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Single-person IEM Setup

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Obese Chess, May 13, 2019 at 12:32 PM.

  1. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Hi all,

    So here's our dilemma. We are a five-piece metal band. We used to have a full X32 rig with IEMs for everyone, but we scrapped and sold it because it was just overkill for where we are in our careers right now - when the promoter moves doors up an hour or cuts your set time in half or your soundcheck is canceled, you don't have time to sound check everyone's IEMs and troubleshoot if things aren't working. Mine were always subject to about 1.5 seconds of latency, our lead guitarist's didn't work half the time, it was just a mess. Too much for us.

    That said, our vocalist really needs them as many stage monitors at local venues are not great, doubly so when you're mashed up to the front of a small stage, right in front of the kick drum, with three low-tuned instruments to your immediate left and right. The difference in the quality of her performance when she can actually hear herself is night and day.

    She has the actual monitors/headphones/whatever from 64 audio, but we need to get her the rest of the setup. We have a laptop off of which we run backing tracks and a click for our drummer, but she and I don't know what else she would need - how would we accomplish something like this?

  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I *kind* of do this in my country-soul band. I gigged for a few years with IEMs and now with this band, I find it hard to play without - plus this is a loud band and I have tinnitus. So, I'm the only one on IEMs. Since I play pedal steel, I'm seated and don't need wireless anything.

    In my case, I get an AUX mix* from the board, run an XLR cable rom the mixer into a Behringer P1 IEM amplifier. Then connect my Westone buds (AM Pro 20) to the P1, set an appropriate level on the P1and Bob's your mother's brother. (I also send a signal from my amp's DI into the P1. Mix the main signal and pedal steel signal to taste using the P1). I use dual mono - if your board can supply a stereo AUX signal, the P1 can accomodate.

    There's other solutions similar to the P1 - such as Behringer PM1, Behringer P2, Presonus HP-2, Rolls etc. All close to $100 or round-abouts.

    If your singer needs a wireless solution, then something like Shure PSM300 or Sennheiser G4 system is what you'll be looking at - $700+. The IEM preamp is built into the transmitter. AUX mix from board would feed the transmitter.

    *in my case, it's vocals only and whatever instruments bleed into the vocal mics. Your vocalist might want to have her own custom AUX mix - vox for sure, maybe guitar/bass/keys, probably not drums.

    How are you routing the backing tracks and how is your drummer monitoring the click track? I'd hazard a guess that your singer won't need to monitor the click?
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  3. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Yeah, we'll need wireless. The setup of a lot of this stuff is voodoo to me and our guitarist mostly handles it. We route the backing tracks through the PA and we split a signal to send the click to our drummer, but I don't know how this is done specifically. In looking at the PSM300 those are what we had routed into the X32.
  4. tadawson


    Aug 24, 2005
    Lewisville, TX
    Unless your mixer is junk, just set up a monitor mix the same as if you were driving wedges, and simply send it to the IEM TX . . . Unless the goal is for him to handle his own mix . . .
    s0c9 and Obese Chess like this.
  5. If you had latency issues with the X32/PSM300 setup - that was not the fault of the equipment. I'd say bite the bullet, buy a good wireless unit (the PSM300 is very good, I've been using one for quite a while with no issues) Then - take the time to learn and understand the gear you are using.
  6. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I was the only one with latency issues using an X32/PSM300 setup, but that wasn't why we sold it. The X32 was just overkill for a band of our size and we decided to put the money into other things. I am confident our guitarist understood the X32 setup, I just... well, don't, and our vocalist knows even less at the moment. :)
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Unless your PSM300 was 100 ft from the stage or had 100' XLR cables going to it from the X32, there should be ZERO latency with those units.
    We (6-piece country) run an X32 rack with 4 Senn G3 wireless units on stages up to 60' wide with zero latency. Other 2 are back to using wedges.
    A quick guess would be that it's the setup going to your PSM that was causing the latency... then again, maybe you are much more sensitive to latency than most, idk.
    I know I play bass and sing, and am wireless in and wireless IEM and have zero latency with our rig.
    alembicguy likes this.
  8. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I appreciate everyone's insight and will keep it all in mind if we choose to run an X32/PSM300 setup again in the future, however I do not believe that the issues I ran into with that setup are relevant to this topic.
  9. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    How is your drummer monitoring the click, in his wedge? You're going to run into some of the same issues because you have to deal with how the venue's monitor rig (unless I'm wrong and you're doing your own wedges) going to feed the singer's new in ears. The barrier to IEM's for a lot of acts that are playing "slot" gigs is that usually monitors are shared across bands, etc. So you have to advance to every venue that your lead singer is on IEM's and will need her own mix (which is why i'm wondering what the drummer is doing to monitor the click already). Usually by the time the venue accommodates one unique person on IEM's by providing and dialing in a new mix (IEM mixes and wedge mixes are VERY different) you're not that far from being back to just having everyone on ears and providing a split to the venue.

    That's why IME the only way to really streamline this type of setup is that band has to decide if they're providing their own monitoring or if they're going to live with what the venue provides, and accept the result for most every gig. Anything in-between usually becomes a cluster...and it sounds like you're trying to get away from that.
    s0c9 likes this.
  10. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    The drummer is next to our mixer/laptop rig using a wired IEM setup because he doesn't have to move around the way the singer does. I believe he's got the click in his ears and wedges to hear the rest of us. We actually haven't played out since getting rid of the X32 (old drummer quit and deleted all of the custom mix presets, cues etc from the X32 on his way out, another reason we sold it) but that's how it works at practice.

    That said, I think now I understand what y'all are getting at - there's no way to effectively do this without something like an X32 because the vocalist will need a custom mix, even if that custom mix is only the click and herself, otherwise you have to route the front of house signal into some sort of IEM transmitter and that's a huge pain in the ass for the sound guys.
  11. JPaulGeddy


    Sep 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    How about just get an XR18, rackmount everything, maybe a patch panel... make it as portable & easy as possible.

    Reading about the latency - that's not normal at all. Don't accept that as something you have to live with with IEMs.
    s0c9 likes this.
  12. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    ALWAYS make backups - jsut in case of something like that happening. If you don't know how.. LEARN! Protect yourself!

    This is true. As a freelance FOH guy (Festivals on down) I see MANY bands bring their own
    IEM "mix" system.
    In my bands situation ...
    X32 rack, with SD8 for extra in/outs and a snake splitter to connect to/from any "house" system. Minimal changes at each gig.
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 3:29 PM
    Obese Chess likes this.
  13. We should all know what you are using for a mixer before we comment?
    Obese Chess likes this.
  14. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    True enough. Definitely not a mistake we'll make in the future.

    True! I am actually not sure what our current gear setup is as far as this stuff is concerned. I will check.
  15. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    My recommendation would be to get the X32 back and do it right. You should read up on how @s0c9 has his system packaged. With this type of system, setup is very fast, the IEM mixes tend to be fairly consistent from gig to gig, and everyone has direct control over their personal mix.

    Barring that, I suggest you get something like a Rolls PM351 for the the one member who will continue using IEMs. Alternately you could use a small mixer like a Xenyz 1002B and passive mic splitter like a Radial JS2 to gain similar functionality to the PM351. The small mixer and mic splitter will be more flexible, but also more complicated and expensive.

    Good luck! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 9:06 PM
    Obese Chess and s0c9 like this.
  16. IMHO I don't think he needs to run out and get another X32. I have a DL32r which is close to the X32 and there is a lot of stuff on these. Many times I don't want to use it because it has to much going on. In fact I just got a used DL1608 for smaller gigs. That being said I agree the OP should have a digital mixer, but perhaps all he needs is a smaller 16 channel version. There are plenty of great offerings from Mackie, Behringer and many others, and their cost is very low.
    Wasnex and Obese Chess like this.
  17. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess I'm Your New Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Yeah, the X32 was cool but it's over a thousand dollars and what, 32 channels? It's 5 of us playing small clubs.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I don't necessarily consider an X32C overkill. It's actually somewhat of a standard for small bands in clubs, but you can definitely get by with a less capable mixer.

    FYI the less expensive Behringer "X-Air" mixers support the P16-M.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  19. I have owned two of the Behringer mixers and they are great. I went back to the Mackie only because I liked the software better. The Behringer may be the best bang for the buck out there AND it has a great form factor to for gigging bands.
    Obese Chess and Wasnex like this.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    if you ever all get set up with in-ears again and want stereo (as you should because it's awesome :)) then the X32 with its available 11 or 12 aux outs is not excessive at all, you can get 5 stereo in-ear mixes out of the thing.

    (that's the thing i see an under-fulfilled need for, small digital rack mixers with maybe 18 to 24 ins but a lot more outs to give a 4-5 piece band stereo in-ears.)
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 11:55 PM

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