1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Shure PSM 200 IEM - Let's Talk

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by nervous, Mar 28, 2015.


  1. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Given their popularity and strength in the market I have to think that alot of folks are successfully using this system so I am asking fro your help and experiences in how you use theres, tips and tricks, etc.

    Our 5 piece classic rock/party/dance band is attempting to transition from floor monitor to IEM's. First was just the drummer, then a couple weeks ago, bass player, singer and guitarist joined in, using our regular outside sound company. And last night, using our personal PA with a sound person, was the first time I had enough gear for everyone to give it a go. It's early days and I have asked everyone to keep an open mind as we work through the learning curve and possibly having to submit to certain changes and limitations that seem to come with this system, reward vs. negatives. We are having mixed results.

    The system I have chosen for our wading into the IEM pool is the Shure PSM 200 with 4 guys using teh SE215 ear sets and I am using a set of Westone UM Pro20. Now, before we go any further I would ask that we keep the 'non-positive' comments to a minimum. I own the systems and won't be buying up anytime soon so comments like "Oh, well there's yer problem, they s*ck! Gotta get brand XXX..." will simply not be helpful in our circumstance

    For starters I am most interested in how you are getting good overall sound from them, setting up the input stage volumes from board monitor sends through the Transmixer and then the receivers. Gain structure through the chain I guess. My main experience so far is that they limit very easily and quickly and that could be problematic as it's at the detriment of the overall mix quality. The constant squashing seems to take away a lot of detail. Second set we made some level changes and that helped but I want to know if you find less signal in and more volume on the receivers helps mitigate that situation.

    How about clarity, do you use any EQing between the board and the Transmixer? I have a DBX 31 band in line with it now, used very sparingly and adding no gain.

    How do you find drums and bass to be represented on the headset? To me the bass has really lost it's character. I can hear it well enough but it's a tad boring and any slapping or popping just brings in teh limiting and squashing and it sounds worse, so I don't bother. Not helpful.

    So, tell me your thoughts and experiences, fixes, etc.
     
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    They don't "limit very easily", they limit at a safe SPL. You either have to get used to monitoring at a lower SPL - or if you don't care about long-term hearing damage you can increase their SPL by going with more sensitive earphones or I think you can open them up and change the limiter setting...
     
  3. JJP_1984_LB50

    JJP_1984_LB50 Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    North Canton, OH
    I bought a used PSM200 off Ebay, and have been using it successfully for almost 2 years.
    Plug the output of my Sansamp into channel 1, and the monitor send mix into channel 2. I've rarely had the input level above 3-4 on either channel. Yes, that did seem low to me, but it worked well, so I kinda went "what ever"...

    Most of the time, my bass sounds fantastic. Most of the time everything I'm getting from the monitor send sounds at least very good. No EQ or anything in-between. My preferred mix is mostly vocals with just a smidgen of everything else. I also keep the overall volume level low (that's the point!). YMMV...

    I had several years of experience with Aviom monitor systems at church before buying my own IEM gear. It may not be what you want to hear, but the biggest single influence is the quality of the ear buds/head phones/molds. This is especially true for bass. Many times I had a foam ear bud move a bit, and the bass would just shut off. I took the plunge and bought molded Alclair's, and have never looked back. Relative to the cost of a bass/amp/cab/PA/etc it isn't an extravagant piece of gear...

    My $0.02...good luck!
     
  4. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    I can tell you that, from the receiver side we are no running that loud. The limiting is happening on the front side before it's passing through the final receiver volume. I know I can still crank that output to 'too loud' levels even if the limiter is squashing the h*ll out of the peaks. I can have the receiver volume at whisper levels and the mix is still quite compressed. So it would seem that the mix coming in is simply too hot.
     
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    I don't believe the transmitter has any limiting in it, so suspect something upstream is limiting. Even if I'm wrong why can't you turn down the feed to the transmitter? I've never seen a mixer that doesn't have monitor send level controls...
     
  6. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Yes it does. From the manual:

    * The P2T inputs have limiting circuitry that activates automatically when the input level is too high.
     
    nervous likes this.
  7. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I have the PSM200 with Westone UM Pro 30 triple-driver buds.
    nervous - you are on the right track. I also notice I have to run the gain controls on the transmitter pretty low and turn up the receiver volume louder (and that's with the master on my aux send at unity or a little lower). I have been having trouble hearing the drums but I think part of it is the limiter kicking on. In a nutshell - careful gain staging and tweaking over several gigs has helped a lot.
    As far as bass - I think I know what you are talking about. While I like the sound of my bass in the buds, it seems kind of one-dimensional - because it is. Remember that rather than hearing the natural "stereo" of the ambient sound of your amp you are now getting it pumped into your ears in mono. I don't slap/pop much so can't help you there - might have to run some kind of compression upstream?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
    nervous likes this.
  8. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    The rest of my band (not me) bought 4 of them... the PSM200 units... both guitar players gave up on them after about 4 months... singer/drummer still use them. I run a Carvin EM900 (already owned it) and 1964 Qi's (quad drivers).

    The issue with my guitar players is they SAID they COULD NOT hear themselves... meaning, could NOT distinguish whom was playing what on a song!
    Very disconcerting for guys who like to "feel" their guitar and getting their ears plugged and being "isolated". Some never get used to it.. but they DID [at least] try.. which is more than some I have gone down this path with.

    I put it down to the single-driver E215's.. and they weren't willing to invest additional $$ on custom buds/multiple drivers - something that may, or may not have worked for them.

    IME - the biggest single detractor to a decent IEM mix is crappy buds... the hardware is much the same in most transmitter/receiver boxes (more bells/whistles in the more expensive units), but the number and quality of the drivers in the buds is KEY to getting good space, definition, separation and distinction in your ears.
     
    Geri O likes this.
  9. I started with one when I migrated from wired to wireless. It was ok but I moved onto a Senn. G3. My version used 9 volts which it ate quite regularly if you know what I mean.
     
  10. Should add I used then and still use stock Westone UM2's if that helps.
     
  11. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    I use the PSM200 for IEM and no amp on stage for every gig. I place all the gear in our PA mixer rack. From Bass --->Shure wireless receiver--->output into PSM200 channel 1. Custom band monitor mix into Channel 2. the Shure earbuds work well for me, but I purchased after market foam inserts which are longer and go deeper into the ear canal. When they expand ambient noise is gone and I get really good bass and kick. Of course not as good as customs but because I feed the bass directly into the Transmixer, bass is clear and easily heard.

    Works pretty well except for cost of 9volts
     
  12. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I've been getting two - 4-hour bar gigs out of my batteries (regular alkaline) - and I keep the old ones around for like when I just want to mess with an effects pedal without using a wall wart.
     
  13. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    That's been just about the same life I've seen. And, when a certain low voltage threshold is hit, you're dead. No warning. Just no sound. Had they happen a couple weeks ago. Have a fresh spare 9v at the ready.
     
  14. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Yeah - they are still working after 2 gigs but I change them out just to be safe, and always have spares. Our drummer on the other hand....:rollno: ;)
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  15. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I think it should be made clear that the PSM200 is Shure's entry-level IEM system with basic limiting, mono feed (with L/R mix-to-mono capability on the xmitter), a 9v battery on the receiver, and single-driver buds (E215).
    From my experience with the units, the biggest detractors are:
    1. Single driver buds.
    2. 9v battery in receiver.

    The solution to #1 is to bite the bullet and get better multi-driver ears to go with the system. There is an additional expense to that.
    Rechargeable 9v batteries tend to be hit or miss, so you will go thru a few standard 9v to ensure you DON'T lose your mix mid-set.

    I've mentioned before that I use the Carvin EM900 system with 1964 Ears Quads.. and it works well for what I'm doing with my band. I DID a LOT of research before going with the Carvin system (about 4 yrs ago) - which I rack mount. The buds (IMHO) are as worthless as the E215's, so I replaced them with Westone UM1's (that I already had for church), not realizing that I was replacing single drivers, with better single drivers. Biting the bullet and spending the $$ for the 1964 Quads (again... after a LOT of research) was ABSOLUTELY worth every $$. So.. the PSM200 system will work fine with better buds. The hardware is fine...

    I'm NOW evaluating whether it's worth upgrading the hardware side to PSM900/1000 or the Senn EW G3 system.. at $1000+
    IOW - Am I missing something with the cheaper hardware. Yeah, there's the networking aspect (not needed in my case), the adjustable limiters, stereo (which I already have) and some other features in the "pro level" systems I listed... but is the upgrade really worth the $$ when I have a VERY useable system ??

    Yes, I'm doing a lot of research on EM900 vs... ?? but there's not much out there.. so I'm open to any constructive feedback/experiences.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  16. Flump

    Flump

    Feb 20, 2012
    Actually, Shure no longer makes the PSM 200 and the PSM 300 is now their entry level system. Still comes with SE215's and a choice between plastic or metal bodypack. Supposedly the audio quality is basically equal to the PSM900. Still pretty new, and there aren't many reviews on it out there.
     
  17. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I did not know that. There's still plenty of PSM200's "for sale", so the 300 will probably not become the de-facto entry level until the 200 inventory is depleted..
     
  18. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    Agreed, especially healthy in the used market with complete systems and individual pieces. And there is a significant price jump from the 200 series to 300 series. So for all practical purposes the 200 is still the real entry level system for the sake of this conversation IMHO. And, nobody in this discussion will argue that is is exactly what you say, an 'entry-level IEM system'. But that is fine with me. It is a very affordable way to get a five piece band exposed to the idea and we are willing to accept it's limitations, which are not as bad as I think some allude to. Also, I have a set of Westone UM Pro 20 dual driver that I have been using with this system and I am not sure that they are, based on their relative pricing, twice as good as the SE215, which in all honesty, are just not that bad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
    s0c9 likes this.
  19. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    I'm a former PSM200 user (7 years) and now have Sennheiser G3's. The difference in sound quality really is astounding. The PSM's are great, I had hundreds of shows with them and never really had a complaint. I didn't make the change until my lead singer allowed me to listen to his, and i was floored by the sound quality difference. The PSM200 transmitters do get into limiting pretty easily, as has been stated. If you're not mixing two sources, you can get a little more clean headroom by chaining the two channels together. I did this later in the game based on what others had said, and it does give a little better performance IMO.

    The lower end Shure's are great for what they are. If you're buying used, they are absolutely serviceable. If you must buy new, spend the extra cash and jump to a pro unit that can do a stereo mix (assuming you have the capability with your sound/FOH to do so) and get the extra quality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
    s0c9 and nervous like this.
  20. nervous

    nervous Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Beautiful Central, NY
    I have been inactive on this topic for a few weeks because I wanted to spend some more practical live time with everything over a variety of situations. I now have that and can better speak to my original inquiry. I have five more live jobs on this system on three different PA setups and things have improved for us every time. The first thing that made the greatest difference was making a significant change to the size of the signal coming into the transmitted which has added significant headroom to the receiver side signal and has reduced the instances of the limiting coming into play. Part of the gain structure was a more careful use of what instruments are coming back. Low toms were awful, cutting those back paid instant dividends. In fact, an overall lowering of the drum set in general was helpful. With my personal PA I am still working with the overall in head bass tone but in working with out regular, for hire, sound guy and his system, last Friday presented one of the best overall live mixes I have ever had. He just added an Allen & Heath Qu-32 digital mixer so I am sure that has a lot to do with it. But the quality of the in head sound with some basic Shure SE-215 was really good. I sold my Westone UM Pro 20 dual drivers and returned to eth SE215 because there was not enough difference between them to warrant the extra cost. So right now thinsg are looking up for this working as I had hoped.
     
    s0c9 and RoadRanger like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.