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Placement of Ambient mics for stereo IEM set up

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Rocksolid, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. We have a gig in a 2 weeks where I am planning to experiment using my Beh'r XR18 to run multiple stereo IEM sends for myself and others to use.

    As part of this set up I want to play with ambient mics that are stereo linked for hearing the crowd, and also talk on stage between songs etc. I will most likely set up a side chain so a compressor ducks them down during song performancesm

    I plan to use a set of drum over head condenser mics, and I'm wondering about their position on stage. Should I be trying to run one on each side of stage, each on their own boom stand, or run one stand centre she with them both on a bracket pointing to each side of the stage.

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    We tried a couple of variations.. One with stands on EACH side of stage with mic pointing at audience.. didn't work too well.
    Then we tried one each side of drums pointing out.. Worked better.. but we got used to the "isolation" and dropped the ambient mics..
    We still keep one on the side that the BL uses to communicate with us, but not for ambience .. he's NOT IEM..
  3. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I've also tried ambient mics with IEM's with poor results. First off, if the mic is loud enough to hear talking on stage than the cymbals will be piercing loud. After a few years of working with this stuff, we've just learned to pull out one of the in ears just enough to hear each other. It's just simple and fast. We also have 1 talk back mic with an off on switch at the side of the stage for communication. As for removing the 'closed off' feeling... I just run by bass through a small amount of reverb and that helps a lot. I think it takes time to get used to hearing the band though in ears partly because it takes a little tinkering by everyone to develop a good and consistent sound through in ears. For example, you might find that the guitarists get rid of their volume and boost pedals because the volumes are too volatile. On bass, using a little compression, rolling off the low and high end, and a hint of reverb will sound much better in the in ears. We've taken steps to mute the cymbals a bit. We've made lots of gears changes to develop our in ear sound and we practice with in ears just to keep and build our skills with in ears.
    s0c9 likes this.
  4. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    This is why we have a separate system (x32 rack) for our IEM's.. we can add effects and EQ the channels for our ears and not worry about it going to FOH..
    You can also put compression on guitar so that boost pedal doesn't take your head off.. that said, most upper-tier wireless IEM systems come with adjustable limiters, with the lower end having them, but fixed. The Shure PSM200 system (for example) was known for "pumping" if you didn't gain-stage the system properly.
    tshapiro likes this.
  5. Geri O

    Geri O

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    The best way to have audience mics for IEMs is to use shotgun mics (sorry if that name is politically incorrect these days, take it up with the mic manufacturers. Yes, I've been admonished for using that name). This eliminates the wash from the stage, the PA and most of the room sound. You get only audience sound. For better or worse...:D

    The bad part is good shotgun mics tend to be pretty expensive.
    s0c9 likes this.
  6. Like this?

  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    yep.. but seriously ... try the ambient mics out with standard mics (57, 58, etc) BEFORE buying expensive directional mics.
    If you like it, upgrade.. .
  8. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    That is a cardoid pattern, not shotgun. I think the shotgun is preferred when you want to get a little bit of audience reaction without having the FOH or the stage wash bleeding into the mix. The setup in your diagram is more about getting an overall wash of the audience/stage in the mix. I've been working with my band on IEM's recently. My drummer was interested in adding room ambiance into his drum mix. Well after some research and an afternoon of playing around with SDCs and various dynamics in different positions, we determined that if you have a really good mix that allows you to monitor your performance and provides an inspiring sound, then the ambiance does little to improve that. This is especially true considering that the best placement seems to be highly variable and subjective.

    s0c9 likes this.
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That is basically why we dumped them.. I really have no issues with my IEM mix. The ambient mics didn't work for us. .NOt saying it can't, but your comment (i quoted) pretty much reached the same conclusion we did. You just said it better :)
  10. Dan Neilsen

    Dan Neilsen

    Apr 23, 2017
    When I tried this I was trying to add ambience into your IEM feed by using a set of condenser mics.
    IMHO the phasing issues that you will hear in your IEMs by doing this will way outweigh any benefit and and unless you are gonna spend an exorbitant amount of time with your mic placement setup it will be difficult to avoid.

    I found it better to stereo pan the vocal mics in my IEM mix which achieved a good simulation of ambience allowing me to not have that "isolated" feeling.

    ps. I even tried setting up the ambience mics with "ducking" effects (essentially sidechained compressor that would mute the mics whilst the band was playing) and although this worked. It was just a pain to set up.
    s0c9 and Rocksolid like this.
  11. I think that the benefit is more theoretical than actual. Even with custom in ears, you are never going to be completely isolated so you still ought to hear the crowd cheering, etc.

    To communicate with each other you might consider using one of these: Radial HotShotâ„¢ DM-1 - Stage Mic Toggle

    Our singer uses one and it works well.
    fokof, Dan Neilsen and Rocksolid like this.

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