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In-ear or floor monitors??

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by pbassman1217, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. pbassman1217

    pbassman1217 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2012
    Hi everyone. The 5-piece band I'm in has been borrowing wedge monitors for our gigs. We're now thinking of investing in our own and are debating whether to go floor (10") or in-ear monitors (preferably wireless). We know all the stated advantages of in-ear but, at the end of the day is it really worth the investment? We play all types of music-classic rock, country, etc., usually play small to medium-size bars, clubs (hence one attraction to in-ear) and play 2-3 gigs a month.

    The in-ear system we've been looking at (but haven't tried) is the Shure PSM 300. Anyone have any experience with it?

    Thoughts? Recommendations?

  2. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I think it takes a lot of discipline as band to play at a volume where monitors are an effective solution. Too often, the backline and drums overwhelm the monitors and nobody can hear anything useful. My band is all IEM now, and I can't imagine ever going back to wedges. With our digital mixer and my iPad/iPhone, I can control my own mix and volume level. It's freakin' wonderful. Sure, there's a little more work involved in setting things up for IEMs, but it becomes routine pretty quickly. I am much more relaxed when I play (because I can hear everything I need to), and the band sounds way tighter.

    A cheap way to win people over on the idea of IEMs... at band practice, send your regular monitor mix to the wedges, and also put together a good FOH mix (which should go to the mixer's headphone jack). Let everyone take turns A/B'ing the headphones vs. the wedges. I've done this with a couple bands I've played with, and it pretty much blows everyone's mind. Pretty much everyone says "Wow, I've never heard everything so clearly before!" IEMs are pretty easy sell after that.

    Wireless is cool if you have the funds. You could also go with a hard-wired system if cost is a factor. Depending on your mixer, you should be able to send 2-4 individual monitor mixes to something like a, Art HeadAmp6 headphone amp...then extension cables out to your IEMs.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
    pbassman1217 likes this.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    You have to decide whether the investment is worth it or not..
    As someone who gigs regularly (150+ gigs in last 2 yrs as weekend warriors), we decided it was.
    Digital console, each individual controls their own IEm mix independent of the house mix, Sennheiser G3 wireless, and custom buds (3 of us have 1964 audio, 1 has UE7, 1 has JH16).
    The mix is MUCH better than ANY wedge, and is the same wherever you may be on the stage (or in the audience).
    I have used Carvin EM900, Shure PSM200, PSM300 and Behringer and Aviom systems over the last x yrs.
    The PSM300's were for a VERY short time but I had connectivity issues with mine - being in a major metro area.
    Make sure you choose the best band for your area - I posted links in another thread.. you can read more there.. as its the same basic question about going IEM
    Wireless In Ear Monitors (EIM) basics for Dummies (me)
    pbassman1217 likes this.
  4. Acoustic356


    Jul 3, 2014
    In ear monitors any time.
    1. You can set/adjust your mix how you like it - especially with todays digital mixers... there's an app for that.
    2. You can control stage volume.
    3. Standing next to the drummer - you get ear protection with the isolating in ear monitors
    4. Less to carry and set up
    5. You aren't stuck sharing a monitor with the drummer
    6. You'll be able to go direct instead of having to carry a cab
    7. Bass tends to muddy the mix when coming through the monitors, so now everyone can hear how awesome you are
    I could go on... but 7 is a good number.
  5. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    We only have a cheap IEM setup - 1 transmitter with 3 receivers - so we all get the same monitor mix. Even so there is no way I would go back to floor monitors, even cheap IEMs are just so much better. (IMO, YMMV of course).

    I played 3 sub gigs recently for a band that use floor monitors, I really missed my IEMs!
    pbassman1217, s0c9 and Acoustic356 like this.
  6. imnotded


    May 31, 2015
    Northern CA
    The best thing about IEM, I think, is that my ears dont ring after a gig. I can hear better with IEM than with floor wedges, but the real savings is in not losing my hearing as fast. Spend the $ on custom molded IEMs and save your ears.
  7. pbassman1217

    pbassman1217 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks for the great input and insight. IEM def sounds like the way to go!
    Acoustic356 likes this.
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    IEM all the way.
  9. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    The only thing is that you might get the feeling that you are a little disconnected from the audience if you have good isolating ear buds, an ambient mic mixed in helps a lot if it bothers anyone.

    It never bothers me because I've had to wear earplugs for the last 5 years (since getting tinnitus) and IEMs are less disconnecting than plugs.
  10. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    IEM would be my choice. I'd also agree with the suggestion for custom molds.
  11. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    I don't have much experience with IEM's and almost 40 years using floor monitors of all flavors and quality. Recently had a couple chances to use one of the "inexpensive 1 send- 4 receiver wireless" sets-including the supplied ear buds. I was seriously impressed. We were all still using amps and had a pretty loud stage going-including four floor monitors. Both the drummer and myself agreed that it was the best monitor system we had ever heard-beat floor wedges for sure. So IEM's all the way for me. I'm working on my own set-up as soon as I can. As far as the "disconnected from the audience feeling" goes-we seemed to get enough ambience from the drum overheads and snare mic but of course YMMV.
    delta7fred likes this.
  12. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    We don't use an ambient mic but I have read other posts where bands do. We use our PA for vocals (and our guitarist's C9 organ pedal) but get plenty of instrument and crowd bleed into the vocal mics for me.

    Our drummer however insists that if he cannot hear his drums properly he cannot play. Odd because he has been drumming since 1964 and I would have thought that by now he would be able play under any circumstances. He has one IEM in and the other ear open - whatever your preference I suppose!
  13. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    image. Love the in ears. I have custom molded inserts, so the sound is amazing. Coupled with a Berringer x18, Mackie, or other board, you can get your own personal monitor mix to set with an iPhone or iPad. This makes hearing everything so much easier. I had to go back to wedges and it sounds like a muddy mess, and I have no control over my personal mix I was never so happy to go back to the ears. I've added a screen shot of my iPad when the system is going. I have lots of control over my sends and EQ. I love it. I think this was either a Berringer x18 or x32 board here.
    Philly Watts likes this.
  14. Shure PSM 200 wireless system with Alien Ear triple driver, extended low end, custom molded ear set. This set up made singing a breeze, and I liked the separate mix thing, but yes I did feel the disconnect from the rest of the band. I think an in ear with adjustable ports for ambient sound would be good. For you singing bass players the TC Helicon pitch correct peddle is amazing, while I believe I have very good pitch, this peddle adds amazing presence, and I'll bet we don't hear many good recordings these days that don't have pitch correct!
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    If you can do a stereo mix that does wonders for the isolation as welll as being able to pan so your stage feels as it looks as well.
  16. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That is the WORST thing you can do for your ears.. take out the IEM - don't do that! Why?
    Because the volume in the non-IEM ear will ALWAYS be louder (no attenuation) than the IEM ear due to stage volume, so the tendency is to turn up the IEM volume to compensate -as our brains like structure. He is damaging his hearing by doing so as the LOUDER IEM is closer to the ear than the noise levels in the other ear.
    The WHOLE POINT behind IEM's is to get a good mix at MUCH LOWER volumes - due to the attenuation and isolation - by using BOTH IEM's.
    Using one IEM voids that..
    You don't have to take my word for it.. let your drummer read some of these.. PLEASE !
    The Danger of Wearing Only One IEM - Blog - 1964 EARS Blog
    The Ultimate In-Ear Earphone Safety Guide – Tech2
    The Dangers of using 1 Custom In Ear Monitor & Why to Avoid It | The Custom IEM Company
  17. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    What I've done with mine is to "crack" the seal just a touch by slightly turning one ear, so I get a little ambient sound coming in. I will lose a little low end doing this, so I don't do it often, but in cases where I was having trouble with drums sitting right in the mix, I'd do this until I could get them mixed right. It was just temporary until I could get things right.

    Getting used to a good in ears mix will spoil you. It's leap years ahead of old school monitors. The best part is being able to be anywhere on stage and still have the same great mix. My ears don't ring anymore because I can run the spl so much lower and still have the clarity and punch.
    godley69 likes this.
  18. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    Thanks for the links, I understand what you are saying but doubt I could get him to click them let alone read them!

    He is stubborn as a mule so no good saying anything to him, believe me I have tried. His son (works for an AV company) bought him a real nice pair of multi-driver earphones but he will not use then because he cannot stand anything in his ear canal. He wore them for all of 3 seconds before ripping them out and declaring "I can't stand those in my ears". (70 y.o. who has been drumming since 1964 and never used any form of hearing protection so his hearing is pretty much shot anyway.)

    He is the main reason we went for IEMs. He had his floor monitor so loud we were constantly on the edge of feedback and he was still singing flat half the time. He is better with an IEM in but no where near perfect.
    s0c9 likes this.
  19. FuturePrimitive

    FuturePrimitive Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2000
    Rochester, NY
    What more can I add, IEMs all the way. Unlike some players here I don't even play out all that much, maybe 6-10 times a year and my custom molded IEMs and high(ish) end wireless is still worth the cost. I have more $ invested in my monitors than I do in my basses! (Don't tell my wife.) I do use them almost every day for practice at home so it's not like they're collecting dust between shows, they get used.

    I'm slowly winning my drummer over too. He and I recently started a new band and he's been using my son's Roland e-drums for practice, last rehearsal I let him use my PM16 mixer and Sony headphones instead of a wedge and he loved it. We've got the whole band going through my XR18 mixer and our rehearsal volume, even with only 2 of us using IEMs, is low enough for my kids to watch TV upstairs. This is the way to roll.
    delta7fred and SteveC like this.
  20. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    I think once you go to a proper IEM solution where band mates can individually control their mix it is nearly impossible to go back to floor monitors.
    s0c9 and SteveC like this.

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