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Question: How to Use In Ears And Get Signal To FOH and Back


AnthonyM

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As mentioned in another thread, I am starting to research the use of In Ear monitors live rather than the use of monitor wedges. This would protect my hearing and provide a greater degree of clarity overall.

 

I have researched quite a number of great sounding headphones (from reviews) like Westone or Shure which do not require custom ear buds. But the confusing part of this for me is getting the signal to front of house and visa versa and how this is set up. Depending on the setup, people are using a a Key Largo, a mixer with the XLS stereo pair going to FOH or or a Direct Box for hardware only setup's to get the signal to FOH.

 

Also if there is a software element to the rig, would an A/D automatically be required. I suppose it would for a cleaner signal that the headphone jack on a laptop could provide. Also, I know the Key Largo also has a USB, but if not using a key largo or a keyboard with a built in D/A, how is everything routed to the front of house together?

 

Note: I do own a A/D that came with a Muse Research Receptor I purchased a few years ago, a Audiobox 1818 VSL A/D Converter but have not used it with the Receptor.

 

Now, in getting a monitor feed back from FOH to the in ear's, what is required (a receiver and a backpack) and does that absolutely have to be wireless? I've read that some forum members have the monitor feed from FOH going back to an input on their mixers. So I more than a little confused about how this is all set up.

 

Thanks Again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Anthony,

 

Many others will chime in but heres what I can answer:

 

- The key Largo is a mixer and a DI in one, with dual/stereo monitor outputs and dual balanced XLR outputs for FOH. If you were to drive your in ear monitor bodypack from the Key Largo, you would only hear your own output and not the rest of the band. The monitor output on the Key Largo is good for a non-IEM setup driving a stage wedge or a set of stereo PA speakers that you use for your own monitoring while allowing for stage bleed to hear the rest of the band.

 

2. To use the IEM, you need a monitor send FROM the FOH, usually over an XLR cable. As most keyboardists are not very mobile during the performance, you most definitely do not need a wireless body pack. The monitor send feeds into the bodypack clipped onto your belt or somewhere else on your rig, and the in ear monitors plug into the pack. For a really inexpensive wired pack, check out the Behringer Powerplay P1.

 

Sorry I cant add anything about a computer VST based setup.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

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I have researched quite a number of great sounding headphones (from reviews) like Westone or Shure which do not require custom ear buds.

I have low-end Shures that provide decent isolation. They're actually a little less comfortable than the ones they replaced, which were very inexpensive MEE Electronics M6 (under $50 IIRC). I'm not sure how much more isolation I'd get with custom molds, but I'm betting it would be just a few db more, for a lot more money.

 

But the confusing part of this for me is getting the signal to front of house and visa versa and how this is set up. Depending on the setup, people are using a a Key Largo, a mixer with the XLS stereo pair going to FOH or or a Direct Box for hardware only setup's to get the signal to FOH.

I guess I'm an outlier because I have a different method. I use a laptop with its regular headphone output. A cable goes from there to a stereo DI box or two mono DIs that gets my sound into the house PA. The "thru" jacks go to this unit: https://www.amazon.com/rolls-PM55P-Personal-Monitor-Battery/dp/B00J4VHTSW. This box takes a stereo input from the thru of the DI(s), and also has an XLR input to receive a feed from the monitor desk. Both these inputs have their own volume control so you can mix yourself (and/or the monitor send) in your ears as loud as you need without affecting the house. The Rolls also has a built-in limiter which is nice to have for in-ears (some would say a necessity).

 

Also if there is a software element to the rig, would an A/D automatically be required. I suppose it would for a cleaner signal that the headphone jack on a laptop could provide.

I don't know what "software element" you're using but I have a 2013 MacBook Pro and there is absolutely no problem with the "cleanliness" of the signal using its regular headphone put. For any live gig I do, it's fine.

 

Now, in getting a monitor feed back from FOH to the in ear's, what is required (a receiver and a backpack) and does that absolutely have to be wireless?

With this Rolls box, I run wired. Unless you're running around the stage with a keytar, I advise you to do the same. Wireless adds another layer of unpredictability and expense (mostly the latter) to this scenario.

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It would help if you could detail out how your rig is setup. What components are you using and the exact sequence of the setup. You may not need to purchase anything (other than the in-ears) if we understand how your rig is currently setup/wired up. Do you use a mixer today? Does it have monitor sends? Do you have a DI box at your disposal?

 

For example with my current rig if I wanted to go with in-ears I would simply send everything in my rig to my mixer as I do today, send all keyboard related channels to a monitor send out, through a DI to the FOH. I would take a monitor feed of my vocals from the FOH to a separate channel into my mixer which does not go back out through the monitor send. From my own mixer I can control my vocal volume in my ear buds independently from my keys. All I need to do this is ear buds and a cooperative soundman, all other stuff I need to accomplish this I already have in my current rig. The in-ears would connect to the headphone "out" of my mixer.

 

I also do this in my current rig if I can get a vocal return from the FOH, I do all of the above except instead of using headphones I send the mixer main outs to a powered monitor.

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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I've now tried IEMs for two gigs and still having issues, to the extent I'm bringing my monitor wedge back for next gig as a backup if I can't get things sorted.

 

That said: from the viewpoint of my rig (combo of hardware and Mainstage on a Macbook Pro):

 

1. Feed to FOH goes from main outs of my Key Largo

2. Monitor channel out of Key Largo goes to a small mixer I have

3. FOH feed to me goes into that same mixer on a different channel.

 

That way I can mix in my keys louder as I need to, but as mentioned above I've still had real problems with it but I'm sure the bugs will be ironed out :)

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I also use the Rolls PM55P that Reezekeys uses. My stereo keyboard send goes to my DI, which supplies xlr stereo to the house, and stereo 1/4 inch into the Rolls. I then get my monitor mix back from the house, so I can hear the rest of the band, which goes into the Rolls xlr in. The two volume controls on the Rolls allow me to adjust the relative levels of my keys vs the overall band mix from the main board. Works well for me.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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You can easily run hardwired as a static keyboard player - I happen to use wireless.

 

You don't say how many hardware instruments you are using with your software rig?

 

I have a Kronos 61 and 76, a Hammond SK2, a Prosoloist Rack + and a Fantom XR in my rig - two mono, three stereo.

I recently decided I couldn't get enough adjustment on my individual instruments from the FOH Midas desk which supplies us with a Behringer P16 personal monitor mixer.

 

I'm going to take the mix from FOH from the P16 into my Samson SM10 10 channel rack mixer so I can plug in headphones and get a mix of FOH with my keys.

The link connections of the SM10 go into a Radial ProD8 which means that is entirely separate and unaffected by the mixer.

 

This is the first mixer I have found to have enough inputs to do the job, it is brillliant.

Yamaha CP70B;Roland XP30/AXSynth/Fantom/FA76/XR;Hammond XK3C SK2; Korg Kronos 73;ProSoloist Rack+; ARP ProSoloist; Mellotron M4000D; GEM Promega2; Hohner Pianet N, Roland V-Grand,Voyager XL, RMI
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I'm doing almost the same as Reezekeys (also on his recommendations).

 

I use a small mixer (Yamaha mg06x) to mix my 4 keyboards, two mono, two stereo. The outs go into a stereo DI. The thru of the DI is routed to my Rolls PM55p (stereo input). This way I have control over my own volume without affecting the FOH volume. The extra input (mono) on the Rolls is where I get the feed from the monitor desk to hear the rest of the band. The only disadvantage is that I can't get a stereo mix from the rest of the band, but that doesn't bother me too much.

Rudy

 

 

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I used to have a more complex flow, with my keyboard submixer also acting as a monitor submixer (being careful not to "cross the streams", lest horrendous feedback loop ensue when you send the monitor back to FOH etc)...these days I just get everything back from FOH, including my keys. In other words, I'm completely dependent on the monitor mix to hear myself.

 

I only do this when we are running sound with our full PA, and it really helps to have the ability to do my monitor mix via phone/tablet app.

 

I run the monitor mix directly into my belt pack via a long cable (we run sound from stage). This cable is snaked with my keys feed to FOH and my microphone signal to FOH. My setup is something like 5 minutes :D

 

I'm a "flow chart person" when it comes to anything, and I found it very helpful to diagram out the signal flow with my setup.

 

 

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I use a Rolls PM351.

Macbook Pro into the stereo input,

Stereo mix from FOH

Click-track from external dac into the mic input (I modified the PM351 inside to allow the mic input to handle line level signals)

 

This way I have direct control of my keyboards, the click-track and FOH return channel.

 

In my case I get the FOH mix back on my monitorinput (as we do not have a sound engineer, I try to monitor the full mix including keys). The click also goes to the Main mixing desk.

I can always turn the local key volume up when needed, or when the main mixing desk is muted or not setup yet.

 

Works great for me. Also use the internal DI of the PM351.

Nord Piano 5-73, Nord Stage 3
Author of QSheets: The fastest lead sheet viewer in the world that also plays Audio Files and send Program Changes!
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Run your keys to a DI and out of the DI into your mixer. Plug the in ears into the headphone out. Take a monitor send from the FOH with what you need in your mix, plug that into another channel of your mixer.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

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There is the ideal way to do it, and then there are a bunch of work arounds if you can't do it the ideal way, most of which I've tried. IMHO, most of the problems people have, unhappiness, including the need for the IEM's that allow ambient sound in the mix, are all due to a less than ideal setup.

 

What's ideal? To me, ideal is perfect isolation with the IEM's so that you only get what is being sent to them. Everything, and I mean everything, has an independent channel going to FOH, and you have your own control over your own mix to your IEM's either via a onstage analog mixer, or better yet, an app running the sends from a digital mixer.

 

What are some less than ideal things that I've tried? My own mixer with my keys in one channel and a FOH send of somebody else's monitor mix that I'm sharing. Not all drums mic'd. Forget it, I'll use a wedge in that case. Somebody else controlling my IEM mix? Highly unlikely unless they are absolutely top notch pro and I really trust them.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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