A professional-level, seven-driver option for drummers.
Clear Tune Monitors is a Florida-based in-ear manufacturer that focuses on providing precise sound for performing musicians, audio engineers, and general music listeners alike. CTM offers a wide array of products, from high-end custom molds like the ten-driver Da Vinci X, to more affordably priced universal-fit options like the single-drive CT-100. All of the company’s monitors are designed to feel like a natural part of your ear and are guaranteed with a thirty-day free re-fit warranty.
Last year, CTM collaborated with this month’s cover artist, Aaron Spears, to create its first signature model, the AS-7. These seven-driver monitors are available in custom or universal-fit options and are priced at $1,200. We received a pair of AS-7 universals to review.
The primary goal of the AS-7 is to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum for the most natural, balanced sound possible. These professional-grade IEMs feature seven drivers and a four-way crossover, which means the audio signal coming into the monitors from the source is split into four frequency ranges (low, low-mid, high-mid, and high) and then fed into the appropriately tuned drivers (or miniature speakers). The AS-7 reproduces sounds that span the entire range of human hearing (20 Hz to 20 kHz) and provide -26dB of sound reduction, which is nearly as much protection as a pair of shooting-range earmuffs.
What You Get
The AS-7 IEMs have an 1/8″ (3.5 mm) input connection, and they come with a 50″ cable and an 1/8″-to-1/4″ adaptor. A CTM hard case contains a small cleaning tool, interchangeable sound filters, small/medium/large silicon and foam tips, and double-flange silicon tips. The different tip sizes and shapes are included to ensure that each user can find an optimal fit that seals the ear fully while remaining comfortable enough for extended use. The three different sound filters are tweaked to provide different EQ curves (Bass Boost, Reference, and High Boost).
Feel and Sound
Although no universal-fit IEMs will perform as well as comparable custom-mold models, the AS-7 has a large but ergonomically shaped casing that feels a lot like the custom-mold IEMs I’ve owned over the years. The ear tip extends far enough into the ear canal to deliver clean audio right up to the eardrum, and various ear tip covers offered plenty of size variety for me to find one that provided a tight but comfortable seal. I could use the AS-7s without listening to music, as high-quality earplugs during practice sessions and band rehearsals. And when using the AS-7 during recording sessions, I could keep the volume of the reference music and click relatively low to prevent hearing damage or fatigue, even when playing the drums at full volume.
The three filters included with the AS-7 monitors allow you to tweak the balance of highs, mids, and lows of the music you’re referencing without having to adjust the EQ of the track itself. For general music listening, I preferred the fuller low-end response of the Bass Boost filters. But when playing or recording drums, I preferred the crisper and cleaner sound of the High Boost option. Then when mixing and reviewing my recordings, the Reference filter provided the most accurate representation of the sounds that were captured. At no point in my review period, which included extensive drum recording and casual music listening, did I experience ear fatigue, discomfort, or a loss of seal. I’ve not experienced that with universal-fit IEMs in the past.
drummer-designed in-ears, check out the AS-7 by CTM. They’re reasonably priced, professionally made, and as sonically pristine as anything else out there.