Why true music lovers should invest in a pair of in-ear monitors

We’re partial to the professional-grade, custom-made listening equipment from Noble Audio

By MATTHEW KRONSBERG

In-ear monitors were developed so performers could hear themselves clearly onstage. But these high-end headphones are no longer reserved for bands on tour.

Texas-based Noble Audio’s custom fit, in-ear monitors (from US$599 or RM2,504) offer a spare-no-expense dedication to sonic fidelity, but the fit is what sets them apart.

Based on a mold of your ear canal you’ll have taken by a health professional, they block noise, while ensuring that no amount of sweating and bouncing around dislodges them — whether you’re doing a high-intensity training workout or leaping off a drum riser for your screaming fans.

Designs can be customised, from understated to outlandish

As for the competition, JH Audio’s custom in-ear monitors have been the preferred choice for Lil Wayne, Bruce Springsteen and other chart-toppers.

The company also offers universal-fit versions of some of its most popular designs, starting at US$1,599.

Moreover, unlike Noble Audio, Ultimate Ears can personalise your earpieces without sending you to the audiologist.

Select your monitors (starting at US$499), and it will send you a “FitKit” to create a mold of your ear canal. Return it; in about 10 days, you’ll receive your earphones.

On another note, 64 Audio has teamed up with legendary bassist Nathan East — who’s played with Eric Clapton and Daft Punk — to create the custom-fit US$1,699 N8 in-ear monitors, which have pneumatically interactive vents designed to release sound pressure and reduce fatigue.

Noble Audio’s monitors can have as many as 10 Knowles balanced armature sound drivers per ear and deliver sound profiles attuned to the type of music you’re most likely to listen to.

Designs can be customised, from understated to outlandish: Along with 20 colours of acrylic for the body, you can opt for faceplates in carbon fibre or exotic woods or even embedded with watch components. — Bloomberg