How Does GPS Tracking Work

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a network of 24 satellites placed in orbit for navigation purposes. It was invented in 1960 and positioned by the US Department of Defense for military work but later released to the public as well. GPS navigation system works 24 hours a day anywhere in the world, and is free to use. The system sends signals to navigation devices to calculate the exact location, time and speed of a vehicle, person, aircraft or water equipment. Today it’s used widely by drivers, trucking companies, and shipping firms to track their cargo and know the best route to use.

How GPS Tracking Works

There are at least four satellites available anywhere one stands on earth. All the satellites circle the earth two times a day and send signals to various areas. Any GPS receiver including mobile phones takes this signal information and calculates the user’s location.

How this method works involves calculating the difference between when the signal was sent and when it was received. This difference tells the receiver how far the satellite is, and the distance comparison of several satellites within the same area confirms the location on the electronic map.

The more satellites found within a receiver’s location, the easier it is to calculate speed, distance, and destination. At least three satellites are needed to calculate position, but a fourth satellite makes it possible to tell the speed, direction and estimated time when you are on the move.

Personal Tracking

Mobile GPS technology has made it possible to track people wherever they are. Today any phone can be tracked by the police or mobile service providers. Other mobile devices that help with tracking include jewellery such as watches, bracelets and even chips embedded in the skin.

Smartphones are also equipped with built-in GPS system that can provide the user with direction and navigation instructions. Most of these phones can tell you exactly where you are, including streets and attraction figures. They can alert you if you are going the wrong direction and give you the correct navigation.

Asset Tracking

It is so easy to track your cargo when it’s on the go. A tracking device or chip can be placed on the assets to know exactly where they are, the direction they are heading and when movement stops. Animal tracking devices are also commonly used to locate where cattle and wildlife are all the time.

Aircraft Trackers

GPS aircraft tracking is essential for both private and commercial planes. Though the primary agenda is safety and convenience, GPS works differently on the aircraft as compared to how it’s used in cars. Aircraft tracking enables traffic controllers to know the position of the plane and keep it safe when flying.

GPS also help the supervisors know when the plane will arrive and find it in the case of an accident. However, the greatest use of GPS tracker in aircraft is to ensure the pilot follows a particular path predetermined by the aircraft controller.

Vehicle Tracking

A GPS-enabled tracking device is placed on a vehicle to transmit data through cellular or satellite networks. This device will send the data to a chosen application such as NetTrack for the user to read. The tracking updates and information such as location, speed, direction and stop come in real-time.

GPS tracking system for vehicles enables people to track their cars when they are stolen, keep a tab on your business tracks and know where your child is with the car. It’s an easy and convenient way to keep track of vehicles, be it trucks, small vehicles or fleet of buses.

GPS and Two-Way Radio Integration

Two way radios are great devices used by campers, police force, and emergency dispatch for safety, tracking, and communication. However, they have shortcomings such as lack of real-time transmission, slow updates and being unreliable. Two way radio with GPS makers such as Garmin has integrated their systems with GPS capabilities. The GPS will help to know where someone is at all times even when the device is off, update locations in real time and store data for future use. It’s also handy in case of emergencies to get help and aid search activities.

UK Law

In the United States and most of the other developed countries, the use of GPS tracker by government authorities is limited. They must have a search warrant. Otherwise, any data found will not be admissible in court.

However, UK Law has no specific legislation on GPS trackers. The United Kingdom does recognize that some information is personal data, but it allows government surveillance without permission.

Imtradex Aurelis Handheld Microphones Future Proof to fit all Purposes

We call these Remote Speaker Mics (RSM) and they have come in all different shapes and sizes over the years. Normally a staple of the emergency services, but we have seen a upsurge in general radio users using RSM’s. So it comes as no shock to us that a pro-active company like Imtradex has designed one to suit the needs of the masses.

What was originally developed as a handheld microphone for digital radios, has blossomed over the past few years to an essential equipment accessory for digital radio standards of emergency service: The Aurelis hand microphone from Imtradex.

Meanwhile with the Aurelis, the specialist for critical communications, have a whole series of hand microphones on the market, all adapted to the specific challenges of the communication in critical applications of security agencies, fire departments, dispatch and emergency services. The Aurelis series addresses the different needs of the user: based of the basic model Aurelis Base, Imtradex manufacture customized versions that are specially tailored to the range of functions that meet the customer’s requirements.

All the Aurelis hand microphones have a send button, a microphone and high quality speakers. “All devices contain a cable attachment and also the possibility to connect external audio accessories” adds Ralf Kudernak, CEO of Imtradex. Depending on the radio, different data applications can be integrated, so can ex. on the model Aurelis AudioDis, information be displayed on the LCD display.

“The youngest member of the family is the Aurelis USB handheld microphone, which is designed for connection to computer-based communication system, especially for control centers” informed Ralf Kudernak. “The USB interface gives the easy integration and can be connected independently to each operation system and used with existing hardware. With the development of the Aurelis USB, we followed the desire of several control centers, which wanted to use a handheld microphone which you can also hang at the table of the workplace” said Kudernak.

In terms of digital communication, security and flexibility the innovative ultra-lightweight Aurelis Nexus PTT set new standards. It was specially designed for fire fighting. Thanks to it extra large PTT, with short sensing path and exactly defined pressure point, the operation with use of working gloves is possible.

The user can also be flexible in their choice of radio and headset: All Aurelis handheld microphones can be combined, not only with many headsets, for example with the monaural neckband headset from the NB Series. They are convenient and safe to wear, provide a maximum safe mobility and provide an excellent voice quality. Imtradex can also build them with the different connectors required, so they can easily be connected to different digital radios. All Aurelis handheld microphones have a robust plastic housing. Is splash-proofed and protects the device against dust and against temperature influences, so they can be reliably used in a temperature range from -30 to + 70 degrees Celsius. The 180 gram lightweight Aurelis handheld microphones are also available in different colours and optionally equipped with a car holder or cloth clip.

– See more at: http://www.tetra-applications.com/33213/

What’s the Best 2 way Radio For Long Range

When choosing the best 2 way radio, it is important to note that doesn’t matter which brand you pick. Whether you pick kenwood, Motorola, Icom, Hytera or any other brand, you should know that they all feature the same technology. Well, you might have noticed that most consumer radios tend to advertise a range that’s up to 30 miles. Truth is, the consumer FRS/GMRS radios don’t even provide anything close to the advertised maximum range; the range that a two way radio advertises is normally the range that a radio can get in the ideal condition. The ideal condition is clear line of sight like from the mountain top to the valley below; without any interference or obstructions.

2 way radios generally operate within VHF (that is Very High Frequency; 130 to 174MHzz) and UHF (that is, Ultra High Frequency; 420 – 470 MHz)) wave bands. Unlike the frequencies that are below 2MHz, the waves in these particularly higher frequencies travel in a straight line (also known as line of sight signal), and generally can’t travel beyond your horizon. This basically means that distance to your horizon, is the actual maximum range for your two way radio; that is without the use of any additional equipment to boost the signals.

VHF waves (about 5 feet wide), are generally longer than the UHF waves, and they’re most commonly used for long range/distance communication. If VHF waves and UHF waves were both transmitted in ideal conditions without any barriers, the VHF waves would travel nearly twice as far; as a general rule, the lower the wave frequency, the greater the distances it can travel.

Key to transmitting the radio waves for a long distance along the VHF waves is keeping the receiver and the transmitting radio above all possible obstructions or interfering objects. The VHF frequencies (because of the length of their waves), cannot transmit through some objects like walls, dense forests and hills. Typically, the transmissions which are sent along VHF waves are received and also sent high above earth’s surface. VHF 2 way radios normally work better when there is a clear line of sight between the receiver and the sender. VHF two way radios are commonly used in marine and aviation communications where signals get sent across the open water bodies or between the ground and the sky. Television and FM radios also use the VHF frequencies where the signals are sent and also received high at the top of towers which are spaced all over the towns, cities and counties. VHF band walkie talkies are also perfect for landscaping, open fields, golf courses and also for outdoors security situations where there is less obstruction.

Though VHF can travel much farther, it doesn’t mean it is the better option. Reason is because of the differences between how the VHF and the UHF signals tend to react around buildings or structures. As you will find out below, UHF signals are shorter than VHF, and this is very important when you’re in or around buildings.

UHF doesn’t travel as far as the VHF, but has higher bandwidth occupation. One major advantage of UHF over the VHF, is that the antenna can actually be much smaller when its’ used on the higher frequencies. Sometimes, a base antenna might be needed for radios using VHF frequency, but a small antenna on a radio can be comfortably used for the UHF frequency. Moreover, there are a lot more frequencies which are available when using UHF; this can be very useful in the areas which have a high population density.

The UHF radio waves are much shorter than the VHF radio waves (measuring at about one and half feet); the short length of UHF radio waves typically decreases distances at which the signals can get transmitted. This means that the line of sight between the receiver and the sender is much shorter in length with UHF waves. That being so, you should know that transmission of the UHF waves is usually high enough such that it can penetrate through the building walls and the urban outdoor settings. This is the reason why UHF two way radios usually work best for those who intend to use them in and around buildings and urban areas. A UHF walkie talkie with adequate power and a good sized antenna can reach further into the building, and push through steel, wood, concrete and earth. If you intend to use your two way radios exclusively indoors, or maybe indoors and at times outdoors, the the UHF is definitely the best choice. To explain this, let us use an example; assume you’re trying to communicate with someone on the other side of the building and in between there’s a metal wall which has a 3 foot opening. Basically, radio waves can’t pass through metal. However, the UHF wavelength which is about 1 1/2 ft wide, will easily pass through the opening. In contrast, the VHF signal will bounce back since it’s wider than the opening. This shows you that UHF is much better when it comes to navigating through smaller spaces within buildings to reach its’ destination.

When it comes to power, many people tend to think that the power output increases the range, but actually the difference in the range between, say a 25W fixed VHF, and a 5W handheld, is because the fixed mounts the antenna being taller, thus can see farther. When you are trying to increase the range, increasing the height of your antenna is far more effective than increasing the power. Increased power will generally let you push through the static and such other radio traffic much better, but only within a range that’s dictated by the height of the antenna.

In regards to obstacles, there are a lot of things which affect the signal strength of the radio waves. Therefore, it’s important to consider the environment you intend to use your 2 way radios, and the actual range you need. Naturally, a football stadium will have much less obstructions as compared to a dense forest.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it is never about the radio you purchase, but the frequency, antenna and environment it will be used in. If your 2 way radio is going to be used mainly outdoors, where you will have a clear line of sight, then the VHF is the ideal choice, however, if the two way radio is going to be used in and around buildings, in urban areas, or in heavily wooded places, then the UHF is the best option.

What 2 way Radio Channel Should I Use

You may get confused about various types of walkie talkies on sale in the UK, or not be certain what type of walkie talkies you require, and what you’re legally allowed to use in some other countries that you plan to visit, or in your part of the world. Firstly, it is important to have in mind that any type of walkie talkie will function in any part of the world.

A walkie talkie is used on a channel that has a frequency associated with the walkie talkie. In other words, if a channel has a frequency different from that of a walkie talkie, then the two will not work together.

License Free Walkie Talkies

There are 446 license-free frequencies that can be used for leisure radios such as, Motorola talkabout, Binatone and Cobra radios. However, there are eight PMR466 frequencies or PMR466 channels that can be used.

The spacing between each of these frequencies is 12.5 kHz. As the system name suggests, PMR446 frequencies are located around 446MHz and are in the UHF segment of the radio range.

Even though they are not necessarily authorized, PMR446 frequencies are harmonized for use across European countries.

High level use of PMR446 frequencies may result in some annoying problems. However, these can be reduced or rectified by changing the frequency of the PMR446. Other systems such as DCS codes and CTCSS tone can as well help in alleviating the problems.

In view of the possible high use of the frequencies and the PMR446’s unlicensed nature, the scheme is not appropriate for individuals who need to gain access to frequencies at specific times and locations or for life use.

These are simple, short-range walkie talkies that conform to the European Union-wide PMR446 standard and can be used by any person in the United Kingdom or European Union without a license. These types of radios are commonly sold in High-Street shops as well as in most radio outlets.

Commonly known as “PMR446s” radios that meet these standards usually have a power output of 0.5watts, meaning that their range is lower compared to the powerful business walkie talkies that are a licensed and which feature power outputs of 4-5 watts. All of them make use of the same eight channels and this causes problems sometimes if a given area has a lot of radio users using these channels.

Licensed Walkie Talkies

Two Way Radio for Business

Licensed handheld walkie talkies can have a power output of 5 watts, but “license free” PMR446 walkie talkies can only have 0.5watt power output. Therefore, the licensed walkie talkies usually have a better signal penetration and better range in buildings.

A majority of businesses prefer using a licensed 2-way walkie talkie system because, in spite of the benefits of license free walkie talkies (PMR 446), they have some downsides (like lower power, a short range and interference) which make them less effective than licensed business radio systems.

Taxi as well as other transport companies, and large sites like factories or hospitals, and businesses situated in a number of different locations are excellent examples of circumstances where a licensed radio system may be a favored option.

These situations require more powerful radios as opposed to hand-held portable walkie talkies with low frequencies. If the system of your radio relies on vehicle-mounted radios or a base station, a licensed radio system is necessary.

Ofcom

If you want start using a radio system in your business, then you will have to get a license from Ofcom. In other words, Ofcom is a company that controls who can transmit on what frequency and where, to ensure that different users don’t interfere with each other.

Business radio system users range from factories and taxi companies, to industrial sites, hospitals, transport operators and care homes. To begin Ofcom’s licensing process there are a number of requirements that a business must first of all fulfil.

Ofcom license is especially important regarding official radio users like police, military, railways, air traffic control and emergency services, railways, etc. Radio systems that meet specific standards can be used without any license from Ofcom. For many walkie talkie users, license free radios will be okay. And if you are in need of a license, it isn’t that expensive or complicated to get one.

The UK simple license is a license issued by Ofcom and gives holders the right to use more powerful radios. It is effectively a license to use powerful radios any place in the UK, using give frequencies which are shared by anyone using this license. This license is easy and quick to apply for, costs about £75 per organization, and is valid for 5 years.

It is the only option for people who need to use their radio systems anywhere in the United Kingdom, and is ideal for most business radios users.

Geographic License

This license provides you with specific frequencies or frequency allocated just for your organization’s use within a given geographical area. The cost of the license varies from moderately cheap in most locations in the UK (about £100 annually), with the cost heightening in key cities, more so London, where the demand for radio frequencies is very high, going for up to more than £500 per year.

Radios that are designed to use dedicated frequencies such as this, should not be used outside of the licensed area, since the same frequency will possibly have been assigned to somebody else and you will therefore be causing interference to them.

UK Business Radio Suppliers License

This is a license for hire companies and radio equipment suppliers. It allows these companies to do short term radio hire via a set of frequencies allotted to radio hire companies. It also allows these companies to provide ‘demo’ radio systems to potential customers and to undertake repairs to radio systems.

When these companies hire out their radio equipment, it’s hired using this license, so that the person hiring it does need to worry about licensing issues.

Summary

The importance of walkie talkies and radios in the UK and other parts of the world cannot be overlooked. Not only are these gadgets important in everyday communication, but they continue to play a very crucial role in the development of other communication tools. A lot of useful information about radios and walkie talkies has been highlighted in this article for the benefit of radio users and the public in general.

Could hearing loss be a hidden cost of gaming?

Is this is a real problem? Do you use a set of headphones whilst gaming? This article has information on how damaging wearing gaming headphones is and what the future impact might be. Read this, examine how you use your headphones and get on with life…

According to the Q1 2016 GameTrack report, 18.8 million people between the ages of 6 and 64 game and those between 11 and 64 spend an average 8.8 hours per week doing so.

 Amongst Gamers the largest group is 15 to 24 year old males who are most at risk of permanently damaging their hearing. This group spends the most amount of time gaming and are also the most attracted to the “loud” games. Furthermore a majority of them live in a shared accommodation and use headphones so as not to disturb others. This group also the most likely to take part in other activities which can be harmful to their hearing such as listening to music through headphones, going to gigs and festivals, and nightclubs.

 Unfortunately the price of their enjoyment could well be significant and permanent hearing damage. Whilst there is clearly a risk to the Gamer, it could transfer as a liability to the games companies in the form of legal action relating to their duty of care.

 The first significant step is to make Gamers aware of how much sound exposure they are experiencing and what they can do to prevent hearing damage, because hearing damage is permanent

 Hearing damage is caused by the combination of how long you listen (time), how loud you listen (volume), and what you listen to (energy content). The combination of these three factors create a “sound dose”, if the dose is too high it starts to damage your hearing.

 The UN’s World Health Organisation and hearing conservation organisations are increasing awareness of the risks and advise users to restrict their daily sound dose to less than 85dB average over 8 hours.

 Gamers who use headphones currently have no realistic way to indicate what level they are listening at and how much of their daily sound dose they have used. The answer will be to provide them with an intelligent sound dose measurement app or software, giving them their individual sound dose exposure information and guidance, with optional protection, so that for the first time they can make informed decisions about their hearing health.

LeBlanc: Protect your hearing it is irreplaceable

This is an excellent story about how hearing protection is sometimes be essential, and when you’re on the shooting range it has to be vital. But it is important to get the right set of headphones that will protect your hearing sufficiently. Lessons can be learnt from this excellent case study.

There is no doubt that we all take our senses of sight, smell, and hearing for granted as long as we are strong and healthy and everything is working well. When we are young we tend to believe that we are indestructible and readily adopt the idea that “it will never happen to me.” Consequently, we can develop some bad habits and be a little loose when it comes to preventative measures for almost anything.

I know because that was my attitude at thirty years old when my eye doctor made a comment in passing that my eyes were perfect, but the chances are I would be needing reading glasses by the time I was 50. I scoffed, but you could almost have set your watch by it because by the time I was in my late 40’s my arms started to get shorter when it came to reading, tying on fishing lures and other things that required scrutiny up close. At 50 I was wearing reading glasses.

Growing up I never bothered too much about wearing ear protection. When I was plinking it was with a .22 rifle that only put out a little noise if you were the shooter so the thought of hearing protections seemed ludicrous. When hunting I do not know if I have ever heard my firearm discharge and beside that unless I was dove hunting I seldom shot too many shots anyway.

The change of heart came when I started shooting on an indoor range, while in the Air Force. I noticed after shooting a few rounds with my .22 caliber, Ruger Single Six that my ears would ring for a while afterward. One night a grizzled old Master Sargent suggested I wear ear protectors or take a chance of damaging my hearing. I took the recommendation to heart and have been wearing them ever since. The result has been that after many years of shooting .22’s, large caliber handguns, rifles and shotguns my hearing is still intact and working well.

Shooting is not the only activity that can cause hearing problem as any loud noise can damage your hearing. The intense vibration caused by loud noises can injure or destroy the hair cells inside the cochlea, so they no longer function to transmit nerve impulses to the brain. If that happens, you will experience hearing changes.

Hearing protection is needed anytime one is exposed to sounds above 80 decibels (dB). Normal human conversation runs about 30 to 35 dB. At its peak level, the sound of a 12-gauge shotgun is about 140 dB. 9mm runs around 159 dB and a .38 special with a six-inch barrel is about 156 dB, a .22 LR pistol with the same length barrel 140, an M-16 is about 154, a .45 ACP pistol is 155, and a .357 Magnum revolver is 164. All of them are around double the safe sound level. Just to be on the safe side I used to wear muff type hearing protectors and usually ear plugs also when on the range.

For range use today there is an array of muff style hearing protectors. The new style that I now use have not only hearing protection, but also hearing enhancement. The controls on each ear can be tuned to match your individual optimum hearing and increase the volume up to eight times normal. So when the range master gives a command or when you are speaking with a companion on the shooting line you can speak in a normal voice and hear them as well or better than without the power muffs. Yet when you shoot the sound activated compression circuit reduces the sound from the shot to a noise reduction rate of 24dB.

This is very important on a shooting range because I have missed range commands in the past from the range master simply because I could not hear them through my hearing protection.

The new muffs I use are from Walker’s but they offer many other styles in their Game Ear series. These are unlike the muff style protectors as the bulk of the unit fits behind your ear with an earpiece that fits inside your ear, the unit weighs less than one fourth of an ounce and can be used with or without glasses. These too can be fine-tuned to your specific hearing, allow you to turn the volume up to magnify sounds from five to seven times and still reduce the sound of the shots to a rating of 29dB.

The ability to custom tune the devise to your hearing as well as adjust the volume up on these models will enable the hunter to more readily pickup games sounds in the woods. Sounds like a squirrel jumping through the trees or when their belly slaps a tree when they jump from one to another. It will help the hunter pick up the minutest sound of a deer brushing by limbs or the whisper of them walking through leaves or disturbing a rock.

So now there is really no acceptable reason not to wear hearing protector and if you get a good set it may even enhance your chances of bagging some more game.

Music From Your Sunglasses? Zungle’s Founders Crowdfund $2M For Shades With Bone-Conduction Speakers

Anything with bone conducting technology, we will jump upon and love the hell out of! When we heard about Sunglasses that had speakers with bone conducting inside, to allow you to make calls and listen to music whilst on the move we thought what a great idea. This crowd-funder is looking to raise $50,000 but $1 million would be a good start. See more on this here.

One of the latest hot crowdfunding campaigns is for dark sunglasses called the Zungle Panther with bone-conduction technology that allows them to be used to listen to music and make phone calls. Jason Yang, Zungle’s 30-year-old CEO and co-founder, came up with the idea because he was annoyed with trying to wear an earpiece and sunglasses to listen to music while wakeboarding.

“We all love extreme sports, and Jason is a huge fan of wakeboarding,” says Sean Bang, 30, Zungle’s chief marketing officer and co-founder. “He’ll have sunglasses on, but eventually the earphone doesn’t work with the sunglasses, and he felt that it was inconvenient and uncomfortable. So we decided to get rid of the inconvenience.”

With Zungle’s sunglasses, wearers can listen to music or make phone calls while skiing, biking or wakeboarding without worrying about an additional earpiece. Bone-conduction technology, in which you hear sound through vibrations to your skull rather than through your ears, isn’t new. But the idea of putting it into relatively inexpensive consumer products, like sunglasses, has been gaining traction recently.

So after fiddling with the product for nearly a year, in June, the two friends, who had worked together at marketing firm Innocean Worldwide in South Korea, along with two other cofounders, Chris Hong and Injun Park, turned to Kickstarter with a stated goal of $50,000 for their high-tech sunglasses. As with many crowdfunding campaigns, that $50,000 number was a lowball one; Yang says “about $1 million” was their actual goal. The Zungle Panther has a similar look to Oakley’s shades, and retails for $150. Backers who chipped in $89 could get them in a choice of colors as a “reward.” “When we started, we didn’t have enough money to create this product,” Bang says. “We chose Kickstarter because we can target everyone around the globe.”

By the time the campaign ended, in mid-July, Zungle had raised more than $1.9 million, putting it among Kickstarter’s top 100 campaigns of all-time.

What Can Be The Earpiece Singers Don During their Performance

Every time a singer gets on stage, he or she wants to put on his/her best performance ever. This is why he/she will try to avoid any distraction that might otherwise affect his or her performance in a negative way. They will ensure that their concentration is really high and that they can hear themselves sing during that moment. One of the distractions that is usually in almost every concert is noise. The noise can be coming from the speakers, the echoes and even form the audience itself.

The music and the song that is normally heard when a singer is performing is referred to as house mix while the song that the singer hears from the speakers is referred to as monitor mix. Usually, a singer stands at the back of the main speakers that are normally placed in front of the audience. Most of the time especially on a big stage, the song that reaches the audience is reflected back to the stage (but not immediately). Such background music will prevent the singer from hearing his or her voice.

Stage monitors are small speakers that are directly aimed at the singer for him or her to hear himself or herself sing. Stage monitors were previously used in concerts and they are still being used on some small venues where cover bands do gigs e.g. in some private parties, bars etc. In the current concert venues, stage monitors do not work very well. This is because singers and musicians move a lot on stage when they are performing. Although the stage monitors enable the singer to hear the music on the stage, they are not as clear as personal monitors (referred to as earpieces, very different to Radio Earpieces).

Earpieces give the singer a detailed information regarding his or her performance. They make him/her hear both the song and the orchestra. They enable the singer to constantly hear his/her song regardless of his or her physical movement on the stage. This is unlike the stage monitors that usually provide the band’s and the singer’s voice based on their distance from the speaker. With stage monitors, the sounds usually vary especially if the singer is moving all over the stage.

When a singer has the earpieces on, he gets to choose what he wants to hear. For instance if he wants to hear himself sing or even hear the lyrics, he can. The earpieces help in drowning out the background sounds like the noises made by the crowd or even those from the band. In fact on average, the earpieces can help the singer reduce the background noise by up to 30 decibels. This can extremely help the singer during the performance.

Usually, the earpieces are tailor- made to perfectly fit the singer. They also come in different styles and colors and therefore the singer can pick the one that suits his/her outfit on the stage.

The most important benefit of having the earpieces on is that, they help the singer in eliminating or reducing the echoes. In an auditorium specifically built for concerts, sounds usually radiate through the entire building when the singer is performing. The audience really enjoy the music that echoes back to the stage however, the singer can easily get confused with such echoes. Note that, by the time the echo reaches the stage, it will be one or two seconds off from what the singer is singing at that moment.

Earpieces also help in blocking the sounds that are coming from the band. The instruments are extremely loud especially those that use electric amplifiers. This noise can make it really hard for the singer to hear himself or herself sing.

The earpieces give the singer the sound feedback and therefore he/she is able to hear everything that is in the song. This makes it easier for him/her to keep on with his or her performance.

Sometimes, you may notice that some garage bands who work in small areas are not using earpieces. The members of such bands usually monitor one another while performing to ensure that they keep up and stay in tune during the performance. However in large crowds of say a 100000 people (i.e. in huge stadiums), one will definitely need earpieces otherwise he/she may not hear anything and may even end up with off key sounds.

In Ear Monitor Buyer’s Guide: Custom vs. Generic Fit

It is understood that ear moulded plugs are far more comfortable and effective than the mushroom plugs, but which ones are the best? The Custom fit or generic fit. This article runs over the positives and negatives of that question and comes to a conclusion, if your debating to get some moulded ear plugs or some from the shelf, you will want to read this first.

Over the past 20 years, In Ear Monitors (or IEMs) have become a near-necessity for live performance.

In years prior, engineers would inevitably have to crank up a venue’s stage monitors loud enough for the musicians to hear themselves over the audience, over the sound coming from the stage, and over the main mix.

This would often lead to an arms race of ever-increasing stage volume, potentially causing feedback issues and compromises in clarity and quality for the live mix.

Custom in-ear monitors from JH Audio, one of the first commercial brands to make a name for itself in the IEM market.

With the advent of in-ear monitors, all this began to change. In the mid-1980s, Etymotic developed the first-ever insert-style earphones, and soon after, a designer named Marty Garcia began making one-off custom in-ears for rock stars like Todd Rundgren.

By 1995, Jerry Harvey, founder of Ultimate Earsand JH Audio, brought some of the first commercially-available dual-driver IEMs to market. All of a sudden, everyday musicians had an option that allowed us to save our hearing, get better monitor mixes, and dramatically reduce the chances of feedback onstage.

Today, IEMs are increasingly being considered useful tools for the studio as well. Their ability to prevent sound leakage can be of tremendous value in helping to control click and instrument bleed, and in saving musicians’ hearing by allowing them to monitor at lower levels.

Some musicians and engineers, such as drummer Rich Pagano of The Fab Faux, will use IEMs to quickly check for phase when mic’ing up a drum kit, while others turn to IEMs as a kind of audio microscope, using them to help check for and remove extraneous low-level noise.

Any modern musician would be wise to consider adding in-ear monitors to their toolkit. But is it worth it to dish out the extra money on custom fit IEMs, instead of saving some money with the generic fit ones?

In testing a variety of in-ear monitors from brands like Westone, Ultimate Ears, Future Sonics, and even Skullcandy (that last of which is not recommended for professional use), I have found that there are cases in which generic fit earphones may work better than their custom counterparts. Making the right decision for your needs comes down to considering the following four factors:

1) Cost

Ultimate Ears custom fit in-ear monitors.

Custom fit IEMs tend to cost more than generic fit ones, as it takes more time and effort for the manufacturer to craft a product designed specifically for the unique anatomy of your ear.

Getting custom IEMs made also requires that you go to an audiologist to make a mold of your ear canal that the IEM company can then use to make your monitors fit as well as possible.

Take note of both of these costs, which can range from $100-$200 or more for a fitting from an audiologist, and $299-$1499 or more for the custom monitors to be made.

2) Comfort & Seal

Custom fit IEMs are custom, so they should feel really comfortable, right?  Well, yes and no.

In my experience, custom fit IEMs can feel a little tight in the ear canal compared to generics, especially at first. Hearing so little acoustic feedback from your performance can also take some getting used to, and the tight seal of custom fit in-ears can feel particularly awkward when signing.

Because of this, my looser-fitting Westone 3 generic IEMs actually feel more comfortable to me on vocal duties, so I often find myself using them over my custom fit Future Sonics when I step up to the mic.

Matt Bellamy from Muse (recently featured in Get THAT Guitar Tone) has been seen using both customUltimate Ears UE-11s and generic-fit Westone UM2s when on tour, and my guess is that he has similar reasons.

Though the tight fit of custom IEMs and lack of acoustic feedback from your performance can be a challenge, it’s worth noting that generic foam-tip IEMs also provide their own tradeoffs: The looser fit of generics can sometimes create a bit of a tingling or “tickling” feeling in your ear when playing at higher volumes, so it may be useful to have a pair of each and go with what feels best depending on the date and venue.

Silicone-based Encore Studio custom IEMs from ACS.

Another option here is the custom fit brandACS, which makes its IEMs out of soft silicone shells.

This softer silicone-based design is meant to offer both better comfort and a tighter fit than the hard acrylic shells used by brands like Westone and Ultimate Ears.

Though these silicone monitors sell for a premium price of $400-$1,200 and up, they may help bridge the gap between the tight seal of custom acrylics and the looser and easier fit of foam-tipped generic IEMs.

3) Hearing Protection

In addition to cutting down on sound leakage to help improve sound quality and reduce feedback, another primary benefit of IEMs is that they can offer considerable hearing protection by helping to block out exterior noise, allowing you to monitor at lower levels.

Some of the best custom fit brands like JH Audio and Ultimate Ears offer NRR ratings of 26dB in reduction, and some of the better generic brands advertise comparable results as well. (Though your results with generics may vary depending on the fit and seal in your ear.)

In the long term, reducing the levels you’re regularly exposed to—even by a few extra decibels—could mean the difference between a long and illustrious career as a “golden-eared” audio engineer and potentialtinnitus and irreversible hearing loss.

Also worth checking out is the REV33 system, which can be added on to your your in-ear-monitoring system to help reduce distortion and ear strain. Many live musicians, including Phil X and Steve Salas swear by the system. According to the company:

“All in-ear monitors and headphones generate damaging, unwanted noise and distortion that forces the ear to shut down and compress for protection. The REV33 reduces the symptoms of tinnitus, ear-ringing, ear-fatigue, buzzing and dampened hearing by preventing in-ear monitors and headphones from producing this unwanted noise and distortion.”

4) Waiting and Time Considerations

After getting my first pair of IEM’s made, I found that the right ear monitor turned out well, but I was not getting a proper seal in the left ear at first. This made the monitors essentially useless for my live sound needs at the time, and so I had to send them back for some tweaking.

When I got them back a couple of weeks later, the seal still wasn’t great, so I had to send them back once again for further modification, and visit my audiologist a second time to take another impression of my ear canal to send in.

Getting the perfect fit turned out to be quite a time-consuming process (as well as an expensive one) so unless you’re on the hunt for a long-term solution with as much acoustic isolation as humanly possible, you might satisfice with generic IEMs, or keep some around as an alternate option.

In that case, I would recommend the generic in-ears from Ultimate Ears, Shure, or Westone.

Ultimate Ears’ generic fit UE900 model sports 4 drivers for $400.

The Ultimate Ears UE900’s are a great sounding 4-driver IEM that only costs $399, while the $99 Shure SE215 single-driver IEMs advertise an astonishing 37dB of noise reduction (more than most custom IEMs) at a great price.

My own triple-driver Westone 3’s (since replaced by the W30 model) are the most comfortable in ear monitors I own right now, and they isolate a lot more noise than most thanks to their foam-tip construction.

Compared to custom in-ears, any of these model can potentially save you time and money, or work as a welcome supplement for those times when the tight fit of custom in-ears feels irksome.

I hope my experiences here help you make the right decision when you go to buy your own IEMs. In short, I found that less-expensive generic foam-tipped IEMs worked better for me in many situations, and the savings enabled me to spend my money on better drivers with a fuller sound.

If you’ve used IEM’s in the past, let us know in the comments below whether you prefer custom fits or generic fit ones, and why.