Moving to silent stage?

  • I’ve played in a band that was all direct to the desk. Electric drums, bass amp head DI, keyboards, acoustic guitar DI and of course the Kemper.
    Only one mono stage wedge for the bass player, everyone else using in ears.

    I used a Behringer P16 to mix my monitoring. It’s like hearing a recording. There’s proper separation of sounds through decent panning, eq per channel and over the whole mix and a limiter!
    I never want to go back to using my 100 watt Marshall, the bass players 500watt mega speaker the keyboard player’s dodgey full range “amp” and a full on ear shattering cymbal fest of a drum kit!
    Trying to get half decent sound out of all that is a real challenge. Give me my MR18, Behringer p16 and IEMs any day. Oh and they weigh next to nothing! Venues prefer it once they understand the advantages in terms of sound quality. They like the look of all the amps and shiny cymbals, but they get narked if you disturb the neighbourhood or trigger the db meter power blocker.
    I remember it took one snare hit to kill all the power in a venue a few years ago! The owner just pulled the plug from the meter and reset the fuse box. On went the show, far too loud really and certainly nowhere near the db meter cut off!
    Cheers

    Pre-Amp

  • A lot of good points made so far. For me, IEMs are never going to sound as good as natural hearing and suffer from unaviodable issues. Plugging your ears leads to less that optimum results, always. My ears physcally fatigue just from being plugged for long periods of time. Bone conduction is a real problem. No matter how the IEMs are fitted, ear canal changes have an impact on the sound and feel. This is true especially for singers. The disconnected feeling is also real. The hassle of a separate mix is just that. I use IEMs when volume issues dictate that I 'save' my hearing. IMO, the best situation is to get everyone to play at at proper level. This allows the freedom to not use IEMs and experience natural hearing. This is absolutely the best situation for me. IEMs are a fallback when I am on a stage where the volume levels are out of control. Otherwise, I don't want them.


    Just because 'everyone' uses them, doesn't mean they are the optimum solution. Natural hearing is always best and it is worth taking steps to avoid any other compromised 'solution'. There are pros who refuse to compromise, i.e Derek Trucks, one of the most talented guitarists on the planet, won't use them.

  • A lot of good points made so far. For me, IEMs are never going to sound as good as natural hearing and suffer from unaviodable issues. Plugging your ears leads to less that optimum results, always. My ears physcally fatigue just from being plugged for long periods of time. Bone conduction is a real problem. No matter how the IEMs are fitted, ear canal changes have an impact on the sound and feel. This is true especially for singers. The disconnected feeling is also real. The hassle of a separate mix is just that. I use IEMs when volume issues dictate that I 'save' my hearing. IMO, the best situation is to get everyone to play at at proper level. This allows the freedom to not use IEMs and experience natural hearing. This is absolutely the best situation for me. IEMs are a fallback when I am on a stage where the volume levels are out of control. Otherwise, I don't want them.


    Just because 'everyone' uses them, doesn't mean they are the optimum solution. Natural hearing is always best and it is worth taking steps to avoid any other compromised 'solution'. There are pros who refuse to compromise, i.e Derek Trucks, one of the most talented guitarists on the planet, won't use them.

    There will always be those that IEM's and a silent stage don't work for. It seem to be more prevalent in older guitar players than any other group IME. In fact, there are those musicians that simply can't stand playing with IEM's and will flat out refuse to use them. Mostly, these musicians will have to settle for less adept bands as most touring bands use IEM's (as do most wedding bands and better bar bands).


    Just to be clear, there are really only 2 monitoring choices here. One is IEM's, and the other is floor wedges.


    I do take issue with your assertion that using IEM's "... leads to less than optimum results, always." The "results" must be considered 2 fold. First, what does the audience hear and second, what does each musician hear.


    With regard to the result #1 "What the Audience Hears", bands with low (or no) stage volume that use IEM's have a drastically better chance of sounding better to the audience. Getting good instrument separation when the stage is quiet is way easier while with a noisy stage, it is impossible (not just unlikely, but impossible).


    With regard to the result #2 "What each musician hears", it is more nuanced. Each musician can absolutely hear the rest of the band better with IEM's. I would argue that this is the over-riding reason for musicians to like IEM's. Can the musician hear what the stage ACTUALLY sounds like? Nope. The guitar player CAN'T tell exactly what his amp sounds like on stage.


    Using EITHER IEM's OR wedges for monitoring, NONE of the musicians on stage can tell what the audience hears. Using IEM's and having an option to hear the main mix out would be the closest to hearing what it sounds like out front, but ONLY if using eDrums and all DI with NO other amps on stage (and no wedges either). This is rarely the case, so even IEM's can not provide the musician with what the audience hears with any accuracy.


    I also take issue with the assertion that IEM's are only popular because "everyone uses them". They are popular because it is a superior monitoring solution (superior because it achieves better results in every possible way EXCEPT the musician hearing what his stage amplification sounds like (if he/she is using a stage amp).


    Where I completely agree with you is that it is ALWAYS best if every musician keeps his/her stage volume under control. This is true with wedges and IEM's. The one time I believe that just playing at a decent volume and "mixing from stage by adjusting your individual volume" works is for very small blues band venues.


    Fundamentally, I think that many musicians believe they need to hear what things sound like on stage to make sure the audience is getting a good sound out front. Sadly, those "many musicians" are fundamentally flawed in their thinking since what you hear on stage is a million miles away from what it actually sounds like in the audience.


    Once you give up on this fundamentally wrong thinking, I believe it gets much easier to love IEM's. I don't know about everyone here, but I sure don't miss lugging around all those floor wedges and the amplifiers to push them! I also don't miss running speaker cable (which weighs a ton too in the "speaker cable" bag) all over the stage and trying in vain to find room for the wedges .... somewhere.


    Finally, I don't miss constantly hearing band members complain "I can't hear myself" or "I can't hear __________ ". With the wonder of IEM's and individual mixes, these issues are nothing but a bad memory :).


    Of course, I must admit, it is possible for a band to use floor wedges and sound great. It is less likely IMO.

  • I’ve been contemplating the in ear route for years. I used a sennheusee system years ago but hated it. In reflection it was obviously down to the earbuds themselves. Anyway, I normally use a pair of earplugs on stage. Not so much down to the backline volume more to reduce the nightmare of cymbals in small venues. My question is, would the in ears have the same effect as earplugs but with the additional bonus of mixing in a ‘low volume’ ox on top of the attenuation caused by earplugs or would it be a completely different experience.

  • Here is my personal setup. I have westone AM pro 20. (AM for ambiant). They reduce ambient volume and I hope protect me. I'm the only one in my band with ears. I send my guitar direct from kemper to ears and get the others from their monitor. It's very comfortable and easy solution.

  • I’ve been contemplating the in ear route for years. I used a sennheusee system years ago but hated it. In reflection it was obviously down to the earbuds themselves. Anyway, I normally use a pair of earplugs on stage. Not so much down to the backline volume more to reduce the nightmare of cymbals in small venues. My question is, would the in ears have the same effect as earplugs but with the additional bonus of mixing in a ‘low volume’ ox on top of the attenuation caused by earplugs or would it be a completely different experience.

    There is a kind of isolated feeling of using earplugs or IEMs. If you're used to earplugs, then IEMs will probably work out pretty well for you.

    It's super cool to have a individualized mix, and instruments stay within a reasonable volume level. It's easier to have an overview how the band sounds.

    I'm using a In-Ear Stagediver SD4 and I'm quite happy with them.

  • Here is my personal setup. I have westone AM pro 20. (AM for ambiant). They reduce ambient volume and I hope protect me. I'm the only one in my band with ears. I send my guitar direct from kemper to ears and get the others from their monitor. It's very comfortable and easy solution.

    Just be careful with this set up.

    I have seen many people have this, can't get enough ambient so then start to play with one ear plugged in and one out. This is more damaging than both ears out.


    You are always better to get a full mix from the desk ( although this is much more hassle).

  • No need to remove one. I can clearly ear everyone.

    The big advantage of this particular series is that it attenuate the ambient sound without a full isolation. It's like an ear protection with your personal signal.


    It's impossible to manage a full mix at my level. We play in small stages or pubs, the drum is not always miced, no sound guy or never the same and no time to make sound check.

  • A lot of good points made so far. For me, IEMs are never going to sound as good as natural hearing and suffer from unaviodable issues. Plugging your ears leads to less that optimum results, always. My ears physcally fatigue just from being plugged for long periods of time. Bone conduction is a real problem. No matter how the IEMs are fitted, ear canal changes have an impact on the sound and feel. This is true especially for singers. The disconnected feeling is also real. The hassle of a separate mix is just that. I use IEMs when volume issues dictate that I 'save' my hearing. IMO, the best situation is to get everyone to play at at proper level. This allows the freedom to not use IEMs and experience natural hearing. This is absolutely the best situation for me. IEMs are a fallback when I am on a stage where the volume levels are out of control. Otherwise, I don't want them.


    Just because 'everyone' uses them, doesn't mean they are the optimum solution. Natural hearing is always best and it is worth taking steps to avoid any other compromised 'solution'. There are pros who refuse to compromise, i.e Derek Trucks, one of the most talented guitarists on the planet, won't use them.

    As per always, this is about balance.


    To me, IEM's will never sound as good as standing in front of you guitar amp. That's just physics.


    But they don't sound dreadful, just different. The benefits are massive, not least the ability to effectively hear everything. Playing quiet is really difficult with a drummer and cymbals ( which are what cause the biggest issue as they are high frequency).


    So Pro's use them predominantly because they can hear everything with a perfect balance. The pro level IEM's will be better than the ones us mere mortals use and will have a dedicated line mix, as they would previously of have a dedicated foldback sound guy.

  • I’ve been contemplating the in ear route for years. I used a sennheusee system years ago but hated it. In reflection it was obviously down to the earbuds themselves. Anyway, I normally use a pair of earplugs on stage. Not so much down to the backline volume more to reduce the nightmare of cymbals in small venues. My question is, would the in ears have the same effect as earplugs but with the additional bonus of mixing in a ‘low volume’ ox on top of the attenuation caused by earplugs or would it be a completely different experience.

    Good IEM's (say Shure e215's or better) isolate the noise from the stage about as good as ear plugs; however, I never feel like I am wearing ear plugs as the sound in my head is very open.


    Even without micing drums, I assure you, you will hear them in your IEM's from the mic blead alone.


    For all venues, I mic the kick and at least one tom mic to capture the toms and snare. If I am using my gear and PA, I will always individually mic all the toms and kick. If it is a small to medium venue, I don't mic the cymbals or snare. If it is a larger one, I do.


    Less expensive IEM setups are mono which does take something away IMO. If possible, it is really nice to get a stereo image from at least the vocals as the reverb efx really add space to the vocals making the room image feel more real in the monitors. I get this in my system by starting the IEM mix with the main L/R out. The individual mixes then get "more me" for their vocal mic and their instrument. The band members can then use a phone app to adjust their mix to their liking from the stereo mix. This is easy to do with the X32 setup. Depending on your mixer, you may need to dumb down your IEM mix to what the hardware can do.

  • There is a kind of isolated feeling of using earplugs or IEMs. If you're used to earplugs, then IEMs will probably work out pretty well for you.

    It's super cool to have a individualized mix, and instruments stay within a reasonable volume level. It's easier to have an overview how the band sounds.

    I'm using a In-Ear Stagediver SD4 and I'm quite happy with them.

    It all depends on the system and the setup. I have a midas 32c, & DL32 with a split, strictly for 7 stereo IEM mixes with some effects. I set up ambient mics at each side of the stage panned l&R That helps with that isolation feeling. I have an iPad with mixing station and My mix is whatever I want it to be. We basically have a silent stage. I do have a 1x12 with a Kemper Kone that sounds great, mostly for setup, & backup if there's a catastrophe. I turn it up a little bit for some feedback. Also have pretty decent 64 audio IEM's it sounds great. I hear every little thing. (and no one bitches about me being too loud...)

  • Ironically, some of the gigs were i’ve been happiest to be using iem, are the one where we have to play unnaturally quiet. At least the sound in my ears is good, even if i am almost inaudible in the room.

    And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

  • No need to remove one. I can clearly ear everyone.

    The big advantage of this particular series is that it attenuate the ambient sound without a full isolation. It's like an ear protection with your personal signal.


    It's impossible to manage a full mix at my level. We play in small stages or pubs, the drum is not always miced, no sound guy or never the same and no time to make sound check.

    I'm familar with the ambient series so glad they work for you, just warning against doing it as I'd be suprised if that works every time.


    Also I tend to play small venues etc. so I know its not possible every time, but it should be possible some of the time.