Anyone experienced with IEM systems?

Been kicking around the idea of taking the financial plunge and investing in IEM system to preserve my ears. Have not played live yet, still just rehearsing once a month with the band. Got a new drummer and at the last rehearsal felt like we all were playing louder to compete with him.

Noticed some discomfort with my left ear (closest to drums) during and then somewhat afterwards. (Even a couple weeks later when i cranked up my amp to play along ar home practice)

Felt like a wake up call to action. Tried some musicians plugs couple years back- but after only 30 min testing i ended uo going to the doc a week later because one ear became impacted with wax because of the plug!

So ive been researching IEM systems. Any recommendations or experiences out there? I found a no frills basic level Senheiser for about $700, (with good reviews) so i will have to sell some equipment to try and fund part of the budget if i go that direction.

Of course preserving hearing is certainly worth it, but would love to find something in the 300-400 range that will provide protection and quality. I have also seen a number of off brand names for a lot less- but kind of wary about going with a no name audio brand.

*Edit: just to clarify… we dont have an existing system, so I will need transmitter/receiver/earbuds.

If i am understanding the technology correctly, i will need to mic the drums/amps/etc, feed those to a mixer and then run output to a transmitter. (Im already running mics into my digital recorders, so at least half the battle is already complete)

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I have a pair, they are very flat response. But I like that for bass. I chose the triple driver armature. Check their instagram they post 30% and 50% off sales fairly frequently.
https://www.wavscustom.com/

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I use this wireless monitor. It’s pretty solid. You can pick and choose your iems from $20-$2000. I’d preferred one with at least one dynamic for better bass response. For live music the more color the better. If not you get to much treble when can leads to a quick ear fatigue. Turns out the sweet spot for this is around $40-50.

I have a couple of high end Fiios but definitely not for live music applications.

I actually have 2 of this one is a single receiver and another is the 2 receivers units.

Xvive U4 Wireless in-Ear Monitor System Professional IEM System Transmitter and Beltpack Receiver for Studio, Band Rehearsal,Live Performance,Camera Record https://a.co/d/7G83w5v

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I got the Linsoul KZ-ZS10 Pro ($50) after seeing a recommendation from a pro drummer that said he had tried everything else and was at least as happy with these. I still wasn’t sold until my brother got some (he is a deafeningly loud drummer) and he uses them every time he plays.

When I got mine, I eventually got some replacement memory foam covers. I wish I had done that from the start. They give much better isolation and overall fit than the rubber ones that come with it.

@Al1885 Have you ever run into a problem with interference between different transmitters?

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Between transmitters? No. Scratchy and some signal drops, yes from time to time.

The problem and blessings of the cheap items are that they are so good for music. Going to audiophile level I can’t really tell between a hundred dollars iem and my $500 Fiio but the fiio definitely provide better fit and feel. They offer clarity and detail you don’t hear in your car.

That said it’s the opposite of what we need on stage. Bright balanced audio is no something I want on stage. I want bias audio, thumpy bass definition with lots of colors. Perfect in ear audio will sound too thin and offer too much high and not close to representing the sound your audience will hear. Speaking from my bias experience of course.

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My buddy and I use the Xvive system also. Very simple to use and it works great. We tried a more expensive system first and it was a little more complicated to operate than we wanted. I’ll have to check the brand tomorrow. But the Xvives have been great.

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@Al1885 @PR_9207

Thanks for the Xvive U4 info- I’ve seen those recently but just didn’t investigate further because of the small cost and size. But now after researching reviews, looks like the simplistic solution I need. At that price, should allow me to pair it with some decent ear buds as well. Thanks!

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I’ll support the Xvive system as well. We have a set as backups to the main system and was very impressed the couple times that we’ve used them.

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Are you using this on stage? @lee_editorial

Koss KPH30iW On-Ear Headphones, in-Line Microphone and Touch Remote Control, D-Profile Design, Wired with 3.5mm Plug, White and Blue https://a.co/d/agQftSa

Believe it or not the best headphones to pair with that is the “God Tier”Koss KPH30i.
I used this one on stage at one of our party and it just so dorky and cool not to mention excellent audio performance. It has an open back so it’s not suitable for my V-drum but for basss it’s perfect. I picked up a few when they were $20.

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I toured with an in ear system for several years.
It was lovely, but disconnected.
It saved our ears and tuned up our harmonies, made it easier to discern what was happening on stage… but it’s like playing with other people to a track.
You’re at a show or rehearsal with headphones on.

It’s strange.
I’ve also played in a duo project with a drummer who used them and loved them.
She did IEMs and I did live monitors.

If you have the budget for them, I say give it a go. It is clarifying and ear-saving, even if it does put a bit of a wall between you and the music around you.

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@Gio

Thanks a lot for sharing the additional info/experiences.

I am very curious about how it will feel in the live environment as well. Ive aways practiced both ways at home- with headphones and without, just because they each sound and feel really different.

When i first started, i was probably 90% practice with headphones, but then once I got together for live rehearsals with other musicians- it was a bit difficult because everything sounded so different. (Also no longer have ability to dial in a perfect mix, so there are always situations where I cannot hear myself as clearly as I would like).

However, there is something amazing about playing loud, hearing and FEELING those low end rumbles emanating from my amp that cuts through the other live instruments. I am hoping there may be a solution somewhere in the middle: maybe IEM that are not totally noise reducing that will still allow some of my live sound to cut through, while still protecting my ears from the sometimes harsh sounds of guitar and bass.

Im going to start with some smaller on-ear headphones at rehearsal and see how that works.

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The solution that most bands use (and that we used) is to add a channel to your in-ear mix, and set up a crowd microphone - or whatever type of environment microphone would be best to try and create the live experience in your earplug-speakers.

It can be a bit silly depending on the scenario. For the band it was fine as we had 2 or 3pm load-in times for the 9pm show, and the venues would get our tech requirements ahead of time and be ready for all of our gear and nonsense. But if the show was at the dive bars we played at in the early days and we came in with the racks and receivers and crowd mics… it would not have worked.

They are ear-saving, and they’re amazing, and I see just about every touring band sporting them that I go and see. I loved them. But I also missed the full crowd experience. For the last year that I was touring I would usually do one ear in, and one ear out, and try and balance things that way.
Other guys loved it 100% and never took them out.
Other guys never wanted to use them and had a stage monitor set up just for them.

I say that if saving your ears and getting a good mix is your aim, IEMs are the way and truth. You’ll figure out whatever troubleshooting as you go.

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