IEM setup thread
Could we compile/discuss the different ways to set up an IEM system- an IEM primer for dummies? :help: There are a gazillion "what is the best IEM..." threads, but it might be nice to have this information in one thread.
IEM users: Would anyone care to share a simple illustration of your signal chain and a basic description of how you manage to get a good mix from the board and a pleasing bass tone in your ears. What are the most essential components of YOUR setup that get you the best results?
I'd like to see this too. I would like to move my whole band to IEMs but find it hard to sell them on something that I can't explain how we will set it up and everything we will need to make it work.
I've had my entire 11 piece dance band on IEMs for everyone for about 2 years and we are at the point now where everyone loves them -- especially the singers. Here's how we do it and it seems to work great.
1. EVERYONE runs direct (no amps on stage).
2. We use a Presonus StudioLive 24 mixer. This allows us to give everyone their own monitor mix (except the horns share one mix).
3. We hook up an older macbook computer to the mixer and create a wireless ad hoc network that everyone can log into using their iPhones or iPads. Presonus has a free app for iPhone and iPad called Qmix (for iPhone) or SL Remote (for iPad) which allow each person to custom mix their own in ears on the fly without talking to the sound guys at all.
4. Hardware - for people who need to move around, get off stage, etc. we use a good quality Shure wireless IEM systems.
5. If people don't need to leave the stage (e.g., drummer, keyboard, me) we use headphone amps and connect body packs made my jumpaudio (look them up -- they're great, inexpensive and indestructible).
6. But the biggest expense and the ONLY way to go in my opinion is to NOT skimp on the in ears themselves. As a bass player, you'll be miserable if you can't really hear the bass with definition. You can ONLY get that by having sufficient drivers and sealing out the outside sound. We all invested in custom molded IEMs. I got mine (quad drivers) from Alien Ears. Also, since we completely seal the outside sound, it's kind of odd and difficult to communicate so we run 2 pencil condenser mics on the stage to be able to mix in the ambient sound -- that's a must unless you want to feel like you're playing in a box.
I think that about does it. It's an awesome system and without wedges, monitor mixers, amps, etc. I'll be able to downsize the band truck to a band van next time we upgrade our vehicle.
Wireless monitor mix via iOS device? Cool.
Thanks for posting!
my 4-piece bar band uses a mixwiz to do our own mains and monitors; it has 6 auxes, so each of us gets our own mono IEM mix, and the last two auxes are for delay and reverb. (i run sound and play guitar.)
we're still a "regular" rock band, so we have amps and loud drums on stage, but the IEMs protect our hearing, let all of us sing without straining, let me block off my guitar amp from the crowd while still hearing it fine myself, and let us avoid dragging around monitor wedges.
we're not even doing it "upscale", in that we all just have regular universal-fit earpieces, mono mixes, and no special "ambient" mics, and it's still way better than getting our ears pummeled by wedges.
Good advice here I've been direct and on IEM's for a couple of years and I love it. I'll agree that the the 2 keys are individual mixes and quality ear pieces.
One thing that works good for me is my IEM unit is an Audio Technica M2 which has 2 separate inputs. I have the aux mix in one and straight from my pedalboard into the other and it gives me a dual mono mix. I have more control and clarity on my bass feed and it gives an easy "more me" capability. The AT unit has through outputs and I send that to the board for the mains.
Once you get used to them and get your mix dialed in it's awesome. One thing to consider too is have a monitor-only mic on stage that way if you need to change the next song or say something to the rest of the band it can be done without the audience hearing too!
Great point Richard about the monitor-only mic. I am the musical director for the band, so I also keep an SM57 on a stand near me that I speak into for only the band to hear. I use it to call the next song (we don't use set lists), direct the band regarding structure, let the MC know about making announcements, etc. That's another bonus of IEMs.
My band (6 piece) bought a Behringer X-32 console, to function primarily as a monitor console. 4 of us are on stereo mixes (using Carvin's IEM system), one on mono ears (using a Rolls device), and the horns share a powered wedge. It works fantastically. We also can control the mixes by iOS or Android devices, too.
Jon, how do you like the Carvin IEM system? Is it something that you would recommend?
Highly. I've used all of the major systems (Shure PSM700, Sennheiser, Aviom) and the thing that blows me away about the Carvin is how GOOD they sound! (Not the ear buds, those suck - but the units themselves sound great!)
Same soundman every weekend. Digital board out front that holds memory of the settings per venue.
Soundmand sends me my own AUX send with the exact same ear mix every night (previously tweaked to my liking then saved into memory), XLR into my Audio Technica M2 wireless transmitter. Wireless receiver belt pack into 1964-Ears quad driver earbuds. We mic a small bass cab (Ampeg 210AV driven gritty by sansamp VT Deluxe and power amp) and blend it with a dry DI (Radial J48).
When I do one-nighter fill-in work I don't use in-ears at all because of the hassle of setup and tweaking levels with a different soundman (or none at all). I just roll with stage volume, wedge monitors, and my amp on stage - but every time I do it its a stark reminder how much better off I am with in-ears....
Bobby, do you have any volume issues when running out of the headphone out like that? Our drummer used headphones for a while and we had to boost the signal from our mixer's jack with a small practice amp...
Also, how do you route the wire from the mini-mixer to your ears?
Our church set up is pretty nice. We have a Presonus board that allows us to use our iPhones and QMix to set our individual IEM mix. We use Rolls boxes and various headphone/in ear phones. It's all wired but we don't move around much so it's fine. I actually have my Rolls box, DI and tuner on a small board. I run my headphone cable along with my bass cable (zip tied them together) so I just have the one cable. I use Westone UM-2 IEM's (dual driver) and they sound great.
Here's a pic of my IEM board...
The DI and Monitor return cables just stay at church. I plug them in, plug in my headphones and bass , power up the TU-2 and I'm good to go - maybe 2 minutes.
The Rolls is a surprisingly versatile box. It could serve as my DI and it's not that bad. Not quite the JDI but certainly workable. If I had a short XLR cable made, I could have a "more me" option as well. If I didn't have control of my IEM mix I'd do it, but as I control what I hear it isn't necessary.
I love using IEM's. I love having my own mix. I love controlling the volume. I love that when I take them out, the talking I hear sounds loud.
Steve C - that's basically my setup too. Same tuner. I use a Sadowsky Preamp/DI and the rolls box to feed my jumpaudio body pack. The jumpaudio pack combines the in/out cables so you don't need the zip ties -- but other than that I mirror what you're doing there and it works great.
I also love the IEMs and having my own mix too.
Never had an issue with levels on the mixers. The key is to get everything properly gain-staged at FOH and then you should have plenty of juice being sent to the monitors. Also with the Alesis mixer you have control over both an input gain and the volume for each channel so you have more power on tap there too.
Then you just run a headphone extension cable from the mini-mixer to the in-ears. Musiciansfriend carries some, but they usually only have 1/4 to 1/4 cables, which means you'll need a 1/4 to 1/8 converter plug.
Radioshack sells cheap ones, they'll bum out on you after long enough, but at the price you can carry an extra 2... each.
Some of you guys have mentioned using Presonus StudioLive boards. Aren't the Auxes mono? I've got a 16.4.2 and when I plug my headphones directly into the AUX I only get sound out of one side of the headphones... Does having IEM's make a difference? Or using something like the Rolls box? I don't care if its a mono mix to both sides I just want it in both sides. Does that make sense?
I can't remember if the aux is stereo or mono. We will be using the newest board so I'm not sure if it's different. I know the Rolls has a little switch to select stereo or mono. I have a mono send at the moment - in both ears. I think the new board may give us stereo aux sends. Then we can pan stuff so that I can hear the guitar in front of me stage left in my left ear and the keys on stage right in my right ear. That may be cool. Or I may just leave it as is. I like that I may have the option.
The Presonus board that we use has mono auxes. It works fine with the wireless IEMs (Shure). With the Rolls headphone amps you do have to turn the stereo/mono switch one way or the other (can't remember which) to have sound out of both ears.
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