Making far more use of in-ear systems for monitoring. I suspect the days of playing live with wedges on stage will be behind me for the most part. Most of my playing will be on silent stages. Earphones become significantly more important in this context.
I had a pair of Shure SE425 earphones. They were okay. Not great. Just okay. For me. I decided it was time to update the earphones. I went wandering about the web and came across a number of great options.
Expensive though. Professional quality earphones for musicians are not cheap. I opted to stay with universals. I am not all that keen on the custom units. Just a personal preference. I can get pretty close to a custom fit with a decent pair of silicon universals.
I landed on the Empire Ears ESR Universals. A bit pricey at around $1,100 CAD although positioned at the mid-tier pricing level for this class of technology. You could easily spend two or three thousand on a pair.
I’ve been breaking them in. Spent most of last week playing with them on and I really love the sound. Very linear. Which is what I am used to hearing through studio monitors and studio headphones. These are not the earphones for you if you are looking for some hyped bass, strong midrange or sizzling highs.
As a musician, I prefer earphones that convey a realistic sound field. These ones really rock!
Empire describes them this way:
The ESR features a powerful 4-way synX crossover network with 3 proprietary drivers to reproduce the sonic transparency and critical details needed for mixing and mastering.
The ESR is Empire’s flattest in-ear monitor and it delivers uncompromising dynamics, ultra-fast transient response, and wide dispersion for use in studios and on stage.
This video review provides more insight into the company and their earphones.