IEM question - worth getting custom molds?

Ahchv

Active member
Hi all!

I have a pair of cheap wireless Shure 215's that I got on eBay for $75 bucks.

I want to get custom molds (I already have the molds from my audiologist)

Any thoughts or considerations if it's worth getting custom fittings from Sensaphonics for these "cheap" IEMs, or should I be looking for upgrades?

I only play in my basement so no live gigging... I don't quite love the 215's (they feel too bassy and not enough highs) but looking for any ideas / thoughts / experiences from everyone...
 

trickg

Silver Member
I have yet to get custom molded in-ears, but everyone I know who has them has always said they are worth the money.

I like my 215s - for the money, they get the job done more than nicely IMO.

The "best" set of in-ears I've ever owned was a set of Shure SE425s that were gifted to me by the church I was playing for. I ended up replacing them with the 215s, and by the time I did, I didn't realize just how badly the sound had degraded on the 425s, so I couldn't really make an educated comparison, although I will say that when I had the 425s and they were working properly, I always felt that they sounded good.

To be fair to the 425s, I ended up getting them in early 2011, and I replaced them in 2018. I used them HARD for 7 years - any time I was practicing or gigging drums, and any time I was gigging on trumpet for the wedding band - we use in-ear monitors for that gig. Those 425s saw countless hours of use and held up just fine. I think eventually the drivers simply burned out because gradually they got quieter and quieter until the left side could barely be heard.

I know a lot of people like Ultimate Ears, and I know a lot of people like Westones - YMMV. Everyone I know who has forked over the cash for expensive in-ears swears by their purchases. Personally, I've always been happy with a fairly basic set of Shures with stock ear pieces.
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
I have a pair of custom-molded Westone IEMs I use for my live band. Prior to that I've used all kinds of off-the-shelf IEMs and I find that for the money and ease of use, custom-mold is the way to go. You don't have to spend unnecessary time yawning, propping open your ear lobes, readjusting/reinserting, etc. the off-the-shelf stuff that you have to do with customs.. just insert and off you go. Plus with the myriad of driver options from custom IEM you can tailor how you want your sound to be.

Now, all the above kind of goes out the window if you say you're just playing in the basement... then some Shure's and a pair of over-the-head Peltor style ear protection will be more than plenty. Or, the Vic Firth ones that combine both into one package. Only if you have money burning a hole in your pocket or a looming chance to play live should you then delve into custom IEMs.
 

Ahchv

Active member
I have a pair of custom-molded Westone IEMs I use for my live band. Prior to that I've used all kinds of off-the-shelf IEMs and I find that for the money and ease of use, custom-mold is the way to go. You don't have to spend unnecessary time yawning, propping open your ear lobes, readjusting/reinserting, etc. the off-the-shelf stuff that you have to do with customs.. just insert and off you go. Plus with the myriad of driver options from custom IEM you can tailor how you want your sound to be.

Now, all the above kind of goes out the window if you say you're just playing in the basement... then some Shure's and a pair of over-the-head Peltor style ear protection will be more than plenty. Or, the Vic Firth ones that combine both into one package. Only if you have money burning a hole in your pocket or a looming chance to play live should you then delve into custom IEMs.
Which model do you use?
 

Ahchv

Active member
I have yet to get custom molded in-ears, but everyone I know who has them has always said they are worth the money.

I like my 215s - for the money, they get the job done more than nicely IMO.

The "best" set of in-ears I've ever owned was a set of Shure SE425s that were gifted to me by the church I was playing for. I ended up replacing them with the 215s, and by the time I did, I didn't realize just how badly the sound had degraded on the 425s, so I couldn't really make an educated comparison, although I will say that when I had the 425s and they were working properly, I always felt that they sounded good.

To be fair to the 425s, I ended up getting them in early 2011, and I replaced them in 2018. I used them HARD for 7 years - any time I was practicing or gigging drums, and any time I was gigging on trumpet for the wedding band - we use in-ear monitors for that gig. Those 425s saw countless hours of use and held up just fine. I think eventually the drivers simply burned out because gradually they got quieter and quieter until the left side could barely be heard.

I know a lot of people like Ultimate Ears, and I know a lot of people like Westones - YMMV. Everyone I know who has forked over the cash for expensive in-ears swears by their purchases. Personally, I've always been happy with a fairly basic set of Shures with stock ear pieces.
I really like the 215's but they are too bassy - feel like the lack some highs... I"m looking into the SE425s but with the custom molds, they are almost $400 so it's hard to shed that kind on $ without even trying them out, which I really don't like!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It really depends on your needs. Molds offer the best isolation, and a consistent fit for consistent sound.. But if you're not in a performing situation that benefits from having quality IEMs, then I'd recommend saving the money. Just so you know, $400 is not considered expensive. High-quality IEMs are $1000 and up.

Bermuda
 

Ahchv

Active member
It really depends on your needs. Molds offer the best isolation, and a consistent fit for consistent sound.. But if you're not in a performing situation that benefits from having quality IEMs, then I'd recommend saving the money. Just so you know, $400 is not considered expensive. High-quality IEMs are $1000 and up.

Bermuda
What blows my mind is the inability to test them out to see if you like the sound or not before you buy them! Since I only play in my basement, I'm basically just looking for a better sound than I'm getting out of the SE215s. I also have the Direct Sound EX29 and the Vic Firth muffs/earphones and I don't like the way any of them sound :(
 

trickg

Silver Member
It really depends on your needs. Molds offer the best isolation, and a consistent fit for consistent sound.. But if you're not in a performing situation that benefits from having quality IEMs, then I'd recommend saving the money. Just so you know, $400 is not considered expensive. High-quality IEMs are $1000 and up.

Bermuda
Perspective - $400 is plenty expensive to me, although I do realize that there are plenty of options that are $2000+. The only way I'd ever get something like that is if I had more money than I knew what to do with. For my purposes, I've always been more than content with in-ears in the $100 range. I used Shure EC3s for years, and I had a couple of sets of H1s prior to those.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I only dipped my toe in the IEM waters recently, and VERY modestly. I went with a super inexpensive pair of KZ ZSN's and I have to say, I'm impressed with how good they sound, especially for $23 headphones. If I didn't know better, I'd say that they cost quadruple that. They're definitely good enough to use on stage for all but the most discriminating listener.

I bought some Comply foam tips to replace the silicone tips that came with the ZSN's. They're very comfortable and fit well. Also easy to recommend.

For jamming in the basement or playing clubs, the ZSN's are ideal. Check them out!
 

Ahchv

Active member
I only dipped my toe in the IEM waters recently, and VERY modestly. I went with a super inexpensive pair of KZ ZSN's and I have to say, I'm impressed with how good they sound, especially for $23 headphones. If I didn't know better, I'd say that they cost quadruple that. They're definitely good enough to use on stage for all but the most discriminating listener.

I bought some Comply foam tips to replace the silicone tips that came with the ZSN's. They're very comfortable and fit well. Also easy to recommend.

For jamming in the basement or playing clubs, the ZSN's are ideal. Check them out!
I saw the video on Youtube (I forget the channel, but the guy speaks VERY highly of them). Do you know if / who does custom sleeves for ZSN?
 
GK Ultraphones are the best sounding isolation phones I’ve ever used.
Sorry for slight thread tangent, but do the ultraphones have replaceable cables? If taken out gigging a dodgy cable is only a matter of time, which is what happened to my DT 770s, and I really tried to be careful with them. I wouldn't now buy headphones to take on the road without replaceable cables.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I saw the video on Youtube (I forget the channel, but the guy speaks VERY highly of them). Do you know if / who does custom sleeves for ZSN?
It might have been Rob (Beatdown) Brown who reviewed them. Very informative channel for drummers (y)

Unfortunately, I'm not even sure where to start when it comes to purchasing custom sleeves. I'll be watching this thread closely to see what the others come up with.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
Hi all!

I have a pair of cheap wireless Shure 215's that I got on eBay for $75 bucks.

I want to get custom molds (I already have the molds from my audiologist)

Any thoughts or considerations if it's worth getting custom fittings from Sensaphonics for these "cheap" IEMs, or should I be looking for upgrades?

I only play in my basement so no live gigging... I don't quite love the 215's (they feel too bassy and not enough highs) but looking for any ideas / thoughts / experiences from everyone...
You may want to go an interim route before spending the money on molds, and that is to get some replacement Comply foam tips for your SE215's. If you are already using Comply tips and aren't getting the isolation you need, then the only way forward is molds.

Also, what are you plugging your SE215's into? Can you adjust the EQ on them? I've found mine to be fairly flat and not bassy at all.
 

Ahchv

Active member
You may want to go an interim route before spending the money on molds, and that is to get some replacement Comply foam tips for your SE215's. If you are already using Comply tips and aren't getting the isolation you need, then the only way forward is molds.

Also, what are you plugging your SE215's into? Can you adjust the EQ on them? I've found mine to be fairly flat and not bassy at all.
Oh man I didn’t even think of plugging them into something but that’s a GREAT idea!!!

What would you recommend, some kind of mixer???
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I have yet to get custom molded in-ears, but everyone I know who has them has always said they are worth the money.
I've only personally known a couple of people who got the personal molds, and they said the exact same thing.
 
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