The Best In-Ear Monitor Systems For Singers & Musicians - Wireless

Wireless In-Ear Monitors

Hearing yourself well can often spell the difference between mediocre and inspiring performances. In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) let you do just that, by feeding personalized sound directly to your ears while blocking out ambient sounds on stage.

Because of the targeted control that they provide, as well as their quiet operation, more and more professional musicians have been switching to IEMs. And it's even more popular now because of the convenience that wireless technology provides, especially for big venues. In line with this, we present you with the Best In-Ear Monitor Systems, along with tips on what to look for to address your specific needs.

Things to Consider When Buying a Wireless In Ear Monitor System

  • Multi-Channel Mixing

    This allows performers to personalize their own monitoring experience, and make necessary adjustments in real-time, while still giving the sound engineer control when needed. The end result of using this feature properly is hearing yourself better, which when set right, can dramatically improve your playing and performance.

  • Frequency Range

    This specification details the range of frequencies that the wireless system can operate in. With careful planning, you can use this information to maximize the number of IEM systems that you can simultaneously use on stage, by buying those that can work together. Since these systems operate using unlicensed frequency bands, they can be prone to interference, so the more the range of operation, the easier it is to switch to clean frequencies as you move from venue to venue. Note that some of these wireless systems have alternate versions that operate using different frequency bands. While most wireless systems have built-in automatic scan and sync features, there may be times when you'll have to take control and set frequencies yourself.

  • Frequency Response

    This specification indicates the frequencies that the earpiece can reproduce. The lower the starting range, the more bass frequencies it can produce, while the top range dictates the high frequencies it can handle. Musicians that need to hear more lows, like bassists and drummers will want to look at those with good low frequency response. Some people even end up replacing the earpiece just to hear the lows better.

  • Earbuds

    The earbuds play a very critical role, not only do they play the sound directly to your ear canal, they also have to block out ambient sound and at the same time hold the earpiece assembly in place. Earbuds that are bundled with readily available IEMs are generic, which means that they may or may not perfectly fit your ear, thankfully there are those that offer different sized buds, in case the default one doesn't fit well. To get the most out of your IEM system, you can go for "custom molded" earbuds that are meant to perfectly fit your ear, the caveat is that these personalized ear buds can be expensive.

  • Receiver Battery

    Most IEM receivers are powered by two AA batteries, and since these batteries are widely available, they are the easiest to replace. Still, the cost of having to replace these batteries can add up when the receiver is used on a regular basis. Some manufacturers have opted for built-in rechargeable batteries, which can be cost-effective in the long run.

Methodology

Since there aren't that many readily available wireless in-ear monitor systems, we have decided to look at each one closely. We gathered relevant review and ratings data and fed all of these to the Gearank algorithm, which gave us the scores that allowed us to trim the list further to what the market considers as the top six. For more information on how Gearank Score works, click here. As expected, the list is dominated by popular wireless microphone system manufacturers - Sennheiser, Shure and Audio-Technica - all of which leveraged their expertise and experience with wireless technology. Carvin Audio also made it to the list with an affordable IEM system for those with budget limitations.

The Best In Wireless In Ear Monitor Systems

You can see which Wireless In Ear Monitor Systems made it to our list below, along with user and expert feedback on the pros and cons of each one.

Carvin Audio EM900

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 5+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$429
Carvin Audio EM900

From building guitar and bass amps, Carvin Audio have expanded to stage and recording audio equipment, and this includes the EM900 wireless in-ear monitor system. For the price, it competes directly with other systems that are two to six times more expensive, having features that include automatic scanning and syncing, along with 2 channel mixing for personalized monitor mixes. Other features include PLL (phase lock loop) that helps remove static, LCD display on both the transmitter and receiver and braided cables for reliable use of the receiver pack on stage.

Specifications:

  • Transmitter: EM900
  • Receiver: EM901
  • Earphones: EM902
  • Frequency Range: 518-542Mhz
  • Number of Frequencies: 960
  • Transmitter Input: 2 x XLR/Combo Jack
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8"
  • Receiver Power: 2 x AA Batteries
  • Earphone Type: Bud
  • Earphone Freq Response: 10Hz - 20kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 58"

Pros

Most users are pleased with the Carvin EM900's overall performance, especially when considering its price. Many consider it as the best bang per buck IEM system in the market today, and they recommended it for up-starters who are looking for budget friendly wireless monitoring. Some users also commended its frequency options, making it easier to integrate with any setup. Still many rank it highly considering the quality it provides for the price.

John McJunkin at Sound & Video Contractor said, "I will go out on a limb and say that the Carvin EM900 is far and away the best value I’ve ever seen in an IEM system. Unless higher degrees of sophistication are absolutely necessary or unique RF specifications are required, I strongly recommend considering this system. This is the best bang for the buck I’ve ever seen in an IEM".

Cons

There are some who experienced minor drop outs but were able to correct the issue with adjustments. One user recommended using only the stereo monitoring mode because he experienced sound quality degradation in mono mode. There were also a few who reported that the receiver drains the batteries quickly, and cautions on the need to have extra batteries for long use.

Overall

The Carvin Audio EM900 is highly recommended for those that want affordable personalized in-ear monitoring.

Audio-Technica M2M

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$599
Audio-Technica M2M

Audio-Technica is known for producing reasonably priced audio equipment that both hobbyists and professionals appreciate and the M2M is an excellent example. It sits in the sweet-spot where price is accessible for beginners while quality is good enough for experienced users. This bundle includes the M2L transistor with 100 user selectable UHF frequencies, and the M2R receiver which lets you mix two independent signals right at the receiver pack. This configuration gives direct control to the performer, ideal for bands who don't have a team of techs to mix their sound for them. Other features include three rubber eartip sizes and the ability to use up to 10 complete M2 systems simultaneously in one venue.

Specifications:

  • Transmitter: M2L
  • Receiver: M2R
  • Earphones: EP3
  • Frequency Range: 614MHz-647MHz
  • Number of Frequencies: 100
  • Transmitter Input: 1 x XLR, 1x 1/4"
  • Transmitter Output: 1 x XLR, 1x 1/4"
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8", XLR
  • Receiver Power: 2 x AA Batteries
  • Earphone Type: Buds
  • Earphone Freq Response: 40Hz-20kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 9.8"

Pros

Users and experts agree that the Audio-Technica M2M sounds great and performs well within expectations. Many customer reviewers commented that it has a lot of headroom, while the wireless range is good enough for the usual stage sizes. Some experienced users appreciate the M2's expanded input/output options. Most of the positive feedback came from vocalists, but other musicians also chimed in with their recommendations and high ratings.

Cons

Some users reported that ear buds feel cheap and flimsy, and recommended the use of 3rd party earphones. To be more specific, one bassist recommended the use of headphones to better hear the low-end thump of their instrument.

Overall

With its accessible price, flexibility and reliable quality, the Audio-Technica M2 is highly recommended for those who don't want to spend more than $600 on an IEM.

Shure PSM 300 P3TRA215CL

85
GEARANK

85 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
Shure P3TRA215CL

Shure built their reputation on the quality and reliability of their products, and this same principle is what many users saw in the PSM 300. Described by Shure as 'entry level', this IEM system comes packed with features that make it easy to setup, including its one touch frequency scan and IR sync, which automatically finds and assigns a clean wireless channel for the system to use. The bodypack also features mixing control so you can set or adjust your monitor mix and levels the way you want to in real time.

Specifications:

  • Transmitter: P3T
  • Receiver: P3RA
  • Earphones: 2 x IE 4
  • Frequency Range: 516MHz-558MHz
  • Number of Frequencies: 15
  • Transmitter Input: 2 x TRS
  • Transmitter Output: 2 x TRS
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8"
  • Receiver Power: 2 x AA Batteries
  • Earphone Freq Response: 40Hz-20kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 4.6'

Pros

The positive reviews for the PSM 300 were written by a variety of musicians, including lead vocalists, guitarists, drummers, keyboardists and more. One user aptly put it by saying that this monitor helps him zone in to the sounds that matter, which inspired him to play better and enjoy his performance more. From its clean sound, to its quick and convenient setup, the customer reviews for the PSM 300 are overwhelmingly positive.

Cons

There a few users who had issues with the ear buds. Battery drain was also raised a few times by some users who warn that when used for longer then two hours, you should have backup batteries ready.

Overall

If you're looking for a wireless IEM system with Shure's brand of reliability without going above one grand, then get the Shure PSM 300.

Audio-Technica M3M

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$799
Audio-Technica M3M Wireless In-Ear Monitor System

Japan based Audio-Technica has come a long way from manufacturing phonograph cartridges back in 1962, now they are considered as one of the biggest audio equipment manufacturers in the world. The Audio-Technica M3M showcases why the company continues to thrive in the face of stiff competition, it packs in impressive features while keeping the price much lower than what other brands offer. The transmitter features an intuitive interface with LCD display, which you can use to mix two signal sources to achieve your preferred monitoring levels. You can have up to 16 M3 systems running on stage without any problems, or you can pair a single M3L transmitter with multiple receivers if you're just going for a single mix. Other features include built-in multi-level limiter and adjustable squelch for controlling annoying static noise.

Specifications:

  • Transmitter: M3L
  • Receiver: M3R
  • Earphones: EP3
  • Frequency Range: 614MHz-647MHz
  • Number of Frequencies: 1321
  • Transmitter Input: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4"
  • Transmitter Output: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4"
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8"
  • Receiver Power: 2 x AA Batteries
  • Earphone Freq Response: 18Hz-18kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 9.8"

Pros

Reviews have been consistent in saying that the Audio-Technica M3M performs exemplary well, coming from both new and old users who have been working the M3M for years. Experienced drummers, vocalists, guitarists and engineers have mostly good things to say about their experience, specifically mentioning ease of use and sound quality as its finest features.

Cons

There are some users who complained about the receiver being bulky, while others find that batteries need to be replaced more often than what they wanted. There were also a few that had minor issues with the antennae, but they still gave the unit high ratings.

Overall

The Audio-Technica M3M is highly recommend for those who want a pro-level wireless IEM system that is still reasonably priced, yet can be expanded on.

Sennheiser EW 300

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1300
Sennheiser EW 300 G3 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System

Founded in 1945, Sennheiser have developed and produced microphones and headphones for many decades now, they have also successfully branched into the wireless market, producing top rated products like the EW 300, which snags the highest Gearank score on this list. This package contains a Sennheiser SR 300 Transmitter with 5-band EQ and two EK 300 receiver packs with adaptive-diversity feature, and ear-canal phones with different ear-fitting pads. Other features include an ethernet port for remote monitoring and control of the wireless system, as well as pass-through outputs for splitting of the input signal to other devices.

Specificaitons:

  • Transmitter: SR 300 G3
  • Receiver: 2 x EK 300 G3
  • Earphones: 2 x IE 4
  • Frequency Range: 516MHz-558MHz
  • Number of Frequencies: 1680
  • Transmitter Input: 2 x XLR/Combo
  • Transmitter Output: 1 x 1/4" (Headphone)
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8"
  • Receiver Power: 2 x AA Batteries
  • Earphone Type: Bud
  • Earphone Freq Response: 40Hz-20kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 4.6'

Pros

The overall market response to the Sennheiser EW 300 is overwhelmingly positive. The most common remark points to its reliability and solid construction, as attested to by the many musicians and sound engineers that were very pleased with the results they got. A good number of comments come from musicians and engineers who use the unit extensively for church service, but it's also been reported to work well in small pubs and even big stages.

Cons

While the ear buds come in three different sizes for personalized fit, there are a few who found the quality of the cable to be flimsy, so extra care is recommended when positioning and moving around.

Overall

If you are looking for an easy to implement and reliable wireless IEM system and you want to heed the advice of the majority, then go with the Sennheiser EW 300.

Shure PSM900

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1418
Shure PSM900 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System

There's no denying the popularity and reach of Shure, so it's not surprising to find them entrenched in this list, spearheaded by the PSM900, a versatile wireless IEMS with extended connectivity and bandwidth options. This compact wireless system features Shure’s P9T transmitter with Group scan and Sync technology for convenient automatic configuration. There’s also the CueMode that allows for monitoring up to 20 mixes, and MixMode for creating custom mix of two channels. Another nifty feature is called “automatic gain control” which ensures signal reliability and clarity. The included Shure P9RA receiver runs on a rechargeable battery.

Specifications:

  • Transmitter: P9T
  • Receiver: P9RA
  • Earphones: SE425CL
  • Frequency Range: 470MHz-506MHz
  • Number of Frequencies: 20 per band
  • Transmitter Input: 2 x XLR/Combo
  • Transmitter Output: 1 x 1/4" Headphones
  • Receiver Output: 1 x 1/8"
  • Receiver Power: Rechargeable
  • Earphone Type: Bud
  • Earphone Freq Response: 20Hz-19kHz
  • Earphone Cable Length: 64"

Pros

Most users point to its personal mix capabilities as its major strength, satisfying even the most fickle vocalists and musicians who prefer traditional wedge monitors. The unit's build and sound quality were also mentioned by reviewers, with one even praising the quality and reliability of the power inlets. One expert reviewer described it as amazingly easy to use, thanks to its automatic sync'ing, intuitive front panel controls and metering. All in all, the Shure PSM900 is highly recommended by almost all of its users.

A gig review from FOH Online said, "The performers who used the PSM 900 system all told us that the sound was the cleanest, purest sound they had experienced with IEMs".

Cons

There was one user who found the antennae to be a bit loose, while another wished that the price was a bit lower.

Overall

If you're looking for a reliable professional-level wireless in-ear monitor system that you can expand on, then check out the Shure PSM 900.

Comments

Edifying and helpful article

Edifying and helpful article Alexander Briones and Gearank, thanks. I am sold on IEMS as a vocalist after experiencing horrible sound and technical difficulties at well-known venues. Floor monitors are a thing of the past and a crapshoot for most singers. I have also spoken with other pros and this is the way to go.

I got my eye/ears on Sennheiser EW 300 based on your article.

We examined the top seller

We examined the Wireless IEM lists of all the major music gear retailers in the USA and the Mipro brand wasn't on any of those lists. Mipro did win a TEC award a couple of years ago for one of their wireless IEM systems but they didn't qualify for this guide because they're not widely available.

I don't recall seeing

I don't recall seeing anything specific about Ultimate Ears Pro, and I'm not sure what Alexander Briones saw during our research, but I can tell you they didn't make it onto our short-list.

Have you heard any pros or

Have you heard any pros or cons on the Galaxy Audio TX and RX system? The price is certainly attractive and the specs are good. Thanks for any input.

Galaxy Audio is often

Galaxy Audio is often overlooked but an great company with quality audio and customer service second to none. I love that they field their service calls at their home base in central Kansas USA! Shoot just call them if you have any IEM questions they are helpful and not at all pushy.

I am looking for a wireless

I am looking for a wireless microphone system that includes in ear too.
What I need to buy?

I have also been looking for

I have also been looking for a single wireless unit that combines both in-ear monitors and a headset mic. Unfortunately I haven't found any yet, or ones with a handheld mic, so at the current time it looks like you have to get them separately which means wearing two bodypacks - not ideal.

I'll post back here if I find a better solution.

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