I need an advice from someone that has experience with this kind of situations. I am drummer for a fast and loud band. In our last tour I experienced locations with good and bad sound.

I have a question related to an in ear monitoring system but wired (not wireless). Given the fact that in some places there were really crappy monitors and I could not hear basically anything I am trying to set up something that will send me a signal from a mixer containing drums trigger (from a DI box whatever), one guitar and bass.

What kind of issues I could experience with such a setup on a live situation and how can I make this feasible in the practice room as well so I do not have to put everything to maximum in order to hear things.

UPDATE - Seems everybody is recommending me earplugs. I have earplugs which act also as headphones to send me the click. I am using Shure SE215 headphones which cover pretty much and give me an great ear protection from the outside.

Thanks for any help and ideas! Cheers!

  • 2
    Why not wireless? Wired systems are available, but all you get going wired is a bit of savings and a bit more inconvenience. Also, how many people are you playing in front of, approximately? There's a big difference between playing at a bar in front of 100 or so versus playing at a venue that seats 1500 and up. Namely the latter will usually have a dedicated monitor mixer. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 12:44
  • 2
    If you need it in a practice room as well, you may do better turning it all down, or wearing ear defenders. I speak as someone who now has hearing loss, thinking how great it was to play as loudly as possible for many years, and now bitterly regretting it. Hearing doesn't mend itself...
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 12:53
  • @ToddWilcox Thanks for your answer. Usually are clubs capacity 300 - 500. Some of them are really bad with the monitoring or have bad sound tech and so on. Sometimes I can put the band cabinets in such positions I can hear but sometimes this is impossible. Can you give me some examples of wireless options that you might find good to use? Thanks! Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 13:03
  • I have to go along with Tim and suggest you try out earplugs first. It may sound strange but lowering the intensity of what hits your ears does help make the sound clearer. I recommend earplugs designed for musicians that are the flanged kind which filter the sound to make it even. Hearos and Etymōtic are two widely available brands. If you still want to move forward with in-ears, you have a big challenge because you will have to mix them yourself (based on the bad engineers you encounter). You might even have to get your own feed from each instrument. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 13:14
  • What mixer do you have? Cheap mixers are pretty restricted, but once you get up to Presonus or X32 levels (and above) you'll have the option of using Aux channels for monitoring. Then all you need to do is capture the aux channel into a small mixer or personal monitor, and plug your inears into that. I second the comment about earplugs - and a good set of 3 or 4-driver Westones will perform both functions for you.
    – PeteCon
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


I use IEMs for practicing and ear plugs in almost all other situations. The ones I have are custom molded by Future Sonics. Supposedly their IEMs have a bit more low end for drummers. I have not tried any other brands. I expect most of the ones available are decent. The high end Future Sonics IEMs allow changing out the attenuation insert so you can let in more or less ambient sound.

Custom ear plugs, especially with variable attenuation inserts, are a hugely valuable investment for any musician. At least for those who play in any situation where music is amplified. (Or drums are involved :-)) They are also great for just going to concerts as you can hear the music accurately, but it isn't too loud. I usually use the ear plugs with no attenuator installed during practice, which is like 6dB of attenuation IIRC. Not that much, but enough.

I use IEMs for practice and have not used them on stage. I've talked to folks who play in bands that use IEMs for monitoring during performances. The main issues are making sure everyone using them has their own volume control, latency, and having something that sets up without hassle in the venue. You'll also need to make sure they feel good and don't get in the way, but that just a matter of getting the cable tied down to the throne/etc. in the right way, and figuring out where you want your local headphone amp, etc. The impression I get is that for bands who perfect IEM monitoring, they totally love it and would not go back to wedges, etc.

Sophisticated setups allow a separate mix for each member of the band. E.g. they get more or less of their own playing. Similar to standard stage monitors. If it is just you, as the drummer, using IEMs, then you can likely control the mix of the drums via the ambient attenuation of the IEM itself and a volume control on the input to the IEMs. A simple feed of the sound board mix is all you need. (Latency gets to be a thing in studio setups where you're listening on the backside of the DAW, etc. It is doubtful you want any effects on IEMs live anyway.)

I've experimented with micing the drums and mixing them and listening via the IEMs. One can definitely get great drum sound this way, but it is a lot of work and not that useful unless you're recording mostly on your own and need to hear the set as the mics do.

  • Oh, the one place that feeding mic'ed sound into the IEMs is awesome is getting a bit more of the kick into what you hear. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 20:20

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