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Monitor/Sound Guys your help please. IEM mixing


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Advice needed:


I am about to start a new contract as Sound no 1 for the theatre on a cruise ship.


I got sent the schedule for entertainers during my contract and I have a singer coming on who I have had in the past and I had loads of problems with their in ear mix.


Ill be on a yamaha dm2000, and the in ear system is either going to be shure psm600 or 900.


So were talking huge theatre, with band, floor wedges and overhead monitors for the singer and then an extra mix for their in ears. Problem is they want it LOUD, and I mean Iggy Pop loud. When I worked with them last time I sent so much the in ear pack got overdriven and cut out: mid performance!!! this happened again the next time they were on. My solution was an extra pack in the wings that was changed straight away but I dont want to deal with this again and just want to get a nice loud mix for them without it frying the pack.


So last time when I was looking for a solution, the Post signal goes way into the red, the transmittor db is at -10/15 and the receiver levels are all flat. I cant add compression to the vocals because they insist on none, and notice when you sneak it in. same with compression for the output channel for the IEM mix. During the show for quiet songs theyve got the volume control jacked on full and ride it themselves for louder songs.


They will not meet me in the middle at take less in the ears and compensate with other monitors on the floor or overhead. they just want it deafening in the ears all the time.


Has anyone any advice on what I can do to stop the f'ing receiver from cutting out?

Is there any tricks with the transmitter?

Any EQ tricks?


Im totally stuck and more convinced I will never go into monitoring in my whole life!!!

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One trick with singers demanding "LOUDER!" all the time is to add a tiny amount of delay in their mix. It works well with my Rock God mate who "hasn't got the slightest touch of Noise Induced Hearing Loss" of course he hasn't, oh no, not even after 45 years of Heavy Metal, not the slightest, pardon?

Worth a try anyway.

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After struggling a bit with my own IEM mix, I discovered the trick for me is that instead of doing the wedge technique of bit more of this, bit more of that, I take everything else down a notch, and it works better, leaving the critical components with a bit of headroom, which runs out when usual adding technique bottoms out. I've got quite quick now at dropping the others quickly, and pretty accurately.
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they will be custom fit, but no idea. probably something in the range off £500 - £1000. unlikely to be generic shures on anything like that.


thanks for the replys guys, ive got some ideas to go off. reading into the manuals on the psm900s this limiter switch seems to be the best option although it describes that, although it wont turn off it says it will temporarily cut out when it peaks.


I might even stick about 6 floor wedges down and crank the vocals in them and tell them to deal with it.

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If you are sending good level to the IEM Tx and they can't get it loud enough on a PSM900, then either their IEM drivers or ears are broken.


PSM900s have big headphone amps. They'll drive my custom's to breaking point if I ever dared turn it up that far

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If your feeling cruel boost 2k with a tight filter. That will certainly sound loud quick, but it wont be too comfy.


Also not my trick was told this by a visiting sound tech while working in a theatre. Never been cruel enough to try it myself

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another thing to consider may be to hi-pass the IEM mix at ~100hz, if you have a lot of low frequency stuff going through the ears, you might well be wasting headroom, and can probably get as good results for the artist using sidefills/wedges to bring out the low end
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sounds like a nightmare.


Are they defiantly returning the pack volume to max after fiddling with it, a problem I've had.


Some ideas that came to me, radical but here goes.


1. Subtle ducker, their vocal triggers a slight squashing of the rest of the mix. thus appearing louder.


2. like a ducker, but instead of affecting dynamics, effects EQ. A Gate/Expander is triggered by their Vocal channel and slowly and subtlety introduces a copy of the rest of the grouped mix 180 degrees out of phase, this gradual cutting back into the rest of the mix might open space fro the Vocals to sit uncrowded and clear. BUT first the out of phase EQing must be prepared!

(I doing this in my head as I go, here goes)

send the rest of the mix to a group/bus (less their vocal)

make a multiple/copy/duplicate of that group

on the duplicate BOOST (I think) the EQ in that will be the frequencies you want to cut later.

now mix into that EQ'd duplicate the original group but have it phase inverted (this might need a duplicate of the group to do that). match the level exactley.

this should now leave you with just what you EQ'd in, we'll call this the EQ scalpel

make a multiple/copy/duplicate of that EQ scalpel, and then phase invert that scalpel duplicate, this is now your EQ cutting tool. which you will use.

send the out of phase EQ cutting tool to Another copy mix of that grouped mix, put a gate/expander on the out of phase EQ cutting tool so it only comes in when the vocals come in, balance accrodingly.

Report back if it worked or you cut yourself.


3. I've just had an idea.

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Thankyou for this idea above. It genuinely sounds like a clever plan BUT


my buses are all used up :( they're used to split all the speakers and subs around the theatre, I couldnt even sacrifice one.


im just gonna let them have what they want and have 3 spare receivers on the same frequency ready in the wing and tell em, "listen, this ###### is gonna cut out unless you take less volume, if you wanna look like a dick and get your pack changed 2 or 3 times during the show go ahead." (in my most professional and polite soundman voice.)


thanks again blue room soundies for the advice, though it looks like we have discovered there is no simple answer for IEM mixing deaf singers.

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