FOH vs IEM Sound

  • 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.

    I know a couple guys that pull at least one ear out for this reason.

    *For me* - I'll take the tradeoff to keep my hearing as long as possible.

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

  • I don’t get the same sound from my IEMs as FOH, but I’m okay with it. I’ve had a few pairs of Shure’s, UE’s, and cheap Chinese buds. I actually found that I prefer the cheap single drivers as they don’t have a lot of bass, which allows me to hear the notes I’m playing at lower volume, and in general isn’t frequency bloated like my UE set, in our live band application. Playing alone or listen to music, the UE is much better the China stuff and my Shures . I just need to hear the click and my guitar up front, then a lower blend of guitar 2, drums, then less bass, and even less vocals. We use a Zoom Livetrack L20 so we each get our own personal mix that is easy to adjust and save.

    I still keep a cab on stage so I can feel the air move, and so anyone up front in the audience can hear guitars. I keep the volume very reasonable; and dialed my Monitor Out EQ to be pleasing to the ear (ie non-harsh treble) as I always hated being up front and getting blasted face on with 12” guitar speakers.

    It’s honestly not as enjoyable as simply plugging into an amp and playing like the good ol’ days; but it makes for a much tighter performance (technical death metal). My mix is consistent every night, regardless of venue and sound guy; and we never have volume wars, stage feedback (unless we want it) or ear ringing after a performance. Even with those quirks, the trade offs are still in favor of Kemper & IEM for my live shows.

  • I'm actually surprised this is a thing. I mean, FOH vs what you hear on stage (IEM, monitor whatever). Those two have always been different. Even when all anyone had was an amp and no PA. You'll get one sound on stage, then different sounds at the side of the stage, center, close, far....etc.

    All I try to do is create a sound that both the audience and I can live with. They're never the same thing.

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

    Edited once, last by Ruefus ().

  • I have some ACS custom mold monitors and also Shure SE215s that I had before? The ACS were surprising cheap and I am lucky to prefer single drivers, which I think sound better for guitar anyway.

    I always roll off some top end in the in ears and the tone changes quite a bit for shows instead of rehearsal. You get the full bass end when playing through a PA.

  • I know a couple guys that pull at least one ear out for this reason.

    *For me* - I'll take the tradeoff to keep my hearing as long as possible.

    I've heard ( pun intended) that pulling one out is even worse for your hearing ( over compensation or something like that).

    I agree that the right way to do it is have IEM's in and actually once you get used to them they are great. What I do like about IEM's is the consistent mix, you can hear everything all the time (particularly when you go a wandering..). Hence why I'm stupid to keep pulling them out...

  • Sorry guys for my late response... was busy my studys..
    Nice points of view. Thanks a lot!

    Anyway I currently play with a Roadking Profile from Deadlight. Which works greate live but is muddy and dump and muffled and dull even with a 100Watt wedge. But seems to work at gig volume. Well the conclusion is to EQ my IEM signal with boosting the highs and cutting the bass a little.

    Somehow this is weired this I though fletcher would also boost (in imagine) the lowend hat higher volumes. But at gig volume my sound doesn't get boomy as I supposed it should do...

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

    Don't recall the name ATM:


    I always just do low and hi cut at around 100Hz and 7Khz, and then do a sweep and notch the EQ to reduce the harsh sounds. Typically I set -2.5dB at around 3.4KHz.

  • I I'd like to be in that situation.

    My "problem" is the IEM always sound different. I use my own earphones, and we ask for the IEM system in our Rider. And that's it: the sound is always different. Sometimes it's incredibly beautiful (if you can say a raw electric guitar rock sound is incredibly beautiful), sometimes it's not that good. Sometimes it's bad. Always our own sound man, too.

    Yes, yes, different gear, different sound, but I've played live with IEMs more than 200 times and I'm sure I haven't used more than a few IEM different systems/brands. AND for little private gigs, I use my (cheap) system. And it also changes depending on, I guess, the rest of the gear.

    So if I don't feel comfortable enough, I try a little EQing. But as long as I know the PA sound is great, I'll be OK (if things are not too bad onstage).

    What bothers me with my Kemper, home Vs rehearsals (frfr in both cases, louder at rehearsals) is that the louder I set the Master Volume, the more distortion I get. That's what I'd expect from a real tube amp, not from my Kemper, so I don't know what's wrong. Any ideas? Maybe that's a thing to comment on a new thread.

  • The Kemper-Master doesn't react like a Master on a tube amp.. it's like a master on an mixer. Just pure volume. If you want to increse power amp distortion, you need a profile, which is doing exactly like this.

    The point of this is, that you can play a cranked Triple Rectifier at bedroom volume.

    Edit: Maybe there could be a second step seperation. So

    1. Profiling the whole amp + cab + mic

    2. Direct Profile

    3. Preamp Profile

    Now you could merge 3 with 2 and those with 1. Then you might implement something to push the poweramp section.

  • Same here...its nothing to do with the KPA, in fact the KPA and other digital stuff takes some variation out of the equation ( tube temp, mike placement, type of mike etc).

  • I know. I just want it louder but perceive it being more distorted and I don't know why

    Same here...its nothing to do with the KPA, in fact the KPA and other digital stuff takes some variation out of the equation ( tube temp, mike placement, type of mike etc).

    So you have the same problem?

  • I don't know that calling it a problem is the right term. Just like the same tube amp will sound different in cold/hot, carpeted/hard-surface, mic placement etc. Heck, the condition of your own ears can play havoc on things.

    While there is certainly less variability with a KPA, you're going to sound good on some days and not-so-good on others. Just like any other situation.

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