Ultimate Headphone Guide Articles: How to Insert In-Ear Monitors
How to Insert In-Ear Monitors|
In-Ear Monitors, also called in-ear headphones, in-ear earphones, or just IEMs for short, have the potential to offer great sound quality in a compact form factor. The in-ear coupling allows small drivers to deliver full-range sound and provides passive noise isolation, preventing noise from overpowering subtleties in your music, keeping interruptions at bay, and protecting your hearing by making lower volumes practical in noisy environments.
Why a Perfect Is Fit Important
Ensuring the perfect fit
There are many ways an improper seal can occur but the most common mistake is simply not inserting the earphones deep enough into the ear, which can be remedied by pushing the earphone deeper or switching eartips. Pulling the upper part of the ear upward and back straightens the ear canal and makes achieving a deep seal easier.
When inserting your earphones, move the earpiece around until the ear tip seals in your ear canal. The ear canal is naturally angled slightly towards the front and top of the head and angling the earphone similarly during insertion can help. In the case of foam eartips, it is recommended to compress the eartips before insertion and hold them in place while they expand. When a seal is created, external noises are significantly reduced and the earphones should be stable and secure.
Most people just plug IEMs into their ears and call it good, but there are a couple of problems with this method. When the cables rub against collars and zippers the mechanical noise will travel up the cable and the noise may interfere with your listening. Also, the weight of the cable will make it more likely that the earphones become dislodged or loose their seal.
An over-the-ear fit is used by many sports earphones for a more secure fit and to reduce cable noise, but actually works with most in-ear earphones. Simply loop the wire around the top of your ear and then insert the earpiece into the ear, maintaining the correct angle. The most common way to use an over-the-ear fit is to have the cables come out in front of your neck, but you can use a behind-the-neck if you want the most secure fit for vigorous activity.
Cable cinch. Many earphones are outfitted with a sliding cable cinch. The cinch can effectively shorten the length of the cable after the Y split to keep the earphones in place more securely, especially with over-the-ear wear. When cables come out in front of your neck, cinch the cable very gently for a comfortable fit; when wearing the cables behind the neck, cinch tightly for a very secure fit.
Altitude changes. During large changes in altitude you will experience pressure changes that will affect the way you hear your earphones. It is recommended to remove and re-insert your earphones when you feel increased pressure to maintain the best sound quality.
In addition to the eartips that ship with a set of earphones, aftermarket replacements are available in all shapes and sizes. While most factory-supplied eartips are silicone, memory foam is popular when it comes to aftermarket tips. Foam does a better job of conforming to the shape of the ear, exerts less pressure on the ear canal, and can provide superb noise isolation. (Foam ear-tip maker Comply can provide tips for most IEMs.) However, whereas silicone fittings typically last years, foam will require replacement sooner.
Custom-fit eartips are yet another option. These can be made of acrylic, silicone, or vinyl and are tailored to the wearer's ear. Though typically priced at $100 or more, custom eartips do not require replacement and offer a personalized fit for any ear shape.