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ear plugs? in-ear monitors?

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Rob O
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I'm interested in wearing ear plugs during practice and on stage performances (gigging club band). I don't know if I can really afford custom in-ear monitors and I don't think many clubs have the gear/connections to send a signal to them.

So, I'm think custom ear plugs will work, and I'll just let the venues keep using the stage monitors.

Will they alter pitch and vocal performance? Would I just quickly get use to it and all will be OK? What are the recommended brands and types?

What are the pro and cons for a singer using ear plugs?

I'm very willing to get ear molds for the custom models, instead of just basic plugs. So of those custom ones seem to have inserts for varying db level reduction, a nice plus.

Or, are the cons SO great I should only go with in-ear monitors? If so, what recommendations would you have, what should I look for?

Rob

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Singing with most normal earplugs produces an effect called occlusion (sp), whereby, singer thinks he's sound lower pitched than he really is. Most of the time, one needs deeply inserted, custom earplugs with frequency correct filters. These cost about $300, including audiologist time. Etymotic makes these.

Custom earplugs need to be fit precisely-- I tried about 7 before 1 finally worked well. If not deep enough, occlusion effect. If not fitted snugly, when one opens jaws, the ear channels open up slightly, and sound seeps in. Look for an audiologist who is willing to work with you so that if the first pair doesn't work precisely, they don't charge for repeated refits. Only a small percentage of audiologist have extensive experience with deeply-inserted, custom-fitted earplugs for singers.

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I have a set of Sure ears - they work pretty well. I rarely use them for singing - most of the time I use them when I am doing sound for other bands. They are very useful to have. I would prolly wear them for singing more if I had the wireless base, but I can't afford it right now.

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Be careful - Gino Vannelli recently lost his hearing when a stage hand inadvertently unplugged a microphone and Gino got blasted. He had to cancel a bunch of dates - not sure if he's totally recovered yet.

I had some custom ones made for me by the same guy that did it for stevie wonder but they weren't right and had to send them back for rework. Never got them back the second time. Out $800.

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Thank you all for your input. Seems ear plugs are not a great idea for singers. Every professional live act I see seems to have in-ear monitors so for vocal quality I'll have to go that way in spite of the cost.

Any other advise on in-ear monitors vs. ear plugs?

I should add that I have already had deep ear molds made, I just want to figure out if I should just get plugs or monitors made so I can gig and practice without messing up vocal quality.

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