[Harp-L] Inner ear monitor

pdxharpdog@xxxxx pdxharpdog@xxxxx
Mon Aug 29 15:58:30 EDT 2016

I know absolutely nothing about in-ear monitors, but I do see on TV a lot of times that artists using in-ear monitors make the choice in real time to rip them out during a performance and rely on stage monitors or just their ear. So in-ear monitors are not the end all. And if you're on TV performing there's a 100% chance you have better sound systems and engineers than my band gets. I can't afford them anyway. 

In my band, I have had this "I can't hear myself" sound issue a lot over the years - sometimes it was the guitarist turning his amp up because the sound person can't get the sound right. But I can remember numerous gigs where sound check was awesome, but when a few hundred people get in the venue it all went out the window and without a good sound person who can fix it right on the fly it all went south. 

I need to hear the guitar in my monitor for sure, but if it's too loud so that I can't hear myself then that's a problem and most importantly, reduces the fun I'm supposed to be having. Sometimes it happens because the guitar guy can't hear himself in his monitor and instead of turning his amp up, the sound guy increases the guitar monitor across the stage by mistake. And there have been many occasions in our gigging where there is only one monitor mix so turning up the stage left monitor is also up in stage right monitor. 

We now have a strict band rule that nobody touches their amp after sound-check and we consciously try to keep the stage volume down to decrease ear pain and increase playing fun. We got to this catharsis by playing a few all acoustic shows and loving it for all the right reasons. We always say, if you can't sound good acoustically then you won't sound good with amplification no matter how good the equipment and the engineer is. 

I have a few tricks I use during a show that can increase my ability to hear myself on stage. 

1) I have my amp elevated as much as possible so I can simply back up closer to my amp if I'm having trouble hearing myself during a song. It is my first line of defense when I can't hear. Even before I ask the sound person to turn me up in my monitor. This alone solves the problem most of the time. 
2) I also use the BBE sonic stomp pedal that Jason Ricci called "HD sound for harp". I really think it adds a ton of clarity across the board for me and I wouldn't gig without it. 

3) I also have a couple of ways to eq on the fly - with the boss 7 band eq pedal and with a lone wolf tone + pedal. I use the tone plus to boost the highs when I'm using a low keyed harp. This helps me pick myself out in a muddled sound mess. I can in an emergency use the master level on my Boss 7 band eq pedal to boost me just a little - cheating for sure, like turning up the amp that I agreed to leave alone, but as a last resort it works. 

4) I have the lone wolf harp break pedal that kicks the gain up. I use that very sparingly to help solve the hearing myself problem. 

5) I do have a volume pot on all of my mics, but I only use that for on-stage feedback issues so I can quickly take my harp out of the feedback discovery loop, as in "who's causing that horrific sound?" I crank myself all the way off at the first indication of feedback and if it's still there I know that it's not me and we can get to the root cause as fast as possible. I don't use the volume pot for increasing volume. 

6) Having someone in the audience you trust to tell you if what you're doing on stage to help hear is good/bad or indifferent to what the audience hears is super helpful too. 

To blame it all on the guitar amp volume knob escalation war is missing a lot of the root causes of not hearing yourself. Poor venue sound systems, poor sound engineers, weird room acoustics causing the wall-of-sound mess that sometimes happens - because it just sometimes happens. Managing your sound on the fly and its effect on other bandmates on stage is a bandmate responsibility. 

Ross Macdonald 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Larry Sandy via Harp-L" <harp-l at xxxxx> 
To: "Joseph Leone" <3n037 at xxxxx> 
Cc: harp-l at xxxxx, "Greg Heumann" <greg at xxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2016 10:26:11 AM 
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Inner ear monitor 

See, that's what I'm talking about..... others too loud for me to hear myself clearly. Unfortunately I have no control of their volume, only mine. And if I crank it up and they cannot hear themselves, well, the loudness spiral commences. Time to take a seat. Or get out the in ear monitors. 
LockjawHearing tinnitus tunes daily 

On Sunday, August 28, 2016 6:28 PM, Joseph Leone <3n037 at xxxxx> wrote: 

I have been playing in supper clubs for decades and decades and my own personal feeling (others may differ), is that if you are having trouble hearing yourself, the band is too loud. 
If you are using a mike and still can’t hear yourself, the band is too loud. Most people have hearing that can handle a huge range and volume of sound(s). So I would be wary of over 
volume. They either aren’t interested in hearing the many nuances of the shaped tones of a harmonica…or they’re deaf. Sorry if I have offended anyone. 


p.s. we have used Greg Heuman’s mikes at our jazz jams for years. They give you everything you need to have. 

> On Aug 28, 2016, at 5:35 PM, Larry Youmans via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx> wrote: 
> I determined long ago that if I cannot hear myself then I won't play. There are so many adjustments on each harp while playing, so many beautiful nuances but unless one can clearly hear themselves those notes just are not produced. Seen it way too many times. Don't wanna sound like an amateur. Greg is right about in ear monitors. I don't use mine but know that I should sometimes. 
> Lockjaw Larry 
> Sent from my iPad 
>> On Aug 28, 2016, at 4:21 PM, Greg Heumann <greg at xxxxx> wrote: 
>> In-ear monitors can be awesome BUT - they only work if you have a very good sound guy actively managing the monitor mix. Once you put ANY sort of ear plug in your ear, you will hear yourself extremely loud relative to the rest of the band. Just try plugging one ear while you’re playing... That means you will have trouble keeping time and managing your volume relative to the whole band. In short - in-ear monitors are for pros with pro sound guys supporting them. For anyone else - they are a very expensive experiment that you’ll find very hard to manage. 
>> Learning to hear yourself on stage is a SKILL. You have to understand how your gear affects it, how a monitor mix (which can be very troublesome from a feedback perspective) interacts - etc. And ultimately there are times when you have to play KNOWING you’re playing the right stuff when you can’t hear yourself. That is sub-optimal and certainly scary for newer players - but as you become better and better at playing intentionally instead of reactively, the easier it becomes. 
>> /Greg 
>> http://blowsmeaway.com 
>> http://facebook.com/blowsmeawayproductions 
>> "You’re going to like the way you sound. I guarantee it." 
>> When responding to this email, please include the copy of our previous conversations. 
>>> Message: 8 
>>> Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2016 13:00:33 -0700 
>>> From: ian osborn <davidianosborn at xxxxx> 
>>> To: Harp L <harp-l at xxxxx> 
>>> Subject: [Harp-L] Inner ear monitor 
>>> Message-ID: 
>>> <CAG9GgrM0y=J52O8Ha-PfJOqq3HqNY5kWG_4hEyx3korm+t-0XQ at xxxxx> 
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8 
>>> Anyone use the inner ear monitor?! How do they like it?? I find unless the 
>>> sound guy is awesome I have problems hearing myself out of the 
>>> monitor/main/PA 
>>> Ian 

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