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In-ear monitors in a multi-band festival setting?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by 5StringFool, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    Our band does a lot of festivals/rallies through the summer. The singer/guitarists desperately wants to build an in-ear rack that we can take with us to the various festivals that we do so we aren't dependent on the wedge systems that are provided. He doesn't sing very loudly and he's always saying that most of the time he can't hear himself.

    My question is this... how easy is it to build an in-ear rack that will be quick and simple to set up/integrate into a production company's PA system? Right now we can show up at the gig and be ready in about 5 mins after the preceding band vacates the stage. It seems to me that if we show up with an in-ear system that it would require too much time to setup (which would burn into the time we have for our set), and possibly gain us a reputation as being a difficult band to deal with (which could cost us gigs).

    So does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing, and if it can be done what would be required to make it an easy setup that wouldn't get under the skin on the sound engineers and production guys?

  2. K-Punk

    K-Punk Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    Lots of bands are doing it now...Go for it!
  3. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Bring your own board so you can mix your own monitors or in ears. You may need to purchase a splitter snake to send the signals to the FOH.

    Do it! You'll always have full control over your monitor mix this way and will have less hassles from venue to venue.
  4. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    We have an Allen & Heath MixWiz monitor board that will do eight mixes I think, but most places we have less than ten minutes to set up or we start burning into our set time, which is usually 25-35 mins. I understand the extra control, but is it really possible to get it setup quickly, and more importantly... what components would be required?
  5. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I have to say ten minutes for set up to play 25-35 minutes, it's probably not worth it.

    Go with what they give you and be more vocal about needing more volume in the singers monitor. Help him out by keeping your stage volume under control.
  6. Dave the Bass

    Dave the Bass

    Sep 11, 2011
    I agree, it would probably take too long to set up and would eat up half of your set.
  7. jad


    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sounds like a situation where the sound guy would be scrambling the whole time. So I'll agree that it'll be too much trouble.

    Having said that, if I wanted to use my IEMs for a festival like that I would ask the FOH guy (assuming no monitor guy) a band or two ahead of time if he could hook me up. If it's no problem, I'd ask for front of house in one input and bass and my vocal in the other. I can control the balance between the two on my receiver, so no sound check wouldn't be a big deal at all. If the FOH guy had ANY problem with it, then it's wedge time.
  8. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    1) He uses his IEMs, everyone else uses the provided wedges. Quick and simple.

    2) The band provides mics, stands, cables, mixer, splitter, trunk (tail), and IEMs. Neither quick nor simple, but everyone's mix will change very little gig to gig.
  9. shtik


    Jun 8, 2011
    It will be acceptable if the lead singer will come with his IEM's, but in these situations, I wouldn't go IEM with the whole band.

    You will be required to just go on stage and play, the wedges and side fills will already have what's needed in order for you to start playing, with minor adjustment if needed.

    If you bring your full IEM system for the whole band, it will either require spending more time to get new mixes for you, or you'll have to live with the previous mix of the wedges throughout the set.

    If the lead singer brings an IEM system, it can be set up for him while the other guys are setting up, and it will only be a minor hassle for the stage crew.

    These situations require you to just go up and play. Do the best you can with what you've got, and try to make the crew's life as easy as you can. They will appreciate that if you don't start to ask for to many changes.

    Have fun and good luck!
  10. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    We've become very adept at doing just this, and that's the biggest thing I hate to give up. We played two days at the last festival and were liked so much by the sound crew and stage manager that they asked us to play a second set when the band behind us ended up being a no show. We've been other places where a situation like this was handled with canned music and a break for the engineers.

    Many of the other bands were saying that the crew at the stage were jerks, but they were also making lots of special requests.

    We're brainstorming other ideas right now as well. Last night we were thinking about using one of our powered Carvin PM10A's (we use these for monitors in our own PA) so he could have a dedicated vocal monitor on stage with an eq. The speaker has a through-put that bypasses the wedge eq and could be sent to FOH unaffected. The he could adjust the powered wedge to get his vocals to cut more.... and that solution would cost $0, which is very attractive if it would be workable.
  11. ransombass


    Dec 16, 2008
    Tulsa, Ok

    That's what we do. The sound guys actually seem to like it too. They don't have to battle any feedback issues.
  12. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Every show is different. At Columbus' July 4th celebration, we patched in our IEM system (cheap behringer mixer with an 8 ch split snake) into the sound company's wedge monitor system. We had all of our gear patched in and running before they even had the drums miked up. Its just 8 connections. I made sure I had our split snake diagram to the sound company a month in advance if case they had any problems, and to make sure they would facilitate it. It went well.

    I wouldn't consider putting a secondary monitor that isn't controlled by the sound company on the stage. If it feeds back, no one can control it. Besides, these companies are using high power/high quality monitors. They will be significantly louder than a mixer amp will get.

    30 minute sets, I would just use the monitors provided, and I don't really like monitors all that much anymore. The genre might require high stage volume, so he is just going to have to eat the mic and ask for more me and work on a longer term whole band solution.

  13. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    I honestly think he needs to work on his projection. He doesn't have a lot of volume when he sings and his mic is always much hotter than mine. If he would learn to project a bit better then the mic could be lowered in gain and be louder with less feedback. I sing some of our songs and I never have a problem hearing myself, but I project a lot more than he does.

    Ugh, how I wish things were simpler....lol.

    I'm thinking at this point that an in-ear rack for him only would be the best. We're only a three piece, and the drummer is hardwired with ears for the few tracks that we use. That would leave me with all the wedges...... mwahahahahahaha!!!! :D
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Only if you're the headliner.

    I'm as big a fan of IEMs as anyone on this board, but if you're getting anything less than a 1-hour set in an opening slot, it's not worth it. You'll p**s off the sound guy, eat up time from your set and generally come off as high-maintenance divas.

    If you're the headliner, then go for it (making sure it's written into your tech rider, of course)... but otherwise buck up, go with what they give you and keep the show moving along.
  15. Wes Whitmore

    Wes Whitmore

    Mar 10, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    IEMs cause many people to sing quiter until you sneak back and turn their vocals down in their ears.
  16. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Yep too much hassle for a 30 min set. Consider yourself lucky when a fest offers IEM. The best festivals have them along with pre-soundcheck with Presonus boards which store the settings for each band in memory. Voila...no sound check between acts. We are doing one like this in a couple of weeks and I can't wait!

    If you're like us, we go back to the same festivals each year. Make sure to give your feedback to the festival organizers and sound company. Let them know what you like and don't like. The hope is that, over time, things will get better. Although I rarely see the same sound company year to year.

    We do have a mixer/IEM setup for when we use our own PA which are full length shows we headline. Otherwise, we use what the venue provides and hope for the best. We always bring an extra powered monitor wedge for the drummer just in case. It's been needed more than once.
  17. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Splitter snakes and your own mixer etc seems like a lot too much for this setup. It's pretty easy however to get one unit in a rack and give it to the FOH guy and have him run one of the monitor or aux sends into it. It happens quite a lot where I've played.
  18. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Our singer runs his own in-ear mix. We have to plug into his splitter and then the sound company has to route through it as well. For our shows when it's only us, it usually works fine. When it's a big show with a number of bands, not so much. It usually eats up quite a bit of time and seems a bit stupid when there is sometimes 5 wedges available.

    There is no easy answer. Even if you have your own system not every sound company will be amenable to you using it . We have even sent stage plots ahead of time and thought everything was cool and have irritated sound guys in the process. I don't think it's wise to get on the bad side of the person mixing your show.
  19. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Do you bring your own vocal mics or do you use whatever is provided?

    I'd never put my lips on a sm58 that seven people slobbered on before me. I always bring my own.

    Maybe a new mic with better gain and feedback rejection is in order. You'll be spending $200 plus for a good one. Well worth it, IMHO.
  20. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    Agreed. :)

    We're usually using whatever is there, but recently we had a chance to borrow a couple of Beta 58's and they sound much better and seem to have better off rejection qualities; so purchasing two of those will be happening in short order.

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