I need an education on IEMs

geoangus

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,160
I'm in your basic 4 piece cover band, guitars using modelers direct to the board, bass DI to the board and most of the drum kit mic'd. We each currently use a wedge, primarily for vocals. I also have a FRFR wedge for my guitar for stage volume. We don't have a soundman, but play the same venues, so we store the settings that typically work on our board.

My problem, I just don't know where my guitar is in the mix. Sure, I walk out front, and get a feel now and then, but at times during the gig, I just don't know if I'm over the top, or invisible. I'd like to use in-ears to basically give me the FOH mix, so that I can tell where I am all night. Is this a good or bad idea, especially, if the rest of the band is not using them?
 

MLG Audio

Member
Messages
1,039
Hearing the LR mix in your ears will virtually never give you an adequate indication of how things actually sound out front. There are so many variables that happen after the sound leaves the PA that affect what it is the audience is actually hearing. The solution that you are looking for is a soundman.
 

RCM78

Member
Messages
6,646
I'm in the exact situation as the OP. We have a Soundman at every gig. He's treated as a member of the band.
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,493
They're mainly needed on really large stages where time offsets would throw the whole band off. For reference, there's about a millisecond of delay for each foot. So if your guitarist is 25' from the drummer, he's going to hear him 25 milliseconds late. His response will take 25 milliseconds to get back and that's a very distracting latency.

Churches uses them for a different reason--control. They enable one to dial out an annoying player or singer and that person never knows. This eliminates political fallout and other issues unique to volunteer culture.

You can read my full exposition on them from a P&W perspective here. My insights may not directly apply but there may be a useful tidbit here and there--

https://equallyyokedworshipteams.wordpress.com/in-ear-monitors-facts-and-fallacies/
 

Steve Hotra

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,610
Good blog, Mark.
Thanks for sharing and I agree on your observations.
I use IEM and Behinger /Allen heath at a few churches i play at.
Its a challenge to get used to.
 

partytrain

Member
Messages
6,110
They're mainly needed on really large stages where time offsets would throw the whole band off. For reference, there's about a millisecond of delay for each foot. So if your guitarist is 25' from the drummer, he's going to hear him 25 milliseconds late. His response will take 25 milliseconds to get back and that's a very distracting latency.

Churches uses them for a different reason--control. They enable one to dial out an annoying player or singer and that person never knows. This eliminates political fallout and other issues unique to volunteer culture.

You can read my full exposition on them from a P&W perspective here. My insights may not directly apply but there may be a useful tidbit here and there--

https://equallyyokedworshipteams.wordpress.com/in-ear-monitors-facts-and-fallacies/

Well....wow......don't even know where to start. But no.
 

Geetarpicker

Member
Messages
3,267
The only way having the FOH mix in your IEMS would work, for what you want, would require a totally silent stage including silent electronic drums. Since that is not the case the leakage of your monitors and acoustic drum kit will always have a considerable effect on the true overall sound out front. The best options IMHO are for you to go out front more to judge things, and/or get a sound man.
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,493
Sorry, I don't know any really good synergistic creative musicians who like them. I find them insulting myself. The idea of spending a fortune on high end guitars, vintage glass, great speakers, hand built amps and then running it through a multiplexer that sounds like a cellphone to me is anathema to my musical soul. People use them because they have no choice or no ears. Name one good jazz ensemble that uses them; I'm talking about playing like Frisell does, not Lady Gaga.

Really why would you be insulted by someone's artistic opinion? That seems strange to me. If they work for you just say so and say how they work for you. What problem do they solve for you? Every approach has some limitations. Wedges don't work well with amateurs who can't sing and require that the players understand precedence to keep from clobbering the vocalists. Most bands can't do this well; hence, IEM's.

But hey, if I go on tour with Celine Dion, I'll wear them because it's the only way it's going to work given the size and nature of the gig.
 

partytrain

Member
Messages
6,110
What do you mean?

Your entire blog sounds like it was written by a bitter musician who couldn't get IEMs to work. Sorry if that was your experience. I've played in various churches as a full time member of the band, or regular sub, over the last 20 years (both with IEMs, and traditional monitor set ups). That would be more than 10 churches, in 3 different states. I have never, NEVER, run across the situation where someone was mixed out of the mains because the music leader couldn't be honest with someone who wasn't a great singer. I've seen plenty of people moved into a larger choir or something of that nature to help cover it up a bit, but certainly never even close to something like you describe as part of your "facts" about IEMs. It's just an absolutely preposterous claim that hiding a less skilled member of a P&W band is a primary factor in getting IEMs. If your worship leader can't be honest with people, and sinks thousands of dollars into an IEM system strictly for the ability to remove someone from the mix, the you've got a number of problems that have nothing to do with IEMs.

And then of course "I've never met anyone who could actually play, that is, improvise and create from their instrument who likes them." I recommend that you try to meet some musicians some time. There are a lot of us out there who love IEMs, and if I can be boastful for a moment, I'm actually an OK guitar player who can occasionally "create" from my instrument.
 

partytrain

Member
Messages
6,110
Really why would you be insulted by someone's artistic opinion?

Here's the thing, you titled your ridiculous blog post "In ear monitors-facts and fallacies." So when you claim your "artistic opinion" is a fact, you open yourself up for the responses you've received.
 

stratrat2000

Member
Messages
289
...and back to the OP:

I monitor the main mix in my IEMs, and it works well in my situation (one man band, singing and playing both guitar and drum pedals, plus using a guitar synth and modelled bass on the lower strings). I'm also obviously the sound monkey and I prefer to hear my guitar in context of the full mix. Everything is DI'd (Electronic drum pedals too) and the mix is balanced and static (I'm basically summing, rather than mixing) - every instrument has it's own patch-per-song and patches are tweaked to the correct levels. I tune the PA to the room (as much as is ever possible), so I know I'm hearing more-or-less the same in my IEMs as the FOH is pushing to the room. That gives me pretty predictable results across a range of different venues.

I think that to do this, you do need engineer's ears, rather than musician's ears - the ability to hear the full mix balanced, rather than with your own instrument up front. You also need good IEMs to be sure you are hearing the mix accurately (Ultimate Ears Triple Fi in my case).
 




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