Long-time Professional Audio Engineer speaks on the accuracy of the custom in-ear monitors and how they help him evoke the feelings behind the music
Portland, OR, March 22, 2022- Monitor Engineer Jason Phair started in professional audio nearly 20 years ago, drawn to working in sound by his passion for creating emotional experiences for the audience. For the past 5 years, he has delivered crystal-clear monitor mixes for Grammy-nominated American blues singer and songwriter Beth Hart. In addition to Hart, Phair also works with a variety of other artists in a range of genres, requiring him to be versatile and adaptable. In order to deliver a consistent monitor experience for all of his clients, Phair relies on Campfire Audio’s Equinox custom-fitted in-ear monitors (IEMs) to reference his mixes.
Passion for live sound
In Phair’s previous experience as a front-of-house engineer, his goal was to influence the audience’s emotions through sound. “For me, front-of-house isn’t necessarily about great sonics–although that’s certainly important–so much as it’s about the emotion of the music coming from the stage and making sure that gets relayed to the audience.” Since transitioning to working primarily as a monitor technician, he has brought that same focus to his monitor mixes, making sure the artists he works with are comfortable and connected to the emotion of their performances. To ensure his ability to deliver this experience in any performance environment, he began exploring the possibilities of Campfire Audio’s Equinox in-ear monitors.
Clarity is King
When most live shows were on hold during 2020, Phair had used his time off from touring to test and compare a range of different in-ear monitors. He quickly found that Equinox was a cut above the rest in clarity, isolation, and build quality. “I wasn’t sure what to expect at first because there are so many companies getting into in-ear monitors now,” he says, “but when I actually got to hear the Equinox monitors I was completely blown away!”
While pristine monitoring is Phair’s primary concern, comfort and wearability are important for him as well, given that he may wear his Equinox in-ear monitors for as long as 8 to 10 hours at a time. “Wearing in-ears for that period of time can be really uncomfortable and cause strain, so fit is a really important consideration,” he says. Phair was pleased with how easy it was to schedule a custom fitting for his Equinox monitors. “The team at Campfire Audio was extremely helpful,” he says. “They have a list of preferred audiologists they recommend in every major city in the country, so they put me in touch with one here in Portland. The fitting itself was simple, fast, and inexpensive.” Phair found the results well worth the extra time invested. “Because it’s actually molded to my ear, the Equinox is the best fitting pair of monitors I’ve ever had from any manufacturer.”
With a growing appreciation for the brand, Phair has acquired multiple Campfire Audio models for both personal and professional use. While the custom-fit Equinox remains his choice for professional monitoring because of its comfort and accuracy, he also owns a universal-fit pair of Andromeda monitors for recreational listening. “The Andromeda has a really refined musical presentation that’s great for listening to your favorite music.” With Campfire Audio based in his hometown of Portland, he appreciates being able to visit the workshop and become more involved with the company. “I’m excited to see them grow,” he says. In the meantime, he has won over a few converts on the road. “I’ve had drummers and guitarists have their in-ears break on tour, so I’ve loaned out my Campfire Audio monitors to them and they were instantly won over by the difference in what they were able to hear. It’s another level.”