In Ears Revolution

Recently at Extreme Life, we made the change from using floor monitors to using in ear monitors. This brings us into line with many professional musical settings and provides many advantages to Extreme Life.
For example, our front of house mix is now exceptionally “clean” as there is absolutely no monitor spill. You know that “muddy” sound that comes from speakers that are pointing away from you…well it’s not there any more, so the sound being heard in the room, is all from the front of house speakers. The huge benefit of that is, that we are only hearing what we are meant to be hearing and it is equalised and mixed for our listening. This produces a much more appealing sound for all in the room.
For the musos, we purchased a Behringer Powerplay personal monitoring system from Streamstone Audio (highly recommend these guys, check them out at This provides every muso with a personal 16 channel mixer to select and mix their own personal monitor mix. They can then plug in what ever earphones/headphones/monitors they like (and provide themselves for their own personal use) and there they have their monitoring.
Personally, I chose some lovely Future Sonics Mg6Pro in ear monitors and am absolutely loving the sound I am getting from them.

These are a custom molded in ear and do the job beautifully. Others have tried everything from the standard iPhone ear buds to many different generic fit in ears and all obviously produce a result according to their price range. I would suggest in ears that actually insert into the ear canal and form a seal, as they provide much better isolation than “open” ear buds, but anything of a reasonable quality will provide a starting point.

Some of our musos found the transition a little challenging at first for varying reasons, but most having been on at least a couple of times now, are starting to enjoy the benefits of this change. The ability to adjust your own mix live and on the fly, is amazing. No more waving at the sound guy trying to get his attention so he can try to decipher your code for whatever change you are attempting to request!

I recently added a Sennheiser wireless system to my mixer and highly recommend this. It is a bit of expense to get up and running, but well worth the lack of cables and clear, strong sound being piped into my ear canals.

One of the biggest benefits I have noticed after using these for some time now, is the volume. I can play with the volume settings far lower than when using a floor monitor. Floor monitors all have to get over top of each other and all the other instruments, whereas with in ears, there are no amps on stage (they are all mic-ed up under the stage or instruments running through a DI) and the isolation of the ear buds cancels out whatever stage sound there is (like acoustic drums). This lack of volume leaves me feeling far less fatigued at the end of every session. Also, along with the isolation, it really helps me to “lock in” to my role and do my job to the best of my ability.

In summary, I am really enjoying the benefits of this transition and would recommend you look into it if you haven’t already.


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