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(NB: For parts 1 (Pricing info) and 2 (Product info), see page 6 of this discussion.)
HOW TO GET THE BEST SOUND FROM IEMs - how to fit and get the best sound:
Two important points: 1. IMO IEMs are a vast improvement over previous styles of earbuds, but present greater risk for hearing damage if not used properly. 2. The sound you hear is only as good as the weakest link in the reproduction. If your audio file is a 128 mp3, these are (probably) more than enough to enjoy the full spectrum of sound being transmitted. If your audio is 1440, then these will do, but there might be something better out there. Regardless of the file size, if the recording started with a lot of compression, 1440 is probably unnecessary. If you can’t hear the difference anyway (due to hearing loss), then get the best listening device you can where you can still hear the difference, but no need to go beyond that. Analogy: If your eyes can’t see the difference between regular resolution and high resolution video, then getting a high resolution screen is a waste.
Here’s how to fit, especially the first time:
0. MAKE SURE THESE ARE PLUGGED IN TO YOUR AUDIO SOURCE AND THE VOLUME IS SET WAAAAAAY DOWN (OR MUTE). YOU'LL BRING IT UP LATER.
1. Scrunch up the foam thingy, grab your ear lob (gently) and pull your ear back (a little) - this helps to straighten the ear canal, then VERY gently guide the scrunched up ear bud into your ear.
2. It will slip into your ear. Wait about 30 seconds after you do this the first time. If the earbud is seated well, you're set. You might have the sensation you're wearing earplugs because ... um ... you are. If you feel it's not, try step 1 again or put on a different sized ear-piece.
3. Hook the cable over your ear: cable usually goes around your ear so that it drops down behind your ear).
4. DOUBLE CHECK THAT THE THING IS ON MUTE/VOLUME IS VERY LOW.
5. Start your audio.
6. VERY GRADUALLY increase volume to taste. Remember, you now have the outlet of a speaker a few mm away from your eardrum.
7. ALWAYS START AT A LOW VOLUME AND INCREASE GRADUALLY!
7A. It take very few mistakes of "loud" starts from IEMs to start doing serious and possibly irreparable damage to hearing.
Sources: Numerous articles in scientific literature, lots of study of how hearing works (and doesn’t work), direct and indirect personal experience from being in the music industry. And I own a previous version of these.
Periodically edited. Opinions are my own. No affiliations. Can’t think of anything witty to put here, right now.
I'm glad you have a vote in confidence that we are able to adjust our IEMS for optimal, safe use without a long winded, amateur induced instructional safety manual . I'll be sure to apply at least the first two sentences (my mind wandered elsewhere after two sentences - you can understand, I'm sure) of your recommendations in your 400 line post, while breaking in my soon to be, awesome, Shure-SE215 IEMs. Gracias muchacha.
I assume all of your comments were meant sincerely (and not sarcastically), so ...
Unfortunately, I am continually reminded there are many people who don't "get it". They don't understand how IEMs are supposed to work, how to use them to their full potential and how to not hurt themselves.
I'm aware I'm long-winded, redundant and repeat myself. ;-)
My posts were divided deliberately, so folks wouldn't waste time on what they already know and could get the most from their products. These IEMs are great. A solid product from a solid company. There have been many improvements made to them since I purchased mine, but the fundamentals regarding the best way to use them remain the same.
I wanted to address most basic scenarios. Apparently, my post was deemed very helpful.
I could have written less. For example: "If you put these in your ears without considering the output gain of your audio device, you could permanently damage your hearing after only a few "mistakes." Please be Careful."
I could have written more; I could have added discussion about the various specific ear-attachments, more about ear anatomy and the physiology of hearing, how to use the earwax tool and, for that matter, how IEMs can affect earwax, etc.
I'm passionate about hearing health. Premature hearing loss is on the rise, is directly and indirectly linked to many quality of life issues, still carries stigma in our society and can be very expensive to treat effectively. Except for congenital issues, much of this can be prevented. My intention was to inform, honestly and sincerely, those interested. It was not to condescend or patronize.
I also believe that people have the right to to listen to their music (or whatever) as loudly as they want as long as it doesn't infringe on others' rights. If you want your speakers (or IEMs, in this case) to "go to 11," have at it.
To summarize: My post was intended for those interested in answers to common questions and difficulties with IEMs and to help people be aware of the benefits, risks and consequences. I could have discussed the benefits a bit more, but this was a very popular drop - I think people "get" that part.
Again, thanks for your comments. In spite of its length I hope my writing was/is interesting, coherent and ...
I wish you all the best with your new IEMs. I'm sure you'll enjoy them thoroughly!
Fine print: Periodically edited. Significant changes and updates are noted as such. Opinions are my own. No affiliations. Approx. 40 lines, 425 words and 2,500 characters in this post.