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Headphone monitoring

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Petebass, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    At the recommendation of my ear specialist, we've decided that while I'm fighting off a particularly aggressive infection, I should wear headphones on stage to protect the ear from excessive SPL. He's made it clear not to put anything inside the ear, so earplugs or in-ear monitoring are not an option.

    The idea is of course that the headphones will block out a lot of the stage sound, but he's happy for me to have some of my bass signal coming through the headphones. The overall effect is still a reduced SPL attack on the ear than usual.

    Problem 1:- I don't have a headphone out on my amp. I guess the idea is to use the effects loop send?

    Problem 2:- I don't know if I then need to run this signal to a headphone amp?

    Problem 3:- I guess the headphones then have to be able to handle bass guitar signal. Any recommendation are welcome, preferably on the cheaper end of the price scale.

    Also, how do devices such as the ART MyMonitor, or the Rolls Personal Monitor amp fit into the equation.

    Any help appreciated.
  2. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    hey pete,

    those are fine boxes that should help you. if you need isolation, i like Vic Firth's SIH1's. they'll handle 20Hz-20kHz with ease cause they're engineered to handle the low end slam of the kick drum. and they're about US$50.
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Beyerdynamic DT 770
    Closed with very good seal (18 dB)
    Handles lows like no other. The uncrowned bass champ. However, lacks a bit mids and needs a bit burn-in to loose some of the highs
    They are a bit pricier but can be found in your price range if you look for used; also, it's got better tone than most cheapo cans
  4. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    my church praise team got a bunch of rolls units some time ago and i use it from time to time.

    basically you have an instrument input, mix input, headphone out, and thru-jack output. (maybe more i dont ahve one on me)

    you can use it in a few different ways. you can plug straight in, and use the output 1/4" inch into your amp, or just send one of your preamp outs into the 1/4" input. it has a xlr input for the main mix from the mixer. knobs to individually control the levels in your headphones for the intrusment, and one control for the mix.

    there is also a setting that allows one side of your headphones to only have your instrument signal, and the other side has both. switch the jumper, and both signals goto both ears. i use the latter option personally.
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Thanks guys. I hunted around for someone in my area with a Rolls device in stock, but no luck. I did however find a Samson S-Monitor which seems incredibly similar to thejohnkim's description of the rolls device. The price was right, plus there's the added bonus of being able to run my vocal mic through it. The vox and bass levels are controlled independently. Nice unit!

    No headphones yet. Anything with the words "isolation" in it seems to carry a very hefty price tag over here. I have a set of old headphones which are "closed" and seem to block a lot of the sound, so I plugged them in. Actually I was just dying top see how the Samson S-monitor would work.

    The effects send seems to be the right idea, but it only feeds one ear. The send is mono but the input of the Samson is stereo. I had to add an adapter that turns the mono send into 2 mono sends (not really stereo), and it solved the problem.

    In a quick test at home, it seems I'm onto a winner. I turned the amp up to gig volume and played. Then I put on the phones and was happy with the reduced SPL. Then I slowly started to feed audio to the phones and was easily able to them to gig volume. And the overall stress on the ear drum does indeed seem reduced.

    The real test is at a gig - I have 4 gigs this weekend so I'll see how I go.
  6. Hope your infection clears up Pete! Let us know how you go!
  7. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    As far as headphones go, I'd recommend the Sennheiser HD280s. They're rated at a very high noise reduction rate, 32db if I recall, and although that's more than I'd give it credit for they do block outside sound very well. They go for ~$100 and I've had a pair for a bit so check em out
  8. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    yea, seriously,

    nothing worst than having something hamper your own way of enjoying your music. hope this is only a temporary solution. here's to etymotic earplugs!
  9. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    This is going to sound(and look)silly, but here it goes anyway.....

    Go out and get a set of ballistic ear protectors, you know, those big(usually red) headphones that people wear when they are shooting rifles and doing work with explosives. They cut sound levels dramatically but have less of an effect on the lower frequencies, you should be able to hear yourself great. I used a pair back when I played in a rock band during rehearsals, they really neutralized the "Marshall effect" quite nicely. The only reason why I stopped is because I walked into rehearsal late one day and found the lead guitar player wearing them on his crotch, but seriously, they work!!
  10. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well I'm no longer deaf in one ear. The treatment seems to be working. My hearing came back overnight, just in time for tomorrow night's gig - YAY!

    lowphatbass, My understanding of the "Isolation" headphones is that they're effectively the same as the ones you described, but have speakers in them so you can feed yourself the audio signals you need.

    In-ear monitoring works on the same principle. I had one salesman trying to sell me a set of in ears, but by the time I replace the earphones for headphones, the only advantage is that they're wireless. I couldn't justify the expense.

    When the doc suggested the headphone whole thing, it was going to be temporary. Who knows. If it turns out I like my cheapy setup and decide to use it all the time, I may upgrade the headphones to the Vic Firths, or maybe even go wireless one day. But it's not necessary for now.
  11. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well 2 gigs down, and 2 to go. The jury has been unable to reach a verdict:-

    Personally, I love it. I can hear myself really clearly (both my bass and my vocals), and my ears aren't ringing at the end of the gig. The headphone volume control is a little over 1/2 way, and the vocal mic volume control is just under half way. Plenty more volume in the Samson if I need it. Nice unit!

    I also don't have to blast the stage amp so hard. Here's the problem. The singer has been complaining of late about my bass being too loud - it's not. In fact his guitar is MUCH louder, but he can't be told! Anyway, loves that the bass isn't as loud any more. But the guitarist and drummer are now whinging that they can't hear me, and there's a real reluctance to put bass in foldback wedges over here. So I spent the whole night in the middle of a tug-o-war with one asking me to turn up and the other asking me to turn down. In the end I just set my volume to where it usually goes and ignored them both.

    Last night's gig was fairly average by our standards - I was in fine form, but the band overall can do better. To my surprise, the after gig post-mortem focused on the one thing we did differently this gig - the headphones. Talk about a scape goat. But I don't care. I'm not going to ignore doctors orders and risk permanent hearing damage because someone's ego won't let them admit their own performance was lacking.

    It's weird that part of me is laughing at the immaturity of it all, but part of me gets annoyed. I mean, the singer had a bit of whinge that the phones make me miss out on the communication amongst ourselves in between songs. So he starts calling out song titles even quieter than usual, just to be difficult. He was trying to prove his point, but I took the phones off and STILL couldn't hear anything he said between songs. And they're not even proper isoation phones. I fear it will be worse if decide to go that route in the future.....

    ....ahhhh bands are just like dysfunctional families aren't they?
  12. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    I'm using the Fostex T50RP, great headphones, and cheap at twice the price imho.
  13. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Just a quick update.

    I'm cured. The ear is fine so the headphones are no longer a necessity. YAY! I may contunue to use them on occasion, depending on how I'm feeling on the day.

    But now that I can hear properly, I'm noticing something I haven't noticed before. I've been feeding the signal to the heaphone amp from the effects send on my amp. It turns out plugging anything into my effect send results in a loss of volume and reduced low frequencies to my stage rig.

    Is that normal?