In Ear Monitors - What Do I Need

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by christopantz, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. christopantz


    Sep 16, 2015
    Hi everyone. In the interest of protecting my hearing but still being able to hear myself during live gigs, I'm looking into buying a pair of cheap in ear monitors. I'm wondering if there's anything more that I need to play a show with em. Can I just show up to the venue with just the IEMs and they'll be able to hook me up, or do I need more equipment, like an amp, limiter, etc.

    Any advice is super helpful, I'm clueless. Thanks a ton!
    ak56 likes this.
  2. Bassworship1

    Bassworship1 Inactive

    Jun 20, 2013
    If your wanting a good setup for the least amount of money possible and still get good results I would recommend the Audio Galaxy AS-900 or even better the As1100 (multiple frequencies to choose from) and a pair of the Shure SE-215 earbuds. I have been using this setup for years and love it.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    it's pandora's box question.. akin to asking which bass/amp combo do I buy??
    Define "cheap".. IME - cheap IEM's will give you cheap results, and you'll likely hate the results, blame the gear and dump them.
    #1 - what's your budget ??
    Everything else will be dictated by that. If your budget is low, I highly recommend you don't cheap out and save for a decent system.. especially the buds themselves.

    #2 - I recommend multi-driver buds (at least 2, preferably 3 or more..), so you can boost low-freq (being a bass player). They will also give you a better sound stage and minimize distortion and ear fatigue vs single-driver buds.

    #3 - FWIW - Showing up to a gig with buds is next to worthless, unless you want to use them as ear plugs.
    How many bands do you play in?

    #4 - You'll need to know:
    • Are you going to be wired, or wireless? - which does your band support?
    • What are you input sources? - How are you going to get the monitor mix to you? Is it a full mix, or do you need to split you bass feed separately? Can you selectively apply effects to your mix to give you depth and spatiality.. or is it dry?
    • Who controls your mix? - you, a monitor engineer, the BL or some FOH dude?
    • How do I get more "me" in the mix? - See previous line.
    • Is the mix mono or stereo? - stereo will allow you to pan instruments relative to stage positions. Mono blends everything to the center in a single layer.
    • Which band uses what (if applicable)? - See all of the above.
    and so on..

    #5 - On top of all that - you'll need to provide all the necessary gear to make that work for you.. it's not something that an SR provider generally supplies.
    For example.. I'm married to one pretty busy band. We have an X32 console, with mix busses sent to Senn G3 wireless IEM transmitters, permanently hooked up in the rack. I control my IEM mix (for all 32 channels and effects) via my android tablet using free Behringer/Midas software. No cables. Power up and go. I have 1964 Audio A8's for my IEM's and hook up to the Senn G3 receiver.
    Not a budget friendly solution tho.. but really is the best system I've used.

    #6 - Other folks use a Rolls PM51S or PM55P (built-in limiter) and blend their bass signal into it, along with an AUX feed from the mixer/console.
    There's lots of choices on the equipment side..

    Finally... No matter which route you go.. GET THE BEST MULTI-DRIVER BUDS YOU CAN AFFORD !!
    Why? Because you wouldn't listen to your high end audio system thru crappy speakers, right?? Why would you put those same crappy speaker right in your ears and expect it to sound "good"?

    I suggest you search this forum for more details.. there's plenty of threads on the topic here. It's a well discussed subject.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
    greggcowanom likes this.
  4. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH
    We need a serous sticky on this. It is apparent to me by all the newbies asking the basic questions about IEM that they are finally getting to be respected for what they offer.

    Welcome to the IEM world.
  5. flojob

    flojob Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    Im gonna partially hijack for a second, cause im interested in the topic as well.
    In addition to the OP question, does anyone have experience as the only player using IEM? I know that sometimes the house setup leaves a lot to be desired for monitoring, but have also think that a house sound guy may not want to be bothered trying to get a good IEM mix for 1 bass player. Ive read that lots of bands do there own individual monitor mixes with the help of apps on phones or pads.
    I think having a good mix no matter where i am standing is an attractive idea, but hoping that a house sound guy will let me set up a receiver or whatever the process requires, may be more hassle than its worth. Any stories appreciated
  6. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I've mentioned our setup plenty in other threads..

    We have an X32 Producer. 90% of our gigs have house PA, so we hook the house snake split up to the X32, or we feed the house a main L/R feed from it. When using our own Active PA (the other 10%), we send a main L/R feed to it.
    For festivals - with multiple bands - we bring the same rack and feed splits into it.. and let FOH do their thing.
    The IEM mixes feed either mono wedges, or stereo IEM transmitters (Senn G3).

    In ALL scenarios, the Producer runs our IEM mixes - right off the same channels going to FOH.
    We have the X32 connected to a dual band router and control those IEM mixes from iOS/Android devices. We also mix FOH (when needed) in the same manner.

    For a variety of reasons we [just] added an X32 Rack as our IEM mix.. with a 16-ch splitter snake.
    For House provided FOH, the splits will go directly to the X32 RACK.
    The splitter box is [permanently] mounted in the Producer rack with the short leg connected to the Producer's inputs.
    If we run our own FOH mix and feed our PA or the House a L/R mix, we take both units and all connections go to the splitter box.
    The other splitter leg goes to the X32 RACK.. giving full gain control for each channel to both consoles.
    Our IE?M mix remains constant and under our control.
    Whomever is mixing FOH cannot affect our monitor mixes - unless they are on stage pulling connections. :)

    Not a budget solution.. but works for us.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  7. Dave Hill

    Dave Hill Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    This is what we use at church. Slick set up, but not cheap. It's great controlling your mix from your phone. Sometimes I wish it had eq options
  8. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    You can set EQ on the output buss - but only on the console itself.
    If you are using the Senn G3, you have EQ capability on both the xmittter and receiver. I don't the EQ on the G3, so I'm not sure if that is a single EQ (adjustable at both ends) or dual EQ. I run mine flat..

    But yeah, not cheap.
    For a frequently gigging/busy weekend warrior band that I'm in.. its easy setup at every venue. Plug in, power up and go. Sound checks are usually one song.. 2 or 3 if we're runnin' a couple of new songs..
    FWIW - we've had one rehearsal since our new drummer came on board late June. Strange 'cus we used to rehearse 2-3 times a month with our old drummer. Now, we work up the songs on our own (iTunes album versions) and run them at sound check.
    So far we've added 6 new ones and they all flew first time..
    musicman7722 and Dave Hill like this.
  9. thats me! Im the only guy in the band who is not only iem solo, but ampless as well. its tricky as for the rest of the band getting your bass on stage, in my case we use a well equiped sound company so they just but bass in the monitors as needed. As for me? I simply get my monitoor send into a rolls pm 55 and get my own monitor mix including my bass there.
  10. musicman7722


    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton NH

    We do that as well. We call it "Sound Check Challenge"
    s0c9 likes this.
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