Custom vs. Universal Fit Ear Monitors (or The Battle of Waterloo pt.3)

It’s an age-old question that garners lots of discussion and strong feelings. Should I get universal fit earphones or custom earphones?… ya know in the same way, “Where does the white go when snow melts?”, “Yankees or Red Sox?” or the ALWAYS dangerous … “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” OK, it’s not REALLY on that same level, but you get the idea.

If you are in a situation where rotating musicians is like merry-go-round (like say a church), then universals can be a more affordable solution for you over time. If you have a “set band” then look into some entry level customs as least. At $399 the JH5Pro is in the same ballpark for price with a lot of universal monitors out there…and they are better, just sayin’.

One of the biggest hang up for some folks about taking the jump into customs is the “unknown” or “fear” of having your impressions taken. Let us start off by saying, this can be a very safe and pleasant experience, as long as you do not go to “Bob’s Impressions and Fishing Tackle Emporium”. We’ve created a list of Preferred Audiologists by state on our site. If you cannot find someone on that list, please do drop us a line and we might have someone you can work with! Plan on dropping about $50-100 for impressions. This is an average from what we’ve seen or heard. Some will pay less and some of you may pay a little more depending on where you live. If there are multiple Audiologists in your area, ask them upfront what they charge for impressions. Also, when having your impressions taken, make sure they are deep impressions (past the 2nd bend of the canal) and that you have and KEEP your jaw open during the process (they should have you use a small piece of styrofoam called a bite block). This helps us to create the best fitting, most comfortable ear monitor for you.

Ok, so what are some of the benefits of customs over universal fit ear monitors? Let’s start with comfort. Have you ever felt a discomfort while wearing universal ear monitors or ear plugs? Chances are you are experiencing what is called “radial pressure”. Radial pressure is the outward force of the foam or rubber tips trying to expand back to their original shape inside your ear canal. Yes, this is also what creates the seal needed, but it can create discomfort for some people after a short period of time (might also feel like an itching sensation). If it’s not comfortable, chances are you will not wear them no matter how good they sound. This does not happen with a well made custom product.

Next is fit. Fit, well some of us might call this important. 🙂 A good fit, creates a good seal, which creates a better listening experience or keeps the buggers in our ears as we bounce and flop across stage like Angus from AC/DC. Fit is also important in that it’s YOUR ear, made from YOUR ear impressions so that it’s perfect for YOUR ear, every…time… get the picture?

Custom = Fit and Comfort.

Fit and Comfort = Greater Enjoyment.

Here is a fun little video we did (yes at the expense of the Apple Ear Pods) about custom fit ear monitors over universal fit monitors.


Introducing Freqphase

By reengineering how and when sound is traveling to your ear, JHAudio has come up with the newest advancement in in-ear technology, the Freqphase Time|Phase Waveguide.  Freqphase creates the world’s first phase coherent earphone bydelivering the low, mid and high frequencies to your ear in at once.  Everything in sync.  Everything perfect.  Freqphase.

Notice the curves in the chart of the competitors six driver, triple bore IEM. The phase curve is slower in the low end and much faster across the mid and high frequencies.  The result is a phase curve that is shaped like a ski slope.

Now, look at the JH16Pro phase curve with the Freqphase waveguide.  Although it is a few degrees out in some spots it is relatively flat and very phase coherent.  This makes a huge difference in the soundstage and imaging, especially anything panned and mixed between 10 and 2 o’clock.

Available for the JH13Pro, JH16Pro and JH16Pro +JH3A.


Well it’s finally here! The time when sound nuts, audiophiles, aficionados, geeks, two-wires and whatever other term you can come up with from across the land (and from overseas) converge on Denver, Colorado for a weekend at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and sister meet CANJAM at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.

We are SOOOO excited this year! Why? Well for one, we get to see a lot of friends we only see at this meet. Second, we have a new booth and it’s schmexy!!! This past year has been amazing for all of us at JH Audio and we want to have a little fun at this years meet.

Starting on Friday afternoon, and throughout the weekend,  we will be hiding “Golden Tickets” like the one shown here around the event center. How to do find one of those illustrious Golden Tickets? Do you need to devour a years worth of chocolate in an hour? Eat an entire box of Twinkies in 5 min? (harder than you think) Leap over a tall building in a single bound? Get a JH Audio tattoo over the weekend? (well… this one is up for discussion).. nope! All you have to do is follow our Twitter (@JHAudio) and our Instagram (jhaudio) accounts and be at the event this weekend (sorry, this one is for attendees only). We will be posting a pic of an area where we hid a Golden Ticket on our Instagram and Twitter feeds. NOTE: inside and outside are fair game, but it will be on the grounds of the event. Be the first to find the ticket, bring it to our booth over in the CANJAM room and BAM! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Well, Ok..we’re not buying you dinner… BUT, you get a cool JH Audio t-shirt. There will be multiple chances each day to find a Golden Ticket, but let’s keep it to one win per person and give everyone a chance. Sometimes, it just has to be said. 😉

Oh and wait till you HEAR what’s new at CANJAM this year……. 😉

What IS A Balanced Armature, pt 2 The Guts & The Glory

In our last post we touched on what a balanced armature is and how it works. Next we thought we’d get some feedback from Jerry “The Man” Harvey on why he chose balanced armatures over dynamic drivers and how they superior in this application.

So the big debate of which is “better”…. well it really depends on the application. If you think about it who would want a full size headphone filled with 362 balanced armatures to give you the same punch in the low end and warmth in the mids (settle down, settle down, we know some of you are wondering how this can be done…pixie dust!). Honestly it cannot, well and not sound good at least. Balanced armatures NEED a good seal to create the lows and sound stage you desire. That’s where the lows come from, isolation (yet another reason why custom earphones are THE way to go, but we’ll get to that in another post). Just like dynamic speakers are the “go-to” for headphones, speaker enclosures, etc. Those type of applications allow the cone to move and get the air it needs to produce the sound it was designed to do. They just work better in that application.
I mean, who doesn’t want the speaker setup from Back To The Future??!!

One thing you should remember though is, NO ONE can tell you what sounds “best” in that application, better than your ears. Always approach a listening session with an open mind.
Here are some of the pros and cons of balanced armatures and dynamic drivers that we heard from Jerry.

Dynamic Drivers
Pros: Warm mids, good low end response, lower cost
Cons: Low input sensitivity, distort too quick (unless in a tuned enclosure), different response in each ear and no extension above 5k.

Balanced Armatures
Pros: High input sensitivity, repeatable responses, fine tuning possible within a small enclosure, with a dual driver setup dual driver you have a faster response, 3dB volume increase before distortion and the phase curve flattens out over single or dynamic setup.
Cons: cost, requires multiple units to get full, deep base

For stage use, since the goal is to provide a clear and accurate sound, a balanced armature driver would be better since isolation is the name of the game. Blocking out that external sound allows you to hear only what you need to and at a lower, safer volume. (Hence the reason we here at JH Audio use them) With a dynamic driver you need a “vent” for the lows to be produced properly. This “vent” then allows stage, crowd and room noise to effect what you hear. It can also “kill”certain frequencies that need to be added to your mix if possible.

So which is better. Depends on your application, but for ear monitors the clear winner is balanced armatures.

Tour Supply and JH Audio.. A Match Made in Heaven!

Tour Supply, Inc. and JH Audio Strategic Partnership
Effective immediately, Tour Supply, Inc. and JH Audio will be working together in a symbiotic capacity to better service their mutual customers. JH Audio will have a presence within Tour Supply New York (above SIR studios/ 25th St) and Tour Supply Nashville (within the Soundcheck rehearsal facility). This will include the addition of a JH Audio sales rep that will be based within these respective locations.
Being embedded within Tour Supply will allow JH Audio to more readily service the touring clientele of New York and Nashville. Tour Supply will increase sales of in-ear monitor systems and related accessories to JH Audio customers frequenting these locations. Jerry Harvey, founder of JH Audio and pioneer of in-ear audio, had this to say about the new partnership: “We’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to cover the main touring hubs of LA, New York, and Nashville. That being said, teaming up with Tour Supply made perfect sense. Not only are they within these cities, but also located at rehearsal facilities that directly cater to our industry. Along with our Los Angeles location at Center Staging, we now have all the principal markets covered. This was a no-brainer for us!”
Tour Supply CEO Lance Wascom was equally enthusiastic saying “Larry (Martin, CFO of Tour Supply) and I have been fans of Jerry’s work for many, many years. We have a great deal of respect for Jerry not just professionally, but on a personal level as well. The quality of products and level of service that he and Brittany (Harvey, CEO of JH Audio) provide is top notch. To partner with a company so well respected, that makes such amazing products, and that we have a long-standing relationship with is a win on so many levels!”
JH Audio will announce the new sales reps in New York and Nashville in the near future. Patrons of Tour Supply New York and Nashville will soon notice office space, listening stations, signage, and demo products dedicated promoting JH Audio.
Tour Supply, Inc. was founded in 1998 by Larry Martin and Lance Wascom. They provide expendables, pro audio, wireless systems, custom cases, playback rigs, musical instruments and accessories to the live music/ touring industry. Tour Supply has locations in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and St. Paul, MN as well as an additional location in Manchester, UK. Known as the “One Stop Shop for Touring Professionals”, Tour Supply is known for providing these goods and services in a very timely manner, specializing in next day delivery to venues and hotels. See more at
JH Audio was founded by Jerry Harvey, long time industry pioneer. While mixing monitors for Van Halen, Jerry designed and built his first 2-way, custom fit ear pieces for drummer, Alex Van Halen. The word soon began to spread and Jerry’s custom ear monitors became the industry standard. Today, JH Audio manufactures the best custom monitors for those who demand the best in both audio and comfort. Visit them at