You may have noticed it. While performing, you see that little something on the ears of famous singers. What is it? Probably you have later on discovering that it is an earpiece. Perhaps you are wondering, why do singers wear earpieces? For sure it is not just for a fashion statement, since earpieces play a very important role in the success of the performance of a singer. Let us take a look at some of the interesting things about earpieces and why do singers wear and take them out.
About the Earpiece – In-Ear Monitors (IEMs)
The earpiece that singers wear is actually an in-ear monitor (IEM). It is an equipment that is designed to allow singers to hear exactly the sound that she wants to hear. This is also useful for singers who sing along with a live band, given that there is a lot of noise on the stage, especially the sound coming from the band. Without an earpiece, it could be quite hard to hear a singer’s own voice. This could be bad since not hearing their own voices will result in them singing louder, or even shouting.
A music earpiece is a very important piece of accessory, not just for fashion, but also because of its purpose. Without it, a singer’s voice can get so tired, straining their vocal cords. With an in-ear monitor, however, the sound engineer can only put in your voice and a specific musical instrument that can guide through the singing. This means that it will block the other noises. There is an option to select how little or how much of each instrument can be heard by the singer.
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Why Do Singers Wear an Earpiece?
The complete technology involving in-ear monitors was created in order to solve the problem associated with stage monitors. These types of monitors have to be turned on in order to balance the sound out, especially those that come from a cheering, loud crowd. This could eventually lead to fatigue on the ears, even resulting in a damaged hearing. Now, this is but one reason. Let us take a look at some other interesting reasons why do singers wear earpieces when performing:
- To Protect their Hearing:
Stages tend to be loud, especially with live bands. This could potentially cause damage in just a short amount of time being exposed to noise, especially if the amps have not been controlled properly. Issues related to hearing usually come after some time. The use of in-ear monitors enables musicians to easily monitor their onstage performance at lower levels. On the other hand, it should be noted that when used improperly, these in-ear monitors can still cause damage to the hearing of a singer, which is why it is very important to learn how to properly use them.
- Jiving to a click:
A trick that many musicians use, drummers, in particular, is to play the metronome onstage. A metronome is usually a beeping sound that is heard in the ear. This trick is a great way to ensure that music is kept perfectly in time and rhythm. Otherwise, the sound produced could sound extremely amateur.
- Improved Monitoring:
Wearing in-ear monitors can greatly allow a singer or any musician to expect a better sound mix, directly personalized to their needs and requirements. For example, a drummer onstage may want to hear more bass, while a singer may want to hear the vocals clearest. It is the duty of the sound engineer to adjust these sounds in order to come up with a personalized mix. In-ear monitors are also ideal for lead singers who want to jump along with the crowd or run around the stage during the performance.
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Why Do Singers Take Out an Earpiece?
You may have also noticed singers taking out an earpiece at any point during their performance. Case in point, Beyonce, singing at the presidential inauguration ceremony in 2013. There was a good reason for that. There are other reasons still. Here are some of them:
- To Hear the Crowd Better:
Wearing in-ear monitors is similar to putting on strong earplugs and blocking the sound completely off your ears. While there are advantages to this, especially since stages could be really loud and could result in damage in hearing, as well as chronic ear-ringing among musicians.
In-ear monitors are designed in a way that makes them superior to regular earplugs. They are typically custom-molded to the ear of the wearer. This could be done, either through a laser scan, or an impression. Singers usually take their earpieces out since they just want to hear the sound from the crowd and feel the vibe.
- To Create a Mix:
Some DJs, as well as less experienced musicians also use in-ear monitors. At the time, they need to take them out so that they can set and mix the sound levels, putting them back on when they are finally satisfied with the mix they have created.
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- What is the difference between wired and wireless IEMs?
For many singers, it is a good investment to get a wireless IEM system. It offers a good amount of mobility, allowing them to move around freely on stage. There may be an initial investment involved, but it is quite easy to justify. However, for non-singer musicians on stage, such as those playing the keyboards and drums, opting for a wired system may be better because they only stay in a single spot. It may not be necessary to spend more on a wireless system. Wired systems do not come with a belt pack since the earphones are directly hardwired into the mixer. As a result, issues involving wireless systems, such as compromised audio or possible interference is cleared up.
- How do in-ear monitors work?
Setting up your IEM involves an easy and straightforward process. It is as simple as playing music on your phone using a Bluetooth speaker. The transmitter works by wirelessly sending audio into the Bluetooth speaker. The only difference is that audio will pass right into a mixer before it goes to the headphones.
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- What do singers hear in their IEMs?
Singers who wear these in-ear monitors mainly hear their own performance. This means that they can listen to the songs they are singing. On the other hand, an instrumentalist can also hear the instrumentals that he is playing. This will give them a better grasp and control over the music that they are producing.
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When taking into consideration all of the benefits that are offered by using in-ear monitors, you now understand why do singers wear earpieces. In fact, they have become so popular that it is safe to say that they have become a standard for performing live music. Even though there may be some disadvantages to using this equipment, it is still clear that they have offered a huge improvement to the performance of stage monitors. All of the advantages mentioned above offer good reasons why singers use earpieces onstage. Getting these in-ear monitors proved to be a good investment on the part of singers and musicians alike. To some, the initial price that they have to pay is well worth the protection that they get for a long time.
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HI, John Andrew here. I’ve been an audiophile since I was a little kid. I’m an original member of myaudiolover . It emerged as a way for me to share my passion and knowledge for audio technology. If you’re looking for tips, techniques, and insights about audio-tech, that can enable your productions that professional edge, then MyAudioLover is the place for you!