Kemper and In ear (EIM) questions

  • I use IEM's on every gig I possibly can, even if I'm the only one in the band doing it. I do it the same way others here have mentioned: Monitor mix (without guitar) into transmitter input, headphone out from Kemper into the second input.It's been that way for me even pre-Kemper. So we're talking...I dunno, 2-300 dates? Tons of vastly different settings and situations. Would love to offer some personal advice on the subject, of course YMMV:


    -It's going to feel super weird and isolating at first. Absolutely. You will get used to it though and learn to work around it/live with it though. I hated it the first 3 or 4 months. And then I played another gig on a wedge and realized that I never wanted to be without them if possible. Haha.


    -I've loaded my iPad and phone with every proprietary digital board app that I can find, and immediately download new ones when they pop up. SO MANY venues are starting to make the move to digital boards now that the tech is getting so much cheaper, and a lot of them go the full route with routers so they can mix from wherever with an iPad. Half the time these days I can just show up with my iPad and get the WiFi info, thus allowing me to access their board wirelessly and run my own mix.


    -As you do more gigs with them, you'll start to get a really good idea of how much you need of each instrument. At this point, even if FoH is responsible for running my mix and we're running super low on time, I can get things at least 90% of the way there during line check (I just have him dial in my levels while he's getting gain on each line).


    -Due to limitations with the number of aux sends from most boards, it's incredibly rare that I get a stereo mix. You can still get really good mixes in Mono though if you know what you're doing. Primarily: be REALLY careful with low end, unless you have really nice ears with tons of subs in them. Kick/Bass/Bass heavy synths will take up a ton of space in your mix and totally mask everything else if you accidentally dial them up too hot. I always start super low and then have the sound guy bring them up if I really need more. Beyond that, make sure you only put things that you actually need into your mix (at least at first). For example, I have the lead vocals running very low most of the time, since I essentially only need them for certain cues and knowing which verse we're on. If the band has an acoustic player/percussion/mandolin/other auxiliary stuff, I rarely put them in my mix at all. Start with the hyper-necessary things and gently add the rest from there.


    -Lastly, a fun little trick for dual input transmitters: When I can't get an IEM mix for whatever reason (not enough sends, not everything getting sent to the board, weird snake location, etc etc), I typically bring a good 'ol 57 and an XLR and plug that straight into the input that my mix would normally go in. Then I take the 57 and stick it somewhere on stage pointed away from the drums (or sometimes, if I have a wedge, I'll literally "mic" my wedge). At that point, I'm literally getting an approximation of what I'd be hearing on stage, only at a much safer volume and with a bonus "more me" control. I've done this at maybe 20 gigs and it's always surprised me how well it works. Haha.

  • I use IEM's on every gig I possibly can, even if I'm the only one in the band doing it. I do it the same way others here have mentioned: Monitor mix (without guitar) into transmitter input, headphone out from Kemper into the second input.It's been that way for me even pre-Kemper. So we're talking...I dunno, 2-300 dates? Tons of vastly different settings and situations. Would love to offer some personal advice on the subject, of course YMMV:

    Just out of interest, why do you need the direct feed from the Kemper? I understand that at least you have control of your guitar but me personally never had an issue using just the desk feed as I focus first on my guitar anyway. just wondering..

  • I know lots of FOH guys who simply don’t want to have to do monitors at all.

    Not different with IEMs


    I know I’m spoiled. But a dedicated monitor engineer is the only way I’d really trust IEMs.

    Otherwise I’d rather a wedge.

    I'd always rather have a wedge/backline but especially in small venues, standing close to the drummer just knackers your ears. Large gigs I think is easier as the sound is more dispersed although then you have an issue hearing everyone..


    Ear plugs ( I have some good ACm's ) still aren't good enough hence IEM's to me are the best compromise even if sound check is rushed.


    I wish I did have the luxury of a dedicated monitor guy...I'm quite jealous!! :)

  • I wish I did have the luxury of a dedicated monitor guy...I'm quite jealous!! :)

    As long as you bring your own digital mixer like an X32 you really don´t need that. Each band member accesses their individual IEM mix with their phone or tablet. It´s more of a challenge to maintain a steady set of input signals going into your monitor mixer. Either you need a complete signal split or you simply have the FOH tech doing the mix from you own mixer via smartphone/Tablet/Laptop remote. You need to bring your own microphones to each gig but in the long run it´s way more comfortable since you get the same perfect FOH mix as a starting point.

  • As long as you bring your own digital mixer like an X32 you really don´t need that. Each band member accesses their individual IEM mix with their phone or tablet. It´s more of a challenge to maintain a steady set of input signals going into your monitor mixer. Either you need a complete signal split or you simply have the FOH tech doing the mix from you own mixer via smartphone/Tablet/Laptop remote. You need to bring your own microphones to each gig but in the long run it´s way more comfortable since you get the same perfect FOH mix as a starting point.

    If you run your own sound then no doubt ( I've looked at these).


    I honestly have not hit any problems using the in house sound guy. In virtually all cases they are used to bands using IEM's and so happy to do a mix.

    Note I am only really talking about my IEM's, the rest of the band don;t use them so it might be a different story if 5 people wanted 5 different mixes!

  • Just out of interest, why do you need the direct feed from the Kemper? I understand that at least you have control of your guitar but me personally never had an issue using just the desk feed as I focus first on my guitar anyway. just wondering..

    At this point for me, my ear mix doesn't really need to be "perfect" so long as I can hear my guitar at the "just right" level. So that gives me the chance to really tweak the blend between my mix and my guitar until it's perfect, without bugging the sound guy to death haha. Basically, I like my guitar just loud enough that I can really hear the nuances and fine details in my playing/volume/touch/tone, without having it so loud that it makes me play tentatively or masks other frequencies in my mix detrimentally.


    Part of the reason is also technical...I'm using a crappy old PSM200 unit. Which used to be the lowest-end of the Shure systems, and they have since stopped making them. One of the biggest pitfalls I've found is that the inputs on the transmitter are very sensitive, and it does not take a ton of signal for the internal limiters to start kicking on. Once they do...oh man. Talk about a squashed mix. Thus, splitting my guitar into a separate input seems to help create a little more headroom for the input that my full mix is going into.

  • If you run your own sound then no doubt ( I've looked at these).


    I honestly have not hit any problems using the in house sound guy. In virtually all cases they are used to bands using IEM's and so happy to do a mix.

    Note I am only really talking about my IEM's, the rest of the band don;t use them so it might be a different story if 5 people wanted 5 different mixes!


    As long as you bring your own digital mixer like an X32 you really don´t need that. Each band member accesses their individual IEM mix with their phone or tablet. It´s more of a challenge to maintain a steady set of input signals going into your monitor mixer. Either you need a complete signal split or you simply have the FOH tech doing the mix from you own mixer via smartphone/Tablet/Laptop remote. You need to bring your own microphones to each gig but in the long run it´s way more comfortable since you get the same perfect FOH mix as a starting point.

    Actually, we have the option of just running our own monitor world - 16 channels of splits, split side to my X32, direct side back to FOH. So we don't need to run our own FOH sound if it's not necessary. Done it this way multiple times, actually. (Although, tbh, I just racked the splits this week).


    KPA Unpowered Rack, Kemper Remote, X32 Rack, uTrack 24, MTP AV,BC Rich Mockingbird(s)

  • Just out of interest, why do you need the direct feed from the Kemper? I understand that at least you have control of your guitar but me personally never had an issue using just the desk feed as I focus first on my guitar anyway. just wondering..

    Bingo. I just dont trust the sound guys. Plus...my band goes directly from one song to another. So there really is no time to stop between songs and try to get the attention of the sound guy to turn me up in the mix. Its distracting to the audience and to pretty much everyone. Why do it if you dont need to?

  • Great post. This is particulariliy helpful:

    "I've loaded my iPad and phone with every proprietary digital board app that I can find, and immediately download new ones when they pop up. SO MANY venues are starting to make the move to digital boards now that the tech is getting so much cheaper, and a lot of them go the full route with routers so they can mix from wherever with an iPad. Half the time these days I can just show up with my iPad and get the WiFi info, thus allowing me to access their board wirelessly and run my own mix."

    I'm going to look into doing that if I can. I dont carry an ipad with me but maybe it'll work on my phone.

  • Bingo. I just dont trust the sound guys. Plus...my band goes directly from one song to another. So there really is no time to stop between songs and try to get the attention of the sound guy to turn me up in the mix. Its distracting to the audience and to pretty much everyone. Why do it if you dont need to?

    Just wondered as I've never had this problem. Once set no need to flag the sound guy but take your point...

  • Great post. This is particulariliy helpful:

    "I've loaded my iPad and phone with every proprietary digital board app that I can find, and immediately download new ones when they pop up. SO MANY venues are starting to make the move to digital boards now that the tech is getting so much cheaper, and a lot of them go the full route with routers so they can mix from wherever with an iPad. Half the time these days I can just show up with my iPad and get the WiFi info, thus allowing me to access their board wirelessly and run my own mix."

    I'm going to look into doing that if I can. I dont carry an ipad with me but maybe it'll work on my phone.

    Yes, most digital boards have apps for both phones and tablets. I have my most frequently used ones loaded up on my phone as well, just in case I forget my iPad or the battery on it dies or something.

  • 2nd gig update. 2nd gig much better than the first. Had a good sound man and once I figure out how much higher to bring my own vocal (as opposed to the other 4 singers) it was pretty good. Biggest issue at this point is I didnt have any drums in the mix and I cant hear the high hat for keeping time. He doesnt mic the high hat so I'll maybe need to feed the snare in lightly so I can hear the high hat.


    One other thing: the band has talked a bit about moving to a full IEM setup but the drummer is steadfast in his refusal to do it. We play nice bars and right now the sound men for the venues set up all the mics, etc. He doesnt want to invest the money and doesnt want to take the time to have to mic all his own stuff himself (and run cables). I get it. So....give that....if the rest of the band moves to IEM's...I'm assuming it'll be possible to get a feed from the FOH board back into our mixer each night with a drum mix. Or would it be better to throw an ambient mic on stage and just get them that way?

  • This is why I have the full band in my IEM's, so I can hear everything. You soon realize that you take cues off drums, bass etc so you basically need a band mix. I also can;t stand my guitar or vocals too loud, I want it in context. I usually get enough hi hat off the same mic no issue.


    I would always just take a monitor mix off FOH.


    Personally I think drums should always be micced, minimum snare and kick. Not for volume but control and projection (so you can hear the same at the back of the room). I would never play a gig without drums and guitars micced now ( i.e. whole band).


    IEM's are just an extension of that. If he doesn't want to use IEM's I think that's OK but the rest of the band will be less interested in the monitor mix so he's likely to lose out with what he hears.


    So personally its about miccing drums first for the sound and less about IEM's. You can then make use of that in IEM's...


    Not everyone gets on with IEM's and the cost can be prohibitive although i built up an LD set ( 5 packs, 2 receivers and decent earphones) for about £500 by searching second hand. They work well.


    BTW - didn't set up IEM's for a gig on Sat. I tried to use my ear plugs, and pulled them out early because the balance was wrong. My head and ears still hurt as a result....lesson learnt ( again).

  • Simply add two ambience mics pointed at the audience. Beef those up with a compressor but have them ducked by the FOH band mix. This way you can hear the audience inbetween the songs without messing up your IEM sound when playing.

    +1 for this suggestion - the side-chain trick is a great way to achieve a more natural monitoring environment without screwing up your direct mix. tylerhb do you use fig-8 or omni pattern mics to try and include some off-mic stage stuff as well, or just point a pair of cardioids at the front row? Sounds daft, but when you're off-mic between songs and can't hear your own words coming out, it can be a bit weird. Perhaps the answer is, don't ever be off-mic, but I'm interested to experiment a bit more.

  • 2nd gig update. 2nd gig much better than the first. Had a good sound man and once I figure out how much higher to bring my own vocal (as opposed to the other 4 singers) it was pretty good. Biggest issue at this point is I didnt have any drums in the mix and I cant hear the high hat for keeping time. He doesnt mic the high hat so I'll maybe need to feed the snare in lightly so I can hear the high hat.


    One other thing: the band has talked a bit about moving to a full IEM setup but the drummer is steadfast in his refusal to do it. We play nice bars and right now the sound men for the venues set up all the mics, etc. He doesnt want to invest the money and doesnt want to take the time to have to mic all his own stuff himself (and run cables). I get it. So....give that....if the rest of the band moves to IEM's...I'm assuming it'll be possible to get a feed from the FOH board back into our mixer each night with a drum mix. Or would it be better to throw an ambient mic on stage and just get them that way?


    We run a full IEM mix... and I'm totally happy to let the venue mic the drums. We have 16 splits- and our IEM mix only uses OHs/Kick/Snare for the drums. So this is still totally doable without 'taking the time to mic his own stuff'. As far as spending the money - our drummer uses a wired behringer P1 wired pack. IIRC they're around 100 bucks. (maybe 150?). Compared to the thousand-dollars-a-man wireless, it's nuthin'.

    We use an X32 as our monitor mixer. 16 channels in, and the aux outs are our monitors. Each band member gets their own stereo mix (there are 3 of us)... and we also have a stage mix available should the FOH guy decide to let us patch the floor wedges in for sidefill.


    KPA Unpowered Rack, Kemper Remote, X32 Rack, uTrack 24, MTP AV,BC Rich Mockingbird(s)

  • +1 for this suggestion - the side-chain trick is a great way to achieve a more natural monitoring environment without screwing up your direct mix. tylerhb do you use fig-8 or omni pattern mics to try and include some off-mic stage stuff as well, or just point a pair of cardioids at the front row? Sounds daft, but when you're off-mic between songs and can't hear your own words coming out, it can be a bit weird. Perhaps the answer is, don't ever be off-mic, but I'm interested to experiment a bit more.

    We just started using that kind of setup this year. For testing i only got a pair of cheap Behringer C2 on the stereo mount that comes with it. Actually those worked better than expected. I had low pass and high pass filters enabled for those on the X32. We are using a complete "silent stage" setup with edrums and i dont want anything from the stage to bleed into the ambience mics, because the noise from the drum sticks hitting the edrum cymbals can sound very weird when you beed up the room mic signal with a compressor.

  • +1 for this suggestion - the side-chain trick is a great way to achieve a more natural monitoring environment without screwing up your direct mix. tylerhb do you use fig-8 or omni pattern mics to try and include some off-mic stage stuff as well, or just point a pair of cardioids at the front row? Sounds daft, but when you're off-mic between songs and can't hear your own words coming out, it can be a bit weird. Perhaps the answer is, don't ever be off-mic, but I'm interested to experiment a bit more.

    The issue I hit with this is the relative levels...the ambient mic also picks up the band from the pa which is much louder than the crowd ( maybe that's the issue - no one likes us ha!), hence I found balancing it difficult i.e. placement is really difficult.


    This is an issue for any IEM set up though and actually you can get used to lack of ambient. The benefit is you can hear everything no matter where you are on stage or off ( I wandered off stage to the dressing room as I'd forgotten my hat mid song without missing a beat). Plus you can hear vocalist announce the songs and your own voice etc.

  • The issue I hit with this is the relative levels...the ambient mic also picks up the band from the pa which is much louder than the crowd ( maybe that's the issue - no one likes us ha!), hence I found balancing it difficult i.e. placement is really difficult.


    This is an issue for any IEM set up though and actually you can get used to lack of ambient. The benefit is you can hear everything no matter where you are on stage or off ( I wandered off stage to the dressing room as I'd forgotten my hat mid song without missing a beat). Plus you can hear vocalist announce the songs and your own voice etc.

    This is why you have to apply ducking on the ambient mics. You can route the main mix as a sidechain signal to reduce the volume of the ambient mics. This way you can level the ambient mics to be fully audible if the band is silent, ambient mics half open if you play a guitar intro and the ambient mics fully closed when the whole band plays.

  • This is why you have to apply ducking on the ambient mics. You can route the main mix as a sidechain signal to reduce the volume of the ambient mics. This way you can level the ambient mics to be fully audible if the band is silent, ambient mics half open if you play a guitar intro and the ambient mics fully closed when the whole band plays.

    Brilliant! How did I not think of that? I MD at a smallish offshot campus of a big church (so, high production value but smaller room). I tried setting up some good ambient/crowd mics for a couple of weeks, but we ended up ditching them. 100yr old church building, so even with some sound treatment, the room is SUPER live. All we could hear from the crowd mics was the sound of the drums bouncing back into them off the back wall. I never thought to just duck the channel....gonna have to try that very soon.