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Author Topic: look out, an IEM thread  (Read 2354 times)

Jeff Wheeler

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look out, an IEM thread
« on: December 10, 2009, 11:27:16 pm »

Had to rewrite this one a few times so it all (hopefully) comes together in a legible manner.

I would like to turn my lead singers onto IEMs.  The advantages are obvious and entry-level systems do not cost much.  I think I can convince my musos to try and like it, and I am willing to buy the transmitters and belt packs so long as they purchase ear-buds.  None of my competitors have IEM systems, so I see this as a selling point and as a tool to make my guys' performance better and my job easier.  I am perfectly comfortable doing 4 wedge mixes from FoH and I don't see mixing IEM sends as being any more difficult, just requiring a little more care.

The Sennheiser ew300 IEM G2 is the system I am considering.  It is very inexpensive.  I am aware that I will need the "A" or "B" band sets.  I like the stereo or dual-mono with a mix control on the belt pack.  I think this is a must for me.

As far as ear-buds go, I am seeking suggestions in the sub-$100 range.  I don't want to ask my musos to spend a lot until they are pretty sure they will like IEMs.  Then they can buy nicer buds if they choose.

I plan to continue deploying wedges and amp channels just in case RF interference or muso hatred happens, so I am not worried about having a bad night due to this change.

As far as how I will actually setup the IEM units, I figured on buying just one at first, but regardless of how many I end up with, I will eventually want an antenna combiner; and I think I will locate the IEM transmitters in my amp rack so they are closer to the musicians.  I don't expect that I will need to fool with the units themselves during the show, and I have extra channels on my drive snake.

I already split my vocal inputs into "house" and "monitor" strips so I do not have anything evil like compression on my vox sends to monitor buses.

I also have DI jacks on my mixer.  The lead singers usually just have themselves and a little backing vox in their wedges (small bar stages) so I thought I could use the stereo/mix-mono feature of this IEM belt pack to make one "band mix" and use the DI jacks for each person's vocal send.  This would allow me to keep all my monitor auxes free for wedges just in case.  Is this a dumb idea?

Anyway, thanks for any suggestions, gotchas, and flames.  If this works out for me I might make the bands really happy and gain a significant advantage over my competitors.

EDIT: In case this was not clear, I will be buying the IEM transmitters and belt packs myself.  I see them as something I can supply just like amps and wedges.  The musos can buy their buds.

Also, I already own Sennheiser radio microphones in this price range, and I am extremely happy with them.

EDIT: If I end up with a set of "demo" buds, how shall I clean them after use?
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Jeff Wheeler, wannabe sound guy / moonlight DJ

Walter Wright

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 01:36:09 am »

Jeff Wheeler wrote on Thu, 10 December 2009 23:27


I also have DI jacks on my mixer.  The lead singers usually just have themselves and a little backing vox in their wedges (small bar stages) so I thought I could use the stereo/mix-mono feature of this IEM belt pack to make one "band mix" and use the DI jacks for each person's vocal send.  This would allow me to keep all my monitor auxes free for wedges just in case.  Is this a dumb idea?


just a fellow loungie here, but i've been using IEMs for a few years now with the band i play guitar in (and mix at the same time).

we all use them and hate wedges anymore (wedges seem obsolete, like steamboats or something), but we gotta have a real mix for them. i'm forever adjusting my guitar level as well as my vocal level, so "band mix + my vocal" just wouldn't work.

it occurs to me though that you could flip your idea around, and use the direct outs for your wedges, and keep the auxes for the IEMs. in small clubs, wedges aren't going to have much more than the vocal in question anyway, so as a backup, a wedge with just vocal in it would be fine, i think. you could then build real mixes for the in-ears, which would go a long way towards selling skittish musos on the IEM idea.

as for demo buds, i would think disposable foamies might be the way to go.
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Caleb Dick

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 01:24:26 pm »

If you start with cheap buds, you risk the band writing off the benefits of IEM's based on cheap buds.  For me, the cheapest buds I would consider are the Westone UM2's.  With the low price hit, and initial impressions, I'd get the UM3X.  

Caleb
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Jeff Wheeler

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 01:45:13 pm »

I understand that the ear-buds are very important.  I don't think the musos will want to spend more than $100ish at first.  Should I purchase a set of good-quality ones and use them as demos?  If so, how do I properly sanitize them?
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Jay Barracato

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 02:10:38 pm »

Jeff,

Check your PM,

Jay
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Rick Stansby

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 01:00:03 pm »

Caleb Dick wrote on Fri, 11 December 2009 10:24

If you start with cheap buds, you risk the band writing off the benefits of IEM's based on cheap buds.  For me, the cheapest buds I would consider are the Westone UM2's.  With the low price hit, and initial impressions, I'd get the UM3X.  

Caleb


+1 to being careful about musicians being turned off by cheap buds.  I find that universal buds with generic rubber tips don't make a good seal in many people's ears.  Bad seal=no low end.  I suggest that you make sure the musos use the foam insert tips (like ear plugs).  Also I suggest you have them use the earbuds with an iPod for a while so they get used to having them in, and properly inserting them for a good seal.  This will be easiest if they buy their own buds.

Shared buds are kinda gross, but at least if you use the foam inserts you can replace them between users.  Personally, I wouldn't buy expensive buds as demos.

Regarding the mixes, please give each muso a dedicated mix.  If you need to use a wedge, then use that muso's mix for the wedge - instead of the ears.  You won't impress the musicians by making them fight over the band mix.

Finally, you should certainly get stereo systems, but you should expect to use them in mono most of the time.  Many musos will have trouble using any sort of more me blend, especially if they don't use the system often.  Bands regularly bring me IEM packs (or rent them from backline).  I regularly have to help them configure the transmitter and/or receiver, because they can't figure out how to get sound out of both ears.  
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Andy Peters

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 01:09:00 pm »

I can't imagine how it makes any sense to offer IEMs to bands who do not rehearse with them.

It makes even less sense at the level at which you work. Do you have the soundcheck time to get a proper IEM mix, even for just one person? And is this offer for all bands on the bill or just the headliner's lead singer?

IEMs are successful when the whole band buys into the idea and is willing to spend the money on the systems and dedicate the rehearsal time to sort it all out.

You're probably better off not spending the significant amount of money required to do this right. You're not going to get any riders demanding that an IEM rig be supplied (and riders at your level are irrelevant). Bands who need IEM systems will bring them.

-a
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Jeff Wheeler

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2009, 06:32:55 pm »

Andy Peters wrote on Sat, 12 December 2009 12:09

I can't imagine how it makes any sense to offer IEMs to bands who do not rehearse with them.

Is it typically a big enough adjustment that they need significant time to get used to IEMs?  The input from customers has been positive.

I am not worried about the extra time dialing in their mixes.  I haven't thought about what to do in multiple-band scenarios.  Probably just use wedges then.  Our typical job is just one band in a bar where as long as the "sound check" sounds something like a song, it's fine to spend a few minutes on monitors.
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Justin Bartlett

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2009, 08:45:39 pm »

I've found that musos get a lot pickier about their monitor mixes when using IEMs, probably because they're not hearing wash from the mains, etc.

I would also second the comments of some others here to the effect that musicians who might like IEMs with quality ear buds will dislike them with cheap ones, especially wirh reference to bass response.
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Tim Padrick

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Re: look out, an IEM thread
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2009, 09:14:17 pm »

I've worked with bar band singers who wanted a full personal mix, ones who just wanted the house mix, and ones who wanted only themselves.

IMHO the M-Audio IE-10 is a very good sounding bud, and are $100 anywhere.

When they bitch about the cost of buds, remind them that they have uses other than on stage - good ones will sound better than whatever it is that they usually listen to music or watch TV/Movies on.  I'd say that the IE-10s sound much better than what 90% of my friends listen to music on (and the other 10% listen on stuff I got for them when I was in the hi-fi business - stuff that may or may not sound better than the IE-10s).
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