Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

IEM limiter


Recommended Posts

I am taking the plunge and shelling out 700 bucks ( :eek: !!!) for a pair of Ultimate Ears UE-5Pro earphones. Due to budget constraints (or should I say blow-out...) I will not buy the complete IEM system with personal mixer, body-pack, etc. and will make do plugging the earphones directly into the studio/venue submix out that outputs the monitor mixing of my choice.

 

The only catch is I will be lacking an audio peak limiter. And I do not want to risk some dope accidentally hitting some slider or button and making me deaf for life.

 

Is anybody aware of a simple, effective and not-too-expensive audio limiter that could be used for such a rig? Preferably some device that will not kill the headroom and/or modify in any way the audio signal, only ensure it does not rise over a given dB limit. By the way, compression is not required, only some sort of adjustable audio peak limiting.

 

Any contribution will be mostly appreciated.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 39
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Wooow, that is 12 hundred bucks (on Sweetwater), guys!! I know this is top quality gear, but rather large and pricey too. Perhaps If there is no such thing as a reasonable limiter under, let's say, some 500 bucks, I might dump the whole idea of using IEM at all! The 700 for the earphones are already a major blow in my wallet. Can anyone suggest any alternative?
"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Hartmann:

I am taking the plunge and shelling out 700 bucks ( :eek: !!!) for a pair of Ultimate Ears UE-5Pro earphones. Due to budget constraints (or should I say blow-out...) I will not buy the complete IEM system with personal mixer, body-pack, etc. and will make do plugging the earphones directly into the studio/venue submix out that outputs the monitor mixing of my choice.

You cannot just show up at a venue and ay I need a feed for IEM's and expect to plug your buds into a mix out. The buds reqauire a HP amp to power them, a console mix or aux out will NOT work.

 

I highly recommend you save your money for a complete system. Shure and Sennheiser have systems atarting at only a few hundred for wired versions, with built in limiting to protect your ears and your buds.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well... you could hook a couple of parallel Schottky diodes across the earbuds.

 

The specs for these say they're 21 Ohms, and that they deliver SPL of 119 dB per milliwatt of input. This works out to 0.145 Volts RMS, or .205 Volts peak.

 

Schottky diodes will start conducting at about 0.2 Volts, and prevent the voltage from getting above this level. So the peak SPL will be limited to 119 dB. Still enough to blow out your brains... but not enough to puncture an eardrum...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listen to Where! You can make do through a headphone output but I wouldn't recommend it. I would not, however, use the onboard limiter. The Shure units are notorius for overloading when the limiter kicks in, yielding very audible and annoying distortion.

 

Not to be rude, just blunt; If you want "...a simple, effective and not-too-expensive audio limiter that could be used for such a rig? Preferably some device that will not kill the headroom and/or modify in any way the audio signal, only ensure it does not rise over a given dB limit." and aren't prepared to spend for a Dominator then you're kidding yourself.

 

You may as well buy a $300-$500 compressor/limiter and live with any coloration, because your description is typical of the average consumer; "I want a car luxurious as a Roll Royce, handles like a Ferrari, is reliable as a Toyota, but American made and in the $30,000 - $40,000 price range." ;):D

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, thanks for the reallity shock. Now I am aware that there might be no cheap way around this, and the 700 bucks won't cut on their own...

I've also read around and encountered many negative opinions regarding Shure IEM system's limiters. Now let me cut to the chase: Is there anything cheaper than the 12 hundred of the Apex Dominator that would do any justice to the 700 bucks of the UE-5Pro? Furthermore, why are limiters that much expensive?

 

And one last question: I was intending to buy a TC Helicon Voice Live as well (which now at 760 bucks seems really cheap compared to the Dominator...). Could anyone tell me if it offers some sort of audio-peak limiter besides the usual compressor factory-programs?

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have yet to ever need a limiter when I use headphones or IEMs. It's a very simple thing to do. I've been using these for 15 years with zero problems. Just run them like you would headphones.

 

Just set your maximum volume so that any peaks will not hurt you or the IEMs. Use duct tape to keep the knob/fader from moving if you have to. You'll be fine.

 

Keep it simple. "Creeping Elegance" is distracting you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Prague, but I personally find this idea very, very risky. To make it worse, I can sometimes be very clumsy and am busy playing two keyboards, a MIDI player for patch setting and also some occasional guitar. In other words, cannot risk an accident. Furthermore, people tell me there will be some impedance matching problems depending on where I plug the earphones...
"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One wrong move on that console or one electronic screwup and, without a limiter to protect you, you could suffer permanent, let me say that again...PERMANENT hearing loss.

 

Properly setup, the limiter should never kick in EXCEPT to protect your ears. Inotherwords, you'll never hear it unelss it's saving your butt, or in this case your hearing.

 

I work with several artists who use use the Shure systems and they love them. The Sennheiser systems are excellent as well.

 

However the key factor you need to understand first is you cannot just plug the buds into a console output, except for a HP out. they require an HP amp to power them. Thus getting a properly designed for EIM system, be it Shure, Sennheiser or whatever will solve both the issue of proper amplification AND safety limiters.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by where02190:

One wrong move on that console or one electronic screwup and, without a limiter to protect you, you could suffer permanent, let me say that again...PERMANENT hearing loss.

I second that emotion.

 

What if a component in the console goes out (a capacitor blows, etc.) and full-bore signal goes screeching into your ears, regardless of where that output pot is duct-taped?

 

Don't chance it.

 

- Jeff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it seems to me now that IEM will keep being a distant dream. I had no clue that the 700 bucks of the earphones were the cheapest part of the deal... Now people tell me that there is no such a simple device as JUST a dB limiter to be placed right before the earphones in the signal chain. The market only offers a bunch of things I do not need (compressor, exciter, enhancer, you name it...) attached to the only one I do: The dB Limiter. The only exception I could find was the Aphex Dominator II (modular unit), which seems closer to my idea of just a limiter, but it still sells for some 600 bucks. Clearly beyond my reach.

 

As for cheaper options (Shure systems), it does not make sense to spend a lot on the best possible earphones and then make do with a crappy, non-adjustable limiter that distorts every time the level nears the threshold.

 

Sorry for the whining, but right now I feel dejected.

 

And you know what puzzles me the most? Considering the purpose of the earphones (that is, giving me a faithful reproduction of what is being pumped through the PA, minus the instruments chosen to be out of my monitor submix), ain't it funny that most of the devices available strive so much to alter the sound that will finally reach the earphones, thus rendering it different from the PA sound :confused: ? I suppose people will say the use I am making of them is not the one they were designed for, but then again why there is nothing in the market that does not cost a fortune and does only limit dB levels? Well, perhaps I am more illiterate than I thought I was :cry: ... All I wanted was to protect my ears from damage. Did not realize it is structurally unfeasible without spending more than twice of an already high earphone price tag.

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An entire Shure or Sennheiser hardwire IEM system, included the NECESSARY amplification that you seem to think you don't need for the buds (in these cases generic, but still work very well and many artist are quite happy with them) are under $1000.

 

Once again, you CAN NOT simply plug your ear buds into a console mix out, it WILL NOT WORK. Console mix and aux outs do not have sufficient power, nor are they the proper imepdance load to drive your earbuds correctly. Bare minimum you need an amp designed to drive headphones, which would connect from the monitor console outs, which will drive your earbuds. You'll spend a minimum of $100 on this. Some inexpensive units are the behringer HP amp (at I think $99) and the Whurlwind Q-box (Around $150, mono only but very clean and powerful.) Neither of these units offer ANY protection, which IMHO is a MUST HAVE for IEMs.

 

IMHO you'd be far better served forgoing the expenisve custom molds for now, getting a good IEM system (complete with amplification/limiting, such as the afore mentioned Shure or Sennheiser) with generic buds, and when you can afford, move up to custom molds.

 

FYI< Futuresonics, one of the top leaders in IEM custom buds and systems, uses the sennheiser systems for their products.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Hartmann:

Thanks Prague, but I personally find this idea very, very risky. To make it worse, I can sometimes be very clumsy and am busy playing two keyboards, a MIDI player for patch setting and also some occasional guitar. In other words, cannot risk an accident. Furthermore, people tell me there will be some impedance matching problems depending on where I plug the earphones...

Well, if you have no control over your equipment, then you must be blowing speakers if you have no limiter. That is what is risky.

 

It's impossible for us to "accidentally" get a 120dB blast into ANY transducer in our entire setup. It can be controlled. It's been done. If you solve the problem at the root it won't recur. It's really a matter of setting levels.

 

But, yes, you do need an amplifier to drive IEM's, phones, and speakers. Regardless of size all such amplifiers do the same thing.

 

It's a shame you've been deterred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People,

 

First of all, thank you for your answers up to now. I did not mean to have this thread turned into some gear preference debate (like do the Shure limiters suck or not) or security choices debate (like do I need a limiter or not - that is already decided, I will not risk my ears at all). What I really wanted was to have some practical directions. For one thing, I know I will need to amplify the signal coming from the console in order to drive my earphones (that is easy to solve). The sore point has been the limiter, all along. And as nobody came with a suggestion of a limiter that would fit my needs in terms of cost and performance, I am still stuck with the original problem.

 

And yes, it is a shame I've been deterred, because I am sure IEM could improve my musical performance very much. Now I realize that it is still wildly expensive, and that is one reason you do not see many amateurs like me using them...

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I third the notion of having a limiter. I cannot stress just how important this is. No matter what kind of caliber sound dude is running your monitor board, they're NOT gonna be able to predict those type of spikes!

 

Give me a couple of days. We do have an extra wireless IEM system that I probably could part with for less than the $500 you're thinking of spending with a built in limiter. Lemme pass it by the fellas. We've been saving it as a backup (never needed) and has been utilized by occasional sit-ins. While it's not a PSM700, it's a dang fine unit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hartman, is your goal wireless or hardwired? As noted, you can get a complete systme from Shure or sennheiser that is hardwired INCLUDING very good generic buds for well under $1000, in fact I think it may even be under $500.

 

Start small, with the basics, then save for the custom molds. They are absolutely not essential for using IEM's, the generic buds are very nice. You may find you are happy with them.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jpmiii:

dbx 1066 compressor with peak stop limiter $400

 

aux out to 1066 to headphone amp to earbuds

 

I haven't seen the 1066 used for this applicaton but it may have promise.

Bingo! Someone is playing ball at last...

 

Now I also have been considering the idea of using a simple compressor as JUST a limiter. After all, the usual name os the device used to be Compressor/Limiter, right? I'll start by confessing absolute ignorance of how does compression works in fact. However I'll do some research to get it right. Anyway, considering my ideal device would be something that would only act at all IF and WHEN the ausio signal surpasses an adjustable audio threshold, I wonder if I'd be missing anything if I chose to use a compressor as a pure limiter (i.e. zero compression, but full, immediate clipping of the audio signal once it reaches the established threshold).

 

I'll sure have a look at this dbx 1066 you suggested JPMIII.

 

Another question: If I have the console operator sending my monitor mix to a headphone OUT of the console, I could do away with signal amplification between the console and the compressor (acting as a limiter), right? Would I be missing anything?

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Hartmann:

...Anyway, considering my ideal device would be something that would only act at all IF and WHEN the ausio signal surpasses an adjustable audio threshold, I wonder if I'd be missing anything if I chose to use a compressor as a pure limiter (i.e. zero compression, but full, immediate clipping of the audio signal once it reaches the established threshold).

Uh... don't do that. Clipping the output will only distort the hell out of it. Not to mention your expensive earbuds will become a pile of junk.

 

Another question: If I have the console operator sending my monitor mix to a headphone OUT of the console, I could do away with signal amplification between the console and the compressor (acting as a limiter), right? Would I be missing anything?
No! First, the compressor would need to be before the headphone out. Second, even if you have an insert that can be utilized to put the compressor in line with your mix, the sound engineer will want to use his headphone output for mixing. (Not really mixing, per se, but as a diagnostic tool when signal isn't getting from one place to another.) He's not going to give up his only method of isolating signal at various points within the console to give you an IEM mix. Not if he's smart, anyway.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unless it's your monitor desk and you ahve say, there's no way using the desks HP k, becaus eyou would be eliminating the engineers ability to use is cue system, as every time he cues something up it'll then become what you hear also.

 

$400 for a compressor+$100 for a HP amp=$500. You can get a hardwire IEm system for that, why try to gerry rig something that you can get for the same price that does EXACTLY what you need?

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Uh... don't do that. Clipping the output will only distort the hell out of it. Not to mention your expensive earbuds will become a pile of junk.[/QB]

Neil, now you got me worried: Why would clipping the output that goes to the earbuds make a pile of junk out of them? It might be my bad English, but I was sure the meaning of clipping was "shut" or something like that. And when you say the clipping would distort the signal, I am really lost: Said clipping would be trigered by a threshold which I intend to set in a range of SPL that I am not interested in hearing at all. In other words, if the signal hits my limiter threshold, I do not care if it is distorted, after all I don't even wanna hear it: I want it shut...

 

By the way, I stumbled on the ART Tube PAC http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TubePac/ which seems like a good idea, incorporating both the amplifier I need (OK, I realize it by now guys) and a compressor that could be set as a Limiter (mind it, as a safety brickwall, just to shut the signal if it suddenly becomes too loud). Any comments?

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clipping is a specific audio term that indicates you've reached the outer rails of amplitude for a signal. Any increase in input gain before the point of clipping will approximate a square wave. Very damaging to speakers in most applications.

 

What I think you meant was simply a brick wall limiter. A limiter does not simply clip off the top of the wave form. It will, however, alter the timbre of your mix as it limits the output of anything over the threshold while simultaneously not affecting anything below that threshold. This is why compression is used as an effect as well as a way to control dynamics.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Clipping is a specific audio term ...What I think you meant was simply a brick wall limiter...

Thanks for the correction, Neil. I had the feeling of being using the wrong terms. You see, I just stumbled on the use of the terms like ysterday and had no place to find the proper definition for them. I risked using the term without preious knowing its specific meaning, and of course it generated confusion...

 

Phew! So that means I am not ruining my earbuds by using the compressor as a brickwall limiter, right?

 

Anyway, I am still waiting on someone's comment on the ART device of my previous posting. Does anyone know/use it? Will it solve my problem?

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look, dude, stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

 

FYI, here's an e-mail Hartman sent me:

 

Hello Where02190,

 

This is Hartmann from the SSS. I had some comments which I believe are

better placed in a PM.

 

Quoting your last post:

"$400 for a compressor+$100 for a HP amp=$500. You can get a hardwire IEm

system for that, why try to gerry rig something that you can get for the

same price that does EXACTLY what you need?"

 

Well, I do not consider seriously spending that much on a compressor (good

as it might be) because I will only use it as a peak limiter (for safety,

nothing else). What I was trying to get for an answer (and did not

succeed...) was a comment on whether the quality of the compressor I'll rig

as a limiter could affect it's performance as a limiter. For instance, is a

low-quality compressor capable of immediate muting of a transient/SPL peak

safely enough to ensure my ears safety?

 

As for the amp and using the console's phone out, I already realized it was

a bad idea, and am now including a pre-amp in my plans.

 

My avertion for Shure and assorted "package" IEM systems comes from the many

Brazilian users who abhore them. The limiter is fixed (just on-off !!!) and

sucks, the phone amp lies in the beltpack and is a battery guzzler (4-6 Hrs.

maximum), etc.

 

Thanks for your interest. best regards,

 

A.Lower

 

P.S. = By the way, I might be reading you wrong when you suggest IEM wired

packages. I am assuming you mean I could only use the beltpack

(http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/P4HW/) that would incorporate the

limiter and headphone amp. Wellthat would cost 279 bucks. The ART Tube Pac

costs 119, can be rigged as a limiter, provide the required amplification

and does not run on batteries...

My reply:

 

1. Any cheap compressor set to high ration to act as a limiter is sound like what ya pay for. No cheap limiter is going to be fast enough to save

your buds if a problem occurs.

2. the limiter is for protection, it should never be activated unless your ears need protection.

3. the Shure limiter sounds fine, but like any limter, it limts, and that will change the quality fo the audio, as it's smashing it to death. that's why it's

called a limter. Limiters are either on or off.

4. You don't want the limiter on all the time, you never want the limiter on unless something goes wrong, to protect your hearing and your buds.

5. A professionally designed IEM system has circuitry designed to enhance the audio quality fo IEMs that a generic HP amp will not have.

6. IEMs can easily run on recharable battieries, and many can also run on an AC supply.

7. There are many hardwire systems that INCLUDE VERY GOOD GENERIC BUDS HAT YOU CAN CUSOMIZE TO FIT YOUR EARS.

They are less than what youa re paying for your custom molds.

8. $400 is not alot of money to spend on a compressor.

 

I HIGHLY suggest you learn more about what you are about to endeavor into before you spend your money only to be dissatisfied because

you don't know what you need. Shure and Sennheiser systems are used worldwide by artists both major and minor with great success. Stop

trying to reinvent the wheel dude, and use what professional electronic designers have already developed. It's cheap, it works gret, and it's a no brainer.

 

IEM electronics are much more sophisticated than just a HP amp and a limiter, there is built in eq compensation, soft compression, and in the case of wireless IEM's RF compression and limiting. The ART HP amp is for running HP's in a studio environment for tracking and overdubbing, NOT for IEM's. There are many great, affordable systems already designed for that, and they'll all fit in a small bag. They come compete with the beltpack amp electronics AND earbuds. Why do you want to spend over $700 for custom buds and plug them into subpar electronics not specificially designed for the purpose intended?

 

Oh, and BTW, you run a clipped signal into your expensive buds and you be replacing diaphrams, square wave is square wave(and that's what a clipped signal is), limiter or no limiter, and it'll toast those buds no matter what you put in front of them.

 

Please, PLEASE educate yourself by re-reading the info freely given to you on this post and other info available online about IEM's. It's not rocket science, and you will NOT save money buying cheap crap to run it through, nor will you get a superior sound. I've been mixing monitors for artist using IEM's for over 15 years, I've personally worked with Marty Garcia (president and founder of Futuresonics) I know what I'm talking about, as do others who have tried to educate you. You're not going to build a better mousetrap for less money, trust us on this one.

 

Or just piss away your money on expensive or crappy stuff. Either way, if you don't want to listen or heed the advise everyone is giving you here then stop posting and enjoy your ignorance. In eather case, I'm done with you, you'll either listen or not, and personally I don't care anymore. Hell, maybe ignorance really is bliss for all I know.

Hope this is helpful.

 

NP Recording Studios

Analog approach to digital recording.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:D:thu:where.

 

And I'm not slamming you, Hartmann. But how many times can a pro tell you what you need for a very specialized piece of gear before he's going to throw his hands up and think, "A fool and his money will soon be parted." (To paraphrase an old saying.)

 

There is a good reason these units are sold as systems, all in one box or, in the case of wireless, two boxes. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To Where 02190,

 

I wrote you a PM in a very polite manner, asking questions in the most educated way, and was quite surprised by your answer. And much more for your interest in posting it out here. As I said in my PM answer (written before reading this) the rudeness was uncalled for. You seem to take my questions as some sort of assault on your knowledge or something. Well, your problem Dude.

 

FYI, I'll keep posting here as much as I want and there is nothing you can do about it. Period.

 

P.S. = I had been graciously ignoring your postings until now. After all we all have our opinions, and disagreeing with you should not justify "confronting", "threatening" or "offending" you. Given your freak answer pattern, I'll make this gracious ignorance standard procedure ;) .

"I'm ready to sing to the world. If you back me up". (Lennon to his bandmates, in an inspired definition of what it's all about).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hartmann,

 

NYC Drew here. Another live audio guy.

 

I was going to post my work history, but erased it. I've been doing live audio since 1986, and I've immersed myself completely into it, and love it.

 

Like car makers, most pro audio companies try to catch a slice of each sector of the market - the project studio scenario, the mid level studio scenario, the "money is not an object scenario" studio...the high school band, the garage band, the record label funded band, the "Rolling Stones" caliber groups - everybody.

 

Given that, they (ALL) make crappy equipment, and really, really great stuff, and everything in between, it's just a matter of deciding on where in that spectrum you can afford, and if what you can afford will fit your needs (and ego).

 

Will you be performing live shows on a stage, recording songs in a studio, doing live recordings from a stage, what?

 

give us a wee bit more info...

 

NYC Drew

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...