(January 2020) A few years ago, sound engineer Travon Snipes had a revelation. “It was one of my first tours. I was mixing front of house for the artist Blackbear, and I needed earplugs,” he recalls. “Our sax player suggested Sensaphonics. So I ended up calling there and spoke with the audiologist, Heather Malyuk, and we really connected. It was the first time anyone really talked to me seriously about protecting my ears.”
Dr. Malyuk, who owns Soundcheck Audiology in Ohio, is a professional musician who became an audiologist. As former head of the Musician Hearing Clinic at Sensaphonics, she shares the company’s core focus on hearing wellness, and was pleased to find a willing audience in Travon Snipes and the Blackbear entourage. They met on the tour bus in Cleveland to do hearing tests and take ear impressions.
“Heather was just amazing, sharing her knowledge, answering questions and explaining everything,” Snipes recalls. “She came to do hearing tests and ear impressions, but took the time to talk and answer questions about the importance of hearing health for musicians and engineers. No other company, no other audiologist, had ever done that for m
Snipes’ experience with his new 2MAX convinced him Sensaphonics was the right choice. “When I put them in, I just fell in love with the sound,” he says. “The isolation was impeccable. Having so much isolation allowed me to really hear the mix clearly, without overdriving the IEM pack. I was able to really feel the depth of sound. And they felt really good to the ear as well – so comfortable!”
Today, whenever the subject of IEMs or hearing protection comes up, Snipes recommends Sensaphonics. “Every artist I’ve worked with since then, I have introduced them to it – show them what I use and how it’s different with the soft silicone,” he says. “That’s what happened when I mixed for Fantasia. She's now using the 2MAX, with that natural, flat response. She loves it.”
Last May, Snipes joined the Post Malone tour in Australia as monitor mixer, and has been with them through Europe, South America, and their return to the U.S. “Some of our crew guys, including the production manager, were having issues with their in-ears and asked, so I vouched for Sensaphonics and made the call.”
Snipes was put in touch with another Sensaphonics Gold Circle audiologist, Dr. Drew Price of Sound Relief Hearing Center in Denver, to meet with the Post Malone crew when they came through town, bringing demo units to listen to at the venue. “Drew was amazing, a lot like Dr. Malyuk in her concern for our hearing,” he notes. “She really gave some great insights on how to protect our ears. It really resonated with everyone, and that’s when I realized that the Sensaphonics message really runs through the whole company, including their audiologists all over the country. I love that about them.”
Most of the crew ordered Sensaphonics 3MAX earphones or Musician Earplugs that day, and Snipes reports everyone is happy with their purchases. “Being the new guy on the crew, I wanted to earn everyone’s trust,” says Travon. “So it was great to see everyone sharing the same feelings and experience I had with Sensaphonics.”
A graduate of the Art Institute of Houston, Snipes started his audio career in the studio, then embraced the world of live sound mixing and never looked back. “It’s been a great journey, and I’m very fortunate and blessed to be doing this,” he says. “I pay close attention to detail, surround myself with great people, and just try to keep learning. Sensaphonics is a great example of that. I can’t recommend them enough.”
Post Malone will be back on the road starting in early February for a lengthy U.S. tour, with Travon Snipes mixing monitors. You can follow Travon on Instagram @lghtwlkr.