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Author Topic: Different slant on IEM pullouts  (Read 1342 times)

frank kayser

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Different slant on IEM pullouts
« on: June 23, 2018, 07:43:21 pm »


So as to not hijack the threadhttp://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,167582.10.html
I thought I'd start this one...


We've recently put the band on IEMs.  Two are on the "stock" SENNHEISER buds, one on some Bose non-isolating ears, and one on some Westone AM30s.  We are running mono mixes (yes, I know stereo is better - I asked that before...)


Three of the four seem happy with their mix, but the leader keeps pulling one bud out.
She is using the Senn stock buds...
I don't think it is a comfort problem
So it must be the mix, I'm guessing


So when I ask her what I can do, she is unsure of what's wrong.
I've tried listening to her mix - to me it sounds "fine", but I'm not the performer.
I've tried reasoning her through each section of the mix - she's not sure what's missing or in excess.
Sometimes she is unaware she's taken one out.
I have ambient mics out and in her mix.


She has mentioned her IEMs sounds better than the room... I can come up with reasons that may be - the clarity in the ears, vs the in-house speakers (we plug out rig into those...)


Maybe it is direct communication with the band...


Any tips/hints on how I can discover what's wrong? 


Has anyone run across people who just cannot adjust?


frank
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2018, 08:04:18 pm »

I can't guess what's wrong, but try pay attention to when she pulls them out. What is happening on stage? What program material is being played?

Maybe from that you'll be able to find a pattern that will help you narrow down the issue.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 01:50:33 am by Jonathan Johnson »
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2018, 09:33:00 pm »

I don't know your exact problem, but I can tell you that the stock Sennheiser buds sound nice but have very weak isolation from outside noise.  Also a very common problem with vocalists is phase/polarity differences between earbud sound and the acoustic vocal sound coming through the skull itself. 
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Luke Geis

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 01:54:12 am »

You have to go stereo, before you do anything else. If the others are happy, leave them alone. Focus on her for now and keep chipping away. The usual suspect for ears is the bone coupling that occurs. The vocals woof up in the head and it just makes mud of everything. Sounds fine to everyone else because they aren't singing at the time. The trick is finding a way to get rid of the bone coupling from the earbud. Try talking or singing along with the song with a set of ears that are dedicated to you and you will see very quickly what I mean.

I have an evil way of abating the issue ( that I am still perfecting, so not entirely ready to divulge ) that so far, can make even the cheapest OEM ear buds perform as well as $2,000 units!!!! I can say this; it requires duplicates of channels and does involve tricky use of EQ. It is not practical unless you are 100% dedicated to taking the time to dial in that person too. It is not something you can set up 10 minutes before a show, but once dialed in, will make the singer absolutely believe they are in a studio, listening to a recording session!!!! Point being, it can be done, but you have to have stereo ears first and then be willing to dedicate MANY channels to processing and time. Once you do it for one, you have to do it for everyone who sings.....

The first thing you need to do is find a way to get her to articulate what the issue is though. If she can't describe, or articulate whats wrong, you will go in circles until you accidentally fall on it.
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frank kayser

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 01:15:16 pm »

You have to go stereo, before you do anything else. If the others are happy, leave them alone. Focus on her for now and keep chipping away. The usual suspect for ears is the bone coupling that occurs. The vocals woof up in the head and it just makes mud of everything. Sounds fine to everyone else because they aren't singing at the time. The trick is finding a way to get rid of the bone coupling from the earbud. Try talking or singing along with the song with a set of ears that are dedicated to you and you will see very quickly what I mean.

I have an evil way of abating the issue ( that I am still perfecting, so not entirely ready to divulge ) that so far, can make even the cheapest OEM ear buds perform as well as $2,000 units!!!! I can say this; it requires duplicates of channels and does involve tricky use of EQ. It is not practical unless you are 100% dedicated to taking the time to dial in that person too. It is not something you can set up 10 minutes before a show, but once dialed in, will make the singer absolutely believe they are in a studio, listening to a recording session!!!! Point being, it can be done, but you have to have stereo ears first and then be willing to dedicate MANY channels to processing and time. Once you do it for one, you have to do it for everyone who sings.....

The first thing you need to do is find a way to get her to articulate what the issue is though. If she can't describe, or articulate whats wrong, you will go in circles until you accidentally fall on it.
You hit the nail on the head - circles.  I've worked with the band in practice, so it isn't a matter of 10 minutes before the show - though there are always adjustments in that 10 minutes.  Falling on something by accident unfortunately is not a solution.  Some post-mortem analysis may reveal something, but still not repeatable.


Watching her and tying it a situation(s) will certainly be of help - she's quick!


I know you're right about stereo - after having asked the question here before and getting the responses I did, that would be a necessary next step. And another grand.


Occlusion was not something I thought about, not being a singer.  I can only imagine what effect that would have.  I won't ask you to talk about your fix-in-progress before you choose to divulge it - though I and many others would love to hear it.  When the time is right.


Still, teasing out the what is bothering her is still at the center of things.  I think it may center on communication with the band - she wants that visual contact when she talks to the band - which means turning from the mic and/or walking across the stage, and now being essentially deaf. 


Thanks Luke, Scott and Jonathan.

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Scott Helmke

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 02:50:26 pm »

Try playing with *all* available parameters, too. Polarity, small amounts of delay, etc.
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brian maddox

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 05:16:32 pm »

You hit the nail on the head - circles.  I've worked with the band in practice, so it isn't a matter of 10 minutes before the show - though there are always adjustments in that 10 minutes.  Falling on something by accident unfortunately is not a solution.  Some post-mortem analysis may reveal something, but still not repeatable.


Watching her and tying it a situation(s) will certainly be of help - she's quick!


I know you're right about stereo - after having asked the question here before and getting the responses I did, that would be a necessary next step. And another grand.


Occlusion was not something I thought about, not being a singer.  I can only imagine what effect that would have.  I won't ask you to talk about your fix-in-progress before you choose to divulge it - though I and many others would love to hear it.  When the time is right.


Still, teasing out the what is bothering her is still at the center of things.  I think it may center on communication with the band - she wants that visual contact when she talks to the band - which means turning from the mic and/or walking across the stage, and now being essentially deaf. 


Thanks Luke, Scott and Jonathan.

There are 2 problems with IEMs that are not immediately apparent, but can reek havoc on an inexperienced IEM user, especially if they're a singer.  The first is the aforementioned Occlusion Effect, which is a MUCH bigger problem than you may think.  Like Luke, i spent a tremendous amount of time and energy solving this issue for my Music Director, mostly because the MD was Me, so i was pretty motivated.  It can be mitigated, but it does take effort.

The second issue people often have an issue with, but can't really express to you, is the basic weirdness of everything staying in the same aural place in their head when they move.  This is ESPECIALLY true when the mix is mono.  It's just foreign and alien feeling to move your head and NOT experience any change in what you hear.  This, more than ANY other factor, causes the "i feel disconnected" complaint that so often accompanies an attempt to implement IEMs.

I'd bet that a combo of both of these is causing her to "fix" her issue without even doing it consciously.  The third issue of communication with other band members is i'm sure a contributing factor as well.

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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 06:16:27 pm »


The second issue people often have an issue with, but can't really express to you, is the basic weirdness of everything staying in the same aural place in their head when they move.  This is ESPECIALLY true when the mix is mono.  It's just foreign and alien feeling to move your head and NOT experience any change in what you hear.  This, more than ANY other factor, causes the "i feel disconnected" complaint that so often accompanies an attempt to implement IEMs.

There's another element to this "disconnection" and the reason I couldn't stand IEMs.  Turning your head changes the apparent "mix" you hear.  And in combination with subtle head movements the brain can tune out things and focus on others.  What is commonly called the "cocktail party effect" where you can tune out background conversations and focus on one person's speech.  Many musicians do this subconsciously.  At one point the singer might be referencing the beat of the drums for timing, and then subconsciously switch to the keyboards or guitar for a reference pitch.  They may not even be aware they are doing this until it's taken away by a fixed spatial mix.  Stereo helps tremendously by sort of faking that spatial awareness with strong panning of instruments the singer references.  But they have to get used to not being able to poll around the stage listening to different things in space.  I couldn't do it and ended up putting my belt pack on a Hot Spot.  I wasn't the main singer though.  Although one of the singers (BMA award winner) would pull out an ear and stand by my Hot Spot at times.  I've never seen her with IEMs since either.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 07:15:07 pm »






I know you're right about stereo - after having asked the question here before and getting the responses I did, that would be a necessary next step. And another grand.



What IEM system do you have and what is the mixer?

I can't see where converting a mono IEM mix to stereo would cost a grand unless your out of auxes/mixes on the board or your IEM system was as a really old mono only system.

Just putting up a pair of ambient mics and have them set up in a stereo to the IEM mix goes a long way in making the mix feel more "natural" even if all the other mix inputs are still center panned.

frank kayser

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Re: Different slant on IEM pullouts
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2018, 10:04:01 am »

What IEM system do you have and what is the mixer?

I can't see where converting a mono IEM mix to stereo would cost a grand unless your out of auxes/mixes on the board or your IEM system was as a really old mono only system.

Just putting up a pair of ambient mics and have them set up in a stereo to the IEM mix goes a long way in making the mix feel more "natural" even if all the other mix inputs are still center panned.


First. Thanks everyone for great insights.  I count myself lucky thus far as 3 of the 4 are happy.  I'm only analyzing the one person.  All part of the learning process.   


Mike, for your specific questions:
Four piece band - keys, guitar, bass, drums.
QU-SB mixer
(2) Senn EW-300 IEM (four mono channels)
(4) Senn XSW wireless mics
(2) Senn EW-100 G2 Wireless receivers
(1) Floor Monitor (only on for guest performers)


14 inputs used.
4 vocals w/less
2 drums w/less
Cabled for the rest
2 ambient mics in an xy pattern
2 Keys
1 bass
3 for her - two stringed instruments (varies) and one harmonica input.


QU-SB has 4 mono auxes, three stereo auxes


So, the mixer is not quite full, and moving her to stereo would not take any additional auxes, as the monitor is on one channel of the first stereo mix.  Changing her from mono to that stereo mix replacing the monitor currently using 5-6 to a mono would be a wash, aux wise.


We'd need one more IEM channel - so we would need only an additional IEM transmitter, the beltpack receiver would be reused - so not a grand, but the better portion of one.


Of course, there's this one...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/EW300-IEM-G3-Stage-Professional-UHF-Wireless-In-Ear-Headphones-Monitor-System-US/232596609228?hash=item3627d698cc:g:xIcAAOSwWLBaMfgu


Interesting - does not say it is a Sennheiser...


Like those mixers referred to in another thread like the A&H QU-32 for $189...
Ah... but that is OT...

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