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The Ultimate Guitar players In-Ear Monitor Survival Guide Part One - The Earbuds

by vaughn skow June 14, 2022 2 min read

Okay guitar gang, these days it is getting more and more common for us guitar players to be forced to play direct and hear yourself ONLY through the ear-buds.  Wow, that takes some time getting used to.  And so ...

My first suggestion:

Whatever buds you ultimately end up using, spend a ton of time playing your guitar and your guitar with backing tracks using the in-ears.  This way, you will already be ahead of the game by being comfortable and confident with the tone of the in-ears.

My second suggestion:

If you can afford it, (or the tour is paying for it) DEFINITELY have a set molded to fit you exactly by the best of the best: Ultimate Ears , they litterally INVENTED the concept, and for better or worse, in-ears may have NEVER became a thing without this company! 

UE in-ears

A side-note here, a few years back I was fitted by UE, and I found that the UE 4 Pros were no better than my cheapos!  Until you shell out for the UE 6 Pro ($699), you are NOT in real fully pro in-ear monitoring land, and realistically, to get the real "UE" experience, you need to be at UE 11 Pro ($1,199) or higher.  For MOST of us, we really can't go the UE route unless we catach a tour that pays up for em. So....

My third suggestion: (This is what you want to hear)

Get some inexpensive in-ears that still sound VERY good!  Duh, right?  I can save ya some time here; I started playing through "ears" well over a decade ago and I've been through very nearly 100 sets of buds, including the afore mentioned UE 11 Pros and every model Shure has ever offered.  And until I got the UE 11 Pros, I was always disappointed, and more money definitely did NOT equal better sound or more comfortable fit!  Ugg.  However, I did have one set recommended to me that actually sounded REALLY good, I'm talking nothing below $500 can touch it good.  The model is the 6-driver KZ ZS10 Pro, clocking in at an amazing fifty bucks!  I was playing at a Nashville area mega-church and EVERYONE in the band swore by them, the leader then gifted me with a set, and ... wow!  I now use these for almost all in-ear gigs that don't pay big bucks because the UE 11s are just too darn valuable to take a chance something might happen to them.

How good are the KZ ZS10 Pros?  Honestly better than EVERYTHING I have tried before except for the UEs.  They do NOT come in any flesh colored options, so it's going to look like you have in-ears in; I like that, the flesh colored ones look like hearing aids!  Check them out on Amazon here: KZ ZS10 Pro

The best in-ear monitors

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