Many people get confused about the differences between universal fit In-Ear monitors and custom in-ear monitors.
However, you can guess the distinction simply by looking at their names. But, there are variously different features that these two types of in-ear monitors possess.
The convenience of both in-ear types of monitors is that you can carry them no matter where you are.
You can fit the best audio experience available in the smallest pockets or bags and take it with you wherever you go.
This is especially convenient for drummers that are on tour all the time.
Besides these earpieces’ undeniable advantages, many things are lying behind. So, it’s time to dive a little deeper.
Let’s compare their characteristics, check the differences in performances, quality, and prices, and find out what is your perfect match.
Universal fit in-ear monitors VS Custom in-ear monitors
As their name suggests, when we talk about universal fit in-ear monitors, they are designed for all ear types.
There are multiple ear tip fittings sizes included; however, these in-ear monitors will only be comfortably fitted if one of the sizes they offer suits your ears correctly.
Universal fit in-ear monitors for drummers
A great choice for a lot of drummers. They are made and designed to fit similar ear canals and shapes to assure you provide a good seal.
When deciding to go with these universal IEMs, you will have a variety of choices to choose from, along with different sizes to find the most comfortable and secure one for you.
These monitors can be a good fit and a good option for the drummers who are not thrilled to get an ear impression or are impatient to wait for custom IEMs to be made.
It is also a convenient option for those who are a little low on the budget since universal in-ear monitors are cheaper than customized earpieces.
You can find these earpieces available on amazon for a very affordable price; however, if you choose to go with more quality ones, it will be a bit more expensive. However, overall they are much more budget-friendly compared to CIEMs.
When we talk about noise isolation, there are obvious differences.
For instance, for drummers who like to be aware of their environment and external sounds, universal IEMs have that feature and will be a great fit for your needs.
On the other hand, they do not provide the same seal level as custom-fit IEMs, which can be problematic for some drummers looking for a great performance of the noise-cancellation feature.
Custom in-ear monitors for drummers
AKA Custom-Shelled Monitors are, as the name says itself, custom ear monitors molded specifically for your ears. By taking ear impressions at the audiologist’s office.
They are often made of acrylic with various accents, colors, and graphics.
The main advantage of custom in-ear monitors is that if they are shaped properly to perfectly fit your ear canals, they will be incredibly comfortable!
These custom IEMs also have great performance when it comes to noise isolation, and there’s almost no chance that you will end up with loose monitors or constantly falling out from your ears. Plus, when compared to regular IEMs, custom in-ear monitors provide better sound quality and thus great audio performance.
These monitors are specifically made for you, and they are uniquely tailored to your ears. This is particularly important for drummers since no musician wants loose earpieces that are constantly flailing around.
Many drummers and performing musicians desire superior sound isolation and the most comfortable fit. This is the main reason why many drummers opt for CEIMs.
No silicone or foam ear tips are required with a CIEM, which offers a better seal and fit. Since many people with different ear canals are not symmetrical, customized earpieces will be their perfect match.
The CIEMs are also ideal for audiophiles who wish to isolate themselves while playing or listening to music.
Its incredible noise isolation performance helps you keep your hearing protected because it allows you to listen to your music at a lower volume.
These customer in-ear monitors are great for drummers, but they can be used for other purposes besides drumming as well!
If you like running or doing any kind of exercise that requires physical movement, custom earpieces will be your perfect fit since they won’t slip out of your ears.
Additionally, custom IEMs can offer many ways of customization in terms of aesthetics.
You can choose among different translucent and opaque colors of your faceplates and shells. You can even add some glitter to make them shiny or just go without it if you like.
A lot of diverse designs are available and different logos and crystals you can choose from. If you don’t like any of it, you can just simply make your own custom artwork.
However, there are some disadvantages as well.
Firstly, these earbuds can be pretty expensive. If we take the most basic model, for example, we can see that drummers need to prepare at least $400 to $500.
Since they are designed specifically according to the shape of your ears, you need to visit an audiologist for ear impressions. Thus you have to also be prepared for the additional charges that may apply to this service.
If the malfunction occurs, your customer in-ears monitors are only serviceable by their original manufacturer.
In many cases, earpieces need to be broken down and be rebuilt again. Unfortunately, this process can take up to a few days up to a few weeks, which simply means that you will not be able to use your earbuds for quite some time.
Another downside of theirs is that compared to universal EIMs, these ones cannot be resold because they were specially customized. On top of that, your CIE monitors cannot be upgraded as well.
So, if you need a more powerful setup, you will have to consider buying the new ones and spend the additional $400+ on custom builds.
The best custom IEM manufacturers
One of the most popular custom in-ear monitors is 64 Audio. They have been very popular for quite some time and what’s great about them is that they come with a warranty.
You can rest assured that they will deliver the highest quality since many musical artists have been using custom in-ear monitors like Beyonce, Bon Jovi, Micahel Brauer, and many more.
Another great company that has been very popular since 1995 for creating incredible in-ear monitors is Ultimate Ears. Started by creating custom earpieces for Van Halen 25 years ago, today, their CRIMes are used by the majority of touring musicians around the globe for a good reason.
There are good sides and bedsides for both universal and custom in-ear monitors. While universal ones are way more affordable and changeable, custom earpieces are much more comfortable, have better isolation, and give you an unbelievable audio performance.
Custom in-ear monitors for drummers are meant to give you the ultimate experience. To create a custom piece, it is necessary to obtain an impression kit of the ear canal or simply go visit the audiologist for ear impressions.
This customized kit will perfectly fit the shape of your ear’s anatomy, making it possible for manufacturers to produce just one pair that will fit snugly into your ears. With earpieces like this, there is no way that you will have the problem of them falling out.
However, let’s not forget that these customized in-ear monitors can be somewhat expensive, from $400 for classic models to $3000 for the top-end ones.
However, If you cannot set aside that much money, you can always go with the universal IEMs and still get a satisfactory audio performance with a good fit.
So, following your preferences, needs, and budget, you should choose the one that will fit you the best. Hope you find this article useful and that Drum That has helped you make another important decision in your drumming career.