the t.bone EP 4 in-ear monitors: What are they?
Sitting firmly at the budget end of the IEM spectrum, the t.bone EP 4 In-Ear Monitors from Thomann are aiming to provide musicians with an affordable entry point into the world of silent stages. If you’ve been considering switching to IEMs for your live shows but have been baulking at the price, then the t.bone EP 4 might just be the gateway to better monitoring.
Available for less than half the price of my favourite budget in-ear monitors, the Shure SE215s, the t.bone EP 4s come smartly packaged with a soft carry bag and clear plastic case. Three sizes of earbuds give you a decent, albeit not exhaustive range of fitment, and that’s it in terms of what’s in the case.
They’ve got a single driver in each earbud with an SPL of 114dB, so plenty of power on tap to cover a variety of scenarios. The frequency response covers between 10Hz and 22kHz so plenty of range to cover any sound you want pumped through from front-of-house. The stats compare favourably with many of the more expensive options that are available, so the proof will be in the performance.
The construction is solid with a clear housing that’s colour-coded for the left and right earbuds. The cables are very thin but feel sturdy enough to put up with repeated use and the design encourages you to wrap the cables over your ears once you’ve inserted them. A small plastic sleeve lets you close the distance between the separate earbud cables should you need a more snug fit.
the t.bone EP 4 in-ear monitors: Performance and verdict
I tried out the t.bone EP 4 In-Ear Monitors at a noisy rehearsal and in a studio setting to get the best of both worlds on their performance. I found they were more than capable of delivering against a drum kit being played at full whack, drop-tuned guitars blasting out of a tube amp, and a 4x12 bass cab. I didn’t need to push them to distortion to be heard above the ruckus either, which can often be the case with cheaper IEMs.
The noise cancellation is excellent and you definitely won’t hear anyone sneaking up behind you with these on. Despite featuring only three sets of earbuds, I found them to be a perfect fit for my ears which probably helped with noise noise-cancellation effect. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll do the same for everyone, but they’re cheap enough that you can spend a little extra cash on different-sized ear moulds if you need to.
Using them in a studio setting offered a little more insight into the frequency response than the cacophony of the rehearsal room. The bass response is actually quite nice, not quite as detailed as IEMs with multiple drivers of course, but certainly enough to hear the low-end thump of the bass guitar and kick drum. There’s plenty of silky high end too, and we really enjoyed the stereo separation which would no doubt be useful if you like to have different instruments in each ear.
For the price, it’s really hard to knock anything about the t.Bone EP 4 In Ear Monitors. Of course, they don’t come with as many bells and whistles as other offerings from bigger brands but they do offer excellent performance that makes them a great shout for musicians looking to make their first foray into the world of superior onstage monitoring.
MusicRadar verdict: Coming in at less than half the price of some of their competitors, the t.bone EP 4 In-Ear Monitors give musicians in search of superior monitoring a low-cost entry point. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the bigger brands, but they get the job done.
the t.bone EP 4 in-ear monitors: Specifications
- Connectivity: Wired
- Drivers: 1
- Sensitivity: 114 dB
- Earbuds: 3 Silicone included
- Case: Yes, plus a soft carry bag
- Frequency range: 10 - 22,000 Hz
- Contact: Thomann