FULL REVIEW: Fidelity Duals In Ear Monitors

As promised, here is a full length review for my new Fidelity “Ears”. First, a little background on your reviewer. I’ve been a professional level musician for well over 20 years, playing bass guitar as my primary instrument, but I also play electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, drums, and sing. I’ve also been trained in pro audio and recording engineering, where I earned my living for 8 of the last 10 years.

I recently moved to the Nashville Tennessee market, and began serving at a church which uses an Aviom monitoring system. The universal fit monitors that are offered for those musicians don’t have their own Ears are Shures (SE315 / SCL3 / E3 single driver types). Those buds just did not provide the performance that I required. They weren’t very loud – and if you tried to turn up the bass EQ or turn up the master volume with the Aviom mixer, then the Shure buds would distort. Since I’m going to be using this setup at least twice per month for the forseeable future, I thought it would be a wise investment to get my own custom mold IEM’s.

I should also mention that I have used a lot of other universal fit earbuds, such as Shure E4’s, Westone UM-2’s, M-Audio IE-30’s, and many types of “iPod-style buds” such as $40 Sonys, Dr. Dre’s, Skull Candys, Bose, and of course the dreaded Apple originals. But I’ve never owned a set of custom molds before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I decided to go with the Fidelity brand mainly because of the price-to-performance ratio. Fidelity used to be associated with the “Livewires” brand name, but due to irreconcilable differences, the Nashville distributor disassociated themselves from the Livewires folks and continued with the Fidelity name. Fidelity lists their direct prices on their website, and I opted for the dual-driver version, which Fidelity just calls, “Duals”. The cost is $259 (not including sales tax or shipping).

Because I live in the Nashville area, near the Fidelity offices in Mt. Juliet, TN, I was able to stop by their location and get my ear molds done for no extra charge. (If you do not live in the Nashville area, you would need to make an appointment with an Audiologist to get your molds done.) The process takes just a few minutes. They cover your ear drum and then inject a spray foam in your ears. After it hardens, they pull it out and ship it to the manufacturer.

They told me it would take about 3 weeks to get them back. It actually took 4 weeks to get them. (Many people I talked to who own them had to wait even longer to recieve them.) They arrived with an included Pelican case, and serial number identification.

 

My first impressions were very positive. I noticed immediately that they had a great isolation seal, that they were LOUD, and that they had great bass extension – all things I was really looking for. Since getting them, I’ve used them to watch movies, listen to iPods, and rehearse music on my laptop. But I didn’t get the opportunity to use them live on stage until this morning, June 12th.

Again, the first things I noticed when I plugged them into the Aviom system this morning were that they were LOUD, and that my bass sounded like a BASS! When the drummer played the Kick drum for the first time, I’m sure I had a huge smile on my face because I felt that I could really FEEL the bass in it. And this is with the Aviom EQ flat and the Master level at 12 O’Clock (the center position)!

Our rehearsal starts at 6:30am and we play pretty much straight through til 8:30 including a full run through. Then we have two services at 9 and 11am. After all the time with them in, I can honestly say I feel no discomfort with them. I never had to pull them out or adjust them or worry about the fit or anything. They fit perfectly, and they sounded wonderful.

The overall tone of them does have a signature. This is subjective (because it’s hard to measure their frequency response when it’s so closed in to your own head), but I would say there is a slight presence boost in the upper mids. It is not extreme, and were I singing vocals or playing acousti guitar, I would probably really appreciate that boost. But this tone signature did not bother me, nor did I change the EQ on my Aviom – I was just really so much happier with the sound today than I had been with the old Shures I probably had a permanent smile on my face this morning.

I am really, really happy with my purchase. I don’t think I could have done any better for the price.

So what did I leave out? Did you guys have any questions I didn’t cover?

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8 Comments on “FULL REVIEW: Fidelity Duals In Ear Monitors”

  1. mattywayne1 Says:

    Solid review! Glad you like them. So glad you’re around man.

  2. Kerry C Says:

    Jerm, wondering what kindofa personal mix you go with thru the Avioms? Do you go bass heavy, drums and lead vocal, do you want some rhythm guitar in there, or do you try to shoot for a “master” mix with a bass boost?
    I am really looking for something that can give me nice separation as I’m now the “band leader” as well as the worship leader and need to be able to hear everyone, to some extent. When I’m not leading the band, I’m happy with basically my vocal, my acoustic, and a little drums and keys, but when I’m leading, I really need to be able to hear everyone.
    Thanks for any thoughts on whether these would work well for my situation or not.
    kerry

    • jermtech Says:

      Kerry,
      I pretty much listen to everything. I pan the two electric guitars pretty wide, and also usually pan the keys and bgvs to the side of the stage they are on. So lead vox, AG, Drums, and bass are up the middle. With our Aviom setup, we have Kick, Snare, and Hat on 1 channel, and toms & overheads on another channel. I usually have the Kick/Snare/Hat channel pretty hot, and a little less on the toms/overheads. Hope this helps!

      FWIW, almost all of Crosspoint’s WL’s use either Fidelities or better. Hardly any of them use the universal fits.

      • Kerry C Says:

        Nice. Thanks for the info. I do think I will put something like the Fidelity’s into my budget for next year. I just think I’m missing too much of what’s happening with the band with my current low-end Shure universal fits.
        Take care!

  3. Steve Says:

    When did you place your order for them? I placed mine in June and I still have not gotten them. 4 months dude! Crazy!

  4. guitarplayer Says:

    I placed an order for a replacement cable in September. Still have not received the cable. I have read a post by the BBB that says Fidelity has 41 unanswered complaints against them as well as 5 complaints unresolved. I’m not sure what has happened with this company. I have made at least 50 attempts to contact Cat or Neal by phone and email and they won’t respond to anything. Can you tell me if they are even still in business? If anyone wants to respond to me please do: beebee720@grandecom.net. To Jermtech – have you been by their store lately to see if they still exist?


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