Using In Ear Monitors Professionally - The Benefits of the Silent Stage

Using In Ear Monitors Professionally - The Benefits of the Silent Stage

Many professional musicians, producers, and engineers, including GRAMMY Award winners Michael Graves, Jeremiah Adkins, Sonny Emory, and Crystal Nicole, use Empire Ears in-ear monitors as their primary performance and production tools. There are many benefits to using our in-ear monitors in the professional realm - from the reference quality audio of the ESR providing professionals with the clarity of sound and flat response they need in order to confidently produce and mix their music, to the EVR, specifically developed for vocalists with a slightly forward mid-range and the warmth to emphasize the vocals naturally within the mix, our in-ear monitors provide the caliber of sound necessary for success. 

Using In-Ear Monitors on The Silent Stage

A 'silent stage' is not the newest innovation in performance, but it has been growing steadily in the music industry for decades. The stage is silent in that it is devoid of any amplification on stage: no wedge monitors, guitar amps, or subs for the drums. The benefits of this are that your band members aren't fighting with each other's amplification and have all the necessary information pumped straight into their ears. They can easily stay in tune and on time when their mix gives them clarity and detail. It also makes the FOH engineer's life easier when the band's stage mix doesn't interfere with the audience mix. Doubly so for the monitor engineer, with so little sound coming off the stage, the mic's pick up only what they are intended to. 

Some Tips

  • Mix in stereo - Mixing in stereo and panning instruments in your band members to their relative location can give the band a much more immersive on-stage experience, helping them stay in the pocket and perform to their highest potential. 
  • Limit your IEM - Accidentally blasting full volume with the intense isolation of in-ear monitors can be wildly uncomfortable and lead to permanent hearing loss. Limiting this output can prevent unfortunate accidents from befalling any of your band.
  • Wear BOTH IEMs - When you wear only one in-ear monitor you need an additional 6dB of volume to compensate for only hearing it in one ear. The brain interprets sound in both ears as louder than in a single ear so if you limit yourself with a single IEM you're more likely to cause hearing loss. This phenomenon of perceived loudness is called 'binaural summation.' If your band members feel the need to pull out an IEM while performing, it could be that the mix is off, it may not contain enough ambiance from the crowd or the stage, resulting in the member feeling isolated. Additionally, it may be that the fit is incorrect.
  • Don't run too hot - If your mix is too loud, turn it down. It should be clearly heard but running your mix too loudly can result in hearing damage, ear fatigue, and pounding headaches.
  • HAVE A BACKUP CABLE - Don't yank on your cables. Grab the IEM, not the cable when putting in or removing your IEM. Follow these two tips and your cables will last ages. Still, cables fail sometimes, and you don't want to be without your mix while you perform. Keeping a backup on hand will go a long way to preventing this tragedy.
  • Talk to your engineer -  Communication is key in all things, especially performance. If you're not getting the information you need from your monitors, don't turn it up, tell your monitor engineer who can adjust your mix to provide you with all the clarity of sound you need to perform at your greatest.

The demands of the stage are wildly different from those of the studio. Where the studio is controlled the stage is chaotic. Where a studio has a room optimized for pristine sound, any given stage will sound different. So having the complete control over your monitors through the silent stage and through using in-ear monitors provides artists with the environmental consistency they need to thrive. 

Empire Ears is dedicated to providing industry leading products and support to our artists while they're in the studio or on tour.