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IEM question.


Eric Jx

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My singer wants to move to an IEM solution. I'm trying to help her with the research but I have a few concerns that I can't find definitive answers. Any help you guys(gals) can provide would be appreciated.

 

Some facts:

We currently have 3 band members who sing: our lead singer, the bassist, and the drummer. The only one (currently) interested in in ear monitoring is the lead singer. Truthfully, the drummer would probably benefit most from an IEM, but he's just not willing to spend the money at this point. Most gigs the only thing we run through our PA is the 3 vocals, my keys, and an electronic drum pad.

 

Once she moves to an IEM, my concern is if she'll ever be able to get a proper mix if all the instruments aren't mic'ed. Obviously I'd feed her all the vocal channels, and mute the drum pad. I think the presence of the keyboards through her IEM would be confusing for most guitar driven songs. So if she's only getting vocals through the IEM, will she be so isolated from the guitar/keys that she won't be able to lock into the right pitch?

 

I read a little about IEM systems that have an ambient feature. Would that work for the situation I'm describing? From what I understand there are some that IEMs that use a mic (or one for each ear) to pull in ambient sound. There are others that just have a pinhole in the ear peice that allows ambient sound in. Any suggestions about which is the right way to go?

 

 

Thanks in advance

 

 

 

 

 

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My 0.02 - if you're not putting the full band on IEMs, a good workable solution is the two-feed system - a system that allows two channel inputs into the ears that the user can mix on the fly from the belt pack.

 

That way, she can feed her vocal as ch1 and the rest of the mix as ch2. "Rest of the mix" can be an ambient mic, a stepped-to-line version of the monitor mix, or whatever else you can easily give her. Depending on the stage volume, she may not even need much of ch2 as the isolation and self-feed of ch1 may be sufficient to improve her intonation, comfort, etc.

 

I believe every major IEM mfr (Shure, Sennheiser, AT, even Carvin) offers a two-channel IEM system.

 

Hope that helps.

..
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I've got an "ambient mic" that I sometimes use with my PSM200 system. It's a small lav mic that plugs directly into the PSM200's body pack. I use it almost like a "talk back" mic - bringing the volume up on it when I have my ear buds in and I need to talk to somebody. The sound quality of the "ambient mic" isn't anything I'd want to use as my primary source of sound for getting the band into my IEM mix. At it's best - listening to the ambient mic is like listening to a tiny, cheap AM radio.

 

If your vocalist uses ear buds that get the proper seal and isolation that's needed to truly get a decent sound out of the IEM - you'll need to find a why to send her an "active" monitor mix that contains what she needs to hear. If she's not getting the proper seal and isolation with her ear buds - she'll find that the IEM doesn't help her hear any better.

 

I recently made the switch to IEMs. It took some cash to get the right earbuds (the "stock" buds didn't work for me - ended up having to go to custom molded units). It also took a little time to get the mix right. They're a beautify thing when you get 'em dialed in - and I'm glad I made the change. My experience however has been that it's not something you can cut corners on and be satisfied with the results.

 

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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If your vocalist uses ear buds that get the proper seal and isolation that's needed to truly get a decent sound out of the IEM - you'll need to find a why to send her an "active" monitor mix that contains what she needs to hear. If she's not getting the proper seal and isolation with her ear buds - she'll find that the IEM doesn't help her hear any better.

 

 

That's exactly the kind of feedback I've been looking for. Thank you.

 

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I agree with what SpaceNorman said. You need good ear buds that provide isolation and a good mix. You can buy good ear buds, but getting a mix that works for the individual is a challenge. I use IEMs and have it setup that I can control the level of my keyboards and the level of the mix separately. That helps quite a bit, but even though I have my own dedicated mix it's still a lot of work to get the right mix.

 

Jamie

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I recommend molded IEMs for fit/seal. The singer may find that she doesn't need the whole mix in the ears. There may be enough bleed, even with molds, that she'll get what she needs from on-stage mics. I would recommend only putting in the ears what's absolutely needed for time and pitch reference. And here's another reason why I like to run IEMs in stereo--by panning the instruments across the stereo field the mix won't be as tiring after a night. Ear monitors will fatigue you in a hurry in mono. You want to keep the clutter down to a minimum.

 

I have no experience with the "ambient" feature in newer IEMs other than a quick tryout at a NAMM show. Still using the UE5s I got in 2001. Spend the money and get quality.

 

K.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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I disagree with a lot of the comments in this thread. I know many singers who only use an ear piece on one side and mostly only have their vocal in it.

 

It's different than the isolation approach but does manage to help a singer tons to hear themselves and not fatigue their voice, this also allows the singer to feel connected to everyone without a bunch of technical work that can often cause more problems than it's worth

 

Your mileage may vary, there are lots of factors. I personally don't like IEMs that seal you from the world, I'm not alone.

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I disagree with a lot of the comments in this thread. I know many singers who only use an ear piece on one side and mostly only have their vocal in it.

 

From what I understand, this is a very dangerous thing to do to your ears. This point has been covered in this forum before. The problem is summarized in the following article. Here is the excerpt:

To overcome some of the limitations of IEMs, such as isolation from the audience, some performers will wear just one IEM. This is not a recommended solution, and it is important that performers wear an IEM in each ear, for many reasons. Our bodys natural hearing protection mechanism, the tympanic reflex, works with both ears together. Its effectiveness is diminished when one ear is protected, because it leaves the open ear more vulnerable to loud sounds. There is also a stereophonic boost (approximately 6 dB) in perceived volume when two earphones are used together. You can try this yourself with a set of earphones and an MP3 player. Start by listening to just one earphone then putting in the second without turning up the volume. The perceived volume of the first earphone will seem to increase when the second earphone is added. Therefore the converse of this, using one IEM, means the volume must be 6 dB louder to get the same perceived volume, thus exposing the IEM ear to unnecessarily excessive volume. It also halves the listening time before the onset of hearing damage.
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@Steve: Do you remember the thread about only using one ear monitor and the damage it can cause? I wouldn't be so quick to recommend this to anyone.

audiology on line

 

 

Please--two IEMs or no IEMs. Yes, there is a feeling of isolation. It's the same as being in a recording studio. There is a learning curve. You won't like them immediately. Eventually you won't want any other sort of monitors.

 

K.

 

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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.....Yes, there is a feeling of isolation. It's the same as being in a recording studio. There is a learning curve. You won't like them immediately. Eventually you won't want any other sort of monitors.

 

K.

My experience as well.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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