As a working musician I've realised how important it is to protect my ears and recently with the more powerful sound system my regular band use these days I've been looking into hearing protection.
I've been doing a lot of research and not found many sax players going into detail about their monitoring setups and experiences so figured perhaps it was time I did.
I've tried plugs. Not expensive ones though as going full tilt into any form of hearing protection is costly and I've heard some horn players have some issues with plugs and the occlusion effect. The 'head sound' you get when pressure changes inside your plugged ears when you play.
Industrial foam plugs were ok, they're kind of like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut though and it really
isolates you from the rest of the band. They feel fine in your ears even if they do take a while to expand and settle in. You're definitely protecting yourself from high sound levels and you are able to hear the sax, but the cost is getting any real clarity from anything else and more often than not I'd find myself taking one or both out to feel more 'connected'.
The Christmas tree style ones often marketed as 'music' or 'surfer' ear plugs are more of the same. The plastic material they're made from makes them less comfortable and more likely to lose their place in your ears. Also, they seem to block less frequencies too. I still feel clear eared after a gig, but the sound is somehow 'off' when using them.
So, to the crux. I've been looking into budget IEM systems. As assured as I was that Sennheiser and Shure combinations are the industry standard, the wireless systems themselves cost £500 and the best earpieces are £300. This is great and I'm sure they're the best out there, but if I find out I don't get along with them I've spent close to a thousand pounds to get there.
T.Bone and LD Systems both make some budget IEM's and on doing some research online, I've found that they share a lot of components between both companies and their upper and lower price range models.
You can get brand new reasonable quality setups for about £350 from both companies with very similar specs. LD also do a super low priced one called an MEI ONE for £130. It was one of these that I found on Gumtree going for £90.
I figured that was a reasonable price and if nothing came of it, I've not lost too much. I also reasoned I could spend the cash I saved on some half decent Shure earbuds if all went well.
To the gear.....
|Rear of Sender|
Rear has two balance multi XLR/jack inputs for ya engineer to pipe stuff to you through. You can have stereo or mono and it's all switchable and the volume of both inputs is adjustable.
The quality seems reasonable, I think this is possibly due to the previous owner (I did clean them thoroughly!) He was a drummer in a rock band and it feels like some top end has gone out for a while and might be some time. This could of course be the 'phones themselves, but the mids and bass sound great.
The whole thing:
|Front of the Sender|
|Mackie My Fader App|
Rundown of how it was to come next week!
Hope that was of interest to you,