I've looked at a few of the in-ear monitor instructables. I've even seen the Bose version at the store ($100) I have pictured here. While I like the real in ear monitors, they're still expensive and time consuming to make for something I consider a throwaway item. What I mean is, I abuse them so I never buy expensive ear buds or IEM's for that matter. This pair cost me less than $20 and sounded the best. The idea of moding ear buds to get the same effect intrigued me so here it is....my version of IEM's.
Step 1: Aquire Materials
Basic motor skills :)
2 drops of cyanoacrylate (or less)
1 pair of cheap ear buds (the ones with the smallest ear holes)
1 pair of sound attenuating ear plugs. The medium size works for most.
Dremel with small drum sanding bit
maybe some sandpaper of 220-600 grit to clean up your lack of dremel skills.
Step 2: Cut Up the Ear Buds
After pulling off the soft rubber thingy, dremel off the round bit that would normally hold the soft rubber thingy on. Easy right? If you botch it up, sand it smooth. The protective screen came off of the second pair I did. No big deal, just make sure nothing gets inside them before you finish putting them together, Here's a before and after pic. Notice I didn't have the guts to trim it all the way down :) Maybe it helped stay on the earplugs.
Step 3: Dismantle the Ear Plugs
There is a removable waveguide in these ear plugs. Simple to remove. It just pulls out.
Step 4: Stuff the Ear Bud Into the Ear Plug
Just as it sounds. With a little effort (and those motor skills) you can force the ear bud to fit the canal that the waveguide used to occupy. It took me awhile because my motor skills were lacking. If you twist a little while pushing they seem to go on a little easier....it's a tight fit. I tried 2 different sets of ear buds. The cheaper ones sounded better so they stayed in my first pair. This doesn't mean all cheap earbuds sound good. The sound will only be as good as the ear bud itself so pick a decent pair....maybe a pair you already have and are willing to carve on.
Step 5: Adjust and Glue
At this time you can adjust them to fit better and check for sound. The inner section is seperate from the outer section so you can make a somewhat custom fit. You can still adjust this part after gluting, but the ear buds will be part of the inner section, I tweaked mine a little so they were comfortable and the sound was even in both ears. Once you are happy with them, put a little super glue (cyanoacrylate) between the gap of the ear bud and the ear plug. Wait for the glue to set and voila! They seem to have better presence and bass. Not to mention they block alot of the outside sounds. So thats it, go build them!