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In ear monitor set up - problems!
Old 19th January 2012
Here for the gear

In ear monitor set up - problems!

Hi guys I am really hoping someone can help me. I have been using IEM for 4-5 years. Recently I was forced to take some time off touring so decided to develop my gear so it was more consistent from venue to venue.

I have always ran:

Shure beta58
JTS SIEM 101(r) - limiting off (when in a 5 piece/heavy rock)
Earphones - Had some Shure E2Cs, one day they got flatter/weaker and from then on I loved them.

After the E2C's died I tried replacing them with SCL2, I always found these way too harsh and struggle to rehearse with them. I recently bought a DBX IEM unit to hopefully add a consistent reverb (reverb in ear helps me loads live) to every performance. However I am finding using the DBX that I don't feel enough clean signal. I feel too distant from the guys and can struggle with songs that I know inside and out pitch perfect.

I am now debating selling the dbx iem and just buying a Yamaha REV100 (I always liked Yamaha reverbs, lexicon on DBX IEM are too processed). Could anyone suggest whether this may help?


I am just trying to work out, could it be my scl2's messing it all up, I bought some scl5's not too long ago too and also found them WAY too harsh (I run my IEM pretty loud, in the red a lot - yea, I know). I am now considering some Westone UM1's, I have a low budget but just want something more 'cushioned'? Is that the right term? The SCL2's just feel too harsh.

Any help would be massivly appreciated!

ps. This is not a self plug but find some of my music here (I only say this because I have a VERY full on vocal sound and thought this might help you guys better understand. I like to feel VERY close to the vocal with a nice reverb warmth in there too).

The Mercy House | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos

Thanks Again, I hope for some help!
Old 19th January 2012
Registered User
As an alterntive to reverb, have you considered using room mics? With IEM its easy to create your own little artificial world, which is nice, but you can be disconnected from the band and audience. Room mics may not be as lush or clean, but its real and keeps you connected ...

Personally, i'm using TC Helicon processing for live, and while it's not the best reverb it's perfectly usable. There is a difference between revberb that is suitable for FOH and reverb that makes for lush headphone experience. The
Yamaha stuff is good. But Line6 FX are cheap and very good. Not just for guitars. Depends on whether you need balanced or unbalanced io, and whether you need rack mount etc
Old 19th January 2012
Here for the gear

thanks kiwi, I am going to try a line 6 guitar pod on saturdays rehearsal. Do you think the dbx could be processing the clean signal too much without using all it's features? I'm not an expert at all. I don't want all the compression, eq and all that the dbx offers because honestly I can't use it, when I try it just starts saturating my tone. The best gigs I've had is just clean vocal cranked to hell (automatically picks band up) and then just wetten it up a bit (depending on how my voice is feeling!) until I feel like I'm sitting in a good place.

I also find that running a built in effect off of the PA sounds way more natural and allows me to use lots of low end. The DBX effect seems to lock me into head voice more (thinner/narrower sound...does that make sense?)

My worry without ambient mics is I know what the response will be at gigs etc.

Do you run the helicon through your in ears then or into a wedge? Also do you think the headphones could be spoiling the sound. I recently gave them around 80 hours burn in again but they still sound harsh, I'm sitting here now with a slightly battered ear after rehearsal last night and just exasperated, I know my voice is tip top but I just want to settle into and enjoy rehearsals again.

Sorry for the moan! Any headphone, mix advice would be hugely appreciated.
Old 19th January 2012
Here for the gear

Would putting the DBX in a loop off of the monitor unit help clarity a little? Is that possible with the outputs below?

siem 101
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dbx iem
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Old 19th January 2012
Lives for gear
I'd spend more than $100 on my in-ears before worrying on processing. You've got a $1000 IEM system; your earbuds are your weak link.

If you really want to improve your IEMs, the first step is getting better earbuds and then getting custom earmolds if you don't already have them. There are companies around that will do this; I used Love Hearing Services in Pasadena for my Shure E2s from years ago and they're much, much better.

As for reverb, most pros don't want reverb in their monitor, but room crowd mics so they know what's going on onstage. That will provide you enough natural reverb without it sounding artificial. This will also make it easier for anyone providing monitor mixes to you.
Old 19th January 2012
Lives for gear
Ragan's Avatar

Do yourself a favor and get the Westone UM-2s. Mike from Frequency Sound (ebay) is really easy to work with.

UM-2s are so clean and easy on the ears. I use the longer tips cause I'm blocking myself from a Hiwatt, a Blackface Twin and an SVT blue-line. Anyway, they're very very good. In my shootouts, I felt they schooled ears that were twice as much.

Sent from my ADR6300 using
Old 19th January 2012
Here for the gear

thanks for the feedback guys.

I must admit the earbuds is what I suspected...But I got burnt a while ago, I have a soundguy who has hooked me up with scl5's (which I found far too cold and harsh with my vocal, really did not like them) and the DBX IEM kind of came my way at a low price as well. I have heard the UM1 is pretty comparable with UM2, the problem is I cannot try them really...and times are hard at the minute. Ragan would it be fair to say that the scl2 is what is upsetting the vocal at the minute? Does it have a more limited frequancy range?...I'm not too clued up on all this so apologies guys.

As I stated, sometimes I will run a reverb, sometimes not. I do what works for me, if I can't run an ambient reverb sometimes help the harshness through these buds. I try to keep the live setup as simple as possible so that it can transpose from an outdoor festival or large venue but also into a small bar (for example), this normally means running mono as well.

Will the UM2's make things more organic then, I have heard they are the rock singers choice of manufacturer. Thanks again
Old 19th January 2012
Here for the gear

I was considering dropping the dbx and just running the jts with some better buds, in the past when I had the monitor and the e2cs I loved I didn't need any processing, compression, eq etc on my end. It does feel like the scl2 has brought these issues on. My ears are paying the price today
Old 19th January 2012
Lives for gear

I personally think that the more you add processing to in ears mixes, the more it starts to cover up things that maybe shouldn't be there. If the problem you are having is feeling that your vocal is too close in your ear, maybe look at setting up ambiance mics pointing out from your stage, and blending that in with your mix in order to give you more space.

I also agree that I'd be focusing on getting better drivers rather than trying to fix things with processing etc. The harshness you could be hearing, could very well be cheap in ears. Get yourself some high quality Westones or UE7's, and start on a good foundation. If you still aren't happy, at least then you know that you have something to work with.

As a side note, are you setting your own ears mix, or do you have a monitor engineer?
Old 19th January 2012
Registered User
If you look a Line6 stuff for personal monitoring, it will give you compression and EQ as well as reverb. So you should be able to make any headphones sound comfortable.

There are a few models, and i'm onto the HD models now. But the FX are fairly similar, and later versions are based on the M series. I would probably buy an M series for your application, but a Pod will work if you disable the amp sim.

Try the Vetta comp ... tends to be my favorite.
A trick for the Line6 verbs ... set the predelay and decay both to zero, tone at 50, and you will get a very nice small ambiance for headphones. The Chamber is the most natural, and the Bright Room is nice wide ear candy.

You might even want a small slap delay to give a better sense of space.

There are various eq options - the 4 band graphic is often all that's needed.

You should feel fairly comfortable with those ... I think people tend to despise Pods because the argument is always about comparing them to tube amps ... but the FX are very good. I've owned many older hardware devices - Alesis, Roland, Lexicon ... Line6 stack up. Not as many parameters, because they are aimed at guitarists who tend to be Luddites. But what is given is very useable - low noise, good sound.
Old 20th January 2012
Here for the gear

Dayton I think you hit the nail on the head. Its the closeness driving me mad. the best gigs have been dry vocals but somehow it felt like it wasn't a harsh signal being blasted down my ears.

I think I will invest in um1 and try to secure an artist deal in the near future. I know they are not high end but do you think thay would improve from the scl2 even a little?

Regarding the mix, its normally me directing the sound guy, live tends to be okay as bigger venues and more ambience, its rehtearsals driving me potty

I will try the ambient mic tomorrow will probs be a 58 in middle of room but its a start.

Kiwi thank you for the processing help, I will try the line6 tomorrow and let you guys know. I agree though I do think my use of reverb is just to cover bad sound, its almost just to distract me and I can just follow the pitch, I know that's terrible but I'm being honest. Thanks again guys.
Old 20th January 2012
Here for the gear

Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
Do yourself a favor and get the Westone UM-2s. Mike from Frequency Sound (ebay) is really easy to work with.

UM-2s are so clean and easy on the ears. I use the longer tips cause I'm blocking myself from a Hiwatt, a Blackface Twin and an SVT blue-line. Anyway, they're very very good. In my shootouts, I felt they schooled ears that were twice as much.

Sent from my ADR6300 using
Hey Ragan I will be testing the UM2's next week. Thank you for the advice
Old 20th January 2012
Originally Posted by wildingkaratewol View Post
Hey Ragan I will be testing the UM2's next week. Thank you for the advice
Definitely get the UM2s over the UM1s. However, I find the Future Sonics Atrios with SofterWear sleeves are even better. I may have a pair of UM2s to sell, now that I've moved to the Future Sonics. The big improvement of the Future Sonics design is that they don't use balanced armature hearing aid technology but an actual speaker driver, so there is no crossover and the low end is a huge improvement. Even their best IEM (and they started the field) is a single driver.

Regardless of which way you go, get some custom molded sleeves for your IEMs. It makes a big difference and shouldn't be hard to work out. This is a great way to go: Package #4 - Future Sonics.

I recently lost my Westone earplugs and discovered that with the current cost of replacement, I was already a good way to this:
Package #5 - Future Sonics

I'm curious to hear how these will be an improvement.

IEMs have saved my hearing.
Old 8th May 2012
Here for the gear

selling the jts iem, doesn't feel like its required right now, happier just running my inars with the scl2, stick a reverb on so there's something to sing towards and hey presto.

In ear monitor set up - problems!eBay - The UK's Online Marketplace

£250 for the dbx iem, shipping on top

cheers for all the assistance here guys
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