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In-ears question

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by TheDialog, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. TheDialog

    TheDialog Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Who uses or has experience in-ears for live purposes. I play venues that usually hold between 500 and 5,000 people and am looking to get in-ears so that I don't have to rely on just my 2 8x10's that are usually a good distance behind me. I have never been a huge fan of hearing a ton of bass in my wedge and would rather hear a ton of vocals and lead guitar in my wedge. I would love to have a nice mix in my ears of the bass, guitar and vocals and am ready to buy a system. May I have some recommendations please?

  2. Makalu


    Jul 24, 2006
    I've used IEM's for about 4 years now and they made a huge difference to the clarity of our sound and stage volume. I usually wear one in and one out so I can still 'feel' the drums and bass. The one I keep in has a vox / guitar mix. Well worth the investment imho.

  3. TheDialog

    TheDialog Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Makalu: what system do you use?
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    PSM700s are great. I have no experience with other systems, but the quality of the wireless transmitter/reciever is going to make a HUGE difference in your experience.
  5. BR Audio

    BR Audio Guest

    Apr 13, 2006
    Most of the mid to high priced IEM systems are pretty decent. I have plenty of experience with Shure, Sennheiser and AKG systems. They are all pretty good. Trust me when I tell you that the biggest difference will come from which set of ear buds you go with.
    I've tried many in-ear buds and have a few favorites. One thing to be aware of is that as a bass player, you should just about discard all single driver buds. You will have a hard time finding one that sounds adequate for heavy low end instruments. Dual drivers are much better. I recently tried the Westone UM2 (universal fit dual drivers) and they sound fantastic. Probably the best universal buds I've heard in a while. They go for around $250 or so. If you can afford, definitely go for custom molds. They make all the difference in the world. They can range anywhere from $300 to $700 for a dual drivers.

    If you are looking at specs, you will notice that the AKG IEM system is the one that will give you the best frequency response on low frequencies. That is why some of the top players only use those. I've personally used all others and don't really have a problem with them.

    Hope this helps a little bit.

    take care
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I'll also vouch for the Westone UM2's being great sounding ear buds for bass. I'm not currently using an IEM system in my current band, but I've played many, many gigs using them and a Shure PSM-400 system (which I was also happy with).

    I still use the Westones with my Tascam Bass Trainer, and with my I-Pod. They are much cheaper than the Shure dual-driver buds, and sound every bit as good, IME.
  7. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    is it possible to have wireless in-ears without having the transmitter? just the ears going to a recording interface?

    also, does westone just make the ears not the transmitters?
  8. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    yes.. you can run a long cable from whatever headphone amp you are using to power the ears... i use a long extension cable on a church gig that i do at times since i dont need to be on a wireless pack on hose gigs since im in a pit band.
    Westone ES2s a nice.but $$$ if you are new the westone UM1 is a smooth ear but their UM2 is killer.. i have livewires now but having some issues with fit and seal, even with th ecustom molds..

  9. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    +1 to UM2... I used mine with shure silicone clear mushroom shaped universals with great success.

  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    IEMs seem like a great idea. However, my concern is how to prevent damage to my hearing, both from excessive SPL, and from unexpected transients, like someone bumping into a microphone, or feedback. Are limiters typically integral to wireless transmitters, or do you have to buy a limiter of some kind in addition to the transmitter?

    Thanks! :)
  11. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    is there a noticble enough difference between the custom and universal westone ear buds to justify the higher price tag?
  12. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    which of the higher end shure in-ear wireless systems have room for 3 units? Since there are three of us in the band. Im seriously considering one of these
  13. IEMs are typically much quieter then going without. I've never had problems with things going 'pop' in my ears. However, you MUST pull them out whenever anyone might do something that'll pop, and my Shure system pops everytime I turn the belt pack on or off.

    The big trade off is tone. I have some decent (or so I understand) double driver Shure in-ears, but the tone's not nearly as good as it sounds just standing in front of my amp. However, they're so much quieter, that I'll never trade 'em in during practices.

    TheDialog - the one thing that i don't like about IEMs is that the audience goes away. You can't hear 'em, and it sounds like you're in a studio even though you see people gyrating in front of you. It's eerie. I don't like IEMs live at all.

    Mind you, we typically play venues for 50 to 300 people. I think it would work better on the big stages for well over 1000 people since there's already somewhat of a disconnect between the performers and the people. Still, we played a fairly big festival stage last year, and it was still just too weird, and a bit too tough for me to get into things.

    [/2 cents]
  14. We use in ears at church. There the shure brand can't remember what model. I play with one in and one out We run them through an Aviom monitor system. Basically there is a house mix and we can pick and choose who we want to boost or cut etc. VERY handy except when the gains aren't adjusted properly.

    I will say ours is setup kind of strange . My in ear mix is different than my stage/head mix. It doesn't bother me but your eally never know what you sound like.

    I would say you may want some adjust ability on your own. Having to wave and such to the sound guys can be a chore and embarrassing in front of a crowd. Also be careful with SPL's .. I can hear a hiss in my one ear for an hour or so after playing and I don't crank it that high.
  15. BR Audio

    BR Audio Guest

    Apr 13, 2006

    To answer your questions:
    Yes, big difference between molded and universal, however your budget will dictate which one you will go with. Westone, Sensaphonics are probably the top dogs for molded and Westone one of the best for universal fit.
    I'd strongly recommend getting dual drivers at least. Even if going with universal models. Most people spoil their first in-ear experience by trying it with cheap single drivers.

    "which of the higher end shure in-ear wireless systems have room for 3 units?"

    I'm not sure I understand your question correctly, but all shure systems are pretty good. PSM600 probably being the most sold one. Followed by the PSM700. Just find one system that fits your budget better and go with it. If all you need is the same mix for all three members of the band, you can buy one transmitter and three receivers. That goes for just about every system out there.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    take care
  16. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    If I may hijack, is there any decent consumer type wireless ear buds that don't have ridiculous latency? I don't want to spend a grand, but 2-300 is about right. I've tried a few bluetooth sets (Logitech, JayBird, and something else) and I just got a set of Sleek Audio sa6 with the Kleer wireless system. The Kleer system is billed as low latency, but I guess that's a relative term as I'm getting at least 200ms of delay. That's much faster than the bluetooth sets, and the bluetooth sounds terrible - think 32kbps mp3

    I really just want to use these at church as I switch back and forth between guitar and drums. The drums are electronic and the guitar is a variax, so I need to be able to hear myself, and switching wires around is a big PITA and I fear it's a bit distracting during Mass.

    Are there any analog wireless headphones that aren't the big cans? Ear buds would be my preference, but any behind the head setup would work as well.
  17. svtb15

    svtb15 Banned

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    I have never heard of latency with IEM.. I use a shure pack on large gigs and i go hardwired on some church gigs that i do, where there is the Aviom system and im 5 feet from my amp staion.. I never heard any latency at all.

    Westone UM2 are the finest Univeral fit IEM that i have found.. I have treid th eshure E2, E3, E5 i like the westone.

    I have a set of custom Westone ES2 being made for me now to replace my old ones that i lost.. Sensaphonics are great too as well as Futresonics from what i have heard... but when you get to custom mold you are getting into the $700 to $900 region..
    There is a company that i got a set of custom molded IEM called Livewires.. they sound great.. and they are only $269... for dual drivers.
    But dont go through the california office. their customer service SUXXXXX. go through the nashville office... not only do the nashvile folks asnwer the pho0ne when yo ucall but they give you straight answers. here is the one to go to.

  18. sax4blues


    Mar 7, 2009
    San Jose, CA
    Something to consider is who/how is your mix being managed. Unless you have Aviom system where you control your mix you are at the mercy of the the sound guy. My issue in this situation is with IEM small adjustments are very noticable, where with floor monitors you are blending all the other stage levels.

    We use IEM with Aviom in church and I love it. But with my rock band only the drummer uses IEM with sound guy mix and individual volume control.
  19. fujithebassman


    Mar 19, 2009
    Shure SE 210's
  20. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I've just converted to using a Rolls PM351

    I"m not a fan of anything wireless (unless you're the lead vocalist)

    Cool thing is being able to custom mix the personal voice and personal guitar.

    Iv'e noticed that they kind of make the unit so you can't "overdo SPL"

    The sales rep said to test headphones, in ears etc.. then to have custom ear buds made for the in ears..

    For about $150 can't beat not having to drag around all that gear... I do not bring any amp.

    Does take some R&D to get it right.


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