Wireless In-ear Monitoring Systems
Oct 12, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Clarity and comfort have brought stage monitoring under control.
The PEM-500 from Nady offers 16 PLL synthesized, user-selectable UHF channels and either stereo- (MPX system) or mono-mode transmission. Depending on the country and frequency band, up to eight systems can be used simultaneously. The 1/2RU, all-metal PEM-500T transmitter can be mounted in two side-by-side units or singly with the appropriate rack-mount accessories, and the system provides proprietary companding circuitry for wide dynamic range. On the front panel is an input level control, a headphone jack with volume knob, an LED channel display with selector button, and a stereo 10-segment audio-level meter. The rear panel includes a stereo/mono select switch, BNC antenna connector, 1/4in. TRS balanced mic input, and twin XLR line inputs. The PEM-R receiver has a built-in limiter, power switch, output level control, stereo/mono switch, and a two-color, three-way on/signal/low-battery indicator. The unit can operate for up to 6 hours on a 9V alkaline battery. Each receiver comes with a pair of in-ear headphones with three sizes of rubber mounts.
One of the top IEM systems from Sennheiser is the 2000 series. The series includes the SR 2050 IEM transmitter, which is actually a rackmount unit housing two transmitters in a 1RU space. The SR 2050 IEM can operate on stereo or mono mode with HDX noise reduction system on channels from 516MHz to 698MHz. The front panel includes an LCD for each transmitter that shows frequency, AF level for each channel, and EQ setting. There is also a front-panel headphone jack with volume control for each transmitter, a jog dial, and a standby button along with an infrared sync interface with sync button that transmits a selected frequency to the receiver, automatically setting it to the same channel as the transmitter. The rear panel includes dual audio inputs with combo 1/4in.-and-XLR connectors, loop-through jacks, cable grip, and an RJ-45 LAN connector with network activity indicator. When networked with other transmitters, the SR 2050 IEM can be centrally controlled from a PC running Sennheiser’s Wireless Systems Manager software. The EK 2000 IEM receiver uses the earphone cable as a second antenna to reduce drop outs. Along with AF and RF levels and frequency, the LCD shows battery condition. For power, the unit can use either two AA batteries or the BA 2015 rechargeable battery pack.
The Shure PSM 700 in-ear monitor system consists of the P7T transmitter, the P7R receiver, the PA715 antenna, and the SCL3 earphones. The transmitter operates in stereo or mix mode with 32 user-selectable frequencies and MPX stereo audio transmission. The transmitter also features a switchable input level between +4dBu and -10dBv along with a front-panel headphone monitoring jack and volume control. Dual inputs use 1/4in.-and-XLR combo connectors with loop-through outputs, and the internal power is also switchable between 120V and 230V. The transmission uses tone-key squelch to avoid reception of stray signals when the transmitter is powered down. The P7R receiver has a switchable high-frequency boost and volume/balance dials. The operating range is about 300ft. with an audio frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz (+0, -3dB), depending on earphones used.
Custom Earphones: The Ultimate Solution
For many musicians, it has been enough of a challenge to get used to the isolation of an in-ear monitor but having ear buds come loose and even pop out onstage is simply unacceptable for professional performers. The answer to this problem evolved right along with the IEM systems themselves and today it is quite common for professionals and part-time pros to have custom-made ear monitors. At anywhere from $100 to $200 or more, they are considerable higher in cost than standard models, but the fitting process is pretty simple and quick. Here are some links to more information and videos showing how it’s done.
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