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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

What are in-ear monitors, what are they for and how do they work?

Cosa sono, a cosa servono e come funzionano gli in-ear monitors

In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) were originally developed to meet the needs of Artists and allow them to hear themselves on stage without having to rely on traditional stage monitor speakers.

Compared to traditional earphones they have these fundamental differences:

  • They block external sounds, using passive sound insulation thanks to memory foam or specially designed silicone tips for isolation

  • They provide excellent clarity in the frequency ranges of interest to the performer (for example the vocal range) thanks to a nozzle that directs the sound into the ear canal rather than an earpiece that sits outside

  • They provide relatively high sound pressure levels with minimal distortion

  • They remain stationary, even if the artist moves a lot thanks to a frame shape that adapts well to the basin and the ring that limits traction

  • They remain comfortable for long performances, with weight reduced to a minimum

  • They don't add any noticeable latency thanks to a wired physical connection too

How do in-ears work?

An amplifier in the source device will provide an analog electrical signal to each ear at the output jack. In-ears contain tiny drivers that convert these electrical signals into sound. Unlike typical earphones, which almost always use dynamic drivers based on the voice coil principle, IEM designs often favor the balanced armature (BA) type of drivers like those used in hearing aids, which are much smaller. Balanced armature drivers work using the same basic electromagnetic principle as dynamic drivers, except that instead of a speaker cone attached to the voice coil assembly, an armature resting on a pin between two magnets moves a diaphragm to create waves sonorous.


Valentina Carlile - Osteopath expert in Osteopathy applied to voice and language disorders since 2002. For information and reservations visit the page Contacts

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