What do you do for in-ears?

FlyGuy10

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Oct 1, 2013
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Philadelphia, PA
I'm currently using an array of KZ (cheap multi driver headphones found on Amazon) in-ear monitors and pretty consistently having minor tinnitus after church each Sunday (two services). For a few months I switched back to my old Shure SE215's (single driver) which seemed to help a bit (they have a smaller diameter tube into the ear canal than the KZ units. But problems with them also occurred. All of these headphones are universal fit. I've considered getting molds done and dropping the coin for those types of headphones, but I'm not really sure if that will help this issue after all.

We use an X32 mixer with the app function that allows us to adjust every channel individually. I really like the function of it, and also like that we have ambient room mics setup to capture the congregation's response (as a worship leader this feels really important to me). However, it doesn't have a compressor or limiter (that I'm aware of) to control volume spikes from the band like the Behringer P16 monitor units have that I was a bit more accustomed to at a past church. I liked that a lot, as I could set my volume relatively loud and could depend on it not getting any louder with the limiter engaged.

Between Christmas and New Year's Day I played a worship gig for an FCA camp using only floor wedge monitors. It was very loud in the room and on stage (I was only like 10-15 feet away from the drummer with no cage/shield who is not a quiet player - sounded amazing), but I had no perceived tinnitus after any rehearsal, set, or even the entire three days we were there. So that makes me wonder if it's really just an issue with the type of in-ear units I've been using, or maybe the frequency spectrum of the monitor control? Idk. I'm at a loss.

I've tried turning the volume down further and further each Sunday. I know perception of sound is all relative, but to me it feels like I've been able to have louder in-ear mixes in the past without fear of hearing damage, even using the same in-ear headphones. But in the last year or so that seems different and I have to turn everything way down to the point where I might as well not be using them. I can't really do that though, because our stage is silent and I'm currently running my electric guitar direct through a Sansamp to the house. So if I go no headphones I'll barely be able to hear myself (or much of anything) over the drums (which are caged by the way).

So my main question is (thanks for reading this far), what have you found that works well for you? Have you had/do you have issues like this? What would you recommend for my situation?

"Tele" pic for what I've been using on Sunday's recently ;)
PXL_20210325_171508472.jpg
 

scooteraz

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Apr 17, 2007
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Peoria, AZ
I have two sets of 64 Ears (now 64 Audio, 64 Audio)in-ears, and they are great. OTOH, they are both currently about 10 years old and both are broken…..one with what appears to be driver issues and the other with a cord connection that broke off in the monitor. Both the same ear, so I cannot mix and match…LOL. I have both 4 and 6 driver models.

If you are looking for the price/performance best point here, 3 drivers will be that point.

Looking to get another set to replace the broken ones.
 

hotraman

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Mar 17, 2007
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Camas, WA
Love that guitar!

I play guitars / keys on a silent stage as well.
Regarding IEM's and hearing issues / challenges.
My experience has been:
at 65+ , I have experienced high end hearing loss.
I use triple driver universal comfy fits from Westone. Not the best, but it allows me to hear "onstage " when the worship leader walks over to me, to say something in the middle of worship ( I'm the music director / keys on Sunday)
With my electric rig / pedalboard, my tone can vary depending what IEM platform I am using: a personal monitoring system like Behinger (sp) or a iPad app.
Do you play stereo on your electric? Can you pan left and right?
I would do an upgrade on your IEM's
and maybe revaluate your IEM mix.
Less is more as you readjust your mix.
I face the same issue as you with thinking my IEM mix is changing.
Also .. its been hard for me to go back to wedges; where I have to share my electric guitar or keys, especially if I don't have a guitar / keyboard amp on stage.
 

CapnCrunch

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Washington, USA
@hotraman asks some good questions and makes some great suggestions. I approach IEM's and the ability to hear what I need to hear as a process of subtraction rather than addition. If I can't hear the lead vocals I turn other instruments, including myself, down until I can. I keep doing this until I get what I want. Running your IEM's stereo is a great suggestion. If you can pan your guitar one way, and other guitars 180 that helps a lot. I also pan other instrument like keys away from my guitar for good separation. It makes it easier to hear the various instruments. Then finally, the master volume is your friend. If you have buds that seal and attenuate ambient sound, you can turn your master volume up or down to where you want it. I can run my IEM's at a pretty low level and still hear everything I need to hear.

I agree, your GoldTop Telemaster is cool. I have one I call El Bastardo, because it is such a mash up.
DE81B89E-A6DA-4284-89AD-119679D45EAF.jpeg
 

Lineville65

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Oct 8, 2019
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Iowa
Have used 215’s for a long time with the P16. I use a Helix LT. I take out the drums completely, most of the volume to the three singers and pan the instruments as they stand on the stage. I seem to like the the foam pads the best. Never have had any overall volume issues. My ears are 1954 models and so far so good.
 

northernguitar

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Three years ago, I bought a pair of Mackie MP 240s. They were good enough for Sound On Sound, and they’ve been great for me.

 

GoldieLocks

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Sep 25, 2005
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Abbotsford B.C.
I run closed back phones to drop the stage noise

I was thinking about whether good quality Closed Back (or semi-closed?) would be better than in ears -= especially for us tinnitus folk. Anybody have a comment or experience? I'm happy to wear Huge Freakin' Headphones at church: instead of sticking speakers directly in my head.
 

Grenville

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Apr 5, 2011
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Australia
For fun (not! as it turned out) I tried using my Westone UM Pro 20's with my Strymon Iridium at home the other day instead of the cheap (and actually awesome sounding) Boarseman K25 earbuds I normally use with it.

It was like getting punched in the eardrums. Plus it sounded terrible! Two bad aspects for the price of one, a bad bargain indeed.

Sony and Sennheiser headphones sounded ok with it, but back to the earbuds for Iridium use.

For actual live monitoring, the Westones are good. I do have some kZ AS10s or similar as backups but rarely used them.
 

Preacher

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Are you running the stock ear tips? If so go get the memory foam tips, it will allow the buds to get further into your ears, eliminate the ambient sound and seal better. That will allow you a lesser volume level as well.
 

ellielo

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I am looking forward to order custom made ear plugs. any ideas how should I do it? Is audiologist able to help with that? Do I need to do an online hearing test before I order a suitable pair just for myself or it doesn't matter what kind go hearing you have at the moment?
 
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scooteraz

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Peoria, AZ
I am looking forward to order custom made ear plugs. any ideas how should I do it? Is audiologist able to help with that? Do I need to do an online hearing test before I order a suitable pair just for myself or it doesn't matter what kind go hearing you have at the moment?
I went to an audiologist in the area, and the staff there knew exactly want I needed. Seems a lot of musicians in the area had been going to that office for the purpose of molds. Also, it appears that folks get custom ear plugs with some frequency, and the plugs and the molds almost identical.

I then ordered the IEMs I wanted, and delivered the molds to the company I had making the IEMs (in my case they were on the way to the airport from my job site, so easy; normally one just mails them in). A few weeks later, the IEMs were delivered to me.

As far as your hearing goes, if it is good enough for earphones, in my experience, it is good enough for IEMs. When you use the IEMs, be sure to use the LOWEST volume you can tolerate. As others have noted, they can be deceptively loud.

As far as ordering the IEMs, just find the manufacturer you want to make them, and you can order on line.
 

Jakeboy

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Sedalia, MO
Once I bought the Quilter, I knew I’d eventually make the change…but on my own terms. I use phones and IEMs when recording especially if I am in the same room as a cranked amp. But I digress… I have to hear the congregation and not feel isolated so I am using a simple pair of Koss Porta Pro headphones. I have a great mix yet I can still hear ambiently and they do NOT isolate me. I can live with this.
 

Ascension

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Once I bought the Quilter, I knew I’d eventually make the change…but on my own terms. I use phones and IEMs when recording especially if I am in the same room as a cranked amp. But I digress… I have to hear the congregation and not feel isolated so I am using a simple pair of Koss Porta Pro headphones. I have a great mix yet I can still hear ambiently and they do NOT isolate me. I can live with this.
Feel you on the isolation from what's going on in the room! With what I do many times I REALLY need to hear what's going on in the room. I'm picking up a small JBL powered control monitor to run off our Berringer in ear system for a personal monitor and dump the in ears all together. So many times at my home church we will have folks in the crowd speaking during worship while we are playing softly in the back ground and trying to do this while isolated from the room with in ears is just NOT working!!
 




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