Mixing Your In Ear Monitors On Stage

Using your Custom In Ear Monitors on stage.

I use the Triple Driver Custom In Ear monitors from In Ear Central on stage for 1 two hour set per week. They Cost $249.99

I play second keys, electric guitar, run a click track, and also run EDM tracks from my laptop; we play mostly rock and electronic music.  We use the Aviom system with a digital Yamaha sound board.

Because there are so many different bands and soundmen at the venue all the channels in the Aviom are pre eq and dynamics. This means that any eq, compression, reverb, and other effects will not change what the musician hears through the avioms. This can be both good and bad.  It is good in the sense that you don’t have to worry about what the soundman does because it won’t affect your mix.  The bad is that you will be left with a mostly flat signal from all of your instruments and this will increase the overall volume of your mix but also will give you a much grittier sound.  For instance, most instruments are very dynamic in their db output.  A violin player may range from 30db to 60db(not literal) as a result if the violin player is playing very low you may not be able to hear and then as soon as they play loud they may be too loud.  This is where compression comes in and lowers the louder parts to match the softer or vice versa.

I can tell you first hand that having your in ears in the hands of a bad soundman messes up everything.  If you have the same band and soundman at your venue the in ear monitor system is most likely post eq and effects. That means you get to hear each instrument exactly the way the soundman has eq’d. You will have overall control for volume and usually one bass and treble control.

If you play with different soundmen you may wonder why the mix sounds so different.  It all has to do with eq’s and dynamics.  Perception of sound comes down to taste and with that ear size, shape, and depth. Therefore, no one hears everything exactly the same.   Due to bends in the ear certain frequencies will inherently arrive at the eardrum faster than others. This explains how there can be polarizing views of the same in ear monitor.

Our band consists of 1 lead singer, 3 backup singers, rhythm/lead electric, lead  electric(me), Keys 1, Keys 2(me), EDM tracks(me), Violin, Bass, and Drums.

In Ears Philosophy. I like to think of two main philosophies to mixing your in ear monitors on stage.  Some like to be “in the mix” so they can feel the big picture of the music they are playing or singing with.  Others only want to hear the instruments and vocals they depend on.  For instance, a background vocalist may not care what the bass player, drummer, electric, or violin is doing.  Really all the background vocalist needs to hear is the main instrument and the lead singer. But some singers have the need to feel immersed in the music as it helps them connect better emotionally to what they are singing.

Whatever your philosophy I have tips that will help you.

Also these are just guidelines.  Sound is 100% based on the hearer.  Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.  Therefore, all my suggestions should be tempered by what sound you like the best.

  1. Turn your main volume is at 75 percent.
  1. Pan. Panning refers to mixing a signal to the left or right side of the stereo spectrum. The stereo spectrum from left to right would be -100=left 0=center 100=right.   Stereo is very important to music.  Have you ever been listening to something and maybe only had one earbud in or it was a very cheap radio? Did you notice you couldn’t hear a certain part of a song like a guitar solo or intro?  Ever since stereo was invented it has been used in recordings. Stereo allows the engineer to have more sounds that stand out.  Whether you understand or not, take my word for it. If there was no such thing as stereo you would not be able to hear those intros and solos as clearly. You will need to pan almost everything in your in ear system.

(As I move on I will explain more on panning)

  1. Build Drums. How do you build a mix? Start with your voice? NO. Start with the lead vocalist? NO. Always start with the drums.  Drums are the foundation of every mix.

Turn every channel down to zero first.

If you only have one channel for the drums you will need to bring the volume up to a comfortable level.  NEVER start with a loud level especially with your first instrument.

Panning drums in my opinion has two main viewpoints. One from the drummers and the other from the crowd. So if you want to pan drums properly you would pan them from either the viewpoint of the drummer or the crowd. If you pan by the drummer your snare will be panned slightly left, the hihat will be panned more to the left of the snare, the kick drum will be center, the toms will be panned to the left from high tom to low tom, the crash will be near the center, the ride will be to the right between the mid and low tom.  This is called a stereo spread and it is very important to being able to hear everything clearly but also not overload your ears or amps or speakers. You may also have a room mic for the drums if there is a drum enclosure. The room mic should be placed with the same concepts of the others if it is in the left, ride side, or center.

If you have multiple channels for the drums it is best to keep the kick drum centered so do not pan left or right. The snare can be panned slightly to the left or the right about 30 percent. Follow the above paragraph for panning if you have more channels for the drums.

If you have a hat channel it is best to put it further than the snare from the kick drum in stereo. So if your kick drum is at zero, and the snare is at 30 percent left or -30 then the hihat would be at -45 or 45 percent left.  If you have more than these three like an overhead or room mike (for the drums) it is best to pan it to the other side of the snare and keep it low.  Unless you are the drummer this much signal from the drums will start to overwhelm the ears.

  1. Build bass. Bass is the one instrument it’s best not to pan in my opinion. Now that you can hear the drums and are satisfied and hopefully you DON’T have everything centered.  Turn up the bass so you can hear it.  As you add every instrument you can start low and bring it up until you hear it or start loud and bring it down until it blends in well.
  1. Build Main Instrument. We can hear the bass and drums great now. The main instrument should be either center or panned slightly left or right. Turn up whatever instrument is the lead chord instrument. Usually it will be the piano/keys, or acoustic guitar.  This instrument should be most important to everyone because it is responsible for leading on chord changes and also keeping the groove with proper timing.
  1. Build Accompaniment Instruments. This will include all other instruments. You may not want to hear them or you can bring them up just so you can hear them.  My suggestion with accompaniment instruments is to pan them on whatever side they actually are and pan them 100 percent to either side.
  1. Build Background Vocalist. Take the background vocalist and pan them 100 percent to either side. If there are 2 BV’s I will pan one to the left and one to the right.  If there are 3 BV’s I will pan 2 to one side. Usually if you have 3 BV’s one of them will be more of a leader and so that person would be panned by themselves to either side.
  1. Build Lead Vocalist. In my opinion the lead vocalist should be 100% center and be louder than everything else. In our band we do not have planned sets, we follow the leader, therefore listening to his vocal cues is very important to flowing with the band.
  1. Build Room Mic. Many places use a microphone in the room that only goes to the in ear system. This is because many people like to feel the live sound of the crowd but with most in ear systems you can’t hear anything at all without a room mic.  It depends what you want out of the room mic. I normally turn the room mic off. When I play I am concerned about what the other musicians are doing, I try very carefully to play with them and not clash in frequencies or melodies.  But some people feel dry and dead without the hearing the room.  If I was going to use the room mic I would keep it real low and panned all the way to one side or the other.
  1. Build Yourself. You should be front and center and slightly louder than everything else.  If you cannot hear your mistakes it is hard to avoid them.

Everything stated is just my opinion as I have at least 1000 hours of experience playing with in ears and in ear systems. Before the digital age I used my own analog in ear system that I carried with me.  I hope you get some use out of this guide and maybe you have learned something.  Thanks! Rob.

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RetroFit Bluedio Bluetooth For Shure SE/Weston/UE/Custom IEM’s

Finally! The Bluetooth option has arrived. Bluetooths for everyone. Shure Connectors, Westone Connectors, Flush, Coaxial, and Recessed. Comes with instructions. All you have to do is pair it up with whatever device you want to listen to.

If you own the SE535 or a set of Custom In Ear Monitors or any of several IEM’s in that category you can go wireless easily with our new Bluetooth adapter. We retrofit our Bluetooth devices to have the same detachable connectors that you find on all professional in ear cables. Talk on the phone, control the volume, and listen to your favorite tunes without being tethered to a device. And do it while listening to your favorite in ears! For those of you wondering. Will this Bluetooth device work with my custom in ear monitors? The answer is YES. If there are any doubts please feel free to contact Jacob@inearcentral.com This is the answer we have all been waiting for….. $99.99 www.inearcentral.com/bluetooth Bluetooth adapter compatible with almost every custom in ear monitor and detachable cable style ear bud. Shure SE215, se315, se425, se535, se846, Westone UMpro10, Umpro20, UMpro30, UMpro40, UMpro50 and UM3x, 4R series, UE900, and Custom In Ear Monitors.

Custom In Ear Monitors.

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Cheapest Custom In Ear Monitors Triple Drivers $249.99

These are the cheapest custom in ear monitors with triple drivers.  $249.99.

I finally made myself a set of the Custom Dynamic Triples. Yes it takes me a long time to get my own as well. Last time I broke a set I went months without customs. As a side note my daughter has been waiting for over a year lol. Our shop stays so busy keeping up with orders.

I am very excited about the future. Our shop has doubled in size and staff. We have a good system for getting jobs out and we are working on perfecting that system. You should expect to see a huge increase in completed jobs this week and continuing.

Back to the Amazing Triples. They truly are amazing. I started using them a few months ago and I love them. I have used the SE535, SE846, UMPro40 and while they do have advantages over our $249.99 triples, they simply cannot produce the natural sounding bass that dynamic drivers offer.

If you read the reviews you will find that overwhelmingly people prefer the sound of dynamic drivers to balanced armature. Almost every professional IEM today uses only balanced armature transducers. The Bose IE8 and the several other IEM’s like it use large dynamic drivers.

There is one simple reason why. There is no real world environment in which you listen to balanced armature transducers. In other words, in the car, in the plane, in the airport, at the concert, in the studio, at church, or the auditorium, everywhere you go you will mostly hear dynamic drivers.

As a result, if you are mixing for sound, it is a great idea to use dynamic drivers.

Dynamic drivers are not flat in the sense that they are tuned to return a flat signal.

Dynamic drivers are flat in the sense that they have not been tuned using any crossover components. You may find some dynamics to have more or less bass to treble ratio.

The triple dynamics we use in our customs are not tuned using any crossover components. They are all wired parallel to the circuit.

The first time I listened to them I started with tracks that I have listened to since the 90’s. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Alanis Jagged Little Pill is my go to for music that I listened to over and over in many situations since I was a teen.

I was simply astounded at the detail. The first thing that jumped out immediately was vocal delays that I had never noticed in my 20 years of listening to this song. Basically everything that the engineers put in there to be in the background I could hear clearly.

The fact that they are customs doesn’t hurt since it blocks out at least 27db of ambient noise. As a result, I can listen at a lower level and hear just as clearly if not more clear.

The next thing I notice is the presence and clarity of bass. The bass is not boomy, it is tight, but not as tight as a balanced armature. There is a quality in balanced armature that causes them to be a little harsh in the mid and hi range frequencies. In addition, they simply cannot produce the same sound as a dynamic. Not everyone cares about this, and the listening experience can be great no matter what IEM you use.

These are not punchy like the UM3x or higher. Anyone who has spent time in a professional studio will know that when they mix and master they are very concerned about balance. You don’t have to worry about things standing out when you mix properly because every frequency spectrum is closely monitored to ensure no clashing sounds or instruments.

Concerning punchiness I noticed that the dynamic drivers did not make anything really stand out. It seemed to be a perfect mix where I could hear everything clearly just as the engineer intended.

To further illustrate my point. If you are in a professional studio you will never hear too much bass. Every sound engineer knows that a proper mix must sound good on the cheapest speakers as well as the nicest sound systems. Therefore, it is not possible for them to make some bass heads happy. These triple dynamic drivers do have the ability to play as much bass as you want, but they are not tuned to be bass heavy. You can eq your player to give more bass and they can handle it. If you listen to a bass test you will feel like you have 2 12” woofers in your ear.

As dynamic drivers go the reproduction of the hi end frequencies is not harsh and not overwhelming. You can hear cymbals, and reverbs, very clearly.

All sound engineers know that mixing with IEM’s is a bad idea, even though some people do it and are successful. It is still recommended that as a sound engineer you use a wide variety of devices to listen to your mix. You can trust these IEM, and use them to mix with, or simply listen to music, or use them on stage.

I use my triple drivers on stage and I also use them to mix music. You might be thinking do I ever sleep? No. I trust these IEM’s with my mix. I get very detailed in my mixing with lo pass and hi pass filters then several points if necessary. I can mix drums, vocals, instruments. I also use allot of VST’s. One thing I have noticed is with my IEM when I think something is in the background it is waaaay in the background on anything else. For instance, let’s say I throw some stereo delays on vocals my method is to bring the delays down so I cannot hear them and then slowly bring them up until they add the detail I’m looking for. With my amazing triples I can hear the delay clearly, but when I get in the car the delay is barely there at all. This is what I mean by hearing more detail even in tracks that I’ve listened to for 20 years.

My triple driver customs are the cheapest in the world! They are amazing! Buy them you will love them! $249.99

I use them, I love them, I make them, IEM’s R My Life! Rob.

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2014 Oct 25th Custom In Ear Monitors Picture Gallery For In Ear Central

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Latest Custom In Ear Monitors by In Ear Central

Looking to buy new custom in ear monitors? Do you already own a pair of generic fit IEM that you love?  In Ear Central can provide you with new monitors or customize your existing IEM to fit your ear perfectly.


Here are some of the latest pics.


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The Cheapest Cheap Custom In Ear Monitors

I never thought the day would arrive when there would actually be a cheap custom in ear monitor. But it has, In Ear Central has launched what they call the Cheapest Cheap Custom In Ear Monitor.

Don’t let the title or name fool you though. Sound wise they are most comparable to the Shure SE215.  This single dynamic driver (you can also add a second driver for only $40) custom in ear monitor is perfect for singers, guitarists, and anyone looking for an affordable pair of custom in ear monitors.

The build quality of these IEM’s are amazing. You can see pics of almost every job they do at www.facebook.com/InEarCentral. The quality of work can easily be compared to the UE11 or any other high end custom in ear monitor.

In Ear Central has mastered the manufacturing and delivery of affordable custom in ear monitors.

These monitors are guaranteed not to disappoint.  The specs are nearly identical to the Shure SE215.  In addition, the larger space and ported custom shell ensure a great bass response.

Drummers and Bass players can add a second driver for only 40 dollars that will enhance the bass.

Even the single driver has an excellent natural bass response.

In Ear Central also provides the ear impression kit with this price. You can save 10 dollars if you send in your own ear impressions.

Visit the link to find out more. Cheapest Cheap Custom In Ear Monitors.

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Custom In Ear Monitors – Part 2.

Custom In Ear Monitors are a relatively new product with sales beginning to enter non professionals in the 2000’s.  Prices range from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

Custom In Ear Monitors are one of the few purchase you will make in life where the product is made specifically for you.  Think about how many other products you purchase that are custom made by hand especially for you. Most cannot think of any and if you can it means you probably have some extra cashola.  The truth is purely custom items are very expensive.

Custom IEM’s are expensive because they cannot be mass produced. Each custom in ear monitor is made by hand.  There is some confusion over computer generated 3d scanning and printing of shells.

Firstly, the scanning of the impressions is only the first part.  The next part requires the work of a skilled technician. Not only on the computer but also understanding the ear.  The impression is not big enough in itself to create a perfect seal so the impression must be made thicker.  This is done by hand with wax but on the computer it is done by expanding the mesh around the scan of the impression, smoothing it out, and making sure that it is thick in the right places.

Secondly, the computer model only creates the shell. The shell must then be cut by hand, drilled by hand, electronics installed by hand, and polished by hand. So even the best technology in the world cannot make custom in ear monitors with the push of a button.

The fact that human intervention is necessary for the manufacturing of custom in ear monitors means that the people involved must be highly skilled with many years of experience.  The art of making custom in ear monitors is something that can only be learned through experience.

Every ear is different and it isn’t until you have done 1000 custom IEM’s before you are even considered a moderate skill level.

This also generally leads to long waits. It is not necessarily that there are not enough manufacturers.  The problem is the manufacturers are not good at finding customers.  Due to the small nature of the industry it is hard to sell enough to be able to have a marketing budget if any. As a result most shops are forced to charge high prices and are not able to sell as much because the price is too high for an average consumer.

Still there are some brave companies taking on the challengers and doing custom in ear monitors at decent prices. http://www.inearcentral.com is a great place to go to buy new or send them your own in ear monitors and they can customize them for you.

This has been part 2 stay tuned for part 3:)

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