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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby cphollis » 09 Mar 2018, 17:17

I'm starting to think it's a maturity thing: what you personally prefer vs. what's best for the band and audience.

I had no problem bringing thousands of keyboard watts to gigs, and turning up as needed. Maybe best for me personally, but certainly sub-optimal for the band and the audience, no matter how careful I was. BTW, I loved the way I sounded: loud, authoritative, etc. And now IEMs.

Put differently, what drives more of your enjoyment? Hearing yourself sound good, or hearing the band sound good?

In our case, the extremely positive feedback from audience and venue owners pushed our amp-huggers over the edge. Nobody wants to go back to sucking. Well, maybe the lead guitarist, but the rest of us won't let him.
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Re: The IEM Thing


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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 11 Mar 2018, 23:22

Does anyone have experience with both the Westone AM Pro 30 and the Bose QC 20/20i? Since IEMs may not be returnable depending upon vendor, I’m looking for a qualitative comparison to help set my expectations in-advance. I’ve seen frequency response graphs for each, but none where tests for both were performed by the same person/group.

The QC 20s certainly give me better controlled stereo sound than any speaker that is going to be used on stage, so they will be good enough to try at practice, but for the stage, I don’t want to deal with the cords running in front of me, the attached DSP/battery unit that will have to sit on the bench next to me, and the multiple points where a non-replaceable cable could break and render the entire headset useless.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 22 Mar 2018, 01:33

OK, I bit the bullet and got a pair of the Westone Am Pro 30s. Choosing the correct ear tip and inserting them properly makes a big difference in sound, so I will be testing the various ear tip options not only for sound, but comfort as well.

Initial impressions are as follows:

- Overall sound is pleasant and I can hear the full range of sound. Not a lot of sparkle at the top-end or mud at the bottom. Neutral and clean were my first thoughts.
- To answer the question from my previous post regarding comparisons to the Bose QC 20i, the AM Pro 30 sound is more open with better stereo separation, does not have the processed sound or accentuated bass of the active noise cancellation, and does not give the underwater or ear pressure feel of the Bose.
- I will be able to use the Westones to EQ my NS3 programs. Already I've discovered that I've taken too much bass out of some of my piano programs due to the over-accentuated bass from my other headphones, which includes a set of Shure SRH 440s.
- I did a quick volume test by cranking my home theater system to 90dB and playing my NS3. I was able to play well within the range of comfortable volume while hearing every nuance of the selected NS3 program. Of course, when I stopped playing, I could clearly hear the TV, but at a reasonably attenuated level. When I turned the TV volume to conversation level, I could still understand the dialog with the IEMs in.

In summary, I'm expecting that the AM Pro 30s will give me ear protection and much improved sound fidelity at reasonable levels, so I can play with expression and not have to mash the keys or crank the volume on every song so I can hear myself. Can't wait to try them at rehearsal but have to wait until next weekend. Happy with the purchase so far!
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby cphollis » 22 Mar 2018, 02:48

Ajstan, if your experience is like mine, you'll find that before long, the Westone AM Pro 30s change the way you play. You'll re-lay out your voices and patches because now you're hearing them differently. You'll start playing with more nuance vs. hammering through your parts. Your ears won't be fatigued after a gig. And more.

Glad you like them so far. I'd be interested in hearing your opinion after, maybe, five or six gigs?
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby Quai34 » 22 Mar 2018, 07:16

@ajstan:
So, your test with the TV, you mean, if you would have been in a practice, you would have been able to hear the guitarist and the drums? Passing Through the IEM and you as well, even with them not being in your IEM channel?
I'm asking because my two new female singers have IEM so, I might buy a pair for me but the drums and guitarist, even if they are miked, will still be "Acoustic" and sometimes, we might have only 3 mics on the drums so, I would like to hear them thru my IEM as well....
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 22 Mar 2018, 19:03

Hi Quai34 - I'm going to be doing some additional testing after work (and the real test will be at practice next week), but my TV test was just to see how well the noise attenuation worked so I can hear myself with an uncomfortably loud 90dB noise floor. It passed with flying colors and I could hear myself clearly at a comfortable volume. Supposedly the AM Pro 30s have 12dB of attenuation, so my guess is that to hear other instruments via the ambient port, you may have to play at a lower volume than you prefer, but can easily communicate with band members between songs without taking the IEMs out.

I am using a Behringer MicroMON MA400 headphone amp/mixer which gives me an input from my Key Largo Mixer for my boards and has an XLR input that I can take from the main board on gigs. For practice, I may just bring along a mic to pick up more ambient sounds and be able to turn it up in my IEMs as needed.

Here is a good technical overview from one of the Westone engineers that may help with you to set your expectations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0W1IEPj9ZU

--------

Hi Chuck - I would agree - it's like I'm hearing the sounds for the first time. I'm taking an initial pass through my sounds for EQ, balance and volume leveling between programs. The dynamic range is eye-opening. One thing that really struck me was how raw the piano samples are. It's a great canvas to build the sounds you want, but by themselves, they are a bit mild, which I think is how they should be to provide maximum control. Other headphones added bass and treble that's not really there, so my initial impression was that the AM Pro 30s weren't reproducing the full range of sound, but in fact, they were just being accurate.

On a separate note, now that I've heard the Am Pro 30s, I'm even more impressed with the QSC K8.2s, which sound way closer to the AM Pro 30s than my other headphones do. No wonder you run yours on the default, flat setting. If your sounds are set up correctly, they can really shine.
Last edited by ajstan on 22 Mar 2018, 19:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby cphollis » 22 Mar 2018, 19:25

Ajstan, I think you bring up a good point.

Most people get used to specific coloration in their signal chain: be it amplification, monitors, headphones, etc. They adjust and EQ their voices to work with the coloration they know. Remove the coloration, and the immediate thought is "woah, what's wrong here?"

Start with a flat, uncolored signal chain and you end up in a very different place: more natural sounding voices, better dynamics and volume control, fewer effects and so on. But it does take some adjustment if all you've every played is through a colored signal chain.

BTW, I have adjusted each and every voice I play to sound natural through "clean" sound. Simply put? I'm totally loving it. APs, DPs, EPs, B3s, samples, etc. It's way, way cool. The Nords are the perfect tool in this regard, none better.

And I'm totally happy after each and every gig and rehearsal. C'mon, this is what matters?
Last edited by cphollis on 23 Mar 2018, 05:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 23 Mar 2018, 18:40

cphollis wrote:BTW, I have adjusted each and every voice I play to sound natural through "clean" sound. Simply put? I'm totally loving it. APs, DPs, EPs, B3s, samples, etc. It's way, way cool. The Nords are the perfect tool in this regard, none better.

And I'm totally happy after each and every gig and rehearsal. C'mon, this is what matters?

That’s it! Happy is my main driver. That most difficult part of the band scene is finding a nice group of good musicians with a fun set list and great gigs. Since I’m lucky enough to have that part solved, all I need to do is make sure my sound is right and I’m playing well. With the IEMs I’ll be able to accomplish both and say goodbye to playing by muscle memory or staring at the keyboard to visualize the notes I’m playing because the stage volume is drowning out my monitors. Looking forward to it.
Last edited by ajstan on 23 Mar 2018, 23:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 24 Mar 2018, 03:24

Quai34 wrote:@ajstan:
So, your test with the TV, you mean, if you would have been in a practice, you would have been able to hear the guitarist and the drums? Passing Through the IEM and you as well, even with them not being in your IEM channel?
I'm asking because my two new female singers have IEM so, I might buy a pair for me but the drums and guitarist, even if they are miked, will still be "Acoustic" and sometimes, we might have only 3 mics on the drums so, I would like to hear them thru my IEM as well....

Ok, I cranked up a song to 90dB on the home theater system and was definitely able to hear the music, drums, and vocals with the AM Pro 30s in, it was just attenuated like I was using ear plugs. The sound was muffled, not crisp, but I was able to play along. I’m still working on fitting the ear buds correctly, but with only 12dB of attenuation, these may not be for you if your band is really loud - you’ll want more ear protection. On the plus side, when the music stops, you can have a conversation without taking the headphones out.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ajstan » 03 Apr 2018, 23:16

Some observations from my first two rehearsals with the Westone AM Pro 30 IEMs:

- Setup was 4 mics and keys through the PA, un-mic'd drums, and bass and guitar running through their own amps. I was the only one with IEMs. Lead singer uses a monitor wedge.
- The attenuation was great. Comfortable volume for me all night long, but I could still have conversations without removing an earpiece.
- It was shocking how much louder everything was when I took the IEMs out, but I had a much better feel for the music without the IEMs.
- Other instruments and vocals were too muffled so I set up an ambient mic to run through my headphone mixer. It helped, but wasn't optimal. A good monitor mix on stage will be important.
- Glad I tried this setup at practice first. Would have been problematic to go straight to a gig. A different experience. Need to rely upon the monitor mix to self-regulate my volume going to FOH, vs. using stage volume as a guide. Will be asking for a FOH mix in my Aux feed at the gig as a starting point.
- Much happier not having to carry amps to practice and gigs. Just have Nord roller case (NS3-88, legs, and music stand), bench, and duffel bag with cables, pedals, and mixers.

First gig with the IEMs is this Friday, so we will see how it goes.
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