Image: Hugh Threlfall
October 03 2009
Eighteen months ago I introduced you to the concept of IEMs – in-ear monitors – personalised earphones with insets moulded to your ears, as worn on stage by rock stars to listen to their own instrument while blocking out other noise. An Oxfordshire company, ACS, was opening up the world of IEMs to MP3 player users prepared to pay £500-plus for the ultimate in personal music listening. One of their advantages is that you can fill your head with music while having your player at a much lower volume.
IEMs are catching on in a more mainstream way. Etymotic hf2 earphones – a good upmarket model – adapted with personalised ear “sleeves” won this year’s Macworld iPhone Accessory Award and now Apple stores are selling these with a voucher that refers you to an ACS registered audiologist for the silicon ear moulding process. The result is a decent IEM that’s smaller than the full-on version and sounds almost as good as the £500 one I trialled last year.