In-ear monitor dilemma

Dear HiFi-Guides

I play drums in a semi-professional band and have been doing so for years.

My IEM’s: KZ ZS10 PRO + Comply Round 2.0 TRZ-500 (shuffling between M and L)

The one thing i prioritize the most is isolation. Since we play with tracks, I first and foremost need to be able to hear the click. The overall sounds comes second, as long as I don’t ruin my ears in having to turn up the click too much because of bleed.

The above-mentioned equipment is cheap but effective on the isolation-front. Nevertheless, there is a slight bleed coming from the instruments. I found that after each gig, my ears are ringing. Therefore, I spent $360 on a pair of custom made tips (silicone) to replace the foam ones. I found that they weren’t much better, but definitely more expensive. I took them back to the store and had them refunded. I’m thinking, maybe I have to turn up the volume, not only because of the bleed / isolation issues, but because there aren’t enough drivers in my KZ’s?

I therefore have 2 possibilities from here:

1). Combine foam tips with more expensive IEM’s than the KZ’s. Something like Shure SE535-CL.

2). Go all in and buy Ultimate Ears UE-6 Pro.

I don’t mind cashing in against tinnitus. But I’m not even sure the second option would be the best concerning isolation (the main focus here!) because I worry they will be bad isolation-wise, just like the custom made tips I had made for my KZ’s?

Before spending this kind of money on experiments, I’d love to get some advice. For example: Would any of you say that UE customs are way better than custom made silicone tips, or are they plain similar? If the latter, I will of course go for the first option. Likewise, did any of you buy expensive IEM’s for your foam tips, only to find it made no difference, because the foam simply didn’t isolate enough, no matter what IEM’s you had?

I hope you understand and are able to help.

Thanks beforehand.


Welcome, brother! Very cool to see more musicians join the forum, especially a percussionist!

I would recommend an IEM that is all BA if we’re aiming for complete and udder isolation and sound quality takes a back seat. The best IEM I’ve tried in terms of isolation under $100 is the Truthear Hexa, they’re very comfortable for me but I have seen others complain about it’s shape. If you’re willing to go up a bit in terms of money spent, I’d recommend the Kiwiears Orchestra Lite for under $300. It’s an all BA design so it’s unvented and provides seriously good isolation, although the sound overall wasn’t my favorite.

Best of luck with finding the right pair, I hope others can chime in!

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If it is only for isolation - IEM without ventilation. For example, cheap Shure. Shure’s sound is total garbage, but for isolation they are good!
The foam doesn’t help much :wink:.

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Thanks for the input so far! As domq422 writes, the Kiwiears Orchestra Lite are non-vented so that might just be the pair. Even though I can’t find any musicians on the internet with experience using these for gigs…

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@JAnonymous5150 If ya still around have you any thoughts bro?

Of course, hopefully it helps. The obvious other route might also be to do a custom IEM from HiSenior. The T4 from them as the universal is also another fantastic pair of IEMs I failed to mention. They’re less expensive than the Kiwiears and Hisenior offers a great program for customer IEMs. If you have impressions of your ears in physical form or a STP file, just send them in and for an extra charge, they’ll customize a set for you. I think all in, you’d be under $400 still and for a custom, all BA, fantastic IEM, that’s a steal in todays world.

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As others have said, you want BA ONLY iems. If you want something cheaper than the ones already mentioned, check out the FloAudio Lily, aful magicone and the Audiosense DT600 which is 50% off now than msrp.

Of course, if your budget is much higher then a lot of musicians use the Sony IER M7/M9 for stage monitoring.

First off, welcome to the HF forums @samuel_f ! My first question, and maybe a bit obvious would be, is this IEM only for when you drum or are you looking for a multi-use IEM? That being said, I drum as well but (sadly) on an eDrum kit which minimizes the isolation that I need versus an acoustic set.

If you are looking for an IEM just for drumming, my first rec would be to ask an expert at either one of your local music stores or perhaps one at Sweetwater (who have helped me in the past) to find out what they recommend, specifically from their percussion dept. reps in the know. Second rec would be to do a search to find out articles from drummers, like this one, and get suggestions with what they use and what works for them. I heard some good things from UE but there are other brands that also stand out which I have heard are good, like CTM.

If you are after a universal use IEM (i.e. drumming, listening to music, watching movies, etc.) then, as the others have said, look for as much isolation as you can get with no vents, reinforced shell material (dense), and isolating foam-style tips. Trying some and sending back the ones that don’t work as well is going to be a thing, as with the drumming-only IEM you are after so kinda prepare yourself for that. In the end, finding the perfect one for your application is what it’s all about and sometimes is a process of getting there.

Best of luck and keep rockin! :drum: :metal:

One IEM I tried that had great isolation and comfort was the Juzear 41T

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Thank you so much for your help!
I didn’t specify that I will only be using these IEMs for drumming. Funny enough, there is not a lot of talk in the drummer forums about non-vented BA’s. I will dig deeper into the community with these and hear if people have any experience with gigging and what they have to say about it.
Thank you

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im guessing a lot of people still use the old shure SE215. Not sure how up to date the people on those forums are on the latest in chifi.

Got my first custom set the other day. A Hisenior T4 set. I was shocked at the amount of isolation they provide. They fill the whole concha, and are unvented, but still. Love the sound and comfort :smile:

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