IEM Questions

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Doley50, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005

    I know there are a lot of threads regarding IEM, but I have some question, I have not found answers to, so hopefully you can help me out.
    My goal, is to not have to bring an Amp to gigs,and to hear myself better ( bass and Backup Voc ) we play mostly small clubs and as the soundman/bassist I am always trying to cut down on stage volume, we are not very loud, but I am always looking to get a cleaner sound.

    I know the earphones quality goes full spectrum, from crap to great, but do ( can ) the headphones sound closer to a cab or closer to a FOH signal? or does it depend on the earphones?

    Can you use the earphones in just one ear, I have never seen any earphones that used just one ear, and maybe you can not get the proper isolation that way.

    This maybe a little off topic, but We only have 2 Aux sends on our mixing board ( Mackie ProFx16 ) other then using the sub groups which I will have very little control over my monitor mix, is there another way to get a better monitor mix?

    For now that is all I have, I have been looking at different units but it can be overwhelming, Im considering just going with a small combo amp, but I leave that for another thread.
  2. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Get one of these:

    With this you can input the monitor send so you can hear everyone else's vocals, and you can independently control the level of your own vocal mic and your instrument in your IEMs. These are commonly referred to as a "more of me" monitor amp. IME I can hear everything from the rest of the band just fine using this setup, especially if we put some kick drum into the monitor send.

    The best IEMs are custom fitted. I absolutely love the ones I got from 1964 Ears:

    I bought the V3 model, which has an extra low driver per side to enhance bass. I hear my bass perfectly through these. They're kinda spendy, but less than a new Mexi Fender!

    It took me about 6 rehearsals to get comfortable with them as far as playing, singing, hearing my vocals, hearing the others' vocals, hearing all the instruments and sending the right stuff from the board. I always keep both of them in during sets. When you see a singer taking one out and using just one IEM, that's a sign that they don't have enough experience using them to have gotten comfortable with them.

    IME the vocal mics pick up enough of the stage mix from everyone's amp that I can hear the instriuments just fine even when we are only micing vocals. The exception is the kick drum - I always put some of that in the monitor mix along with the vocals.

    Good luck! If you take the time to get everything dialed in during rehearsals and also take the time to get used to singing and playing with them you will never want to go back to floor monitors again!
  3. poit57


    Apr 30, 2010
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I'm not experienced enough in this area to answer your other questions, but I will offer my take on this question.

    Whenenver I use IEM, I only use it in one ear. I feel it is too much isolation if I use both ear buds. I like being able to clearly hear what I am playing in my left ear while still being able to hear what the room sounds like with my right. This is especially helpful if the band leader is giving instructions without speaking directly into his vocal mic.

    Also, if I try to sing at all, it feels like singing with your fingers plugging your ears. When I try to record vocals at home, I use only one ear of my cans for the same reason.
  4. JJP_1984_LB50

    JJP_1984_LB50 Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    North Canton, OH

    For the last 10 months or so, I have been using Alclair Tour Customs with a Shure PSM200. It is my strong preference to never play any other way. Said another way, I really like this setup...;)

    My (future) goal is to also never schlep another amp/cabinet. However, this really depends on the quality of the sound system you use, as well as what your band mates use. They still need to ear you...

    As far as tone in the IEM's, it depends on what you send them. I felt my Mesa M6 direct out sounded too clean. I picked up a Sansamp RBI and love the tone in my ears. YMMV...

    I always wear both earphones. I've seen threads that say using one is bad for your hearing, but I'm not an MD...

    I agree with scottbass, in that I get enough bleed through that I can really minimize what goes into my mix. I too was expecting complete isolation, but that just hasn't been the case. Hasn't been a problem (for me) either...

    Scottbass is also correct in saying it can take a little getting used to if you sing. Mostly, this is due to how LOUD you sound. Again, not a problem to me...
  5. this can be dangerous and can potentially damage hearing in your ear with the ear bud in, in that you may have it up louder than you would with 2 and damage your hearing but not realise until its too late...not a good idea...may as well just use a regular monitor.

    what typically is a good thing to do is have a ambient mic or 2 spread out across stage and have a small fill of it in the IEM mix to keep that "live" feel
  6. Doley50


    Sep 4, 2005
    Thanks for you feedback,
    Do any of you go amp-less, from what I have been looking at, a descent transmitter and ear-buds is an investment close to 1k.
    It seems like a scary jump, I have not heard of anyone saying they hated IEM, but the only way to really know it to dive in, and buying inexpensive stuff is a sure fire way to hate it.
    I looked at the Galaxy System and most of the reviews were pretty bad.
    I am kind of leaning towards the Carvin one.
    I guess studying the return policy would be important. I'm sure ear bud have no return.
    What reasoning did you use to spend that kind of money and yet not being sure the results would work for you?
    Anyone one try IEM and then say, "naw, I don't like it"?
  7. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    I go ampless most of the time, I use the low budget $100 in-ears from Shure. It does take a little bit to getting used to not hearing your amp when you are playing. And using these cheaper earphones doesn't help much either. But if you can get a solid mix in your ears of the band, I can use both ears, it just feels like you are rocking out to an mp3 track. If not I find myself using only 1 ear to get a more natural feel of the room and not lose completely my moniters. IMO it will always be better to use an amp, it's a different ambience when you have your rig blasting right behind you, but that does not mean IEM are not more efficient and if used properly fix a lot of sound issues (feedback etc..). If I were you I would not spend $1k on IEM this instant. Buy the Rolls Personal Moniter that was recommended to you and use some cheap earphones you have laying around. Get a feel for it, then you can appreciate the difference when switching to a high end IEM rig. I plan on buying some custom in-ears for myself soon! My $0.02.
  8. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Ambient mics DEFINITLY help. :D

    And what I try to do to not damge my ears, is that I set my volume for my IEM while I have both ears on. I switch to 1 mid-set if I am not comfortable but I don't tamper with the volume. I would not agree with sound checking with just one ear bud on. :meh:
  9. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses and 64 Audio IEMs
    I came in ready to give advice, but all I have to do as add "+1" to this entire post.

    I also use the Rolls PM351 along with the V3 model from 1964 Ears. I love my setup!
  10. poit57


    Apr 30, 2010
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Thanks, I've read the warnings about this practice and I'm careful about it. I do this is a church environment that doesn't get very loud, so I don't have volume battle for allowing my in ear to match the open ear. I guess my situation is not typical and probably doesn't help the OP then.
  11. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    First, absolutely do not use just one ear. If someone reads this and wants to dispute it, then fine, but ear doctors will tell you, this certainly can lead to ear damage if you crank up the level to compensate. (As told to me by my ear MD) "The ears are designed to work together as a team of sorts and in conjunction with the brain. Using only one earbud distorts (not in the audible sense) what the brain is assimilating from both ears. One ear doesn't work as well nor as accurately as both ears working together". And check with your own ear MD on this, but I believe in this wholeheartedly.

    I knew that I would like IEMs from mixing monitors for all kinds of bands that were completely on IEMs. Audience mice will have varying degrees of success, work with them on placement and level and you should be able to get good results.

    I use the 1964 Quad IEMs (2 bass drivers, a mid, and a high driver). I have to actually turn down the low end just slightly, but it's never a bad thing to turn down something...:D

    However, I would get a cheaper generic earbud and the foamies or generic molds to see how you like the whole IEM thing. The Mix plus me is a good idea when you don't have a separate monitor desk or the Aviom rig (the new Aviom 360s are great! They sound SO much better than the 16IIs, it's amazing!)

    We are ampless at the church, but for gigs, I bring my amp just as some low-level fill. Personally, I didn't think I needed it, but my bandmates requested that I use the amp, so I was happy to oblige...

    Hope this, as well, as the other great info presented, helps...