We’ve had several people ask us– what are the advantages of acrylic IEMs, like those EarTech Music offers, over silicone ones? Below you’ll find several reasons why professionals recommend Acrylic over silicone for in-ear monitor shells.
Acrylic IEM shells are precision molded to your ear.
First, let me say that there is a misunderstanding about acrylic monitors! Many think that because acrylic is hard that it can’t be more comfortable than silicone, and that a soft material like silicone will be more comfortable; but in reality, if an acrylic earpiece is handcrafted with precision they are more comfortable than silicone. EarTech’s acrylic IEMs are made to fit like a glove. The acrylic material feels soft and comfortable in the ear.
Acrylic is also much easier to insert and remove from the ear. Silicone has a tacky texture and is very “grabby” when trying to insert it into the ear. Acrylic is easier to insert and remove, and it has a velvety texture that is very comfortable when inserting and removing the IEM from the ear. This has been known by audiologists for years, which is why acrylic is the most popular choice for hearing aids as well.
Acrylic IEM housings are more durable.
Acrylic earpieces for the IEMs are a more durable and strong housing for the delicate electronic components inside. Silicone is flexible, and even a light impact can easily break the intricate drivers and solder joints inside. Acrylic IEMs, on the other hand, will absolutely last longer and provide better protection for the electronics.
Acrylic requires high-quality, precision manufacturing.
The manufacturing process for silicone IEMs is inferior to the acrylic process. The material is very difficult to grind and cast. The finished product is just not as nice as a finished, polished, and oiled acrylic IEM. The superiority of the acrylic material over the silicone is easily seen in the finished product. It’s just sweeter!
The silicone material also doesn’t allow for special artwork and graphics like EarTech’s. You can’t glue to silicone, so cool artwork on the faceplate can’t be done. Silicone can’t have wood faceplates, laser engraving, or multicolor artwork. The faceplate is just silicone. Not too cool. Kind of boring for a musician!
Check out our gallery and see great examples of EarTech Music’s customized acrylic IEMs. (gallery page)
Acrylic shells make detachable cables possible.
The cables for a silicone IEM have to be hard-wired in. Because you can’t glue to silicone, you can’t have a socket for the cable. This means no detachable cables for the silicone IEMs. But acrylic IEMs can be easily glued to, allowing for the use of sockets. This gives the musician the choice of a detachable cable, which is invaluable when changing or replacing cables in the future.
Also, just to point out, all of the largest IEM companies in the world use acrylic for their IEMs. They do so because it is a superior material for earpieces and IEMs. It’s just a few small IEM manufacturers that use silicone.
Acrylic vs. Silicone – You can feel the difference!
So in a nutshell, acrylic IEMs are superior to silicone in every way. From fit to function, acrylic is the choice of professionals worldwide!