I Got Burned by In-Ears: Solutions

For the variety of complaints by users of in-ear monitors, there are often easy fixes that often end up satisfying the musician.

I Got Burned by In-Ears: Solutions
A good stereo pair of ambient room mics sent to the in-ear system will solve this problem. Generally speaking, installing two shotgun microphones either on stage or above the worship platform area, aimed at the congregation, works best. The shotgun microphone allows the greatest pickup of voices in the room. At the same, it rejects the ambient sound of the band and the sound system.
I Got Burned by In-Ears: Solutions
A good stereo pair of ambient room mics sent to the in-ear system will solve this problem. Generally speaking, installing two shotgun microphones either on stage or above the worship platform area, aimed at the congregation, works best. The shotgun microphone allows the greatest pickup of voices in the room. At the same, it rejects the ambient sound of the band and the sound system.

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In‑Ear Monitors: Hear The Music
In the interest of having your talent receiving an optimal mix, in-ears often go a long way toward accomplishing that task.
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The use of in-ear monitors in the church setting has increased dramatically over the last several years. However, there remains a group of worship leaders and musicians who opt to stay away from IEMs because of bad experiences in the past.

Spending time with your musicians, training them with some proper mixing techniques can help alleviate the poor mix.

I have heard many reasons over time of why different people don’t want to wear in-ears. Below are the most common complaints and some hopefully simple solutions to solving the issue of being burned by in-ears.

“I couldn’t get a good mix.”

Audio engineers love for the musicians to use in-ear monitors. Using IEMs greatly decreases stage volume, thereby creating clarity in the front of house mix. With the most common use of IEMs being with a personal monitor mixing system (such as Aviom, Allen & Heath ME, or Digital Audio Labs Livemix), the probability of a poor monitor mix is greatly increased.

The majority of musicians are not audio engineers. There is a reason why certain people end up on stage and others behind the console.

While it is important that both musician and tech understand what each other are doing, we each are skilled in a specific field. When personal monitor systems are implemented, musicians are frequently left to fend for themselves on how to mix. 

Consequently, they often are not satisfied with the mix they hear through the in-ear monitors. Spending time with your musicians, training them with some proper mixing techniques can help alleviate the poor mix.

Another solution to a poor in-ear mix is to do away with the personal monitor system. Instead, deploy a monitor console with a dedicated engineer. This scenario is normally cost prohibitive for most churches. However, a quality monitor engineer will provide the most comfort and confidence any technical team can offer to a musician.

“I can’t hear the congregation.”

Another common complaint from worship leaders when using in-ear monitors is that they cannot hear the congregation. This is a significant problem since those wearing IEMs are to be leading the people out in front of them.

Not being able to hear the congregation introduces a feeling of isolation. It inhibits the effectiveness of the worship leader to connect with the “room” during worship music.

This problem often causes musicians to only wear one in-ear monitor. Wearing only one IEM greatly increases the chance for hearing damage to the musician. It also often points to a lack of connection with the congregation as well as the ambient sound of the worship space.


More About Michael Scott
Michael Scott serves as the Director of Media Arts for Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla. He has a passion for serving the church and helping the Body connect through worship. Michael oversees all aspects of live production in multiple venues with a team of more than 50 volunteers. Ask any of his volunteers and they will tell you that Michael's main goal for his team is to serve without distractions and with excellence. Throughout the course of Michael's career he has had opportunities to work with many churches of varying sizes as a full-time employee, contractor, or consultant. Michael has been married to his wife Kristi for 12 years and they have two sons, ages 8 and 6.
Get in Touch: mscott@hhbc.com    More by Michael Scott

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