I mentioned a little while ago that I wanted to do a review on a pair of IEM‘s (in-ear monitors) that I received back in September. Now that I’ve had them for a while, I wanted to let others know about my experience and do an Alien Ears IEM review.
Disclaimer: I was not asked by this company to do this review. I’m doing this because I hope my experience might be beneficial to others who are in the market for IEM’s. (**2016 Update. As of 2016, I am currently a Westone Endorsed Artist and recommend you check out THIS PAGE for more info**)
I’ve used in-ear monitors in the past. My experience with them included Shure’s SE line, Westone UM1, Apple’s ear buds and a pair of Brookstone dual-drive ear buds. Believe it or not, my favorite of those listed above was the Brookstone dual-drive ear buds. They fit my ears the best, were the most comfortable and had the best dynamic range.
However, this review is on the Alien Ears G8 which is my first experience with custom molded in-ear monitors. I did some research on different companies comparing their products, prices and reviews. For the budget I had-I decided to go with Alien Ears. I have not heard of them before, but wanted to give them a try. I was impressed that they were offering a quad-driver (or 4 speakers per ear for those that aren’t sure what a driver means) for $550 at the time of my purchase. This included a case, detachable 72 1/2″ (& a free replacement cord) cleaning tool, custom color and logo imprinted on the monitors. That price also included a molding kit (you can watch their mold instructional here).
For more information on the specs of these particular monitors I’ve included a shot from their webpage that outlines what it contains:
I had my wife help me with the mold to make sure I was getting the compound all the way in as they instructed. It was easy and pain-free. I shipped the molds back to Alien Ears and they responded back within a week saying the molds looked good and I should receive my in-ears in 4 to 6 weeks. It took about 5 weeks for them to be completed. I filled out the forms to decide on my monitor color, cord color and what I wanted imprinted on the monitors and case.
I picked them up during my lunch hour and wanted to try them out right away. I went to my studio and plugged them. I was definitely pleased!
Everything that I expected based off of experience and reviews was there. These monitors have a great dynamic range. The lows are present, but not overbearing. The mid’s have a balanced richness and the high’s give great definition without being unpleasant.
Below is a closeup shot of my left monitor:
Besides struggling to get them out of my ear (it’s not as easy as just pulling out an ear bud), I was enjoying them. However, after about a week or so into receiving them I kept having problems with my left monitor. The G8’s have a detachable cord option so you can change them out when the cord goes bad. The left monitor’s cord kept falling out in the middle of using them during performances. At first I thought it was the original cord so I tried changing it out for the backup. That didn’t work either.
I called Alien Ears and talked with their customer service department. They were very helpful and told me that it sounded like in the final buffering process some of the compound got into the port where the cord connects. I needed to send them in to be sure, though. I’ll be honest, at first I was a little upset that I needed to send them back in so soon after getting them. But being impressed with everything up to that point, I didn’t let that get to me.
I sent the monitors back in and had them returned within 2-3 weeks. I’ve had them back for the past month or so and have yet to have a problem. That sound great and I’ve been using them for loud gigs and other performances where in-ear monitors work nicely. If you’re looking at trying some in-ear monitors (custom molds or buds), I would highly recommend looking into Alien Ears!
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog/post. If you would like to learn more about my online school you can go here.
Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground. The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from AllAboutJazz.com by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).
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