Magazine article Guitar Player

Transitioning to In-Ear Monitor Systems

Magazine article Guitar Player

Transitioning to In-Ear Monitor Systems

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IN THE NOT-SO-DISTANT FUTURE, wedges and sidefills could disappear from stages large and small, ending up as museum exhibits alongside Shure Vocal Masters and Altec Voice of the Theater speakers. As in-ear monitoring (IEM) systems drop in price, more working musicians may opt for the benefits of less stage volume, less feedback, and clearer, cleaner monitor mixes. Good affordable systems--meaning transmitter, receiver, and earpiece for one musician--include Audio-Technica's M2 ($599 street), Galaxy's AS-1100 ($399 street), Sennheiser's ew 300 IEM G3 ($999 street), and Shure's PSM 200 ($599 street). If you desire custom-molded earpieces, Logitech's Ultimate Ears models start at $399 (retail). Here are some things to consider before embracing IEMs.

GET FAMILIAR

IEM systems prevent volume wars between the wedges and your backline as the monitor mixer struggles to ensure band members can hear their parts over the roar of the amps and drums. Instead, earpieces isolate the performer from ambient sounds and output the monitor mix directly into the ear. This can be a mixed blessing, however, as guitarists typically dig being enveloped by the stage sound of their amps, and vocalists often feed off the exhortations of the audience. To prep for the cut-off-from-everything sensation of wearing earpieces, pop on a pair of closed headphones, listen to a stereo track, and critically assess whether you can hang performing "in your own head." If you purchase a system, test it out at rehearsals long before hitting the stage. …

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