Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces While Performing?

In ear monitors

Many people often wonder why musicians use in-ear monitors while performing on stage. This guide will answer this question in detail and provide further information about in-ear monitors.

Why do singers wear in-ear monitors while performing on stage? Musicians wear in-ear monitors (also known as in-earphones) on stage to hear the song they are performing. The song may sound loud enough, but if the singer is not at par with the tempo of the beat, they may throw their audience off.

In-ear monitors have many advantages over floor monitors.  They come in handy especially if a musician is a heavy dancer or if the performance involves a lot of choreography.

Read on learn more about this device.

Why is it essential to wear in-ear monitors during music performance?

In-ear monitors are tiny gadgets that singers and rappers use to listen to the song they are performing on stage. When you see a musician wearing earbuds and a device that looks like a phone on their belt, then what you are seeing is in-ear monitors in action.

An in-ear monitor comprises three components: the receiver, the transmitter, and a pair of earbuds. Usually, the transmitter (antenna) is positioned to the side of the body to send the monitor mix to the receiver. The performance song is what is called the monitor mix.

Normally, the musician wears the receiver and plugs an earpiece into it.  Also, the receiver has a volume knob for adjusting audio volume. The in-ear monitors have a noise cancellation feature that cut background noises. Hence, the singer can hear the song loud and clear while performing.

To understand how in-ear monitors work, you should, first of all, understand the struggles of stage monitors while you are on the stage.  For instance, you must crank stage monitors to compensate sound problems from a noisy crowd. This may cause ear fatigue, or even worse: damage your hearing.

Moreover, stage monitors can cause problems to the audio, which can negatively affect your crowd to the point of not being able to enjoy your performance. Furthermore, they tend to make the stage messier, making it hard for you or other members of your band to move freely from one spot on the stage to another.

In-ear monitors are designed to solve these mishaps. How? Here is how they guarantee the success of your performance:

Firstly, they ensure your freedom of movement; otherwise, you would have to stand in one place and face the monitors to hear your song.

In-ear monitors also reduce feedback. As a musician, you have to exercise mic control while singing. If you point your microphone toward the stage monitors, it causes audio feedback; this squealing sound will ruin your show.  Using in-ear monitors lets you face any direction without worrying about the stage monitors or feedback.

Do in-ear monitors offer better sound and mobility?

Sound quality is a major concern when it comes to audio equipment. In-ear monitors can reduce most live audio complications experienced at the source.

While stage monitors are designed to be heard by the performer, they can sometimes compromise sound coming from other speakers. They cause feedback and phase problems which eventually compromise the quality of your song.  These are common challenges that musicians face when organizing a good concert. Your crowd will not enjoy your show if it is flooded with a myriad of sound complexities.

Also, notably, stage monitors can limit your movement while you are on the stage. If you move too far from the speakers, you will not be able to hear yourself well. More or less, you must stay in one area throughout the performance; otherwise, you may lose your place in the song. Because in-ear monitors are wireless, you have the freedom to move around the stage to exercise stage presence. You only need to ensure your ear monitors remain intact.

Not only will you be able to manoeuvre the stage as you please, but you will also get rid of the old stage monitors along your way. With this in mind, you can take full advantage of the stage space and improve your stage presence.

In addition, in-ear monitors are easy to travel with; they are small enough to fit in your backpack or purse. So,  you don’t have to worry about dragging bulky sound monitors back and forth to concerts.

How about safety? Can in-ear monitors protect my ears during a music performance?

As a singer, the health of your ears is essential. You must always protect your ears whenever you are in a noisy environment such as in a concert. Becoming successful in the music industry is very hard, so don’t make things harder by damaging your ears.

Frequently, musicians are exposed to deafening volume levels.  Therefore, you must protect your ears while on stage: another great reason to use in-ear monitors. You must have experienced a tiny ringing sound after a performance, but afterward, the sound fades away. Your ears can be damaged if they are often exposed to such kind of volume.

Using in-ear monitors will protect you from sound pollution; you will be able to hear your song playing between the background noises and stage monitors.  By now it is evident that in-ear monitors can lessen the strain on your ears.

I have purchased a pair of in-ear monitors, how do I use them?

Setting up an in-ear monitor system is easy. It is just like setting up your phone to play on a Bluetooth speaker.  Typically, your phone acts as the transmitter while the Bluetooth speaker is the receiver. In this context, however, the song must pass through the mixer before getting into the in-ear monitors.

First and foremost, you must send all your instruments and microphones into the mixer. Then assign each line output so that you can listen to each sound individually. Next, connect the output from the mixer to the wireless transmitter and send the audio to the belt pack and into your in-ear monitors.

The installation process is quite straightforward.  Use the above procedure to set up the audio for your performance. Nevertheless, there are some considerations to factor in when using your in-ear monitors such as whether or not to use a custom fit or a generic pair of in-ear monitors and so forth.

Which type of in-ear monitors is suitable for performance?

There are two types of in-ear monitors: the wireless and wired variant. If you are a musician, it is advisable to buy wireless in-ear monitors because they allow you to move freely on stage. However, for those who play instruments at one spot only, such as keyboardists and drummers, wireless in-ear monitors are the best option.

However, wired in-ear monitors do not need a belt pack as they are connected to the mixer by wire. This eliminates any problem that would otherwise interfere with sound: this is a common occurrence with in-ear monitors.

As for in-ear monitor styles, there are two options to choose from: custom moulded and generic fit. The style you want depends entirely on your budget. If you have a tight budget, for instance, the generic fit would be the only option. Universal in-ear monitors fit all types of ears and are available in different sizes to fit any ear type.

However, if you have enough money, opt for the in-custom moulded ear monitors, but you must visit your audiologist and have your ear canal checked before you have your customized in-ear monitors made.  Once a sketch of your ideal ear monitors is created, you must wait for a couple of days for the actual device to be delivered to you.

The build time may vary depending on the number of orders in queue and the model to be made. To check the build time for your in-ear monitors, visit your manufacturer’s product page for more information. Notably, for many manufacturers, the build time starts once you submit your impressions.  However, the best thing to do is to contact your manufacturer for detailed information about your in-ear monitors.

The waiting period allows you to make necessary adjustments for your ideal fit, and because the devices are crafted exceptionally for you, you will get in-ear monitors that are comfortable on your ears.  In the past, custom-made in-ear monitors would cost you thousands of dollars, but today you can now find cheaper options for less than $100.

Are there any problems associated with using in-ear monitors?

In-ear monitors are incredible devices, but just like any other tool; they too have their own merits and demerits. So, before you get on the stage, ensure that you aware of the following potential challenges:

Disconnecting from your crowd and fans

One challenge that you will face while using your in-ear monitors is the feeling of detachment from your audience.  You will agree that concerts play the loudest music ever. Plus, the noises from the crowd add to the problem too. This is an issue that you have to get used to when gracing the stage.

Musicians who play with stage monitors are used to getting feedback from their audience. With the noise cancellation capabilities, however, in-ear monitors can get rid of the unnecessary noise. As a musician, this device can disconnect you from your crowd, which is not what you are hoping to do: you are on the stage to entertain and connect with your audience. To solve this simple issue, set up your mic to face toward your audience.  This way, you will able to receive the crowd’s response and add some bit of the sound to your song.

It is easy to lose your in-ear monitors

Potentially, you in-ear monitors can fall out of your ears while you are performing, especially if you are using generic fit in-ear monitors: they do not fit the ear canal properly.

Because you have to move around the stage, your in-ear monitors are likely to fall off your ears. As a result, you may lose your place in the song and expose your ears to loud music. Finding your lost ear monitors may be hard, especially if you are performing in a dark environment.

Therefore, the best way to make sure your device stays in your ear is by purchasing custom molded in-ear monitors, although getting a new pair is not cheap either. That is why many musicians do not have in-ear monitors. However, you should buy one if you think you need it.


Another factor that you may experience when using wireless in-ear monitors is that they can easily be affected by different elements such as radio waves that transmit sound.  Also, audio dropouts can quickly occur and consequently compromise sound quality.

Thanks to technological advancement, today sound interference is not a major concern. Modern systems use signals that lock the receiver and transmitter in a single frequency to ensure the quality of the song remains consistent throughout the performance.

However, when sound moves from the transmitter into the receiver, there is a minuscule drop in audio quality. Nevertheless, this is a common issue with in-ear monitors, and it is not something to worry about.

Related Questions

How do custom moulded in-ear monitors feel to those who have not used them before? If you have never used custom moulded in-ear monitors, it will take time before you get used to them. However, you should look for pain or discomfort when putting them on. If you do not feel any pain, then be patient and let the device adjust to the shape of your ears.

What is the warranty on my in-ear monitors? This you will have to check with your manufacturer or seller’s warranty page. Alternatively, you can contact your seller or manufacturer to inquire about the warranty offer for your in-ear monitors.

What is the difference between U-Series and A-Series in-ear monitors? The U-Series in-ear monitors are universal and can fit any ear, while the A-Series are customized in-ear monitors that are designed according to the shape of your ear.

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