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#121655 by lesmonk
Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:50 pm
In ear monitors versus wedges? I am sure the answer to my question will be try out the in ear but am curious to know others thoughts and pros and cons. We are a five piece band and have been renting monitors (new band) but are about to make the investment.

#121656 by jsantos
Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:06 pm
For the past 2 years, the bands I perform with have been using in-ear monitors. But here are some thoughts to help with your dicision:

Speaker Monitoring

Wedge - or speaker - monitoring is the standard for both home studios and live music clubs. In live sound, the wedges are fed from either a separate monitor board, which takes a split from the stage and creates a custom mix for each musician, or fed from the auxiliary sends of the front-of-house sound board. Monitor wedges tend to be very loud; they're credited with being one of the reasons working musicians have to be so conscientious about their hearing health. The advantages to wedges are pretty clear cut — a lot of musicians prefer wedges because it allows them to form a custom listening environment that includes not only the wedge and the mix coming from it, but their guitar amps and the reverb of the room. However, most audiologists agree: the loudness of wedges is bad for your hearing. Wedge monitoring is also difficult for working bands who have to provide their own PA systems; the systems are heavy and require a lot of setup time.

In recording studios, speaker monitoring is the standard. It's challenging to get a good mix on headphones unless they're very flat and accurate. Speaker monitoring is also the best way to see what a mix will sound like on a variety of systems.

In-Ear Monitoring

In the early days of in-ear monitoring, engineers like Marty Garcia at Future Sonics were putting stock Sony earbuds in crude earmolds connected to hard-wired amplifiers. Now, 20 years later, we have extremely complicated in-ear systems; custom-molded earpieces with two or three speakers in each (to handle the mids, highs, and lows seperately) are becoming the standard, and many in-ear monitors are incorporating ambient systems into their earpieces to reduce the learning curve on in-ears. In-ear monitoring has several advantages, the greatest being hearing conservation. Cutting yourself off from loud stage wedges is a great idea, as you can control your volume and mix as you want it without a struggle.

The disadvantages are, surprisingly, similar to wedge monitoring: sometimes listeners push the in-ears louder than they should, forgetting that by doing so they can hit the same sound pressure levels as wedge monitors. In addition, a lot of artists can't get used to the isolation, which can be combated by using ambient microphones on stage.

For home studios, a good pair of in-ears can be an accurate - although expensive - way to monitor your recording mix.

#121657 by J-HALEY
Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:08 pm
Lesmonk, IMO this is a no brainer hands down I.E.M.'s the pro's of IEM
1) You can actually hear yourself
2) They eliminate almost all feedback of monitors
3) The cost is about the same all things considered
4) They can really save your hearing over time
5) You can hear every nuance of your voice and there is no doubt which voice is yours in a 5 part vocal harmony!
6) If you run your monitor system in stereo it is even better
7) If you are running sound fron the stage you can put the monitor system in one ear and the mains in the other.
8 You don't have to lug around all those wedges and power amps to run them.
9) You have more room in your trailer.

The cons to I.E.M.'s are
1) the isolation can take a little getting used to (very similar to being in a recording studio)
2) All of the instruments in the band need to be miked and ran thru the monitors ( however the kick and snare are the main drums I like in mine)
3) you can really ruin your hearing over time if you turn them up to loud.

I have been using I.E.M.'s for 10 years now and I HATE a freakin wedge in front of me those things are freakin NASTY LOL! :lol:

#121661 by Sir Jamsalot
Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:55 pm
jsantos wrote:For the past 2 years, *snip

Great info! Thanks. I'll have to look them up - I knew such an animal existed, but I didn't realize they were so complex. Very interesting topic indeed.

Christian A.

#121663 by gbheil
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:13 pm
I,m no pro. Certainly with less stage time than J or j.
But here is my $ 0.02

I like the sound of monitors.
I like having a "stage sound environment".
In intimate settings the stage environment is all we need, no bother to even haul out the big mains. Lead vox, back up vox, and bassist / vox use hotspots, then I have a left and right stage mix (200 watt Yamaha two ways). My amp is loud enough it does not need to be in the monitor path at all or very very little.

When I get the opportunity to revamp our sound system I intend to get one of those mixers that has six monitor sends.
Each member can mix and match his own as well as an overall stage environment.

#121665 by fisherman bob
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:22 pm
It might depend on the genre of music you play. We gigged one time with a guitarist who used the ear monitors. Big mistake. I play blues and there's a LOT of onstage communication between band members DURING the songs. This guitarist was in his own world. If you are playing music which is pretty much pre-programmed the ear monitors mght be the better way to go. If you play in a blues band, at least the band I'm in, you better pay attention to those around you....

#121668 by gbheil
Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:28 pm
fisherman bob wrote:It might depend on the genre of music you play. We gigged one time with a guitarist who used the ear monitors. Big mistake. I play blues and there's a LOT of onstage communication between band members DURING the songs. This guitarist was in his own world. If you are playing music which is pretty much pre-programmed the ear monitors might be the better way to go. If you play in a blues band, at least the band I'm in, you better pay attention to those around you....

That's a good point Bob.
We also "signal" each other a lot.
Like that look I get from Eric when it's time for me to come back in ETC.
Feel really isolated playing in headphones.
I suppose it has a lot to do with what your accustomed to.

#121712 by philbymon
Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:32 pm
Everyone I've talked to who uses the IEM's have said that their vocals improve immediately. That in itself makes me wanna use them.

I don't worry too much about the isolation issue. Anyone can train themselves to be more aware of their surroundings. The ppl I work with have been with me for quite some time, & I often zone out & just go through the motions on old material. I think the IEM's would actually help me to stay more aware of vocal cues, cua the vox are so often buried in bad monitor mixes.

Any tool that helps vocals is one that should be used, imho. Far too often, the voice is the hardest instrument to hear, in my experience, esp if you're standing near that damned crash cymbal!

Seems like these could help protect your hearing, if they're used right, too.

I'd definitely use them, if we had them.

#121714 by J-HALEY
Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:46 pm
Philby, that is one of the pros I left off. There Is WAAYYY less vocal strain because you can hear every nuance of your voice!
If you get I.E.M.'s I highly recommend the Carvin units and DON'T get the sure ear buds, the ones that come with the carvin units are not that great. I highly advise the Ulitimate Ears brand I paid $130.00 (for ear buds) online they are Ultimate Ears with multiple drivers and have the same componants and specs as the Shure E5's (costing $500.00)
I advise anyone wanting one of these systems to do YOUR RESEARCH these things are wireless and you will want to get a frequency that is still available in your city. Television stations and cell phone company's are quickly consuming (highjacking) the available radio frequency's around the country. I understand they are even taking ones that are already being used by some of these products!

#121716 by philbymon
Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:49 pm
Hey, now that's some great advice, JH! Thanks. That wouldn't even have occurred to me.

Is there a brand that has them that allows you to change the frequency? I mean, some bands TRAVEL, ya know? That would be a huge selling point for me, but it prolly costs an arm & a crotch.

#121717 by J-HALEY
Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:00 pm
Yes philby, mine can change to 16 dif. frequency's. Most units you have that option due to bands having multiple units in there group i.e. wireless mic's, wireless guitar systems and wireless I.E.M.'s.
Some of the older models have crystals and by the way they sound WWWAAAAYYYYY! better but they only have 2 freq. due to the fact that there were so many available freq. 10 years ago. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. The newer units are digital and don't have the crystals but they sound very good. A friend just got in the latest Shure units (PM9 I think) and we used them a couple of weeks ago at a gig and they sounded great.
Oh and one other Con I forgot to mention is they tend to pop and crackle every now and then as they catch some interference but the pros make that a mute point once you get used to them (which took me about a year) you will NEVER go back to a wedge AGAIN!

#121719 by gbheil
Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:12 pm
That whole wireless issue is a problem that's screwed up like a can of worms in the Texas sun.
Communications companies have already "paid" the FCC to outlaw most of the wireless systems already in use by musicians due to the availability of frequency. This will continue unabated as the communications industry has very deep pockets. Buy it today it will be illegal to use (plus you will get interference) tomorrow.
Not all frequencies are created equal. We will get stuck with the ones less suited for our purposes if they remain available to us at all.

#121721 by J-HALEY
Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:22 pm
Currently I am playing in 2 bands I am transitioning from one band to the next. One band contracts out the sound and the sound co. uses floor monitors (wedges) after using I.E.M.'s for so many years to me at least it was like going back to the STONE AGES. I was so distracted I said screw this and pulled my I.E.M. unit out of my pa rack and put it in a smaller rack and now carry that to the gig. I just tell the sound engineer send me an UNPOWERED monitor mix and now I am fine.
In the other band I have a friend that runs sound, I have played with for many years I have told you guys about him in the past. He LOVES new technology and just purchased the new Allen and Heath Mixrack that thing is UNBELIEVABLE! Basically it is a computer and takes the place of a snake in fact it looks just like a snake only is rack mounted aprox. 12" high and 20" wide and it does anything you need. It has all of the effects, compressors, a driverack p.a. and has 64 channels and is controlled via a wireless laptop computer. Or you can buy the optional 64 channel (controller) mixer LMAO for $10,000. Seriously this with a power conditioner to protect it, with powered speakers and I.E.M.'s is all you need. Oh and the Mixrack unit cost 5K.

#121723 by J-HALEY
Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:24 pm
Screw them George I am using mine they will have to come take it from MY COLD DEAD HAND! LMAO! :lol:

#121725 by gbheil
Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:26 pm

I guess I'm old fashioned.

I'll stick with the kiss method AMAP.

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