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June 30, 2018

How to Switch from Headphones to In-Ear Monitors

by John_A

Making the transition from headphone to in-ear monitors can sometimes be rather difficult. Especially if you are a DJ. Here are a few tips on how you can make a smooth transition into the wonderful world of wireless systems and in-ear monitors!

Buy IEMs Online

The step to buy iems online is the most important part of your transition from headphones to IEMs. For example, are you a singer that needs to move around a lot on stage? Or are you a drummer or pianist that stays in one spot during the whole performance?

If you are a drummer or a pianist, you may want to consider saving money and going for a wired IEM set up. If you are singer and you move around a lot on stage, you may want to consider getting custom made, wireless IEMS. The reality is, yes – IEMs are wonderful because they give you much more freedom and mobility on stage.

If you don’t get IEMs that are custom made – you are more at risk of them falling out on stage. So, in my opinion – it’s worth it to spend the extra buck to ensure you have quality, custom fit IEMs that are comfortable to wear on stage. If you get a pair that aren’t comfortable, you may not perform as well as you would like to.

Another thing to remember is that if you are a DJ, it is kind of silly to spend the extra money to get a wireless IEM setup, since you always have all of your equipment right there. But, an important thing to keep in mind’s to make sure the cable running from you IEM to your mixer is still long enough for you to move and dance around. If you get one that is too short, you will be super constricted on movement. And let’s be honest, being a DJ isn’t nearly as fun when you can’t move and dance around.

Be Patient

Especially if you are a DJ, transitioning to IEMs can be a weird transition. If they don’t fit right, IEMS won’t be nearly as comfortable as the over-ear, memory foam cushioned headphones DJs are used to having. But, overtime, even if you have non-custom made IEMs, they’ll become comfortable over time.

The best part about wearing IEMs while DJing is their noise isolation technology. Which will make performing at even the loudest concerts, festivals, or nightclubs easy on your ears. If you are a performer, moving around on stage while wearing IEMs will take some getting used to. If you don’t have custom made ones, they can easily fall out if you move around a lot. Eventually, you’ll break them in and you’ll be able to move about on stage without issues!

Wear IEMs in Both Ears

A common mistake that people make when they first start wearing IEMs is that they will only wear one IEM in while performing so that they can hear how things are sounding on the loudspeakers. Instead of removing one IEM to hear the house speakers, you can simply use your mixer (or DJ controller fader knob) to control the blend between the track that is playing in your main output to your liking! This way, you won’t have to remove your IEMS the whole entire set. This is an amazing advantage because your monitoring will be even more accurate during your time on stage.

The only disadvantage to having both IEMs in your ears is that you won’t be able to hear how you sound the same way the crowd does, which can be weird getting used to at first! If you are in a band or if you are a musician, IEMs are your biggest disadvantage when it comes to hearing your audience, which makes it much harder to connect with them and hear feedback. But, this problem can be easily solved by setting up an extra microphone and facing it towards the audience. Then, you plug that microphone into the mixer so that each band member can pick up on the crowds energy through the in-ear monitors.


Practice really does make perfect, especially when it comes to performing with IEMs. Once you get the basics down of how to set them up, how to control them during a live performance, and how to wear them comfortably – you will be able to enjoy the beauty of them! In-ear monitors are much safer and all around better to wear on stage than headphones. In-ear monitors keep your ears safe, which is important for all performers to prioritize if they intend on performing for a long time. To practice, wear them in your bedroom, around your house, to small gigs and big ones. By practicing a lot, you get in the habit of using them and it will make your transition as smooth as can be.


IEMs are an amazing advancement of technology in the audio world. This innovation alone has completely revolutionized the live performance industry, and it only gets better from here! If you are ready to ditch your headphones for a modern IEM system, make sure you do plenty of research before picking out the right system for you! Consider whether or not you would like a wired or wireless setup. Or, if you have enough room in the budget, splurge on some custom made ones for maximum comfort and freedom on stage.

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