In-ear monitors, or IEMs as they are more commonly known, have been around since the late 70’s.
They were first used by musicians due to their portability and convenience. In the past few years, IEMs began to catch on with electronic keyboard players, thanks in large part to manufacturers like Yamaha developing models specifically for electronic keyboardists.
Today, there is a large selection of IEMs for musicians to choose from. But let’s face it: finding the perfect pair can be challenging and confusing.
There are different types of drivers, transducers, and sizes – all factors that influence performance and sound quality.
Over the past few years we have had the chance to test dozens of different models, so I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of the Top 5 IEMs for keyboard players.
As with most things in life, there are exceptions to every rule. All of these models have great sound quality and will work well for their intended purpose.
However, they each possess unique features that may influence your final decision.
For example, the Yamaha V50 and MDR-EX650AP feature in-line microphones and controls which make them a great choice for keyboard players who play live and want to take calls and control music playback.
The Activesonic AS-1 is one of the most comfortable pairs we have tested, making them great for long rehearsals and sessions.
The Westone W50 is one of the most expensive models, but it also has one of the best treble responses that we have heard (The Bose Quietcomfort 20 is equally good).
The Sennheiser IE8 are known as one of the best sounding IEMs on the market. However, they are bulky, the control module is heavy and sticks out uncomfortably, making them less-than ideal for keyboard players.
The point is that you need to find the model that best fits your needs. For example, if you want a pair of IEMs for live performance, make sure to pick one with a good in-line microphone with a high-quality transducer.
If you are more concerned about sound quality, choose a model that is comfortable and has a flat frequency response – something that you can easily test by going to your local music store or buying from an online retailer that has a good return policy.
Crowded places like trade shows and music conventions are a great place to find high-quality IEMs as there will be dozens of manufacturers and retailers at the show, all with models for you to test.