/// What are Ambient Ports?
We're often asked about ambient ports, what are they? do you need them? do they make a difference? We'll try to explain them here...
So, just what are Ambient Ports? Ambient Ports are basically an extra hole through your custom in ear monitors, from the faceplate right through to the canal tip. This connects the outside ambient with your ear canal and effectively breaks the seal. This hole albeit controlled via a filter (in most cases) will halve your hearing protection from 26-27dB down to about 13dB but it does allow you to hear the ambient, ie: you're not completely cut off from your surroundings. The amount of ambient you hear through the ambient port is then controlled with a series of interchangeable bungs (with 1964 Ears IEMs), these bungs have different sized holes in that increase / decrease the amount of ambient that passes through by approximately 2-3dB, a solid bung is also included with your custom in ear monitors to bring the level of hearing protection back up to 26-27dB. JH Audio and Ultimate Ears offer a solid bung so your port will either be open or closed.
A question you should ask yourself here is, why you feel that you need to hear the ambient but also what do you need to hear? Don't forget you'll get ambient off of the mics you're already using including your drum overheads. We also often see musicians picking up their ambient by using just 1 IEM, this should always be avoided and is something we discuss here. So what if you simply don't want to be completely cut off from your audience? Best advice here is to deal with what part of the ambient you want to hear, understand why and then feed that through your mix at the level you want with the use of extra ambient stage mics (if the mics you have aren't already doing this). This is far more controlled vs the use of ambient ports.
So what type of musicians benefit from Ambient Ports? Generally speaking ambient ports benefit musicians that always play live with everything going through the mixing desk where they can use the sealed bung but rehearse where not everything is, ie: your custom in ear monitors will pick up what goes through the desk and the user will get the rest of the room sound via the ambient ports (using a bung that suits their needs).
* Note: Ambient Ports can reduce your low end reponse.
/// What about the 64 Audio A-Series?
64 Audio IEMs as standard give 20dB of reduction vs 26dB that you get from a normal IEM, so naturally 6dB less, this is due to the way in which their included apex modules work. Open ambient ports (as above) offer 13dB or reduction / protection, basically the lower the protection the more ambient that will pass through.