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The IEM Thing

Postby cphollis » 03 Feb 2018, 07:09

OK, fellow Nord fans, hear me out.

I have long been an acolyte of bringing decent stage sound that does justice to Nords. I am officially renouncing my religion. Well, in a specific context.

The primary band I'm playing with has been very focused on improving their sound, and I have become the official tour guide. OK, you want to sound better? Stop with the loud stage amps and monitors, let the FOH do the heavy lifting, and learn to love IEMs.

This is not a new idea in the pro world. But for a weekend bar band, it's a complete leap of faith. OK, I'm the spiritual leader, let's go to the promised land?

The starting point was the Behringer X-Air 16. Enough auxes that everyone could get their own mix (controlled by their own device), with me listening to FOH. Damn, it's working well. Drummer practices with electronic drums. Guitarists have lost interest in their amps (except lead guitarist, longer story).

We're so quiet we could practice in a library. When we get the mix right, it's like listening to CDs with headphones. So much detail, so much nuance! Four out of five of the musos call it an "eargasm". We're still working with the lead guitarist, who is currently very frustrated but will eventually figure things out.

No feedback, ever. Crystal clear mix. Everyone gets to hear when they sound good, and when they don't. Total transparency. Best thing ever, in my world.

The trick for me was ambient IEMs. You get ~26dB of ambient sound, enough to have a conversation, listen to the room and the crowd, and if lead guitarist insist on "stage sound", to dial the boy in appropriately. He hates that, BTW.

Ambient IEMs coupled with the newer multi-aux digital mixers are a huge, huge upgrade all around. Not what us old farts are used to, but ... huge upgrade in sound.

My current faves are the Westone Pro AM 30s. We talk about QSCs, we talk about RCFs. Get the ear fit right with the included kit, and you won't look back. As I'm now mixing FOH, it's changed what I'm playing. All good.

The journey continues ... and I've got a boatload of amplification that I'm now trying to rationalize.

I'll keep you posted?

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The IEM Thing


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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby cgrafx » 03 Feb 2018, 08:21

I converted our band years ago. We practice with Sony v6 headphones and wireless in ears on stage.

We keep one floor monitor for the guitar player and so we have a live monitor available if somebody wants to sit in on a song.

Its both a blessing and curse. We are still live amps for bass and guitar and live drums and its still easy to get too loud on stage in small rooms making the monitor mix a challenge even with custom ears. At some point you can just have too much noise.

Our guitar player just ordered an OX - Amp Top Box Attenuator by Universal Audio which should help reduce our stage volume. Can still crank his amp, but dial the volume way down and get a great feed for the FOH.

I also have a boatload of amplification, but its all sound gear. Our large FOH is 12000 watts with 6 EAW LA460 tops and 6 EAW LA118 Subs. We can scale down to just a pair of EAW LA212 (12 and wave guide horn) on sticks, but it we still bring on our full sound rack because its got our mixer and wireless mic and InEar gear in it.
Current Gear: NS3C, NE5D 73, Alesis QS6.1, QS7.1 & QS8.2, Hammond B3 with Leslie 122, Yamaha CP70, Yamaha C3 6' Grand

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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby cphollis » 04 Feb 2018, 10:08

Well, I finally wrote a blog post about the whole IEM thing.
http://chucksblog.typepad.com/late_bloo ... world.html

Enjoy?

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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby solmaster » 04 Feb 2018, 23:19

Just read your blog. Thoroughly entertaining and informative read! Thank you.
Definately sounds like the way to go. The only issue I have is communication between band mates on stage-hearing each other and trying to have perhaps a discrete chat about the next song off mic, so the audience doesn't hear.
I can't imagine this is too easy, especially with the custom fit IEMs. I have done one recent gig, a 1970's Glam Rock show, where the guitarist and bass players were on IEM's and the drummer and myself on keys were using wedges.
Band communication was a bit of an issue. I'm thinking it's an all or nothing scenario for best results?
Thanks again.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby upbeat » 05 Feb 2018, 02:32

I'm sorry. I've been a guitarist for 20 years now (yes, one of those annoying "lead" ones, too). For the life of me, I cannot fathom how some guys still insist on having an amp with tubes on fire on stage (some crazy people even with the 100 watt monsters and marshall stacks). It works great at the studio, but it's hell for live sound. I don't understand how everyone is not diving into Line 6 Helix, Kemper Amp Sims, or Axe FX. It makes things so much more practical in every sense. Setting up is a dream, especially if you take your own PA system, and you can sound almost the same anywhere you play. Plus, the audio quality difference between those systems and "the real thing" is getting more marginal by the minute. I'm a tube fan, I like amps from the early 60s, but the pros of having a modern amp sim through the PA with IEM outweigh the cons by a landslide.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby Quai34 » 05 Feb 2018, 10:01

Two Egnater Tweaker side by side are "cuter" ( My rig in the practice room). A Fender Bassman and a Fender Twin Reverb as well....I've never used any Amp/Cab Simulation besides the Radial JDX 48 and JDX Direct Drive but they work very well....I Use them with my second guitarist), so he doesn't need to bring a third amp but if you have some arguments to convince a guitar player that he will loose the ability to blow our ears in leaving the control of his volume to a sound tech guy adjusting his monitor, we are all ears opened....It's like asking the guitarist to let his girl friend or wife driving his car...They usually don't want to loose the lead in the game....Ok, not you, but if you don't understand, it's just because you are very alone on this as a guitarist. I'm fighting like crazy to convince my guitarist to use Amp stand or tilt legs for his Amp and to'put them fronting towards us, musicians, on the side of the stage, not at the back of the stage and beaming toward the public....He has never done it finally, he always changes it at the very last minute even if the sound guy has set his Amps on the side of the stage...So....
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby Berretje » 06 Feb 2018, 10:42

cphollis wrote:Well, I finally wrote a blog post about the whole IEM thing.
http://chucksblog.typepad.com/late_bloo ... world.html

Enjoy?


Lovely story and recognisable :)

We're doing IEM for about 7 years with our Soulband and I really loving it.

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Bart
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby danrv » 06 Feb 2018, 13:12

On regular monitors here but our bass player has IEM’s running from an A&H ME-1 personal mixer. Amazing sound, hears everything, good and bad.
Sometimes if setup time is tight, he doesn’t bother and just uses my DXR10 as a monitor.
There’s very little interest in IEM’s in my band due to most of them being very untechnical. I think it’s down
to the individual whether they go IEM or not. Keys and drums are easier as they could have wired.
Last edited by danrv on 06 Feb 2018, 13:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby ericL » 06 Feb 2018, 14:01

I'm a HUGE advocate of IEMs and have been using a wireless IEM rig now for 6, maybe 7 years. Best gear investment ever, hands down. I did tons of research and did not skimp on quality. I even have a second set of my custom-molded Ultimate Ears IEMs for backup, after a sweaty summer caused me to have some issues a few years ago. I have an awesome rack setup with a Shure wireless transmitter and a little box that allows me to separately control my stereo keys mix and the stereo band mix separately from one another. My band is mostly on IEMs and our stage volume is manageable.

Your blog is great - nice work influencing the change.
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Re: The IEM Thing

Postby someclevername » 07 Feb 2018, 11:01

I never managed to wean my band off monitors, guess which member resisted...

However, out of laziness I am the only band member to run IEMs. I hated driving home from gigs with ringing ears and I'm lazy, so there was a certain attraction to not lugging an amp around. I did it incredibly cheaply, I just got a Rolls PM351 http://www.rolls.com/product.php?pid=PM351 which I jack into the headphone out on our mixer. Then I just dial in a little more me from my mic and keys.

Listening to the house mix (+ me) has a lot of advantages, you can easily hear things distorting before anyone on stage notices. When I control the mix I can hear and deal with feedback earlier than everyone else.

It's also nice that it's a stereo DI. This is mounted with velcro on the top of my keyboard and stays there when in the flight case.

I also added another mini mixer and a stage mic to allow me to mix in some ambient with the line from the desk. That way I can hear everyone clearly.
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