Looking for input on In Ear Monitors

GrimmReefer

Senior Member
Whats up guys and gals? This post is really just for feedback on what i can expect more than asking for advice so i can make a decision. My band has already made the decision and is putting money together for a full in ear monitor system. We are on the major club level with the occasional mid level club gigs.

We are purchasing an "on stage" mixer to control our mixes as well as 5 receivers and are all getting molds made from an audiologist in order to get the best quality from our mixes possible. Without getting too in depth with everything we are getting, basically we are getting the top of the line equipment in order to show up to a gig, set up and hand the sound guy a snake with our monitor mixes.

I have used an in ear ear monitor set up roughly 10 times and have never liked it. However, it was simply a mono mix with a cheap system and that has only been when a house sound system was malfunctioning or some other reason. My question is, once we have spent the time to configure all of our mixes, will it be a good experience? My band is a Rock/Hip Hop Party/Cover band. I use a sampler and would be implementing a click on certain songs.

I am basically just looking for some feedback on other drummers experiences in trasitioning from a floor monitor to in ears.

Keep in mind that i currently have high quality equipment including amps, monitors, mics and the such and we are also getting the highest quality in ears so there should be no worry of comfort or quality but more of experience.

I hope to hear some of your experiences or advice on what to expect and how to make it worth it in the end.

Thanks all!!!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
A great mix is key to a great performance, and the better you can hear what you want, the better you will play.

I went from monitors, to phones, to in-ears, back to phones.

I had custom molds and dual elements, so fidelity- and isolation-wise my in-ears were fine. What I didn't like was the hassle of removing one every time someone needed to say something directly/privately/quietly to me, then weaseling it back in for a proper fit. For the best fit and to ease chafing, I also used a little Neosporin which asctually gave a really nice seal, but accentuated the problem above, not to mention the mess on the mold, ear canal, and fingers. Something else to consider... in-ears are fairly delicate and need to be handled gently. If you have a problem or a wire breaks, the whole thing needs to go somewhere for repair, and that can be expensive.

For me, using headphones allows instant cup-on/cup-off for hearing somebody talk... there's no mess in my ear-canal or fingers... and if they break, I can have a new pair in my hands the following business morning. But as there's not a major expense in having a spare pair... I do. I use the GK Ultraphones. The fidelity is excellent (with Sony 7506 drivers) and so is the isolation (they're built into Peltor shop/hunting hearing protectors.)

There are a few possible drawbacks: they're headphones, so they're obvious. And drummers with a lot of hair may find they don't provide a good seal around the ear.

That's my experience, and your band may not appreciate you looking like you came out of the studio. I did a few TV things where using my in-ears was preferrable for vanity (and because it's just one song vs a whole night of playing) and honestly, I still didn't like dealing with them.

But in-ears work for a lot of performers - perhaps they just tolerate them - and as with most things, it's a personal decision and preference.

Bermuda
 

GrimmReefer

Senior Member
Thanks a lot for the input. This helps a lot. So the biggest draw back is the isolation from band members possibly trying to say something to you in between songs.

I assume this also can be a problem in regards to hearing the crowd. A lot of energy comes from the crowd but i suppose to sound your best you have to make sacrifices.

Have you (or has anyone) heard of anyone or had any experience of bands implimenting microphones specifically for the purposes of on stage talking and such. How about a mic to specifically pick up the crowd response? Is all this overkill or is this something bands actually do?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Have you (or has anyone) heard of anyone or had any experience of bands implimenting microphones specifically for the purposes of on stage talking and such. How about a mic to specifically pick up the crowd response? Is all this overkill or is this something bands actually do?
Yes on both counts, the only possible limitations are the available channels on the monitor board for those mics.

If you had to make a choice, you'd definitely need a mic for the band to talk to each other in case a string breaks, for changes in set order, etc.

Keep in mind also that a good mix is not only about what you hear, but what you don't hear. Use the isolation to your advantage, and don't feel the need to have every instrument in perfect balance. Don't forget that your job is to play with the other musicians, not necessarily to listen to the band as if you were sitting in the audience. It's sort of a conceptual thing... you'll discover and employ this the more you use the in-ears. For example, my mix is very much a "need to know" basis - more about keeping things out of my mix than in - and I have a different mix for every song.

Bermuda
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Bermuda, I know I saw an advert a little while ago for an in-ear monitor system which allowed you to plug in a lapel mic in order to get around the problem you mentioned, so that you get a little bit of ambient sound in addition to the mix. I think the thing about these were that you could do your own mix for them yourself. Possibly audio-technica.
 

GrimmReefer

Senior Member
Thanks to both of you. I actually found a system that allows ambient sound to be picked up and mixed into your in ear mix at the level you want it.

This requires an extra belt pack and is a certain type of ear bud.

I think as a band we are going to pass on that option though. We may come back to that option in the future but we are already spending a ton of money on this system so why add un needed expenses now.

I really appreciate the input.
 

mcbike

Silver Member
It is weird at first, and you should practice with the system a few times before using it on a gig. I know a few bands who use a condenser mic pointed at the crowd, i've seen these in stereo pairs and also a single mic in the middle.

I personally don't have problems with in ears but some of the people I play with have weird reactions. for example a singer giving me a death stare and telling me I dropped the beat because I moved the backbeat to the hi hat instead of the snare.

are you guys getting a digital board? these are really expensive but they are handy because you can recall mixes.

I see more and more drummers using headphones and I think it looks fine. All the cover bands I see in austin now are playing with sequencers and most of the drummers use headphones. I even see more and more pros wearing headphones at gigs. I like in ears, they seem to be more comfortable than wearing headphones all night.

It can be hard to keep your kit in balance dynamically with in-ears if you don't have have a good mix.

another small tip is to get a small bulldog clip and clip your cord to the back of your collar, that will help everything stay in place.
 
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