IEM Questions

NerfLad

Silver Member
Good evening Drummerworld,

I have a few questions out there for drummers who are on in-ears in a live environment. I have googled and found ancient threads on this board and others with links to products that are no longer sold or otherwise out of date or unclear information. Without further ado...

1. Do most reputable clubs have a wireless system now or do I need to also purchase a receiver pack, transmitter, etc.?

1.5. If I have my own receiver pack, will it work via radio with any transmitter or are most/all brands' transmissions proprietary-only?



2. One of my main concerns is peak limiting, of course for feedback/dropped mic/singer shouting at the audience purposes. Do I need some kind of small in-line limiter, or do most/all receivers have them built in?

2.5. If I had an in-line limiter, in theory I could then just plug into the headphone out of any stage wedge (if it had one), in the event a club doesn't have a wireless system... right?


3. What has your general experience with IEM's been?

Thanks,
Eric
 

Florian

Gold Member
Shure P6HW and IEMs of your choice. Ive used this for years w/no issue. Easy to carry, easy to use. I use JH16s for my IEMs


F
 

Xenu

Junior Member
I use the Alien Ears Triple Driver with 2 bass Drivers. I love the sound of them.

Rock on audio sell affordable Limiters http://www.rockonaudio.com/ which can take speaker/line level signal. If the venue has a foldback wedge for the drummer - you can take your signal off that.

If you're going to get custom molds, I would recommend getting an Audiologist to take the impressions. Its not worth screwing it up and having poor fitting IEMS.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Spend the money and get fitted ear molds from a reputable place. They are more comfortable, seal better (which is crucial for getting the bass) and most importantly stay put. Folks who try to use general purpose consumer ear buds are constantly shoving them back and in fiddling with the placement. The sweatier you get, the more they slip. It's really distracting, and as much as we all do it very few drummers can take one hand away from the kit and fiddle with some gadget and not lose something in the groove or music.

The Shure hardwire pack is also a standard. It has a built in limiter which you need. If the club has powered monitors or a send on stage (any halfway decent snake) then you can get a feed. You don't really need a wireless pack unless you get up off the kit and move to the front of the stage for some reason.

Since signal processing is involved, there's no assurance that one wireless system is compatible with another. You would also need something that's frequency agile as you will need to find a clear channel for it to operate on (read, more expensive pro level gear). Varsity gigs have a wireless coordinator to ensure that all the systems operate together without interference. There are software programs from Shure and Sennheiser that can help amateurs with this. An apparently open channel can suffer from beat frequencies from two other frequencies and get glitches and noises even if that frequency isn't being used by something else.

Molded earpieces and a purpose made hardwire pack makes for a compact and reliable set up. Resist the temptation to cobble something together out of some cheap mixer and cheap outboard gear. It will take more time to set up, and have to fiddled with more. And the drummer usually has the most stuff to deal with setting up and tearing down, and is under the time crunch to get it together. The last thing you want to do is subject your ears to something that you patched together in a rush and couldn't properly test before downbeat.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
Spend the money and get fitted ear molds from a reputable place. They are more comfortable, seal better (which is crucial for getting the bass) and most importantly stay put. Folks who try to use general purpose consumer ear buds are constantly shoving them back and in fiddling with the placement. The sweatier you get, the more they slip. It's really distracting, and as much as we all do it very few drummers can take one hand away from the kit and fiddle with some gadget and not lose something in the groove or music.

The Shure hardwire pack is also a standard. It has a built in limiter which you need. If the club has powered monitors or a send on stage (any halfway decent snake) then you can get a feed. You don't really need a wireless pack unless you get up off the kit and move to the front of the stage for some reason.

Since signal processing is involved, there's no assurance that one wireless system is compatible with another. You would also need something that's frequency agile as you will need to find a clear channel for it to operate on (read, more expensive pro level gear). Varsity gigs have a wireless coordinator to ensure that all the systems operate together without interference. There are software programs from Shure and Sennheiser that can help amateurs with this. An apparently open channel can suffer from beat frequencies from two other frequencies and get glitches and noises even if that frequency isn't being used by something else.

Molded earpieces and a purpose made hardwire pack makes for a compact and reliable set up. Resist the temptation to cobble something together out of some cheap mixer and cheap outboard gear. It will take more time to set up, and have to fiddled with more. And the drummer usually has the most stuff to deal with setting up and tearing down, and is under the time crunch to get it together. The last thing you want to do is subject your ears to something that you patched together in a rush and couldn't properly test before downbeat.
Great response. I already have my IEM's and they have a great seal. I'm glad I went to an audiologist. He was cheap too, $25 for impressions and a box to ship them in. I think I will go for the P6HW.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Shure P6HW and IEMs of your choice. Ive used this for years w/no issue. Easy to carry, easy to use. I use JH16s for my IEMs


F
Me too. I would always put something between me and the monitor feed, just for safety's sake; the P6HW does all of that in a very simple to use package. I like them so much I have 2. Also, buy the best IEM's you can aford. Buying less expensive only means you'll buy again when you're dissatisfied with what you hear and spend more in the long term.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Just as a quick extra for our UK users.

I used to do live sound in a large theatre. I was on number one, so I wasn't directly in the line of the live radio feeds (that's dealt with by number two and number three) but I remember the director mentioning to check the licensing for radio transmitters in the UK. The radio mics all had an assigned frequency that was registered and could not be legally changed. Using different frequencies could have incurred a very large fine because of the particular part of the spectrum we used was adjacent to 'protected' frequencies.

I don't know if a single channel for a wireless radio feed would have any licensing issues or whether the venue holds the responsibility for the licence. As for whether or not an individual can hold a licence, I don't know.

It's worth checking the legality of such devices and whether there are allowances for individuals. I doubt it would ever be an issue but I'd hate for anyone to get a fine out of ignorance.

A couple of things worth reading:

http://www.stagebeat.com/pa-systems-and-live-sound-equipment/microphones-and-mic-accessories/uk-wireless-frequency-regulations/

http://www.stagebeat.com/sites/stagebeatv7.001/productimages/assets/201102241637010.Wireless_licence_UK.pdf
 

Florian

Gold Member
Me too. I would always put something between me and the monitor feed, just for safety's sake; the P6HW does all of that in a very simple to use package. I like them so much I have 2. Also, buy the best IEM's you can aford. Buying less expensive only means you'll buy again when you're dissatisfied with what you hear and spend more in the long term.
agreed on the buying the best IEMs you can swing, you dont want to buy twice.

@ BigiainW - Im going to be in Edinburgh this summer for a weeks stay.....love that town


F
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Just as a quick extra for our UK users.

I used to do live sound in a large theatre. I was on number one, so I wasn't directly in the line of the live radio feeds (that's dealt with by number two and number three) but I remember the director mentioning to check the licensing for radio transmitters in the UK. The radio mics all had an assigned frequency that was registered and could not be legally changed. Using different frequencies could have incurred a very large fine because of the particular part of the spectrum we used was adjacent to 'protected' frequencies.

I don't know if a single channel for a wireless radio feed would have any licensing issues or whether the venue holds the responsibility for the licence. As for whether or not an individual can hold a licence, I don't know.

It's worth checking the legality of such devices and whether there are allowances for individuals. I doubt it would ever be an issue but I'd hate for anyone to get a fine out of ignorance.

A couple of things worth reading:

http://www.stagebeat.com/pa-systems-and-live-sound-equipment/microphones-and-mic-accessories/uk-wireless-frequency-regulations/

http://www.stagebeat.com/sites/stagebeatv7.001/productimages/assets/201102241637010.Wireless_licence_UK.pdf
Typically the low power radios don't need specific licensing (not sure about the UK) but there is definitely potential for interference depending on the frequencies used. Here in the US, Sennheiser map out licensed transmitters in most areas and their RF software suggests the frequencies to use at the address/area you are at so as not to interfere or be interfered with by any adjacent RF. It may be that in the UK, they control this more tightly. The Sennheiser software is a free download. I would encourage anyone interested in downloading the EU, UK, US or wherever they are, versions and seeing what frequencies would be needed for the areas you play in. Not all wireless systems can handle all the frequencies allocated to their use. You may need stuff that is in certain bands. This is why large concerts and sporting events have RF coordinators. To make sure everything plays nicely together. It's not a simple as switching on your $99 Sampson wireless kit and counting off.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
The implication from what I read is that all transmitters require a licence. The only exception I know is iTrip or similar that are very low-powered but for a while they were not permitted, either. The top power is stipulated but the lowest power isn't.
 

chachi

Junior Member
I really love my IEM.

But I have to warn everybody to not use them without a limiter.

Feedbacks happen all too easy, or even worse because its a very transient signal, somebody knocks over a mic stand.

I am a sound engineer and my ears are important to me, so I did alot of research.

A Limiter can also stop the transient peaks (e.g. of rimshots) that are more dangerous to our ears than lets say pink noise at high volume. The ear can only adapt rather slow to high volumes.

Also I cannot emphasize enough that you need to get an amp for your IEMs where you are the master of the overall volume. I have mixed many shows but I still would never trust anyone to control my IEM Volume for me.

I use an amp that clips onto my belt, so I can easily reach for the volume.
Also I can blend two signals together to taste, so I usually ask for two feeds, one with drums only and one with the rest of the band. great for the studio, too.

Like that I find IEMs to be truly liberating.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
I use the Alien Ears Triple Driver with 2 bass Drivers. I love the sound of them.

Rock on audio sell affordable Limiters http://www.rockonaudio.com/ which can take speaker/line level signal. If the venue has a foldback wedge for the drummer - you can take your signal off that.

If you're going to get custom molds, I would recommend getting an Audiologist to take the impressions. Its not worth screwing it up and having poor fitting IEMS.
+1 on the Rockbox. I've used one for about a year and it is great. I don't need a wireless unit and the Rockbox also has a limiter built-in, so it is the best of both worlds. Get one and a nice set of IEM's (Shure SE215 is a good entry point). My next step is some sort of throne shaker.
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
I went ahead and ordered the P6HW. I'll need it for studio monitoring when I track drums at home anyways. It should be here tomorrow!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I went ahead and ordered the P6HW. I'll need it for studio monitoring when I track drums at home anyways. It should be here tomorrow!
Sounds great mate. If I'm gigging regularly soon (a real possibility) then if I ever get my head around the licence in the UK, I'm going to be picking one of those up with a set of moulded IEMs. Would just about solve all the issues I have playing live. Those Shures look great (and I like Shure, not as much as AKG, but Shure will do fine!).
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Sounds great mate. If I'm gigging regularly soon (a real possibility) then if I ever get my head around the licence in the UK, I'm going to be picking one of those up with a set of moulded IEMs. Would just about solve all the issues I have playing live. Those Shures look great (and I like Shure, not as much as AKG, but Shure will do fine!).
The HW in the Shure model stands for hardwire. No RF issues to deal with.

I used to use Sennheiser G3 wireless IEM hardware. Seemed to be a better value than the comparably priced Shure stuff. More flexibility in dealing with channel set up and so forth. Pretty close to the pro level stuff.

Outfitting a whole band isn't cheap. Especially when we discovered that trying to run an 8 piece corporate ensemble off of a mono vocal/music mix wasn't going to work and had to go out and buy an Allen & Heath MixWiz M so we could have multiple stereo monitor mixes. If you aren't used to the isolation of playing to one static mix though headphones, IEMs will drive you nuts. You don't realize how much you rely on the cocktail party effect ability to aurally zero in on different things on stage at different points in the song until you are reduced to hearing a fixed mix in the center of your head. It is a real adjustment that some people have a lot of trouble with. I ended up hanging my receiver on a hot spot monitor and dispensing with the ear pieces. Fortunately in that band I wasn't relying on a click or anything else that had to isolated from the audience. It was funny to watch the singers pull their ears out and come over by me. Even when they had their own mix. Note that most large varsity acts have significant wedges going on and the ears are only reducing ambient levels and supplying a bit of help. They aren't monitoring entirely though the IEMs.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I use isolating headphones to monitor when I'm practicing at home, which more-or-less mimics the live experience using isolation. I have a feed from my mics into my computer and monitor whilst playing music. At the first few rehearsals with my current band, I was taking a direct feed from the desk to hear the vocals and guitars. It actually felt very odd monitoring another way, so I'm used to being totally isolated.

I mis-read the model number that NerfLad ordered. Either way, I still think Shure make great stuff. I have no issues with Sennheiser either, it just comes down to whether I need it and if I can afford it. Running a monitoring desk would be a piece of cake for me, lots of experience in live sound. If the other members of the band ask, I'll recommend what we should do.
 
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