A number of times, you would have noticed that most singers and performers wear earpieces while performing in a show or a concert. The fact is, most of them do this while performing on stage so that they will be able to hear the song they’re performing without any interference.
While the song might be very loud, if the performer is at a different tempo of the music, this could throw off their entire performance. Thus, wearing an earpiece is what offers them a special edge over a floor monitor.
These earpieces, which are also called in-ear monitors, are also essential for musicians to perform as you might have noticed that famed singing performers, such as Britney Spears, Madonna, or J-Lo always had them on during their shows.
Obviously, these artists couldn’t have ever got through a single performance without using this crucial tool. But singers wear earpieces during a performance for some other reasons apart from this. This article will discuss all you need to know about the reasons why singers wear earpieces.
Understanding What an Earpiece Is
The earplug your best-loved musician uses is different from the ones you use in listening to music or receiving phone calls with. Theirs is a special kind of earplugs known to the stagehands as the in-ear monitor, designed to ensure accordant sound from the vocalist to the members of the band and the sound engineers.
As the name implies, the device goes into your ear and remains there till the end of the show. In the 1980s, it was introduced into the entertainment industry. Famous sound engineers Jerry Harvey and Karl Cartwright invented these in-ear monitors in 1995.
This also happens to be when the former established Ultimate Ears. Then, in 2007, he founded JH Audio. With a diverse record of well-known singers like Van Halen, Kiss and Linkin Park, these monitors designed to piece out background noise by removing any sound not related to the music.
An artist in-ear monitor has two parts: the transmitter & the receiver. The transmitter dispatches the wireless signal to the receiver making use of a half-track unit. In a show, you may have noticed a fanny pack worn by your favorite artist.
That’s the receiver, while the transmitted audio is heard when the earpiece is attached to the pack. There is nothing special about the earplug, though it is suited by the designer to fit perfectly into the ears of the presenter wearing it.
An in-ear plug allows the artist to center their attention on their song. Actors have also made use of this earplug to perfect their presentation. This is done when the actors need to hear the beats when singing during a musical show. It’s also important when the actors cannot remember their lines.
Reasons Why Singers Wear Earpieces
At a concert, the artist has an earplug in their ears connected to a transmitter along the side of their body that monitors and sends the song to the receiver.
The earplug has a control knob to regulate the volume. The in-ear monitor has certain attributes that allow it to filter out background noise, enabling the singer to clearly hear the music as they perform.
This technology was invented to reduce the issue with monitor speakers. The volume of the monitor speakers has to increase to even-out the noise coming from the excited crowd.
This leads to loud ringing in the ear and can cause ear damage. This can affect the performance of the vocalist, thereby, disappointing the crowd. This can also prevent the performer from moving around the stage freely.
This is why an in-ear monitor is important to an artist. It ensures that, in several ways, a show is better. This ensures there is space for free movement on the stage, which is important for backup dancers to be able to perform their routine effortlessly.
The in-ear monitor minimizes the feedback, too. Artist has to understand how to control their mic when performing since directing the mic to the stage speaker causes a loud itchy noise. This earplug helps the artist to move in a different direction without the loud noise that can disturb the show.
This is of very high importance, which is why artists use them during their performance. (Unless they decide to be stationary and not move around the stage when singing.)
What Singers Hear When Wearing Earpieces during a Performance
Now, we know the reasons for using the earplugs during an artist’s performance. But what do they hear when wearing this earplug?
The Public Address (PA) speaker has to be in the front of the vocalist or band. It makes a whine or screech sound that causes people to cover their ears when it is placed behind the band. When the PA is in front of the performer, it emits a sound, which the performer hears that is different from the one the audience hears.
It is very important the performer hears themselves while performing. It’s very confusing and hard to perform without hearing yourself. One solution to this debacle is the use of wedge monitors — triangular speaker cabinets on the stage, which will point up to the singer or band member. The downside is you need to be standing directly in front of them to hear anything.
This is the reason why in-ear monitors became very popular.
It is a more expensive and sophisticated monitor, essentially custom-molded earbuds that get a specific signal transmitted to a small receiver pack. Each member can have their own mix of what is going on. A singer would want to hear themselves; maybe a drummer would want to hear the kick drum and bass player best, and so on.
In other words, the performer hears themselves with the aid of the earplug. The remaining band members are also able to hear themselves clearly, enabling them to hit the right notes and providing the perfect performance to entertain the cheering crowd.
Thanks to technological advancement, today, sound interference during a performance is no longer a major concern. Modern systems use signals that lock the receiver and transmitter in a single frequency to ensure the quality of the song remains consistent throughout the performance.
This also helps to protect the ears of the performers and not result in any lasting damages to their ears. Finally, singers wear an earpiece during a show mainly to hear what they sing as they perform, helping to improve the overall quality of their performance.