Gear Review: Alclair Curve Universal In Ear Monitors (IEMs)

In today's world of modern music technology, In Ear Monitors, also known as IEMs, are all the rage! With so many styles and manufacturers out there, knowing which ones are the right ones for you can be challenging! In this gear review, we are going to take a look at one such pair of IEMs... The Alclair Curve Universals.

FIRST LOOK…

At first look, the Alclair Curve Universals have the appearance of every other professional IEMs out there. They come in a black, semi-hard clamshell zipper case that has an attached black carabiner in case you want to hook it to your bag, instrument case or key ring (if you’re into that kind of thing). The zipper itself is smaller compared to zippers on other cases.

Upon opening the case you will find the IEMs neatly coiled in the bottom of the case while the top of the case has a small net pocket for storing the accompanying replacement foam ear tips and cleaning tool. This pocket is also handy in case you need to carry an adapter or two (such as a 1/4” to 1/8” or an airline adapter). The cleaning tool is fairly standard with a small brush on one end and a metal, wax-cleaning tip on the other. Three sets of various sized foam tips are included (small, medium, and large). One thing that was surprising is that each set of foam tips are in their own plastic bag. Also, installing the tips was very easy. However, removing them was another story. You couldn’t just pull them off. You needed to use your fingernail or similar to peel the tip off the IEM.

DESIGN…

The design of these IEMs lives up to their name, Curves. They have an ergonomic design that ‘curves’ into the outer ear. They are lightweight and fairly comfortable which is good in keeping down ‘ear fatigue’ over long periods of time. However, these factors also contribute to them feeling not as robust and durable. A durability test was NOT performed, so keep this in mind.

The Curves do feature a ‘detachable’ cable design. This allows for easy replacement of the cable or the IEMs should one of them fail. The connection is made into the IEM via a ‘two prong’ plug.  Immediately there is a 2.5” clear molded jacket that allows you to tailor the cable over and down the back of your ear. There’s also a small, clear jacket that allows you to tighten the cable up behind your head once the IEMs are in place.  The cable is a 50” long, twisted pair of two smaller cables for each ear that combine into a crossover. Here the cable converts into a twisted pair of 3 cables that finally terminates into a 1/8” stereo TRS plug.  The plug housing is a little smaller than others but doesn’t look to pose an issue.

SOUND…

Now to the heart of the matter… How do they sound? With a dual driver design and a frequency response of 20Hz to 19kHz, the Curves are comparable to other ‘dual driver’ models out on the market at similar price points. We tested them with 3 different people and each person, including myself, independently gave similar evaluations. The overall consensus was “that they provided a decent sound although the low-end was more predominant that contributed to an overall boomy-ness.”  Bass players and drummers may find that they like the additional low-end response, but overall clarity in the mid and high ranges is reduced because of this.

RECAP…

Having used a variety of ears both universal and custom throughout my career, I found the Alclair Curves to provide a fair sound. The low-end response was a little overwhelming and caused there to be a loss in clarity on the mid and high ranges. Output volume was comparable to other ears I’ve used. Independent evaluations from 3 people said similar things about the low-end response. They’re lightweight and fairly comfortable which is always a nice feature for long listening sessions. They’re also nicely packaged which is important for storage and protection. Coming in at a price point of around $250, the Curves cost a little more than your higher-end earphones that you can pick up at your local BestBuy or Apple retail store, and they’re a little less than higher-end models provided by online pro audio retailers. The company does offer group discounts to church music teams.

So if you’re looking to upgrade from your average iPod-style headphones, then the Alclair Curve Universal IEMs are surely in the running for something to consider.

 

 

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Ryan is currently the Worship Director at The Church at Wills Creek in North Alabama. He has been the keyboardist for many Christian artists and has served with several churches including Christ Fellowship and Church of the Highlands. Ryan is the keyboard instructor for WorshipArtistry.com and also works as a producer, music educator, and studio musician. Ryan has two children, Josiah and Vivy, and they love spending time on their 100 acre farm.

Gear Review: Alclair Curve Universal In Ear Monitors (IEMs)

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