I know why I’m in bands

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I finally figured it out: I’m not here to be a drummer. I’m here to drag bands into the 21st century whether they like it or not.

my staple Devo tribute band, out of necessity, had to work with in-ear monitoring. Thankfully my system could accommodate and were really happy with the results because we all need to lock in with a computer and we’re not dependent on the venue to handle everything we need.

Now in the last couple of weeks, I was picked up by a Cars tribute band and although it’s not computer-dependent, I’m introducing them to the “in-ear way” - which at first was good because the members all decided to buy their own systems. But as the days wore on, I discovered they didn’t understand what they were getting into and some even asked why they were doing it.

I could’ve gone on the defensive, but the last ten days has been involved in explaining how it all works in a soothing tone. The one thing these guys can’t get their heads around is that when you wear in-ear monitors, you CAN’T hear anything not coming through the monitors. The guitar player keeps insisting he needs to have his amp blasting into his legs to get the right vibe.
Well, this Saturday we’re finally gonna try this new way of thinking.

Usually this is exciting but I’m kinda dreading it since there’s a 50-50 chance they’re gonna hate it. But dang it, I’m dragging them into the future!

good thing the drumming isn’t hard!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
"The one thing these guys can’t get their heads around is that when you wear in-ear monitors, you CAN’T hear anything not coming through the monitors."

I can relate to their reluctance. In-ear monitors create something of a sterile setting, not unlike being in a studio, segregating the wearer from the world beyond. Live, I like to be part of the room, which is why I prefer to wear earplugs for protection and rely on stage monitors to hear the band. I feel more connected to the audience that way, as I'm somewhat sharing in their experience.

Stewart Copeland's thoughts on in-ear monitors for live purposes:

"I tried using in-ears on tour, and I hated it, would never do it again. Everything sounds small and undramatic and I like to feel it."

I second that account.

I'm not renouncing in-ears as a concept. Isolation is mandatory for studio work. But for performances, the artificiality of in-ears is a turnoff to me.
 
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BGDurham

Well-known member
Do you have a room and/or stage mic that anyone can add to their mix to get the sound of the crowd?
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I use wired in-ears in an 11 piece band with its own digital desk. Sounds fantastic - like I’m playing along to a CD. Doubles as hearing protection.
If I take them out I’m blitzed by the guitar amp and the horn section. With them in I’m calm and controlled, and can hear everything including the vocals clearly.

But in 3 and 4 piece bands I prefer open air and monitor speakers - easier to communicate with other band members, respond to changes, adjust my own playing volume, etc.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
My in ears have the ambient port hole which allows for a good balance between hearing protection and live vibe. Getting your in ear monitor mix right is crucial and takes time and effort.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
Wearing in-ears has been the best decision I have made musically in 40 years.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
IEMs are not a no brainer. I can fully see the positives.
To do it properly can be expensive.
I play in a band of 7 musicians where 4 are IEM and 3 (including me) are not.
The 7 IEM guys are the loudest on stage, they are the least likely to follow a spontaneous dip in dynamics, and sometimes if the singer gets out of sequence they are the least likely to adjust the arrangement on the fly to fit in, they just plough on. It really is like they are in their own bubble.
These are full time professionals, we have our own dedicated monitor guy etc. We sometimes have substitute musicians who are IEM wearers and we have noticed the same thing.
You start a soundcheck and the bass or keyboards are so loud. We gesticulate in a 'turn down' manner, but the player is lost in their own head.
So we have to stop.
During a show we might improvise an impromptu breakdown. I will drop my drumming down to very soft, but at least one of the IEM wearers (often all of them) just plough on at full volume, unaware of what is happening in the music.
 

Redbeard

Senior Member
I see a fair amount of IEM users with only one in and the other dangling. I guess that gives you the ambient sound, but it seems to negate the whole point (and expense). I've used them a few times but I still prefer a floor wedge if anything. All I really need to hear is lead vocal since the guitars are ALWAYS loud enough.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm so used to not having monitors that it's an adjustment when I do have them.

I don't think I can do the in ear thing. I don't think I can play to backing tracks, I don't like seeing drummers with headphones on, I don't like wearing headphones while playing live. I'm very resistant to these things but I can be since I don't rely on music for money. It's got to be fun and not another job for me, or I won't do it.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'm so used to not having monitors that it's an adjustment when I do have them.

I don't think I can do the in ear thing. I don't think I can play to backing tracks, I don't like seeing drummers with headphones on, I don't like wearing headphones while playing live. I'm very resistant to these things but I can be since I don't rely on music for money. It's got to be fun and not another job for me, or I won't do it.
I think it’s fun to try new things. So I think this qualifies.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I see a fair amount of IEM users with only one in and the other dangling. I guess that gives you the ambient sound, but it seems to negate the whole point (and expense). I've used them a few times but I still prefer a floor wedge if anything. All I really need to hear is lead vocal since the guitars are ALWAYS loud enough.
I only use one of my IEMs, and have the other ear open to the room. I've been told that isn't a good idea, but it works rather well for me.

I need them more for vocals than for the instruments. When we're fortunate to have a keyboard player, I have them fed into my mix, and occasionally I'll add a touch of guitar, if the stage setup moves his amp to a spot where I can't hear it normally. (That's a rare occurrence, certainly!)

I absolutely love them tho. When I have to use a wedge, I'm very sad.......
 

Icetech

Gold Member
Just curious, i have never used IEM's cause i have ear issues and don't like stuff in them.. but i use ultraphones, do you find any advantage of IEM's over old style cans?
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
Bo, what comprises your full IEM rig?

I love using my IEMs at home. They're just headphones with more isolation, and I can make my own immersive mix using my recording rig.

The one time I've been required to use IEMs at a gig was a country fill-in gig, where I was the only player who had any stage volume. Felt very detached, and I had no concept of how loud I was, or how loud I should be, and with the in-ears it's not like I can just hear someone shout commands in my ear.

But we're considering getting IEMs for Cygnus gigs, since it's a input-intensive show, and we'd like to be able to recall our basic mix so we're looking at getting a digital mixer and running IEMs with that. But that doesn't mean we'll be getting rid of the amp stacks...
 

gish

Senior Member
My live rig consists of a small mixing board, in ears, and a metronome app in my IPhone. I have a channel for backing tracks input, a channel for monitor feed (vocals only typically) and I plug my phone in as well. Certain songs I use the metronome click for the entire song; for others I may just need a starting tempo. If I’m only getting vocals for a given song (no tracks/click) I also like playing with the left earbud in, right one out. Works for me; the only way I travel these days. I have found this little rig to be indispensable; I wonder how I played without it for so many years.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Just curious, i have never used IEM's cause i have ear issues and don't like stuff in them.. but i use ultraphones, do you find any advantage of IEM's over old style cans?
Ultraphones arent “old style” cans since they actually isolate you pretty well (they’re shooters muffs). But the advantage for me is that the IEMs block everything outside and you don’t have to deal with sweaty ears. Bermuda used Ultraphones for years before committing to in-ears - you should ask him.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Yeah, those $49 KZ ZS10 Pros really set me back. I (finally) made the switch to in-ears and after an initial adjustment, I become a big believer. The key is to get a good mix. Should have done this years ago. My tinnitus may not have been as severe.
Fairly certain that mics, mixer and headphone amps are also needed
Thanks for the tip on the least expensive part of the deal though

I am actually wanting to go in that direction though. I seen Tascam or Fostex or Zoom one of those have digital mixers with 9 separate monitor mix outs for about $600 US. It is a good idea.
 
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