In-Ear Monitor Tips & Tricks
In-ear monitors or personal monitor systems can be a great tool for both the worship team and the sound team.
One of the primary benefits of using in-ear monitors is that they can dramatically reduce the overall volume on stage. This lower stage volume helps the sound tech craft a better mix since there is no longer any influence from the stage monitors. This is also to the benefit of those sitting in the first couple rows.
Another advantage of in-ear monitors is the reduced risk of feedback.And one of the best things about most in-ear monitor systems: musicians and vocalists can have more control over their own mix in the monitors by using mobile apps or other “more of me” remote control devices.
Even with all of these benefits, in-ear monitors can still be tricky to set up and get working properly. And if you have some members of the worship team that are reluctant to try in-ear monitors, you’ll want to pay special attention to a few key details that can help everyone get the sound they want and need.
In-Ear Monitor Tips
- Always set the gain properly for each channel. This should be done during every soundcheck. Gain affects everything, including the quality of sound in the monitors.
- Spend time properly training your worship team on the in-ear monitor system so that they know how it works and how they can control their own mix (if that is an option).
- Just because you have a personal monitor system doesn’t mean that the sound tech can skip out on helping mix monitors. Help your team get the best sound that works for them. Troubleshoot signal problems and keep a handle on the overall levels going to each monitoring device.
- Make sure that the in-ear monitors being used are good quality and work well for the musician or vocalist.
- Bass players and drummers will often need extra lows in their monitors, so they will probably need a different type of in-ear monitor or use larger headphones.
- Singers will need a tight fitting in-ear monitor to prevent distracting occlusion (that “inside your head” singing sound).
- The tighter the in-ear monitor fit, the better the bass response will be.
- DO NOT use in-ear monitor systems with just one earbud in and one out. This can tempt you to turn up the volume and cause hearing damage in one ear.
- Some worship teams may benefit from a hybrid system of monitors: in-ear monitors for musicians, traditional stage monitors for singers. It’s okay to experiment.
The Best In-Ear Monitor Mix Tip
If you’re going to invest in in-ear monitors, then you need to also invest in a pair of condenser microphones to capture the ambient sound in the room.
In-ear monitors do a great job of blocking out sound on stage. This is great for hearing protection, but not the best when you want to hear what is going on around you.
Mixing ambient microphones back into the personal monitors will help the worship team have a sense of what is happening around the stage and in the room. (And it should prevent them from pulling out one monitor to listen to the room.)
Place a condenser mic at either end of the stage pointing out towards the congregation then mix the mics in stereo (left and right) into each in-ear monitor feed.
Note: these ambient mics do not get used for the main mix or traditional stage monitors, only personal in-ear monitors.
In-ear monitors can be a great way to improve the overall sound quality at you church. Just take the time to experiment and work with the needs of each worship team member.