5 Best In-Ear Monitor Systems For Musicians

31 Comments

We pick our 5 best in-ear monitor systems for musicians who need the freedom to roam and don’t want to rely on the fold back speakers on stage

Best In-Ear Monitor Systems for musicians
As musicians, we need to be able to hear ourselves onstage as it can be the difference between a good gig and a terrible one. As music fans, we often look at our favourite bands with their sexy in-ear monitors and think “Oh man, I can’t wait to make it as a Rockstar so I can use those!” but the fact of the matter is in-ear monitors, or IEM’s as they’re known in the “biz”, are much more than just a way to hear yourself clearly onstage and best of all, they’re even more affordable than ever!

But why should I use in-ear monitors?

You’re probably thinking what’s the point in using in-ear monitors if I can just hear what’s going on via regular PA speaker monitors. Why should I use in-ear monitors? What are the benefits of in-ear monitors? Sound familiar?...

So, here’s 3 reasons why you should use in-ear monitors:

1. An accurate sound

In-ear monitors provide musicians, whether you’re a singer, keyboard player, guitarist, drummer or even a technician with a far more precise representation of the sound onstage. Your vocals and guitar, for example, can be mixed very much the same as an onstage monitor and remove everything you don’t need. However, the major benefits of in-ear monitors are that they block out the unwanted external noise that you don’t need to hear and send the signal of your guitar, voice or drums directly to your ears.

This means you don’t have to put up with your band mates arrogantly loud amps or your drummer’s ridiculously loud cymbals and can hear exactly what you need to hear. It’s the same as having your own personal monitor mix!

2. Reduce the risk of hearing loss

In addition, you also reduce the risk of developing noise induced hearing loss with in-ear monitors. As any musician knows, tinnitus (that horrible ringing in your ears) is always ready to rear its ugly head after a particularly loud gig or rehearsal. This tinnitus is a symptom of noise induced hearing loss, which if gets out of hand, can ruin a musician’s career and be extremely difficult to live with. As in-ear monitors block out external ambient noise and provide good isolation on stage, this means you can hear what’s going on in your headphones at a lower volume, saving your hearing.

They’re not only a great way to hear what’s going on correctly, but they also protect your hearing and potentially your career. Anything over 85dBA for over 15-20 minutes at a time can cause hearing loss and considering the average gig is around 105dBA, it makes sense to either wear earplugs or use in-ear monitor systems if you’re playing a gig.

3. You’re free to move around onstage

If you feel like moving around the stage, but you still need to hear what’s going on, sometimes a regular stage monitor is just not going to cut it, especially if you’re playing larger venues. Step away from the monitor too far and you can’t hear yourself sing, you’ve lost timing and the song is ruined.

With in-ear monitors you can move anywhere on stage and still have the exact same mix in your earphones allowing you the freedom to move safe in the knowledge you can hear your voice correctly, your guitar and the rest of the musicians on stage. You stay in time, in key and on the ball.

Show Me The Best In-Ear Monitor Systems

There’s thousands of different brands out there to choose from, so finding the best in-ear monitor system for your needs can be a bit of a minefield to navigate. So today, we’re going to look at the best in-ear monitor systems for musicians, singers, guitarists – pretty much everyone who’s playing an instrument on stage!

Before we continue though, it’s worth noting that in-ear monitors and wireless in-ear monitor systems are made up of three parts: the earphones, the body pack and the transmitter. These can be available in any number of combinations including a full in-ear monitor system which includes earphones, body pack and transmitter, or if you already have a monitor system, a body pack or just the earphones on their own. They also use wireless frequencies, so there may be a charge to use them on certain radio frequencies. You can read all about that in our guide to wireless systems.

To make things easier, we’ll discuss the best in-ear monitor systems (ear phones + body pack + transmitter) for now to help you make the right decision.

5 Best Wireless In-Ear Monitor Systems

1. LD Systems MEI 100 G2 Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System ISM UK Version

LD Systems MEI 100 G2 Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System ISM UK Version

Having your own personal in-ear monitor system doesn’t have to break the bank. With the LD Systems MEI 100 G2 Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System ISM UK Version, you have the opportunity to the comfort of IEM’s at less than what you’d pay for high street coffee over a few months. At way under £200 you get 2 monitoring modes – Stereo and Mono, both free of interference as well as a battery powered belt pack receiver, stereo in-ear phones and a portable transmitter complete with 2 x XLR / 6.3 mm Jack (combo) inputs which will allow you to expand the system. A great option for gigging musicians in smaller venues.

A complete package that is by far one of the best in-ear monitors systems for the money and build quality.

2. LD MEI 1000 G2 Wireless In Ear Monitor System

LD MEI 1000 G2 Wireless In Ear Monitor System

The LD MEI 1000 G2 Wireless In Ear Monitor System is a great, budget friendly in-ear monitor system that is easy to set up, comfortable to use and license free. You have 96 UHF (Ultra-High Frequency) channels to scroll through, meaning you’re never running the risk of getting any interference in your monitors. It’s ideal for touring musicians and one of the best in ear monitors due to the large amount of frequencies on offer.

A large dynamic range and outstanding crosstalk behaviour in the 823 - 832 and 863 - 865 MHz frequency bands providing you with a high-quality sound at all times and an accurate representation of your on-stage sound. This pack comes supplied with extremely comfortable in-ear monitors, transmitter and body pack making it a perfect addition to any musicians set up without a huge investment.

3. Shure PSM200 Wireless System With SE112 Earphones

Shure PSM200 Wireless System With SE112 Earphones

If you want a professional sound but you’re on a budget, the Shure PSM200 Wireless System With SE112 Earphones is the perfect entry into professional level in-ear monitors without professional level investment. Any professional sound engineer will tell you that the Shure PSM series is a completely reliable and great sounding in-ear monitoring system for bands, singers and musicians of all kinds.

A simple, easy to use front panel, solid construction and typical Shure level quality earphones that give you the accurate sound you need and provide a great deal of isolation to protect your hearing and let you hear your own mix. The built-in audio limiter ensures there’s no nasty spikes in volume and the included bodypack receiver is easy to pair with the transmitter. The split XLR outputs will even allow you to extend your signal chain to your wedges, should you want to.

4. Sennheiser ew 300-2 G3 In-Ear Wireless Monitoring System (Twin Set)

Sennheiser ew 300-2 G3 In-Ear Wireless Monitoring System (Twin Set)

The Sennheiser ew 300-2 G3 In-Ear Wireless Monitoring System (Twin Set) is designed by professional audio engineers for professional musicians. The team at Sennheiser are well aware of the needs of the professional musician, and understand that comfort, high quality sound and reliability are the order of the day here. After setting the bar extremely high with the G2 personal monitoring system, the team at Sennheiser have improved their in-ear monitoring system with the Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3 that includes adaptive receiver technology to keep your signal strong. The interesting thing here is that the headphone cable acts as a secondary antenna to the transmitter. This means you have two signals monitoring the frequencies, and in the event that your signal suffers a drop out or interference it will seamlessly switch to the optimal antenna.

As far as comfort goes, the Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3 is perfect for touring musicians, providing superior sound isolation thanks to an array of different ear-fitting pads. Just choose your perfect size and you’re good to go.

You can even manage and monitor your audio via Sennheiser Wireless Systems Manager software on your PC or Mac thanks to the inclusion of an ethernet cable. Easy to operate, built like a tank and full of great features to make your life (and your sound engineers life) easier on stage. Available as a twin set or as a single unit, but we recommend getting the pair!

5. Shure PSM300 Wireless Personal Monitor System with SE112 Earphones

Shure PSM300 Wireless Personal Monitor System with SE112 Earphones

Finally, we have the industry standard Shure PSM300 Wireless Personal Monitor System with SE112 Earphones. This in-ear monitor system features the coveted PSM300 transmitter as well as the ultra-comfortable and superb sounding SE112 earphones, to provide the professional musician with a reliable and accurate sound, superb isolation as well as the freedom to roam on stage without any hassle.

The Shure PSM300 Wireless Personal Monitor System with SE112 Earphones provides a range of up to 90m of wireless in ear monitoring as well as one touch frequency scanning which sync to your pack and assigns a clean channel in seconds. You have 24-bit digital audio, meaning that you hear everything you need to hear in superb clarity. Thanks to the fact the unit includes patented Audio Reference Companding, your unit sounds more like a wired system than a wireless providing you with near zero latency.You can also send two channels of audio wirelessly to create a stereo mix in your in ear monitors, should you want drums in your left and vocals in your right etc. The Infrared sync function, battery level indicator and scan function make set up and activation a breeze.

The included SE112 Earphones are perfectly comfortable and used by professional musicians all over the world thanks to their clarity and high sound isolation. These do a fantastic job of reducing noise on stage, however, should you want to dramatically reduce the external ambient noise if you have a particularly loud stage sound we recommend upgrading to the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones. These headphones alone are some of the best in ear monitors available - coupled with the PSM300, they're unstoppable. But alas, you're still completely in safe hands with the SE112 - it just comes down to budget really!

Final Thought On In-Ear Monitors:

Of course, if you’re a musician just starting out on the live scene, using in ear monitors is not always practical, as inevitably smaller venues where front of house and the monitor mix is done from the same desk means that using your own IEM’s is not always viable. However, when the opportunity is available to have your own monitor mix via a set of in ear monitors, you’ll absolutely notice how much it can improve your playing or singing and your overall performance. Wedges can be unreliable, sound can get lost in the mix and can sometimes cause nasty feedback, so it’s a good idea to have a set of IEM’s in your back pocket, even if you don’t use them ALL the time. When you play Wembley, you’ll be ready – we believe in you!

Upgrade Your In-Ear Headphones

best in ear earphones for in ear monitors

Most wireless monitor systems, and all the options in this blog come with superb quality in ear headphones, but if you already have a wireless system, or want to upgrade to better quality in-ear headphones (earbuds), we've written a blog on the Best In-Ear Headphones for Musicians, which will help save your hearing and provide high quality sound. With offerings from Fender, Shure, V-Moda and more, you'll surely find a great fit to suit your needs.

Shop a full range of wireless in ear monitor systems over at PMT Online today or speak to our experts on 0151 448 2089 or in your local store to discuss best best in ear monitors for your setup. Our PA experts are on hand to help you with all your needs.

IN-EAR MONITORS

31 Comments on “5 Best In-Ear Monitor Systems For Musicians”

  • mary wilson
    7th November 2017

    what about personal ear moles fit for your ears? My ears are very small & most moles are to large for them.

    • Lee Glynn
      17th November 2017

      Hi Mary, if you call our team on 0151 448 2089, a member of our team will be able to help you with personalised earplugs. -Lee

  • Bryan
    1st December 2017

    Can i use PSM200 with Se215 earphones?

    • Lee Glynn
      5th December 2017

      Hi Bryan, that should be fine. As long as you have the body pack, you can use whichever headphones you wish. -Lee

  • Dave
    5th December 2017

    Can i use any body pack with any transmitter?

    Plus. Can you use two systems on same PA.
    Thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      11th December 2017

      Hi Dave, both transmitter and receiver have to be compatible and be in the same frequency to work together. Although both can be sold separately, there are specifications that you'll need to check. Also, if you have, let's say, an old transmitter, and can't find the beltpack receiver, it may be difficult to replace and find an alternative. And yes you can run multiple wireless systems on on PA. Feel free to call our team on 0151 448 2089 for more information on checking on compatibility. I hope that helps. -Lee

  • Lee
    14th March 2018

    I’m just starting to research in ear monitors for me and my drummer - how would Click tracks work if we wanted those in the mix? Would we need something additional ?

    • Lee Glynn
      29th March 2018

      Hi Lee,
      Say, you have backing tracks that were multitracked, which meant you would download whatever you required, including the click track on a separate track.
      You would then create a stereo track (on your sound source i.e. mac, laptop, ipod etc )with the mixed backing hard panned to the left, and the click, hard panned to the right
      You could be using an ipod, ipad, iphone, any other media player, to play them back – it doesn’t matter what.
      You would then use a stereo jack to 2x mono jacks going into the mixer with the left channel (backing) would stay with a central pan and the right channel as well.
      You would just then send the backing to the front of the house and monitors and the click, to your monitor feed alone. Your front of house engineer should be able to send you everything you need. You just need some way to isolate the click track into your own channel, which would be muted everywhere else. So no, you wouldn’t need any other products aside from a sound source. I hope that helps!

  • Isai
    25th March 2018

    Can u send difference mix to the body packs like on one I want drums only and the other one I want pianos

    • Lee Glynn
      26th March 2018

      Hi Isai, yes if you have two different body packs you can send two different signals. -Lee

  • Dann Pritchard
    16th April 2018

    Hello,

    What would be the best options for a full band set up? Are there any systems that accommodate more than two packs?

    • Lee Glynn
      18th April 2018

      Hi Dann, yes the Shure GLX-D Advanced Frequency Manager UA846Z2 can handle more than two packs (up to 11) you can read about it here as this might help you with multiple wireless pack setups. https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/blog/2018/03/27/shure-wireless-system-quick-guide-one-right/

  • Kerrie-Anne
    6th August 2018

    Can I use both wired and wireless microphones (on separate occasions) with the Shure PSM300?

    • Lee Glynn
      6th August 2018

      Hi Kerrie-Anne, yes you can but you will need a separate bodypack and receiver for the wireless microphone. I hope that helps! Feel free to call our experts on on 0151 448 2089 for more advice on using two systems. -Lee

  • Albert Ibars
    13th August 2018

    Hello,

    Any recommendations for a singer in a semi-professional rock band? We need a wireless mic, plus an in-ear monitoring system. The singer prefers Sennheiser over sm58. Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot!
    Albert

    • Lee Glynn
      20th August 2018

      Hi Albert, i'd recommend the Sennheiser XSW2 835-e Handheld Wireless Microphone for vocals https://www.pmtonline.co.uk/sennheiser-xsw-2-835-e-handheld-set-835-capsule and the Sennheiser ew 300-2 G3 In-Ear Wireless Monitoring System (Twin Set) if you want in ear monitoring systems that are Sennheiser. I hope that helps! -Lee

  • William
    17th September 2018

    Is there such a thing as an earpiece arrangement with integral mic that plays straight into your ears without all this extra paraphernalia? May be a naive question, but it seems to me such a thing ought to exist.

    • Lee Glynn
      25th September 2018

      Hi William, i'm not entirely sure. I'll try and find out though! -Lee

  • Keshya
    23rd October 2018

    Could I use an IEM for vocal practice at home? Plug in my wired Shure mic into a PSM200, for example, and hear what I sing over the IEM's? Or would I require any additional/different equipment? If so, what would you recommend?

    • Lee Glynn
      24th October 2018

      Hi there, yes you can as the PSM 200 has a spare channel so you can hear an unmixed audio source like another vocal.

  • Colin Lowen
    14th November 2018

    Notice your answer about receiving different mixes to different packs. Is this the case for all systems? I have a entry unit LD MEI ONE and understand that whilst several packs can be connected to the transmitter, I expected that they would all have to receive the same mix?

    • Lee Glynn
      15th November 2018

      Hi Colin, it's probably best if you give our experts a call on 0151 448 2089 as they'll be able to help you with queries about different mixes to packs. -Lee

  • Ian
    12th January 2019

    Trying to figure out IEM system for just me, band won't spend the cash. If I took feed from pa and my bass into 4 channel Beringher mini mixer would I get enough spill into the vocal Mocs to hear the guitars and drums?? I could use sm57 into the mixer direct too.
    If this is an option, what would be a good value system - I already have Shure SE315 earphones btw
    Need some serious help for my tinnitus!

    • Lee Glynn
      11th February 2019

      Hi Ian, if you call our PA experts on 0151 448 2089 they will be able to help you with this as that would help us get a better idea of your needs on stage. -Lee

  • MR P M Fleming
    17th January 2019

    Hi a friend advised me to try using a wireless ear monitor so I could hear my backing tracks while on stage.
    I used to be a singer then I got throat cancer and had to stop singing I an now trying to get back singing but as I now need earing aids to hear I find it hard to hear the backing music.
    My friend Mr Paul Arron gave me your contact details told me to go on line and get in touch with yourselves.
    Can you please advise me which set up would I need I use a Shure sm58 radio microphone to sing through and a Dynacord 1000 stereo Amplifier and EV speakers.
    many thanks
    Mr P M Fleming

    • Lee Glynn
      29th January 2019

      Hi there Mr Fleming, i'd suggest talking to our experts in person either in store or over the phone on 0151 448 2089 about the best set up for you. However, these would work with you as you can ask the monitor engineer to send a mix of all instruments to your in-ears at a volume that suits you.

  • Drake A Kelch
    21st April 2019

    How are those the best? Maybe the most budget friendly but far from the best IEM systems out there. PSM1000 or even PSM900 are far superior to those models.

  • Jorge
    1st May 2019

    Hi, what options should I look into if I want to be able to send an individual mix to each band member? i.e. the singer wants more vocals, the bass mostly bass, etc.

    I know with the PSM300 you can do two channels but that is still not enough to have one specific mix for 4 different musicians, if my understanding is correct.

    • Lee Glynn
      8th May 2019

      Hi Jorge, each musician would need to have a PSM200/300 or any other wireless in ear system to get a mix. From there, each system connects to the AUX Outs on the desk but that all depends on the desk/mixer that they are using. Essentially, you'd need an individual unit for each band member to have a n independent mix. Feel free to call our experts on 0151 448 2089 as they can help you with any aspects of wireless systems. -Lee

  • Skoog
    6th June 2019

    Looking for a head set to assist with harmonies. I teach full time but gig in summer and also want to protect my hearing. Nice thread btw.

    • Lee Glynn
      12th June 2019

      Hi there. Any of these would be ideal. However, should you want more advice, please give our experts a call on 0151 448 2089 and we can talk you through all the options.

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