Suggestions for cheap IEMs?

BGDurham

Well-known member
Anyone have any notable things to say about any cheap in-ears (like KZ, for example)? Thanks!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Had to look those up.

The specs and prices don't match up. That is, they're WAY cheap for what they claim to do, and that's a red flag for me.

Also, if you're serious about in-ears, you should look into molds. But you're not going to get them for the KZ prices.

Remember: you invariably acquire that for which you expend.
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
From all the musicians I’ve known to use KZ; they love them. From worship leaders/musicians, to professional session drummers. They love them.

For me, I have small ears (outer part at least) so they don’t work for me. But anything from Shure (215-846) fit my ears perfectly.

I’ve had the 215s for years, never failed me. Never had to replace a cable. And they sound great. $99.

unless they are the upper level KZ’s, I would recommend starting at at least $100 for IEMs.

I’ve had some Westone AMPro30(?) for about 5 years. But I had to get them replaced within the first year. Easy replacement through warranties.

Westone has lower level prices, I’d recommend looking into those.

As for tips, I use the Westone STAR tips (green). Fit like a glove.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
I would recommend starting at at least $100 for IEMs.
My hearing is worth more than $100. My ears are a lifetime ownership.
I know it's unpopular, but when it comes to health you can't cheapskate. Buy a pair of isolation headphones if budget is an issue. Buy custom moulds if you really have to have IEMs.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Yes, and I got attacked for agreeing with you before.
Since comments that don't agree with you constitute "attacks", I'll apologize up front for beating the living heck out of you in the following:

My hearing is worth more than $100.
.....but only worth $250??
I wear GKN headphones $250

Mine is worth far more than that, but fortunately it's been protected by earplugs or IEM's that cost a fraction of what I would consider the worth of my hearing. Believe it or not, custom molds fall into the -25 to -30 dB reduction range which is right in line with proper fitting, non-custom IEM's (at -25). The 5 dB difference would only come into play if you're in front of the mains. My kit has never been set up there.

Custom molds are great, don't get me wrong. If you have irregular shaped ear canals, then they may even be a necessity, but in reality they are only slightly better than proper (I'm going to emphasize proper again) fitting earplugs. In fact, that's all they are; proper fitting earplugs.

My argument is the same as @organworthyplayer337 's. You, bermuda and Bo make it sound like the ONLY options are either custom moulds or isolation phones when other effective, and affordable, options do in fact exist.

No one is arguing that their hearing isn't important, or that their financial status doesn't allow them to afford custom (as Bo eluded to in the other post), but rather, while custom is ideal, it's not 100% absolutely necessary. At 51 years old and having played hundreds of gigs (just like you <slow clap>), with very high stage volumes, countless hours at the shooting range, and a lifetime of exposure to race cars/bikes, the only hearing loss I've suffered is age related (at least according to an audiologist), and all I've ever used on stage (in the early days) is earplugs because you wouldn't get the gig back then with muffs on. I still shoot occasionally with only plugs as I carry some with me at all times.

As others have said, they are satisfied with their KZ's and at only $50, I'm considering giving them a test. I may even ask my audiologist relative to conduct an efficacy test on them just to see if they perform in noise reduction as well as the manufacturer and countless users claim but I think that testing can get expensive.

Regardless, I think we all can agree that any time you are pumping sound into your ears, whether it be through custom or non-custom IEM's, or isolation phones w/ speakers, all of the protection afforded by them goes right out the window if the volume knob goes up too high.

Well, I hope you survived this brutal assault, but I'm sure we'll find out with the last word. ;)
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Since comments that don't agree with you constitute "attacks", I'll apologize up front for beating the living heck out of you in the following:


.....but only worth $250??
but I'm sure we'll find out with the last word. ;)
Why aren't you posting angry text at Bermuda then? I guess I'm a softer target.
Yes my ears are worth more than $100. I use the GKN Ultraphones at home and custom moulded -25db earplugs and also often the GKN's when I play live. But in any case, you try so hard to be critical. It's the best protection that counts. It just so happens the $250 GKN's protect as well as $900 IEMs. But you'd never admit that.
Regarding the amount of loud live shows and gun ranges you've experienced without hearing damage... well it's the same old story about how your grandmother smoked 60 a day for 80 years and died in a car crash. Hearing damage happens, and you don't know it until it's too late.
Not sure why you are getting so angry and personal abut this. Take a chill pill.
 

J-W

Well-known member
Why aren't you posting angry text at Bermuda then? I guess I'm a softer target.
There is no anger in my text whatsoever. You are the one who is reading it that way. You are not a target (soft? maybe), but you are attempting to weaponize your "victimhood" simply because I don't agree with you.

Ok then, if it makes you happy, @bermuda , you're wrong! :mad: There. That's as "angry" as I'm going to get.

But in any case, you try so hard to be critical.
If by "critical" you mean that I'm correcting you, and trying to steer others from misinformation then sure. You may be right about the softness.
However, I'm not trying hard. The truth is actually pretty easy.

It just so happens the $250 GKN's protect as well as $900 IEMs. But you'd never admit that.
I'd be the first to admit that. Right along with the fact that a $50 set of IEMs can protect as well as thousand dollar custom molds, just like I was saying.

egarding the amount of loud live shows and gun ranges you've experienced without hearing damage... well it's the same old story about how your grandmother smoked 60 a day for 80 years and died in a car crash. Hearing damage happens, and you don't know it until it's too late.
What?? That might be the worst analogy that I've ever heard. Hearing loss due to high dB's is inevitable if no precautions are taken.
You missed my point entirely.
Not sure why you are getting so angry and personal abut this. Take a chill pill.
Again, there is no anger whatsoever, and I'm sorry that you are taking it that way and consider it an "attack".
Sincerely,
"Mr, Angry" 😁
 

organworthyplayer337

Well-known member
Believe it or not, custom molds fall into the -25 to -30 dB reduction range which is right in line with proper fitting, non-custom IEM's (at -25).
Thank you for bringing this up! I forgot that, while I was doing the research for CIEMs, I took notice of the db reduction/sound isolation difference. The CIEMs I was looking at (+ a couple of the other brands/offerings) were rated at around -20 db to -25db, with the Shure UIEMs being rated between -29 db and -37db.
Regardless, I think we all can agree that any time you are pumping sound into your ears, whether it be through custom or non-custom IEM's, or isolation phones w/ speakers, all of the protection afforded by them goes right out the window if the volume knob goes up too high.
This too. This entire debate is moot if you turn it up too high. But, theoretically: the more noise reduction, the less you have to push them.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Ok then, if it makes you happy, @bermuda , you're wrong! :mad: There. That's as "angry" as I'm going to get.

All I can tell you and everyone else is, Shure's and KZ and the other companies' 'budget' in-ears are not meant to compete with custom molds. They simply provide a product in a different price range... and with different capabilities. Just like drum and cymbal companies do.

You get what you pay for.

Does everyone going in-ear need molds? That depends on how much isolation is needed for an optimum mix, and that should be governed by the stage volume. So with a rock or fusion band in a concert setting, molds are going to be preferable for keeping extraneous sound (house ambience for example) out of your mix. In a club where a little extra help is needed without cranking floor wedges, the less-expensive in-ears may be suitable.

It's not a question of fidelity (which is subjective) or hearing protection (although molds are ideal for reducing overall volume.) It's a question of believing that less-expensive over-the-counter in-ears are somehow equivalent to custom molds, and the glee with which people justify spending less and think they're getting more. It's about the right tools for the job. If you were going on tour, you wouldn't buy padded bags for your drums, you'd buy flight cases.

It's simple - if you need the capability of molds, you need to get molds. Period. There's no cheaping-out. You need to make a commitment, and that's going to cost more.

Also, listen to Chris. He's played much bigger stages than anyone here.
 
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calan

Silver Member
I have Shure SE 425s. I can get custom molds for them. I don't have custom molds for them. Are they bad?
 
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