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Westone UM2's are a great for the money, but not less than $100. You really won't find any serious IEM buds for under $100. The $99 Sennheisers I've used seem artificially bassy; not as clear. I used to use Shure E5's which sell for around $500 (I paid less). When I broke them (my fault) I got Westones, which sounded just as good for measurably less $$. You should be able to readily find UM2's for less than $300. And they're a dual-driver unit. They also have a 3-driver unit for not much more $$.
Thanks for that! I checked out the Westone ...more than I wanted to pay. But I see your point ...under $100 seems catered more toward the IPod/mp3 player crowd. The Etymotic HF5 looks like a good bet, and gets lots of good pro reviews for superior ambient noise suppression and decent sound. These even seem to nudge out the Shure and Sennh at that price point. There's no shortage of earphones north of 2 bills, but I guess I'm looking at the 150 mark if I want to get anything that's stage worthy. Thanks for the input ...appreciate it!
Edward, isn't the band making a big investment of money and time already on the splitters and individual mixers and extra work on the soundboard? Why skimp out on the the last bit in the chain being the IEM?
My close friend's band put alot into the mixers, sub mixers, indiv mixes and then went cheap on the IEMs and hated the result. Except th keyboardist who had Westone IEMs from his last band loved 'e,. They learned their mistake and reinvested into Westones and are now happy.
I know big bang for buck is important but nothing is more expensive than having to pay for the same thing twice...
I think my M-Audio IE10 have very good fidelity and isolation, but they are discontinued.
The UltimateEars SuperFi3Studio might be the same, but from their placement on the website I wonder if they are on their way out as well. Plus, UltimateEars did not answer my email and Logitech support knows nothing.
I heard a Shure that sounded good, but it was unmarked, so I don't know which model it was.
strummin is dead on. Good isolation and quality sound will make or break the experience. The investment should be in custom ear molds and then the best you can afford from there. You will, potentially, have these for quite awhile.
JH Audio 2-ways go $399 and you'll be out $20-$60 for ear molds. I'm sure other vendors have comparable products/pricing.
Make sure they have field replaceable cables and get the little tool with the brush and wire to clean up after use.
I don't know how you've planned your IEM rig. Stereo is optimal but you can start mono and build up to a full-stereo rig. Not everyone needs to be wireless.
Yammy MG82CX mixers are great for IEM. Two-channels have compressors and it features usable built-in FX. Stand mount available.
ART splitters are decent for the $. EWI has some really inexpensive splitters. www.audiopile.net.
Rock On Audio's rock box is a good wired alternative (mono only). Adjustable built-in limiter. Sounds good. Can be used w/out fancy cable for drummer/key/horn players.
I just got a pair of HF5's last week after I got sick of repairing and re-repairing the cable on my old Shure E2c's. With my ears, the HF5's have superior isolation with the foam tips, but very mediocre to poor isolation with the triple flange tips. The sound quality is very good, with crisper treble and a little recessed mids relative to my E2c's. One weird problem I have with the HF5's is the cable transmits so much handling noise that when there's even a slight breeze I hear a whistling sound. I have to wrap the cable over and around my ears in order to get rid of that, and I have to pull the cable retention ring up under my chin to keep it in place. At least they included a shirt clip to prevent any thumping noise from walking. I'm still keeping the HF5's because I like the sound. YMMV.