audio tips

music band performance with a guitarist and drummer using in ear monitor during live

Howdy SEA Fans, Welcome to another Tip Tuesday Blog Post and today we are talking about In-Ear Monitoring System

There is no doubt: the better the monitor sound, the more official the performance. However, a good monitor sound is not a matter of course, especially if the band does not want to afford the luxury of having their own monitor technician. In addition, a large monitor system with power amplifiers, EQs, and floor monitors overstrain the transport capacities of many bands.
As an alternative, the switch to in-ear monitoring lures.
What you should pay attention to and which advantages and disadvantages a change brings with it.

When talking about in-ear, most people think of a wireless solution. This does not necessarily mean that a radio system is used. Especially in terms of cost, a wired system is often a rewarding alternative. Band members who take up fixed positions on the stage (drummers, keyboard players, backing vocals, etc.) usually come with a wired belt pack or a signal from the headphone amplifier. In addition, one does not have to worry about radio frequency management and antenna positions.

3 musicians performance during a live band

Before talking about the mixing rules here we are introducing things to keep in mind which will be advantageous for you if you are planning to switch to an In-Ear Monitoring System.

1. A test run in the rehearsal room with regular headphones and headphone amplifiers is a great way to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons.

2. Professional in-ear headphones have good shielding from external noise and therefore offer good sound insulation. So the musician can also easily control how loud the monitor signal should be on his ear.

3. An in-ear mix is always the same, no matter where you walk around on stage. The sound of an in-ear mix is also more transparent and “closer” than classic monitoring.

4. If the singer wants to hear not only his voice but also the complete band on his in-ear, all relevant signals must actually be present at the mixing console.

Now let’s talk about the mix rules and about the compression aspects

a singer and guitarist during a live performance while using in ear monitor system

Mix Rules

The fact that professional earphones including impression by a hearing care professional their money is well worth it, has gotten around now. In addition to top sound and secure fit of the handset, the isolation of ambient noise is much better.

Although the good sound insulation protects the ear and is beneficial to the sound of your own mix, but brings with it a disadvantage. If the listener is very tight, you have to communicate with each other as a band via microphones or constantly fiddle in and out of the listener. Additional ambient microphones facilitate communication and catch the audience. However, they often make sure that the actual monitor mix sounds washed out.

A good middle ground is to tame the microphones with Ducker, Expander or  Gate so that the microphones are only open when the song is quiet or after a song.

What is the first official act of using the earphones?
We check if a limiter is activated. Almost all higher-quality in-ear systems have such a limiter, which intercepts spikes in the case of mixing accidents, defects or unintentional unplugging of an instrument, thus preventing hearing damage.
Otherwise, you should at least activate a limiter in the mixer in the aux master. Better safe than sorry.

If the level limiter is active, insert both Earphones and create your monitor mix.
Most in-ear radio links offer three modes: mono, stereo, and mix. If your monitor mixer has enough aux sends, use the stereo or mix mode.
This allows you to create much cleaner mixes.
The Mixmode is basically a dual-mono operation.
One way is the mix of the band and on the other the own signal.
At the pocket receiver, you can then adjust the relationship between band mix and your own signal.

First, just put the signals in the mix that you really need.
As easy and quiet as possible!” is the motto.
Let’s start with the bass drum, we just turn it so loud that it is reasonable to hear.
That’s enough because there are still signals.
If all the necessary signals are in the mix, you can purify them with targeted equalizing. You are welcome to use a lot of high and low cut.

Careful with compression
Especially singers do not like to fight against a wall of gain reduction.
The own instrument or the voice should, therefore, be limited as far as possible in the dynamics.
Discouraging signals from bandmates, on the other hand, can be quietly compressed.
So your own signal is above the mix and always well audible.
If there are a mix and a basic sound, a pinch of reverb helps to connect all the signals well, so that everything sounds from one piece.

Hope you have found today’s topic a useful and interesting one.
Do share your thoughts on the topic as a comment below

Happy Sound Engineering