Have you ever thought, why do musicians wear headphones in the studio or concert? At an early age, I thought that they did it only to look cool!!
However, when I grow up, the belief remains the same. Then a few weeks ago, I started to explore this fact and try to know the real reasons.
I have found that musicians wear headphones to avoid any offense during their shows.
After learning so many new things, I have decided to share them with all of you. And today I’m going to write about this fact.
So, let’s start!
Why Do Musicians Wear Headphones In The Studio?
Maybe you have seen that singers wear headphones while recording songs in the studio. Like me, you might think the headphones are only accessories that they wear to look stylish.
But the fact is, artists wear studio headphones to hear well-balanced sounds that help to prevent any flaws during recordings.
The following points will give you more insights. Have a look below.
1. Separating Sounds In Multi-Track Recordings
Earlier, when the audio technology was not advanced, bands needed to record their entire track in one go. It might sound impossible to do in this modern age.
However, thanks to modern technology, all musicians can record their part individually now. And while making audiotape, performers can hear other versions through their headphones.
2. Keeping Each Recording Clear And Free From Any Bleeding
One of the most important reasons why musicians wear headphones in the studio is to stop bleeding.
Suppose, a vocalist is recording his part while playing the music at full volume in the background. At that time, the microphone might pick up another loud sound automatically. This situation is called bleeding.
So to prevent this, the musicians wear headphones and listen to the track through them. As a result, the microphones can’t catch different sounds.
Besides, headphones also can be used as a communicating tool in the recording studio. Have a look at the next point to know about this feature.
3. Communicating With The Sound Engineer And The Producer
Music studios have isolated soundproof rooms for recording purposes. During a recording, the performers stay inside a booth. The producer and the sound engineer manage the whole session from the control room.
A producer is like the Maestro in a recording session.
So, the two parties communicate through the headphones rather than going back and forth from one room to another.
Up to now, we see the reasons why singers wear headphones while pre-recording their songs. But sometimes, musicians need to record their performance in a live session.
See the following points to know how the headphones work in a live recording period.
4. To Synchronize With The Other Musicians
It’s quite normal to go off track at any moment in a live session. So to hold the perfect momentum, the term ‘click track’ is introduced.
It is a device that makes an audible ‘click’ sound at a predetermined rhythm. And the artists follow the ‘click ’ sound so that they can synchronize with others.
Following the ‘click track’ can make a performance lifeless. Therefore, some bands make the drummers follow the sound. And the rest of the musicians follow the drum’s sound and remain natural.
However, it will be an unprofessional thing if the audience can hear the sound.
So, to prevent this, musicians wear headphones and stay tuned to a fixed channel to listen to the sound.
5. Setting Their Own Focus
Sometimes, it isn’t easy to hear every instrument clearly while recording. Maybe, in some part, the vocals need to be more focused on keyboards.
At that time, if they wear headphones, they can set their own focus and remove other sounds.
So, these are the reasons behind wearing studio headphones. But why do the artists wear earphones, especially in-ear monitors, in the concert?
See the next segment to get the answer.
Why Do Musicians Wear In-Ear Monitors At Concert?
In a live concert, musicians need to make sure that the audience hears them well. At the same time, they listen to each other. Previously, floor monitor speakers were used to ensure these two facts.
But nowadays, drummers, guitarists, vocals, and all the other musicians wear in-ear monitors to observe their performance.
Moreover, like studio headphones, in-ear monitors also provide the facilities to focus on a specific sound, listen to the click track sounds, and others.
The following points will tell you the additional benefits that musicians get from in-ear monitors.
1. Isolating One Sound From Other
Like studio headphones, IEMs can isolate one sound from another. As a result, singers can hear the specific track according to their wishes in their earpieces.
On the other hand, musicians tend to follow one or two particular instruments to check the rhythm. In-ear monitors also give the opportunity to every musician on the stage to customize their individual mixes.
2. Controlling Volume Level
IEMs allow musicians to adjust the volume level. Thus, the musicians can lower the volume if they want.
Keeping a lower volume can prevent hearing damage.
Besides, sometimes vocals need to hear a specific instrument louder than others. At that time, IEMs will support them to do it too.
3. Protect Ears From Extra Noise
A concert is indeed one of the noisiest places. The cheering of crowds and the high volume of instruments are enough to damage ears.
Musicians have four times more probability of losing their hearing than ordinary people.
In-ear monitors come with the noise-cancellation property. Therefore, they can block other unnecessary noises and protect the ear.
4. Freedom Of Movement
The typical stage monitor widgets need a lot of space. So, artists can’t get enough space to perform well.
Besides, previously musicians had to stay in a fixed place to hear a specific instrument.
Thanks to the IEMs, the distance between band members is not a problem anymore. Moreover, artists can have the whole stage to offer us eye-soothing choreography.
Choreography helps to understand a song more deeply.
Using in-ear monitors on stage is quite important. Still, it has some disadvantages.
See below to know the downside of IEM.
Few Drawbacks Of Wearing Headphones In The Stage
Nothing in this world is entirely perfect, and it’s true for the IEMs too. Wearing IEMs means you can’t hear your fans. Also, sometimes they will simply stop working like every other electric gadget.
The following points will describe the disadvantages of in-ear monitors.
1. Disconnection From The Audience
In-ear monitors can block extra noises. But unfortunately, they will prevent the musicians from listening to the fan’s cheering too.
Your favorite K-pop group might not hear you well. But don’t worry! You can show your support with the lightsticks.
As a result, the artist can’t feel the real vibe of their fans.
But what if the earphones stop working during a live performance? Can you trust an electric device all the time?
Let’s see what happens if IEMs are not working at a concert.
2. Wrecking A Live Performance Due To Technical Issues
Although it’s rare, sometimes in-ear monitors can stop working properly due to technical issues. At that time, if the singers are not professional, they can easily go off the track.
3. Easy To Slip From Ear
Ear monitors are not custom-made. So, if the gadget doesn’t suit you, it can slip from the ear.
However, now that you know the negative issues of in-ear monitors. But do you think these are the reasons why some artists take out their earpieces during a performance?
You will find the answer below.
Why Do Singers Sometimes Take Out The Earpiece?
When you see an artist take out his/her earpiece, it might be because of malfunctioning. Maybe they can’t hear their desired sound through the earbuds.
Beyonce pulled her earpiece out at Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
But most of the time, vocals do it to connect with the audience more. They want to take all the vibes from the crowd and get motivated.
By the time we see the various aspects of studio headphones and in-ear monitors. But do you think musicians can use the same ear monitor while recording in a studio?
Actually, singers can also use in-ear monitors while recording a song.
But the question is whether they prefer it or not. See below to know the answer.
Do Artists Use IEMs While Recording In The Studio?
In recent years, IEMs have become much better. They offer almost the same quality as studio headphones. As a result, some singers use in-ear monitors in the recording studio.
But still, some artists prefer studio headphones to get top-notch audio quality and comfortability.
We are going to finish up the article here. I hope you finally have got your answer about why do musicians wear headphones in the studio or concert.
And if you had a childish thought like me, you might laugh at it now. I’ve also done the same after knowing the actual facts.
So, that’s all about today. Thanks for reading the article.