Posts Tagged ‘In Ear Monitors’

Sensaphonics Namm 2016 Interview With Michael Santucci

Monday, February 1st, 2016

sens

Every year I attend at least the winter Namm show if not winter and summer. And every year I leave with something that has me talking, something that on the trip back I keep going back to how cool that product was. And it’s generally not an amp or guitar I see tons of those and in general I think that we have those types of things pretty much figured out. Small things here and there will change your experience but we pretty much know what we’re getting into from instrument to instrument. And obviously not to discount any instrument manufacturer but the improvements from piece to piece are generally small modifications. Such as different woods or no woods, different type of pickups or change in drums heads.

In Ear Monitor (IEM) technology however, while great still has a lot of things that could be done to improve the experience for the user. In my conversation with Dr. Michael Santucci of Sensaphonics a few things became clear in short order. First, not only does he really know his stuff but also knows exactly what struggles you’re having with monitors. He has a great understanding of using IEM’s and all the downsides of them. And after doing some research you will find that not only is he a well-respected audiologist but also genuinely interested in musicians and creating a product to help make their lives better and safer. Part of what piqued my interest was they are set on solving problems associated with using IEM’s not just kicking out another ear hole filling sound device. It’s great to see a company that looks at a problem and really sets out to find a way to fix it. Think like anti lock breaks. Breaks worked pretty good before ABS for a lot of years. Cars stopped but ABS made breaks way better and has probably saved countless lives. The things Sensaphonics are doing in short looks at all the things we dislike about using IEM’s and tries to make them better.

I personally use a competitor’s product and I must start with a disclaimer. I love my in ears and I would buy from them again. My vendor has been great and helpful to me but I still have various issues with my molds and fit. In talking with the company I use they are more than willing to help me make things better but I have yet to take those steps. Mostly because I haven’t wanted to be without my molds for an extended period and I wasn’t certain if the steps taken were going to really fix my problems. In short I have a fit issue, once I get them inserted and comfortable they will only stay sealed as long as I really don’t move my mouth. The minute I smile the seal breaks and then disappears the bottom end and a chunk of my volume. My vendor discussed building up my molds and working on a solution but after talking to many that also use hard acrylic molds I found that for many this is just the way it goes. Enter my bass player…

What got me interested in talking with Sensaphonics was my giddy bass player who attended a presentation at Namm 2016 titled “In Ear Monitor (IEM) Fundamentals and Hearing Conservation. The speaker was Michael Santucci. After the presentation my bass player meets back up with us and says “I think I’m gonna buy these” after he talked about what was discussed I decided I wanted to see for myself as well as see if they would be kind enough to discuss with us on camera. In short he did order a set from them. He did not order the 3D active ambient which actually have mics built into them allowing you to blend ambient sound with your monitor mix. He just order a set of IEM’s in hopes that it would take care of his current issues he has with several pairs of IEM’s. I myself love the idea of the full package but the price tag is high, around 2k if you want the 3D’s with a single full range driver. $2500 should you want dual drivers. I’m by no means knocking the price they are great pieces of equipment and their list of artists speaks for itself. But I gotta get a few more pennies rattling around in my jar before I can pull the trigger on these. So for now I will just deal with problematic molds 🙁

Below is my video with Michael where he is covers everything from materials used in their product to how the brain perceives sound. As well as their 3D Active Ambient technology option. He covers a lot of information in this video but they have even more details on their site. For further info check out www.sensaphonics.com

1964 Ears In Ear Monitor Review

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Soooo…. I needed some In Ear Monitors for my band. Rock N’ Roll Supergroup MySelfishMe if you’re not one of the 280ish lucky Facebook friends we have at the time of writing this post. The need to move to them was piloted by our desire to dump our cabs and make our rig lighter as well as move our band to a click. The big picture for us is eventual light automation, and such synced with our show. As you can imagine, going to something like this from just cab’s screaming up your arse is not only a bit of a culture shock but poses some technical challenges. While I will get through the front to back in later articles this is just to focus on the actual IEM portion.

When searching for what company to go to the choices are pretty overwhelming. I looked at several and in all price ranges. Starting out I was just using some of the higher end Skull Kandy which actually created a great seal and worked ok, but a little sweat and movement and I was fiddling with them incessantly. I never intended for these to be my solution but the need for professional molds was more intense.

A few of the companies I looked at were Alien Ears, Ultimate Ears, Future Sonics (which came highly recommended by some friends) and 1964 Ears. All of these companies provided the same technology except for Future Sonics, meaning they are all multiple drivers depending on how many you want. The drivers are generally split up in EQ frequencies. Like a single driver is full range, dual is high and low, triple is low-mid-high and it goes from there. The Future Sonics are a different tech as they are simply just like a tiny speaker in your ear. They have fantastic reviews but also have an intense price point. One that for me anyway was a bit out of my budget considering I didn’t know what I was getting myself into having never owned molds.

After talking with several of the companies I decided to go with 1964 Ears and their -V3 Triple Drivers with a base cost of $425. After downloading their instructions and seeing an audiologist ($35 for molds) I sent my impressions to 1964. From the start they were very helpful especially considering the fact that I was honestly a bit indecisive. I wanted artwork but I didn’t know what, things of that nature. I upgraded mine to recessed sockets and that was about it. On my order form I asked them to contact me for graphics when the time came as the projected turnaround time was 3-4 weeks.

After a couple of weeks I received an email from their graphics department asking for my artwork. I sent them a few quick samples of what I was thinking and asked the tech to decide what they think would show up best. The tech was super-fast, made some mockups and sent them over everything looked cool and away we went.
I received my molds in just a few days after that maybe a total of 3 weeks from start to finish. When they arrived I was totally impressed with just how cool they looked. They are visually impressive and come in a cool customized case with all the accessories. So I put them in and started listening to music that I was familiar with. The triple drivers are basically described as mid rangy and good for guitarists and I would agree with that. But I wouldn’t say too much midrange, but enough so that I don’t know that I would want to necessarily dial in my guitar patches without checking other sources (which anyone would do anyway) Other than that, you see many people that say they have a Zen sound moment listening on IEM’s, I didn’t really have that sort of an experience, while they sound great and high quality they at the time sounded just that to me. A good high quality set of ear molds. That however changed once I got to band practice.

Once I got to practice I realized some things, first “Holy crap, I wasn’t playing that solo for shit” and holy shit my other guitar player isn’t playing that for shit and (WHERE ARE THE DRUMS). This isolation was so intense where I didn’t really care how much of the drum mix was in my monitors with ear buds I now was totally cut off from the room with the custom molds. Also, this is where the triple drivers came in, I could hear my bass player and have him dialed in and away from me yet still totally audible, I could push my other guitar player away in my mix and still hear him and I could put me up the center where I wanted to hear me. Something that I could never do with even a $100 set of ear buds. Once I got everything dialed in for the 1964’s my mix was 10 fold better than what it was with buds.

One thing I was concerned about was comfort as they are a hard acrylic wedged in your ears. If you’ve wondered about that I can tell you this, I passed out with mine in. I was listening to some tunes and woke up about an hour later. I did notice some discomfort however using them when I was tracking our vocalist for the Super Mega Rock Group MySelfishMe. But that was after a 4 hour session. After having them in my ears for 4 hours I noticed the backs of my ears in the cartilage area was getting pretty sore. But anything that you’re going to have attached in, on or around your ears for that long is probably going to cause some discomfort.

All in all I can say the experience was incredible with them. I went with 1964 Ears because of the price point, the service and the advertised quality. When I started my search I emailed several of the companies (some a few times) and never got a response. 1964 took whatever time I needed to make my decisions and provided excellent service. I do want to mention that I didn’t get anything from 1964 for write this review. As I review a lot of gear I just wanted to put together a write up on what I considered a killer product and great experience. Visit their website below!!!

www.1964ears.com