In-Ear Monitors: My New Indispensible Studio Tool

I've had my Shure in-ears for over a year now and really like them for day-to-day listening, and especially for travel. In addition to being full-range and pretty good sounding, they also act like a pair of earplugs, reducing outside sound from coming in since you stick 'em in your ear canal.

This aspect makes them a wonderful studio tool. I often don't have an assistant to push mics around while I sit in the control room to listen to the effect, and it can be difficult to run into the room, move a mic 1 inch, go back to the control room and hear the difference. Now I put in the in-ears and hear what is happening while i'm moving the mics around. This just isn't possible with traditional over-the-ear headphones when working with a loud source such as drums, too much of the actual sound reaches your ears directly unless you really crank up the headphones, and that's no good... Drummers really like them too, they can listen to the track or the click at a much lower level than they would usually have to using a pair of normal headphones.

But here's the nuance: the reverse is also true... No sound comes *out* of them when they are stuck in your head either. I work with some singers who like a punishingly loud amount of click track & mix in their headphones, to the extent that I can't stop the click sound from spilling out of the headphones into the vocal mic. This ceased to be a problem the minute I gave them my in-ears to try. No matter how loud they wanted their mix, no headphone sound escaped at all, and the vocal tracks are clean as can be.

This investment is off the charts in terms of price vs utility. I don't walk into the studio without my in-ears at all anymore. I also keep a supply of the different sleeves, mostly for hygiene reasons, so other folks can use mine without worrying about getting ear-cooties.