FOH vs IEM Sound

  • Hey guys,

    I got a nice sound, that when cranked up to gig volume, sounds pretty nice. Since I play live via IEM, this sound is pretty muffled for me. So best practice for me would to separately eq my guitar on the monitors. Suppose the whole thing is cause due to Fletcher-Effect.

    I'm no interested in how you guys solve this. Also with different EQing or do you drive the same eq FOH and IEM? If second, I'd be interested in some raw mono recordings of that sound, in a metal context.

  • I'm using the jacks for IEM and XLR for FOH so I have the same "main out" EQ going to both. The IEM signal gets some extra EQ in the mix rack, not sure what we do there exactly but I could check it out for you.


    What might help as well is checking what your IEMs and wireless pack sounds like, just play some normal music through it that you know well. Perhaps your IEMs themselves are just dull for instance or the pack has some setting screwed up. Just to make sure you know what you're working with.

  • I'm using the jacks for IEM and XLR for FOH so I have the same "main out" EQ going to both. The IEM signal gets some extra EQ in the mix rack, not sure what we do there exactly but I could check it out for you.


    What might help as well is checking what your IEMs and wireless pack sounds like, just play some normal music through it that you know well. Perhaps your IEMs themselves are just dull for instance or the pack has some setting screwed up. Just to make sure you know what you're working with.

    So all you do is just EQ your IEM mix separately? Or are you using two separate channels? Sorry but I am confused as well LOL. Just started diving into this because I got IEMs and I liek having the sound right there but I can tell it doesn't carry the same attack or punch. I use SHure 535s buds.

  • Eh pretty much yeah, and some extra reverb (since the IEM drivers are pretty much against your eardrums). You could use the monitor EQ if you're sending that output to your IEMs but I'm using a cab a lot of times too (two bands, one IEM, one not) so I'm keeping that separate for that.


    One thing that pretty important to remember: it's part of a mix. So be careful that you're not trying to mix in a bunch of low end that you just don't need when there's a bass and kick around. Working with an engineer that knows this stuff helps loads too, you're looking at one component of a full mix now, with it being so clean, isolated and close you really want a great total mix in your in-ear rack.

  • I'm using the jacks for IEM and XLR for FOH so I have the same "main out" EQ going to both. The IEM signal gets some extra EQ in the mix rack, not sure what we do there exactly but I could check it out for you.


    What might help as well is checking what your IEMs and wireless pack sounds like, just play some normal music through it that you know well. Perhaps your IEMs themselves are just dull for instance or the pack has some setting screwed up. Just to make sure you know what you're working with.

    My IEMs are fine, and reference sounds fine. Not dull. It's that thing, that feel, that a sound that works for me IEM is way too sharp FOH.


    Would be interested for those settings, as well for a raw sample. 😁

  • Getting a good sound from IEMs depends very much on the way they fit in your ears. I thought I would never like IEMs until I switched from soft rubber to memory foam tips. If you get a good seal, the sound of your guitar in the IEMs will sound like studio monitors.

    Yeah good point, that's one of those things you can discover by testing it with some audio.
    Random tips for this:
    - Make sure the strappy thing on the back is up, it helps keep them tight in your ears.
    - It takes a sec for the foam to fully fill out, don't keep fucking with it non-stop

    - The right size foam tip can make a huge difference, take the time to get this right (and don't forget about the last point while doing so ;) )

  • Getting a good sound from IEMs depends very much on the way they fit in your ears. I thought I would never like IEMs until I switched from soft rubber to memory foam tips. If you get a good seal, the sound of your guitar in the IEMs will sound like studio monitors.

    Can you link to what you bought? I will state, I don't think my sound is bad, it's just not the same with the full attack and punch as it has from coming out of a monitor. I get that it's not supposed to be like that, but there should be a way to come close.

  • Can you link to what you bought? I will state, I don't think my sound is bad, it's just not the same with the full attack and punch as it has from coming out of a monitor. I get that it's not supposed to be like that, but there should be a way to come close.

    Realistically, you're not going to get the same level of attack and punch out of IEMs. Not enough air moving. You can get close. Running at ear-splitting volume helps, but that's stupid for the health of your ears. Compensate by creating a killer mix.

    I would echo the idea of insuring you get a good seal. I bought a set of Shure SE215s four or five years ago. They've been so durable, I can't justify springing for another set. I use the stock black foam tips. Use your opposite hand to reach behind your head and pull your earlobe back. It'll help get things snugged right up. Keeping the wires snug up against the back of your head also helps.

    Only problem I have is if I smile too much. They'll work loose at times, but if that happens I know I'm having a ball. :)

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • It's not a thing of my IEMs. Have the same thing with other headphones and my monitors at home. Sounds doll as long as the level is low and prime, as its gets loud ;)


    But as I read here, this is an effect of the Fletchers Curve. So I wonder how you guys cope with it.

  • I've stolen this from another member on this forum. Recommendation on dealing with Fletcher-Munson.

    Don't recall the name ATM:

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Cool thanks. :D

    Did you allready tried this?

    I have not. For whatever reason, the sound I get at home is pretty much dead-on for when playing live. Nothing more than a PreSonus Audiobox USB and a set of Sony MDR-7506 headphones. Whatever the reason, it translates well. At least, that's what everyone tells me. :)

    I keep that quote around for when it all goes in the toilet. 'Cause it will..... ;)

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • I have not. For whatever reason, the sound I get at home is pretty much dead-on for when playing live. Nothing more than a PreSonus Audiobox USB and a set of Sony MDR-7506 headphones. Whatever the reason, it translates well. At least, that's what everyone tells me. :)

    I keep that quote around for when it all goes in the toilet. 'Cause it will..... ;)

    Would you share the profile you use and a sample record + di (mono)

  • Personally I have never got my IEM's to sound close to my FOH and practically you can't. I have come to accept that the sound is compromised for many reasons.


    However, the bigger issue for me is the osolation from IEM's...which means I go with my best intentions and then start pulling them out mid gig...Yep I know, stupid. Tried ambient mikes etc but can't get the same feeling with them even with a good band mix.

  • Echoing the thoughts of others regarding the impact of the ear buds you choose, I eventually moved from generic fits to custom mold Ultimate Ears. I only got the ~$500 range stuff and even the sales reps said for what I was doing there was little benefit to the $1200 ones. The difference in quality of sound (with custom molds, regardless of brand) is absolutely life changing.


    That said, IEMs alone just don't do it for me. Even if the sound is spot-on, part of rock is physical. For one, I missed that thump in the gut when I played rock stuff. Also, with no speaker on stage there's nothing for your guitar pickups to interact with. For me, including an actual speaker along with the IEMs allowed me to get some thump and guitar interaction. That helped the playing experience.


    Also, custom molded IEMs are often designed for a 100% seal. I just wasn't comfortable with being that cut off from my surroundings. The UEs were designed with a 12db port that allowed a small amount of stage leakage. They usually recommend that they deliver with this port sealed. I chose to leave it open.


    As in the studio, most people want "more me" in the monitor mix, so tweaking both EQ and levels / pan will help if you're in a position to get a separate monitor mix. But it's important to set expectations. The sound coming out of microscopic speakers stuffed into your ear canals is never going to be the same as a 4x12 cabinet with speakers holding on for dear life. As mentioned by others, it's an exercise in trade offs.

  • I do understand your last two sentences. And logically it makes sense that it wouldn't be the same sound. But then how come some people say they get very close to their FOH sound and others say they dont? Maybe it's the style of music being played? A hard rock/metal solo might be harder to emulate via IEMs than a jazz solo maybe?

  • I do understand your last two sentences. And logically it makes sense that it wouldn't be the same sound. But then how come some people say they get very close to their FOH sound and others say they dont? Maybe it's the style of music being played? A hard rock/metal solo might be harder to emulate via IEMs than a jazz solo maybe?

    That's an excellent example. A pure and clean sound suitable for jazz won't carry the same expectations as the representation of all the harmonics, compression and gain stages that go into a metal tone. Chalk and Day, as the TPS guys might say. :)