IEM Tips

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IEM Tips

Postby Lucas » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:37 am

I've got a monitor gig coming up this weekend with extensive IEM. It has been a looooooong time since I've mixed IEM and even then it was quick and rough.

I've no FX or dynamics for this one so there's not much I can do other than EQ and room mic use. I've only ever had the chance to quickly throw up a 57 on the side of the stage for the room mic but would like to do something properly this time around (time permitting).

All comments and suggestions welcomed.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Chris H » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:13 pm

Re not having dynamics one trick I picked up along the way is to send a hot mix level wise to the IEM transmitters and their in built comp limit function will kick in. You can monitor the signal the receiver gets from the headphone out on the transmitter
Or better still from a spare transmitter / receiver pack set up on an aux with the same gain structure as the monitor send. Then the player can adjust the overall level to suit on their receiver pack
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Lucas » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:24 pm

Well I've been given a revised spec... Only one set of IEMs used in one ear with wedges as well. So I'm guessing they'll only want their own vox in the IEMs. We'll see..

Thanks for the input.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:41 am

i find the "one ear" the hardest kind of in ears to deal with
yes they will likely only want their vocal
and they will want is SO loud it'll make them deaf
and they still want a wedge mix too for the other ear - so you get no benefits at FOH.
and they get no benefits cause its phased and odd cause they are hearing two totally different sound sources.

i always try and get my artists off the idea

obviously doesn't sound like you are in a position to do that.
but just saying.

I've been on tour with tim freedman (the whitlams) for the last few weeks. full band on in ears. its such a pleasure to mix. i always forget till i do it. makes everything easy.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby ChrisW » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:53 am

Not a fan of 'in ears' in general, but the one ear thing sounds like a nightmarish waste of time.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Lucas » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:31 am

I wonder if this artist has chosen this path because she hasn't been provided with any "ambience" in her IEM mix before? If time permits, I might see if she wants to try just IEM with some ambience blended in. It might be the first time sh has had that conversation..
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Kurt » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:33 am

The handful of singers I've dealt with using IEM only want vocals and a bit of rhythm guitars. If they wanted to hear the room they would just use wedges surely?
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Lucas » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:23 am

I think it's more about removing the isolated and disconnected feeling that IEM can cause, rather than providing monitoring of "the room" . It gives back the feel of the performance space whilst retaining the benefits of IEM.

I've also heard of performers asking for a stereo audience mix for much the same reason.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby ChrisW » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:40 pm

Don't two good quality ear moulds have the same effect as sticking both fingers in your ear and singing? Something that results in a weird internal, nasal sound. I know I feel very strange when talking to people with my in ears in, very self conscious of my own voice tone.
I'm sure good monitoring into the IEM's help to balance out the proximity effect, but I guess these singers might want a blend of the outer and the inner voice (so to speak).
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Ben M » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:48 pm

Lucas wrote:I wonder if this artist has chosen this path because she hasn't been provided with any "ambience" in her IEM mix before? If time permits, I might see if she wants to try just IEM with some ambience blended in. It might be the first time sh has had that conversation..

It's possible that she sings with one side of the headphones off when recording and is used to performing that way. Audience mics are fed into IEM to be able to hear the applause etc... otherwise performers wouldn't get a buzz from the crowd.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:19 pm

i think there is a lot of talk about IEM situations, by people that have never worn them, or certainly never worn them for a performance.
if you are a monitor guy - put your ears in - keep them in
you will soon hear what the artist is (and if they need anything else)

i have found nearly exclusively that ambience mics arnt required
if there are a few singers in the band, or someone is a quiet girl, there is PLENTY of gain to hear the crowd.

and remember that ears in, is just like earplugs in. think of the last time you watched a gig with earplugs (hopefully every gig!) you can still certainly hear the PA, and the crowd..

not saying ambience doesn't work.. just that it may not be required.
and any argument for one ear in/ one out for "vibe" is just inexperience and won't lead to a good result.
if they don't want ears, give them a good wedge mix and leave it at that - don't confuse the matter.
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby NathS101 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:17 am

Ahhh yes in ear monitors!
Here's my 2 cents of things I've learnt while mixing monitors over the last few years... Hopefully I don't talk too much gibberish!

Whenever I mix IEM I have the luxury of stage ambience mics, usually a LDC on each side of stage (or sometimes hung in the roof.....) that gets hard-panned in all the mixes and occasionally an additional stereo audience mic.
I find that it really helps 'create a space' in the performers' head by means of connecting with the audience reaction, as has been previously mentioned, and also so that the mixes aren't bone-dry.
The easiest way to get some ambience mics is to run an SM81 (or equivalent) on a stand either side of stage and either run it into the drop boxes or straight into your console. If you don't have SDCs use anything, it would sound better than nothing at all and wishing you'd connected something up. You can always turn it off!

A healthy dose of ambience in a drummers' mix can really help to get that sense of the room sound but in a controlled way. Riding the ambience mics during certain songs/audience participation moments greatly adds to the vibe too. I have my IEM mixes pretty live sounding and get some nice comments on how it sounds, some people like it excessively live, others don't like any ambience, it's all personal preference...

If you're using click simply DI it into the monitor console and make sure everyone has their desired level, some people prefer it to be panned any which way in the stereo image. If you can get the click line up and running early on it'll help the drummer during drum check.

I pan mainly electrics, acoustics and vocalists as they appear on stage from the musicians' perspective. sometimes keys, depending on what they're playing and where they're located. if two people are singing, I'll pan each singer in the center for their own mix but off center in everyone elses mix, depending on which side they're standing.

Of course a talk to stage mic is needed... I take a cheap switched mic around with me and leave desk channel open to all the IEM sends during sound check.

Using a reverb unit helps for lead vocals, mainly to support the ambience mics, where I try to run a separate FX send for each lead singer. When using digital consoles it's pretty easy to route FX around everywhere and use extra verbs for snare + the whole kit.

As for digital consoles in general, I make a template scene during prep/line checks then save as another scene when sound check starts and then save another scene again after sound check. Any support acts/acoustic sets/items get their own scene too.

I don't compress too much when mixing monitors as the band needs to hear their dynamic changes, somewhere around 3-6db on kicks & snares, up to 6db on dynamic singers and I might compress a few other channels. Seems to work fine.

I don't EQ too much on bass, guitars and keys as I'd prefer to get good tone from the source however I do a few dips on bass & keys to make it sit better in the mix... this is all the usual stuff... guitarists HATE it if you EQ their guitar.

Using HPFs helps a LOT for IEM mixing, I use them on every channel except kick & bass.

Please make sure you're using good quality IEM drivers and not cheap ipod earphones... they sound absolutely terrible and the band won't stop complaining. I've had Ultimate Ear molds for over a year now and I still believe it's one of the best things I've bought.

Always try to run stereo ears as much as possible, I wouldn't waste my time mixing mono ears... trying to 'create a space' in mono won't be easy although it can be done if it's a small band, the arrangements stack well and with a bit of picky EQing; similar to mixing an album in mono :|

I agree the whole 'one ear' thing is ridiculous... if they're taking an ear out then there's something wrong with their mix, sometimes it's because they can't hear themselves, anything to pitch off or the crowd.

well that's a few things that I've learnt, hopefully it helps a few people out. see how you go!
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Re: IEM Tips

Postby Lucas » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:20 pm

Well as I suspected IEM was in one ear with just the artists vocals. She pulled them in and out all night and just looked plain uncomfortable. If it wasn't a one off I would have started a conversation about it. Maybe I should email her with some "after sales service"..... Her guitarist is a mate so I might just talk to him first.

Her monitors were cranked and we got through the show.

As an aside, both of the bands - well respected country artists - commented very positively about the stage sound. My number was asked for.

So a pretty straight forward gig after all.

For interest sake, we were trialling some Turbosound TMW115 coax 15" monitors with the LMS-D24, bi-amped with 2 channels of a Lab fp 10000q. I'm told these monitors are only new to OZ. They performed well and received unprompted praise from those who used them. I found they were oddly unstable around the 800Hz - 1.6Khz range, but nothing that presented as a problem during the show. Might have just been the stage/placement. What was interesting and surprising though, was that the rest of the monitors on stage were severely aging Austrian Monitor F300 15" Co-axials. They kept up remarkably well against the Turbos. Sure the Turbos sounded nicer but not by the amount I had expected. It was nice to not have that F300 500/630Hz ugliness though....
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