The concept of in-ear monitoring was brought to the forefront as a means to eliminate feedback from conventional stage monitors that are typically located in the front of the musicians in close proximity to their microphones on stage. By placing high-fidelity miniature speakers in custom earmolds, stage monitors could be eliminated, allowing the vocal microphones to be turned louder without the risk of feedback. As the technology improved, other benefits were recognized:
- Improved sound quality over conventional floor monitors. In-ear monitoring allowed musicians to control the volume of their own instrument or voice and balance them in relation to the mix of the rest of the band.
- Consistent sound quality from venue to venue. Varying room acoustics in different arenas have a great deal of influence on the sound coming from a floor monitor. In-ear monitoring, with high isolation from ambient sound, provides consistent sound because the acoustic environment (the ear canal) is not greatly affected by variations in room acoustics.
- Freedom of movement. With floor monitors, the musician is forced to either stand directly in front of a floor monitor or line up consecutive floor monitors across the stage. Using wireless FM transmitters with in-ear monitors, the musician is free to go anywhere on stage (or off!) without sacrificing sound quality.
- Reduced cartage costs. No bulky floor monitors means less freight to carry.
- Reduced vocal fatigue. Because of feedback, floor monitors cannot always be turned up loud enough to be heard, so vocalists must put undue strain on their vocal cords to hear themselves. Elimination of floor wedges and feedback also eliminates vocal fatigue.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, reduced risk of hearing loss when fit and used properly. Just because musicians wear monitors in their ears does not mean that they are protected against unsafe sound levels. Some in-ear monitors can produce as much as 120 dB-A measured in the ear! With proper use and care, in-ear monitors provide appropriate hearing conservation in loud, concert environments.
ACA is an authorized provider of advanced Sensaphonics in-ear-monitors.
Monitors are powered by a belt-worn amplifier pack with user-adjustable control. The beltpack may have a cable that connects to a headphone pre-amp or directly into the output of a sound board. The beltpack may be a combination radio receiver-headphone amplifier. Radio transmission is UHF-FM in the 600-700 mega-Hz range.