My name is Mike Volkerding. I am the President (and truck loader). I started just like everyone in this business giggin’ on the week ends and the rig just kept growing. I still recall my powered PV head and 2 SP3 speakers. The rock n roll compulsion has grown me into a 44,000 sq ft warehouse loaded with enough gear to fill several semis.
Along the way, I stumbled in to in ear monitors. In my 60 years of life, I had never seen something change the dynamic of playing music as much as going in ear. The in ear monitors thing became a side line passion of mine and hence this web site. I still rock out on the week ends and never do it without ears. Actually, the thought of a wedge terrifies me!
Why do I want to be a client of a concert tour type sound company instead of an online music store? Read on.
Music stores make their bucks on retail guitar sales and trumpet/violin rentals to schools. Most of the guys at the shops are good dudes and gig on the weekends. They have a little knowledge of everything in the store. Their primary push to you is whatever they're using on their weekend gigs or what pays a $5 manufacture's spiff for a sale. I've been there; I managed a music store here in Cincinnati 30 years ago.
At a sound company we specialize in live sound. We're specialists in the areas of speaker enclosures, power amps, mixing consoles, and all styles of stage and in ear monitors. We recently did the sound, lights and stage for Styx and Huey Lewis for a crowd of 75,000 people. It's a different caliber of professionals around the stage wearing the "All Access" pass (there are no music store dudes).
An analogy – you want to improve the torque on your car's engine. Your options for direction on this move are the guy at the NAPA auto parts store or a NASCAR race driver's pit chief who also sells parts. Dig?
Ever notice that music stores are closed when you're setting up the show and there's a technical question? I understand that rock n roll’s not an 8-5:00. My cell phone is on if I'm awake (513.375.3302). I value my customers and I'm here as your consultant (plus I love this stuff).
Mike & Stevie Wonder
Providing production for Styx Mason OH
Regarding the lines carried on this site. There are mega numbers of in ear monitor manufactures. I try to stay on top of them to make sure there's nothing new I should make you aware of and/or add to the site.
I just got back from the NAMM show and checked out all the new introductions as well as the old standards. Here's the deal. What's carried on InEarGear.com is all of the industry boiled down to a few products. I've done a lot of comparing, research, and trying of products for you.
At the NAMM show I checked out all the new products. One outfit had 12 drivers! I listened to all and they sounded fine. Here's the thing, after two armature drivers, I've never heard the difference that would justify the added cost. I'm really not sure I can hear a difference at all. I've paid through the nose for mega driver stuff and I just wanted to believe!
I went from a dual driver Westone mold to a three way and spent a fortune. I heard no difference. I opened a 3 way Shure SE535CL and compared it to the Shure SE425 2 way. I heard no difference. Keep in mind, I'm talking stage rock n roll here.
You head-fi guys like talking top shelf, burn in time etc and that's fine. You read reviews on the mega drivers how bad ass they are. It's like buying a new expensive guitar, you've spent a fortune on it and you believe its the best - worth all the money you've invested. You tell every one you know and continue convincing yourself that it was worth all you spent. Same with the mega driver IEMs in the chat rooms. I've been there.
Do you believe with a 12 driver IEM that if a couple drivers went out, you'd hear a difference - nope. When you're standing in front of a PA system and it's kicking your ass. Can you tell if it's one, two, three, four way? Nope, you just know it sounds really good. The rest is selling hype. All the national and regional touring acts we do sound for ask for bi-amped wedges. For the last ten years, I've put full range wedges in front of them. They sound real good. Never has an act said, "is that a 2 way system"?
In ear gear has the basics, the standards, the meat and potatoes of in ear monitors. I try out everything on the market and if it beats something on this site, I'll switch out or add.
I listened to mold outfit that had up to 12 drivers. It was the most inexpensive molds I'd ever seen. Do it yourself impression kit and really a low cost alternative. I liked the guys so I won't mention the company name. At the end of the day - an Aurisonics ASG1 was a better sounding product (single dynamic driver).
So bottom line; There's not a million choices on this site like the big box stores that sell ever product in the world. What is on this site is what you need. I spend a lot of time researching, studying, reading, talking with manufactures etc. This frees you up to do your job and hit the stage.
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Questions? Please email or phone: MikeVolkerding@gmail.com / Cell Phone 513.375.3302