In-Ear Monitor Question for Live and Practice

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by BigBadBen67, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. BigBadBen67

    BigBadBen67 Supporting Member

    I’m new to in-ear monitors and am wondering if one might work the way I’m hoping it will.

    I get into a classic volume war with my guitarist. It’s not that I’m trying to. I just need to be able to hear myself well enough to play well. I tend to wear earplugs anyway to I thought I might just use an in-ear monitor instead. My idea is to come out of the balanced output of my amp into the in-ear monitor. I’ll then set that however I want to get the right mix of my bass and the ambient sound of the rest of the band. Then the guys can set my level however they want so it sounds right to them.

    Am I missing anything? Would this work like that? If so it might be the perfect solution.

    I don’t typically run through the mixing board so I don’t really want to go the whole route of mixing the whole band in my in-ear monitor, though I suppose I could if that would work best.
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It isn't likely to be the perfect solution, but it might be a workable solution. For rehearsals, I'd maybe consider this path with fairly inexpensive wired gear and off-the-shelf IEM earphones. I wouldn't spend for a wireless IEM rig and custom molded IEMs without much more control over the IEM mix.

    Worth considering...
    • What will you use as the headphone amp? A wireless IEM transmitter/rcvr? A wired more-me mixer like a Rolls PM351? A simple headphone amp?
    • If the guitarist's volume covers everything else only from where you stand, you might consider a more-me mixer with a mic input in addition to the instrument or line level input for your bass signal. That mic input would let you place a cross-stage mic to mix more of the rest of the band into your earphones. (But if he's too loud, the guitar bleed will just leave you chasing your tail by trying capture any quieter parts of the stage with a mic.)
    • Will the earphones offer enough isolation to lower your overall listening level to a safe range?
    • Even if you're only monitoring your bass, a properly adjusted limiter can protect against *some* mishaps and operator error.
    s0c9 likes this.
  3. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    To clarify- Where are you getting the rest of the band mix? I would never advocate using only one in ear. All you will do is make you bass LOUDER to compete with them, pretty much going against the whole original purpose.
  4. BigBadBen67

    BigBadBen67 Supporting Member

    Guys, you're getting a little ahead of me on this one. Picture three guys in a practice room. Guitar, bass, and drums. (I'm bass) We all have amps and a PA just for the voice. This is old school, so bear with me. I just want to be able to hear myself a little better than the other guys want to hear me. Will one of these wireless setups that I can get for around $800 do it for me? Or am I totally off base here?
  5. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    No in a word, there is way more to it than that.
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  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    no good.

    in-ear buds that seal well enough to give you good low end will also do a great job of blocking out everything else. you'll have a hard time hearing the other guys well enough to even follow the song.

    one cheat is something like a rolls PM351; if you're not singing, you can stick a mic into the other input and turn it up just enough to hear the room a little.
  7. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    I agree with the rolls or if you have a small mixer kicking around. The point being you need away to hear the band too. For these to work you need both buds tight in your ears otherwise you hear crap.
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  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Especially if this is just for the rehearsal room, don't used a wireless IEM rig for what you want to try. Run signal from bass or a line-level signal from your amp to a Rolls-style box, and use non-custom fit earphones. The IEMs will need to seal well enough to give you bass, but not block so much ambient sound that you entirely lose your too-loud bandmates.
    • Non-custom earphones (I'd suggest CCA C10, KZ AS-10, or KZ-ZS5 or ZS6—should be in the $40-50 range).
    • A Rolls PM55 (includes limiter, mic channel, and instrument channel. Can be run from batteries—should be ~ $80). Could also consider a Rolls PM50s or PM351.
    If that experiment works reasonably well, you could tweak it by adding foam eartips instead of the stock silicone eartips shipped with most of the inexpensive earphones. I'd also add a cable from the Rolls (on my amp or pedalboard) to a small unpowered beltpack attenuator. And if you can't hear your singer in rehearsal, run their mic cable to your Rolls box first, then pass it through to whatever y'all use for rehearsal PA.
    s0c9 likes this.
  9. It would be a lot simpler and cheaper to put your ears closer to your amp. Lift it up and stand in front of it.
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  10. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    ROFL - folks tend to forget that bass waves are long and standing in front of your amp in a small practice room means you are hearing room reflections, not the source. Couple that with drums/guitar bouncing around and it can be real hard to hear yourself clearly.. and the volume wars start.
    One approach is to stand on the opposite side of the room from your amp. Guitars players are blown away with how LOUD they are when they do that, but everyone hears themselves better.:thumbsup:
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    yes: communication! it wouldn't cost you anything but several minutes and a couple of beers* to talk it out with the guitar player! if you reach any type of compromise = you might even be able to play without earplugs! good luck hearing yourself! :thumbsup:

    * i'd suggest a mexican lager.
  12. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    This is a VERY common issue. @walterw got the situation exactly correct.

    The IEM vs acoustic soundstage is pretty much like tennis, where you need to be either at the net or on the baseline, but not in the middle where you get whacked.

    More experienced musicians tend to learn to rehearse at levels where everyone can hear everything. That mix level is simply more efficient; so, you get more done at the rehearsal. Which is usually not paid.

    You can use an IEM soundstage as a crutch if your band members aren’t yet at that stage of understanding; because the IEM soundstage allows everyone to dial in their own mix. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on how you look at it; because it can equally be abused to interfere with ensemble awareness. An interesting topic.

    But, no, using a single IEM when the rest of the ensemble is acoustic is playing tennis at half court. IME.
    s0c9 likes this.
  13. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    And very dangerous to your hearing health