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.

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

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