Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

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Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by MarkOne »

I wasn't sure where to post this. Here or in the Live Sound section - Mods feel free to move it if you think it more appropriate there.

I thought I'd relate my experience with my new IEM system, in case others are in the same boat as me, because I have been very pleasantly surprised by the results. (But perhaps my bar is suitably low!)

First some context. I use IEMs rarely. Maybe a couple of times a year as part of a church music team, when we're doing something a little more ambitious, plus the covers band I'm in that so far has gigged twice this year and another one coming in December. My own originals band is on hold at the moment.

I had been using some Shure SE215s on a Behringer Powerplay P1 connected IEM amp. I was never really happy with the SE215s whatever earbuds or sleeves I tried they just never fit properly and were tinny and annoying after a few minutes.

My wife suggested I look for some alternatives, for my Birthday so I looked around and found these on Amazon. Linsoul 5 drivers (4 BA + 1 DD) for just over 50 UKP. There were sufficient good reviews from actual musicians that I took a punt, augmenting them with some Sonicfoam memory foam earbuds. I have to say they are a huge step up from the Shures, I really wasn't hoping for better sound, just something that fit better, and on a budget we could afford. Very smooth sound, a bit too hyped in the low end maybe, but my, the high end is sweet!

So we started rehearsals in earnest and they were very comfortable, and easy to use.

Anyway then I ended up using an Alesis Vortex keytar for a couple of songs and being tethered suddenly became a real hinderance. Once again I started looking at possible transmitter/receiver options but decided I couldn't justify the cost.

I was very drawn to the XVive 2.4 GHz U4 system, but it was too much. I'd have to go tethered after all.

Then the Amazon algorithm kicked in and this popped into my Amazon front page on a one day deal at 57 UKP. Never heard of them, Only one review, (5 stars) but I had some birthday money left so I took the plunge.

These things are tiny. Both the transmitter and receiver are around 4cm square and less than half a centimetre thick. They pair simply by pressing the pair button on both units, the box comes with a cable with a mini-jack and an 1/4 inch adapter to connect the transmitter to the mixer Aux out, and they have a mono/stereo switch. A dual USB charging lead to charge the L-ion batteries and pretty badly translated manual. Despite being sold as Lekato they came in a box branded Air Bridge with a Lekato label stuck on the outside. So I suspect these might appear under different brands.

So at home in a quiet apartment, and no signal, they are a little noisy (think that digital mush) but once music is playing that is quickly masked. Got a clean signal with little or no digital artefacts.

In rehearsals with the transmitter about 5 or 6 metres away, no dropouts, once or twice I got what sounded like low bitrate MP3 artefacts, but quite liveable with. Used in anger at a wedding venue, around 200 guests (so lots of mobile phones about, and I imagine quite a 'hostile 2.4GHz environment). Transmitter a bit further from my stage position, but still solid signal with the occasional drop in quality. Spec reckons around 5 hours on a charge and I had them on for 3 hours last night and they were fine.

So for a little over the price of another pair of SE215s I have a cheap and cheerful wireless IEM system that for my money (which isn't in huge supply) out performs them.

In conclusion: Are there better multiple driver IEMs? Almost certainly yes

Are there better body pack/transmitter solutions? Very definitely... Yes

Can you get a solution that performs this well for under £150. I really don't think so.

I'll report back after living with them for a bit longer to see how they hold up on the reliability front.
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Re: Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by sonics »

Thanks so much for that. I discovered the "cheap but good" IEMs about two years ago and have been amazed at how good a sound I can get, especially with a little corrective EQ. I've used them with my covers band a couple of times, but only wired. We'd don't play much so I've held off looking into a wireless solution, but your experiences will be very helpful indeed! You may even persuade me to get out the old KX5 and do the dual-guitar thing! :lol:

I bought a few pairs of cheap IEMS, and the CCA C10 is the best I've heard under $50. They sound really good; add some EQ (they don't need too much) and they sound much more expensive than they are.
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Re: Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by shufflebeat »

I bought a pair of the KZs on the recommendation of Aaron Short at AGF. They sounded really good but I couldn't get them to stay in my ears and they were moved on to one of the kids.

It turns out my ears (the *middle bit where the body of the earphone sits) is narrow and deep. I have a tulip where the KZs require a dandelion.

Unfortunately it's difficult to compare your ears to those of others without getting some strange looks.

*Internet diagrams suggest "concha".
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Re: Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by Music Wolf »

I have a pair of KZ-AS10's. They're fine for listening to music on my phone but they were a disaster as IEMs for live work. The mids are far too scooped, which is a problem for picking out my guitar, but by far the biggest problem was that I was unable to pitch my vocals. This may be something peculiar to me but I ended up conducting tests and established that I can pitch best without headphones / in ears, I’m ok with open backed headphones or closed back on one ear, still acceptable with my ACS single driver custom moulds or Shure SE535’s and way off the note with either closed back headphones over both ears or the KZ-AS10’s. YMMV.
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Re: Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by MarkOne »

shufflebeat wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 7:45 am I bought a pair of the KZs on the recommendation of Aaron Short at AGF. They sounded really good but I couldn't get them to stay in my ears and they were moved on to one of the kids.

It turns out my ears (the *middle bit where the body of the earphone sits) is narrow and deep. I have a tulip where the KZs require a dandelion.

Unfortunately it's difficult to compare your ears to those of others without getting some strange looks.

*Internet diagrams suggest "concha".

I will say, that the silicone sleeves supplied weren’t that secure for me but the sonicfoam memory foam sleeves work really well. I’d quite like to know how well they’d do with custom moulds. But that would be a bit like putting a solid gold bracelet on a Casio watch. :headbang:
MarkOne
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Re: Budget IEM solution (and I mean budget)

Post by shufflebeat »

MarkOne wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 9:31 am
shufflebeat wrote: Mon Oct 03, 2022 7:45 am ...I couldn't get them to stay in my ears...

...the sonicfoam memory foam sleeves work really well. I’d quite like to know how well they’d do with custom moulds.

I did buy/try some extra long Comply tips but not even close.

The thing about the se215 is that the body of the e/p is very slim and the "throat" reaches out well away from the bulky part. KZ is fundamentally different.
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