here to make your mind up but present some differences and perceptions.
Let’s start with Universals:
Benefits of Universal IEMs
- Universal IEMs are good for anyone to use. Nothing custom here.
- You can share them (assuming you don’t share foams). This is a popular choice for Churches and Bands that share IEM hardware. All you need to do is change the foams tips and your good to go.
- Easy to replace. If your playing a gig in Nova Scotia and your IEM cable fails you can most likely run to a local music store and get a replacement cable or new set of IEMs to get you through right away.
- Changes in your ear and body over time don’t affect fit. Humans often gain and lose weight, and our ears are always growing. With Universals you might need to tweak the foam or silicon tip size over time but that’s about it.
- Generally more affordable. You can get a nice pair of Universal IEMs for less.
- Easier. If your generally squeamish about Dr’s and clinics then going to an audiologist for ear impressions can be a stressful experience.
- Low risk. When getting Custom IEMs created you can’t always 100% guarantee the final fit will be perfect. Sometimes they can spill sound which ruins any bass response and you have to tweak the process which already set you back a lot of $$. With Universal IEMs that is not a risk.
- Accessories. They come with many tips in the retail box and are easy to replace, upgrade and customise (buying different foam tips, trying different cables etc).
- You look normal. If you commute or go out in public with these things people won’t think your that strange. Not so much with Custom IEMs.
Benefits of Custom IEMs
- You can’t share them. No one is going to ask to try them out or borrow them. This is a good things.
- Comfort. Assuming your ear impressions are great and the final CIEM is a perfect fit then they are very comfortable.
- Sealed. If your CIEM fit just right the you have the joy of not having to move, fiddle and adjust the IEM in your ear. You put it in and boom - perfect sound right there.
- Audio quality. This is debatable but generally CIEM owners will tell you the audio experience is better through Custom IEMs.
- Active wear. A CIEM allows you maximum movement on stage/sports without worrying about things falling out or moving around.
There are Cons too but we like looking on the bright side so we’ll leave it at benefits.
What are your thoughts? Comment below.