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In-Ear Monitoring - Multiple Vocalists


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We currently run sound for a 14 piece band with monitoring via the FOH desk. We use a Soundcraft GB4-24, I prefer to run 4 monitor mixes fom the desk as that allows me to use the inserts for connecting the eq's.


Todate we have only used one of those monitor mixes for the 3 female vocalists, we normally have a few discussions before we reach a mix that "meets" all 3 requirements however it is a compromise.


We have identified two solutions that both utilise something like the Shure PSM400 in-ear monitoring systems.



Solution 1


Create a "background" mix via the existing vocal aux, including all three vocalists plus whatever else they want and feed that to the PSM400 transmitters. Then from the Direct Outs (Pre Fader) feed the specific vocalists channel to their transmitter and allow them to "mix" the two inputs via the bodypack.




My only concern is having the same signal applied twice, ie for vocalist 1 the background mix would have their input in it to enable harmonies with the other vocalists and then they add the same signal again to boost their particular voice I that mix. Would that cause any problems?



Solution 2


I have enough auxes on the GB4-24 to create another 2 monitor mixes but these wouldn't have inserts available. I've always understood that running in-ear monitors without any form of eq/limiting (apart from that provided in the PSM400) isn't exactly good practice. I prefer to connect eq's etc via inserts so that any change to the level at the desk doesn't necessiate changes to the eq , etc.



So do people consider either of the above options satisfactory or are they both flawed?



Hope this gives enough detail for everyone to understand what I'm trying to achieve.




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I don't see huge problems either way.


Do an experiment to make sure, but on any decent desk (and the GB4 qualifies!) you should be able to mix the same signal from a couple of different points in the chain without any obvious phase problems. The one thing I'd consider is the ability of the singers to set their own balance between the mix and their solo...yeah, I know there's nothing to it, but I've worked with a number of experienced TV presenters who couldn't cope with doing effectively the same thing (in this case a balance between control room talkback and IFB from another studio). You'll have to judge whether the singers can do this for themselves.


Obviously the ideal way is to have a separate aux for each singer. I wouldn't worry too much about an outboard limiter (the one in the PSM400 is pretty effective) but EQ is another issue. Whether you could live with just looping through an EQ is up to you.


So...no definitive answer. Neither solution is perfect but either could work...which compromise is preferred is up to you (and your assessment of the abilities of the singers.



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I would go for separate auxes where possible, it's no more wiring and it gives them the flexibility they need. (or at least it should do).


No eq should be needed, although if you have rack space (or could bundle it altogether in a rack) then a couple of 2x15 band graphics before the transmitters might help. You could put this rack on the stage with the transmitters as there should be no need to adjust it during the show. After all you don't hear what you are adjusting and there is no chance of feedback from them.


You could do this and on top of this run an output from a matrix on the desk (if they're not already in use) to give a general mix. This could be passed through the 4th channel of eq if necessary and fed to the 2nd mix on each transmitter. Which I think is similar to your other option with some slight differences. This may or may not be necessary if they each have a separate aux.



Like Bob says, the key is to experiment with things. Things like this are never going to be perfect on the first gig you try it out. You've just got to keep at it and get it right. Also, unless the singers use really expensive earphones I'd suggest you get a pair yourself so you can test things at the local output on the transmitter and even on the receiver end just to make sure things are working as you'd expect. With IEM. You never quite know what they're hearing unless you tap into the last part of the chain and the last thing you want is for them to be "making do" with sound that isn't quite right.




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