Wireless In Ear Monitors (EIM) basics for Dummies (me)

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by BurningSkies, Jan 26, 2017.


  1. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    They're not for me, but our singers...I have no grasp of the technology here...so help me.

    Our people have decided to dig in to this. We're on the bar/club/festival side of things. They'd only be for our 4 singers.

    -Is there a 'best frequency band' choice?
    -Should our people decide one mix is enough, are there units that will send to multiple receivers?
    -If we want multiple mixes, will we need really to be looking at multiple transmitters?

    What kind of a tech clustereff would we be mostly dealing with on the club circuit? Seems like most clubs we hit have at least 4 mixes...

    What other considerations, tech, setup and worries should we have?

    And of the units readily available, what are the 'usual suspects.
     
  2. imnotded

    imnotded

    May 31, 2015
    Northern CA
    Yes, the legal ones.

    Any transmitter will send to multiple receivers. My guess is they will each want their own mix.

    Yes, 1 transmitter per mix.

    First off, whats the budget of this? Are you using your own PA usually or house PA? It sounds like you use a house PA, but I cant really tell.

    If it were me I would do 4 mixes. I would also get my own mixer (probably a X32 Producer) so that everyone can mix their own mix via their smart phone. Rack the mixer and IEM transmitters into a rolling rack and have a splitter so that I could send all the mics to my mixer, then patch them into the house snake if there is a sound tech provided by the venue. If no sound tech, then I could just mix FOH with an iPad. This does create a few "problems" when playing a venue where house mics, sound, and such are provided as they have to wait until you show up before they patch everything. However, I have done sound for bands that do this and it works very well.
     
    s0c9 likes this.
  3. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Agreed....
    the best frequencies are those that are the most open in your area... usually A or G bands.
    Check these online utilities to help determine which band - note that GREEN is good.
    Sennheiser: Sennheiser - Headphones & Headsets - Microphones - Integrated Systems
    Shure: Wireless Frequency Finder | Shure Americas

    Be warned that the ear buds that come with most systems are cheap, universal fit, single driver buds - and that includes the top of the line system also. They are all "useable" but being single drivers, they tend to get cluttered and leave much to be desired in audio quality, which can lead to ear fatigue more quickly than multi-driver buds. Then there's stereo vs mono mixes.
    I highly recommend that if they are STARTING down this path (meaning zero experience), spend some $$ on REALLY decent 2 or 3 driver buds. That will reduce ear fatigue and give you better instrument separation and audio quality due to the built-in crossovers. Why? Would you mic up the entire band and run them thru a single PA speaker on each side of the stage? NO-o-o-o.. Essentially, that is what you are doing with single-driver buds in your ears. Stereo mixes help with that, but mono works well for some.

    Sure you can buy BUY cheaper wireless systems (such as the Galaxy AS1100) instead of going with the Shure PSM300, Senn G3 or AT M2L.. but quality and features add up as you go up the line. Been down that path.. my current IEM system is a G-Band Sennheiser IEM wireless system with 1964 A8 buds.

    Getting pristine audio quality AIN'T CHEAP...especially if you gig < 4 times a month.
    One option might be to find two used PSM200 systems (now discontinued and replaced with PSM300'S) and get 2 extra receivers. so.. 2 xmitters, 4 receivers. PSM200's are dual mono, meaning that all 4 singers could get a mono feed (of each L/R input on the xmitter) and with enough AUX sends on the mixer, basically get their own mono mix.

    But I agree with @imnotded - get a mixer where they can control their own IEM mixes (like the X32 Producer or X32 Rack) and take snake splits and the control away from FOH.
    That's what we've done for 2.5 yrs.
     
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  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    These days most of our shows are in clubs or venues with house sound. Any smaller stuff would be our own little PA for really little rooms, etc, and I'd assume we'd go without wireless. Right now I think we're aiming at the Sennheiser EM300 or Shure PSM300 as a good option? Maybe two units with two receivers each for now? I think our two lead singers believe they can share a mix, but I'm leery. Our two others are backup (kit drums and hand percussion) and most likely can share a mix. We're kind of all over the place. Fer instance in the next month or so, we're here in town, Rochester, Ithaca, Utica, NYC, Hartford, etc. Sometimes as headliner, sometimes as opener. So fewer waves but functional is great.

    It seems like most of the house systems (and about 80% or more of our shows have house sound) are working with x32 boards for FOH already. For now it's probably not feasible for us to have a mixer on stage with a splitter to FOH, etc. Although we know that's down the road if things keep moving in the direction we are.

    We've been told 3 driver IE's are the way to go, but some of that will depend on individual budget since individual members are responsible for this kind of kit.

    I'm always worried about some of this tech because our guitarist/singers aren't necessarily tech people and that leaves me with another possible headache.
     
    Remyd likes this.
  5. Guitarodeo

    Guitarodeo Who's got da funk? Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    Rocky Mountains
    We (Last Patrol Band) are going through this right now. I personally decided to go with Class A. You should stay away from any class C, as moving forward that is dedicated to emergency bands. My research also implies that some of the class B is on the FCC table for cuts as well. I'm in agreement with s0c9 and imnotded on all the other points. We also have a digital Behringer we are very happy with, as everyone has their own mix. Everyone also bought their own transmitters. I went with a Sennheiser G2 Class A, and it works great at a fantastic price/value point. I can mix my own monitor mix from a stand mounted iPad. I would also suggest a two driver minimum in-ear buds. I have Westone UM20s, and they are workable for now. I am already considering moving to custom 3-4 drivers in the future, likely from Alclair or 64audio. This will not be the least expensive move you ever make in a band, but for me, the absence of symbols ringing in my ears, and the ability to hear everyone clearly has been exceptionally welcome.
     
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  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Thanks for the feeback. Figuratively speaking. ;)

    As we unfold this, some of our people may decide this is more than they want to bite off right now, but then maybe not. I'm sort of leery about the 'use your phone for control' situation, knowing how often people show up with dead phones, lose theirs...or in the case of our guitarist have gotten rid of their phone for a flip phone. Obviously a single rack x32 would be way more compact and easy to handle in a 4 or 5 space SKB...Although sadly it would probably mostly fall to me to deal with it even though I'm still in the live amp and floor monitor camp.
     
  7. imnotded

    imnotded

    May 31, 2015
    Northern CA
    In actuality it wont take up much room on stage. I use one of these 8 space rack with tilt up rack rails for the mixer. Toss a rack splitter in the bottom and a 25' or so dual fantail patch snake and your arent taking up much more space than a 4x10 cab. Just roll it into place and hand the fantail to your sound tech. It does suck that it would fall on you tho.

    As far as mixing from the phones, if you are consistent with everything from gig to gig there shouldnt be much adjustment since you can just save the scenes. And a lot of people are using iPads on stage anyway so they could mix their ears on that too.

    I think you will be happy with either of the units you said earlier. If you go with the Shure I would upgrade to the metal receiver tho. Especially for a band that travels and gigs a lot.

    And I will echo what was said above about the earbuds. Vocalists might be able to get away with a dual driver, but moving to a 3 or 4 driver (or more) would be better.
     
  8. Guitarodeo

    Guitarodeo Who's got da funk? Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    Rocky Mountains
    Just to clarify, a single iPad can be designated control the master, and individual bus mixes as necessary for those that need it, just like an analog mixer. The individual phones and iPads may control their own mix. (or jack with the master if they don't hit the right buttons.) I get your reservations about who has responsibility for the setup. The guitar player bought the board and made the first wireless move. I am the last to join, so my path was cleared by those who went before me. It is growing on me gradually...
     
  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    To add to @Guitarodeo - you CAN use a single iPad or Android tablet and install (at least with the X32) both the MIX and the IEM control apps.
    You CAN select ANY of the IEM mixes and adjust the mix, so you DON'T NEED idevices for all band members. Adjust yours, select the next mix, let them adjust.. and so on.
    We all have them (easier, and not too hard to remember to bring them charged, or you have no mix control :) ) but you CAN get by with just one (iPad/Tablet) with a little disciplined use.
     
    BurningSkies likes this.
  10. TedH

    TedH

    Dec 6, 2014
    Westchester, NY
    While stupidity knows no enemy, as long as someone has a working phone/tablet that works with the system, the individual mixes can be addressed. Do yourself a favor and read through the manual of something like the X32 or XR18 and you can see how the monitoring works. It will answer a lot of questions and inform the decision.

    Like any technology change, the short answer is there is a ton of flexibility to get what everyone wants in their mix if everyone wants to invest upfront time and money. If people don't want to invest in one or both of those things, or are complete techno-phobes, it will be an unpleasant experience. I just bought a used Senn G3 for $750 (new are $1000; used in the right band do not come up on Reverb or Ebay too often), IEM's vary and a used XR18 will set you back $450-500 these days; an X32 more. People will need to get their heads around that.
     
  11. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    True... there IS an expense in doing this the RIGHT way.. I got lucky and got my Senn G3 for $720 NIB, so there aRE deals out there.

    TO the OP
    There ARE cheaper ways of doing this.. as I suggested above - used PSM200 systems on ebay (they are dual mono, not stereo) with an extra receiver.
    An even cheaper approach is WIRED - going into a headphone amp (an absolute MUST is an inline LIMITER) and extension cables to the individual. That only works if they are relatively static.
    BUDGET will be the deciding factor.. and you don't want to end up with a hodge-podge or variety of solutions.
    Do the research, present the findings too them and go from there.. They may have serious STICKER shock!!
     
  12. TedH

    TedH

    Dec 6, 2014
    Westchester, NY
    Agreed; for the singers, they may complain about the cost of wireless, but they sort of need it most and given what they don't spend on instruments/amps/etc, that is sometimes a useful comparison (but not always!). I have a good wired setup, but play on small stages, and I'm tired of the spaghetti tangle around my feet and the not completely flexible combo cable (mogami plus headphone with flex casing)!
     
  13. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    This is what my band does and it works very well.
     
  14. popgadget

    popgadget Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    Most of the transmitters are stereo, and can be used for two separate mono mixes, so. Two transmitters will give you 4 mixes. I know that Sennheiser sells a bundle with 2 receivers,.
     
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