Ear vs wedge monitors?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Chicken Steve, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve Guest

    Apr 1, 2014
  2. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    Search for some threads in this part of the forum and you can pull up a chair and read for days.

    Please understand, I'm not at all admonishing you for not using the "search" function, I don't believe in the Search Police. I'm simply pointing you to some really good (and some slightly dubious, the good with the bad, ya know) reading that will get you started pretty quickly. And don't worry, you'll get plenty of responses in short time, trust me on that...:D
    s0c9 and Chicken Steve like this.
  3. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
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  4. d rick man

    d rick man

    Jun 28, 2016
    Just my opinion, don’t want this to really sway you one way or the other. We went to ear monitor and thought they were the greatest thing until the new ware off. Our head guy, to this day still wants them, maybe because he spent the money for them. I was the first to go back to the wedge, just could not get use to them. Problems I had: Just could not get the mix just the way I wanted it. Every once an a while, I and all the band members, had a glitch or signal problem. Wire always in the way somehow. Hindered my movement/performance. Batteries. Just several more thing to worry about. Once I went wedge the lead singer was using my wedge more than his ear. One by one we went back to wedge, Just easier everything. The moving three or four more boxes was a minimal sacrifice to me. Although all bands are different. You may love them.
  5. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    Yes. I get it. It's not all pros with no cons. Part of it is getting used to a completely different feel and sound. That will not change. Some things you mentioned can be mitigated by hardware and setup and time.

    This list isn't exhaustive and it may be different for different peoples experiences.

    Pros and cons for going iem

    More wires hanging off you if going wired
    More batteries to deal with if going wireless
    Expensive if going high quality wireless
    Potentially expensive IEMs.
    Additional time and cables to set up splitter to your iem system when using the house PA/mixer
    The feel of playing/jamming will be very different than stage sound
    It is harder to get feedback from the audience
    If you run your own sound from the stage you have no clue what the audience is hearing.
    Added complexity
    You are responsible for your own mix.. no just asking for more X or less Y

    If you standardize your input gain ( zero all your levels ) you should take zero time setting up your iem levels. They will be saved in your system and ready to go.
    Once you plug your cables in, you are done or 99% done
    You have control over what you hear and even if you each need adjustments you do it yourself instead of all getting in line to ask the sound guy foe X or Y. It will save time
    You can have your IEMs quieter than any stage volume possible. Hear clearly and not cause hearing damage.
    High quality IEMs (see the KZ ZS5 thread ) can be made to sound better than any wedge. PERIOD
    Less work for the sound guy so he can work on foh sound
    No chance of monitor feedback. Huge benefit there. Priceless

    I'm sure there are more and I'll try and tweak the list.
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  6. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve Guest

    Apr 1, 2014
    Reading and thankful for the responses fellas.....this whole sound thing has been a real trip, always seems to be evolving .always something we 'could try' etc etc...~CS~
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Looks like a chinese knock-off the Senn G3 system.
    Looks like it will give you 2 different stereo mixes.
    Yes, MANY locals bands have gone this route.. mine being one. Fully wireless for close to 3 yrs..
    Mixer and wireless units all housed in one rack, with a 16-ch splitter snake in the back.
    Hook everything into the snake (at every gig) and it's plug and play.
    The other end of the snake goes to the house, or you can send main L/R outs to your PA or House system.
    With a digital console, all settings can be saved for every venue (and backed up to USB stick).

    As @d rick man mentioned above.. it's NOT for everyone and NOT everyone will adjust to the move to IEM's.
    IMHO, there are 3 keys to making the move successful.
    • Buy quality IEM gear - and DON'T CHEAP out on buds.. Get 3rd party TRIPLE (or more) driver buds.
    • Use (buY) a digital console such as QU-PAC, X32, UI24R or similar
    • Go wireless and use rechargeable batteries.
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    We just did this drill. To do it right can cost some decent cash, depending on how fussy you want to be and how much control. If you just want the wireless units and the actual IEMs that's easy enough. If every room you play in is going to have an X32, M32 or similar, you can get away with the app, your wireless units etc. If you're working in a specific room and don't care to mix yourselves (aka have the soundman mix to your unit) you can travel really light, but you're dependent on them to get it right.

    We found to really do what we wanted we needed a dedicated stage mixer, some additional hardware etc.
    Scottkarch likes this.
  9. donCameron

    donCameron Inactive

    Jun 3, 2017
    For most of the gigs I do with my trio, it's just sound reinforcement of what is happening on stage so the only thing going through the monitors are vocals and a bit of guitar. Not only do we use wedges, but we go with one mix.

    As a live sound engineer for a medium sized performing arts center (800 seat main theater and 200 seat black box theater), I've found that giving less to the musicians usually results in better performances. For a while I was giving IEM mixes to the pit musicians for musical productions. The results were mixed. We were able to provide 12 independent stereo mixes of a CL5 console. Unfortunately this was before Yamaha upgraded to system to allow multiple ipads/phones for individual control, so it made my life quite stressful. I tried to leave an ipad backstage for the musical director to help with the mixes, but there was no way to lock them out of the main mix, so it was a minor disaster. Plus. Several were only using one side of the mix, which is a definite no no. If you are doing IEMs you need to keep buds in both ears, or you can do some damage to your hearing.

    Since then we've been going with a mix. For musicals we use wedges for the keys, the conductor and have a couple small cabs blowing key parts, etc. to the strings/winds/horns. For jazz shows in the small theater, I always use wedges and the only thing in them is piano and maybe a bit of vocal.

    I personally feel, personal mixes and IEMs or lots of wedges is too much for small clubs.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  10. Chicken Steve

    Chicken Steve Guest

    Apr 1, 2014
    I'm starting to feel like a real Vermont podunk reading all you sound monsters here. :woot: I think i've been privy to a real sound company with real sound engineers maybe 3-4 times over the last 30 odd years. For the most part we're (5 piece) playing small venues , mic just vocals , board is between me and the drummer (safer & accessible) If i've learned anything it's that volume doesn't SELL in such places, seems like all my sound problems aren't as bad when the crew keeps it all down....~CS~
    donCameron likes this.
  11. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Pownal, ME
    Going to IEM's and a digital mixer has been a godsend for my band. I do a fair amount of singing and a LOT of high (falsetto) harmonies. I sing much more in tune and without pushing too hard. Also, with the digital mixer, there's always at least two of us with ipads running the mix (foh and monitors) from the stage. I have some hearing loss from a misspent youth and too loud bands and the IEM's are perfect for blocking the ambient stage sound and giving me just enough level of what I need to hear. Personally, I'd be hard pressed to perform well without them now. ymmv
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  12. 4SG


    Mar 6, 2014
    If the sound guy/gal isn't great with mixes, or if you're doing the mix yourself on the fly onstage, IEMs can be VERY problematic. If you're playing the Superbowl halftime show they'll probably have someone competent to handle that for you.
  13. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    "CAN BE", being the operative words. If relying on FOH for your IEM mix, I would agree. HIGH degree of bad mix possibility, but no worse than a bad wedge mix. If mixing yourself on the fly from stage, you have no-one to blame but yourself for a bad mix. Been running my own IEM mix for 3+ yrs now at every gig... some 240+ gigs... just fine.
    You DO NEED your own IEM rig to support doing that effectively. We do... as many local "working" bands do in my neck of the woods. When gigging every weekend, it makes sense and is VERY cost effective.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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  14. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    I disagree. If you are running a digital mixer then that just isn't true. You can save each show which saves a lot of sound check time and it also saves the monitor settings. Digital boards and splitter snakes are so cheap now there is no reason not to have them both if you are both mixing yourselves or using a house system with their own FOH. Yes the IEM mix can be tough if you are asking an engineer not familiar with you but it can be done. IMHO it is still a better option than wedges :)
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  15. DBTOYS


    Sep 22, 2009
    Bend Oregon
    plain and simple they are not the same as wedge monitors :meh:
  16. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    Okaaaayy that is true. I don't know anyone here that has tried to say they are the same as wedge monitors... Do you have an opinion on either one?
  17. DBTOYS


    Sep 22, 2009
    Bend Oregon
    I have used both,
    the in ear monitor systems don't have the full sound (Bass)
    plus its hard to move around with extra cables or a extra sending unit!!
    To me the full sound and the real Bass sound is the live monitor.
    that's just me

    I could never get my in ear monitors to sound like my my bass cabinet!
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  18. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    It does take work.. you need good IEMs that fit you well. If you don't have that, there is no way to get something usable. I agree. If you are going wired, there are lots of ways to attach your headphone wire to your instrument cable. If you need to be wireless, there are lots of options there... just more money. As for being hard to move around with an extra box the size of a pack of playing cards on your belt. I gotta call BS on that one. Unless you can explain how, I don't believe you.

    I definitely believe you that if you didnt' have a good set of earbuds that sealed well and had solid bass, you would have terrible experience that you wouldnt want to do again.

    As for getting your IEMs to sound like your bass cabinet... that's probably mostly true as well. If you're running completely off the stage and the audience only hears your cabinet.. then I can see how it would be hard to use a mic or DI to get the same sound in your IEMs.. Mics color sound, mic placement will make for a different sound than standing 3-6 feet from the amp. It's my opinion that if you want the FOH and your IEMs to sound like you want.. get a cabinet/amp simulator.. work on the tone through high quality earbuds/headphones. Once you get a sound that you love.. THAT will be the exact sound that the FOH gets and pushes out front. It's my opinion that people going direct out of their amp or even putting a mic on your cabinet will NOT sound the same as your hearing from across the stage, or even 3- away.. or just standing 2' above the speakers. The microphone will likely color the sound, the microphone placement will also impact how it sounds... So, you may love the tone where you're standing, but it is not the same thing the mic is picking up. Time and equipment upfront to get a more consistent sound to the PA and your in ears.

    I gigged this weekend with the KZ ZS6s and I pulled one out partway through the gig to see how much bass there was thumping. It was so full in my IEMs I could swear I felt it thumping in my chest.. But being behind the PA, there was little/no bass or sound on stage. Popped it back in again and it felt like a pair of 215 cabs behind me. When you get it working, it's truly amazing. If you don't get it right, it is terrible. I also know that IEMs are not for everyone.. there is a very different feel you need to get used to. But IMO, cables and lack of bass are things that can be addressed. Good luck.. Maybe give it another chance with different hardware in the future. :)
  19. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I would be leery of a low-cost Chinese knockoff wireless system. Instead, I'd put my money into custom IEMs and a wired distribution system. As much as I trust my digital gear, I don't think I could trust a no-name wireless system -- especially when I cannot find a lot of online reviews.

    For my home rehearsal space, I'm going Behringer XR18 (mixer) >> Art HeadAmp6 (headphone amp) >> Hosa Headphone Extension cables to IEMs. Individual mixes can be controlled by a tablet or smartphone. I own customer InEarz brand IEMs, and my bandmates use Shure univeral IEMs. My headphone cable is attached to my guitar cable with cable ties in order to keep things tidy. Right now the weak link is the Hosa headphone cables and 1/8"-1/4" adapters -- they are cheap and somewhat prone to failure if you're not delicate with them. At some point I will upgrade to heavier-duty cables (I like DGCustomCables.com), especially if the setup is leaving my basement for gigs.

    And for the record, now that I've gone to IEMs, there's pretty much no chance I'll ever want to go back to wedges. When the IEMs are dialed in, it's like you are playing along to a live CD. When my band used wedges, it was always varying degrees of "dreadful."
    Scottkarch likes this.
  20. DBTOYS


    Sep 22, 2009
    Bend Oregon
    I think the UE series is a pretty good set for drummers and Bass players
    Butt i still prefer my bass cab and monitor for a more live feeling!

    These are awesome though!!

    pdp-top-ue11-desktop (1).png

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
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