In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Nottingham England
Posts: 104
In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions?

Hi everybody. I'm not a sound engineer, I'm a guitarist. In my band we're fortunate to have a small crew. The main thing we mess about with at soundchecks are monitoring issues. It makes me weary, looks unprofessional and is time consuming "need more vox, less guitar, what's that hum???" - you know how it is. We've got a bit on money in the pot and I was wondering if there is a system out there for wireless in-ear monitoring for guitar bass drums and vox. I'm sure it can't be that simple but can anybody point me in the right direction of a product/system I could take a look at?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NYC
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Re: In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions?

We were using Shure P2TR215CL System in my last band. These were a wireless system with earphone, transmitter, and receiver. These were roughly $500 for the set. We switch from floor monitor to these.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 01:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: MI USA
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Re: In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions?

We're using headphones to rehearse with this new band I'm in. I'm mic-ing my SLO-100 through a cab, signal then goes through the board, then out to us to mix. All I can say is , while it saves ears and allows you to hear a good mix, as a guitarist, it sure takes some getting used to. The guitar tone will never quite sound like it does coming from the cab, and the response seems way different too,,,,obviously because your sort of playing to the end result of your own sound. Plus, we have a digital board, so it is like playing while hearing a digitized signal coming back to you. It is truly a unique and often frustrating experience on that end,,,, Definitely has its positives and negatives overall. If the sound and response of your amp coming through your cab makes you drool,,,,like my SLO always does.....well, be prepared to sacrifice that a bit for in-ears or headphones. Can take away from your playing. I'd kind of compare it to playing through digital distortion for the first time, which I still don't care for at all. I've been sticking with it to get more used to it, but it is still a sacrifice to me. Not sure what I'll do when we start gigging, as it seems to have the potential to ruin my night if my sound is making me fight my guitar. If it wasn't for loud drummers, ideally, it would be great to just play and listen to one's amp at comfortable volumes for the whole night by standing near the speaker cab. But in real life, that situation never exists.

Last edited by lynchfan6; 12-02-2012 at 07:12 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: currently Madrid
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Re: In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions?

This is an interesting thread for me because I'm a sound engineer and not much of a guitarist!

My immediate response would be to avoid going wireless if you can. The reason being that wireless systems come with their own set of issues which may just swap with your current issues.

If you simply must run around on stage and be unchained by cables then you have two choices for wireless. VHF (very high frequency range) or UHF (ultra high frequency range). Beware the VHF range as it's the most common range for people to use. "charlie breaker one nine we need a cab to pick up at the Rock city nightclub" etc. In which case you would be looking to use the UHF range. In the U.K. you generally need a licence to use UHF systems. You can get away without a license of course but if you are using the same frequencies as someone in another nearby venue WITH a licence they are likely to have a stronger output which means you might get the comedy Spinal Tap interference during your set. Also, they'll come looking for the source of their interference i.e. you and you'll have to change your frequencies. Not cool dot com. I've done it myself!

We were doing a gig in the parking lot of the S.F. Giants baseball stadium. There happened to be a football game on in the stadium and when we came to soundcheck we were getting beautifully clear and crisp commentary coming down one of the guitar lines.

Doing a gig in Blackpool and halfway through the day got bloody Cannon & Ball coming on strong from another venue in the same building! (Sorry Americans, only the Brits will get that).

Wireless does not compare with the quality, and most of all, reassurance that you are connected to your equipment. This is where your 1/4 inch jack to jack copper and rubber cable into your amp or desk just simply rules over wireless. I work for a show with the best gear in the world and we almost always have some issues with wireless no matter how good our set up is, where we are, and that we follow every rule and regulation in the book.

If you are going wireless I recommend Sennheiser equipment. Shure are also good and probably more budget friendly. I can't recommend Samson but only because I've never used their equipment.
Also, think about the power consumption (you'll go through batteries like no tomorrow. If you get rechargeables you'll need a seriously strict charging regime). As far as actual in ear buds etc. the best you'll get is custom molded earpieces but they're nuts expensive ($800+). I can recommend 'off the shelf' models like Future Sonics Atrios or Shure E5's etc. The good thing about those are that they come with either foam or rubber flanges for your comfort. Not quite molded but adjustable comfort non-the-less. Don't even consider i-pod earbuds or any of that crap! Look for earbuds with detachable/replaceable cables too. You don't want to shell out for good earbuds only to find that the cable got caught on a road case latch and is now defunct.


Why not consider hard wired in ear systems? Shure do really good hard wired in-ear systems, basically belt pacs that you wear with a cable heading back to the monitor desk or stage box or whatever.

Also, if you can, why not ask your monitor guy to take down a general note of settings from the desk once your done sound checking? Most desks in most venues are roughly the same and you can get away with throwing some rough ideas onto the desk before even having the band there. This is especially true with digital desks. Has the desk got a USB port? Get a memory key and steal those settings! The next time you get to a venue and it has the same board as one you used in that other city last month you can load up the settings and be closer than starting from scratch. I'm sure your guys are already doing that though.

In conclusion (!) even if you do get in-ears and they're wireless and fit well and there's no interference - you'll still hear that freakin' buzz & feedback if there's a dodgy mic placement / e.q. / connection / cable / earth in the system. It'll just be right inside your head instead of coming from the speaker in front of you!

Think about getting some custom molded earplugs with exchangable decibel filters. This will cost something like 100 pounds or $160 but the upside is that a) your hearing will be protected, b) buzzes and mild feedback will not be so bugging and, c) you will actually hear everything more clearly as the reverb of the room/hall will be reduced as well as all that crash-bang-tishing the drummer is doing.

EVERYBODY - Please be patient with the Soundies - we are usually doing everything we can to give you proper musicians what you need!

All the best,

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 10:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: currently Madrid
Posts: 428
Exclamation Re: In ear monitoring system for band. Any suggestions?

I thought this would make for an amusing add-on to my schpeel above;

So we get to Miami a couple of weeks ago and where are we placed? In the car park of the Miami Dolphins. Well, during our set-up we do a frequency scan to see what the action is around the area. Huge chunks of our usable frequency spectrum is already being used - way more than I've ever seen before. Due to an end of season football game happening next door at the stadium the following day we reason that it must be all the t.v. station transmissions and general wireless hubbub that goes along with these sporting events. This game by the way seems to be a very big deal, since we're not even allowed to approach our worksite on match day due to there being upwards of 80,000 spectators expected. Anyway, match day comes & goes, we get back to work and find that the frequency spectrum is still full to bursting with action which really sends us up the river sans paddle. A fast e-mail or two to the tech team of the stadium to see what's going on quickly finds us facing the prospect of trying to out-manoeuvre some 5+ massive AT&T transmission antennas about a kilometre away which are really causing the problem - something the guys at the stadium know plenty about having to deal with it themselves.
Another few speedy emails to Sennheiser Canada confirms that the equipment we carry for in-ear monitoring - top of the range in-ear systems - is basically dead in the water with that much R.F. flying about. A big thank you to them for customer support - another reason to recommend them and their products - they sent us all the gear we needed which arrived on the day of our opening night. Talk about cutting it fine!

So, to support my previous ramble about whether to go wireless or not, I would say if at all possible go for hard wired systems. If you must go wireless be prepared for all sorts of new logistical nightmares, including nearby mobile phone signal transmission antennas!

Happy New Year to all
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