Sounding Off: In-Ear Monitors and Hearing Protection

Start Time:
5:00 pm
Mike Dias and Philippe Depallens
Thursday, Jan 22
Tech Lab (202 B)
1 hr.

In this session,  you’ll hear from multiple points of view (the manufacturer, performer and sound engineer) regarding hearing conservation and the role in-ear monitors play in addressing those concerns. Brian Hardgroove, with his more than 30 years of performing, will provide first-hand experience into how hearing conservation has become a crucial concern for performing and recording artists, while Mark Frink, audio industry veteran, will share a sound engineer’s vantage point. And, Philippe Depallens and Mike Dias from Ultimate Ears will provide specifics and insights into in-ear monitors and hearing conservation, going beyond traditional and expected needs. 


Mike Dias

Mike Dias is the sales director for Ultimate Ears Pro. A professional in the Pro-Audio/Consumer Electronics space for more than 15 years, Mike joined UE Pro in 2004 as the director of marketing and communications. In that position, Mike created and oversaw the Artist Relations division of UE Pro, as well as planned events, promotions, campaigns and trade shows for the company. In June 2007, Mike became a music supervisor and content creator for UE Pro, managing the UE University website, Artists to Watch program and UE Presents, until becoming sales director in early 2014.  Aside from his current UE position, Mike founded his own communications firm, Rickety Pier Productions, in 2007, specializing in copywriting, content, SEO and public relations. 

Plus, Mike is an application developer and writer, contributing to and maintains two industry-specific blogs, The In-Ear Guy and The Music Industry Insider. His blogs strive to help consumers, as well as industry professionals, better understand the music industry and to contextualize how all the pieces and players are interconnected. After conducting more than 60 interviews of sound engineers, industry insiders and digital pioneers, Mike is able to connect the dots and see emerging patterns and how everyone fits into the bigger music industry picture.


Philippe Depallens 

Philippe Depallens is the general manager of Ultimate Ears Pro and vice president of strategic partnerships for Ultimate Ears. In his current role, Philippe oversees all aspects of Ultimate Ears Pro, including product development, general operations, and sales and marketing as related to both consumers and musicians. In addition to bringing to market award-winning products, he manages all partnerships with musicians, record labels, music services and everything in between.  Previously, Philippe served as vice president and general manager for Logitech UE, where he managed the entire portfolio of earphones and headset products, including the definition, development and commercial launch of all new products for the consumer and professional lines.

A theme throughout Philippe’s career has been his dedication to products that touch consumers’ emotions, from the earliest Internet video broadcasts bringing families together around the world to premium music products for audiophiles. A Swiss national, Philippe has music in his roots. He was born in Montreux, home of the famous international Montreux Jazz Festival. Today, he considers himself fortunate to be able to mix his private passion for music with his professional vocation.  


Brian Hardgroove

Brian Hardgroove is a record producer, bassist, and member of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Public Enemy. Recently he joined the faculty of Santa Fe University of Art and Design as Artist In Residence. Hardgroove’s musical repertoire spans the genres of hip-hop, soul, rhythm and blues, rock, and reggae. Although he’s done productions that include the extraordinary talents of Chuck D (Public Enemy), Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Burning Spear (Grammy winner “Reggae Album Of The Year 2009), Marc Anthony, Supertramp and The Fine Arts Militia, his most cherished work is the production of two of China’s premier punk rock bands Demerit and Brain Failure.



Mark Frink

Mark Frink earned his Economics degree from UMass in 1982 while running a college sound company. The next decade was spent with Sun Sound Audio, founding the KF 850 User Network and touring with Crystal Gayle, Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega and 10,000 Maniacs, as well as countless 'one-offs.'

Joining Mix magazine in 1993 as its Live Sound Editor, he continued working as an independent engineer, with projects including the Metropolitan Opera, the Pope's visit to Giants Stadium, Tony Bennett's 'Unplugged' tour, Atlanta Olympics basketball, Pavarotti and the Three Tenors, Joni Mitchell's symphony tour, a decade working at the Super Bowl and a decade mixing monitors for k.d. lang. After 4 years with Live Sound International magazine, Mark became Editor for Front of House magazine, leaving to tour with Zac Brown Band as their IEM engineer. Mark is currently with the Jacksonville Symphony, a regular contributor to pro audio magazines and available to tour this summer.