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Need help with in ear monitor setup

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by invader3k, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Hey guys. I'm going to try and describe our current IEM setup and hopefully it will make sense. I need some help diagnosing a couple issues we've been having when we're playing live.

    Three piece cover band. We all use IEMs (Shure headphones). No stage (wedge) monitors at all.

    PA is a basic newer Peavey unit. I'm not sure on the exact model the guitarist has, but it's similar to this: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/peavey-pvi8500-8-channel-400w-powered-pa-head-w-bluetooth-and-fx

    We run two speakers on a pole off of it. No other subs, etc.

    For the IEMs, we run a mono cable from the monitor out on the front of the PA head. On the other end of the mono cable, I have a mono to stereo adapter, going into a basic Behringer headphone amp (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-microamp-ha400-headphone-amp). The headphone amp has four outs on it (we use three, one for each person in the band).

    Guitarist and I both use wireless units for our headphones (Galaxy Audio AS-900 on different channels). The drummer just has a headphone extension cable going from the Behringer headphone amp to his own headphones. We are using stereo headphone cables from the headphone outs on the Behringer (guitarist and I are using Y splitter cables to go into our wireless units). None of this seems to make a difference, as we're all experiencing the same issues.

    The biggest issue we've been having is that every other show, we seem to get really crummy sound in our headphones, even though we're hooking things up the same way from show to show. For instance, when we were playing Saturday night, we were all getting sound in only one ear (maybe a tiny amount in the other), which was fairly distorted. Fortunately, everyone said what was coming through the mains sounded great.

    I had to crank the monitor out level on the PA up to about 3 o'clock for us to get audible sound in our headphones.

    I'm sure I'm hooking something up incorrectly, but I can't figure out what. All of this equipment is pretty new, so I'd be fairly shocked if something was faulty or going bad already. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Gee a $25.00 Blowinger headphone amp a $200.00 IEM system and a mixer unable to support more than one monitor mix. :rolleyes: What could go wrong.:) Maybe time to punt and start over.
  3. OK, what should I do? Specifics would be more helpful than sarcasm.
  4. IME/IMO its the galaxy audio system...sorry to say...i had used this myself for 1 show and couldn't use it again. the sound i had wasn't as so much distorting, but more of a fluttering crackle...

    i went straight to a sennheiser wireless IEM system...throw away the headphones and get say a shure SE425's if you can, or you can just use the earbuds you have now...

    now in saying all of that, you should always where possible (based on the connections product to product) use TRS connections...
  5. sorry it was probably a little harsh and premature to say that the IEM system itself is the issue...but it is my first go to -

    set it all up in your current configuration, rent another (more higher end) IEM system. and compare...

    change out all your IEM cables for TRS...and go from there...
  6. I tend to doubt it's the Galaxy Audio units, as the drummer is having the same issues and isn't using one. He's just plugging his headphones into a headphone extension cord going into the Behringer headphone amp.

    We're all using Shure SE215 headphones. Not really shabby buds.

    I also made a mistake in my OP. I have a STEREO TRS cable going from the PA to the Behringer unit, with a stereo to mono adapter on the end going into the PA. Come to think of it, I very well could have had that cable switched around on Saturday night, which would probably lead to the issues we were having. This stuff is all new to me, and hindsight is 20/20. Our previous drummer used to run all this stuff before he left the band, and I've been kind of learning on the fly.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Three issues:

    1. I haven't used the HA400 headphone amp, but a rehearsal room had the HA8000 version, and I found the output was relatively weak.

    2. Splitting a mono signal into stereo with a passive adapter will give you two weaker copies of the mono signal.

    3. If from night to night you're all losing one side of the signal and hearing distortion, it sounds as if your splitter cable is either going/gone bad *or* it's not securely plugged into the mono feed. It's also possible (although less likely) that you have a failure in one side of the headphone amp. (That could be as simple as a dodgy input jack or a cold solder.)

    The solution? In your shoes, I'd simplify.

    First, it sounds as if all three of you are getting the same IEM mix, yes? If so, you could run a much simpler system with just one IEM transmitter, two receivers, and a feed from the transmitters' headphone output for the drummer. (Besides simplifying your set-up, a simpler system also cuts down on the number of failure points built into your current system.)

    Then, feed the IEM transmitter a stereo signal. The board you linked doesn't have aux outputs, but it does offer recording outputs with a dedicated control for "recording level." You could use RCA-to-1/4" to feed a stereo signal from the board to your IEM transmitter.

    That said, I don't see any pan pots on that board. If that's the case, you won't get a stereo field in the headphones, and stereo separation makes monitoring easier.

    Alternatively, it looks like that Peavey has amplified monitor and main outputs in the back, and line outputs for monitor and main in front. You could feed the IEM transmitter from the front line outputs, assuming that plugging in there doesn't interrupt the rear (amplified) outputs that you use to feed your FOH speakers. Running that way, you could set up a slightly different mix on the "monitor" side of the line outputs. This way, you could have (for example) the vocals stand out a bit more on one side of the signal you feed the IEM transmitter.

    With a more feature-rich IEM system, you could run in dual-mono, with musicians using a dial on their individual receivers to dial in how much of the two feed signals they want to hear. It doesn't look like the Galaxy system offers that feature; but if I'm wrong, that's a feature you'll want to use.
  8. Going from a mono to stereo with an adaptor is never a good idea. Maybe you wanna try the Rec out to the headphone amp using a stereo RCA to stereo phone plug. Hope this helps.
  9. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Well it is possible that since you are using the TRS cable that would maybe cause you to only get signal to one ear. seriously though If you want to run IEMs then you should upgrade your mixer to one with more monitor sends. That Peavey is a joke AFAIC. Looking at the specs if you are using 8 ohm cabinets for the mains then you are only getting 120 peak watts and 60 program.
  10. I screwed that up. It's a stereo cable with a mono adapter like this one on one end. I think now that I had it on the wrong end of the cable on Saturday night, which would probably explain the issues we were having.
  11. That's not the same unit, just a similar one to give you an idea. I am not sure of the exact model the guitarist owns, but I will try to check into it. Volume at gigs hasn't been an issue at all as far as the mains

    Edit: I'm virtually positive this is the PA head the guitarist owns: http://www.spectrumaudio.com/peavey-xr8300.html?gclid=CNTLjNmMiL0CFQ5gMgod5lcA3g
  12. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Well looking at the spec sheet for that PA head the monitor send is an unbalanced output. Still doesn't change the fact that you would be better off with a mixer with more monitor sends.
  13. Well, that's something that we can discuss, though I doubt we'll be getting a new one in the near future. We play out a couple times a month...not exactly bringing in a vast fortune that we can constantly replace expensive PA equipment (this one was just bought a couple years ago). Would we be better off going from the "main out" on the PA head?
  14. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Says the guy with over 5k worth of basses in his sig.:D And no the main out isn't the way to do it. Not sure on your galaxy IEM but with a shure PSM 200 you can run the band mix off of the monitor send and plug your vocal mic into it to give yourself "more me" in the mix.
  15. Those basses have been acquired over the course of about 15 years :smug:

    Anyway, I figured as much regarding what out to use on the PA. I am sure I simply had the mono adapter in the wrong end of the stereo cable. Dumb mistake on my part, but this was only our second show with me being the defacto "sound guy". Yes, running sound from the stage sucks, but as a three piece bar band, that's pretty much what we have to do.

    We'll try again next show and see. Sometimes just writing out this stuff and talking through it is the best way to diagnose a connection problem. Thanks guys.
  16. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Why? It's not a good idea to go the other way because combining stereo to mono can cause phasing problems, but sending the same signal to two inputs shouldn't be a problem.
  17. musicman7722

    musicman7722 Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Hampton, NH US of A
    I really mean no disrespect but this entire system is a pretty basic. That head is truly entry level. Here is here is how I first started. If it were me I would invest in a small 4 or 6 channel mixer probably from Alesis or Mackie Maybe $60.00.

    Run the monitor out from the Peavey into channel 1 on the mixer. Use the front outs of the sub mixer to feed 1 of the galaxy units in stereo. Don't use the second galaxy so both players share the same mix. Then send the monitor out of the sub mixer to the behringer headphone amp which goes to the drummer. Place the behringer next to him so he can control his own volume. With this system you could add other signals to the mini mixer like perhaps FOH. Then pan the foh a bit to the left etc.
  18. Interesting idea. I'll look into it.
  19. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Never had any problems with that Behringer headphone amp model, and my bandmates and I used it for IEM practice in my apartment. Try using a regular aux cable and go from a stereo signal (like the headphone out on your phone or ipod) and use a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter straight into the Behringer. See how the sound comes out, this way you can narrow it down. If it's not working well, then something is wrong with the Behringer, because mine does a bang-up job and it was bought used.