IEM - Stereo vs Mono. Thoughts and Experiences.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Rocksolid, Nov 23, 2013.


  1. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    I'm re jigging my IEM set up, and considering setting up for the option to be able to pan things left and right.

    I won't get a true Stereo mix (individual instruments panned) as I am taking a mono send off FOH, but it would allow me to do this for example:

    Vocals - centre
    Bass - panned toward the right
    Ambient mic - panned right
    FOH send - panned left. I'm on stage right so this would be realistic.

    I run a Compressor and eq before my IEM so it would mean having stereo units for both these components, but I have options and preferences for both stereo or mono.


    So - I am looking for stories/experiences from people that have played around with mono vs stereo. Did having a stereo mix in your IEM change your life, or is it a nice thing to have, that is not worth the extra work/expense?
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2001
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    No question a stereo IEM mix will be superior. Mono is fine, but the flexibility that stereo will provide you is well worth the effort. It's a matter of separation more than it is just re-creating a live stage-like sound.

    Just by keeping the bass dead center and rolling guitars to 2 o'clock and keyboards to 10 o'clock, you can get more detail out of your bass signal in you head without all of the instruments mushing together.

    Don't pan 100% either way. it will drive you nuts if you do.
  3. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    Being able to spread voices across the stereo field makes to easier to hear your singing and bass.

    But, stereo adds another layer of complexity to fuel Murphy's law. I'd go stereo if you have a monitor engineer, a dialed-in IEM system that you run consistently night-after-night, or WIFI control of your own IEM mix.

    Given the feeds you describe, I'd be inclined to keep it simple, especially if your mix isn't busy and you don't sing.
  4. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    I've used both mono and stereo IEMs. With stereo it's much easier to hear everything because of the separation. I usually set mine up similar to how the band is arranged on stage with my bass and vocals in the middle, everything else panned to various degrees of left or right. Mono works but I'd much rather use stereo.

    We played Gilley's in Las Vegas last summer. They use these in mono: http://www.roland.com/products/en/M-48/

    [​IMG]

    They were just adequate, but they were wireless.

    We use the Aviom in church. These are the bomb!

    http://www.aviom.com/Aviom-Products-1/Mixers-1/A-16II-Personal-Mixer

    [​IMG]



    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
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  6. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Sadly, I am in a band that:

    Doesn't embrace IEM and has a guitarist that clearly is deaf in freqs that he needs to hear, and

    hires a PA from a production company for every show

    Aviom, or similar sadly is not an option!
  7. Wadge

    Wadge

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Malta (small island in the Med
    I am a big proponent of IEMs. For the last year (100 - 150 gigs or so) I've used them pretty much exclusively.

    For me, with a mono mix I can do the gig competently, with a stereo mix I actually enjoy it.

    In my experience, the downside with stereo mixes is that they are slightly more complicated and they eat up Auxilliary outputs and sound engineers will tend to consider you as a prima donna for asking for stereo mixes.

    Luckily for me, for at least half of the gigs, I run sound for my band and stereo mixes are just second nature to us by now - no-one wants to ever go back to mono.
  8. musicman7722

    musicman7722 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Hampton, NH US of A
    Yes I agree, whenever possible go stereo.
  9. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    The Roland's are fully capable of stereo. They might have had them setup wrong.
  10. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    Yes, they are stereo capable. But the sound guy told us he didn't have the necessary infrastructure to run stereo IEM mixes. You'd think a Vegas club would be a little more "with it" but Gilley's is just a honky tonk and needs to monitor its razor thin profit margins like everybody else, I guess. :rolleyes:

    I was merely relating to the OP that stereo IEM is much better than mono. ;)


    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
  11. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    +1
  12. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2001
    Media:
    20
    Location:
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Mono works perfect for me. I hear everything that I want to hear and I work well with them in Mono. We have used Stereo, but it gets confusing for me trying to learn to hear left and right for the IEM's and then trying to remember who is where and what is going on. It is much easier for me to have it Mono.. But that is me.
  13. RichardCranium

    RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Location:
    Boynton Bch FL
    I use a dual mono send. My IEM unit has 2 inputs.One is the aux mix from the mixer, the other is a direct feed from my pedalboard. The unit has a through option and that is how my bass feed gets to the board. Panned center I get a nice mix of everything.

    Two advantages of this is I get a better separation of my playing and I also can adjust volume levels if I need "more me" or if my ears get a little fatigued.
  14. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Thanks for all the responses guys. I think if I could do a full stereo mix where I could spread voices and instruments out individually, stereo would be worth it, but I can't.

    I think I will go dual mono and set up a mix of FOH, my vocals, and my bass with my rolls box and run that into one side of the transmitter, and run an ambient Mic into the other side so I can blend the mix with the ambient using the pan knob on the receiver.

    How does that sound?
  15. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    I think you'd like that better than a straight mono mix. You'll get some separation and, hopefully, be able to hear everything more clearly. Let us know how it works out.


    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
  16. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    That's what I'm saying though. It doesn't matter if he has stereo or not, the Roland's can still do stereo even if you're only given mono outputs from FOH. The Roland let's you pan any of your mono sources.
  17. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    Well, bother. I should have looked up the manual online instead of listening to the soundguy. Next time I'll twist a few more knobs. Thanks!

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
  18. KingRazor

    KingRazor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon USA
    Digital can be confusing with its mult-function encoders. :D
  19. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    First gig last night with my new MIPRO808TR Wireless IEM. Outstanding. Heaps better clarity and bottom end than what I had. Mono is fine for what I am doing. I haven't used an Ambient mic yet, ran out of time last night, maybe tonight but I haven't seen the stage. My Symetrix 501 Compressor I purchased to run with my IEM should arrive next week, along with an EQ. When I rack everything up I might add a preamp to run the Ambient mic thru. Need to work it out.
  20. Selta

    Selta

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere Far Beyond
    Disclosures:
    Uncompensated endorsing user: EBMM
    By far and large stereo. We use IEMs almost exclusively in my band (a band that plays in theatres with fire dancers, armored knights swinging real swords and dialog) and having the stereo option is just so much nicer. I put my bass 80/20 split, drums 20/80 split, and lead vox/one guitar 50/50 split at about 4/5 the volume of the drums and bass. Freaking rocks my socks.
  21. Rocksolid

    Rocksolid

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Just wondering how everyone sets up their own personal ambient mic - not one going to the desk, and into the aux sends, their own personal one.

    If I am running dual mono, and I have my mix from my Rolls PM351 going into one side of my wireless IEM transmitter, if I just run a mic into the other side I am assuming I will have to have it panned pretty hard to the ambient mic to get a reasonably balanced mix aren't I?

    The other option is to run a mic preamp on the ambient mic and control the mix of it in my ears via the volume control on that, rather than panning the body pack.

    Any thoughts?

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