In-Ear Monitors have been exciting the audiophiles in the last decade since the invention of balanced armature driver technology. Since then premium audio companies have been focusing on making In-Ear monitors that sound better than before. That is one reason multiple balanced armatures or hybrid drivers have advanced in the audiophile world.
One such premium audio brand is JH Audio. Founded on the professional audio skills of sound engineer Jerry Harvey, this company aims at creating perfection in in-ear monitor headphones. Jerry Harvey's quest to audio perfection began in 2009 when he invented the JH13 and JH16 earphones, which got him praises from all over the industry. Then came the rage of custom IEMs in the music industry.
Headphones evolved into earphones looking at the comfort and portability. You must have definitely used an apple earphone or the buds that you get in the box with your mobiles. When these earphones are used for monitoring on-stage or in the studio by musicians and audio professionals, these earphones are called In-ear monitors. The purpose of an IEM is to reproduce the perfect audio for the musician to clearly monitor every beat he plays on the drum or every pluck on the guitar.
To emphasize on a particular frequency, like the bass or the mids or the treble, more than one driver unit is used in the earphone. Many such drivers aim at reproducing every frequency to the correct measure, making the music sound crisp and perfect. To read more about driver technologies, head here.
As the name says, the universal IEMs are meant to fit into everyone's ear with the same comfort. They have a specific design language that makes it stand out. Many tend to go for universal IEMs when embarking into the world of Hi-Fi audio. This is because universal IEMs are reasonably priced and are ready to be purchased at the moment. There are number of options to choose from when planning to buy a universal IEM. Many of these earphones feature multiple drivers or hybrid drivers. For better understanding, let's consider the JH audio performance series JH13v2 Pro. This IEM features 8 balanced armatures, of which 4 focus on the highs, 2 on the mids and on the lows. Such a configuration promises the perfect reproduction of every frequency, making every instrument sound precise. For added comfort, they come with various ear tip options to fit your ear size.
JH Audio created the Siren series of IEMs to be used specifically with Astell&Kern High Resolution Audio Players. After this became a huge hit among the audiophiles, they introduced the Performance series earphones. The Roxanne, Lola, JH13v2 and JH16v2 are part of the performance series universal in-ear monitors.
When was there a time that you used a earphone and it fit perfectly in your ear causing no discomfort? Happens with everyone, quite frequently. That's where custom IEMs take the show.
They add all that you need and more to a universal IEM. Mainly, Comfort. These earphones have the same tech that a normal earphone carries. The added benefit is that you can shape the earphone shell or housing according to the size and shape of your ear. Cool, ain't it? The perfect fitting of an IEM in one's ear is what every musician or audiophile using a earphone dreams of. Companies focused on making advanced IEMs with multiple drivers and technologies actually offer you the option of customizing your IEM. JH Audio and Noble Audio are some noteworthy examples.
How does this happen?
You can select a particular earphone that the brand features and ask if they give an option to customize it. Then they arrange a session where your ear mold is made using plastic or rubber moulding. This custom shaped ear mould is then sent to the company, which then creates an IEM housing according to your ear moulding. The tech is then fit into the casing. This process is exciting but takes time. Probably around 2 to 3 weeks or more.
For better understanding let's consider the JH Audio Roxanne. You can understand the difference in shape of earphone housing from these images. The custom IEM is quite different according to the ear shape and size of listener.
Though the drivers and technologies used are same, the custom IEMs give you the perfect comfort and yield a longer listening pleasure. You also get the option to feature a custom design or artwork on the housing of the IEM. These custom IEMs are handcrafted to perfection.
The JH Audio Universal and Custom IEMs are named after legendary rock songs that still get the nerve and create a mood. Like the Roxanne, Lola, Layla, Rosie, Angie.
If you are just getting into the premium IEM scene and want to dazzle your brains out, a universal IEM would be a great choice. Of course, taking in note the budget constraints. A universal IEM is also more feasible when you are using it with more than one person, like in a band or at work during leisure.
If you're willing to spend a little more, the custom IEM is always better. It will provide the perfect fit, better isolation and precise audio at the perfect angle for your ears.