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Customer Comments

Superb Company, When You've Found The Best, Forget The Rest,

Jan from the UK on 09.11.2012

Online-Guide In-Ear Monitoring
Pros & Cons

 

stage monitorecontraInEar Monitoring


Freedom of Movement

One of the most obvious advantages of in-ear monitoring is the ability to move around the stage. Conventional wedge
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
are usually fairly directional, not least because this helps reduce the risk of
FeedbackThe phenomenon whereby audio picked up by a microphone or guitar pickup that is then played from a speaker close or loud enough for it to be captured again by the same source. If left the signal will continuously loop, with any resonant frequency causing the undesirable 'howling' sound often heard at concerts.
feedback
. The only way to hear a consistent mix throughout a gig is not to move! Earpieces and headsets, on the other hand, maintain a consistent position in relation to the wearer’s head, so a good balance that works in the soundcheck should in theory be fine all night.


No Feedback

With some PA systems, and in some venues, it is difficult or impossible to turn stage
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
up as loud as the musicians would like without inducing
FeedbackThe phenomenon whereby audio picked up by a microphone or guitar pickup that is then played from a speaker close or loud enough for it to be captured again by the same source. If left the signal will continuously loop, with any resonant frequency causing the undesirable 'howling' sound often heard at concerts.
feedback
. How often have you asked for more level in your
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
only to be told that you’ll be risking feedback? Although it’s technically not impossible to achieve
FeedbackThe phenomenon whereby audio picked up by a microphone or guitar pickup that is then played from a speaker close or loud enough for it to be captured again by the same source. If left the signal will continuously loop, with any resonant frequency causing the undesirable 'howling' sound often heard at concerts.
feedback
with in-ear
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
you’d probably have to turn everything up to ten and press a
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
against your ear, so it’s not something that happens in the real world.


Civilised Stage Volume

It’s a fact: most rock and pop musicians regularly expose themselves to sound pressure levels that would be considered unsafe (not to mention illegal) in a factory or other workplace. While ear protection is of course available, many musicians find even the most expensive custom-moulded solutions unsatisfactory, often tearing them out halfway though a gig in frustration at the mushy, muffled sound reaching their ears. When a musician is struggling to hear himself on stage, his usual course of
ActionThe feel of an instrument, usually relating to the physical effort required to create and/or strike a note. On keyboards, it refers to the pressure required to press the keys - pianos often have heavier actions than electronic keyboards - while on stringed instruments it refers to the distance between the strings and the fingerboard.
action
is to turn himself up. If everyone keeps doing this, it doesn’t take long to reach an unpleasantly high
Volume1) In audio and music, the loudness or amplitude of a signal. 2) In computing, a fixed amount of storage space, addressed as a single entity ('C:', 'D:' etc). A physical drive may contain more than one volume, but a single volume may also span more than one drive!
volume
. As well as being too loud in total, on-stage sound is often an unpleasant affair simply because of the sheer number of sound sources blasting away in different directions, at high
Volume1) In audio and music, the loudness or amplitude of a signal. 2) In computing, a fixed amount of storage space, addressed as a single entity ('C:', 'D:' etc). A physical drive may contain more than one volume, but a single volume may also span more than one drive!
volume
in a small space with reflective walls: drums, cymbals, guitar amps,
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
AmpereUnit of current; the amount of electricity flowing through a conductor. One Ampere is equal to the flow of 6.25x10^18 electrons through a conductor in one second.
amp
,
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
, main speakers (and multiple reflections from all of these) usually add up to produce a sound best described as a mess.

As well as removing some of the sources of this
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
noise
(the stage
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
and even possibly bass/keyboard amps), the use of in-ear monitoring also greatly reduces the war-of-attrition effect of everyone turning themselves up – you can ask to hear more of yourself without affecting anyone else.


Smaller Rig

Anyone who isn’t lucky enough to be working with a fixed installation will appreciate another advantage of in-ear systems: their size and weight, or rather their lack of both. Most working musicians spend a lot of time loading and unloading vans, often in the cold and the middle of the night; a typical PA system with four or more wedge
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
can be dramatically reduced in size and weight by switching to an in-ear system. It’s also easier and quicker to set up, with much less cabling – or by using rack mounted wireless transmitters permanently connected to the
ConsoleA device through which audio signals are routed for mixing, monitoring, processing and re-routed for either recording, amplification or both. A console contains a number of channel strips and a selection of auxiliary, monitoring and main outputs.
mixer
, none at all.


Predictable Sound

Stage
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
are affected by room acoustics just as much as front-of-house speakers – often more so, as they are frequently placed so that they point straight at a rear wall or even into a corner, causing all sorts of standing waves and
ResonanceA parameter for boosting the frequencies around the cut-off point of a filter. When shaped by an envelope so that it moves in frequency it creates the characteristic 'wow' sound of a subtractive synthesizer.
resonances
. In-ear
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
deliver a predictable sound that is as good or bad as the chain of hardware in use but is independent of room acoustics. A touring/function band with an automated
ConsoleA device through which audio signals are routed for mixing, monitoring, processing and re-routed for either recording, amplification or both. A console contains a number of channel strips and a selection of auxiliary, monitoring and main outputs.
mixer
should be able to experience the same sound on stage night after night, while their engineer can devote all his energy to the front-of-house sound.


Live Feel

In-ear monitoring can feel a
BitA binary digit – a “one” or a “zero”.
bit
strange at first, particularly with sealed earpieces that reduce ambient
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
noise
. It can be a little unsettling to feel as though you’re in the studio rather than in front of an audience. There are several possible solutions to this; one popular technique involves directing a
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
mic
at the audience and mixing this into the
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
sends (obviously it’s a good idea to make sure it isn’t sent to the main speakers too) to give the players a sense of
AmbienceCharacter of an environment. In audio, the sonic characteristics of a space, from the size of the space to what type of sounds are a normal part of it.
ambience
and audience
PresenceThe ability of high frequencies in a sound to 'cut through' a mix. Presence controls usually boost frequencies between 3-5kHz.
presence
. There is of course another solution: get used to it!

Many
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
players trying in-ear monitoring as a way of avoiding having to lug around heavy speaker cabs complain that it feels physically odd to play with an empty space behind them where their
AmpereUnit of current; the amount of electricity flowing through a conductor. One Ampere is equal to the flow of 6.25x10^18 electrons through a conductor in one second.
amp
used to be. One solution is to use light dummy
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinets
, which many big rock acts do anyway to some extent, or to replace them with something of similar shape and size, though one suspects that the solution favoured by Geddy Lee of Rush – a row of tumble dryers – could only be appreciated by someone who hasn’t had to carry his own equipment for many years anyway!

 

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Contents:

[Contents] [Pros & Cons] [History] [Off-The-Shelf Systems: One-Way] [Off-The-Shelf Systems: Two-Way] [Custom-Moulded Systems] [Consumer Earphones] [Care & Maintenance] [Wireless Systems] [Bass-Shakers] [Conclusion] [Hotdeals] [Feedback]