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Jim Besser

In Ear Monitors

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I'm wondering if anybody has experience using in-ear monitor systems with a concertina in a live band situation.

 

We are a very loud band, with brass, drums and electric guitar, and it's rare that floor monitors provide clear enough audio of the concertina for me to really hear myself. The fact that I have hearing loss is an added factor.

 

I have tried small hotspot monitors right next to me, but in my experience they are a feedback nightmare.

 

A couple of sound guys I've worked with have suggested in-ear systems.

 

Does anybody have experience with such systems?

 

Any recommendations for brands/models? I see systems ranging from $150 to $2000. I'm not ready to go to the high end of that scale, but am always wary of inexpensive sound gear.

 

Anybody?

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I use a Shure psm200 system with ACS earpieces.

I previously worked with conventional monitors but a hearing problem (Menieres) has made it difficult to work with high sound levels.

 

There are pros and cons.

You can have your own mix with little or no bleed from other musicians.

The sound level is much lower.

 

It can be very isolating

Communication with other musicians can be difficult.

 

I sometimes use an ‘ambient’ mic in the second input to combat isolation.

I sometimes plug my instrument directly into the iem transmitter and a feed from the desk into the second input so I can control the iem mix. This is useful when the desk cannot provide you with an individual mix.

 

I use this system for concertina. Melodeon and double bass.

 

Earpieces go from cheap to ridiculous. I found the Shure model provided with the PSM200 was not very comfortable and didn’t provide enough isolation. The ACS model I use is at the bottom of their range and works well for me.

 

I have friend (violinists) who use wired iems from Thomann, you don’t have to go wireless!

 

Happy to provide more details

 

Mitch

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Perhaps this suggests that Jim Besser’s Concertina is simply not an appropriate instrument to be a component of “ A very loud band with brass, drums and electric guitar “.

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps this suggests that Jim Besser’s Concertina is simply not an appropriate instrument to be a component of “ A very loud band with brass, drums and electric guitar “.

 

Rod, Jim's concertina sounds absolutely bloody brilliant in the band and is a huge part of their sound. (You might even enjoy listening to them before suggesting otherwise.)

 

We've had plenty of conversations here on c-net over the years about how it can be extremely difficult hearing one's own concertina in a noisy session, while it's never any trouble hearing other player's concertinas in the same setting (due to the very directional sound concertinas produce). It's the same issue on-stage; standard floor monitors don't help much with this as there's so much immediately surrounding noise when you're on-stage with even just a few other instruments, which is an experience I suspect many concertina players in ceilidh bands have shared (I certainly have).

 

Jim, I've heard very similar things to what Howard said about how the major drawback is the isolation and the challenges to communication with / from bandmates. You have to really concentrate on looking at each other and using really obvious legs for tune changes as the traditional English "HUP!" from the band leader will be inaudible. Establishing solid visual cues with the caller before the dance is also useful. Though maybe having an ambient input (as a supplementary second input) mitigates that problem sufficiently. I'd not heard of anyone who does that before, but I really like the idea. It's something I'd like to explore if I get back into playing for ceilidhs.

Edited by wayman

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I have friend (violinists) who use wired iems from Thomann, you don’t have to go wireless!

 

Happy to provide more details

 

 

Thanks, that's very useful information. I hadn't thought about the isolation issue.

 

I'm wondering about the wired option; I've had problems with cordless mics in the past, and know the technology can be flaky.

 

When you hear the concertina in your ear bud: is the sound quality OK? Not too tinny?

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Posted (edited)

 

 

 

 

Jim, I've heard very similar things to what Howard said about how the major drawback is the isolation and the challenges to communication with / from bandmates. You have to really concentrate on looking at each other and using really obvious legs for tune changes as the traditional English "HUP!" from the band leader will be inaudible. Establishing solid visual cues with the caller before the dance is also useful. Though maybe having an ambient input (as a supplementary second input) mitigates that problem sufficiently. I'd not heard of anyone who does that before, but I really like the idea. It's something I'd like to explore if I get back into playing for ceilidhs.

 

 

IT's all about visual cues for me, since I can't really hear anything the band leader says (and I don't do well processing verbal input while playing).

 

An added problem for me: the band also includes an accordion. Often, isolating the noise I'm making from Andrew's noise isn't easy. I know from experience that better monitoring minimizes that problem, but in my little world, "better monitoring" is not easily attainable, since we are usually working with someone else's setup.

 

Periodically I'll get my own floor monitor, with a personalized mix, and then I can hear just fine, but that's rare. In the real world, I'm working with inadequate monitors, so I'm thinking the in-ear route might be a solution.

Edited by Jim Besser

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Posted (edited)

Periodically I'll get my own monitor, with a personalized mix, and then I can hear just fine, but that's rare. In the real world, I'm working with inadequate monitors, so I'm thinking the in-ear route might be a solution.

 

 

What I've learned with sound equipment is, the more of what you personally use that you own and bring with you, the better off you are generally. It's the rare venue or engineer who owns exactly what you want or need, especially for a more unusual instrument. (I still need to tinker with my microphone mounts as a side issue, but having everything I need and being able to give the engineer my XLR cables and say "just plug these in" makes my life so much more predictable and makes any sound engineer's job easier, too. I'm sure the same is true with monitors as it is with microphones.)

Edited by wayman

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Periodically I'll get my own monitor, with a personalized mix, and then I can hear just fine, but that's rare. In the real world, I'm working with inadequate monitors, so I'm thinking the in-ear route might be a solution.

 

 

What I've learned with sound equipment is, the more of what you personally use that you own and bring with you, the better off you are generally. It's the rare venue or engineer who owns exactly what you want or need, especially for a more unusual instrument. (I still need to tinker with my microphone mounts as a side issue, but having everything I need and being able to give the engineer my XLR cables and say "just plug these in" makes my life so much more predictable and makes any sound engineer's job easier, too. I'm sure the same is true with monitors as it is with microphones.)

 

 

Yep. I'm moving in that direction myself. I'm still going back and forth on the issue of mics (no need to revisit that issue here!). Generally, I find that the widest variability when using other peoples' equipment is in the area of monitoring. Hence my desire to take matters into my own hands.

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I have friend (violinists) who use wired iems from Thomann, you don’t have to go wireless!

 

Happy to provide more details

 

 

Thanks, that's very useful information. I hadn't thought about the isolation issue.

 

I'm wondering about the wired option; I've had problems with cordless mics in the past, and know the technology can be flaky.

 

When you hear the concertina in your ear bud: is the sound quality OK? Not too tinny?

 

 

The sound is fine, but that's down to the earpieces rather than the transmitter or receiver.

I just looked up the ACS earpieces that I use and it seems that the range has moved on and now includes a "live" version which has an ambient mic built in.

https://www.acscustom.com/uk/products/in-ear-monitors/compare-iem

I use a single driver, balanced armature earpiece. You can go up to 5 drivers but I find 1 is fine and so much better that the normal earbuds.

 

I know you're in the US but this is a link to Thomann in Germany with their range of wired iems

https://www.thomann.de/gb/wired_in_ear_monitors.html?oa=pra

 

Mitch

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gle driver, balanced armature earpiece. You can go up to 5 drivers but I find 1 is fine and so much better that the normal earbuds.

 

I know you're in the US but this is a link to Thomann in Germany with their range of wired iems

https://www.thomann.de/gb/wired_in_ear_monitors.html?oa=pra

 

Mitch

 

 

Ah, I see that in the US, Thomamm is badged as PreSonus.

 

This looks like it could be just the thing: https://www.thomannmusic.com/presonus_hp2.htm

 

I like the option of having a stereo mix, with more of me in one ear, more of the band in the other.

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