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#293378 by musicmaker6
Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:03 pm
Hi all

I hate earbuds. I hate the closed-in feeling... the feeling of something directly in my ear... and not being able to hear any of the ambience of the room or the people in it. I much prefer on-ear headphones and am currently using these: ... UTF8&psc=1

They seem to work well for what I want.. I can hear myself and the band better but still hear the room but am concerned for my hearing as a fellow musician thinks this approach is actually worse than not using anything at all because I am adding room AND band sound.

Anyone know if this might be true?
#293379 by Mordgeld
Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:56 pm
I don't see a problem with that, especially if your system isn't feeding your monitors a custom mix. I mean, the alternative is room noise plus band noise plus floor monitor noise. In full disclosure, being a metal musician, I may have a higher tolerance for "noise".
#294238 by sean1349975
Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:03 am
Even if you are just using over-ear headphones, that's still going to be better than nothing for protecting your hearing.

I do use in-ear monitors, but I also have an ambient microphone that captures some of the room when performing. Do you have a small mixer and some microphones? Or are you strictly talking just noise-reducing earmuffs?
#294641 by Nile
Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:31 pm
OK here goes.

It's important to realise that one of the big benefits of "in-ear" ear buds is the acoustic isolation that a well fitted pair of in-ears provides. In theory the ear buds without any signal applied to them, should attenuate any on stage levels to a pretty harmless volume and present no fear of danger to you very valuable ears. Such that any mix provided to your "in-ears" means that you are listening to your own monitor mix at a comfortable and importantly non damaging level.

Using "over ear" headphones may actually contribute to more harmful levels being experienced by your irreplaceable and delicate ears. "Over Ears" don't provide significant enough levels of acoustic attenuation. the illusion of attenuation is provided by the level at which the headphone drivers are run at. In essence what you are doing is saying that I'll use my "Over Ears" to overcome the on stage levels which I want to kind of hear a bit of, by adding more monitor mix. You wouldn't create a mix based around a bass drum track where the channel fader is pegged at unity and your mix is created by how much louder you can make every other track.

The fact that in using "in-ears" you feel disconnected from the stage sound and the room, suggests that possibly the fault is with your monitor mix rather than fault of the buds.

Now I'm not saying you are ever going to get a wonderful transparent "you wouldn't think you are wearing them" monitor mix. Like most things in a musicians life there has to be an element of compromise. If I'm teaching you to suck eggs with this next bit my apologies. But are you setting up an ambient mic/s close to the stage to feed a degree of ambience into your in ears? Importantly are your IEM's being fed with a stereo mix? A mono mix just won't cut it (although I know artists who prefer it). Our brains have evolved to listen to the world stereoscopically and it's those little bits of timing information due to distance that a mono mix can't reproduce.

The kicker is that successful in ear monitoring is about more than investing is a half decent set of ear buds. The bulk of the work is done by a good audio mixer capable of providing each IEM send with a stereo mix and access to a half decent reverb for each send also. Fortunately todays clutch of affordable digital mixers (there are good second hand deals out there to be had also) put the ability to generate a half decent IEM mix into the hands of anyone willing to spend the time and give the problem a little thought.

For me one of the great advantages to a good set of IEM's and a readily repeatable monitor mix set up for artists and bands playing smaller venues. Is that it provides the performer with a consistent, dependable monitor mix every time. The effects of differing venues and qualities of acoustics etc get greatly reduced and the performer gets a reliable personal mix to work from.
#294642 by Mordgeld
Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:48 pm
With all due respect, I don't entirely agree with you, Nile. Meaning, there are some unaddressed variables. First, it does matter what kind of headphones. Are they just foam pads resting against the ear? I'm not recommending that. Recording headphones do a lot better job of isolation than open-back mixing headphones. Actual drummer headphones might even isolate too much. Second, modern musicians generally don't run as high stage levels as they used to due to PAs doing a better job of handling a full mix. The mains should not be behind you. (Although I do run some speakers and subs in the back to simulate the placement of a drummer for the drum track since we don't have a drummer) Lastly, the OP is talking about being able to hear the room ambiance. I'm pretty sure they are not in a raging metal band. Fully over-ear headphones would not be worse than monitors pushed to deliver the same perceived level to the ears. sean1349975 is on point, there are plenty of drummers successfully using over-ear headphones to good effect. Why would the same type of headphones suddenly be harmful for a singer? We do agree that a good mix is helpful and could be harmful if done incorrectly. I'm not saying you are wrong about the ear-buds, but I do think the job can be done safely with over-ear headphones that are appropriate to that application and due diligence with the sound levels on stage.

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