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IEM's with "Ambient" sound?


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If I understand correctly, they're molds with a hole in them.

If that's the case, then why bother with the molds at all? I thought the purpose was isolation.

The reason I'm asking is I just got a Shure system with SE215 buds and I'm contemplating getting the molds.

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I'm sure some folks like the ambient sound feature ... but I think you're right, the isolation IS what makes IEM so effective in terms of reducing your expose to loud volumes.

 

I'm using a pair of custom molded ear buds made by LiveWires (used in conjunction with a Shure PSM200 wireless setup). I make no special accommodations to add "ambient sound" to my setup (i.e., no lav mics, no special mics set up to capture "ambient sound", etc.) I get an individual AUX mix from the FOH board and that's it. The only "ambient sound" is whatever the open vocal and/or instrument mics on stage happen to pick up. (My projects are both 6 piece acts in which everybody has a vocal mic ... so there is definitely some ambient sound being picked up...)

 

It definitely took a few gigs to get used to the "isolation" - for me as well as for my bandmates. For me - I have to be certain that I'm "heads up" and making visual contact with my bandmates between songs. For my bandmates - it means remembering that I'm wearing IEMs and that trying to "shout thru them" is futile. The easiest way to communicate with me is to simply speak near an open mic using a soft voice. I hear everything that comes through the mics very clearly. There are NOT big changes. Trying to shout over stage and room noise is pretty much useless when you're NOT wearing anything - so saying that we don't try to shout over stage and room noise when I am wearing them isn't saying much. Communicating via "ambient sound" through open mics isn't hard once you get used to it.

 

On breaks, I turn off the body pack - and pop out the ear buds. It works like a charm!

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I understand some people like the method of having a hole in the bud for ambient, but honestly, I think it's a ridiculous idea and is totally counter to the concept of true molded buds.

 

As I posted in another thread, Dr Micheal Santucci, founder of Sensaphonics advises against this method, and he's my audiologist/IEM provider, so I'm following that advice myself.

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I've never encountered IEM's with an ambient inlet...

 

The problem I can see with that is you would have to turn up the volume of your IEM's to a level that would probably cause hearing damage to compete with the stage wash.

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I just got some AT M3's that allow you mix in sound from an ambient lav mic but so far it's unusable because the lav mic is way too loud on the lowest volume setting. I still think its user error but I havent figured it out yet. I think I can get used to the lack of ambient sound but talking to the band members is an issue. I try not to ever let the audience hear me calling audibles or whatever because I don't think it's professional so letting the vocal mic's pick up what im saying isn't an option for me. I just played my first gig with these IEMs last week and I was just turning the the lav mic input on and off via a switch on the receiver when I wanted to talks to a band member between songs. Some people put an ambient mic on stage and mix it in with the aux mix.

 

I play tonight and look forward to working with these more.

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I use a very small mixer and mic my guitar, my vocals, and have an ambient mic on stage. I then send a flat signal out to the house from my mixer (1 channel for guitar, and one for vocs). I use the monitor mix to feed my ears, including the ambient mic. It's simple, easy, and I get the mix I need every time. With no ringing ears.

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I use a very small mixer and mic my guitar, my vocals, and have an ambient mic on stage. I then send a flat signal out to the house from my mixer (1 channel for guitar, and one for vocs). I use the monitor mix to feed my ears, including the ambient mic. It's simple, easy, and I get the mix I need
every
time. With no ringing ears.

 

 

I'm talking about the ear molds that have a hole in them to allow ambient sound in.

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I believe the ambient mic is a better solution. I use the PSM200 with the lav mic. I like the system but I prefer to turn the mic off like performing. That would not be possible with the ambient hole on the bud. In my opinion, the ambient issue is way overblown. I do understand that some people can't or don't want to adapt to IEMs but for us, the ambient sound was not an issue. Only person in my band that uses any ambients at all is me and that is only between sets and occasionally during a set.

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I just setup a couple of ambient mics for the IEMS. They are only routed to the ears, and I blend them in for the band. They hear the entire room but at a controlled volume. We tried turning them off during songs, but the band enjoyed hearing the crowd while they played so we leave them on now. They face away from the stacks for minimum bleed, and toward the audience so they hear requests and comments. They like the reduced volume, but not the isolation and this has worked well for me.

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We have used several different miss and tried several locations.

 

1) We used a single omni calibration microphone placed at FOH to get the entire room sound (it captured everything but so much PA was also captured that the ambience suffered a little, however the band liked it.)

2) We used a pair of Audix OM-5s, placing one on each side of the stage clamped to the lighting trees. That put them roughly beside the mains. Tops are directional generally so PA went away when we added a HPF at 150hz to them. Faced the crowd so you could get the clapping and even hear the crowd when they came to the stage between songs to request things. The band liked this better since if they had trouble hearing a request they just pointed to the mic and folks could walk over next to it and talk.

3) My favorite location has been to clamp OM5s to the front lighting truss facing 45

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I'm talking about the ear molds that have a hole in them to allow ambient sound in.

 

 

I was just suggesting an alternative to the permanent ambient solution that a hold in the molds offer. A mic allows you to dial in how much, if any, ambient sound you want.

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I was just suggesting an alternative to the permanent ambient solution that a hold in the molds offer. A mic allows you to dial in how much, if any, ambient sound you want.

 

Yes, I understand that. But I was specifically asking about the ambient earbuds since I'm contemplating having molds made.

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cool thanks! The Shure psm200 has a lav input? I dont remember that during my research (although it was a year ago) thats why i was leaning towards an AT

 

 

The body packs are made for either wired or wireless. Shure sells a lav mic with attenuator specifically for the PSM200. Works great and allows easy volume control of the wired (1/4") input. I have custom mold and leave them in all night. During breaks I use the lav mic (installed in my stage vest) to hear what people are saying. It is great because I could just as easily turn it off and be set in my quiet (other than tinnitus) bliss.

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I went with Ultimate Ears UE7's, un-ported, to an AT M3. I've had them for 14 months and they are probably one of the top 3 single best investments I've made in tools for my job. Here's a link to UE's FAQ's and there is an explanation regarding the ambient port.


 

 

We all have the non-ported Ultimate Ears UE7 buds and LOVE THEM!!!!

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