In ear monitor mixer question (hope I’m in the right place)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by clinkmd, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. clinkmd

    clinkmd Active Member

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    Newbie here. I was unable to find an active Mackie forum or one dedicated to live sound. If anyone can suggest a more appropriate place, please do so. I’m not very well-versed in this sort of thing.

    I’m a KB player and singer. I send one or two KBs from a Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro to the main board. We can mix our own monitor feed via a iPhone/iPad app wirelessly to a Prosonus board. I use a powered speaker or IEMs going through a Rolls PM55P. The Rolls has a limiter to protect against sudden excessive volume.

    Our drummer also mixes sound and pointed out that I could use just the Mackie mixer for both sending my keys and receiving a monitor mix. Something about assigning them to different aux sends, IIRC. I sit to play and don’t use wireless IEMs. I was advised on a KB forum AGAINST doing so due to the chance of feedback, lack of a limiter and maybe some other reasons. I’m all about simplifying things but don’t want to do something dumb or potentially harmful. I just saw a way to post a photo.

    (You folks are way ahead of the Keyboard Corner in that regard!)

    I hope I’m in the right place to get some help. Thanks in advance.
     

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  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Yes, you could use that method via the Mackie. But it's not a recording studio where everything can be carefully controlled. On a live stage, it's all too easy to push up the wrong fader, which could, with your setup, cause a feedback loop.

    Under these conditions, I would keep the instrument sends and the foldback return on separate gear.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  3. clinkmd

    clinkmd Active Member

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    Nov 4, 2018
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I’ve tried to be careful with my ears and will likely keep it separate. I left a band that rehearsed in a low-ceiling basement because both guitars played way too loud and another one where a heavy-handed drummer and loud guitar left me with some new, annoying tinnitus after a gig (IEMs were not an option with that group).

    I have joked for years the only project I would consider is a Louis Jordan-style jump blues band. Knew a bass and trumpet player, found a drummer and tenor/alto sax. We’ve been rehearsing for about six weeks and while I’m not sure there’s much of a market, we’re having a ball! No loud guitars and no need for IEMs.

    Thanks again
     
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    I'm a convert to IEMs but over the past three years have discovered a few things that help the musicianship aspect, and also play down some of the perceived problems.

    I normally use a P16 system so we all have our own mix - in our case, 3 IEMs and the old-school keys player who insists on a wedge because "insert twaddle and excuses here". There are some vital things. With IEMs most people turn them down, not up. There is no need to have them loud. It's weird, but you can actually hear more, play in tune more and make critical judgements better - exactly like you do in rehearsals in small spaces, that go wrong once everyone turns up. You really must have the right mix. With two ears on stage, if you have the wrong mix, you can compensate a little by turning your head, or moving a little. You cannot do this with IEMs the mix is the mix. With our P16s we all play better and hear exactly what we want. I have a limiter available on a knob, but I don't use it, or need it. Even feedback isn't a problem because the volume in my ears is lower, so a whistle is annoying but not painful. When we do shows where we have to have the PA provided, then I take a spare radio transmitter and in the rider it says I need a monitor feed on XLR and I get it without fail nowadays. However - you do need a proper soundcheck and time to get it right - and then NO gain tweaking by the guy out front. Sadly, this is rare. Playing a gig with a rotten IEM mix is a real killer and a couple of times recently I have had to pull out my left ear to hear the keys player's monitor which always belts out.

    So IEMS don't need to be loud. They do need a better mix than monitors provide. Oddly, I don't want the room mic in my IEMs. Loads put a mic pointing at the audience, and even though it comes up on my P16, I don't find it useful. You DO need to remember to address any comments to other band members into an open mic. Looking at somebody and shouting, "skip - XXX" one two three four does not work! My recent ear test shows my hearing is fine for my age, no nasty responses. The only real advice is to get custom moulds for your favourite headphones. I really like Shure SE215s, always have with foam expanding seals, so I had my ear canals moulded and the 215s just fit the new soft moulds and are really comfy - and the critical thing, they seal well when I open my mouth. My colleague had his done with his mouth closed, and when he opens his mouth wide to sing, it cracks the perfect seal and lets stage noise in.

    You just then need the perfect mix - which really needs to be an individual mix from auxes or a personal mixer. Shared mixes because you don't have enough auxes will be a real compromise. Neither will like it. I figure giving yourself 4 gigs to ease into them is the key. I never want to play one ear only - thats never seems to work for me, so it's an emergency thing. The IEM that is in will be quiet once you have real stage sound in the other one, so you just don't hear it.
     
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    It's especially nice to have your own dedicated mics and mixer and an XLR split. That way you can be sure that the gains stay put and things are consistent between shows.
     
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  6. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    We intended to go down this route, but the festivals simply don't have time to let you do this (well here in the UK) We even thought about an X32 rack to do exactly this, but setup time means it was a non-starter. We can get our inputs down to 15 if we compromise a bit on drums, but repatching their mics through a splitter system means we still then have more gain tweaking to do with different mics to ours, so it falls over.
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    That's sad to not being able to have your own mix following you.
    Here in Quebec, Canada. Most show have a monitoring person on stage, but I sometime have to do it from the FOH when the venue cheaps out.
    But when a mixer on stage is involved, it's mostly yamaha mixers, TF5 or MCL5 or LS9. They all allow saving to USB Key.. so if my job was to do monitoring for a band, after a few shows I would have my preset all saved... ;)

    I had a band coming in with a X32 on stage once. It was a disaster, they kept fideling with it and even ask to remove our monitors to put theirs (even do they all had in-ears) lol
    Their FOH guy was lost by having forgotten his USB key and had to mix the show from scratch... (which is what I always do when hired by venues to mix a different band each time.)

    Nowaday, if you have any control on the FOH mixer's choice. Many let's you connect via wifi with your Iphone or Ipad and you can do your own mix in-ear mix... That is a nice to have !
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    There simply isn't enough time unless you are headlining a festival - and we've done a few of those in our middling size way - but even then, as time slips back and back, your chance for anything more than a line check is a rarity. You simply can't do much in the time allotted. These festivals usually do have an on-stage monitor guy and trying to wave at a figure you can't even see in the Foh tent is impossible. Thing I meant was that with IEMs you are the mercy of the mix. We tour our own PA guy even when PA is supplied, but trying to set up an IEM mix take longer than we have. Saving files to USB sticks is fine, but we've never had one that worked without tweaking when you go to a new system because theorem routing will be different, the mic setup different and of course digital desks get set up for the convenience of the operator. In the UK the number of X32 systems is very large. Two years ago it was all Yamaha, now it's more likely to be (at our level) Behringer, Soundcraft, A&H in the main, with a few others thrown in. Even with X32 systems we cannot just plug in the P16s, because the routings will be different, and our files are little use to them, or theirs to ours. Nowadays we can have whatever we want, but in the main we have to make do, and IEMs are not good at making do. Wedges can be listened to, or even kicked away as a last resort. if your voice and your bass (in my case) vanish in the mix then send you, you can't play. This happens. Usually a mistake in the monitor guys layout - the keys player points at the keys and signals up with his finger. The monitor guy grabs aux 4 instead of 3 and suddenly you get blasted. The keys guy then frantically still wants more and it goes up again. By this time all you have is keys, so the only option is pulling the damn things out. I have an 8 x 10" big bass cab and in theatre gigs, it hardly makes a noise because they want the bass through the system, not my direct sound - so I'm 100% reliant on the IEMs. Lately if we have to use a supplied PA, I've been going back to wedges as I can play with a bad wedge mix, I cant with a bad IEM mix. I have actually played an entire song in Eb instead of E because I couldn't hear anything form my bass, and I really thought the song was in Eb - it must have been horrible. I don't know.

    IEMs and bad monitor mixing is a real ball ache.
     
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