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3 Leaf Enabler as your headphone mixer for IEM

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by maisbass, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    So I tried using IEM's about 10 years ago with a Shure system that was wired. I never got comfortable with the system and hated the way my bass sounded as well. Always sounded way too compressed.

    Fast forward 10 years...

    I played a few crappy acoustic rooms lately which as we all know is a chore to deal with, especially when you have to sing too. I just got so fed up that I started thinking about IEM's again. I've had the Enabler for a few years now and love the way the headphone amp sounds, and my sound guy uses a Behringer X32 mixer so I have been mixing my own monitor with my tablet for years now. Then I had an "AHA" moment. Why not use the Enabler as my headphone mixer for IEM??

    Well I used the Enabler as my IEM and it sounds wonderful! It absolutely kills for this application. My bass sounds superb and the mix sounds great. It truly is a high quality headphone amp! There were obviously a few caveats to deal with and some soldering involved to make this work.

    - Instead of the XLR feeding into my monitor wedge, it now feeds into the Aux input of my Enabler. Obviously it cannot plug directly into the Enabler since it is a TRS stereo input. So I took out my soldering iron and made a female XLR cable to TRS 1/4". Important to note: Since the aux input is a Stereo input and not a balanced one, you need to wire the TRS as Dual mono so you hear the feed in both ears. Basically pin 2 goes to the tip and the ring of the TRS, Ground to sleeve, and pin 3 floats (connected to nothing). If you connect pin 3 on the TRS, you could damage gear or just cancel out the signal, so it is important you float pin 3. Also pin 3 to ground did not work for me, so float pin 3.

    - I leave the pedal disengaged since I'm not using the eq on it, but also because it provides me better balance control between my bass signal and aux. Also if I engage the pedal, I have to gain up the master to maintain unity level to my bass amp, but as a result my bass in my headphone mix is way too loud.

    - This application is ideal if your sound engineer is using a digital board where you can receive the full mix via one XLR, but have the ability to mix your monitor via tablet.

    - You have to be willing to be wired for this to work with maximum fidelity. I do not use wireless on my bass, so this isn't an issue for me. I just use a headphone extension cable from the Enabler, and run it with my instrument cord to my bass. Nice and neat.

    - I still use my bass rig on stage because I want to feel my amp. Also, sometimes I only use one ear piece in because I want to hear a little more from my amp. The good thing though with this setup, if I pick up a gig that is strictly IEM I'm all set, especially since the enabler has a D.I. out as well. :bassist:

    - I should also note I am using Shure SE215's as my headphones.

    Spencer , I don't know if you ever thought about using it for this application, but man it is fantastic for this! Forgive me if this use has been mentioned already in an earlier post and I'm just late to the party. Cheers. :hyper:
    seang15 likes this.
  2. I do a similar setup with a Rolls PM351. It has no EQ, but offers independent mixing between instrument, microphone, and a mix feed (either main or monitor mix). It also offers a DI out for the instrument.
  3. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
  4. I'm using a Rolls headphone amp on my pedal board too. I ran my bass wireless, but I simply don't move around that much, so it wasn't doing much for me. I had a couple of issues with the wireless on IEMs (one where the antenna fell off of my transmitter inside the rack), so I decided it made sense to go wired for that too.

    I grabbed one of these dual-cables (made by TCE) and made another as a backup (a bit bulky though). I'm hoping to see some higher quality alternatives from other companies. As an instrument cable, it's not one that I would have bought if not for the instrument + headphone functionality.

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
    seang15 likes this.
  5. maisbass

    maisbass Supporting Member Supporting Member

    May 5, 2010
    Cool. I've been using Velcro wrap to attach the headphone extension cable to my instrument cable. Been working out fine since I don't really stray from my stage spot.
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