For decades, in-ear monitors have symbolised a significant step up the ladder in one’s career as a performing musician or studio pro. This is primarily due to their relative exclusivity—for the longest time, getting your hands on a set of in-ears meant forking out serious cash. This has led countless musicians to instead rely on the lousy or non-existent in-house foldback monitors available in their local pubs and ad hoc studio settings.
Cheapo in-ears did eventually surface, but their use was generally not a risk worth taking—if in-ears are either uncomfortable or delivering a shaky signal, then your performance will almost certainly be derailed. However, with the arrival of Sennheiser’s IE 100 PRO in-ears, musicians no longer need to choose between crappy foldback wedges or burning a hole in their savings.
The German brand Sennheiser is one of the most innovative, reliable, and user-friendly names in headphone manufacturing. My daily listening was exponentially improved once I got hold of a pair of PXC 550 wireless cans—it was like I’d been given the key to Plato’s world of true sound.
The IE 100 PROs and IE 100 PRO Wireless headphones are likely to engender a similarly transformative experience for gigging and recording musos. Don’t believe us? Here are the four best things about these game-changing in-ear headphones.
The IE 100 PROs sit comfortably for long periods of time
Quality, dynamic, and consistent sound is what you’re looking for from a pair of in-ears. But that won’t amount to much if the earplugs don’t feel good in the ear. I’m sure we’ve all been to gigs where the onstage musicians constantly fiddled with their in-ears, trying to get them to sit right.
It’s for this reason that Sennheiser endeavoured to produce earplugs that would sit comfortably in every auricle. The IE 100 PROs come with a range of different earbud sizes. There are silicone ear tips in small, medium and large and memory foam ear tips in medium. The design of each has been optimised through analyses of hundreds of ear shapes.
The result is a set of in-ears that carry very little weight, no matter how long they’re in the ear. To paraphrase Chuang Tzu, “When the in-ears fit, you forget the ear.”
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The dynamic range is immense
Clarity and precision are crucial when it comes to in-ear monitors. With the IE 100 PROs, Sennheiser provides clean, nuanced sound with exceptional dynamic range for the shelf price.
Although the IE 100 PROs aren’t equipped with noise-cancelling technology, the earplugs are designed in such a way that they offer significant shielding from outside noise. The durability of this design feature is evident when using the IE 100 PROs as studio monitors, especially for producing and mixing.
But what’s more impressive is the capacity of these in-ears in a live performance setting. Historically, the louder the environment, the higher the likelihood of your in-ear sound distorting. But Sennheiser developed the IE 100 PROs with the specific intent of removing any such drop-off in quality.
As a result, we can confirm that the sound remains clear and free from distortion even when you’ve got the IEs cranked way up to compete with live drums and guitars toggling 11.
These premium in-ears can double as your every-day headphones
We’re living through a wireless headphone revolution—Bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones now dominate the streets and public transport carriages of the world’s major cities. By upgrading to Sennheiser’s IE 100 PRO Wireless model, your premium in-ears can double as your every-day headphones.
To make this happen, simply unplug the IE 100 PROs’ standard cable, and attach the lightweight, semi-wireless Bluetooth Connector cable instead. There’s an added benefit to this product flexibility—with the ability to switch cables written into the design, the risk of snapping the headphone wiring up near the earbud is greatly diminished.
When you switch to wireless, there is still a short strap which comfortably runs from the ear-hook around the back of your neck. Along with making it easier to keep track of the earbuds, the strap includes a built-in microphone and volume control for music and calls.
With ten hours of battery life, you can use the IE 100 PRO Wireless headphones when listening to podcasts and music on the go, watching films at home or while talking on the phone.
Reasonably priced is an understatement
The standard IE 100 PROs go for around $179 AUD. They’re available in clear, red and black and come with a straight cable and a niftily engineered ear-hook. The box also includes the aforementioned variety of ear tip sizes, a cleaning tool and a carry pouch.
For an additional $90 AUD, you can get the IE 100 PRO Wireless headphones, which include all the features and accessories of the standard IEs as well as the IE PRO BT Connector cable and corresponding USB-C charger.
You can buy the BT Connector cable separately if you decide you want to upgrade down the track. However, you’ll save yourself roughly $90 AUD by choosing the Wireless option upfront. Either way, the IE 100 PROs offer professional sound and unmatched user-experience without breaking the bank.