Best In Ear Monitors For Musicans and Singers


Many churches today are using personal monitoring systems for their worship musicians and in this article I take look at some really good iems available, from the cheapest and most affordable, to more high end in-ear monitors.

Unlike the traditional stage monitoring, in ear monitors come with a pair of earbuds used to muffle out any noises or sounds from anyone or anything surrounding the user. Anyone using a wireless monitor is able to fully concentrate on the sound of his or her instrument through their earpiece.

A stage monitor, on the other hand, does not muffle any sound and when you play your instruments, you can hear the live sound of every other instrument onstage. You can also hear the audiences’ response to the music which sometimes can be distracting. Many benefits come with using in ear monitors vs floor monitoring. Stage monitors for starters do not come with sound isolating technology, whereas pro-audio iem systems do, allowing whoever is performing to concentrate better on what he or she is hearing. There are also over ear monitors that use closed back headphones, but they aren’t quite as popular as the in ears, although they do offer good external noise reduction.

Which models are best for bands and churches?

Some people may argue that the people that those who would benefit from headphones are singers and performers in live bands. So it stands to reason that they would be useful in many church settings too where the band lead the singing and music from the front. Some of the reasons many churches perhaps choose not to go from the traditional floor monitors to iem systems are;

• The assumption that personal monitoring is way too expensive for them – there are relatively cheap ear monitors available
• They are too difficult to implement compared to a floor monitor
• Many of them are not used
• There aren’t many advantages that come with using a personal iem system compared to stage monitoring.
 

Most of the above assumptions are incorrect and the opposite is true about iems. True though that some of them may be too cost prohibitive for some churches but once the benefits are realized, the costs become a non-issue. Current technologies can reduce the costs down to a level that most churches can afford. However, you have to have the knowledge of how to assess those technologies.

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There are many types of personal monitoring products in the market today. Not every piece of gear out there would, however, work well in a church setting. They come in different sizes, shapes and dimensions. The cost of wireless systems also depends on the make and the qualities. Below are some of the best iems for churches available today.

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1. Audio 2000S AWM6304U IEM ( * my value for money pick)

 

The Audio 2000S AWM63004UOpens in a new tab. #ad is one of the best wireless in ear monitors for singers, drummers and for the whole band because it provides the following benefits

➢ It offers flexibility because you can add more receivers
➢ It is versatile as you can use it in many events that need a sound monitor. These could be on stage, in an exhibit, speech, and lecture or in a studio. You can choose from 100 frequencies which you can use simultaneously to even transmit different languages.
➢ You get to move freely on stage when using this system and ideal for singing.
➢ Sound is consistent and of very high quality
➢ It is very compact and the quality is very good
➢ Very easy to operate, set up because you just plug it in and play

Check priceOpens in a new tab. at Amazon
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Features

➢ UHF frequency band
➢ 25 MHz band width
➢ PLL synthesized oscillation mode
➢ FM Stereo modulation mode
➢ <10mW output power
➢ -60 dBc spurious rejection
➢ 75 KHz maximum deviation range
➢ 50-15000Hz frequency response
➢ Line level X2, XLR audio output and input of ¼ inches phone jacks
➢ Dimensions of the audio monitor system are 9.4×5.4×2.0 inches
➢ Comes with a PVC case for carrying

Customer Reviews

This unit is highly rated by many buyers and is one of the top systems around . 

Others said they couldn’t have been happier after buying this monitor unit and that it was even better than expected.

Wireless in ear monitors are pretty expensive, but the Audio 2000S is a great balance between audio quality and price. The sound is consistently high quality and it’s flexible enough to allow you to add more receivers in the future without having to buy all new equipment again. This makes it perfect for musicians, presenters or anyone else who needs reliable wireless headphones with good sound quality on a budget!

To check the current price on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab..

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2. XTUGA Rocket Audio RW2080 In-Ear Monitoring System with 4 Body Packs (* my budget pick)

 

The Rocket Audio RW2080Opens in a new tab. #ad is another top quality wireless monitor system that comes with 2 channels and 4 body packs. It is one fairly priced and one of the most popular wireless systems around. The things that make Rocket Audio unit stand out are;

➢ A LCD display that clearly shows the working status of the monitor
➢ A reminder of low battery
➢ A metal body pack receiver
➢ Power control switches
➢ Very easy setup
➢ Strong signals from the UHF frequency
➢ Key locking digital tone
➢ 4 groups of 40 preset channels that are easily adjustable

Features

➢ Weighs 6.8 pounds with dimensions of 22.4×3.7×13 inches
➢ It’s black in color
➢ Has a built-in circuitry limiter that eliminates any distortions when the monitor is under input levels that are excessive.
➢ Has a ¼ inch front panel stereo monitor headphone jack
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Customer Reviews

Users rated this monitor system highly. The majority of those that bought the item hailed it for its good quality work and flawless audio.

Some users said that they didn’t regret purchasing this system and was the best they had used. One of the best budget in ear monitors around.

To check the latest price on Amazon for the highly rated Rocket Audio RW2080, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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3. XTUGA Wireless In-Ear Monitor System with 6 Body Packs

 

XTUGA and Rocket Audio are basically the same company, but the difference is that this model comes with 6 receivers. The XTUGA RW2080Opens in a new tab. #ad and is a wireless bodypack that comes with 2 channels. It is slightly more expensive than many of the other units. There is however a reason why XTUGA is more pricey. Below are the features and specifications that make it special and a worth buy.

Features

➢ It comes in a metal case and is a UHF wireless system with a bandwidth of over 25MHz
➢ Its LCD display indicates when the battery is low
➢ Comes with more than 100 pre-programmed frequencies which can have up to 10 receivers
➢ Has a built in circuitry limiter that eliminates distortion
➢ Weighs 11.68 pounds with dimensions of 22.4×3.7.13 inches
➢ It is black in color
➢ Has a 1U transmitter mounting which uses low power supply
➢ The shipping package includes one transmitter, 6 bodypack receivers with 2 antenna, 4 cable lines, 1 power adapter and a user manual.
➢ You can get all the other features of XTUGA personal monitor system from Amazon

User Review

Most buyers gave this unit a big thumbs up and said it was very good and generally pleased with their purchase and one of the best wireless monitors for the price.  

I personally think this system is great value for money and highly recommend it. To check the price of the XTURGA RW2080(6 receivers) on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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If you find this article helpful, you may also wish to check out my Recommended Gear page here

4. Pyle Audio Personal In-Ear Monitor and Receiver System

 

The Pyle in-ear wireless monitor systemOpens in a new tab. #ad comes with 100 pre-set audio frequencies. It has a combination of ¼ inch audio input jack and XLR. This is a system that will not fail any singer or musician because it is made up of high technology and user friendly controls that take sound experience to another level. 

Features

➢ User friendly controls
➢ Good quality sound production
➢ Perfect for every kind of music and events
➢ Very easy to set up and use
➢ High quality audio
➢ Compact and no complex controls
➢ Gives the user maximum freedom of movement onstage
➢ PLL synthesized circuit
➢ Volume controls
➢ TNC antenna for constant and sound quality
➢ Weighs 3.65 pounds with dimensions of 16.2x3x12.2 inches
➢ Comes with a one-year warranty
➢ The kit includes the following items; a digital receiver, system transmitter-audio, power adapter, headphones, AA batteries-2, ¼ inch audio cable and a detachable TNC antenna.

Customer Reviews

The Pyle Wireless System has sold decent volume and many users thought it performed reasonably well.

Some said they thought this was an amazing piece of gear and among the best in ear headphones for musicians around. Others commented on the benefits to their hearing, as they could now control the volume on stage. Others said that they preferred the ear buds to stage floor monitors. Other user recommended this monitor system to anyone that was looking for ear monitoring equipment with great sound quality.

Others commented on the number of channels available and the value for money this product offers.

This is another great system, I can highly recommend. To check the price of the Pyle In-Ear Monitor System on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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5. Shure P3TRA215CL PSM300 IEM ( * my top quality pick)

 

Over the years, Shure has been one of the big names in quality microphones and audio gear. The Shure custom in-ear monitoring system is used widely by many of the top musicians and bands. Musicians like the Shure PSM 300 system, because of its incredible noise and sound isolating earphones. You can choose from the entry level of the P3TRA215CL PSM-300Opens in a new tab. #ad to the more advanced PSM 1000. However, this pro audio quality does come at a price and it is more expensive than many other similar products out there. Features and specifications that make Shure IEM headset stand out are;

Features

➢ The P3t wireless system covers a range of 90 metres and eliminates any unwanted sounds
➢ The Shure PSM 300 is a wireless monitor system and comes with detailed 24bit digital audio processors
➢ It easy to operate and set up
➢ It offers a clean wireless channel with a one-touch frequency scan
➢ You can adjust the volume to your liking using the MixMode technology
➢ Package includes; a P3RA Bodypack receiver made from aluminium, audio controls, and rechargeable battery sound isolating earphones and enhanced bass.
➢ It is very light with a great looking design
➢ Comes with an easy to navigate LCD
➢ High and low boost 2-band shelving EQ
➢ Detachable antenna
➢ ¼ inch TRS for balancing loop outputs and input
➢ External power supply
➢ Made from high quality metal material
➢ Weighs 7.6 pounds with dimensions of 18.5×14.6×4.5 inches
➢ Comes with 2 AA batteries
➢ Comes in black clear color
➢ Work well with Shure SE112 sound isolating earphones and the SE215 earphones

User Reviews

Overall most users were very happy with their purchase and some commented that they didn’t know how they managed before with personal monitoring. Professional musicians also seem to really like this model and is certainly among the best iems available. 

Others comment on the sound quality, the build quality and also how comfortable the headphones are to wear and the Shure pedigree ensures it is among the best iems for vocalists and musicians available.

When you buy Shure, you know you are getting quality. They aren’t cheap, but I can recommend this system very highly. To check the current price of the Shure PSM-300 on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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6. AudioTechnica In-Ear Monitor System

 

Audio-Technica has been one of the big players in professional audio for many years now and is probably better known for their vocal and instrument microphones and wireless microphones. However, they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to in-ear wireless monitoring systems too. The Audio Technica In-Ear Monitor SystemOpens in a new tab. #ad unit is very popular with musicians and gets some great reviews. The unit is quite pricey, but not as expensive as the Shure system above. The things that make the A-T monitor system special are;

Features

➢ It’s a clean articulate and high fidelity sound mix
➢ Comes with selectable UHF channels totalling to 100
➢ Per frequency, this system gives you 10 simultaneous systems
➢ Comes with mix controls that you can personalize for better volume
➢ Has two receiver signals
➢ Comes with a line jack that connects to the microphone and click track
➢ The system weighs 5 pounds with dimensions of 17.1x15x3.8 inches
➢ Comes with 2 AA batteries
 

Customer Reviews

Many customers mentioned that the monitor earphones help a great deal to reduce ringing in the ears caused by loud stage volume.

Others had mentioned that even though this system is quite expensive, the quality of sound is worth every penny and it’s probably the best one for musicians from Audio-Technica.

This system is high quality and comes with high recommendations from many people. To check the price of the Audio Technica System on Amazon and read buyers reviews, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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7. ANLEON S2 In-Ear Monitor System (great for tight budgets)

 The Anleon S2 In-Ear Monitor SystemOpens in a new tab. #ad is very popular with those who have purchased them and seems to be really great value for money. These are wireless monitors designed with 1 transmitter and 4 receivers. This means that 4 users can comfortably use one in-ear ANLEON in-ear monitor system.

Specifications and features

➢ Designed for broadcasting and stage performances, this monitor has a good frequency range with a 10 MHz bandwidth and comes with 6 frequencies to choose from.
➢ It offers very good quality audio. The sound quality is great for singing or from music and instruments.
➢ It has PLL and UHF frequency bands which gives it stability
➢ The 6 frequencies are powered by 2 AA batteries
➢ Its power consumption is low
➢ It gives a playtime of 20 hours
➢ A single transmitter can operate multiple sets of receivers
➢ There is no interference from using the 6 sets all at once
➢ There is a receiver LCD that displays the battery level, frequency and channel
➢ It has an operating range of close to 100 meters
➢ Its frequencies in MHz are 670.3/671.6/673.2/675.1 and 677.3
 

IEM System Customer Reviews

Many users praised ANLEON in-ear monitors and very few gave negative reviews.

A couple of people said that they had tried other makes but weren’t happy with them, but were very happy with the Anleon iems.

Others comment on the value for money of this system. You get a lot of bang for your buck and it’s on of the best systems for the money.

This is another value for money system. To check the price of the Anleon In-Ear Monitor System on Amazon, click hereOpens in a new tab.

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Conclusion

If you are in the market for the best in-ear monitoring system for your church and want the best music production, then do your research carefully and choose what is best for your needs and your price range. The above wireless iem systems are all very good, generally affordable and all do a very great job in blocking out noise from other instruments and from the crowd, and give great comfort to the ears. They are all great for their price points and some of them have more advanced features for better comfort and sound quality.

Please note: One little thing to watch out for is that some users didn’t seem to realise that with 1 transmitter and 4 receivers, they weren’t going to get 4 separate monitor mixes. A lot of people don’t realise that at the end of the day you aren’t going to get more monitor mixes than your sound desk can produce e.g. if your desk has 2 monitor outputs and you buy 2 receivers, then you will have 2 mixes. If you only have 1 receiver, you will only have 1 monitor mix. Also if you have 4 monitor outputs on your desk, if you want 4 mixes, you are going to need x4 in-ear transmitters. 

Worship bands can now produce better quality music without any interruptions by using any of the above products, but what you decide upon will ultimately depend on your own needs and budget. The models we have selected in our view are among the best for musicians available at the moment.

If you have found this article helpful, you may wish to check out the post I wrote about my 15 favourite bits of church audio gear

Other notable systems are the Sennheiser EW IEM G4 which is a good bit more expensive than the other models we have assessed in this article, but it is very high quality and if you have the budget. The Sennheiser ear monitor is definitely worth considering if it’s within your price range.

Click hereOpens in a new tab. to read more about it on Amazon.
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Consideration for professional band iems

• Type of personal monitoring system

There are mainly two types of iems. These are wired and wireless in-ear monitor systems. There are many different things to consider when choosing quality universal monitors available for your own context.

Regardless of type, iems also require light headphones of some kind. I have been using the MEE Audio M6 Pro headphone set in our church for a while now and the M6 Pro monitor earbuds have been really terrific with great bass response and overall sound quality. Check them out hereOpens in a new tab. on Amazon. #ad

A wireless in ear monitor allows you to move around unhindered and more. It consists of stereo in-ear headphones, a transmitter and a receiver. It also comes with a range for the receiver which allows the user not to lose audio signal at any time during the performance. The wireless in-ear monitor is pricier. There are also Bluetooth options for wireless iems. Bluetooth doesn’t always have the range of other wireless in-ear systems, but it is still a good option for musicians.

For those musicians who are stationary like drummers, pianists or guitarists, or bass players – wired monitoring might be ok. They are less costly but also offer the same benefits as the wireless in ears which is muffling any sounds from outside what you are playing.

• Construction

Before purchasing, check the unit construction as they all come with diverse drivers. The drivers include standard magnet driver, crossovers and multiple drivers. Standard magnet drivers are the basic ones and used for frequencies that are from mid to high. Multiple drivers and crossovers are more advanced and used to produce wider frequencies and clearer sound separations. If your sound system uses a 19″ rank, you should check if there is a rackmounting kit.

• Noise Isolation degree

Check out the degree of noise cancellating offered by the iem. This will allow you to verify how much of the noise around the Church and staging area the earpieces can isolate.

• Comfort

Select monitors that you are comfortable to move around in. They all come with different features that protect them from damage. Universal fit earbud monitors are usually comfortable for most people, but you will need to look out for those features that best suit you.

• Cost

Cost price ranges vary from a high end system to affordable in ear systems at the other end. Some of the best iems are priced highly while others are very cheap or at least fairly inexpensive. Buy what best suits your pocket but do not compromise price with the quality, although there are affordable custom in ear monitors out there for small ears or bigger ears. Generally speaking, a wireless personal monitor system will be more expensive than a wired system. However, you can get cheap in ear monitors under $200 if you look around. Read all the user reviews on all the wireless systems in the market before you make your decision. 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are in ear monitors?

In ear monitors allow singers and musicians to hear each other through mix that is sent from a sound console to small amplifiers, usually clipped onto clothing. Earbuds connected to the monitor enable them to hear the monitor mix. Check out this other post to find out more about how in ear monitors work.

What is a click track?

A click track is part of a monitor mix that contains a drum beat or click sound, usually on the first beat of each bar. It plays in sync with backing tracks that are used to help a band sound bigger. The click track is heard by a musician through their iem earbuds. To find out more, you should read my post on how to use a click track with in ear monitors.

Do iems protect hearing?

Your ears can be damaged permanently with any prolonged exposure to loud music. Musicians on stage are particularly vulnerable to this risk. However, iem headphones block out sound from outside and allow the musician to hear only what is coming through the mixer. So yes, they do to a certain extent protect hearing.

What is the difference between iems and headphones?

I think the way most people understand these two terms is that wireless in ear monitors are literally “in ear”, in the same way, that earplugs fit into the ear canal, whereas headphones go over the ear. Both, however, can be used with personal monitoring.

Why do performers wear ear monitors?

Musicians and singers are more and more using ear monitors, due to the many advantages they have over wedge monitors. They enable each performer to have their own personal mix right in the ear. Read more about why singers wear earpieces.

What do iems cost?

This is not an easy question to answer because it really comes down to quality, the number of receivers, range etc I would recommend following my buyers guide above for that answer.

Do in-ear monitors cause hearing loss and are they safe?

If used properly, no they don’t cause hearing loss. In fact, they may well protect against hearing loss as they limit the sound pressure coming into the inner ear.

Are IEMs for bass players the same as any other type?

Yes, bass players can use the same type as guitarists and other musicians and singers

Are personal monitors for a drummer any different?

Drummers can use universal iems, but one of the things to check is their noise-cancelling ability.

What about iem rental?

This can be an option maybe for irregular large events. If you don’t have the cash to justify buying the best iems out there, then you could rent from your local dealer.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3406203/Opens in a new tab.

https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q3/now-hear-this-study-highlights-the-importance-of-avoiding-noise-induced-hearing-loss.htmlOpens in a new tab.

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/07/long-term-hearing-loss-from-loud-blasts-may-be-treatable-researchers-say.htmlOpens in a new tab.

Frank Edwards

Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.

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