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Apr 27, 2019

IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Hi all,

Thought it might be interesting to hear about other peoples experience, suggestions, recommendations on the subject of IEM's.

I guess we're all aware of the benefits of IEM, they can protect your hearing from damage from high level sounds, and they can feed you with exactly the mix you want and or need to hear while performing. It can also fix the problem of the Doppler effect (this is where reflected sound can reach the ears of the vocalist slightly off pitch and cause them to sing perfectly slightly off pitch and of course no wedge monitors to carry around and or cause feedback issues.

I had been using Shure SE 425's but in spite of them being supplied with an assortment of interchangeable buds I've found it impossible so far to get an ideal reliable fit.

The 'perfect fit' to my way of thinking is, they feel comfortable and stay in place and they have an ideal bleed, or vent so that the ear canal doesn't totally seal air-tight as this causes the Occlusion effect (when the ear canal is sealed from the outside sound reverberates between the seal and the ear drum).

Given the limited success using the Shure devices I decided to invest almost £600 in having professional custom IEM's made. Fair to say the sound quality is fantastic, they fit perfectly, easy to install, easy to remove and easy to forget they are even there after just a few minutes... provided you don't move around or make any vocal sound! The problem is the Occlusion effect still persists as they do not have vents.

Discussing this issue with the tech department of the manufacturer they say quite rightly that venting the IEM's will degrade the overall sound quality, it will leak sound out and they will exclude less external noise. Personally I'd be happy to trade some sound quality and leakage if it dispenses with or at least significantly reduces the Occlusion effect.

Seeing and listening to top-class professional performers who use IEM's I cannot imagine they would put up with unwanted reverberating low frequency sound in their ears. Neither can I imagine they could tolerate singing and dancing with each dance step sounding like rolling thunder in their head!

Has anyone out there got any experience or suggestions to solve the problem... maybe I just went to the wrong 'experts' of IEM's for vocalist fold-back use?

Any thoughts anyone?

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Mar 13, 2019

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

I use IEM's occasionally. I agree, the isolation is a challenge. Whats worked for me is placing a mic somewhere to pick up ambient noise (the crowd, band members talkin, ext). You can bleed in as much ambient noise from the mic as you like into your IEM.  Keep that mic isolated to just your aux out for your ears. No One else will even know its there 🙂 

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Apr 27, 2019

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Yes, forgot to mention that particular tip. I use an inexpensive omnidirectional condenser microphone to hear the audience... best thing about that is... you can turn it off! (needs smiley emoticon).

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Jan 9, 2014

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Dave,

I was using IEM's and specifically the Shure's like you.  Part of my going with the BOSE units a few years ago was to get rid of the isolation of IEM's from the audience by placing the BOSE units back-line to enhance audience interaction.  Works great for small rooms and intimate settings.  To be honest, we've settled on the smaller format and enjoy it to the point where I think it is extending my music career.  The smaller arrangement fits in the back of the pick-up, no trailer to haul, and my back feels great the next day after a gig.  Good luck in your quest to find a better arrangement that suits your format.  

Wes

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Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Hi Wes,

Actually I went with Bose for the same reason of eliminating the need for additional fold-back/monitoring. However, I still prefer IEM because it does isolate you from things you don't want to hear and it doesn't matter where I am in a venue, it all sounds the same to me. Doesn't matter if I'm in front or behind the speakers. I use Shure wireless microphone and wireless IEM so I can wander around if I wish... I can perform in one pub and at the same time have drink in the pub next door if I like Haha! 

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Jan 9, 2014

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Dave,

Cool beans on the wireless stuff.  Reminds me of my larger rig where I run a headset wireless and guitar wireless on the same guitar strap.  These days we're running a 4-piece live group with 2 Model II's w/ B-2 bottoms and T1's.  The BOSE is a bit under-powered for the volumes that group likes to run.  With the track-backed duo, one unit does great and the patrons love the lower SPL's, especially folks with hearing aids.  Those buggers distort so easily that we make believers out of patrons who think they can no longer enjoy live music.  When they are there, we relent of the 80's hairband stuff toward more of the Steely Dan, Boz Skaggs, & Tom Jones vintage material.  😉  Nothing like relating to your audience.  Keep 'em rocking in Leominster!!!

Cheers,

Wes

 

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Mar 13, 2019

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Hey Wes,

You noted that you are running a 4 piece with 2 L1 M2 wit B2's and that its underpowered. I am looking to do the same, except concerned if they have enough "juice" for it. What have you found to be the issues?

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Aug 3, 2018

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Hi rtz, in my experience you can get a lot of music power out of two L1M2+B2's and we've never needed to run them at maximum or anywhere near.   We are a 4-piece rock band and like to play at a reasonable (to us) volume. We have found the real issue to be feedback from mics as you up the overall volume level, especially if you are using the back-of-stage position for the Bose columns - which is most definitely my preferred arrangement.  If all attempts to defeat the feedback fail (eg. filtering, re-positioning things, etc) but you still want to make more noise, then my preference is to augment the forward sound with a couple of powered PA speaker units at the front of the stage, driven from the L1's or from your mixer.  These can be adjusted independently of the L1's to raise the volume level into the audience without messing up the on-stage balance or contributing to the feedback.  The downside is having to carry a bit more gear around, but only for larger venues.

Alternatively you could put the L1's to the front and have wedge monitors on the stage, but in my view the main benefit to the band of having the L1's is then lost.

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Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Dave,

We've had good success in the back-line config, I think because we are strict in using only the T1's as the input with applicable input presets from the factory.  Any other mixer/sub-mixer arrangement led to feedback issues.  We also run direct vocal input to the units cross stage from each other to increase headroom.  Never a hint of feedback here.

Wes  

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Jun 3, 2018

Re: IEM - In Ear Monitoring

Dave,

My four-piece (two guitars, one bass, one percussionist, all whom sing) routinely puts the L1 off to the left of group j-u-s-t ahead of the line of our three mics (our percussionist is behind us with a vocal mic and a condenser or two over his kit). The three of us up front still get plenty of sound IN MOST SITUATIONS without any need for monitors. We do run an auxiliary Soundcraft board into Channel 3 (vocals) and Channel 4 (instruments), and I use Ch. 1 for my vocals & Ch. 2 for my guitar (I have it set this way so I can do solo gigs without any messing around). We run a line out of the T1 to a S1 that the percussionist routinely uses as his monitor of the FOH mix. In those rare occasions where the three of us need a monitor up front, I daisy chain from the percussionist's S1 to another S1 to the right of our bassist/vocalist on the right side of the stage and blow the FOH mix back across the three of us. 

We have played a ton of places and this setup can be hauled in by the four of us in one trip and we can be ready to go in just under an hour (i.e., PA, lights, tuned up). Plus, at the end of the gig we can still hear with no ringing ears! We have been doing this for a couple of years and have no complaints! 

Good Luck,

Hoon