Why In-Ear Monitors?

A lot of people have asked my we have no floor monitors and exclusively use in-ear monitors (IEMs). The reasons are both numerous and practical.

When we designed our corporate/wedding system, we looked at the hundreds of shows that we’ve done over the years in functions centres and RSL lounges and the difficulties of taking a full production – six monitors in road cases, front of house speakers in cases with subs in canvas covers, not to mention amp racks and a console, a cable packer, mic stands case and lighting. All brough in by one guy and filling a Toyota Hiace van almost to the roof! Not only was it a massive effort to load in and rig, often through hotel kitchens or with difficult access, the road cases had to be stored in a separate room; or if one wasn’t available, taken back down to the van in the lift! Hardly efficient!

The solution was a system that will fit in a station wagon, is still 4,000 Watts (peak), soon to be 6,000 with the addition of another pair of subs that can be run cardioid, and has an extremely small footprint – perfect for the often confined stages and spaces in which RSL, wedding and function bands are required to play.

Then we move to the actual dilemma of keeping the stage volume at an acceptable level, which can be difficult with 5,000 Watts of monitors and 10,000 Watts of Front of House. Basic physics comes into play here and the old adage of “amplitude is no substitute for definition” comes to the fore. With an in-ear monitor rig, it is far easier to keep the stage volume to acceptable levels while giving musicians a far superior experience. This is taken to the next level when the IEMs are run in stereo with multi-driver ear buds provided that deliver superior bass response. The stereo imaging creates a sense of ambience and gives the musician the same level of enjoyment usually only limited to the studio!

With the advent of mid range IEM systems like the Sennheiser XSW and LD Systems U505, the cost for four sends is actually comparative to six mid range powered speakers. Musicians can dispense with using amplifiers altogether, if they so wish, and use amp modellers – or amps can be turned down without having to compete with an exuberant drummer. This allows the front of house engineer to actually mix, rather than to perform damage control. A win win situation for both musicians and punters alike!

Don’t forget about our introductory special for the complete system with lights, setup and operated for only $500.00 (usually $600.00 – $800.00) – available until 30th September!

© Andy Taylor - Coastal Audio 2023