In ear monitor question

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by franvarin, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Ok, so disclaimer up front. I was not sure which forum to post this in so, I took my best shot.

    When playing live, I often find that I have difficulty hearing bass at the expense of vocals, guitars, and drums. So, I was toying with the idea of an in ear monitor system but, the cost about made me pass out. In thinking through this a little further, I have a headphone out on the preamp on my board and was wondering if anyone uses an in ear piece that wireless which just comes off their preamp. It seems too obvious so, there must be a reason this is not such a good idea. But, it seems to me the price would much lower than going with a full blown in ear monitor system.

    I'd love to hear some thoughts on this and ways that others have addressed the issue. ...thanks in advance.
  2. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    I have a headphone out on the preamp on my board and was wondering if anyone uses an in ear piece that wireless which just comes off their preamp.

    This doesn't make sense. Do you mean running wired IEM's from your board's headphone out?

    In a previous band I ran from the board's monitor out to a headphone amp then to a wired set of IEM's. Cost me about $175 because I had to buy the headphone amp, cables, & earbuds.
  3. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    No, was thinking about wireless headphones from my preamp just to hear bass. In ear systems ate crazy expensive.
  4. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    Can you shoot me a link to the components you used?
  5. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    This kind of setup can work well for blocking stage volume to protect your ears and still being able to co.trol what you hear. There's lots of good threads about it. Sorry, I don't have any links. Some guys have had success even with very very cheap in ear headphones.

    My advice is be careful about not overloading your ears because if they don't block sound well your tendency may be to turn up the headphones...

    With very cheap earphones you may not like the bass you hear with them, but some guys are OK with it. I just use mine for vocals and a bit of guitar and get my bass from bleed through from my amp, but I don't move around very much. I tried turning up the bass in the IEM'S but it sounded thin so I don't really do that. I use sure SEL215's and a beringer headphone amp. You should be able to get results with just a headphone amp and if you sing it's nice to run your mic in there.
    You can test your idea pretty easily with a long extension cable for your headphones and any headphones. If there's enough gain there's enough for IEM'S.
  6. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    Why don’t you try ear plugs? I find they bring down the levels of a lot of the guitar and drums. Allow me to hear the bass much more clearly.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    *Wireless* IEM systems are expensive. Gig-usable wired IEM systems can be put together for under $100.
  8. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    That's a thought I've had as well. I may give that a try.
  9. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    I'm a little apprehensive over using a wired system. I tend to move around a lot and would likely forget I'm wearing them.

    Could you shoot me a link to some of the wired systems you'd recommend?
  10. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Depends on your mixer. If you're using a digital board, then the simplest solution is a belt pack + earphones + an XLR cable.
    Usable earphones on the cheap:
    Optionally, connect to the stage drop box rather than directly to the mixer.

    In one band we use a multi-channel headphone amp racked with our digital mixer, and feed everyone their IEM channels via stage snakes. (The digital board's aux outputs feed the headphone amp, w/ a limiter set on the aux outs. In a case like that, just connect the connect your earphones to the bodypack's output, turn the volume to where you want it, and you're good to go.

    If you're the only one in your band on IEMs, a small single-channel headphone amp will boost a line-level signal to robustly drive your earphones. (Although, again depending on your mixer, you might be able to feed the bodypack or stage drop box from the mixing board's headphone output.) You can put the box with the mixer or at your stage position, depending on which unit you use and whether you want to be able to tweak controls on the headphone amp during soundcheck and performance. (Less an issue if you're running a digital mixer w/ wifi control.) In the rehearsal room and for a few players on some gigs, we've used these:
    For us, racking the multi-channel headphone amp made these redundant, but they all worked and supplied plenty of level. Note: If you use one of these "more me" mini mixer+headphone amps at your stage position, you could get away without using a body pack on your belt. (A combined instrument+headphone extension cable is handy in that case.) I prefer having the volume control always within reach, though. And I also prefer the body pack's locking XLR connection.
  11. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    They are indeed... but if you gig "regularly", as in more than 2 times a month... the plug n' play and convenience aspect of wireless (IME) outweighs the expense.
    As someone who has run the gamut of wired/wireless and universal/custom buds over the last 7 yrs.. the old "buy once cry once" saying comes to mind. I've spent X-times the cost of my Senn G3/1964 A8's system, than buying them at first blush. Comes with the territory and growth I guess. Yes, it can be done for less.. but compared to wedges.. I'm running a Ferrari! :)
  12. franvarin


    May 30, 2013
    Rhode Island
    that's awesome stuff right there thanks! I'm going to check out the links you sent. The issue is we don't always have the same sound system. Many times it's a house system and we know how that goes; sometimes it's good and sometimes not so much. So, I was thinking of an inexpensive IEM system off my preamp (on my pedal board) just to boost the bass signal to my liking. That would do a couple of things; first allow me to set stage volume to help the sound tech. Second I'd be using bleed over from the other instruments with the bass prominent in my ear. Does that make sense or am I just looking at this the wrong way?
    Zbysek likes this.
  13. mikewalker


    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I like that Idea... first, the in-ears are providing some earplug function, protecting your ears from RIDE CYMBAL EAR DAMAGE (ask me how I know about that...) - and second, to get a nice bleed from a well-sealed earplug, your earphone bass-only levels will have to be moderate - also helping to preserve your hearing. :D
  14. jcerio

    jcerio Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Sweetwater. 48 month same as cash through October 1st. I just bought IEMs that way.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  15. gazzatriumph


    Sep 27, 2012
    I found my ACS earplugs did exactly that, made the bass stand out a bit more.
  16. FerK


    Dec 11, 2011
    IEM do NOT have to be super expensive. Sweetwater sells a model called Galaxy Audio AS-900 for under 200 dollars. Yes, they will NOT sound like the Shure PSM900, but they will be an introduction to IEM, and later on, if you're really happy with the way they work for you, you can decide to upgrade to a better system.
    s0c9 likes this.
  17. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    the least expensive way I can think of to try something out would be to try wired...
    If your board has the ability to make a custom aux mix for you, use that and get an inexpensive headphone amp like the
    "Behringer Powerplay P1 Personal In-ear Monitor Amplifier" and a good set of headphones/earbuds. I've been pushing the KZ ZS5 lately.. even if they don't end up being your final ones, they are inexpensive enough to try a quad driver IEM.

    If you don't have the ability to get a custom aux mix, your headphone idea isn't bad... but then pick up a ROLLS 351 it has 3 inputs.. MIC, INSTRUMENT and AUX you could feed the headphone out from your mixer into the AUX, bass into INSTRUMENT and your MIC if you use it. There are 3 knobs.. its basically a 3 channel mixer with passthrough ports. on the bass and mic. Take your PA headphone out which will have a bit of everything probably, then add more of your bass and vocals with the knobs and you'll get a much better idea of what you can get with a custom IEM mix.

    Going wireless will give you more freedom and all the quality of wired if you spend the $$. We have a galaxy audio and I'd rather go wired on small stages than take the sound quality hit.. but that's just me. On bigger stages I go wireless as well and it's fine. If I know I'm not moving much, I'll just go wired.


    OPTION 1
    custom aux/mon mix into a headphone amp and wired IEMs.

    OPTION 2
    headphone from mixer into aux input of ROLLS 351 and mix in your bass and vocals as needed to hear "more you"

    I don't assume these will be a final option, but they are the least expensive way I can think of to have you try personal monitoring without spending upwards of $1K.
    superheavyfunk and derrico1 like this.
  18. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    When I was in my last recent band we actually made our own in ear system that we plugged decent retail bought head phones into a cable extension which then ran back to a multi-jack receiver where they were all plugged in and then our drummer used a metronome app on his phone. We kept the cables managed by taping them to our instrument cables. Very cheesy but it was cheap and worked surprisingly well.
    mikewalker likes this.
  19. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. Everybody turn the #$%!#$% down.
    2. If your speaker cab is down by your feet, put it on a milk crate or something.
  20. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    As usual, I pretty much agree with s0c9. For most players, wireless will eventually be appealing if you move around on stage, have room in your band's PA rack, and have the ca$h to take the plunge for one of the better systems.

    But the folks who are new to IEMs and not stuffing the mattress with benjamins after every gig? Or keys players, drummers, and bassists of the Entwistle school of stage presence? The initial outlay for a quality IEM system—w/ high end wireless + custom molded earphones—seems to keep a lot of 'em on wedges, when even a modest wired system + the right earphones would be a big step up.

    Even purely in terms of convenience, wired vs wireless depends on your gigging circumstances. (For example, if your band's already using stage boxes, does it take even as much effort to plug a bodypack into the XLR cable from the stage snake, vs. regularly checking and replacing the batteries on wireless receivers, or dealing w/ changing frequency allocations and occasional interference?) And in terms of sound, dollar for dollar, decent wired IEMs crush wireless.

    If you've got the roads for it and a very understanding local PD, Ferraris are nice. But if you're used to riding the bus and just now considering whether it's worth buying a daily driver on your Honda budget, a Ferrari might not be a very good first solution.
    superheavyfunk, s0c9 and Scottkarch like this.
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