If you’ve newly attended a concert, you can be wonder why the singer was wearing earpieces. Were they permitting them to hear something friend couldn’t? to be they delivering a slightly changed version the what you were hearing? 

So, why carry out singers ear earpieces on stage?

The earpieces that singers stay on phase are called ‘in-ear monitors’. They administer the singer with a direct source of sound, defend their hearing and permit them come customize their phase mix. Castle also enable the singer to listen to things that the audience can not hear (such as metronomes or backing tracks). 

Keep reading for a in-depth account of surveillance systems, rundown of your benefits and an FAQ:

Overview of In-Ear Monitors

At a concert, the speaker are dealing with the audience, meaning they’re facing away from the stage. Therefore, instead of hearing the sound directly from the speakers, the singer end up listening whatever’s being bounced turn off the wall surfaces of the venue.

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This deserve to be extremely challenging to follow and make it an overwhelming for the singer to carry out their job. 

So, exactly how do we fix this? get in in-ear monitors.

In-ear monitors are earpieces that provide the singer with a direct, clear source of sound on stage, allowing castle to execute to the ideal of their abilities. They likewise offer a range of added benefits, which I’ll explain in just a moment. 


If you’re a huge nerd (like me) and also want a technical summary of an in-ear surveillance system, inspect out this spec. 

Additional services Of In-Ear Monitors

Mix Customization

Singers tend to rely greatly on one specific element of the setup in order to navigate the song effectively. Because that example, they can need to hear the kick drum very plainly in order to remain in time. Similarly, most singers will desire their very own voice in ~ the head of your monitor mix to ensure castle pitching the notes correctly.

In-ear monitors allow each musician on phase to customize your mix. For example, the singer could have their voice nice and also loud in their monitors, whilst the bassist adheres to an instrumental version that the mix. This enables everyone to play (no pun intended) come their strengths by ensuring they have actually a mix it is well-suited to your needs. 

Hearing Protection

By nature, skilled singers spend a lot of time in ear-splittingly loud environments. Without adequate hearing protection, they’d be placing us at substantial risk of permanent hearing damage.

Whilst earplugs have the right to effectively safeguard a singer’s hearing, they limit their capacity to listen the mix clearly

In-ear monitors enable for the finest of both worlds. Due to the fact that castle custom-molded come the singer’s ears, they’re really effective in ~ blocking out external sound. This permits the singer to hear a crystal-clear mix in ~ a sensible volume instead of subjecting themselves to the ear-splitting volumes from the PA.

Sound Consistency

The prior of residence sound is very dependent top top the shape and size that the room a tape or artist is performing in.

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This means that singers will regularly be subject to a fully different sound on each night that a tour, i beg your pardon can easily throw castle off. Furthermore, the sound have the right to be very different at different parts the the stage; for example, the singer could struggle come hear the guitarist if castle stood straight in front of the north kit.

This have the right to severely limit their capacity to move approximately on stage and also still perform effectively. 

In-ear monitors permit the singer to hear a continuous mix no issue what to meet they’re play in or where they’re stand on stage. 

Metronome (Click Track) Use

When performing live, nerves can often cause singers to start off a track at completely the wrong tempo or accidently speed up/slow down over the course of the song. Whilst this might work well for particular songs, it also runs the threat of coming across as unprofessional and also poorly-prepared. 

To circumvent this, plenty of singers employ a metronome (commonly known as a ‘click track’). This is a machine that to produce an audible ‘click’ sound at a pre-set tempo, which the singer listens come in stimulate to stay in time. To stop the audience from having to hear to the click track, it’s delivered to the singer via your in-ear monitors. 

Similarly, metronome usage is essential if the singer is making use of pre-recorded backing tracks in their set. There is no a metronome to save them in time, the almost-guaranteed that the backing tracks will certainly be the end of time with the yes, really performance. 

Sometimes, you could see a drummer wearing earpieces even though the remainder of the tape aren’t. Sound ‘robotic’. This is come inject a bit much more of a live feel into the power by having actually just the drummer play to the click track, whilst anyone else plays come the drummer. 


Why do Singers Take the end Their Earpieces throughout A Performance?

There room three main reasons why a singer would certainly take out their in-ear monitors during a performance: 

Poor monitor mix: Before a performance, singers will normally take part in something dubbed a soundcheck. This is whereby they run with a short portion of the display in order to set the front of house level and also in-ear monitor levels. However, singers occasionally won’t have the possibility to soundcheck before a performance, definition monitor levels might be collection in a hasty or unsuitable fashion. In this situation, many singers uncover it simpler to do with the live sound rather of their monitor mix. Faulty monitors: Occasionally, in-ear monitors will become faulty midway with a performance, leaving the artist unable to listen either their monitor mix or the live sound. In bespeak to keep performing, they’ll take their monitors out and attempt to play come the live sound. To hear the crowd: As formerly mentioned, in-ear monitors block out all exterior sound. This have the right to make audience participation complicated to execute due to the fact that the singer isn’t able come hear the crowd. Similarly, they might simply want to savor the minute of thousands of civilization singing along to your music. Sometimes, an artist will only wear one earpiece in order come hear both your monitor mix and the group at the same time.

When go Singers start Wearing Earpieces?

Homemade in-ear monitors started surfacing in the early 1970’s, through sound engineer chris Lindop further-developing the an innovation in the mid-1980s. However, in-ear monitors no come right into mainstream use till the mid-1990’s, with rock tape Van Halen being the an initial band to manipulate modern-day in-ear monitors in your live performances (source).