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Discussion of hard-wired In Ear Monitors (IEM) through a small mixer

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by two fingers, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. He's already hungry at 9:15 a.m.?????

    2 vote(s)
  2. Sandwiches? Where'd that come from????

    0 vote(s)
  3. You're a big fat stupid head for wanting to be tethered to a cable. (Vent through voting!)

    2 vote(s)
  4. You have sandwiches in your ears? I'm confused.

    1 vote(s)
  5. Forget IEM and go with TNC!!!!

    0 vote(s)
  6. Carrots in your ears are dangerous.

    3 vote(s)
  7. If you had eaten something other than a smoothie for breakfast you wouldn't be distracted right now.

    0 vote(s)
  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have worked with dozens of pro drummers who have done this. They run a monitor mix in on channel and a click track in the other channel of a small mixer for their IEMs.

    I gather several of you run hard-wired IEM as well.

    Many of the stages we play these days are so small that there is no need to run around like a mad man (unfortunately). I am planning on running hard-wired IEM from a small mixer in these venues (and in church).

    Here's my plan. I just bought a Presonus Studiolive AR8 (see pic below). It has lots of other features I will use when not using it as a monitor mixer (a home practice rig, fun quick-and-dirty recording, etc.). But for the purposes of this discussion let's just look at it as a traditional analog mixer. I will run a stereo monitor mix into the first two channels of XLR inputs. Then I also want to run my bass signal into a third channel so that I can adjust the level and EQ without affecting anyone else if there are shared monitor mixes.

    1) How do YOU run your hard-wired IEM? Physically how do you plug into your mixer? What cables and/or signal splitters do you use? Share your experiences with us and offer any advice or observations you think would be helpful. I would like a broader discussion than just my situation if possible. No rules. Whatever pops into your head about running hard-wired IEM.... even the nay sayers who always jump in. ;)

    2) I am thinking I will need an XLR splitter for my bass signal. I would come out of the line out on my amp (or preamp pedal on my board if I am not running an amp) and split the signal using some sort of splitter box. One side would go to the mains and the other to my mixer. Is there a better way? (Neither of my amps currently have a 1/4" aux out of any kind so let's stick to XLR for the purposes of the discussion of my particular situation.)

    The aforementioned board.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    The drummer version of this setup works in a more straightforward manner since they are rarely sharing their click track out to other players on stage. They would have two inputs (AUX from board, click) and one output (IEMs). My drummer does this - he has a Rolls PM50, a click machine and his IEMs. He hands me his 1/4" cable and I give him his own AUX feed (mixed to his liking). He can control the balance of these two signals and overall volume from his Rolls that he has mounted on his drum kit hardware.

    Your situation is perhaps one step more complicated in that you want to get your bass signal into your mixer as well as routing to the main mixer, correct? So you need to have your signal split as you rightly identify. And your goal is to be able to monitor your bass signal better within this AR8 environment? Using your mixer to blend in your bass with whatever signal you get from the main board- which would already include your bass signal, correct?

    What kind of feed are you going to be able to get from the main board? One of the AUX outs or something else?

    Oh, and what kind of bass amp are you running? You say it's got a line out, but does it have DI out as well?
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Good questions.

    For church I can answer easily. I can simply take the two mic cables (stereo monitor mix) running to the back of the transmitter for wireless IEM and put them in channels 1 and 2 on the Presonus (panning one hard left and one hard right).

    For splitting bass signal, I am assuming I would need some sort of passive XLR splitter box. One out would go to the mains and the other to the Presonus. I could run this either from my pedal DI (If I'm going ampless) or from the line out on either of my heads if I run an amp. I'm open to suggestions on this part. I've been told that the little splitter ("Y") cables proobably aren't the best option.

    As far as the two possible bands I will be working with, they both currently run traditional monitors (wedges). I'm assuming I'll have my own mix, but I'm not sure. But whatever sends they are using for monitors (haven't looked at their boards) should be XLR and I can reroute one to my mixer. Honestly, if I have my own mix the whole bass splitting thing seems redundant.

    Thanks for taking the time.
  4. Visit my site www.iemreviews.com and you will all the info you need to get started and help you work with a mini monitor.
    two fingers likes this.
  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    One way to do this - with no additional equipment and using the AR8 existing routing capabilities - but not the best way (I'll get to that***) would be:

    - as you describe, plug in your feeds from the main board in Ch 1 and C2 on the AR8
    - send signal line out from your bass amp into Ch 3 on the AR8
    - send bass signal to the MON mix on AR8 (turn AUX dial for Channel 3 all the way up) - this will be routed to main mixer
    - send bass signal to main mixer via the MON out on your AR8 (ensure MON volume fader is all the way up); 1/4" cable from MON AUX Output on AR8 to whatever input on the main board.
    - mix Ch 1-3 faders to your liking, ensuring Ch 1 and 2 have zero signal going to AUX.
    - you will monitor from the main buss on AR8 using the Phones jack, controlling your listening volume with the MAIN fader.

    *** this will work if you are extremely careful to ensure that Ch1 and Ch2 are NEVER routed to AUX on the AR8 and that you have your AUX and MON levels set appropriately for inputs into the main board. Your main sound guy might not like this approach at all since he's relinquishing control of his mix, at least partially, to you. Bump a fader or mistakenly hit a switch that sends the main house signal into the AR8's MON mix and you're in for it since your AR8 is now partially integrated into supplying signal to the main board. As a sound guy, I'd be looking at you cross-eyed. YMMV.

    By adding one piece of additional equipment, you can bypass this particular problem and totally removing your AR8 as a signal source for the main board and keep it within your own monitoring subsystem. Not sure what kind of amp you're running and what other connections besides Line Out you have, but I'd put a DI box either between the guitar<-> amp OR between amp<->AR8 - with the main signal going to "the house" and the the thru signal going to your AR8 for monitoring purposes. Here's the DI we use in our band: Radial ProDI™ - Passive Direct Box that would do just fine in this situation.

    The advantage of having the DI after the amp is you'll retain your amp's tonal characteristics ( assuming post-eq line out) in your AR8 mix as well as in the split signal going to the main board. Putting the DI before the amp and splitting the signal there will only give you a dry signal from your bass to the AR8.
    azfatboy and two fingers like this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Any advantages of using a DI as opposed to an XLR splitter box after my amp (or preamp pedal) and sending one to the mains and one to the AR8?

    Something like this?
    Radial JS2/JS3™ - Mic Splitter

    I am genuinely asking as I don't know.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    My non-expert take on that product is that it's meant for a much lower mic-level signal as opposed to a higher instrument or line level. I would guess that the line output on your amp (even though XLR in form factor?) is a line level signal. Distortion of the signal is the probable outcome with the JS2/3. There *should* be a DI product out there that operates at line or instrument level AND has the connections you need. I'm thinking something like this would work better in this application? LX-2™ Passive Line Splitter & Attenuator

    What I'm hearing though is your amp has an XLR output - is this a DI? And if a DI is the pre- or post-eq? The big question is on the best spot to split your bass signal based on the equipment you have....
  8. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I use a Rolls PM-351.

    Rolls Corporation - Real Sound - Products PM351 Personal Monitor System

    It has pass-throughs for the bass and the mic, and can accept a monitor feed from the mixer. Separate volume knobs for all three sound sources.

    Then I use a Jumpaudio IXM to simplify cabling so I only have one cable running off me that carries both my bass signal to the Rolls/mixing board and the mixed monitor signal back from the Rolls to my in-ears.

    IXM Jump Audio - In Ear Monitor Systems

    Then just add a limiter to be safe and it works fine.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
    mdalamond likes this.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Nice! I bet that is compact and neat.
    BartmanPDX likes this.
  10. still learning

    still learning

    May 6, 2011
    This is my setup... 6ch peavey desk
    Ch 1 full mix from FOH
    CH2 FX send of little mark bass head into zoom ms60b into my mixer
    CH3 audio technica lapel mic (att to my strap) which i turn up when i need to hear what others as saying to me
    main mix i control with my tablet (no bass of course)
    If im doing a gig without enough sends for me i plug into the aux out of the drummers desk (gives me drums at the very least) use a splitter cable on my BV mic to send to FOH and my desk (drummer doesnt want my vox) and everything else comes in thru the lapel mic
    if no send from drummer available i have 2 pencil condensers and
    2 small stands i set up on either side of the stage

    complicated i know..but beats earplugs and tinnitus
    Ethereal Thorn likes this.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Your own ambient mic (lapel) is some brilliant outside the box thinking. I would have never thought of that.
    Ethereal Thorn likes this.
  12. oheare


    May 16, 2009
    I've done sound for a drummer who mic'd his pwn drums, provided me a mono feed (which sounded great!), and asked for a mono feed of what was going out the mains. Only at the end of the night did I discover that he was listening to the band in one ear, and the other ear he had a baseball game... Playing was fine, band was great.
    jon mccumber and two fingers like this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Please tell me he was a Red Sox fan!
  14. Geri O

    Geri O Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    You are on the right track.

    In my experience, you don't need an expensive splitter box (although that Radial is an excellent one). You just need a simple Y-cable splitter such as this one...

    (BH Photo wants $85 for that??? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!)


    I build these by the dozen and they are great for applications such as splitting the bass output from the DI/XLR amp output. Send one side to the PA and the other side your personal mixer. $12 worth of parts (retail) and 10 minutes of soldering. I do this frequently. I like your mixer a LOT better than mine...

    Sometimes, I'll take (or split if necessary) the kick, snare, and maybe keyboards to my little mixer and use those in addition to some kind of feed from whatever mixer is being used. I keep a kick mic, snare mic, and extra DI in my bag just in case those instruments aren't in the PA. And a couple of mic stands in my truck. I do this on small gigs with 12-channel mixers and small spaces.

    (Shhh....PM me yer address and I'll send ya one....)

    P.S. I've tried several methods of getting ambient material into my ears and I haven't found one I like yet, so I don't try anymore. When there's no set list, I'm good at lip-reading...:D
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    two fingers likes this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thanks! I'll be in touch.
  16. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    If you are getting your own mix from FOH, resist the temptation to use the mixer you bought simply because you own it.
    I tend to make things more complicated than they need to be, because "This is a great piece of gear" and "I have to do it this way". Don't know if you're the same way...

    Whatever you decide, good luck.

    P.S. Wireless IEM is the shiznit and you're a big fat stupid head for being tethered! ;)
    walterw, popgadget and two fingers like this.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Ha! Tell me what you REALLY think. :roflmao:

    Two reasons I might use the mixer.

    1) I share a mix in some situations. If the drummer doesn't want as much bass, I can turn up the bass in my personal mixer via a signal splitter.

    2) The mixer I got records straight to an SD card. It would be a good way to go back and listen to a bass-heavy mix of the show via my monitor mix.

    On larger stages I would, of course, either go wireless IEM or just use speaker monitors.

    But, of course, if I'm sharing a mix, I could always put my wireless transmitter AFTER my personal mixer for the same affect. ;)
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  18. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    If you go wireless IEM, you should have your own mix and not share it with the drummer, who's usually on a leash, so there is no need for a mixer.
    As long as you are not playing sitting down, you should rig an instrument cable with a headphone cable, so you don't have to watch out for two of them. There are cables for that purpose, you could also just use two cables and zipties or tape to get them together or you could buy a high quality cable that has 4 leads and make it yourself.

    I've confronted the same problem with the signal splitting - I needed one signal to IEM and one to my poweramp.
    My solution was quite easy, I just used my Aguilar Tonehammer head instead of my dedicated poweramp. My preamp connects to the FX return, the IEM is on the DI out and the speakers connect to the speaker out (d'oh).
    Any DI box will do that job, too. You can pass a signal through and a balanced signal will be sent to FOH. For your own little setup, there is no real need to bother with a balanced signal because the cables will be quite short.
    two fingers likes this.
  19. I am interested in the idea of the drummer having a click track. What devices are available for a drummer to quickly and simply set his tempo? I imagine it would need to be some sort hardware device with perhaps knobs for quick and positive adjustment. I am not aware of anything like that; everything seems to be digital these days, so I would appreciate some advice.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I have had the good fortune of working with a dozen or more very talented young drummers out of Nashville. Each one has a small Rolls or Berringer(sp) two channel mixer. One channel has their in-ear monitor mix and the other a simple metronome. They usually don't play the metronome the entire song. Usually they use it to start the song off and then turn it off. However, some have occasionally run it for the entire song.

    Simple and effective.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
    Zbysek likes this.

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