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When to use ear monitor?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Stevenjdm, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Stevenjdm


    Jul 16, 2011
    So im on the verge of getting at ear monitor, like a $600 one, nothing crazy. I play in all sizes of venues, play most of the week almost all weekends of the year. I was thinking if i should get one because one of our group member has one and let me barrow it and it was very helpful to play as the sound came out and you can hear alot clearer than you would on regular monitors. So you think its worth for a bass player to have in ear monitors? If so when should one know when to buy one and also whats a good in ear monitor for bassist or they all do the same?
  2. I just bought one and so far I love it. However, I haven't figured out all it's features yet. I'm also wondering how it'll work if the other guys aren't using them.

    I also sing a lot of the lead and harmonies. It has really helped in that aspect too. It's amazing how much it helps when you can actually hear exactly what your voice is doing.
  3. Any monitor is good, no matter the size. If you are also a vocalist, a monitor is a MUST. Ear monitors are much better than floor monitors, and the sound guys love 'em because they don't mess with the house mix. Get one, you won't be unhappy.
  4. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    That is entirely subjective. Guys who like them love them. Guys who don't hate them. It's kinda like being at a party and dancing to music, but you have headphones on.
  5. I don't agree with that statement. To begin with, I doubt anyone has research data to prove that liking is loving and not-liking is hating. ;)

    The opinions on in-ear monitors that I have come across in my years of running sound vary. On the whole, those that have tried them see the benefits, which are significant. I'll augment my earlier comment with real-world experience, which is obviously subjective, like everything. Take it or leave it, but it is based in actual user experience, which is what this forum is about.

    To start, fills to the mikes are reduced, which in turn reduces feedback potential. The FOH mix becomes more manageable, as spillover from floor monitors is reduced or limited. Stage volume is reduced, as floor monitors generally move the entire volume up, so that things can be heard through them. As volumes increase, the stage mix requires a higher volume to discern nuances, which in turn causes everyone else to turn up and you get the vicious circle of everyone chasing the volume, which I'm sure every musician experiences. In-ear monitors help reduce or even eliminate this.

    Perhaps most importantly, hearing damage can be reduced (this depends upon the type of in-ear monitor one uses). A usual stage mix on almost any live (rock) show often reaches levels in excess of 110dB SPL. Hearing damage occurs at 85dB. The threshold of pain is about 135dB, which is about the SPL of a bass drum miked at 3 inches. Even wearing simple tuned earplugs like those from Hearos helps reduced SPL to around 50dB-70dB. The point here is that if one is not wearing hearing protection when one is playing live shows, one is at extreme risk of permanent hearing damage. Wearing an in-ear monitor can protect (to a degree) your hearing and feed you a cleaner signal at lower volumes. This, in my view, is a huge benefit of in-ear monitors. You are actually hearing the music better than with floor monitors.

    Like anything, there are frustrations, and some cheaper technology doesn't work well, which negatively biases some users' experience with them. Like all things, you get what you pay for. Buy decent gear and your experience will generally be good.

    So, all that said, I do think they are good and worth the cost.
  6. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    How can you disagree with something that is largely opinion? People that like them generally can't believe they didn't switch over sooner. People that dislike them won't likely ever use them.
  7. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Since this is a forum largely populated by musicians and not sound engineers, I think looking at it from a musician's point of view ( I believe the OP is a musician) is probably warranted.
  8. As an instrumentalist, I like IEM. As a singer, I have not quite gotten used to the IEM yet. Hearing myself is different. Not better, not worse. Just different.
  9. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Takes acclimation time.... when you buy take the time to acclimate and understand pro sound and your options to getting pro sound into the IEM.
  10. No question.

    I'm a musician with 40 years experience, about 30 of it professional. I'm also the sound engineering lead on our live performances. In my experience, being a musician means understanding music as sound and the proper understanding of sound, dynamics and interplay in performance. The smart musician understands, as best s/he can, as much about sound and sound engineering as possible, and embraces new technologies rather than dismiss them simply out of habit or attitude. It certainly is part of how I've gotten to be a better musician. Good enough, apparently, to have made a decent living from my love and craft.

    The facts of my experience are that IEMs do help by delivering cleaner, quieter and more frequency-dynamic cues to the performing musician. This helps keep stage volume down so that musicians can hear each other properly. This in turn helps musicians play notes on time and in tune (on brass instruments, for example, and for vocalists, whose voices are dynamic and extremely valuable to the ensemble). All this goes to improve the experience of our most important beneficiary: the music lover who comes to our shows, buys our records and keeps this beautiful musical family together.

  11. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I agree with this completely. I have more than one friend, whom I totally trust, who tells me the exact same thing about IEM and I have been around enough to know that what you are saying is true. I have tried them once and while I'm sure I could adjust to them it is a moot point because we personally cannot afford them. I like the feeling of my bass rig blowing the back of my head off and I have no problems with my wedges. I understand there is a better way, but I also understand how to make the old way work. So, for now at least, I will stick with my wedges and do my best to control stage volume while making sure we can all hear what we need to hear and that it sounds good out front.
  12. This. As a bassist, I've always compromised on my stage sound. We've all been there, the bassist as a rule gets the short end when it comes to monitors. I've spent most of my career not hearing myself properly.

    When I play at church, we use an Aviom system. I love it. At first, I fought it, and spent a few weeks with a bad stage sound. After I got used to it, though, and got my mix set right, I'm amazed at how well I can hear everything. Getting my own, better, ear buds helped ALOT.

    I'm now working towards an in ear system of my own.

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