Topic: In-ear monitors  (Read 2449 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve "Smitty" Smith

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 735
In-ear monitors
« on: December 20, 2008, 01:31 AM »
I’m curious to hear some thoughts on in-ear monitors.  My main exposure to this technology is watching big name bands use them live and on concert DVDs.  It’s been interesting to see cleaner, cooler looking stages that don’t have banks of monitors out front.  I imagine it’s great as a drummer (or any stage performer) to have a nice, focused mix in your ears to play to.  Are in-ear monitors a pretty large advance in stage and performance technology?  Are there any disadvantages?  I'd love to hear some opinions.

Offline Bart Elliott

  • Chef de Cuisine
  • Posts: 15199
  • Founder & owner of DrummerCafe.com
    • bartelliott
    • bartelliott
    • w w w . B a r t E l l i o t t . c o m
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 08:12 AM »
I personally think in-ear monitors are great (when used properly) and use them quite frequently.

There are two things that concern me however ... cons if you will. One is a medical concern, the other is a performance concern.

1) You have to be very careful when using in-ear monitors as you can damage your ears if you aren't careful. The ear wasn't designed to have loud sounds pumped deep into the ear canal. You can really damage your ears, so caution must be taken.

I also work with LOW VOLUMES in my in-ears. If you have a good seal, cutting out all the surrounding acoustical noise/sound, you are basically working in a more controlled environment for your ears and thus can use less volume and SPL. Having some sort of a limiter inline to protect your ears from sudden spikes or volume surges is a must.

2) When using in-ear monitors (properly), you miss out on the moving air that acoustical sound produces. This is especially true with low volume gigs or times when the stage volume is moderate to low. I'm always resisting urge to pull one of my in-ears out so I can capture the natural acoustics.

If there's a good soundman and monitoring system, and can fine tune the mix, often times this urge isn't as strong for me. Having a sonic shaker, like the  http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-1432003-10434128?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdrums-percussion.musiciansfriend.com%2Fnavigation%2Fdrums%3FN%3D100001%2B304265%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ntt%3Dbuttkicker%26Nty%3D1]ButtKicker , really makes a difference and again aids me in not feeling like I have to pull an in-ear to capture the acoustic sounds.

Offline Steve "Smitty" Smith

  • Cafe VIP
  • Posts: 735
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 12:21 PM »
I'm always resisting urge to pull one of my in-ears out so I can capture the natural acoustics.

Interesting.  I have the same experience with my hearing protection.

Thanks for the insights.

Danno

  • Guest
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 12:38 PM »
I'm old-school. I hate in-ear monitors. You lose all the natural acoustic sound. I had to use them in one band I was in and could barely even hear my own drums. HATED those monitors.

But like I said, I'm old-school. I can certainly see the use of these monitors, and the Shures I used worked great, but I just loathed them. When I drum I want to feel it and hear it. That's the fun part, for me.

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6446
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2008, 03:37 PM »
I think they can be highly dangerous for your hearing.
On big tours safety is a high priority. You are also working with very experienced sound personnel.
On a local scene I would be concerned.
One of the most ear damaging episodes I've endured was a recent soundcheck at a small club in NY State.
The inexperienced monitor guy let off repeated and loud bursts of feedback throughout the hour long soundcheck.
After a couple of bursts my ears actually shut down and it took a few moments to get my hearing back.
I'm glad that wasn't being piped directly into my ear canal, although anyone sensible would install some kind of limiter between the monitor board and their IEM's.
I actually wear protective earplugs (-25db) which stops me from ever using IEM's.





Rbdwarf

  • Guest
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2008, 10:52 AM »
Having some sort of a limiter inline to protect your ears from sudden spikes or volume surges is a must.

Do you find many rigs that have limiters?  I don't mean the ones that are part of the in-ear system itself (and generally sound like caca), but real outboard limiters.  Where I work we have three in-ear rigs and none of them have outboard gear.  In the time I've been there no one has asked for a rack of limiters.

In cases where we've had to subrent in-ear racks from other companies they have not included outboard limiters either. 

The limiters that are part of the in-ear modules are never engaged due to the aforementioned cacaness :-)

--
Rob

Rbdwarf

  • Guest
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 10:58 AM »
Chris, I'm a little confused by your post.

One of the most ear damaging episodes I've endured was a recent soundcheck at a small club in NY State.
The inexperienced monitor guy let off repeated and loud bursts of feedback throughout the hour long soundcheck.

     If everyone is using in-ears then the only possibilities for feedback are from the FOH system or a guitar amp.  Where was the feedback coming from?

After a couple of bursts my ears actually shut down and it took a few moments to get my hearing back.
I'm glad that wasn't being piped directly into my ear canal, although anyone sensible would install some kind of limiter between the monitor board and their IEM's.
I actually wear protective earplugs (-25db) which stops me from ever using IEM's.

So you weren't wearing IEM's at the time? 

--
Rob

Offline Chris Whitten

  • Honorary VIP
  • Posts: 6446
Re: In-ear monitors
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2008, 04:46 PM »

     If everyone is using in-ears then the only possibilities for feedback are from the FOH system or a guitar amp.  Where was the feedback coming from?


I guess not, although guitars feedback, and lead vocals feedback if they are close to the outfront PA..... which is a big possibility at smaller venues.
You get loud explosions when inexperienced stage personnel unplug cables without muting channels.
Regarding your limiter comment, all I can say is there is no way I would go within a million miles of an IEM system with no hardware to limit the maximum volume.
There is a clinically proven maximum db your ears can take before harm, and I'm not about to damage my ears so an enthusiastic monitor person can boost the lead guitar extra high during a solo.


 

Drummer Cafe RSS Feeds Drummer Cafe on Twitter Drummer Cafe on Facebook Drummer Cafe on Google+ Drummer Cafe on YouTube Drummer Cafe on Pinterest Drummer Cafe on Instagram