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manuelchk

In ear monitors for production sound

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Hello guys, recently talking to a friend sound mixer he recommended me to use in ear monitors for “noisy” or reality style productions because of the isolation and be able to monitor exactly what you are recording.

 

I just got the Weston W30 and so far so good but I’m not convinced 100%. I was wondering if you had experience with other in ear monitors for production sound and what is the one you like the most.

 

thanks!

Manuel.

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They do iso pretty well but I find on anything doco where I'm "in the scene" with the talent and camera they cut me off from what was going on around me too much (I, like many doco sound people, often roll with headphones "one ear off" because of this).  If you are doing a music doco and have to be on stage with a rock band with a full horsepower PA rig going then absolutely in-ears.

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I use in-ears whenever I am on stage, rock band or not.  Sitting just off-stage behind six orchestral basses is certainly enough to "skew" your mix if you have them leaking around your phones.  I use the latest (I think) Etymotics with custom molds and they put me right back in the game.  I almost never use "sealed" over-the-ears anymore unless I'm in a control room and use them to monitors solos or the like.

 

D.

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2 minutes ago, Vincent R. said:

Aren't these meant to be used for IFB (not critical) monitoring, and only one ear?

Ah yes, I read the post a little hasty. So back on topic:

 

11 hours ago, manuelchk said:

Hello guys, recently talking to a friend sound mixer he recommended me to use in ear monitors for “noisy” or reality style productions because of the isolation and be able to monitor exactly what you are recording.

 


Another consideration is to get Remote Audio HN-7506 headphones, I have them myself and they're much better than my Sony MDR7056 for monitoring audio critically even in nosier environments. 
 

 

 

I first heard about these headphones a few years ago when Whit Norris recommended them:
 

 

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I wear Etymotic in ears with custom molds, and haven't cared to use another headphone at work for many years.  They have great isolation, are very comfortable to wear, and because of both of those things, I don't have ear fatigue at the end of the day.  I have some Westone IEM's that I use occasionally when mixing music live, but more and more I find myself going back to the Etymotics.

When I have to work on the side of a stage I use the Etymotics and on top of them I wear double cup construction ear muffs.  It's enough isolation I can reasonably mix a rock band without blowing my ears out.  Mixing the bass in that situation is almost impossible no matter what you do.

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8 hours ago, IronFilm said:

These actually sound pretty bad--ok for IFB type cue audio, barely.

 

The Remote Audio enclosed 7506s work very well--I use them all the time for location music recording, but they are not the most comfortable or the most hifi headphones in the world.  

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6 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

but they are not the most comfortable

Indeed, is one reason why they're not my daily driver now, but still handy to use for specific times. 

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I've said it a few times here (and elsewhere) over the years but I'll bring back up an instance when I was pleased to have my Etymotic ER4 set to hand - recording wild animals up close for SFX. Because they were dangling around the neck then popped in to check stuff when needed they didn't 'freak out' the animals (which I think I would have done by sticking crazy headware on and off). I realised this was the case at the time but later recording my niece singing it reminded me: kids, animals etc react to the recordist-talent relationship as much as the experienced stars do - whilst we still need to get a mic in prime position for the best recording changing one's familiar presence with both mic and headphones can be reduced with in-ear sets (and bleed is less of an obvious problem when one or both is off ear).

 

As for Etymotics - they might take some getting used to from other headphones (especially the very coloured 7506) but they sound very good indeed and you learn to trust them pretty quickly. I've never got round to the expense of getting ear moulds made: if I was using them on a regular or specific basis I'm sure I would but one shouldn't think it's absolutely necessary to start out with moulds for in-ear. The isolation is still very high, the comfort as good as most or any over-ear: but I'm sure for regular work it's the way to go.

 

As an aside, what I'd like to come across would be a simple external cable to level limit in ears: I tend to use level limited headphones for general location working since I like the extra safety blanket. I know that level limiting built to tailor to specific headphones and impedances (and limiters in headphone amps do the same job) but does anyone know of such a gadget?

 

Jez

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I recently started using UM Pro 20 (Westone) and find them great! I use the smallest silicone tips so I am not completely isolated from the outside world, although my crew and other crew members certainly noticed I can hear them far less than before. I started by listening to takes I had recorded when I wore my Beyerdynamic DT250s. It helped me get an idea of the differences. Then I used them for the last couple of weeks of a show I had mixed for 2 seasons, so I had heard the same actors on the same sets with the same boom operator. It helped me feel confident that I knew what I was hearing.

 

Now I won't look back. The ease of using in ears vs. big phones is truly immeasurable for me. I can wear sun hats and winter hats, as required. And my ever-thinning hair doesn't end up in a rooster tail by lunch!!

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20 hours ago, Derek H said:

Mr Teas, look st the Canford website. They sell some limiting cables I’m pretty sure.

 

Thanks Derek - I actually use Canford limited 7506s (despite my general grumbling that the Sonys sound #### !) for much stuff, especially dialogues (or 'prod recording') as opposed to FX.

 

I think they don't have 'general' limiting cables - they make them under licence from a BBC design and are tailored to specific headphones (and impedances) - they are, after all, for safety, so half-hearted safety would be missing the point (which I understand). But that's what I would be looking for nevertheless - something that I know will be passing audio without degradation and will kick in at a certain voltage (if not exactly calibrated) within an impedance range ...

 

I actually bought a simple passive attenuator cable with my ER4 set with the headphones - which I tend to keep with my laptop simple monitoring setup. Not a limiter, but a handy volume reduction. 

 

Might be be worth seeing if they do an external unit for the ER4 or other in-ear though at some point ... then work out what other phones might be in a 'safe match area' to them and what isn't safe.

 

Canford is my 'local' btw - been driving round there for decades when I'm that part of the world. Usually put Roxy Music on the car stereo and sing alternate lyrics,

 

"What's her name? ANFIELD PLAIN!"

 

 

Cheers, Jez

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I have not used either of those products. I was a little discouraged by their lack of tech specs. 

 

I got the impression it’s a very small operation. I emailed them with quite a few questions. They answered some and then ignored a bunch too. 

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On 7/1/2018 at 12:20 PM, IronFilm said:

Another consideration is to get Remote Audio HN-7506 headphones, I have them myself and they're much better than my Sony MDR7056 for monitoring audio critically even in nosier environments. 

 

Yes, I totally agree with that. I really love my HN's. I also wear them when I'm stationed outdoors, but the action takes place indoors. It really helps to get rid of traffic noise, etc. 

They are indeed not the most comfortable ones, so I only wear them when needed, but I am very reluctant to use in-ears, as I keep hearing that they are really bad for your long-term hearing as we tend to turn them up to loudly. But I have also never spoken to a doctor about that. 

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Anyone out there thats tried a few different brands of IEMs?

 

Curious what noticeable differences there may be between etymotic, westone, ultimate ears etc...

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I’ve only really tried Shure in-ears but I’ve found I can’t use them on set as utility or boom because of all the inducted thumps and clicks and cable noise when moving around. Maybe this is inherent in all IEMs?

 

I like them okay when I’m just sitting still. 

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I've been using the Shure SE215 series with good results. Fairly inexpensive. I've used them at car races other sporting events with loud crowds, etc. 

Cable is just the right length where it's not getting in the way. 

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8 hours ago, Constantin said:

I am very reluctant to use in-ears, as I keep hearing that they are really bad for your long-term hearing as we tend to turn them up to loudly.

 

Fortunately, my experience has been the opposite.  The added isolation allows one to keep the volume quite low, and when used like this, IEMS could actually be a first line defence against hearing loss...

 

1 hour ago, Derek H said:

all the inducted thumps and clicks and cable noise when moving around. Maybe this is inherent in all IEMs?

 

Um, yes...  but you can minimize this by clipping the cable carefully, and then you learn what the inducted cable noise sounds like and your brain will filter that out.

But yeah, inducted cable noise when moving around is the single biggest drawback of the IEMS.

 

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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3 hours ago, Derek H said:

I’ve only really tried Shure in-ears but I’ve found I can’t use them on set as utility or boom because of all the inducted thumps and clicks and cable noise when moving around. Maybe this is inherent in all IEMs?

 

I like them okay when I’m just sitting still. 

Yea, Ive demo'd shure 215s once and I couldnt get past the cable noise at the time.

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Are Etymotics any better? Also which flavor are you guys using since they have several variations on the ER4

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