It looks like the days of the floor monitor are numbered as the live gig world quickly adapts to in-ear monitoring, something that the concert industry embraced many ears ago. Today IEMs are priced within reach of just about any gigging musician, but what really holds back many players from jumping in is the complicated setup and expensive wireless packs involved. Not anymore, as Ultimate Ears (one of the leaders in IEMs) recently released its ingenious Sound Tap personal monitor DI that puts in-ear monitoring easily within reach.
Sound Tap allows you to plug the speaker cable going to a floor monitor directly into the box, which you then plug in your IEMs and control the level to taste. There’s also a Speaker throughput connector to keep the that floor monitor working if you don’t want to lose it, yet still keep your in-ears going. If you want to eliminate the floor monitor altogether, there’s a combo XLR/1/4″ connector that can accept the monitor or aux output feed directly from your mixer, eliminating the floor monitor yet still keeping you hearing what you need to hear.
The unit has two combo Speakon/1/4″ jacks, two XLR/1/4″ combo jacks, and an 1/8th inch jack for your IEMs. There’s an Input control to adjust the level so it works with the unit, then a Master Volume to adjust the level of the in-ears. There’s also a switch that selects between the Speakon and XLR inputs, and two sets of level LEDs so you can drive the unit to its optimum. One of the best things about the box is that it also has built-in protection against feedback or anything else that might hurt your ears.
Sound Tap uses two 9 volt batteries that can last up to 35 hours. If the batteries die, only the IEM output goes dead, as the signal still throughputs through the box.
Ultimate Ears Sound Tap retails for $249 and comes with a number of adapter cables as well as an IEM extension cable. You can find out more on the dedicated web page or from the video below.