Brief History of the IEM


With the invention and subsequent popularity of the microphone came a whole new world of possibilities for musicians. It was the microphone that gave rock and rollers the sound potential to play for crowds of thousands. But as you could probably guess, with bigger crowds came bigger noise. And with the growing noise, a rock stars’ worst dream was realized – they couldn’t hear their own music when on stage. Wedge monitors, which are basically on-stage speakers positioned to allow performers to hear their music, alleviated the issue to some degree. But at the end of the day, it was just more noise added to the mix. Thus, the In Ear Monitor was invented, forever changing the course of stage performance.


In the mid 60’s, the earliest versions of the In Ear Monitor were developed, an invention credited by some to a Mr. Stephen Ambrose. In the early years, as IEMs were coming in to their own, they were a luxury reserved for the elite. These bad boys were a huge leap for musical technology – they provided a custom source of sound for musicians on stage (without adding to the noise) while doubling as ear plugs. From modest beginnings, these little gadgets have come to shape the way the world interacts with music. They laid the foundation for the modern day earbuds and personal music players.

(Image Courtesy of

(Image Courtesy of

Over the next few decades, these modestly sized buds came to be quite advanced – even to the point of honing technology that can prevent damage to the ears. Jerry Harvey served as sound engineer to the stars… rock stars that is. Including such rock icons as Van Halen, Kiss, Morrissey, and Motley Crue. Then, in 1995 While on tour with Van Halen, the band challenged their sound engineer, Jerry Harvey, to make their in-ear monitors better. Jerry invented a series of customized dual-speaker in-ear monitors and completely changed the live music industry.

Today, the Jerry Harvey Audio name is synonymous with high quality components and beautifully hand crafted in ear monitors. Beloved by the best sound engineers and used by the most iconic artists and musicians in music, Jerry Harvey Audio is the industry standard to hear no evil.

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Wow!! That’s Loud!

Too-Loud-1(reposted from earlier)

Alright.. everyone raise their hands who spent the afternoon with either a chainsaw or string trimmer and felt a little “cloudy” or “muffled” afterwards. Yeah, a lot of us. Put your hands down. Now, how many of us have spent the day on an ATV or motorbike in the backwoods and had that “cloudy” or “muffled” feeling afterwards? OK…. put your hands down. Now how many of us  also enjoy listening to music, not just listen, but REALLY listen to the music? Most of us! Did you know you can be damaging your hearing and also hindering your ability to listen to music in a more critical way? Check out some of these numbers below of how loud it can be!

Now here is how long you can be exposed to those levels before temporary damage or hearing loss can occur. Some of these times are VERY short!

8hrs ……………………| 90dB
6hrs ……………………| 92dB
4hrs ……………………| 95db
3hrs ……………………| 97dB
2hrs ……………………| 100dB
1 1/2hrs ………………| 102dB
1hr………………………| 105dB
30min …………………| 110dB
15 min or less ………| 115dB

These numbers should wake ya up a little bit. Mowing the law for more than 30 min can start to cause hearing damage, which could lead to permanent hearing loss… no, that is not a good excuse to get out of mowing the lawn kids, sorry!

So next time you go to take the ATV out or do some yard work, think about what damage you could be causing to your precious hearing and look into some decent earplugs!

How Your Ear Works

Did you get a chance to check out our Custom Hearing Protection yet? If not, get over there! Summer is about here and lots of us are hitting the festival scene or doing some yard work.

If we’re going to talking about protecting our ears and hearing it might be a good idea to start with how our ears and sound interact. Sure most of us have heard the names of the parts in the ear during a biology class in High School, but how many of us pay attention to what our daily lives do to our ears and hearing. Here is a great old skool (AKA 1940’s) video on hearing and our ears. It’s about 10 min in length… oh and the “Chuckie” looking drawing of a boy at about 1:20 in is worth it!

Spotlight on Custom Earplugs

With Summer almost here, most of us are outside thinking about the next big music festival, getting out on the trails with our motocross bike or ATV and some of us are using lawnmowers or chain saws, but most of us are NOT thinking about one important factor, our hearing!

Ever wonder what that buzz was in your ears or why everyone sounds muffled to you after leaving a rocking show?…. it’s called Temporary Threshold Shift and it can lead to permanent hearing loss.

We’ll spend sometime going over these effect, but in the mean time, check out our Musician’s Earplugs (perfect for the musician or concert-goer) and our Soft Earplugs that are great for those noisy days of yard work.

Which Custom Ear Monitor Is Best For Me? Part 2: The Signature Series

In Part 1 we started talking about which custom monitors are best for you depending on what you play and what you want to hear. The JH-5PRO through the JH-11PRO will take care of pretty much anyone out there, but as we all know…. there are those of us who just need to have it all! This is where the Signature Series of the JH-13PRO and the JH-16PRO come in. We like to call them the “Monsters of the Stage”. Why? Well everyone else who has tried to accomplish 6 or 8 drivers per ear monitor has, well… not been up to par let’s say. These two models also offer the Freqphase time|phase WaveGuide. We took and re-invented how drivers their sound bores are matched and installed and in the process created a sound so exact, so phase correct that it’s putting the industry on end.

The JH-13PRO

Dual Low, Dual Mid, Dual High w/ passive 3-Way Crossover
Sensitivity: 10Hz – 20kHz
Response: 116dB @ 1mW
Price: $1,099.00

The JH-13 is the world’s first 6 driver ear monitor. It offers a wide frequency response, with increased headroom and dynamic range with virtually zero distortion. Oh and did we mention it has 6 drivers PER EAR??!! If you are looking for incredible clarity (who of us isn’t) then these are the ear monitors for you.
Here is what CNET had to say:

Harvey’s done it again. The performance gains in clarity, detail, resolution, and stereo imaging are huge — the adrenaline-pumping sound of the music you love over a set of Harvey’s headphones can’t be matched by any other in-ear ‘phones.

Guitarist will love how the tone of their amp comes through these beats. You don’t spend days and weeks perfecting your sound only to have it squashed, mashed and distorted in a lesser ear monitor. Drummers, it will feel like you have nothing in your ears. The kick of your drum is full, the snap of your snare is tight and the air of your cymbals will be mesmerizing. Think we might be over building them a little, just read the reviews.

The JH-16PRO

Quad Low, Dual Mid, Dual High w/ passive 3-Way Crossover
Response: 10Hz – 20kHz
Sensitivity: 118dB @ 1mW
Price: $1,149.00

The JH-16 is the world’s first and finest eight driver ear monitor. (notice how we got to say first on both of these?) The quad low frequency drivers (comprised of 2 dual-driver units) offer lower distortion, increased headroom and greater detail and accuracy. Here is what Pooch, FOH Engineer for Linkin Park had to say about them;

“The JH16 Pro freqphase IEMs are a game changer.  In-ear monitor engineers will revel in the ability to reproduce record quality mixes for their artists.  They will place instruments with pinpoint accuracy, and never run out of headroom.  Artists will be able to turn down because of this accuracy.”

Basically these monsters will handle ANYTHING you toss at them and beat it into a smooth, silky and refined sound reserved for only the finest of studio reference monitors. Guitars sing, vocals are crisp, drums thump, your keyboard will amaze you!
Are they worth it, you bet they are. Just ask anyone who has used them on stage.

Well that covers the custom ear monitors that JH Audio can provide you with. We hope this helped out a little. As always, please drop us a line if you have any questions!

Which Custom Ear Monitor Is Best For Me? Part 1: The Classic Series

Last fall we did a series on “Are they REALLY All That??!!” and talked about why you should look into custom ear monitors, why they will help and touched on which models are best for you at certain stages of a musical career all the way from your Mom’s mini-van to a full out tour bus setup.

In this first part we want to talk about the JH Audio Classic Series, which includes the JH-5PRO through the JH-11PRO and get a little more in-depth about what each model can provide and what it cannot. So let’s jump into this…

JH5 Pro
Drivers: Single Low, Single High w/ a passive crossover
Sensitivity: 119dB @ 1mW
Response: 20Hz – 17kHz
Price: $399

The JH-5 is the original. It’s the design that put Jerry Harvey & Ultimate Ears on the map back in the 90’s and still today, it’s a serious contender. A dual driver setup is by a lot of standards, still a go-to of the touring musician. It will give you a good overall sound, but will lack some of the mids and extended ranges that a monitor with more drivers can provide. Drummers, bass players and those who need bass should NEVER go lower than a dual driver.


JH7 Pro
Dual Low, Single High w/ passive crossover
Sensitivity: 124dB @ 1mW
Response: 20Hz – 17kHz
Price: $699.00

The JH-7 is THE longtime touring standard and workhorse of the JHAudio lineup. It’s a built to be a very neutral sounding monitor with exceptional headroom. It’s going to give you a little of everything with out too much seasoning. Perfect for any musician or vocalist.

The JH-10x3PRO

JH10X3 Pro
Single Low, Single Mid, Single Low w/ passive 3-way crossover
Sensitivity: 119dB @1mW
Response: 20Hz – 17kHz
Price: $799.00

The JH-10×3 is probably the best “bang for the buck” out there on the market today. So want to hear everything in balance? You want to hear your voice, the strum of the guitar and the kick of the guitar singing in harmony? You want this triple driver, 3-way crossover setup. It’s going to take anything you throw at it and it will sound good! Guitarist and vocalists will love the clarity of the mids and sparkle in the highs. Drummers will love the snap they get out of their snare and the crash of the cymbals…. ya know, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

The JH-11PRO

Dual Low, Single Mid, Single High w/ passive 3-Way Crossover
Sensitivity: 119dB @ 1mW
Response: 10Hz – 17kHz
Price: $850.00

The JH-11.. well these babies rock!! Tuned  and tweaked by “The Man” himself with hand selected drivers that were worthy to carry the JH Audio brand. Others may have an “11”, but it’s not THE 11! This is going to give you the full smoothness and range that the JH-10X3 provides with a little extra “junk in the trunk”… and yes we ARE into that kind of stuff. Accurate and Clean are the best words to describe the 11. Just about any musician will love putting these in their ears each time they get on stage. You may even forget that you have them in your ears the sound is good, but don’t forget to play while enjoying the sounds from the rest of your band.

You may (or not) have noticed that we did not touch on the JH-10PRO. Well there is a good reason for that. The 10 was designed from the ground up more for the high-end personal listening/audiophile crowd. While it does provide exceptional sound quality, we just do not recommend it for stage performing.

We hope this helps you out some, but as always, please do drop us a line if you have questions about what is best for you!

Next time we will jump into the JH-13PRO and JH-16PRO.. the Monsters of the Stage!

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.