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Drivers Ed: How Many Drivers?

Drivers Ed: How Many Drivers?

How many drivers? Good question. The simple answer is… enough.

But how many is enough? Well, there the answer isn’t so simple.

It comes down to what you need the in ear monitor to be and do for you. What instrument are you playing? How will you use it? What kind of music are you playing or listening to? First identify what you need the monitor to do. Then determine your budget. With Alclair, you get significantly more monitor for your buck.

First identify what you need the monitor to do. Then determine your budget. With Alclair, you get significantly more monitor for your buck. Click To Tweet

The number of drivers in an in ear monitor is less important than what you need it to do. For example, our Reference triple driver has (wait for it….) three drivers. Our Dual XB has two drivers. But if you are a bass player or drummer, the Dual XB is a far better option. Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Balanced armature drivers (a intro to BA drivers can be found in this previous post) come in many flavors. They can be geared towards high end, low end, big, small, quick, slower, etc. The way they are put together and the decisions the designer made are pretty important. At Alclair Audio, we decide who a monitor is for before we start designing it so every decision is about how to make the best monitor for that particular user.

Lets look at our RSM quad driver and our CMVK five driver. Conventional wisdom would say that the CMVK is “better” because there are 5 drivers where the RSM has only four. This is where conventional wisdom would be wrong (apologies to convention). If you are a bass player, the CMVK is “better for you” than the RSM. If you are a musical director, the RSM would be “better for you”.

You can see where knowing what you need is important. One of the things we try to do at Alclair is provide options at various price points so you can get exactly what is “best for you”.

The RSM has two low end drivers, a mid and a tweeter. The CMVK has four low end drivers and one tweeter. The CMVK can handle ANY amount of low end you throw at it. So for a bass player and drummer who would have bass and kick up high in the mix, the CMVK provides massive headroom and that is critical. Headroom is the amount of clean sound before the monitor starts to give up and flub out. Low end needs a lot of headroom so a combined driver or large woofer is important.

Can you use a dual driver as a bassist or drummer? Absolutely. Our Dual XB is a really great introductory model for musicians. Will it have the same headroom as the CMVK or Spire? No. Will it have enough for church stages? Yeah, its awesome. Would the Tour be “better”. Maybe. If you have the budget for it, you will get more clarity, headroom, and dynamic feel. But your budget also plays into what is “best for you”.

It can be tricky to decide what is best for you, especially if you play multiple instruments or have needs that sonically oppose each other. One of the most difficult ones is someone who does studio engineering or front of house but is also a bassist or drummer. In that case, you need good headroom and low end, but also good clarity. This is, honestly, harder to do on a budget. The Spire six driver would be the best option here. But the RSM will work as well. Sometimes, you might need one monitor for each application.

We love to help people figure out what is best for you. If you have questions, please drop us a line at and let us help you out!

Post Series: Drivers Ed