Short for “in-ear monitors.” A personal monitoring solution consisting of a pair of earpieces that are inserted into the performer’s ear, providing both ear bud/headphone-style monitoring as well as more or less isolation from external sound. In-ear monitors have become more and more prevalent as venues and artists increasingly strive to control stage volume or even to achieve a “silent” stage performance where the only audible instruments and vocals are projected through a PA system. Everything the performers hear onstage comes through their own personal monitoring system.
In-ear monitors may be either generic earbud-style earpieces or custom-molded earpieces that are specifically fit to the performer’s ears. Molded earpieces generally provide better long-term comfort as well as better isolation from external sound.
Dedicated in-ear monitors differ from ear buds in the quality of sound provided, isolation from external noise, durability, and power handling capability.