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Microphone Month 4

Using In-Ear Monitors Onstage; a Professional’s View, Part 2

Last time, inSync consulted Sweetwater’s Don Carr, a touring, professional musician and heard his experiences with in-ear monitors. This time we’ll continue our conversation with Don and offer some practical advice for choosing the right monitoring system for you.

Carr continues, “Over time, better-sounding ear molds were introduced, consoles improved, peak limiting was built into the individual monitor receivers, we improved our isolation techniques, and found our own tricks for performing with in-ear monitors. I for one had to remember the sound of big, loud guitar amps and the feel of a few feet of distance between me and my guitar amp’s speakers. I also had to remember that the audience was there; it was really easy to get lost in concentration because the isolation was so good. In-ears made it fun to listen and really dig in to what I was playing.

“The predictability and controllability of in-ears definitely helped save my hearing; I kept my volume at a nice, comfortable level. In-ears also ultimately helped me perform better and become a better musician overall as every performance detail of the whole band is right there in full stereo every show.”

Obviously, the benefits of in-ear monitors are many. But examine your situation and decide what will work best for you and your band. Do the performers feel comfortable performing with molds in their ears? The sound and sensation are definitely different. Is someone available during the performance to deal with the various mixes or will you run a networked system where each musician/vocalist has their own mixer? Can all of the stage elements: drums, amps, horns, etc., be isolated well enough onstage to avoid interfering with the in-ear mixes?

In-ear monitors have many benefits but whether to use them or wedges depends on many factors. Your Sweetwater Sales Engineer can definitely help you work through the decision and provide valuable insight into the benefits of in ears and of monitor wedges. Taking the time to weigh all the aspects of changing over will help you achieve your ultimate goal — a great performance!

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