DocHowell
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Jun 7, 2017

Hearphones as monitors

   Thanks to jimdcrowl (TV Streaming), I have had an idea that might really help me to an inexpensive solution for the monitoring issue in my jazz quintet, Mood Swing.  We often have trouble hearing each other in certain performance situations.  I do have a small monitor setup but we like to go "light and lean" with our gear and the monitor stuff I have is hardly that.  I bought a reasonably priced TaoTronics TT8A08 bluetooth transmitter so that I can transmit the bands sound from the line output of my small mixing board (or my TV at home) to my Hearphones and that will solve my problem.  Read the "TV Streaming" posts to find out how to set this up.  "What about the rest of the band?", you might ask.  This transmitter will transmit to two bluetooth receivers at once; and, if I use a second TT8A0 at the other "line-out" on the board that would cover the other 3 band members who need some monitor help.  While I will use my Hearphones, the others can buy inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds to receive their stream.  Pairing all this up might be tricky so I am going to experiment with this as soon as the TT8A0 arrives.  It is about the size of 1/2 a cigarette pack and is powered by a standard cell phone usb cable.

   I will shortly be consulting with a local sound reinforcement professional about all of this.   More to come on this.

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ST - Hearphones
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Hearphones as monitors

Hi DocHowell,

 

I'm interested to hear your impressions.

 

I use my Hearphones on stage, but I don't use Bluetooth for monitoring.  The Hearphones do a good job of knocking down the overall stage volume. On quiet stages, I dial in just enough World Volume to hear what I need.

 

I haven't tried using Bluetooth for monitoring off the board. My experience with Bluetooth when I have audio live in the air and with Bluetooth at the same time: There's not enough isolation with the Hearphones to block out the live in the air sound. I hear the latency that's inherent with Bluetooth.  But even if there were enough isolation, that latency would likely be too much to stay in sync with everybody else.

 

Please tell us what you hear when you try it.

 

Thanks,

 

ST

DocHowell
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Re: Hearphones as monitors

ST-

  Thanks.  The transmitter I ordered is described as low latency.  We will see.  You can read the specs at:

https://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-Bluetooth-Transmitter-Receiver-Wireless/dp/B01IV1H1ME/ref=sr_1_1?i....

 

 I need this device for some TV issues, also.

 

Doc

ST - Hearphones
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Hearphones as monitors

Hi DocHowell,

 

I was thinking about you today. Have you tried your Bluetooth transmitter?

 

singer with moniter.jpgWhen I first got my Hearphones, I noticed at higher World Volume I heard myself much as I do through stage monitors, but with more detail.

 

I was concerned that wearing my Hearphones would alter my perception of my voice and affect my ability to sing on pitch. My musical collaborators assure me, for better or worse, there's been no change. 

 

Have you tried your Hearphones on stage yet?

 

ST

DocHowell
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Re: Hearphones as monitors

ST-

  I am starting to do a home test for latency shortly.  I will let you know later.

 

Doc

DocHowell
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Re: Hearphones as monitors

ST-

  I finally got my Hearphones paired with the BT transmitter and also turned on a sound system.  The latency is very apparent.  I would estimate that at 60 or so beats per minute, the sound reached the Hearphones about a 16th note interval late.  So, if you used this as a monitor, each tap on the snare drum would sound as a double-tap. This transmitter (TT8A08) is clearly not acceptable as a monitor device.  I will still use the BT transmitter to privately listen to the audio from my TV.  The "lip-sych" will be close enough.

  If there is a BT transmitter that has much lower or no latency, I would sure love to know about it.

 

Doc

ST - Hearphones
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Hearphones as monitors

Hi Doc,

 

Thanks for coming back to tell us what you heard.

 

Even the most optimistic figures I've found for Bluetooth are in the 32-40 millisecond range.  That doesn't include any latency in the source device, for example, your mixer. Based on what I hear when I use digital delay, I don't think we're going to be happy with current Bluetooth technology for monitoring in live music applications.  

 

Have you tried your Hearphones on stage (without connecting to Bluetooth)?

 

ST 

DocHowell
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Re: Hearphones as monitors

ST-

  No I have not.  I do have an important gig next Saturday and I will wear them then.  I will let you know.

DrumrPete
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May 16, 2017

Re: Hearphones as monitors

I bought the Hearphones specifically to "live monitor" band situations.

Never occured to me to try to bluetooth a mixer.

Thanks for the info.

ST - Hearphones
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Hearphones as monitors

Hi @DocHowell

 

How did it go with your Hearphones on stage?

 

 I did some research about latency and live sound monitoring and found:

 

aptX Low Latency targets < 40 milliseconds latency

Source: https://www.qualcomm.com/products/features/aptx

 

Acceptable Latency Values

Here are some thoughts on acceptable values for different recording purposes:

  • Vocals: This is the most difficult example, because anyone listening to their vocals in 'real time' will have headphones on, and therefore have the sounds 'inside their head'. A latency of even 3ms can be disconcerting in these conditions.
  • Drums & Percussion: I suspect most drummers will prefer to work with latencies of 6ms or under, which should provide an 'immediate' response.
  • Guitars: Electric guitarists generally play a few feet from their stacks, and since the speed of sound in air is roughly a thousand feet per second, each millisecond of delay is equivalent to listening to the sound from a point one foot further away. So if you can play an electric guitar 12 feet from your amp, you can easily cope with a 12ms latency.
  • Keyboards: Even on acoustic pianos there's a delay between your hitting a key and the corresponding hammer hitting the string, so a smallish latency of 6ms ought to be perfectly acceptable to even the fussiest pianists. Famously, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan claimed to be able to spot 5ms discrepancies in their performances, but the vast majority of musicians are unlikely to worry about 10ms, and many should find a latency of 23ms or more perfectly acceptable with most sounds, especially pads with longer attacks.

Source: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/optimising-latency-pc-audio-interface

 

I'm attaching a more technical article: The Effects of Latency on Live Sound Monitoring  (AES_Latency.pdf)

 

It looks like Bluetooth (even aptX Low Latency) is not fast enough for live music monitoring.

 

I hope you found this interesting.

 

ST