Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Mixing With Ears In

This is a loose continuation of my How’d They Do That? series about our Christmas Production. But rather than focus on an element specifically for the production, I’m going to talk about a technique I first tried during the production and plan on continuing to use. Specifically, mixing FOH while wearing my IEMs (Ultimate Ears UE 7s) rather than listening to the speakers.

At first, this may sound crazy, but stick with me. Dave Rat has been a proponent of this technique for some time and he’s a guy that knows a thing or two about mixing. UPDATE: Dave does do some work with headphones but does not utilize this technique the way I describe here. Just wanted to be clear. END UPDATE. I had heard about the concept some time ago, but it never really made sense to me. After all, it we’re mixing live, it makes sense that we need to hear the live room. It wasn’t until Kevin Sanchez was down at Coast Hills a few weeks ago mixing with his IEMs that I gave the technique any credit. He mixed the entire rehearsal on his ears, and I didn’t even notice. In fact, if anything I noticed it sounded better than usual. When I went up to the tech booth for the service, I saw what he was doing. Again, I was skeptical, but kept an open mind. The service sounded great. I was intrigued.

So when we got to the Christmas production, I thought it would be a good time to try it out. Part of my process involved multi-tracking the rehearsals, then playing back the tracks and refining the mix with my IEMs. I was surprised (pleasantly) when after spending a few passes of the song tweaking, I pulled my IEMs out, the mix in the house sounded great.

After that trial run, I mixed the dress rehearsal on ears. Well, technically, I mixed the music on ears. There were significant blocks of dialog that I mixed to the house PA. But each time the band fired up, I put my UE 7s back in and mixed away. When I asked people how it sounded, the answer was always the same, “Great!” I went on to mix the musical portions of all 5 shows with my IEMs and I was again surprised that I’ve never received so many compliments on the mix, even from people who are really critical listeners.

As I pondered the results of this little test, I’ve come to a few conclusions. First, and this was borne out every time I mixed with the IEMs in, mixing with ears gives me much more information to work with. All the details of the mix are immediately present and it’s very easy to hear things like spectral balance, panning and EQ. I was able to quickly discern subtle changes in the gate and comp settings for the drums, and get the vocals to band ratio spot on easily.

Second, the cleaner we can hear the output of the board, the better the sound coming out of the speakers. In live sound, there are all kinds of reflections, delays, and other acoustical anomalies that happen in any live space. All that “noise” masks what’s really going on in the mix, making it tough to pull together a good one. Removing one’s self from the acoustical environment enables us to hear clearly and put together a really good mix. In our room in particular, we have all kinds off issues with those gremlins. Our FOH position is in a different zip code than where everyone else sits. In theory at least, if I get a great mix to the speakers, the result will sound better for the audience.

Third, I realized I suffered less ear fatigue and temporary threshold shift even after mixing 4 shows over two days than I normally do. Temporary threshold shift is a phenomenon that occurs when we are exposed to high SPL for extended periods of time. Our ears compensate by “turning down the gain,” which makes us turn up the volume to achieve the same felt level. By mixing with IEMs, I actually kept my exposure level lower than the room. It’s hard to measure, but I’ve been doing this long enough to have a good idea; whereas the room may have been in the mid to high 90’s during the big musical numbers, I was below 90 in my ears. That 5-10 dB over a few hours makes a difference.

This technique does not come without caveats, however. First, you have to pull the ears out once in a while to make sure what you’re doing is actually working. I did this a lot during the first two shows, and less as we went on. Because it was the same show, I became more confident that what I was doing was working. Still, I checked often, and kept an eye on the real-time SPL meter and log at FOH to make sure I was over-driving the system. Using snapshots helps a lot, because it sets up a baseline mix and keeps levels consistent.

Overlaying the 80 dB curve (blue) on the 100 dB curve (red)Second, because of the equal loudness contours, you have to adjust for different SPL levels. If the house is running at say, 95 dB SPL A, and you’re mixing with IEMS at roughly 85 dB SPL, that 10 dB difference will alter how we adjust tonality. I’m currently exploring ways to compensate for this on the board (perhaps by setting up a dedicated “solo” bus that I can listen to that includes some EQ to compensate for the difference in volume. I’ll let you know what I discover.

Third, if you are using a ton of EQ on the outputs of the board to correct room anomalies, you have to adjust for that. We’ve been able to back off of the EQ on the desk, but we still have too much. I need to clean some of that up in the processing next year. Also, it’s important to compensate for loud acoustical instruments like cymbals. If I turned the cymbals up in my ears to where I really wanted them, they would be tearing people’s heads off in the house because the live cymbals were already almost loud enough. Again, it’s important to pull out the ears and double check once in a while.

Finally, it’s good to have someone else there to listen to the mix and make sure it doesn’t get out of control. My ATD Isaiah was right next to me the entire night and I knew if I started getting too loud or running off the rails, he would nudge me and I could fix it.

I don’t yet know if I can categorically recommend this technique as something you have to try just yet; however, I do know I’ve been pleased with the results in my room, with my PA and my desk with my band. Your mileage may vary. But it may be worth a shot… Happy mixing!

33 Comments

  1. ethan.bolvi@apexcommunity.org

    Thanks for the run-down on this technique, Mike. I have heard of it before and had also been cautious of it. Reading what your results have been so far, I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes for our setup. Thanks again!

  2. ethan.bolvi@apexcommunity.org

    Thanks for the run-down on this technique, Mike. I have heard of it before and had also been cautious of it. Reading what your results have been so far, I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes for our setup. Thanks again!

  3. danielmurphy02@gmail.com

    I’m intrigued… I’m heading into a long rehearsal right now… I’ll have to give it a try.

  4. danielmurphy02@gmail.com

    I’m intrigued… I’m heading into a long rehearsal right now… I’ll have to give it a try.

  5. tonyschoborg@gmail.com

    We have been playing with this theory at our Church as well. The conclusion I have come up with is if your system is tuned properly to the room you should be able to mix confidently that what you are hearing in your ears is what is going to the house.

  6. tonyschoborg@gmail.com

    We have been playing with this theory at our Church as well. The conclusion I have come up with is if your system is tuned properly to the room you should be able to mix confidently that what you are hearing in your ears is what is going to the house.

  7. kever64@gmail.com

    I am a huge fan of this technique. I love being able to hear the detail in my mixes now. Mike wrote a post a few weeks ago about “They’re Just Tools”. IEMs are just tools, too. When I started using this technique I was using UE18s. Last week, I decide to use my UE7s. I was shocked that I could create the same mix using the UE7s as the UE18s.

  8. kever64@gmail.com

    I am a huge fan of this technique. I love being able to hear the detail in my mixes now. Mike wrote a post a few weeks ago about “They’re Just Tools”. IEMs are just tools, too. When I started using this technique I was using UE18s. Last week, I decide to use my UE7s. I was shocked that I could create the same mix using the UE7s as the UE18s.

  9. Tweets that mention ChurchTech

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Sessler and Andrew Wolfe, James Muscat. James Muscat said: http://bit.ly/hh8JgA Interesting thoughts on mixing sound using IEMs, not front of house… […]

  10. fohdave@goingto11.com

    It’s important to note that Dave Rat does not use this technique. He will get his initial sounds in cans, and he then EQ’s the PA so that it sounds like his headphones. He then mixes the show using his ears listening to the rig. I have never seen any of the big dog mixers mix a show using headphones or in-ears. Buford Jones did a Faith Hill tour that he mixed in a truck, but I believe that was more of an experiment just to see if it could be done.

    I believe the thought behind Dave Rat’s approach is it should be right on the board, and since he’s mixing in a different room every night checking things in his cans is a good way to verify that it’s “right” on the input side. It’s a quick way to tell if the problem is input related or system related.

    I’ve seen Robert Scovill do things sort of along the same lines, although he’s not checking things in headphones. He’s tuning his PA using virtual soundcheck. He knows the virtual soundcheck sources are “right” so when it comes time to line check, if something sounds off he knows it’s off at the input side because he just spent time getting the system right.

    Doing sound reinforcement through ears or headphones is a dangerous concept because the room is ALWAYS a factor. What’s coming off the stage? Is the audience participating? These are important things that you take out of the equation if you stick things in or over your ears.

    I can see some of the benefits of doing this in certain situations. If your FOH is in another zip code like Mike’s, it can make sense. But I would probably lean more towards getting some nearfields to use as fills before relying on IEMs or headphones.

  11. fohdave@goingto11.com

    It’s important to note that Dave Rat does not use this technique. He will get his initial sounds in cans, and he then EQ’s the PA so that it sounds like his headphones. He then mixes the show using his ears listening to the rig. I have never seen any of the big dog mixers mix a show using headphones or in-ears. Buford Jones did a Faith Hill tour that he mixed in a truck, but I believe that was more of an experiment just to see if it could be done.

    I believe the thought behind Dave Rat’s approach is it should be right on the board, and since he’s mixing in a different room every night checking things in his cans is a good way to verify that it’s “right” on the input side. It’s a quick way to tell if the problem is input related or system related.

    I’ve seen Robert Scovill do things sort of along the same lines, although he’s not checking things in headphones. He’s tuning his PA using virtual soundcheck. He knows the virtual soundcheck sources are “right” so when it comes time to line check, if something sounds off he knows it’s off at the input side because he just spent time getting the system right.

    Doing sound reinforcement through ears or headphones is a dangerous concept because the room is ALWAYS a factor. What’s coming off the stage? Is the audience participating? These are important things that you take out of the equation if you stick things in or over your ears.

    I can see some of the benefits of doing this in certain situations. If your FOH is in another zip code like Mike’s, it can make sense. But I would probably lean more towards getting some nearfields to use as fills before relying on IEMs or headphones.

  12. bettafish@gmail.com

    @Dave, I came here to talk about Buford’s mixing the Faith Hill tour from the truck. I think the key with being able to do it is having a relatively flat system to start with. In most shed spaces that churches are in these days, it’s unlikely that we’ll have a really flat system to work with, so working with the ears on would probably be a problem.

    I think headphones are really great for setting things like compression/gates and reverb, but when you’re building the overall mix, I’ll usually take them off so I can hear what the room is doing.

  13. bettafish@gmail.com

    @Dave, I came here to talk about Buford’s mixing the Faith Hill tour from the truck. I think the key with being able to do it is having a relatively flat system to start with. In most shed spaces that churches are in these days, it’s unlikely that we’ll have a really flat system to work with, so working with the ears on would probably be a problem.

    I think headphones are really great for setting things like compression/gates and reverb, but when you’re building the overall mix, I’ll usually take them off so I can hear what the room is doing.

  14. Tim@cordernotes.com

    Dave beat me to the punch. Mixing with cans or ears attempts to remove one of the biggest variables we have when mixing live – the room and the crowd. If you need to supplement what you’re hearing due to poor FOH position or the like, the ONLY option I would consider is a good set of familiar near field monitors delayed to the PA. While not ideal, this at least keeps you connected to what’s going on in the room and feeling what the crowd is giving you.

    Especially when mixing worship, that sense of moving with the room is what I think can take a good mix to great. I would personally never knowingly allow one of our volunteers to experiment down this track. The pitfalls FAR outweigh any potential benefits to me. Never mind what it communicates as a potential disconnect with others in the room. I can’t even imagine if my senior pastor were to walk up to the booth and see me with “earplugs” in my ears while mixing.

    One of the biggest dangers I see to many engineers nowadays is trying to make mixing live music more and more of a sterile, predictable, and contained process. Too many snapshots automating too many things, removing their ears from the live environment, getting so hung up on sounds in virtual soundcheck that they miss when the artist changes something in the live performance. All of these tools are great but its still all about a live performance – both for the artist and for us as engineers. The room and crowd interaction is CRITICAL!

    Off my soapbox. 🙂

  15. Tim@cordernotes.com

    Dave beat me to the punch. Mixing with cans or ears attempts to remove one of the biggest variables we have when mixing live – the room and the crowd. If you need to supplement what you’re hearing due to poor FOH position or the like, the ONLY option I would consider is a good set of familiar near field monitors delayed to the PA. While not ideal, this at least keeps you connected to what’s going on in the room and feeling what the crowd is giving you.

    Especially when mixing worship, that sense of moving with the room is what I think can take a good mix to great. I would personally never knowingly allow one of our volunteers to experiment down this track. The pitfalls FAR outweigh any potential benefits to me. Never mind what it communicates as a potential disconnect with others in the room. I can’t even imagine if my senior pastor were to walk up to the booth and see me with “earplugs” in my ears while mixing.

    One of the biggest dangers I see to many engineers nowadays is trying to make mixing live music more and more of a sterile, predictable, and contained process. Too many snapshots automating too many things, removing their ears from the live environment, getting so hung up on sounds in virtual soundcheck that they miss when the artist changes something in the live performance. All of these tools are great but its still all about a live performance – both for the artist and for us as engineers. The room and crowd interaction is CRITICAL!

    Off my soapbox. 🙂

  16. steve@powersaudioinc.com

    I would have to agree with both Dave and Tim on this. Over the years I have done a lot of mixes both live and broadcast mixes for worship and secular events for TV and radio and the crowd interaction is huge. I have never known an engineer to isolate him or herself with IEM’s!!! I would agree that using them to get sounds during soundcheck might be helpful but never during a show.

  17. steve@powersaudioinc.com

    I would have to agree with both Dave and Tim on this. Over the years I have done a lot of mixes both live and broadcast mixes for worship and secular events for TV and radio and the crowd interaction is huge. I have never known an engineer to isolate him or herself with IEM’s!!! I would agree that using them to get sounds during soundcheck might be helpful but never during a show.

  18. grim6@sbcglobal.net

    I’ve never thought about using IEMs, I’ve just been using my Ultrasone HFI-680s and after the start of a song I’ll reference the mix just to make sure I’m getting things pretty close. Next service I’ll have to try running an entire song with the cans on and then compare.

  19. grim6@sbcglobal.net

    I’ve never thought about using IEMs, I’ve just been using my Ultrasone HFI-680s and after the start of a song I’ll reference the mix just to make sure I’m getting things pretty close. Next service I’ll have to try running an entire song with the cans on and then compare.

  20. danthedeckie@gmail.com

    I often come across videos which have been mixed by video-editors (not soundies) on headphones, or IEMs.

    The trouble with them usually is that our ears are too good at compensating – especially when they are listening to cans or IEMs. There is *too much* clarity on the cans, so I see people mixing their vocal levels too low, and the “background” music levels too high.

    OK, so this could be fixed with some BBC type PPMs and some training –

    but I still think the clarity issue will be just that – an issue. Especially for most of us with reaally crappy halls to mix FOH in. At my occasional sunday gig a mix can sound great in the cans, but once you mix in the monitor wash (sometimes loud enough (when others mix, of course 😀 ) to not need PA) and audience, and room-reverb, etc, etc – all of which are factors we cannot do anything about (due to budget – we don’t even have enough to buy a drum shield)… by that stage, mixing using the board has become a different art. It’s not “how to make it sound the best!” but it’s “how to make it not sound terrible”.

    My mix often ends up being 90% vocals, a bit of guitar, piano occasionally when they’re doing solo stuff, and occasionally a bit of drums to boost the wings.

    But again, the clarity thing. Without anything from the FOH speakers at all, you can hear what people say on stage quite OK – but of course it’s sounding muddy. And once you add in all the other instruments and so on, the FOH mix ends up becoming lighter and lighter in the lower-mids – since those are already quite adequate.

    The FOH mix can end up being just the boost in the intelligibility range essentially to allow the audience to even comprehend what the worship leader is singing! Forget a flat tuned PA and nice mix, it’s survival!

    OK. Rant over 🙂

    My point, if I had one, I guess, is that sounds great in theory, if you have a totally flat well tuned PA, and zero monitor wash, and totally flat well tuned IEMs, and perhaps a few ambience mics around the room so you can hear audience in them (do you do that, btw?), but I think it’s a dangerous recommendation for many of us.

  21. danthedeckie@gmail.com

    I often come across videos which have been mixed by video-editors (not soundies) on headphones, or IEMs.

    The trouble with them usually is that our ears are too good at compensating – especially when they are listening to cans or IEMs. There is *too much* clarity on the cans, so I see people mixing their vocal levels too low, and the “background” music levels too high.

    OK, so this could be fixed with some BBC type PPMs and some training –

    but I still think the clarity issue will be just that – an issue. Especially for most of us with reaally crappy halls to mix FOH in. At my occasional sunday gig a mix can sound great in the cans, but once you mix in the monitor wash (sometimes loud enough (when others mix, of course 😀 ) to not need PA) and audience, and room-reverb, etc, etc – all of which are factors we cannot do anything about (due to budget – we don’t even have enough to buy a drum shield)… by that stage, mixing using the board has become a different art. It’s not “how to make it sound the best!” but it’s “how to make it not sound terrible”.

    My mix often ends up being 90% vocals, a bit of guitar, piano occasionally when they’re doing solo stuff, and occasionally a bit of drums to boost the wings.

    But again, the clarity thing. Without anything from the FOH speakers at all, you can hear what people say on stage quite OK – but of course it’s sounding muddy. And once you add in all the other instruments and so on, the FOH mix ends up becoming lighter and lighter in the lower-mids – since those are already quite adequate.

    The FOH mix can end up being just the boost in the intelligibility range essentially to allow the audience to even comprehend what the worship leader is singing! Forget a flat tuned PA and nice mix, it’s survival!

    OK. Rant over 🙂

    My point, if I had one, I guess, is that sounds great in theory, if you have a totally flat well tuned PA, and zero monitor wash, and totally flat well tuned IEMs, and perhaps a few ambience mics around the room so you can hear audience in them (do you do that, btw?), but I think it’s a dangerous recommendation for many of us.

  22. mike@churchtecharts.org

    So wow…guess I finally have a “controversial post!” Cool! Dave, Tim, Steve & Daniel; I agree with you. This shouldn’t work. It takes a big variable out of the equation, and that should be a big problem. And like I said at the end of the post, I’m not recommending it as something you should try. It’s an experiment we’re doing in our room, with our PA, and our band, from our FOH position. Your mileage may vary. Use at your own risk. Or don’t try it at all. Listen to these guys, they’re actual sound engineers.

    Now, with that said, I’m going to continue doing this in our room, with our current PA, with our band, and our current mix position. And I’m going to keep doing it for a simple reason: It works.

    If you’ve been mixing sound, especially in a church, for any length of time, you know that pretty much everyone feels qualified to criticize the sound. Even if it’s the band’s fault, even if it’s a room/PA problem, even if it’s because they don’t like guitars, the engineer takes the blame. A good weekend, then, is when you hear no complaints. Should you hear people talking about how great the band was, well, that’s a great weekend. If someone actually tells you the sound was good (or, dare we say, great!), well, that doesn’t happen very often. You know what I’m talking about.

    Even though it shouldn’t work, since we’ve been mixing on ears, we’ve had more actual compliments on the sound (not just lack of complaints, we achieved that many months ago) than I can remember.

    A few weekends ago, at our Saturday night debrief, our pastor (who has at times been critical of the sound) went out of his way to say how good it was, labeling it, “Fantastic,” some of the best he’s ever heard. That service was mixed entirely on ears. After our Christmas production, Gunch!, our associate worship director told me the sound was, “Amazing!” She sat in the audience for each show. At our Gunch! debrief last week, our MD went on for 5 minutes about how great the sound was, proclaiming it the best sounding Christmas event he’s been a part of at Coast (a history going back 15+ years). I mixed all the music for Gunch! on ears. Several musicians, who didn’t play for Gunch!, even went out of their way to find me and tell me how great it sounded. One gushed on to the point where I actually didn’t know how to respond. My boss told me Christmas Eve (mixed entirely on ears) sounded, “Great!”

    So yes, I know it shouldn’t work. I’ve been doing this long enough to have a great appreciation for doing things in an “industry standard,” “correct” way. However, I’ve also learned that “it works” trumps “right.” Frankly, I don’t care if no serious engineer in the entire world has ever, will ever or would ever mix a any live show on ears. I don’t care if it’s the worst idea in the world for every other venue in the world. In our room, with our PA, our band and our mix position, it’s producing better results than anything we’ve tried to date. So I’m going to keep doing it until it doesn’t work.

    And no, our room is not flat. Our room is terrible. It’s not treated properly. The PA is the wrong PA for the room. The mix position is such that we can hardly see the congregation, let alone hear them singing. We do have audience mics that we can bring into our ears if we want to.

    Perhaps when we get the room treated, hang a properly designed and tuned PA and move the mix position down to the floor where people actually sit mixing with ears won’t work. But until then if you come up to FOH to visit during a service and want to talk, you’ll have to tap me on the shoulder because I’ll have my UE7s in.

    Your mileage may vary. Don’t try this at home. Serious injury or possible death may result. Use at your own risk.

  23. mike@churchtecharts.org

    So wow…guess I finally have a “controversial post!” Cool! Dave, Tim, Steve & Daniel; I agree with you. This shouldn’t work. It takes a big variable out of the equation, and that should be a big problem. And like I said at the end of the post, I’m not recommending it as something you should try. It’s an experiment we’re doing in our room, with our PA, and our band, from our FOH position. Your mileage may vary. Use at your own risk. Or don’t try it at all. Listen to these guys, they’re actual sound engineers.

    Now, with that said, I’m going to continue doing this in our room, with our current PA, with our band, and our current mix position. And I’m going to keep doing it for a simple reason: It works.

    If you’ve been mixing sound, especially in a church, for any length of time, you know that pretty much everyone feels qualified to criticize the sound. Even if it’s the band’s fault, even if it’s a room/PA problem, even if it’s because they don’t like guitars, the engineer takes the blame. A good weekend, then, is when you hear no complaints. Should you hear people talking about how great the band was, well, that’s a great weekend. If someone actually tells you the sound was good (or, dare we say, great!), well, that doesn’t happen very often. You know what I’m talking about.

    Even though it shouldn’t work, since we’ve been mixing on ears, we’ve had more actual compliments on the sound (not just lack of complaints, we achieved that many months ago) than I can remember.

    A few weekends ago, at our Saturday night debrief, our pastor (who has at times been critical of the sound) went out of his way to say how good it was, labeling it, “Fantastic,” some of the best he’s ever heard. That service was mixed entirely on ears. After our Christmas production, Gunch!, our associate worship director told me the sound was, “Amazing!” She sat in the audience for each show. At our Gunch! debrief last week, our MD went on for 5 minutes about how great the sound was, proclaiming it the best sounding Christmas event he’s been a part of at Coast (a history going back 15+ years). I mixed all the music for Gunch! on ears. Several musicians, who didn’t play for Gunch!, even went out of their way to find me and tell me how great it sounded. One gushed on to the point where I actually didn’t know how to respond. My boss told me Christmas Eve (mixed entirely on ears) sounded, “Great!”

    So yes, I know it shouldn’t work. I’ve been doing this long enough to have a great appreciation for doing things in an “industry standard,” “correct” way. However, I’ve also learned that “it works” trumps “right.” Frankly, I don’t care if no serious engineer in the entire world has ever, will ever or would ever mix a any live show on ears. I don’t care if it’s the worst idea in the world for every other venue in the world. In our room, with our PA, our band and our mix position, it’s producing better results than anything we’ve tried to date. So I’m going to keep doing it until it doesn’t work.

    And no, our room is not flat. Our room is terrible. It’s not treated properly. The PA is the wrong PA for the room. The mix position is such that we can hardly see the congregation, let alone hear them singing. We do have audience mics that we can bring into our ears if we want to.

    Perhaps when we get the room treated, hang a properly designed and tuned PA and move the mix position down to the floor where people actually sit mixing with ears won’t work. But until then if you come up to FOH to visit during a service and want to talk, you’ll have to tap me on the shoulder because I’ll have my UE7s in.

    Your mileage may vary. Don’t try this at home. Serious injury or possible death may result. Use at your own risk.

  24. fohdave@goingto11.com

    I agree with the “it works” principle. Now I would never advocate phoning it in, but, if you have so much in your system that’s wrong–acoustics, loudspeaker system, mix position, etc.–how much do you want your present system to actually work? I guess, how do you ensure that the band-aid doesn’t become the permanent solution?

  25. fohdave@goingto11.com

    I agree with the “it works” principle. Now I would never advocate phoning it in, but, if you have so much in your system that’s wrong–acoustics, loudspeaker system, mix position, etc.–how much do you want your present system to actually work? I guess, how do you ensure that the band-aid doesn’t become the permanent solution?

  26. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Dave,
    Dave,
    How much to I want it to work? A lot. Unfortunately, fixing it is not an inexpensive or quick measure. As we’re not having big-picture discussions of what we may (or may not) do with the room in the coming year or two, I’m not willing to do a whole lot of fixing until we have a clear direction and plan of what we’re doing. I am unwilling to start down the road of a new PA, for instance, if we’re going to be moving seating around, closing off the balcony or making other significant changes. Same with room treatment. Before I treat the room, I need to know what room I’m treating.

    As you know, even in a big church with big budgets, getting a new PA approved takes a long time. And unfortunately, that’s not our only issue. I have a community room that needs a complete overhaul. A kids room that needs to be re-done. And as a TD, I’m responsible for audio plus lighting plus video plus presentation plus all those other rooms. It all takes time and money. Lots of money.

    So, I’m forced to take the long view, and a pragmatic approach. And if mixing with ears in makes a dramatic improvement in the sound at no cost until we can get the entire room overhauled, than I’m all for it.
    mike

  27. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Dave,
    Dave,
    How much to I want it to work? A lot. Unfortunately, fixing it is not an inexpensive or quick measure. As we’re not having big-picture discussions of what we may (or may not) do with the room in the coming year or two, I’m not willing to do a whole lot of fixing until we have a clear direction and plan of what we’re doing. I am unwilling to start down the road of a new PA, for instance, if we’re going to be moving seating around, closing off the balcony or making other significant changes. Same with room treatment. Before I treat the room, I need to know what room I’m treating.

    As you know, even in a big church with big budgets, getting a new PA approved takes a long time. And unfortunately, that’s not our only issue. I have a community room that needs a complete overhaul. A kids room that needs to be re-done. And as a TD, I’m responsible for audio plus lighting plus video plus presentation plus all those other rooms. It all takes time and money. Lots of money.

    So, I’m forced to take the long view, and a pragmatic approach. And if mixing with ears in makes a dramatic improvement in the sound at no cost until we can get the entire room overhauled, than I’m all for it.
    mike

  28. jimd2005@gmail.com

    I’ve also been experimenting with running with cans on. I will often check to make sure what I’m hearing in the cans matches up with what’s going on in the house. I’ve found it helpful to fine tune what’s going on in the house. Once I’m happy with the mix I’ll run without ears on. Though, on practice night I’ll run with them on for about 80% of the time.

    Jim

  29. jimd2005@gmail.com

    I’ve also been experimenting with running with cans on. I will often check to make sure what I’m hearing in the cans matches up with what’s going on in the house. I’ve found it helpful to fine tune what’s going on in the house. Once I’m happy with the mix I’ll run without ears on. Though, on practice night I’ll run with them on for about 80% of the time.

    Jim

  30. tylermckellar@gmail.com

    After a lengthy conversation with my church’s music director about monitors today, some of the things we discussed got me thinking about this post again. Using in ears or headphones can be a great starting point for a mix. I think it’s something that can also be extended beyond just the engineer as well. If you have someone using a wedge and they’re having difficulty with their mix, try setting aside some time to help them with their mix while they are using iems or headphones. Once it’s to an acceptable point for them, kick it back to the wedge and see where you stand. I’m going to give this a whirl when the opportunity presents itself. It may even help musicians leery of jumping to iems a little more open to the idea along the way.

  31. tylermckellar@gmail.com

    After a lengthy conversation with my church’s music director about monitors today, some of the things we discussed got me thinking about this post again. Using in ears or headphones can be a great starting point for a mix. I think it’s something that can also be extended beyond just the engineer as well. If you have someone using a wedge and they’re having difficulty with their mix, try setting aside some time to help them with their mix while they are using iems or headphones. Once it’s to an acceptable point for them, kick it back to the wedge and see where you stand. I’m going to give this a whirl when the opportunity presents itself. It may even help musicians leery of jumping to iems a little more open to the idea along the way.

  32. www.Goingto11.com » The Dynami

    […] re-published in Live Sound magazine. You can find the original post over at Mike’s blog here if you haven’t seen it. Today I want to offer a bit of counter-perspective to Mike’s […]

  33. Mixing with In-Ears…my r

    […] recently republished on ProSoundWeb and in Live Sound magazine.  You can find the original post here, along with a later response here.  Dave Stagl wrote a great response to the topic here.  I took […]

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