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  1. #1

    Default Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Newbie, here. I thought it would be a simple matter to find a rack unit that can transmit four stereo mixes, but I'm struggling.

    Hoping folks with knowledge and wisdom can help me out. A range of options (price-wise) would be great. Maybe I have to go to multiple single units? Not loving that idea.

    And while we're here: should I have my heart set on stereo mixes? Or are mono mixes just fine for band gigs? I have close to no experience performing with in-ears. Always wedges. And I'm tiring of them for many reasons.

    Currently in a five-piece rock/pop band. And we do like to move around a bit, so I'm thinking wired is a no-go.

    Thanks for any insights!
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Newbie, here. I thought it would be a simple matter to find a rack unit that can transmit four stereo mixes, but I'm struggling.

    Hoping folks with knowledge and wisdom can help me out. A range of options (price-wise) would be great. Maybe I have to go to multiple single units? Not loving that idea.

    And while we're here: should I have my heart set on stereo mixes? Or are mono mixes just fine for band gigs? I have close to no experience performing with in-ears. Always wedges. And I'm tiring of them for many reasons.

    Currently in a five-piece rock/pop band. And we do like to move around a bit, so I'm thinking wired is a no-go.

    Thanks for any insights!
    There are lots of solutions, but a lot will depend on the budget you have.

    If budget isn't an issue, then Lectrosonics M2T is the only solution that will get you 4 stereo IEMs in a single 1u rack configuration (two half-rack units)

    This is the version with integrated Dante. There is also a cheaper version without the Dante integration.
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...ter-with-dante

    All other solutions are individual half-rack units that translates to 4 half-rack transmitters, which can be built into a 2U rack, although most of these solutions will end up being more like a 3U rack once your done with space for the power supplies and highly recommended antenna combiner.

    Probably the best budget option is Carvin.
    https://carvinaudio.com/collections/inearmonitors

    I personally use Shure PSM900 Series transmitters with a mix of PSM900 (P9R) and PSM1000 diversity (P10R+) receivers, a shure antenna combiner and the large omni antenna.

    To purchase new would run about $1500/stereo channel, plus another 2-3k for the combiner, cabling, rack, etc.
    Last edited by cgrafx; 09-22-2023 at 10:59 AM.
    ---------------------------------------
    Philip G.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2023
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    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    I play in a four-person (eight piece) band, and we use the Shure PSM 300 for each of us. Two of them screw together to make one rack unit. I've heard the antennae combiners are a good idea, but we haven't seen the need to use one yet. Stereo is DEFINITELY the way to go. Our brains are wired to hear in stereo, and panning the different instruments and voices to different ears changes it from a wall of indiscriminate sound to individual instruments and voices. This will allow you to hear more of what you need to hear with less overall volume. The recommendation I followed is to put your own voice and instrument in the center, and pan everyone else equally to one side or the other.

    John Francis
    Rolla, MO

  4. #4

    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Thanks, Phillip. I was afraid of that. Seems so strange that there are no quad sets out there. Maybe it's because if it goes down and you have to service it, you lose four at once?

    RE: the Carvin stuff...

    Channel separation : 35dB

    Yikes. Is this typical in the RF IEM world? Is it because they're multiplexing? Is that good enough separation for this application? Is there a noticeable or appreciable narrowing of the soundstage "in one's head"?
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  5. #5

    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Quote Originally Posted by John F View Post
    I play in a four-person (eight piece) band, and we use the Shure PSM 300 for each of us. Two of them screw together to make one rack unit. I've heard the antennae combiners are a good idea, but we haven't seen the need to use one yet. Stereo is DEFINITELY the way to go. Our brains are wired to hear in stereo, and panning the different instruments and voices to different ears changes it from a wall of indiscriminate sound to individual instruments and voices. This will allow you to hear more of what you need to hear with less overall volume. The recommendation I followed is to put your own voice and instrument in the center, and pan everyone else equally to one side or the other.

    John Francis
    Rolla, MO
    Thanks, John. Good to know about the stereo vs. mono thing. It echoes what I've read online.

    Now the task is talking everyone into spending some bucks for their personal sets. Wish me luck.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Thanks, Phillip. I was afraid of that. Seems so strange that there are no quad sets out there. Maybe it's because if it goes down and you have to service it, you lose four at once?

    RE: the Carvin stuff...

    Channel separation : 35dB

    Yikes. Is this typical in the RF IEM world? Is it because they're multiplexing? Is that good enough separation for this application? Is there a noticeable or appreciable narrowing of the soundstage "in one's head"?
    Channel separation, noise floor, latency, etc., are going to vary from system to system and technology to technology. If you want fully pristine audio, then you are going to be looking at the higher end digital systems. The Shure PSM900/1000 product line is about as high-end as you can get in an analog (non-digital) system.

    The Carvin stuff is budget friendly and stereo, which many of the lower-mid products are not. Everything is really going to depend on your budget.

    If you want something that is very compact from a channel count/package standpoint and sonically high-end, then definitely look at the Lectrosonics non-dante system. It will run you about 10k for 4 Stereo channels (2 transmitters and 4 receivers).

    But you'll get 24bit audio, latency of around 1.5ms, and it fits in 1U of rack space. (channel separation is greater than 85dB.)

    actually the the newer Shure PSM300 setup looks pretty good at $850/stereo channel (so around 4k for a 4-mix system)

    There are pros and cons to IEMs. It takes some commitment and adjustment time to make it work well, but its really nice not having the additional monitor speakers on stage taking up space and adding to the general wash of noise coming from the stage.

    The downside is somebody had to be responsible for packaging up the system, making sure your operating on clear RF channels and generally having some basic understanding of potential wireless/RF issues.
    ---------------------------------------
    Philip G.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Okay, thanks for your wisdom.

    Hey, which system(s) have you used and what are your experiences with channel separation vs. stereo image width?
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Hey, which system(s) have you used and what are your experiences with channel separation vs. stereo image width?
    Dave, there are so many other factors that will determine your choices, you can pretty much ignore those specs.

    Think single RF carrier FM stereo transmission with all it's inherent limitations (in channel seperation and image width). That's why the specs seem poor... Because the fidelity of analog FM stereo IS poor.

    The Shure PSM-1000 systems are a benchmark without getting into a 'boutique' system of some sort. One of the things that makes them so good is diversity reception (you'll notice the beltpacks have two antennae). The form factor is two mono/stereo channels in 1 RU so they are easier to rack up and move around.

    When purchasing, be sure to get systems that operate in a part of the UHF spectrum that doesn't include active OTA TV stations in your area. Don't simply take whatever stock the store has. If ordering online you will need to choose what frequency band you want when you order.

    The less expensive (than PSM1000) Shure systems as well as the Sennheiser G3/G4 type systems are fairly standard in the weekend warrior world. FWIW the Senn G3 systems also have a form of diversity but the second antenna is implemented as the cable for the earbuds.

    Steer clear of anything that's 2.4Ghz or 'wifi' based. This is a case where analog is better than digital unless you're getting something like the Lectro system mentioned earlier.

    Once your band relies on in-ears for the gigs, solid and reliable RF performance free of dropouts and interference will become way more important than a few dB of channel seperation.

    Consider adding an ambient mic somewhere on stage that you can feed into everyone's mix to help reduce the feeling of being isolated from the audience.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    A couple final thoughts...

    Depending what kind of gigs your band plays, don't rule out hardwired IEMs. Dealing with wireless and all the inherent potential for problems and show-stopping RF interference can really distract you from the music. As convenient as wireless seems, it does come with it's fair share of risks unless someone in the band is skilled with such tech.

    https://www.shure.com/en-US/products...ng/psm900/p9hw

    With the wireless approach one way to save money is if band members share the same mix(es). In that case you could purchase something like the PSM300 twinpack (get the better quality beltpacks) or even on the extreme you could have one transmitter with four beltpacks (all tuned to the same frequency) and really save money. Who says everyone needs their own mix?

    Keep in mind for your budget that the in-ear buds alone can get quite expensive for the real good ones.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Multi-Stereo Wireless IEMs

    Thanks, Dave. Lots of wisdom there. I appreciate it.

    While I have you... do you have any suggestions on how to get a good vocal mix using in-ears and running sound from the stage? All I can think of is balance them equally in the mains, then have singers employ good mic technique. E.g. backing off for background parts. It's essentially the same challenge using wedges, but, somehow, IEMs sound even more perilous in this regard.
    Last edited by Dave Labrecque; 11-10-2023 at 09:36 AM.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

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