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JCBass

Am I using my IEMs wrong?

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Me and my band are straying into the realm of using IEMs to eliminate the need for onstage cabs and sound. I today just bought a pair of Sennheiser SE535s and the SubZero SZ-IM2 transmitter & receiver and, I don’t know, I’m disappointed. Admittedly I’ve never tried IEMs before so I didn’t know what to expect, but for hundreds of pounds worth of gear, I expected better sound quality. I get better clarity from my Apple earphones frankly, please someone tell me I’m doing something wrong? 

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I wonder if https://www.basschat.co.uk/forum/35-accessories-and-misc/ might be a better sub-forum to ask in.

How's the seal?  Here is a test: https://www.sensaphonics.com/pages/audio-seal-test

Also, since you have two new pieces of equipment, how do things sound if you use the Sennheisers with a wired connection, or the Apple earphones with the SubZero?  Perhaps it will narrow the issue down to one component.

 

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8 hours ago, JCBass said:

please someone tell me I’m doing something wrong?

Can you tell us what you are doing and what issues you are experiencing?  Given the current situation I'm assuming you're not able to test this out in a band situation so how are you setting up your equipment? 

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I have a pair of SE535s (used as earphones not used as iems) but actually gave up on them as they were just too clear and precise for me. Something seems amiss. 

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12 hours ago, JCBass said:

Me and my band are straying into the realm of using IEMs to eliminate the need for onstage cabs and sound. I today just bought a pair of Sennheiser SE535s and the SubZero SZ-IM2 transmitter & receiver and, I don’t know, I’m disappointed. Admittedly I’ve never tried IEMs before so I didn’t know what to expect, but for hundreds of pounds worth of gear, I expected better sound quality. I get better clarity from my Apple earphones frankly, please someone tell me I’m doing something wrong? 

I suspect your SubZero SZ-IM2 is going to be you main culprit. Play some prerecorded music (as in normal produced song) through your IEMs directly from source... and then put your SubZero SZ-IM2 in the chain and compare. If the quality goes through the floor, that confirms your problem. 

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45 minutes ago, Bobthedog said:

I have a pair of SE535s (used as earphones not used as iems) but actually gave up on them as they were just too clear and precise for me. Something seems amiss. 

The sound of balanced armatures - very clear. You may prefer a hybrid setup, with dynamic drivers. Additionally, with the single BA in the bass, they may appear a bit bass shy.

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Thanks for all the replies and advice guys! This is all super helpful.

Yesterday was the first time I’ve played around with wireless IEMs etc so I’m sure there was an element of me being a novice. All I did was try playing along to a backing track with the track plugged into one input and the bass into the other.

This morning I tried EBS_freak’s suggestion, and there is a definite drop in audio quality going through the transmitter rather than direct from the source. I also think my seal isn’t fantastic, so a combination of the two is probably what’s lead to the overall low quality.

The transmitter unfortunately I may have to deal with as I can’t really afford to spend the amount of money needed for a decent one! I’m thinking of getting some earpieces moulded which may also help. 
 

Further experimentation with levels and EQ might also resolve it. Thanks again for all the advice, great stuff!

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39 minutes ago, JCBass said:

Thanks for all the replies and advice guys! This is all super helpful.

Yesterday was the first time I’ve played around with wireless IEMs etc so I’m sure there was an element of me being a novice. All I did was try playing along to a backing track with the track plugged into one input and the bass into the other.

This morning I tried EBS_freak’s suggestion, and there is a definite drop in audio quality going through the transmitter rather than direct from the source. I also think my seal isn’t fantastic, so a combination of the two is probably what’s lead to the overall low quality.

The transmitter unfortunately I may have to deal with as I can’t really afford to spend the amount of money needed for a decent one! I’m thinking of getting some earpieces moulded which may also help. 
 

Further experimentation with levels and EQ might also resolve it. Thanks again for all the advice, great stuff!

Have a read of this! 

 

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      1.       IEMS
      OK, so you are here probably because you are interested in finding out more about IEMs or have decided to purchase some and are looking for additional information.
       
      1.1   WHAT ARE IEMS?
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      1.2   WHY USE IEMS?
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      1.3   NUMBER OF DRIVERS… and DRIVER TYPE?
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      1.6   AMBIENT PORTS? LIVE SYSTEM?
      A lot of people get anxious about being isolated from the outside world. There is a transition period as you get used to the different sound – but as a rule of thumb, I would always recommend that you want to block out as much ambient noise as possible and work on the premise of if you want to hear something, you’ll need to mic it up. So, if you want to hear the audience and the room, mic them up. Send that feed into your monitor mix but obviously, not out of the front of house mix.
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      Personally, I have found a couple of condensers in XY configuration on stage to mix in a little ambient sound is preferential – although I prefer the isolated feeling to be honest. You have to experiment and see what works for you.
      You may have seen Apex/Adel modules on IEMs. These are not ambient ports as such. They are primarily there to reduce any extra pressure that is present in your ear canal and also meant to widen the sound stage. There is some physics behind it but to some it’s snake oil. Make up your own mind. I find my IEMs equipped with the Apex modules do fatigue less – but that may be a placebo effect in action. They don’t really impact any of the bass levels – but you can block them off totally if you think they do.
       
      1.8   WHAT ABOUT SLEEVES FOR MY SHURE 215s ETC?
      Yes, you can possible get sleeves that fit on your universal/generic monitors. Theses essentially replace the tips and are custom moulded to your ears. People tend to go for these after dipping their foot into the IEM game. Do they work? Well, yes... kind of. They will fit better - but still won't get you in the ball park of a true custom. My advice, given that you most people that get sleeves very quickly move onto customs anyway, is to skip this step. Given you'll have to pay for impressions (which are getting pretty expensive now anyway - London prices are now topping £80) and the cost of the sleeves themselves (circa £150), I would always recommend in saving that money to put towards some customs where you are more likely be able to negotiate some free impressions as part of a custom IEM deal.
       
      1.9   IEM CARE
      Keeping your IEMs clean is very important. There are two main things that you can do to keep your IEMs clean and your ears healthy and free from infection. First up, alcohol wipes are great for cleaning your IEMs and keeping any nasties at bay.
      ALWAYS keep the tubes of your IEMs clean. Get into a regular cycle of cleaning your IEMs after every performance. Wax build up is the number one problem associated with IEMs. If you don’t keep your IEMs cleaned, the audio tubes can get blocked. If they get too blocked, they can’t be cleaned with a wax pick. If you can’t clean them with a wax pick, they will need to be vacuumed. If the wax has gone too far, it can damage the driver, which will require the case opening (e.g. return back to the manufacturer) and the driver to be replaced. In short, for the 30 seconds it takes, just check the IEM tubes are clean after every gig and fish out any stray wax with a wax pick. Some IEMs (e.g. 64 audio, have a gauze over the tube ends to attempt to stop the ingress of wax - beware however, if the wax melts into the gauze, it's very difficult/impossible to remove in situ - so the same applies with IEMs with this in place... clean regularly!
      For the obsessive, you can get UV baths which both dry and kill any nasties that may be residing on your IEMs. These are just little cases in which you put your IEMs, air circulates to dry your IEM (any moisture is taken out of the air via silica gel) and the UV light zaps any potential sources of infection.
      Overall though, keeping your IEMs in a clean bill of health is easy. Wipe down and clean out any stray wax after EVERY use.
       
      1.8   CABLES
      I see people mention cable upgrades. In short, yes, you can get better cables… and very expensive cables… but what I will say, in a band environment, are your ears really bothered or able to distinguish between minute details? If you feel the answer is yes, then by all means, upgrade… however, to really be able to distinguish the difference I would say you should be an environment that is quiet and suitable for critical listening.
      For onstage use, any upgrades I think, should be down to stock cables being too springy, or prone to getting tangled. Most of the big manufacturers now use cable where this isn’t an issue any longer.
      Other things to consider when ordering cables, is to ensure they are the right length. Don’t get too long a cable such that it is dandling around your kneecaps when you are performing. Doing that is more likely going to cause the IEMs to be damaged by avertedly being yanked out of your ear. A drummer, however, may want to use a longer cable to plug into a nearby mixer.
      Always coil you cable properly after IEM use. If anything is going to fail on an IEM, it’s a cable. Make sure you look after the cable, don’t just shove your IEMs and cables in your pocket, take time to store them properly in their cases and you won’t have any issues.
      One last thing for those people with OCD. Silver cables look great but do tend to go green over time as they age. If you can’t cope with that, play it safe and go with black sheathed cables.
       
      USEFUL LINKS :
      http://www.custom-inearmonitors.co.uk/
      https://jhaudio.com/
      https://www.64audio.com/
      https://pro.ultimateears.com/
       
      *other IEM manufacturers available, these are the ones that I have used/bought etc. Paul at CIEM tends to help a lot of Basschatters out with their custom needs and you'll tend to find me at the shows with Paul to help him out. I am not employed or have shares in or anything like that with CIEM company - it's just a great and rare place in the fact that you can try all the models of CIEMs out from the top 3 manufacturers. Testing out customs you say?? How can you do that? Well, the manufacturers provide test models with tips (like on universal/generic IEMs) so you can get a flavour of their sound signature.
    • By CalDeep
      NOW - £150 POSTED 

      Up is my Line 6 G50. A well gigged but perfectly working example. This comes with an aftermarket high quality cable too. A really great and dependable wireless. Selling due to recent upgrade. Power supply is not pictured but is included. 

      Price includes UK postage. All the stickers and ProGaff will be removed. Any questions then please drop me a message. 
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