in ear monitors

In Ear Monitoring Part 2

In Part 1 Will Johnson introduces us to the inexpensive Rolls Personal Monitor boxes. This week he talks about 2 other popular in-ear systems.

If your church is larger and/or you have some extra money to spend, there are many options for monitoring that allow for more customization to each user’s individual wants and needs than the Rolls system previously described.

One step up would be to use a Hearback system from Hear Technologies or an Aviom Personal Monitor System. This gives each user 8 or 16 channels, respectively, which can be mixed independently of the other users. This type of system uses either direct outputs from each desired channel on the sound board, aux sends, or any combination. The audio is sent to a central “brain” and then distributed with power over a CAT-5e cable to each personal mixer, simplifying cabling. These systems begin at around $1,500 or more but offer a lot more features with much less cabling on stage.

One trend that is beginning to become popular is to use a digital snake where 32 or more uncompressed audio channels are sent down a single CAT-5e cable and connected to a network switch to be distributed to various devices such as input units, output units, and digital sound boards. Eventually someone had the bright idea to incorporate a personal monitor system that works with the digital snake. ProCo’s Momentum series has mix engines that can connect to the audio network and “patch” into any 32 of the channels within the network. It offers 3-band EQ on every channel and presets for different users. They’ve also taken it a step further and incorporated wireless control of the system via iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads.

The most versatile monitor system, of course, involves splitting every input and using a completely separate sound board to control the monitors. This is the route used by most touring musicians and very large churches, however it tends to be very expensive and typically requires another operator.

Again, monitoring systems come in all shapes and sizes. A qualified sound professional will be able to help you figure out what product will work best for you and your specific sound system. Something as simple as upgrading the sound board may open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Will Johnson is an audio, video, and lighting professional who currently serves as Production Manager for Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, SC. He is also available for consulting, system design, and installation. For more information visit his website at willjohnson.com or email him at will@willjohnson.com.

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