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IEMs for only part of the band?

stevel

Member
Messages
14,769
So, too loud band. That's not going to change unless I quit. Double-edged sword - great band, great player, great people, great pay, great to crappy venues, etc. IOW it's really the best steady paying gig I've ever had and the typical band hassles are well outweighed by the good stuff.

Right now I'm just wearing heavy duty earplugs -26 db - shooters plugs.

I've considered IEMs.

Here are my concerns:

Money. It seems like even the cheapest one that's "actually any good" based on reviews and feedback is $1,000.

Another concern is that there's going to be stage volume. The drummer is simply not going to play quietly. It's off the table so don't even go there. Again, my choice is to quit or to figure out a personal solution.

With my plugs in, I can hear things still, and low frequencies still seem to get through - I imagine some of that literally vibrates through your skeleton/body and is transferred to your ear.

So I'm thinking if I were to get an in ear system, it would have to block out almost 100% of external sound as much as possible, so I can turn up the volume of what I want to a *reasonable* level.

My fear is, if I'm hearing drums and bass through the natural world, I'm going to have to turn up my guitar, keys, and anything else I want loud enough to mix in well with them, which might ultimately be louder than is comfortable.

I know I've heard people say IEMS don't work unless the whole band buys into it - and that makes perfect sense. But I'm wondering if anyone has tried to run "partial" IEMS with success?

Could I get by with running just some of the FOH signal into my monitors, rather than everything? If I'm getting acoustical bleed from bass and drums, I wouldn't need them in the monitors would I?

I don't want to put any more volume into the in ears than I have to, otherwise it's defeating the purpose - it's not so I can hear, it's so I can hear at safe levels. If that won't work, I might as well just use the $6.00 earplugs.

A lot of people have recommended the custom molded earplugs, but there's another $300 on top of the wireless system.

I can't really make that kind of investment and if I'm able to, it's got to work. I can't be fiddling with having to add on this, and try this instead kind of situations.

Currently I run only my voice and my keys through my monitor. My guitar amp is it's own monitor. I'd have no problem backing it down a number. The drums I can hear two doors down. The bass is not a problem (it only comes through FOH on stage and that's all I need!).

I can turn down my amp to the point where I can run it in the IEM at a comfortable volume that's louder than the ambient sound of the amp (I think). The keys and my voice wouldn't even have to be on stage anymore (except for other players who need it in their wedges).

But I guess, really what I'm asking, is how much external sound can I get rid of, and only put what I want in the IEMs, and, if there's external sound I can't get totally rid of, can I run the sounds I do want in the IEMs at a comfortable and safe level?
 

27sauce

Member
Messages
36,346
I keep thd drums and bass pretty low in my mix. There is a fair amount of bleed, but then again, I'm only using Cheapo Shure buds. If you go with custom molds you can eliminate just about everything.

Once in a while I go with only one ear in. You could do some damage if you don't do it properly. Gates on everything, little to no drums, maybe even a lighter ear plug on the open ear.

Out keyboard player plays with a wedge.
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,766
Decent molded IEMs isolate ~25-30DB, so about what your shooters plugs do. Unless you absolutely need wireless to move around the stage, you can get the molded plugs and a headphone amp and go wired. I use a mic splitter and run my mic, guitar mic and the FOH mix into a small mixer for my IEM mix. If I can't get a FOH feed I setup a mic in front of the band into my mixer.

My Alien Ears triple driver IEMs cost $425, headphone amp was about $50, 4 channel splitter used $80, I had the mixer but maybe another $50. Hell I bring $3-4,000 worth of guitars to the gig, what's another $1000 to protect your hearing.

The key is to keep the IEM mix as quiet as possible and hear over the stage volume.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,769
The key is to keep the IEM mix as quiet as possible and hear over the stage volume.
Yes, that's what I'm looking for. I *could* go wired I suppose...our bass player has actually started doing it and the drummer does it too. One thing I've read cautions about there is having some kind of Limiter on the signal.

We do have the ability to change our mix with our iPhones so I could run off an AUX jack into the headphone amp and feed into it whatever I want. I play keys and guitar and am kind of enclosed on 3 sides by amp behind me, keys to the right, and pedalboard and monitor wedge in front of me. Stages are usually so small the bass player or lead singer is to my left so I often have little room to move. Just being tethered by an extra cord - or stepping all over it - might be kind of tough getting used to...
 

bob-i

Member
Messages
8,766
Yes, that's what I'm looking for. I *could* go wired I suppose...our bass player has actually started doing it and the drummer does it too. One thing I've read cautions about there is having some kind of Limiter on the signal.

We do have the ability to change our mix with our iPhones so I could run off an AUX jack into the headphone amp and feed into it whatever I want. I play keys and guitar and am kind of enclosed on 3 sides by amp behind me, keys to the right, and pedalboard and monitor wedge in front of me. Stages are usually so small the bass player or lead singer is to my left so I often have little room to move. Just being tethered by an extra cord - or stepping all over it - might be kind of tough getting used to...
Does your mixer have a limiter available for the monitor sends? If not you may need to add one to the signal chain.

As for the wire, I run a headphone extension along my guitar wire using Velcro ties.
 

BADHAK

Member
Messages
9,078
In our band the singer, guitarist /singer and drummer go IEM and the bassist and myself(guitar )go without.
Though the drummer and i like to play with some volume, we are not an unreasonably loud band. There are other local bands,both popular and not so, who are much louder than us.
The main reason the singers went IEM was our regular soundguy (7 years) has always had average foldbacks and they (both not really rockers) dont like to strain their voices. The drummer because he is one of those guys who needs to hear his kit crystal clear or he's not happy.
We do have some problems with dynamics, because the drummer has problems hearing when we are all playing quieter, but in general its been a good thing because the singers are happy and not constantly bitching about the band drowning out the vocals.....happy singer.....happy band.
Me personally. ...if i cant rock out with some natural volume,and get that interaction between guitar and amp, i would rather stay home. I dont need to hear myself, or my bandmates crystal clear. ...if i want to listen to CD's, once again i could have stayed at home.
So yes, it can work.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,502
3 out of 4 of us use IEMS, drummer normally uses monitor wedge but will use IEMS when we introduce tracks. I would do wired if you're not required to move a ton onstage. While I don't go crazy onstage I do need to be able to mix from offstage, check levels, provide counts / audibles so I need wireless.
My Shure 215's (again, basic level $100) are suitably fine IMHO.
I HAVE A $25 Behringher personal monitor for my drummer, might buy another for people who sub.
 

gillibi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,224
My group opened for Kansas the other night. Everyone was using IEMs except guitarist Rich Williams. He runs a direct rig and was the only player with a monitor in front.
 




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