I am going to perform in a concert in a nearby club and I want to use in-ear monitors. But I don't have any idea which ones to buy or what other devices are required for using them.

Will I get all the components like a transmitter, amplifier, in-ears, etc., in one purchase or do I have to buy them separately?

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    Telling exactly what you want the monitors used for may get you better answers. However, recommendations for gear don't usually get allowed to stay on site for long. If the question was more about how to use iem., it may be more acceptable. – Tim May 24 '18 at 17:52
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    You might want to add information on what kind of band you are in, what your role is in the band, what kind of music and such. In my experience, a band goes from beeing very loud on stage in several steps. The band gets most effect form in-ears when all band members use in-ear monitors, especially that guitar player that used to have a large amplifier cranked up to max volume. – ghellquist May 24 '18 at 20:34

As ghellquist commented, this depends so much on the musical setting that it's impossible to answer confidently without further information.

However I'm going to disagree with Todd Wilcox. Using in-ears is, more often than not, a good idea, and they don't need to be overly expensive – provided you're ok with being cable-bound. Cheap wireless systems will only give you lots of noise problems, incontrollable dynamic-range issues, drop-outs at the Sod spots... Cable-bound headphone amps are cheap and reliable though.

The in-ears themselves should be decent quality (positively don't use consumer in-ear headphones!), but that doesn't mean you need crazy top-notch 4-way systems that cost thousands. The lower-range models e.g. by Shure, albethey not super comfortable and not exactly nice-sounding, can still allow you to hear much better that with the typical floor monitoring system.

The mix is is important, but this is doable. Requirement is of course that you actually have an aux channel at your disposal; fortunately, these days digital consoles with plenty of them start to become the universal norm. The general guideline with monitoring in general and also with in-ear is: as little as possible. When I set up a new mix for my in-ears, I start out with only my own signal and the most important signals I need for orientation (playing bass/cello, this is generally keyboards, rhythm guitar and a bit of kick drum). I set up the volume of these so I can still hear everything else about ok through the direct sound from the other musicians' instruments / floor monitors. Only when the crucial elements are fine, I consider whether I need a bit extra of some of the other instruments.

The most important thing you actually need to get used to is how in-ears change the way your own voice sounds. That's a main factor why more expensive models, and custom molds, are desirable. If you only sing harmonies then this isn't so much of an issue (in fact, the strong amplification of the inner voice can be useful), but for lead vocals this can be quite weird at least at first.

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You do not want to buy in-ears just for a show soon before the show. In-ears take time to learn to use and require a high-quality monitor mix, which is usually not available at smaller venues. Also, in-ears are very expensive.

A better solution is to use the club's existing monitor system. If you are concerned about it being too loud (which is also a common problem with in-ears!), a good solution is a pair (or two pairs - just in case) of high quality, musician's earplugs, like Etymotic's ER-20XS. They are a lot cheaper than in-ears, you can work with any existing monitor system or practice situation, and they make playing loud gigs much more comfortable.

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  • There's a big difference between using iems as monitors and using them as defenders. Whilst I certainly agree that they make loud gigs bearable, they certainly won't help monitoring anything. – Tim May 24 '18 at 17:58
  • @Tim I don't know what a defender is and I don't understand how your comment is related to my answer. My answer is saying to not use IEMs at all. Not as monitors, and not as anything else. – Todd Wilcox May 24 '18 at 19:11
  • Only just picked up your reply. Defenders, as the name alludes, are worn to eliminate some of the volume that otherwise would be received via ears unprotected on stage. Iems to an extent do this job by blocking some of the on-stage noise due to being in the ears. – Tim May 29 '18 at 18:30
  • @Tim Oh. In the colonies we call them "earplugs". I wasn't suggesting using IEMs as defenders/earplugs. I was suggesting using defenders/earplugs instead of IEMs. – Todd Wilcox May 29 '18 at 19:04

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