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The Ultimate IEM Maintenance Guide

Rich Sydney knows a thing or to about IEM care and maintenance being the on-site service man at ClearTune Monitors and having previously been maintenance manager at JH Audio here’s his guide to cleaning IEMs

For those that prefer video you can see Rich’s guide on JH Audio’s you tube channel

In a time when you are going to great measures to keep everything clean, there is no reason to be putting a dirty in-ear monitor into you or your artist’s ears! Here are some simple steps and basic maintenance tips for you to help keep your IEMs clean and working properly for years to come. 

After use, the IEMs and cable should be cleaned and dried before being put back into the case. Wax buildup and moisture are the two biggest things that can cause issues with the monitors. Keeping the ear pieces clean and dry will keep the IEMs in their best working condition.  

To begin cleaning the IEMs, wipe down the outside of the pieces with a soft towel or microfiber rag and a bit of rubbing alcohol. I personally like to use the individually wrapped alcohol pads. These are available at any Walmart, CVS/ Walgreens or other local store that sells health related goods. The alcohol will break up and clean any wax or dirt that has built up on the shell and also help evaporate any excess moisture on the IEM. Periodically, also remove the cable and clean the socket. The socket area is a prime spot for corrosion to occur due to excessive sweat. If this area is left unattended, over time the corrosion will build up and ruin the socket and possibly the cable. Damage due to corrosion is not under warranty.  

You can clean the cable the same as the outer shells of the ear pieces. A soft towel and rubbing alcohol will help remove sweat and keep the cable lasting. The clear cables can eventually turn green. It is a natural process that occurs when the wires are repeatedly exposed to sweat. This “greening” of the wire will not affect the sound or quality of the cable.

To better maintain the inside of the IEMs, you can use the loop styled end of the supplied cleaning tool. This will help you reach any wax or dirt build up in the shallow part of the canal. We do not advise inserting any foreign, non-approved object down the canals. There are soft tubes inside the ear that carries the sound and several filters that are used to regulate driver output. If one of those tubes or filters are punctured, it will affect the sound quality. 

For deeper cleaning, we recommend using a Jodi Vac. It is essentially a small vacuum cleaner with a dull “needle” type end on it. This can be safely and gently inserted into the IEMs to help remove deeper wax. Never insert any kind of liquid or other cleaning agents into the IEM. 

Lastly, if the monitors are being used in a situation where moisture or sweat are a big factor, never put the IEMs directly back into the case. Let them air out and dry for a bit. When you do put them back into the case, try to also include a small dehumidifier or silica packet. This will help draw moisture away from the drivers and out of the canal.

If you have any questions about cleaning, basic maintenance or anything IEM related, feel free to reach out to me anytime! 

Rich Sydney is On-Site Service, Sales, Impressions and Artist Relations guru for CT Monitors, you can follow Rich on instagram or contact by email

The only thing I would add to Rich’s cleaning routine is testing and measuring your IEMs to identify any issues early. Make sure you have plenty of IEM cleaning products for your next tour.

FAQ

  • What Size MiEMi should I choose?

Although MiEMi™ can be used with many of the standard size measurement mics with excellent results, we’ve found the HF response is closest to that of an IEC711 ear simulator with 10mm or smaller mics.

  • My measurement mic size isn’t listed?

Email us and we’ll see if we can’t make up a special for you. You’ll need to make an accurate measurement of the diameter with a set of calipers. Delivery times and prices may vary.

  • What do I need to test in ear monitors with MiEMi

You’ll need a measurement mic, a soundcard with 2 discrete inputs, an FFT analyzer app like SMAART from Rational Acoustics or ARTA, the app should be able to store traces for comparison.

  • Can I measure generic IEM’s with MiEMi™?

Generic’s can be measure just fine with the foam or rubber tips still on the shells.

  • Is MiEMi™ the same as an IEC711 Ear Simulator?

Although MiEMi™ is designed to closely follow that standard MiEMi™ is not certified or calibrated. Therefore different mics may give different results. MiEMi is designed to allow you to compare the state of a pair of in ear monitors from day to day rather than give a 100% true frequency response.

Isn’t it about time you started checking your in ears? Visit the store and buy yours now

Still unsure if MiEMi™ can help you? Contact us and we’ll try and answer your queries.

What is MiEMi™?

During a normal show day you probably test everything at least once, some things more than once! You’ll test connections between units be it analog or digital signal flows, loudspeaker functionality, network connections, RF coverage and frequency management and lots more probably. How often do you check that the IEM’s are working correctly? It’s simple enough with generic fit, but how about custom fit? Thats a little more difficult isn’t it? Custom fit IEM’s are made for one person and one person only that makes it trickier to test them. What if there was a way to check them? What if you could measure a frequency trace and refer back to it?

Perhaps your an IEM dealer that needs a way to check if a set of IEM’s are damaged before sending them to repair?

Or an Audiophile that just wants to compare different sets of IEMs?

Now you can and thats where MiEMi™ comes in.

MiEMi™ (pronounced Mimi), is a small 35mm high by 25mm wide adapter that sits on the end of a standard size measurement mic and allows you to measure frequency traces of custom fit & generic in ear monitors. MiEMi™ is the tool that’s currently missing from your audio toolbox.

The idea behind MiEMi™ is to add a new level of functionality to the tools most audio people already own. MiEMi™ shares its DNA with lab standard occluded ear simulators and measures up pretty closely to them. It won’t cost you anywhere near as much so it won’t break your bank if you lose it or or drop it on tour, and its plastic parts are designed to be replicated by any 3D printer.

MiEMi is comprised of the following key components;

  1. Microphone adapter interchangeable and made to fit most standard size measurement mic’s
  2. EPDM Rubber O-ring, sits in the mic adapter
  3. 2 x Tuning spacers & 1 distance spacer, tunes MiEMi’s frequency response
  4. Inner container, holds the tuning spacer and connects MiEMi’s shell
  5. EPDM Rubber coupler, custom designed to fit and seal onto custom fit IEM’s. It’s what allows MiEMi to measure lows and snugly holds IEM’s while measuring.
  6. Top screw holds the rubber coupler and closes the body.

By using MiEMi™ to capture traces of your IEM’s at a point in time where they work perfectly you’ll have a trace you can compare to further down the line. If there’s a change you’ll be able to see it and identify any errors, If your artists all use the same model you’ll be able to compare between models and see how close the individual sets are. Sometimes it’s sufficient to have a trace of only the one side or type to compare others to sometimes you might want to take a trace of L & R of every single IEM. To find out how to test IEM’s with MiEMi™ click here.

Trace showing working IEM vs IEM with bad mid driver
Frequency trace shows fully working IEM vs IEM with bad mid ranger driver

MiEMi™ is designed to be used with the tools you carry anyway, a measurement mic, an RTA, so doesn’t require a huge reinvestment to make it work. It sits on the end of your measurement mic and interfaces your in ear monitors to your RTA.

Although MiEMi™ can give you a good idea of the frequency response of your IEM’s it’s designed to work with many different microphones. This means different mics will give slightly different responses, our experience with it is that the differences are from 4-5Khz up. What it can do is give you a very usable reference trace that you can use from day to day to see if everything is working correctly. It will also help you precisely set IEM’s with adjustable bass controls like some of JH Audios’s newer models.

Isn’t it about time you started checking your in ear monitors?

Visit the store and buy yours now

Still unsure if MiEMi™ can help you? Contact us and find out more.