wireless monitoring recommendations

MaccyMu

Junior Member
Hi All,
I have been doing some research on wireless headphone/earphone monitoring and understand some basics. I have only started looking yesterday and so am not an expert, but it seems that this is the sort of system I should be looking at. Note this is just an example, I am not thinking yet of getting this.


These are my requirements:

  1. The set up is a 12 piece band, most of which is going through a PA, so the transmitter would be plugged into that. I am probably between 5 and 7 metres away from the PA and don't want any cables running between me and the PA.
  2. I would like some output jacks on the transmitter perhaps to support singers who are happy to have a cable connection to the transmitter.
  3. I also want to use the metronome on my phone, but it seems the only way to do that is to make the phone an input into transmitter, It would be great if I could make the phone an input into the receiver. Ideally I would like a Bluetooth solution coming off the phone. I suspect this isn't easily achievable so maybe some way of making a phone Bluetooth connection to receiver? assuming the receiver and dual input.
  4. I will probably start out with headphones initially but may switch to earphones in the future (not sure that affects anything).
  5. This is not a pro band and I am not a pro; the Shure solution with headphones looks like it would cost £1000+. This is much more than I was envisioning. But I don't want to get something that I regret in a few years and so will spend the minimum necessary.

Any help appreciated.

Ben.
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
Hi Ben,

My few thoughts:

Regarding your #1, a wireless package such as the SHURE example you proposed seems like it would work fine.
Regarding your #2, I would not consider "supporting other musicians" in my decision at all. I think having another musician connected via cable to your transmitter is a recipe for disaster. First, just in moving around the two of you will constantly tug at each other. Second, the mix of instruments you each prefer is bound to be very different. If you want to allow other musicians to use your wireless mix via their wireless receiver and IEM package that's fine as long as they agree to your mix. (but no cable connection!)
Regarding your #3, I don't really know about that.
Regarding your #4, I definitely recommend in-ear monitors over headphones mostly for keeping cool, but some here would say headphones are fine. As far as IEMs there are several threads here you can search for for recommendations about best cheap IEMs or whether you should go custom fit.
I don't know much about #5 either.

Good luck!
 

dboomer

Senior Member
When you add a wireless IEM you have to consider all other wireless you will be using. All radios interact with all other radios so you can count on all blocks to work together nor mixing all other brands. I’m assuming you are in the UK and the rules for what frequencies are changing. If you travel to any other countries you will also need to take into account what frequencies are legal there

Those PSM300s you are looking at are now a pretty old design with limited bandwidth. If I were you I would look at the new IEMs from Audio Technica as they have a very wide frequency range, They will also connect directly to a computer and AT offers a free RF coordination software. You just can‘t guess for proper frequencies any more. There is also a new Sennheiser series on the way.

As far as other bandmates taking a feed, just split the feed from your board going into your IEM Tx.

All that said, if you are sitting stationary going wireless is an extravagance. It will have lower sound quality than wire and come at great expense. And of course it will never be as reliable.

Full disclosure, I have an AT IEM system, but 9 times out of 10 I go hardwired. In my current day gig, I am an engineer that designs wireless systems. 😉
 

MaccyMu

Junior Member
All that said, if you are sitting stationary going wireless is an extravagance. It will have lower sound quality than wire and come at great expense. And of course it will never be as reliable.

Full disclosure, I have an AT IEM system, but 9 times out of 10 I go hardwired. In my current day gig, I am an engineer that designs wireless systems. 😉

I did plug into the Phone Out (not Aux Out) on the PA with a long headphone extension lead. The experience wasn't great; I got pretty weak signal.

I might actually try getting a satisfactory wired setup, and then consider wireless.

My headphone extension lead was very cheap. Do you think a better extension lead and a headphone amplifier are the way to go?
 

C. Dave Run

Gold Member
I’m assuming you are in the UK and the rules for what frequencies are changing. If you travel to any other countries you will also need to take into account what frequencies are legal there
Why would the frequencies from a transmitter be a legal thing? Genuinely curious.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
I did plug into the Phone Out (not Aux Out) on the PA with a long headphone extension lead. The experience wasn't great; I got pretty weak signal.

I might actually try getting a satisfactory wired setup, and then consider wireless.

My headphone extension lead was very cheap. Do you think a better extension lead and a headphone amplifier are the way to go?

Not to be impolite here … but you’ve done everything incorrectly. Go get (and pay for) some real help. You’ll like the results.
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
I did plug into the Phone Out (not Aux Out) on the PA with a long headphone extension lead. The experience wasn't great; I got pretty weak signal.

I might actually try getting a satisfactory wired setup, and then consider wireless.

My headphone extension lead was very cheap. Do you think a better extension lead and a headphone amplifier are the way to go?
Are you saying you plugged in regular headphones into the PA using a ~6m cord? I think that would produce a weak signal.

By "PA", do you mean a mixer? If so, what mixer and does it have any XLR outs?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If you are not ready to buy something, don’t buy anything. The deal with RF wireless stuff, is the available frequency ranges change every so many years. So if you buy something now and not use it for years, whoever is in charge of radio frequencies in your country could slowly change them and your frequency range could get cut or co-opted by something else. I do know when the FCC here in the US opened up for HDTV frequencies, a lot of wireless frequencies used for wireless mics and in-ear monitors were taken, making those old units un useable. Meaning the users just had to buy new ones. We go through this a lot in my company and we have a little department that just monitors wireless frequencies so we’re ahead of the game on what we’d have to eventually replace.

All that said, there are a lot of cheaper RF in-ear packages you could use. I know the Shures are expensive, but they’re bulletproof in operation. But I got a Galaxy Audio IEM receiver and Transmitter for just over $220 on Amazon and it’s worked great for the whole year I’ve had it so far. And it’s cheap enough to replace if my frequencies get replaced.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I did plug into the Phone Out (not Aux Out) on the PA with a long headphone extension lead. The experience wasn't great; I got pretty weak signal.

I might actually try getting a satisfactory wired setup, and then consider wireless.

My headphone extension lead was very cheap. Do you think a better extension lead and a headphone amplifier are the way to go?
I have a very inexpensive 2 channel rolls headphone app..$25 in the late nineties probably still pretty cheap. I run an XLR chord from auxiliary in the mixer board To the headphone amp and that's where I get my inears mix for the band and. I also plug a metronome into that amp and adjust the volume accordingly between the two. I don't see no reason to buy a wireless system when I don't move from one spot.
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
Why would the frequencies from a transmitter be a legal thing? Genuinely curious.
In the UK, you can get very heavily fined for using frequencies you haven't purchased a licence for. Some wireless kit operates in protected frequencies (usually TV, radio, emergency services, etc.). There's a bit of a use-case loophole in that if you're in a venue and you've just bought the kit you have to find frequencies that work - otherwise you may be paying for frequencies that don't work well. In theory you could be fined for this too but in the real-world, you're unlikely to get inspected unless somebody complains. OFCOM will inspect theatres to make sure their frequencies are licenced.

There is a suitable frequency range that doesn't need a licence but usually you'll find very cheap gear using them and most susceptible to interference because other people may be using those frequncies too.

The best option for most people is to use wireless kit that broadcasts in the 2.4GHz range. This is licence-free and works well. The only downside is that WiFi protocols up to 802.11n operate in the 2.4GHz range so you can come across interference. The trick there is to use channels that differ from the 13 standard WiFi channels (check your manual kids!) and keep the radios away from WiFi access points.

I've used traditional wireless kit and 2.4GHz kit and never really had a performance problem with either.
 

MaccyMu

Junior Member
Are you saying you plugged in regular headphones into the PA using a ~6m cord? I think that would produce a weak signal.

By "PA", do you mean a mixer? If so, what mixer and does it have any XLR outs?
Yes, by PA I mean mixer. All outputs are taken and the only thing left that I could possibly use is the Phone Out socket. It is a very cheap mixer BTW:


The two XLR outs are taken by PA speakers.
 

MaccyMu

Junior Member
If you are not ready to buy something, don’t buy anything. The deal with RF wireless stuff, is the available frequency ranges change every so many years. So if you buy something now and not use it for years, whoever is in charge of radio frequencies in your country could slowly change them and your frequency range could get cut or co-opted by something else. I do know when the FCC here in the US opened up for HDTV frequencies, a lot of wireless frequencies used for wireless mics and in-ear monitors were taken, making those old units un useable. Meaning the users just had to buy new ones. We go through this a lot in my company and we have a little department that just monitors wireless frequencies so we’re ahead of the game on what we’d have to eventually replace.

All that said, there are a lot of cheaper RF in-ear packages you could use. I know the Shures are expensive, but they’re bulletproof in operation. But I got a Galaxy Audio IEM receiver and Transmitter for just over $220 on Amazon and it’s worked great for the whole year I’ve had it so far. And it’s cheap enough to replace if my frequencies get replaced.
Yep, this thread has made me decide to ditch wireless monitoring. I still want to monitor though and will pursue wired monitoring.
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
I think if I were in your position I would probably focus on buying a wired IEM set-up for myself. This would include:
1. 25' 1/4"-to-XLR cable to go from your mixer to your headphone amp. I would purchase a Monoprice Premier brand cable here in the U.S.
2. Behringer Powerplay P1 headphone amp (contains in in-line volume limiter and has two XLR input jacks: one can receive the signal from the mixer, the other could receive a click from your metronome via 3.5mm-to-XLR cable)
3. IEMs like the Shure 215s, although if you can afford it I recommend a triple driver version IEM

Please note: I am not certain this arrangement would work through your phone out or aux out jacks on your mixer because of signal strength issues. I am not expert enough in these matters. This video might help:


My band is 5-6 members and we use:
1. Behringer XR18 digital mixer (18 XLR ins, 6 XLR outs for musician IEMs). This is owned by our "band leader" type guy.
2. Everyone uses IEMs they each bought individually. Mine is the Behringer Powerplay P1 headphone amp to triple driver (that I bought on sale) Mackie MP-320 IEMs

12 members is a big band that would likely really need something like a Behringer X32.

If many people in your band adopt wired IEMs that will add a lot of cables on your stage but good cable management can minimize their problems:


Good luck!
 
Top