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why do singers wear earpieces

Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces: A 7-Minute Quick Guide

As a music lover or aspiring musician, you may have noticed that all singers and musicians wear earpieces in addition to technical lighting and great stage settings for live or online concerts.

Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces? Aren’t they just for the show? These questions will surely cross your mind, we know.

Aesthetics aside, these earbuds have essential features that can improve or break performance.

Luckily, we have answered all your questions about why singers or musicians wear headphones while performing, and what they hear in them is explained in this article. Read on!

Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces?

Many people now wonder why they wanted to wear them in the first place.

There are many reasons to wear earphones on stage. Just a few examples of them are as follows:

For Better Directions

From an amateur’s point of view, it is elementary to imagine playing as a solo piece. After all, it is a singer’s show.

However, the reality of stage production is very different. Large concerts require 3050 technicians. Can you estimate the result of it?

A singer is one who has a lot to think about, not just singing and making music like classical or rock.

The external direction can take a variety of formats, including audio formats, for tighter and more consistent performance.

Better Monitoring

In the case of monitoring, stage monitoring is the process by which the performer receives real-time feedback on the sounds.

Without stage monitoring, the performer will hear the distorted reverberation of the music.

It is not the actual sound. You can even hear the voices of other performers sharing the stage. You can also use a backing track to maintain the tempo and melody during an acoustic performance.

Without the ability to monitor properly, the singer will not be able to hear their voice and adjust to the correct pitch and rhythm.

Proper coordination with other singers will also be impossible. Every singer on stage needs their own surveillance system.


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Which Earpiece Do Singers Prefer?

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The headphones worn by singers on stage are called ‘In-Ear Monitors.’ They give singers a direct sound source, protect their hearing, and allow them to customize their stage mixes.

Singers can also hear things that the audience cannot (e.g., metronome or accompaniment).


Also Read: Here Are The Best IEMs For Singers and Music Professionals [2021]!


In a concert, the performers face the audience, that is, away from the stage.

So, instead of hearing the sound directly from the speaker, the singer will eventually hear something popping out of the walls of the room. Which can be very difficult to track, and it can be difficult for singers to do their own thing.

In-ear monitors are headphones that provide a singer with a direct, clean sound source on stage, allowing him to show his full potential.

It also offers some additional benefits. I’ll explain this a little later.

Other Benefits of In-Ear Monitor

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Mix-adjusting

Singers tend to rely heavily on one element of the arrangement to navigate the song effectively.

For example, you need to hear the kick drum clearly in time. Similarly, most singers put their voices in the foreground of the monitor mix to ensure that the notes are heard correctly.

The In-Ear monitor allows all musicians on stage to customize their mix. For example, a singer can make a loud voice on a monitor while a bassist watches an instrumental version of the mix.

That is the most significant advantage of them and ensures that everyone has their strengths (not intended to be pungent) by ensuring that the mix is ​​tailored to their needs.

Hearing Protection

Professional singers naturally spend a lot of time in a loud and noisy environment. Without proper hearing protection, they are at significant risk of permanent hearing loss.

According to Beth Roars, musicians are four times more likely to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss and 57% of them are more likely to develop tinnitus.”


Read More: What Is Hearing Loss And How To Prevent It [The Comprehensive Guide!]


Earplugs effectively protect the singer’s hearing but limit their ability to hear the mix clearly.

The in-ear monitor has the best of both worlds. They are specially adapted to the singer’s ears, blocking external noise very effectively.

This noise-canceling allows the singer to hear a crystal clear mix at a moderate volume instead of being exposed to the deafening volume of the PA.

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Sound Consistency

The sound quality of the front house is highly dependent on the shape and size of the room in which the band or artist is playing. They also might face phase issues with loud volume.

This means that the singer is often exposed to a completely different sound every night on the tour that can easily be thrown out.

In addition, the sound can vary significantly at different points on the stage. For example, a singer may have difficulty hearing a guitarist standing directly in front of a drum.

This problem can significantly limit your ability to play effectively while moving through the stage.

The In-Ear monitor allows the singer to hear a consistent mix no matter where they are playing on the stage.

Ease Of Moving And Playing On The Go

One of the main reasons musicians need to use in-ear monitors is that they are easy to move and play. There is no need to connect huge speakers or wedges to the gig.

So, more space is left in the car to store all the instruments and other equipment. Stage monitoring can also limit performers by adding cluttered stages and making it harder to move around.

The speaker stage has more cables that can be an obstacle. Instead of worrying about cables and speakers that might stumble, you can focus on improving performance on the floor.  

Overall, switching to in-ear monitoring makes everything from setup to performance to clearing much more manageable.
So, it allows performers to make the most of the dark stage or space they have available.

What Does The Singer Hear With Earphones During The Performance?

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Now you know why Demi Lovato wears earphones when playing music in a concert hall. But what exactly do they hear when you have it in your ears?

To understand this, you need a simple crash course in acoustics.

The main PA speakers should be placed in front of the performer or band. Everyone has this nasty feedback that moans and covers their ears if the speakers are placed behind them.

In the direct source of sound in front of them, your favorite music artist hear something very different from what you are experiencing.

It is even more essential for the singer to be able to hear their own voice while playing.

Wedge monitors may also be used for this purpose.

These are triangular speaker boxes placed around the musicians on stage and facing up towards the singer, but only useful if the performers are standing directly in front of them.

That is why in-ear monitors are so popular. All the performers on stage can mix what happened here.

Disadvantages of Using Earpieces When Performing

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You may see the singer cover one ear and hear the earphones well, but it is often the opposite. The singer takes out the earphones. In fact, in-ear monitoring is so good for singers that it has some drawbacks.

Hinders Connectivity With Audience

It is difficult to explain the importance and difficulty of having a real connection with the audience that interferes with their engagement.

It must be written in the mouth of the artist. It is challenging to develop this sense of connection.

If the artist’s ears are clogged with IEM, they will not be able to hear the audience in front of them.

To make matters worse, the bright stage lights that shine in their eyes can also make it difficult to see the audience!

It breaks the feeling of actually playing live. By taking out the IEM, you can regain the sense of playing for the audience. However, some workarounds can take advantage of both.

One of them is a microphone technology called Ambient microphone.

This technique allows ambient noise (such as chattering and audience reactions) to penetrate the singer’s earphones.

However, this is usually not available, especially in basic configurations.

Susceptible To Audio Interferences

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Audio interference with conventional earphones that are susceptible to audio interference is not always expected, but it can cause the show to stop.

Additional Costs

Obtaining a high-quality IEM can be time-consuming and costly. But even if the group plays quieter music while many performers are on stage, they still need to have an individual partner.

After all, the general method of sharing IEMs with earphones is not recommended, despite its practicality. The ears contain bacteria and other germs that can cause ear infections.

Sharing an IEM with earphones is more like sharing a toothbrush that the average user understands.

The final hassle is that the performer who is also recording needs adequate earphones. In this case, we recommend studio monitoring headphones. 

Studio monitoring headphones are a must to assess the stereo image and produce effortless music by mixing different tunes together.

Why Do Singers Take Out Their Earphones During A Performance?

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There are three main reasons why a singer may take out an in-ear monitor during a performance. They are listed as follows.

Bad Monitor Mix:

Before the performance, the singer usually participates in a so-called sound check.

Here you’ll go through a short part of the show to adjust the front-of-house level, and the in-ear monitor lives as anonymous.

However, the singer may not have a way to do a soundcheck before playing.

So, it means that you may adjust the monitor level prematurely or improperly to a generic fitting. Many artists find it easier to play live sounds than a monitor mix in this situation.

Broken Monitor:

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In the middle of a performance, the ear monitor may break, and the artists may not hear the monitor mix or live sound.

To continue playing, they take out the monitor and try to play it with the live sounds.

To Hear The Voice Of The Crowd:

As mentioned above, the ear monitor blocks all external noise, making it difficult for the audience to participate, as the artists cannot hear the voice of the crowd.

Similarly, you would also want to enjoy the moment when thousands of people sing to your music.

Sometimes, artists just wear earphones to listen to the monitor mix and the audience on the bright stage.

FAQs

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1. Why do BTS wear earpieces during concerts?

If you’ve attended a BTS concert recently, you may be wondering why the artists wore earphones. Earphones worn by singers on stage are called “inner monitors.”

They provide the singer directly with sound sources, protect his hearing, and allow him to design his stage mix individually.

The artists can also hear things that the audience cannot hear (such as metronomes and backing tracks).

2. Do In-ear monitors offer better sound and mobility?

Sound quality is of paramount concern when it comes to an audio instrument. For this reason, in-ear monitors are recommended for most live performances.

Stage monitors tolerate many mistakes and can affect the sounds of other speakers.

When feedback is generated, performance can be degraded. Not to mention for small performances, it’s surprising that tickets cost a lot more for large venues and large concerts.

Stage monitors are not ideal for people moving around the stage. People who dance along with singing couldn’t do what they were good at when the stage monitor got in the way.

The in-ear monitor is wireless, so the performer has the highest mobility. Customized for each performer, it stays in place and guarantees stable performance.

3. Can In-ear monitors protect my ears during a music performance?

Protecting your hearing is one of your top priorities as a musician.

Especially when you’re on stage, you’re constantly surrounded by a lot of volumes. The stage monitor is so loud that you can hear your music while playing.

If you’ve done a live show or attended a concert, you’ve probably heard tinnitus at some point.

This ringing usually disappears in a day or two, but nightly exposure to this type of environment has long-term consequences.

But, if you are using an in-ear monitor, you need not worry about that.

The noise-canceling earphones you wear not only make your mix easier to hear but also protect your hearing.

Playing musicians accept the fact, that noisy environments are part of their lifestyle. It is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to protect our hearing.

4. Should I order a custom fit?

There are two options for earphones used in IEM systems.

First, the typical custom-molded earphones. You can make the ears with a general fit, but keep in mind that each ear has a different shape.

If the earphones are not properly attached, they may fall out of your ears while playing.

Second, custom-sized earphones. We highly recommend purchasing these for your in-ear monitoring system if you can afford them.

However, this requires a visit to the hearing specialist to give the impression of the ear canal.

These earphones are specially designed to fit your ears. They can be worn more comfortably and stay in the ears throughout the performance.

Custom molded earphones used to be very expensive, but now there are cheaper options.

5. How safe are earphones?

Keep in mind that if the show is noisy to you, it’s even more noisy for the people on stage. All of these noises can cause deafness.

A singer with a hearing loss can’t sing like before. Maintaining good hearing as a musician is just as important as maintaining your talent.

In-ear monitors can be used to mask loud noise around music and screaming audiences.

At the same time, it delivers excellent sound directly to your ears at a safe volume. When a musician is given earphones, the ear shape is usually created to fit perfectly.

This perfect match is comfortable and completely blocks external noise to provide the highest quality.

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