IEMs - Much Hate

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Nota, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Nota

    Nota Member

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    I just used IEMs for the first time. Boy, did I hate them. Couldn't hear anyone talk unless they were shouting at me, the cables were annoying, and I ended up fiddling with my mix too much.

    The venue I was playing was a biggish church with the modern "drummer in a cage" and no amps or anything on stage. It felt really odd.

    I guess I feel old as IEMs seem to be the "wave of the future" but so far bands I've been in haven't used them. Yay!

    Do you just get used to them, or do some of you just keep on hatin?
     
  2. Digital Igloo

    Digital Igloo Member

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    You kinda get used to 'em. There are ways to pump stage volume (including your band members' voices) into your IEMs, but it's not something your average dive club sound guy's willing to deal with. Most of the bands I know using IEMs are now mixing their own monitors from the MD's digital console, sometimes remotely via iOS.
     
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  3. speed12

    speed12 Member

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    It is something that takes a few goes to get used to.

    Not being able to hear anyone is sort of the point - if you can't hear anyone then the IEMs are sealed properly and you are getting only your mix at a decent volume.

    What exactly about your mix didn't you like? It's going to sound different to using a wedge - that is just a given, but doesn't mean it's worse. If you can pick out specific things in your mix that you don't like, then hopefully we should be able to help improve them for you.
     
  4. Opzouten

    Opzouten Member

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    I play in a similar setup, but we also have a talkbalk channel to the drummer, on stage mics so we can talk to each other and ambiance mics pointing out in the room. Each player has a mixer (A&H) so you can control the level/pan/EQ for your mix.

    I can imagine it would be much more dull without the mentioned mics, but the quality of the mix is so much better than when we were playing with wedges.
     
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  5. phel21

    phel21 Member

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    Communications is a problem with IEMs if it isn't done right. I place a number of ambience-microphones around or above the stage and send those signals to the IEMs. The signal is cut when the noise-floor reaches a certain level (inverted gate). With this setup I can even hear the guy on the other side of the stage talking in between songs when we play in front of a noisy crowd.
     
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  6. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    IME you should never try IEM's unless you have your own dedicated aux send for your monitoring, and either local control of your mix or a good sound person that can respond when you need tweaking. If you have someone in your ears that gets wild with their volume, it can ruin your day unless you can turn it down quickly.

    Unfortunately IEM's are a way of life now for many musicians and you just have to learn to come to terms with them. But it can be done. However nothing will ever beat a loud stage with real amps and drums and wedge monitors. I feel very lucky these days when I get to play like that, when it used to be the norm in days past.
     
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  7. acroberts

    acroberts Member

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    Hang in there - Just went through the transition a couple months ago and felt EXACTLY like you do. It took a month to get everything dialed in, and as a vocalist and guitarist, another couple of months to feel comfortable singing, but I do like them now.

    Do you have the ability to create your own mix, and can you do that yourself from the stage?
     
  8. Bikedude

    Bikedude Gold Supporting Member

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    I started using IEM's 10 years ago, and it took a bunch of gigs before I felt comfortable. Getting a good fit from the earbuds is a must, and you have to find a way to keep the buds tight around the back of your head, so they don't move around or come loose.
     
  9. texasdave

    texasdave Member

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    Good IEMs and a good seal lets you run your IEMs at a lower volume and still hear everything well. The P&W environments typically let you pan each channel in your mix as well and this can be helpful. There is some stuff in the mix that is not critical to what you do, turn that way down. Usually after I have a mix set, I'll turn the master down and I can then still bump my guitar a bit if I want to. Our P&W leader wears a lapel mic that only goes to our ears so he can talk to us when he's off mic.

    Also been mentioned in other threads but older Aviom systems have some compression in the higher range of the channels. Rather than starting all the volumes at 5, start them at 1 or 2 and only bring up the things you need to hear. If everything is at 7 and you're trying to push your guitar at 9 the results are not great.
     
  10. Nota

    Nota Member

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    I hear you, it just takes some getting used to. But it felt very awkward, so much so that I felt like not playing for the church again. It's very hard to get used to:

    - I wear glasses and the earbuds just felt weird
    - Wired in twice, guitar and into headphone mixer, restrictive
    - Didn't connect with drummer/bassist like I'm used to, just turned them up in mix instead of looking/feeling

    The impression I was left with wasn't musical... it was like we all came to talk, and texted each other on stage for an hour, and *called* it talking. Yes, communication was done. But it sure didn't feel natural or "live".

    I get why this has to be done sometimes, it's a huge venue and the acoustics can get out of control. But caged drummers and nothing on stage? Bah humbug. And I'm a guy who often gets asked to turn *up* in bands, so it's not like I just want to blast people.

    Other things that were odd and awkward for me were 1) the click track and 2) extra parts that were pumped into the mix. We didn't have a keyboard player, so those parts were artificially added in. Seemed so fake.
     
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  11. SkyhighRocks

    SkyhighRocks Member

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    My issue has always been...everything sounds good BUT the guitar. No matter what rig I've used, guitar sounds great out front but terrible in the ears. It's a product of the tone being pressed up against your ear drum. We aren't used to hearing it like that.
     
  12. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    They suck! I use them all the time. Hate it, and will never be a preference. Many venues have low to zero stage vol limits so we use them regularly.

    It kind of decouples you, and if they cut out, it really sucks. Some venues supply them to us, and yeah they cut out often. The casinos make us use them as well as drum shield for our drummer which he hates as well.

    Of course he don't use a click or play to tracks either, so we are used to a more live open jamming experience. We bought some decent ones recently which improved the sound some, but it's still not as good. Some say they are actually worse for you, so a lot of guys leave one out if they have any kind of stage sound. ymmv yada yada
     
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  13. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    Maybe it's just that people get to hear everything clearly for the first time and realize that they are crappy players with crappy tone... ;)

    Seriously though... see if you can get a half hour with the sound tech and see if he can work with you to have a better experience. Work on articulating what you need to your sound man if this is the way you are forced to work.

    I "KNOW" that you can have a good experience with In Ear Monitors... I know this be cause I do. I control my mix... my band mates that lack the skill to do their own rely on me and my drummer to do it. If they can't articulate their needs effectively then they may or may not get their needs met.

    Be sure that you and your sound man speak the same language. Let him listen to your mix and make adjustments if you can...
     
  14. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    I think a lot of these guys are used to a pr of hp's on their head often when jamming so it don't seem to matter the tone suck IEM's create. They just don't move air like a speaker. I have to get used to them though. We use them for more than 50% of gigs. In my other band, I get to go full stage in your face backline most of the time.
     
  15. EdRaket

    EdRaket Member

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    I started using IEM's about a month ago and have gigged with them 3 times now. It is indeed getting used to. First of all, playing guitar is much more scary, I notice every little mistake that would go unnoticed before in the wall of sound on stage. It makes me a far better player. Yes, I miss the huge sound that I was used to on stage. I also recognize that I never had any clue of what the sound was like for the audience. Nowadays, using a Kemper + IEM, everybody (including the professional sound people) tell me that my sound is as good as they have ever heard. So I definitely continue to use them. Not being deaf at the end off a gig and hurt your back because of carrying amps and speaker cabs is something I haven't even mentioned :)
     
  16. Mullenski

    Mullenski Gold Supporting Member

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    As others have said, takes a while to just adapt, then get used to them, then really dial in your mix. Hated them to begin with, love them now. Particularly awesome when running a click/que track, using talkbacks, communicating with sound/production guys. Hang in there! Finally, a good set of IEMs makes all the difference and are worth every penny.
     
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  17. MacOSatch

    MacOSatch Member

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    I started using IEMs few months ago and after few rehearsal I found what I like and enjoy it now (as my band mate too):
    * IEM in stereo. I tried it at first mono (Sennheiser focus option: guitar + rest can be mixed on the receiver), but did not like it much. Real stereo with panning of instruments is the way for me.
    * Guitar also stereo – not real stereo, better to say two mono signals. Somehow it sounds better to me if I send guitar stereo (two channels: one left, one right) instead to set mono guitar in the middle of the stereo mix. I do not know why ...
    * Torpedo Live. I use several amps (depends of the projects, Diezel Einstein, PRS Archon, Marshall JVM JS) and all sound very, very good with Torpedo Live. I find the IEM sound very natural (it is possible to set a small room reverb in Torpedo Live too).
    * Cab. What I noticed is that it feels better if I leave the cabs connected, the amp volume decent but not loud as it would be necessary to match the acoustic drum set. I tried the silent guitar too (guitar cab disconnected, Torpedo Live Load), but it feels not so "real" as with the cab on.

    IEM: Sennheiser IEM G2, Shure 535
    Mixer: Behringer XR18
     
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  18. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    Tell me what you think of this:

    I've only played 2 gigs with IEMS, and my experience, while tolerable, was not the best. My reason for (recently) buying IEMs was because the drums/cymbals are killing my ears on stage. Yes, I have my own mix, and I can control it on-stage myself. But what I did, was put no drums and no bass in my IEMs because I can still hear them (though muffled) without having any in my IEMs mix.

    After the last gig at which I used them, I realized that perhaps I should have had some drums and bass in my IEMs after all, because then what I'd be hearing would at least sound some kind of real band mix. But the downside would be more decibels in my ears, which is what I was trying to minimize in the first place.

    Is that the right/best way to do it?
     
  19. reo73

    reo73 Member

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    I have been using IEMs for about 5 years at the church I play at but only about a year ago did we go to no amps on stage. Prior to no amps on stage I could still hear the direct sound/thump of my speaker cab along with the mic'd mix of it in my IEM. But now it is all IEM and I don't care for it nearly as much though I am used to it now. What I don't like the most is that hearing only a mic'd feed from the amp into an IEM tends to just wash out the dynamics and interactions of the amp/guitar, especially when I used to be able to get some nice controlled feedback at times. Personally, I prefer just stage monitors the most but I understand the stage volume factor is tough to deal with.
     
  20. musickbox

    musickbox Member

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    It took me 3 years to get on board with IEMs. What changed? Three things: I bought molded IEMs, got two magical tips from an audio engineer, and got better at mixing at home. If you don't like working in a studio or recording, IEMs will feel like a chore. For me, they have saved my hearing and now I prefer it. For the exception of playing very small venues, I always push for IEMs at every gig.

    @Norta: You can PM me and maybe I can help you walk through some of the issues and frustrations you're experiencing.
     
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