February 19, 2018 2 min read

The HW Audio GOVNOR Valve Release: Who, What, Why?

Custom IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) have long been the choice of professional musicians and on-stage artists as they’re discreet aesthetically, a comfortable bespoke fit and provide the best possible audio reproduction whilst isolating effectively up to 26db of outside noise.

custom in ear monitors

HW’s IEMs are custom-made by moulding a reproduction impression from your ear canals (each ear is different!) which can be created by one of our technicians or sent in by you if you have access to the correct equipment to do so. The IEMs are then made using acrylic resin to give a total seal to your ears; isolating out all the unwanted external noise and feeding you the audio playback from your in ear monitor wireless receiver that you want to hear.

musicians ear impressions

However, there’s two concerns raised from audio experts about the continued use of IEMs by anyone – and particularly musicians, as they spend such a lot of time exposed to loud sound anyway. The first is occlusion, the sealing up of an organ that would otherwise be open. For singers, or anyone who speaks on-stage, this creates a hollow sound as you hear the speech vibrate through you rather than you would normally. This is taken care of with HW’s expert audio playback, so you’ll still hear every note you hit clearly and in unbeatably crisp quality.

The second issue is the possibility of the seal in the ears creating a build-up pneumatic air pressure that could, if left unchecked long term, result in hearing fatigue and even loss. Thankfully, HW have solved this issue with a unique piece of kit within their custom IEMs: meet the GOVNOR Valve.

A tiny piece of super simple British engineering, the GOVNOR Valve isolates the poor sound you would normally hear on stage without compromising the sound frequency response of the in ear monitors with vents.

Originally designed by James Watt in 1788 to let pressure build up to work in favour with proportional control, the original centrifugal governor regulated the admission of steam into the cylinders of a steam engine to maintain a consistent performance. It’s all very British, and a stroke of simple genius, so we included a variation of it in our IEMs.

The GOVNOR Valve allows the pressure to build up to a non-harmful level and then releases it as it needs to, keeping the sound quality within the monitors to studio quality and protecting your ears at the same time. It’s a really efficient piece of kit and a beautifully simple solution to what could otherwise be a damaging pressure build-up. The custom 3D printed acrylic shells along with memory foam tips form the seal around the ear canal so the sound outside stays just that. It contains the sound you need without compromising on safety, comfort or playback. This filter provides premium playback and protection that you simply won’t find elsewhere.

If you’re interested in a pair of HW IEMs with a GOVNOR Valve built in, contact the HW team or sign up for more information.

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