I was very excited to review the Ultimate Ears Sound Tap. As a new user of in-ear monitors for my live shows, I was looking around to see how I can make using them live a bit easier. Well, I know now that I have found my solution in the Sound Tap.

Unfortunately, I was only able to use the Sound Tap in a rehearsal, but I’m positive it would have been even more impressive at a live show. Previous to this piece of gear, I had to hand off my wireless system to some unknown sound man. Each night, as I dealt with different sound men, I dealt with varying degrees in my quality of in-ear mixes. Now, with the Sound Tap, I will be able to handle these situations with a more hands-on approach and get a better level of consistency from show to show.

Right out of the box, the simplistic and highly intuitive layout is so comfortable. With a large Volume knob, and smaller Gain knob, it’s easy to access and make any adjustments needed. There is one switch on the unit where you can select SPK or XLR mode to correspond with the cable connection you are using.

The front of the unit has input and output jacks for speaker cables or XLR cables. The Volume and Gain knobs have indicator level lights, so you can tell when you have a good signal level or when you are peaking.

The Sound Tap can be used in your sound chain by simply plugging in the XLR or 1/4″ plug, that normally plugs into the floor monitor, directly into the Sound Tap. You can also run a XLR or 1/4″ cable out of the Sound Tap and back into the floor monitor, and still have your fully functional floor monitor. So, the floor monitor mix you are getting from the board, is now also in your in-ear monitors/headphones. Does it get any easier than that?

The Sound Tap comes with an extension cable for the 3.5mm earphone jack located on the unit, making it easy to keep the unit nearby. You can also get a mount and mount it right on your mic stand for easy access. You can plug into the unit’s earphone jack directly, or use it with your wireless in-ear’s system’s transmitter base.

The system operates on two 9 volt batteries that can provide up to 30 hours of use. If you have the unit plugged into in-ears as well as the floor monitor, the floor monitor signal will continue its output, even if the batteries should die, you will only lose the in-ear signal. This unit will be a big hit for those musicians who would like to use in-ear monitors at their live shows, but may not want to invest in an expensive wireless system, or are afraid that it may be too complicated.

Priced at around $249, it’s a great tool that’s worth the small investment to get good sound quality in your earphones no matter what size show you are playing.  Thanks to the team at Ultimate Ears for such a thoughtful and well-designed product!

Tech Specs

  • Features:
    Spike protection, active impedance matching.
  • Frequency response:
    20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Battery life:
    ~30 hours on a pair of 9V batteries
  • Conncetion:
    1/8” stereo headphone jack, 1/4″ Combo XLR, Speakon
  • Warranty:
    1 Year

In the box

  • Batteries
    9V batteries installed (2pcs)
  • Cables
    6′ XLR cable and 6′ 1/4″ cable.
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Born and Raised in Miami, FL, Vanessa started playing music at a young age. Progressing through high school, Vanessa was playing and performing on multiple instruments including guitar, piano and trumpet. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During her time there, she studied the guitar playing of such influences as Pat Martino, Slash, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Eric Johnson and many others. After graduating with a degree in Music Business, she went on to work with such artists as Pat Metheny and Christian McBride. After years in the business end of the industry, she decided to pursue her own performing career and moved to Atlanta, GA. Once in Atlanta, she was playing with several groups, and doing recording sessions.  A year later, she was chosen as a finalist by Beyonce to audition for her all-girl backup band. Vanessa has traveled the world playing guitar, visiting countries such as France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Japan, South America and the Caribbean. She has performed on the bill with such renown artists as Darius Rucker, LA Sno, KISS, Skid Row and Paramore. She is currently recording and performing as the front woman for rock trio, BAST. www.vanessaizabella.com


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