SnugsPro (IEMs) - bridging the gap between Custom IEMs and Universal IEMs

As lockdown rules ease in the UK and the rebirth of live events begin (hurrah!), musicians are getting ready to do what they love best – perform. One vital piece of equipment for musicians is In-Ear Monitors (IEMs), and in this article we are sharing how a SnugsPro (IEMs) custom fit tip bridges the gap between a Universal IEM and Custom IEM.

Why do musicians use In-Ear Monitors’s (IEMs)?

When performing live, musicians need to hear the music they are playing – this is called monitoring. Traditionally this was done using on-stage monitors/wedges. These would be placed on the stage, facing away from the audience so they are not able to hear the music. The downside of using wedges is that they take up precious stage space, and need to be set to a high volume to be heard over the crowd, which is damaging for one’s ears. If you’re looking for a movie to watch around the implications of exposing your ears to loud noises at gigs, then Sound of Metal is a must see.

However, these days the standard go-to for monitoring is in-ear monitors (IEM’s), which consist of three components – the earpieces, the transmitter, and a body-pack receiver. It is the earpieces/earphone which we are interested in covering in this blog; the earphone will plug into the receiver, and be put into your ears, thus blocking out outside noise whilst giving direct sound from the monitors while on stage.

Musicians now typically use In-Ear Monitors

Difference between Universal IEMs and Custom IEMs

In-ear monitors are typically split into two category types – Universal IEMs, and Custom IEMs. Simply put, Universal IEMs offer a universal fit. The earphone is supplied with a number of generic tips in different sizes, and you pick the best one for your ear size. These can be uncomfortable for the user in the ear canal, and they can fall out of your ears – not an ideal situation when performing on-stage.

In contrast, custom IEM’s are custom fit to your ears only, allowing for the perfect fit and in-ear comfort. Consequently, they have a much larger price tag attached to them in comparison to Universal IEM’s. Below are some other benefits of using Custom IEM’s over Universal:

  • Custom IEMs offer the best sound and noise isolation
  • Custom IEMs can be made with the musician in mind and built accordingly – e.g. to what sound stage they would like
  • A custom fit will block out 26dB of sound, allowing the user to listen at healthy levels which are not damaging to your hearing

Snugs – the entry point to custom IEMs

Here at Snugs we offer a third alternative – we take a Universal IEM and transform it by making a custom fit tip to replace the generic tips supplied. Essentially, we upgrade a Universal IEM to be similar to a custom fit in-ear monitor.

SnugsPro (IEM) custom fit tip in black metallic on Shure IEM

Benefits of this approach:

  • Affordable solution for those who do not want to fork out for full blown custom IEMs
  • Increased comfort through custom fit means you can wear the IEMs for many hours pain-free
  • Soft silicone material – Snugs are made from a medical grade soft silicone which offers supreme in-ear comfort. Most Custom IEMs are made in acrylic which is a harder/firmer material compared to silicone
  • Snugs are removable from the IEMs allowing you to easily keep your kit clean, without worrying about damaging any of the electronics
  • If your IEMs are faulty/break, and you need to get them repaired, you can remove the tips from the drivers i.e. the whole unit does not need to be replaced, an added cost benefit
  • Increased noise isolation from the canal seal. With no noise bleed, you can turn volume down to lower safer levels when using Snugs and so protect the longevity of your hearing
  • Personalise your IEMs with a choice of colours including glitter colours
  • The IEM’s will stay in, allowing you to rock and roll on the stage without fear of the earphone falling out and losing your place in the song
  • Only one Audiologist fitting required, with the impression being used for multiple orders (see the process below); once you have had your ear impressions taken, we scan them to create your 3D file

The process – how we make your custom tips for your IEMs

  1. Visit your local Audiologist to have your ear impressions taken
    1. These should be a good, deep impression, up to the second bend in your ear canal
    2. Fill the concha bowl
    3. If you are a singer, the Audiologist will use a bite block and take an open mouth ear impression. This is important as it allows for changes in your ear canal when you move your jaw
  2. Order SnugsPro (IEMs) for your preferred earphone here
  3. Send us your ear impressions. We will scan these to create your 3D file and make your custom tips from these. This one set of impressions can be used for multiple orders
  4. We make your custom tip and send this to you to put onto your earphone. Please note the Snug is custom fit to both your ear and the earphone driver, so you will need to order the Snug to fit your specific earphone
  5. Perform with your Universal IEMs but looking like a Pro with Custom IEM’s!

As part of our fit guarantee, we are able to remake your Snugs within 30 days of receipt to adjust the fit.

It’s always important to note that everyone is individual – we have unique ears, and sound is unique, so the custom fit experience will vary from person to person. When you add a custom tip to your IEM, you will find that the sound stage alters, which might not be for everyone.

SnugsPro IEMs in Action

SnugsPro IEMs are used by Snugs Ambassadors including:

  • Cassell the Beatmaker – drummer for popular British band The Streets
  • Neil Cole – TV presenter and news reporter

Snugs Ambassador Neil Cole uses SnugsPro (IEMs)

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