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Wired IEM while playing guitar... what is your cable solution?


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My 4 piece band (drums, bass, 2 guitars - all the string players sing) is looking to move toward IEM. Without 4 grand to work with, however, we're going to get our feet wet with wired IEMs. The solution I'm looking at is as follows:

Behringer XR18 using either the standard Aux buses to a Rolls (or similar) headphone amp for each player (or use a Behringer P16M personal monitor mixer in place of the Rolls) > TRS - XLR cable runs to an Elite Core belt pack (basically just a solution to plug earphones into something besides a loose cable) > earphones.

For our drummer, it can stop right there. For the rest of us, though, I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with the extra cable. Originally, I planned to get velcro strips to connect the TRS - XLR cable to my guitar cable, but this seems rather clunky. I am a Covenant Cables artist, so I am looking into getting a custom cable built - basically a mini snake that would carry my stereo IEM and guitar signal in one. I don't think I'd want to plug directly into the cord like the TC Helicon cord, but maybe that would be easier than the Elite Core unit.

My concerns: I tend to swing my guitar around a lot. I'll swing it to the left while playing, and I'll occasionally hold it away from my body. I often swing it the right and let it rest behind my back when I'm not playing. I therefore need a solution with enough slack for when I swing the guitar to the left or hold it out in front of me, but something that won't scratch the tar out of my Les Paul when I slide it around my back (this is my biggest concern about the Elite Core, as it's basically a metal box with sharp corners).

So... does anybody else run a wired IEM for live music while playing guitar, and if so, how do you deal with that extra annoying cable?

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...
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I don't play guitar, but if I did and HAD to use a wired unit, I would use something like a Behringer Powerplay P1 belt pack, and attack it to my belt, right between my pockets. I would not want IEM and guitar signal in the same patch cable. This would interfere with moving the guitar, changing guitars, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

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Is there a critical need to go with IEM's? Seems to me if you can't do it right (wireless) maybe you shouldn't do it at all. I would also want to try them out, before I went with any permanent solutions. Don't know your age, but many or most of the older musicians I know that tried IEM's went back to monitors. YMMV.

 

Considering the audience hears with their eyes, I think you'd get more bang for your buck by going wireless on your instruments (and the attendant show possibilities that wireless provides). Then if you think you need IEM's you can get wired - at least there would only be one cable. Even better yet go all wireless - if you think it will pay off.

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  • 2 months later...
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I totally get where you're coming from. I've been working with wired in-ears in my Church for about 2 years now. Just recently, in the last month, I picked up a new Rack mount digital mixer and got my cover band to make the switch. We all went with the Berhinger PowerPlay P1s and our drummer is good. He's got his mounted to the backrest on his throne. The rest of us, have been trying out different headphone extenstions and solutions out there. I did go and buy one of the TC Helicon cables and it works pretty well IMHO. our biggest complaint though is that, in the case of the TC Helicon cable, It's a very thin cable. Currently, we're debating getting some snake cabling and making our own at whatever lengths we want.

 

While I do agree if you can, go wireless, there is still a lot of us that Just can't afford to hit that level yet but we want to take advantage of the benefits IEMs give us. All in, my each member of my band has paid $50 for the PowerPlay and 3 of us have spent another $15 to $30 on headphone extensions or the TC Helicon cable. For less than $100 each we can get in on this now reap the benefits. Maybe later down the line we can look at a wireless system but that's going to be unlikely. We're all pretty attached to our boards so we don't need much. If there is a company out there that could do a commercially available cable, like the TC Helicon, that is a bit heavier in gauge and gave us 15 to 20 feet of mobility, only to be able to reach our amps, that would be ideal.

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Great question.

 

I have been using wired IEM's for over 10 years now. I have an X32 Rack currently, but have an existing Furman HDS and HR wired IEM setup which simply takes 4 aux outputs and the L/R mix as its input. Each person has their own mix using 4 knobs (aux outs), and the LR mix knob.

 

You may be able to get this setup cheep on ebay since it is no longer in production (I have really liked it). The mix stations are $125 new and the base unit is around $250 .... so not alot of cash, has built in limiting, and gives everyone their own mix right at the mic stand.

 

If my stuff ever breaks, I'll likely get the P16m's as a replacement .... but at $250 each, I would be looking at a grand to do it (as would you). Still, the P16 is a much better IEM mixer with 16 inputs vs the 5 I have right now.

 

As for how to wear it .....

 

I sing and play guitar for the band. I put my IEM's on before my guitar, then plug the IEM cable into an extension cable.

 

Where the connection is made, I put that part into my front pant pocket which secures it. Then the extension (a slinky cord) goes to the IEM station which is on my mic stand at about waist level.

 

This gives me a good distance to move around the stage (about 6 ft or so) before I pull my mic stand over (which has happened .... but only at practice).

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  • 1 month later...
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I use a Rolls PM50s with one of these.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/272810036004.

 

I run my vocal mic directly into the Rolls, use the mic thru to send a signal to FOH. I patch a signal from the main monitor mix from the board into the "monitor in" on the Rolls.

 

I run an instrument cable from the Rolls headphone out into the wireless transmitter and wear the receiver on my belt. Works like a charm and cost me less than $60.

 

I use the individual volume controls on the Rolls to balance my own vocal with the main monitor mix and use the volume control on the wireless receiver to control my overall volume.

 

My entire system cost me less than $100.

Edited by ToneGrail
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