In ear monitoring in worship (tips and help with setup)

Ok folks... I am new to this site and thought I would share something!! This is a practical post, and has no bearing on the worship itself... but is a tool to aid us as we lead the people of God.

As we look around Television everyday be it MTV, or even shows on the God channel we see musicians on stage with funny devices that look similar to hearing aids in their ears. Better known as in ear monitors.

There are several versions of in ear systems there are generic ear buds which can be bought azt most good music shops and online through companies such as shure, westone and ultimate ears etc... There are also custom ear moulds. This process involves going to an audioligist (ear specialist) and get impressions made of the inside of your ear, you then send them off to the company that makes these custom monitors and they send back the finished product that then fits custom to your ear. These are better at isolating the sound, but are much more expensive. Let me spend a few minutes of your time wisely explaining this!!!!

In ear monitors can be used in two ways using a wireless receiver in the form of a belt pack that transmits from the transmitter linked to the mixing desk. The other form is a wired system in which there is a wire running from the mixing desk to the receiver. It all comes down to preference.. believe it or not it is actually cheaper in the UK anyway... to buy a wirless kit.

This comes down to personal preference in church i use a shure psm wireless system with a set of custom monitors, and the rerst of the guys use a mixture of other companies such as pasgao, and db technology with a mix of shure and pasgao generic buds as their ear monitors.

The problem can sometimes be if these systems are not of top quality wireless the signal can be lost and for a split second you may loose all sound in your ears. Or if the systems are linked to the sound desk at the back of the church and people walk infront of the transmitter the signal can jump. My advice is either keep the systems above the crowd level, or link them to a seperate mixer at the side of the stage.

Wired and wireless systems are usually linked into the auxilary outputs of the mixer. Makre sure all the musicians that are using monitors have a seperate aux output so that individual mixes can be made for each musician. This means through their monitors they can hear 100% the mix and blend that they want.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING - I think anyway is to have someone who you can call your monitor engineer, seperate from the house mix so that they can change settings in your ear as this is important. Have you ever heard feedback from a stage monitor? Imagne that in your ear drum!! Not good!!

Monitors can also come ambient.. which means they have a small hole to allow musicians to hear outside noise.. such as stage bleed and the congregation. I 100% advise against this... instead set up overhead mics over the congregation or a couple of condensor mics strategically placed to feed the congregation into your mix.. that is if you want to hear the congregation worshipping (which i imagne you would).

You may want a mic linked to the stage that we call a silent mic... one that is a talk back to the sound desk that only the monitor engineer can hear with his in ears in. This is great if you want to communicate information to the engineer about the quality of the bands mix, or if you need to tell the computer techs a song you want to sing etc.

Make sure you use monitors in practises a few times to obtain the correct mix, and to get yourself comfortable with the monitors before using them live, or you may just scare yourself off the whole idea. I have been using in ears now for about 7 months between generic and custom and the quality of custom monitors means i can keep both in for the whole set and its like hearing perfect... But be prepared that sometimes the mix may change and you may need to take on ear or both out.. so still keep your floor wedges as backup, and sometimes when singing a sponatnious new song you may wana take them out just because of fear... ride the fear wave and keep them in!!!!!! Trust me!!

If you have any further questions dont hesitate to emal me

Views: 681

Comment by Worship The Rock on September 15, 2009 at 7:11pm
Hi Darrell - thanks for sharing this - very helpful!

There was a disucsison about this on He Must Increase (our sister site in the United Kingdom) and so i've just posted this link on there - i'm sure some of them will find it helpful.

Comment by Chip Jenkins on September 19, 2009 at 11:59pm
I agree with most but if you don't have the mics to pickup the congregation then I have found that only using one inear and leaving the other ear open works best for me I tried using both but felt disconnected from the overall worship experiance but I do agree that inear is the only way to go as I get just the right mix for me I just shift the balance all to one side.
Comment by Rick Cogbill on September 20, 2009 at 6:38pm
Any comments on systems like Aviom? I believe that puts the mix down on stage and you take it from there - is that correct? Does that mean you'd only need one AUX out from the main board,or does it connect somewhere else? Thanks! I'm hoping we can got to IEM but don't know when.
Comment by Darrell Ross on September 21, 2009 at 4:39pm
avioms are great systems they link through an output and go to an aviom control panel that then links via an RJ45 cable (its basically ethernet) a crossover cable! Then each cable from the controller goes to the individual aviom on stage mixer, where the individual can edit their mix. This is good if say you need electric to lead one song and then less in another. Great quality.... but i prefer wireless systems that i can clip a small pack to my belt... easier to lead with a guitar and move about.
Comment by Rick Cogbill on September 21, 2009 at 4:47pm
I think your personal headset can still be wireless from the stage mixer with Aviom - at least, that's how it looks to me. Anybody know if I'm right?
Comment by Darrell Ross on September 21, 2009 at 5:02pm
absolutely yes you can, but the money in it is crazy!!!! I would really suggest the senheisser ew300! The quality is second to none!!!!!
Comment by Cori Schrader on April 18, 2010 at 7:18pm
Add to this mix a team member (guitar/vocal) that is hearing impaired! I wear hearing aids and am trying to find my best options for connecting to our Avioms when on the worship team. Will be testing an FM personal loop system but not sure the sound quality is going to be what I am looking for...tested on my CD player and there was a lot of static sound (Not what I expected from a $3000.00 unit!). Another option is to purchase 'boots' for my hearing aids and a 'y' chord which would basically make my hearing aids the same as ear buds plugged into the Aviom ($25 per piece - total of $75). Maybe the Bluetooth system available for my hearing aids will work since I will be in close proximity to the Aviom I am using...also somewhat expensive ($200+ for the 'streamer' and not aware what the transmitters cost). Anyone else having to experiment with this scenario?
Comment by Darrell Ross on April 20, 2010 at 11:33am
I know for a fact that the loop system will not give you the quality that you are looking for!! You again will have a static sound, especially for the volume you require, and also bluetooth may not be the best option!! I wud go down the Y cord option... its a safe bet!!


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