As the headlining DJ for Singapore's famous New Year's Eve party at Siloso beach, DJ Shy is used to performing in front of crowds of 20,000 fans at some of the finest clubs in the world, from L.A. to Asia and back. These clubs include Q Bar in Bangkok and Ministry of Sound.
What was the tipping point? When did you finally have enough and switch to in-ears?
I was beginning to notice around the time when Beats by Dre exploded that the industry was beginning to be saturated with all kinds of headphones.... Skull Candy had these pink, fuzzy headphones that I used to spin with. They were great to coordinate with my pink records but broke easily. I also owned Pioneer, Technics, Sony professional headphones for DJs but they were a bit costly and also broke where the wires connected to the headphone. They later rectified this by making the wires detachable. Many other brands were trying to break into the market by making unique, cheaper, blingy type headphones but they were not very functional when mixing. I probably went through 15-20 headphones.
How do in-ear monitors fit into your setup? Meaning how do you use them?
When I DJ with in-ear monitors, I always have at least one in-ear in my ear. If there is no booth monitor, I will keep in-ears in both my ears to mix.
How did they improve your performance?
I can no longer go back to headphones once I use in-ears. The sound is very crisp that I really don't need to use booth monitors to mix. When I used headphones, the headphone volume on the mixer would be at 12 o'clock. Now with my in-ears, I have it at 8 o'clock. The isolation from the custom molding is extremely fitted that I don't need to increase volume to compensate for the outside noise. I would say my ability to mix improved.
What’s in your mix?
Depends on the crowd. If I'm at a casino or an event where the age ranges from 21-60, I'll spin a little bit of everything: rock, the 80s, top 40, hip hop, etc. If I'm overseas, they tend to like EDM.
What is your favorite thing about Ultimate Ears? Is it fit, isolation, sound quality, and why?
I noticed many different things about these in-ears that makes me love them so much. The custom fit makes it comfortable for me to have in-ears as opposed to headphones that cut off the circulation of my ears. At times, the back of my earrings would puncture my skin.
Another bonus would be not having to worry about headphones ruining my hair. With sound quality, everything is so crisp and it's the best isolation I have ever experienced. I don't have to worry about the dangers of damaging eardrums with increasing volume to fight against outside noise.
The in-ears are also made well. I still use my first pair of in-ears from 8 years ago and they never broke. On top of that, the case is very compact and I have more room in my laptop bag.
What are your thoughts on headphones versus custom in-ear monitors?
There are many disadvantages with headphones.