Pro Sound

Music Gear Review: Ultimate Ears Pro Sound Tap

Ultimate Ears Pro has a new device that allows using your in-ear monitors along with any existing stage monitor system--even floor monitor wedges. With Sound Tap, musicians and singers can plug in their custom or any in-ear monitors, and turn the stage monitor mix into an instant in-ear mix. It supports either line level or speaker-level inputs.

Aptly-named, Sound Tap is a self-powered monitoring interface that connects or "taps" into either the stage monitor's speaker line or any line level source usually already available for wireless or wired in-ear monitors. Sound Tap has "pass-through" connectors for direct insertion inline into any system without affecting the quality or performance of the installed system.

UE Pro Sound Tap has been designed to work with as many different systems as possible, such as stage wedges, side fills and other stage equipment. Multiple Sound Taps can be "daisy-chained" together and interspersed around the stage all interconnected to the monitor speakers. You would provide one unit for each performer's set of in-ears. Performers can opt to use in-ears or not. But also freely switch between them and the stage monitor speakers without a fuss.

I received a UE Sound Tap and it couldn't be simpler to set up. Two standard 9-volt batteries provide standalone operation for up to 40-hours anywhere in the world--even remote locations without worry of available power on stage. There is no wall wart power supply required so no need to find an outlet on stage--a big plus!

There are a set of In/Out XLR Combo jacks and a pair of Neutrik Speakon speaker jacks for passing the stage monitor audio through Sound Tap. These are the standard connections used in professional audio throughout the world.

I liked that I could switch between audio sources, XLRs or speaker, for my trying my Ultimate Ears UE 4 Pro In-Ear Monitors.

Once you turn the unit on, set the smaller Gain control knob so its green LED is lit but without flashing red LEDs, you're ready to advance the bigger Volume control to whatever volume level you require.

I found the sound to be marvelous (even though it has to be mono) and there is a lot of volume level available--louder than I can take.

I tested using both modes. I fed a mono mix from Pro Tools as a +4dB line level signal and I also connected my left small speaker's cable from my power amp to Sound Tap. Both ways worked flawlessly.

Sound Tap is housed in a rugged metal box with a threaded 3/8-inch European mounting nut underneath it so it can mount on a mic stand. It is built first class with dual, quick-change 9V battery holders, all metal control knobs and switches and finished in chip-resistant paint.

So I am highly recommended Sound Tap and I'm sure live sound/stage pros will pickup on it immediately and add it to their kit. Why didn't I think of this!!

The UE Pro Sound Tap is available through Ultimate Ears Pro and their network of authorized dealers around the world. With all the connecting cables required except the Speakons.

It sells for $249 MSRP and is well worth it. For more information, check pro.ultimateears.com/products/custom-accessories/wireless-and-hardware.

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com