Pros and Cons of Custom vs Universal In Ear Monitors

types-of-ear-monitors-explainedCustom fit in-ear monitors (CIEMs)

These are earphones that are custom-made and custom-fitted to the user’s ears.
• Offers best sound quality
• Long-term comfort
• Highest noise isolation
• Most manufacturers offer artwork and other customization options• Typical lead time is 1-4 weeks
• Requires ear impressions
• May require re-fits (see CIEM Fit section at bottom of page)

Customized ear tips for universal in-ear monitors

Eartips that have been custom-fitted to the user’s ears and installed on universal in-ear monitors.

• No need to rebuild/re-mold if earphone itself needs to be replaced
• Long-term comfort
• Don’t wear out• Typically doesn’t improve sound quality
• Designed for one nozzle size (one type of custom eartip won’t fill all universal in-ears)
• Typical lead time is 1-4 weeks
• Requires ear impressions
• May require re-fits

Musician’s plugs

Custom ear pieces that allow for the use of filters for noise attenuation or driver units for audio playback

.• Flexibility to use drivers or filters
• Long-term comfort
• Offers varying levels of noise isolation, from low to very high• Sound quality isn’t as high as custom in-ear monitors
• Typical lead time is 1-4 weeks
• Requires ear impressions
• May require re-fits

Universal fit in-ear monitors (IEMs)

Earphones that use foam or silicone eartips in various sizes to create a seal with the user’s ear canal.

• Off-the-shelf purchase
• Lower cost
• Very large number of options• Can be uncomfortable
• Relies on finding the right eartip size
• Eartips can come off and/or get lost
• Foam ear tips wear out and replacing them can become expensive over time

15247 Eleventh Street, Suite 200
Victorville, CA 92395
(844) 552-HEAR (4327)

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