• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Recommendation needed : full In-Ear Monitoring & PA System

fractalz

Power User
Imagine you and your hard-rocking band can afford to pamper yourselves with a top-quality PA and in-ear monitoring solution, regardless of the fact that you are just playing the local bars. What would it be?

I know these very items have been covered in many threads, and I've read a bunch of them. The challenge here is to pick the right elements to hit a budget, making trade-offs where necessary. Let's say you have $20k (list price) to spend. What would you get? Would you make any trade-off decisions if you wanted to recoup some of the cost by renting the system out? What products have lasted you the longest, have good availability of replacement parts, etc?

A few priorities / goals might help:

- consistent & great in-ear sound from rehearsal to stage
- minimal setup time per-venue (dial-in at rehearsal and, hopefully, quick tune at venue)
- as set-and-forget as possible (may or may not have experienced "sound guy" at gig)
- ability to integrate in-ear solution with larger venue's in-house mixing environment
- wireless in-ear & guitar/bass/vocal solutions

Here are my (long-winded) thoughts so far. Thanks in advance for yours...

*** MIXER ***

Behringer X32 RACK

PRO:
- I have one already, works well, I know how it works
- I have a bunch of P16Ms too, so setting up personal in-ear mixes is a snap

CON:
- no native monitor mix without the P16M (there is a basic iOS app, but not vendor supplied) so possibly wonky setup to allow folks their own "mix panel" on the P16Ms and cable back to in-ear transmitters. Or, have someone else deal with monitor mixes using the general mixing app.

-- POSSIBLE UPGRADE TO --

Midas M32C + DL32 Stage Box

PRO:
- maybe better quality? but will the anyone hear it?

CON:
- no front panel GUI to work with
- more expensive

*** IN-EAR ***

Shure PSM900 (P9T & PSRA+) x 4 for 4 band members
Shure PA421B Antenna combiner for 4 x PSM900

PRO:
- should work

CON:
- holy mother of god that PA421B is expensive!!! Wouldn't the PA411 work at 1/3 the cost? Is it needed at all?

-- POSSIBLE UPGRADE TO --

Shure PSM1000 Dual-channel x 2
Shure PA421B Antenna combiner for 2 x PSM1000

PRO:
- ???

CON:
- more expensive
- more antennas to deal with

-- POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE TO --

Shure PSM300-based system

PRO:
- cheaper

CON:
- non-replaceable antennas on body packs?
- non-rechargeable batteries
- so, more costs down the line?

-- POSSIBLE ADDITION OF --

KLANG.fabrik : dedicated monitor mix engine (https://www.klang.com/en/products/klang_fabrik)

*** WIRELESS Guitar/Bass/Mic ***

Shure ULXDQ4 Quad Wireless Receiver
3 x Shure ULXD1 Wireless Transmitter (Bass, Guitar, Guitar)
1 x Shure ULXD2 B87C Cardioid Vocal Mic (Lead VOX)

- seems a no-brainer... but, expensive

*** PA ***

Lots of options here from QSC, Turbosound, JBL, Mackie... Let's say I've already decided on a 2.n system (2 x 2-way tops, ? x subwoofer) but I'm not yet decided on an Ultranet-based system to go along with the X32 / M32 mixer.

Decisions to make:

- size of "top" speakers (8, 10, 12, 15") - I think 12" would do with...
- size and quantity of "sub" speakers (12, 15, 18") - I think 15" or 18" will probably be plenty...
- Ultranet or not? Ultranet = Turbosound (only vendor since it's proprietary), so:

PA OPTION #1 : Turbosound (Ultranet integration, DSP, 10-year warranty)

2 x Turbosound "Sienna" TSP122-AN 2-way Powered Speaker
2 x Turbosound "Sienna" TSP118B-AN 18" Powered Subwoofer

PA Option #2 : QSC (I have the K12's and like them, so this is somewhat a known quantity)

2 x QSC KW122 2-way Powered Speaker
2 x QSC KW181 18" Powered Subwoofer

--- POSSIBLE "Downgrade" to 10" top, 12"/15" bottom? Only one sub?
 

Rich G.

Experienced
We've been running the same QSC KW system for about 8 years now and have been really happy with it. It consists of:

2 x QSC KW153 FOH Top cabs
4 x QSC KW181Subs
2 x QSC KW122 Mon
2 x QSC K10 Mon

Our singer uses IEM's, but no one else does.

At the heart of the system is an X32 Rack. Hard to beat that. Sounds good, very flexible.

A couple big ticket items that need to be factored in:
1. Lighting. Plan on spending about as much on lighting as you do on PA.
2. Transportation. Going to need something to carry all that stuff!
 

KevinP

Inspired
Our band has a complete iso system just for In Ears, that can also run FOH if needed, uses an MR18 Rack mixer, splits are done by 2 behringer 8 channel mic splitters ( I would buy the Arts if I had it to do over). All IEM stuff is Sennheiser iem G4 stuff (good enough for muse is good enough for me). I have a Shure QLX-D wireless mic with the SE V7 mic capsule and the other guys use wired SE V7's. IEMs themsevles are a mix, I have UE7's, our bassists has sensaphonic soft molds, and other guys use Westone universal fits. All of the gear lives in a 12 U ears rack and the cables all stay connected all the time. We have one 8 channel snake that goes to the drums (Roland TD-50) and a second 8 channel goes to the front of the stage, that provides the connectivity to the 3 front line AX8's, vocal mics (other than mine) and our ipad that plays clicks and samples. Then a 16 channel fan tail that goes to FOH. We also have a 2u drawer that holds the mics and IEM packs.

Our setup time for stage gear and ears is under 10 minutes.

We also have a behringer inuke6000DSP that can run our PA at the bottom of this rack that powers our 2 subs and 2 high packs when we use our own PA. Long term plan is to replace our existing PA cabs (unpowered EV Subs and JBL PRX 425 tops) with the Turbosound IQ stuff, 4 of the 12" top and 2 subs, and would send to them via cat5e instead of mic cabls.

We didn't do the antenna combiners or splitters as we only have 4 RF units (3 IEM and 1 Mic) so it really wasn't called for.
 

KevinP

Inspired
BTW, if you don't require stereo mixes for everyone you can split units into dual mono, the Sennheisers even come with 2 receivers. We did this, our bassist and drummer each have their own mono mix using the same transmitter, and the other guitarist and I have stereo mixes. I used mono for a very long time and it was perfectly fine, but I had an extra send so why not.

We do also carry a small powered 15 that we put on stage sometimes that gives the drummer some umph on the kick and allows us to turn the guitars towards it and get some feedback, but we only use it about half the time.
 
Great IEM would be Eartech Music's Triple Driver IEM... runs $399, custom molded for your ear, nice flat response.

That being said I just bought myself KZ AS10 for under $50 and feel that it was a solid purchase. It lacks some low end and accentuates mids a bit, which is not so good for bass players but perfect for guitarists.
 

fractalz

Power User
We've been running the same QSC KW system for about 8 years now and have been really happy with it. It consists of:

2 x QSC KW153 FOH Top cabs
4 x QSC KW181Subs
2 x QSC KW122 Mon
2 x QSC K10 Mon

Our singer uses IEM's, but no one else does.

At the heart of the system is an X32 Rack. Hard to beat that. Sounds good, very flexible.

A couple big ticket items that need to be factored in:
1. Lighting. Plan on spending about as much on lighting as you do on PA.
2. Transportation. Going to need something to carry all that stuff!
Thanks for the info!

The KW153s sound very good. Our hope is that venues requiring that level will have their own PA, so we are shooting for one step down.
 

fractalz

Power User
BTW, if you don't require stereo mixes for everyone you can split units into dual mono, the Sennheisers even come with 2 receivers. We did this, our bassist and drummer each have their own mono mix using the same transmitter, and the other guitarist and I have stereo mixes. I used mono for a very long time and it was perfectly fine, but I had an extra send so why not.

We do also carry a small powered 15 that we put on stage sometimes that gives the drummer some umph on the kick and allows us to turn the guitars towards it and get some feedback, but we only use it about half the time.
How stable are your in-ear mixes? That is, how much tweaking do you end up doing? Is everyone using the same mix interface or is one person dealing with all the changes?

The dual-mono "more me" strategy is good, but for the stereo mixes, you have to set it up at the head-end.
 

KevinP

Inspired
How stable are your in-ear mixes? That is, how much tweaking do you end up doing? Is everyone using the same mix interface or is one person dealing with all the changes?

The dual-mono "more me" strategy is good, but for the stereo mixes, you have to set it up at the head-end.
Tweaking wise it is really consistent as the Ax8's are always on 10 for the output so they pretty much never change, the electronic drums make that super easy too, because they don't change from setup to setup like mics on real drums do. The biggest impact is when the PA is really cranking away you get more bleed in the vocal mics (the only live mics on stage), but the V7's do really well at rejecting that. We do have a stage tech who helps hump gear and adjust mixes, but when he can't make it I do it from a single laptop (same one he uses if he does come) and almost never adjust anything after sound check, and even then it is very minimal since we are using 100% same gear all the time.

We don't do dual-mono for more me, we have our bass player use the left side and the drummer the right - and each receiver is hard panned so they get the same mix in both ears - saved us some money and rack space. That way we only need one transmitter for the 2 of them.
 

KevinP

Inspired
Here are some pics of the rig before I got a new antenna plate and replaced the GLX vocal mic system with a QLX. Otherwise this is everything.

Front of rack



Back with cables stored and lids ready to go on


Showing 3 fantails, 1 goes to drums, 1 to front of the stage, and the last is an iso split for FOH. Only other cable needed is the power cable. I
 

unix-guy

Legend!
My band has been all direct, all in-ear for about 3 years.

Mackie DL32R digital mixer, 2 ART S-8 splitters (for mirrored FOH sends), Audio Technica M3 wireless, various 64Audio custom molds except the bassist who already was using Ultimate Ears before the band got into it.

Everyone has a stereo mix with iOS app for mix control.

Consistency is the primary reason we use IEMs with a secondary being we can rehearse anywhere without making too much noise - the singer is the loudest thing at rehearsal ;)

The big thing for us to keep consistent is that everyone uses "set and forget" approach for the main volume. Everything is gain staged and leveled for that volume.

2 guitars and 1 bass all using Axe Fx. Everyone sets their main volume at 50%. All presets need to be leveled. Drums are full E-kit, although we also did use some Low-volume cymbals that work with built-in mics and a digital "processor"... Those are pretty cool!

Edit:

I personally don't enjoy my guitar tones in IEMs very much... They are passable but not inspiring. But they sound great in FOH. I use the 64Audio V6s six-way IEMs.
 

fractalz

Power User
My band has been all direct, all in-ear for about 3 years.

Mackie DL32R digital mixer, 2 ART S-8 splitters (for mirrored FOH sends), Audio Technica M3 wireless, various 64Audio custom molds except the bassist who already was using Ultimate Ears before the band got into it.

Everyone has a stereo mix with iOS app for mix control.

Consistency is the primary reason we use IEMs with a secondary being we can rehearse anywhere without making too much noise - the singer is the loudest thing at rehearsal ;)

The big thing for us to keep consistent is that everyone uses "set and forget" approach for the main volume. Everything is gain staged and leveled for that volume.

2 guitars and 1 bass all using Axe Fx. Everyone sets their main volume at 50%. All presets need to be leveled. Drums are full E-kit, although we also did use some Low-volume cymbals that work with built-in mics and a digital "processor"... Those are pretty cool!

Edit:

I personally don't enjoy my guitar tones in IEMs very much... They are passable but not inspiring. But they sound great in FOH. I use the 64Audio V6s six-way IEMs.
What app do you use for in ear mix management? Is it foolproof as in no one can accidentally FUBR the main mix?
 

TravisG406

Inspired
I love our current setup: QSC TouchMix 30 pro. One guitarist on an AX8, cranked so it's always the same level. My III set at 75% through the utility menu for consistent level. For practice we are all in-ears/headphones. I am the only one with a wireless transmitter, the others are hard wired into the board set up with stereo mixes. Live, our drummer and I run in-ears while our bassist and guitarist/singer work off one shared monitor. Apple Airport Express for control and it can stream music from iOS to the mixer remotely too for practice or break tunes!
 

unix-guy

Legend!
What app do you use for in ear mix management? Is it foolproof as in no one can accidentally FUBR the main mix?
The app is part of the DL32R support and is called Master Fader 4. Only works with iOS... A new version is being beta tested to support other platforms, but we all have iPhones or iPads anyway.

No, I don't think there is any way to prevent that... If someone selects the wrong mix they can adjust anyone's mix. It happens on occasion.

However, you can save all your mixes and recall them easily.
 

finleysound

Inspired
Here are some pics of the rig before I got a new antenna plate and replaced the GLX vocal mic system with a QLX. Otherwise this is everything.
How are you likely the Midas MR18? I’ve been vacillating between the Midas and Behringer XR18. It seems like a channel on my old mid-90s Mackie 1604 dies at each practice. It’s only a matter of time before it craps out completely.
 

KevinP

Inspired
How are you likely the Midas MR18? I’ve been vacillating between the Midas and Behringer XR18. It seems like a channel on my old mid-90s Mackie 1604 dies at each practice. It’s only a matter of time before it craps out completely.
MR18 rocks. A/B of preamps showed a noticeable difference in quality of the pre's (better than the XR). Everything else is exactly the same as the XR.
 

chris

Legend!
I love our current setup: QSC TouchMix 30 pro. One guitarist on an AX8, cranked so it's always the same level. My III set at 75% through the utility menu for consistent level. For practice we are all in-ears/headphones. I am the only one with a wireless transmitter, the others are hard wired into the board set up with stereo mixes. Live, our drummer and I run in-ears while our bassist and guitarist/singer work off one shared monitor. Apple Airport Express for control and it can stream music from iOS to the mixer remotely too for practice or break tunes!
i have the TouchMix 16. it is feature-rich and does things that no other mixer does, with its very compact size. it's not really rack mountable, but it fits in the side pocket of my AX8 rolling suitcase, so small it literally goes everywhere with me. i use it or don't depending on the gig. the built-in wireless has been 100% rock-solid with zero issues. and i don't say that lightly.

regarding the Xair vs the midas version, i haven't tried the midas myself, but i went from the Xair12 to a Yamaha TF-Rack. the difference in mic preamps was immediately noticeable. tighter low end, cleaner high end. that said, the Xair12 wasn't an issue at all. only noticeable when actually comparing (and i mean gigging the xair for months, then changing to the TF, yeah you could notice the difference). that said, i sold the TF and got the TouchMix i described above, and love it.

a few more TouchMix details: i always use an iPad with it. the built-in screen is slow and i don't like it. but i like that it's THERE when i need it. i'm using an old iPad Mini 2 with it and it is very responsive with zero issues. the 16 has 2 built-in stereo IEM outputs with their own "aux" channels hard wired to those outputs.

i carry the Behringer PM1 - this is the non-powered headphone box - connected to a short XLR cable and a Male XLR to Male TRS cable. plugging into those IEM outputs gives me a Stereo signal. i have to turn the boxes up basically all the way, but the sound is clean and loud enough for most situations. i honestly don't want to turn up any louder than that. i also have a Shure IEM wireless system which definitely has more output, but again, i don't want it that loud anyway.

so at any gig, i just need to take out the mixer, plug in power, xlr output cables, and the IEM cables (if needed), and i've got my saved settings from last gig ready to go. having IEMs available this easily is an amazing and very liberating thing. i go to any gig and never worry about hearing myself ever again. i'm mostly doing duo setups, so the 2 dedicated IEM channels is exactly enough. 6 additional XLR outputs can give up to 3 more stereo IEM sends with the right cabling, and you still have Main outputs on top of that. so much packed in that tiny thing.

i recently bought and returned the Presonus StudioLive III 16 channel 1 space rack unit. i was very excited to put this in my Axe3 rack for the same experience as the touch mix, but prewired and rack mounted. unfortunately it was a nightmare situation. it kept losing connection with the iPad, and i used a very good and known working wireless router. also, the XLR jacks are supposed to auto-sense XLR vs 1/4" cable inputs. with XLR it engages the preamp to give a gain range of 0 to 60 dB, and with 1/4" no preamp and range of 0 to 20 dB (line level). well guess what - i plugged in our mics and it only gave me the 20dB. preamps would not turn on. i tried several channels and only sometimes would it switch them on and give me the 60dB range. took it to a gig, and the EQ area on the app is so small and you can't adjust the size at all. some other small issues, but those are way big enough to make me return it. so unfortunate, though i really don't like how they designed the app.

i still have my x32 rack, which i love, but the TouchMix is lighter and smaller by far, and does almost everything the x32 and other digital mixers does. the Touchmix does not have digital gain adjustments - it's a physical knob for each input. but i actually like this because that's the only thing i change at every gig no matter what digital mixer i've used. my duo partners bring different gear, pedals, etc sometimes, and as singers, some days we're just louder or softer. so i just line check for gain and set each one for that day. done in a minute really. the Touchmix also can't reassign channels, so that physical input 1 is actually channel 7 on the mixer/app. but with it so accessible, that's absolutely not needed for most uses. on the x32 for example, once everything is prewired and in the back of the rack, if someone plugged in wrong, i'd just reassign in the app because it was easier.

it's really funny because i'm going through internal turmoil making rigs for my performances. i have this tiny rolling suitcase with the axe, an ev2 pedal, the touchmix and all the cables needed. that's all i take to gigs aside from my guitar of course, unless i'm also providing sound. but here i am with another setup - 8 space rack with axe3, x32 rack, I/O panel, furman, shure wireless IEM on the rear rails. now that one is all pre-wired for power and ready to go. but it's about 4x bigger and heavier than my small suitcase.

~15 pound small suitcase (it's literally just bigger than the AX8) vs a ~55 pound huge rack case. why would i ever take the rack case! haha.

it's amazing that this technology is so available to us these days. maybe i'll do a video on the TouchMix. again, having IEMs available always is just an amazing thing, and it's hardwired so no batteries or dropouts. sure it's another cable, but i'm not really moving around at my gigs.
 

rushfan

Experienced
I'd love a video of the touch mix 16! I have one, but haven't integrated it in for my band's live show, yet.
 

fractalz

Power User
OK, here's where I ended up for the Mixer, In-Ear and PA portions. Wireless for the instruments / mics is still up-in-the-air...

- X32 Rack Mixer
- 4 x Shure PSM900 In-Ear Transmitters (one not pictured)
- RF Venue Combine 4 antenna / power combiner (way cheaper than Shure!)
- Shure PA805SWB remote antenna
- dbx Automatic Feedback Suppressor II
- 2 x QSC K12
- 2 x QSC KW181

All of this is probably familiar gear with the exception of the dbx AFS2. I first used one when mixing sound for theatre productions. 24 programmable notch filters. We opened up all the mics and pushed the faders and let the AFS set 12 fixed notch filters and set the remaining 12 to "float" and pick up feedback during the performances. Worked like magic.

Pro tip : ask for an additional discount for a wire-transfer versus a credit-card purchase!
 

Attachments

Top Bottom