Amps, modern stages and in-ears...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by HughesP, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. HughesP

    HughesP Member

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    I play with a group which has recently moved towards using in ears. As is the modern world of music, lower stage volume (and cleaner stages!) are a big deal.

    But it all has me wondering - for those with experience - once you move to in ears, does the amp size matter anymore? Is there any advantage to still use a big amp?

    Will I hear a difference between a 1x10, 1x12, 2x12 or 4x12?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. Mojo Shinn

    Mojo Shinn Supporting Member

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    My band went through this a year or two ago. The demands by bars and small clubs for increasingly quiet stage volumes meant that we could no longer play at a number of places with a traditional drums/amps/monitors/PA setup. We went to in-ears first, then there was a lot of pressure to get rid of the amps too, switching to digital floor units. First the good, then the bad.

    Good: Our band does a lot of vocal harmonies, and the lower stage volumes and in-ears are just plain better for vocals in every way. You have total control over your monitor mix and the levels are easily adjusted with an ipad during the show. For a cover band, the (higher end) digital floor units make it pretty easy to come up with the multitude of guitar sounds required to play songs that might range from a country ballad to Korn within your set list.

    Now the Bad: Drums are always a problem when it comes to sound levels. Electronic drums have come a long way, but our drummer flat out refused to ditch his custom Whitney drum kit in favor of electronic pads and rubber cymbals. Putting the drums behind a plexi shield helps.... but drums are loud, and the volume levels the bar owners are aspiring to are really kind of ridiculous... So you get rid of the amps in favor of digital floor units sent into the PA and in-ears. Consequently, the way you hear things on stage is really strange. The drums are "real"... that is, you can HEAR them and FEEL them in a natural way... everything else is isolated in your head, and you have this strange, detached feeling from your instrument and the sounds you are making. Also, I didn't think that the majority of the digital pedalboard guitar sounds were very good - I simply prefer a tube amp's tone. Some (younger) players adapt to it right away. Me... I'm old, and struggled with it for a long time before I sold the digital floor thing and went back to my amp (I use a 12 - 15 watt Nolatone Rotten Johnny with a modest group of pedals). The amp is on a stand, so it doesn't have to be that loud, but it's at unity with the drums, so I guess it all adds up. To answer your question, The amp volume is determined by how loud you can get away with (along with stage size, venue size, etc.). For a super-quiet stage, your in-ears can be used entirely as monitors, and you don't need an amp at all... or you can blast your amp as usual, and use the in-ears like earplugs, with only vocals and whatever bass/drums/guitar mix you want to add. As I've said, this is dependent on the venue. For the record, I much prefer running my amp a little hot, and using the in-ears to isolate me from the stage volume to concentrate on my vocals.

    Anyway, the smaller venues are making it real hard for rock bands - and let's face it... It's bizarre to play heavy rock riffs at coffee house volumes... There are some better solutions that are coming out now... was just reading a thread here on TGP about the Suhr PT-15. That sounds like the future in live sound - One I might be able to live with, but for now we play where we can, and do acoustic sets where we can't go above 90 db.

    Best of luck
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  3. jerryfan6

    jerryfan6 Member

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    If you are using in-ears but still mic'ing an amp, then yes, you will still hear a difference in tone among the cabinet sizes you mention. However, using in-ears(or any monitoring setup) will make it so that you don't need to have a high watt amp to hear yourself. You can play a 15w 1x10 in a rock band and be fine, as long as you like that tone.

    As was said above, using in-ears is something that takes getting used to. There definitely is a disconnectedness that one feels...both from other members in the band, and from the audience(though an ambient mic or two can help this). As was also noted above, there are some significant benefits to in-ears...namely vocal pitch, vocal stamina and better harmonies.
     
  4. Steve Hotra

    Steve Hotra Silver Supporting Member

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    In my experience, not really.
    I've played through a Vox AC30, Mesa Express 5:25, Tweed head into a 15" speaker. The amps were offstage, in a enclosure.
    Its a church gig, where we use Allen / Heath PSM, and no amps / monitors on stage.
    I am able to play stereo, and use some channels that have a "room" mic. And I use Westone Universal triple drivers.
    I am older, too and have some hearing loss.
    So it takes time to dial in your mix.
    I am able to use my pedalboard , with a NUX Solid Studio IR, which goes straight to the FOH.
    Again, everyone hears things differently.
     
  5. thawn5150

    thawn5150 Supporting Member

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    In my band(3 piece) the bass player and i recently switched to in ears. Honestly I wish I would have done this years ago but I was concerned about putting out a lot of money for in ear system then not liking it but its turned out to be such a positive thing. The vocals are cleaner and the fact that you can hear each other help with harmonies etc.. I use a kemper live and while I still have good old tube amps ,the Kemper is so easy to set up and it sounds great.As stated above there is a bit of a learning curve and he takes a little time to dial in your mix but once you do its great. Our drummer on the other hand refuses to try in ears and is old school with regular wedge monitor. The good thing is in ears do block out crowd noise and idiots lol letting you concentrate on the music at hand. The other thing I like is you can be anywhere on stage and your mix is the same . I used to hate walking over to the other side of the stage and losing my guitar sound ,with in- ears that's a thing of the past. For me there are many more positives then negatives to using in ears.
     
    Steve Hotra and andy474x like this.
  6. andy474x

    andy474x Member

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    My band went to in-ears in the last year, and I recently went to a load box and IR (Two Notes Cab M) setup. The disclaimer here is I just used the IR setup in a live context at rehearsal this week, although I’ve been playing with it at home for several weeks.

    In regard to your question about amp and cab size, all cabs have a different tone. Dimensions, speakers type, number of speakers, all those things will affect your tone to a surprising degree. That’s been the fun thing about going IR, is being able to audition a massive variety of cabs. I tend to like 2x12’s. 1x12’s are often too brash, 4x12’s get into the bass player’s territory. But, that can also depend on the amp.

    If your question is about tone in regard to which cab you’ll bring to a gig, I guess it depends on what size cab you prefer. If you like a 1x12 and just want to mic it, that’s probably fine. If you like 4x12’s, an IR setup will save your back as well as your stage volume situation from a lot of hassle.

    Regardless of your cab situation, IEM’s have been hands down the best thing my band has done for ourselves in a long time.
     
    Steve Hotra likes this.
  7. HughesP

    HughesP Member

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    Bump after a huge edit (Post was too long before).
    It's actually not about stage volume for us, tbh... this summer we are playing some pretty big venues - even a few stadium shows. We for sure won't be going to electronic drums or direct amp options.

    The in ears, for us, are because we need to be in sync with a number of samples and electronic stuff. In ears also make for faster sound checks while on tour, especially since we can all tweak our own mixes from our phones. And it eliminates all of the echo/reverb of big places, giving us a lot more clarity. Oh, and it's a cleaner stage without the monitors cluttering things up!

    That said, we are a supporting artist, rather then headliner, so while playing these big shows, we need to fit everything in a van afterwards. So there are certainly advantages to not bringing big cabs with me.
     
    123SuperD likes this.
  8. Vanilla Latte

    Vanilla Latte Member

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    My band just switched to in ears about a year ago. The biggest issue as mentioned above is still having acoustic drums...... And I'm still deciding if bringing an amp is worth it anymore. Prefer the sound of my amp....but it is a lot easier to setup my board and plug direct into the mixer. Planning on going with my amp for as long as I can but I definitely see a day when most of us will be going direct in small clubs.:barf
     

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