Here’s what I did for our church to have a “budget” IEM (in ear monitor) system.
>Mic Splitters – any brand will do, Art SplitCom ~ $30; Rolls ~ $50 each
>16 channel mixer – I used a Mackie with 4 aux sends, control out, and main out
– this effectively gave me five in ear sends and a master recording send.
>Behringer Powerplay Pro Headphone amp – $110 for four independent channels of
headphone amplification. This is used for those who can share the mix but want independent volume control.
>Galaxy Audio Wireless In Ear Transmitter ~ $400 – UHF with 64 selectable
Here’s how it works –
Each channel is split and sent to both the house and the monitor mix.
Some channels use the xlr splitter, but others, like guitars that already have Direct boxes, can be split at the DI.
With this setup each channel is separate in the monitor board (just like the FOH) and can be adjusted independently for each mix.
NOTE: The way I used it was to have my mix come out of the Control Room out of the board and then used the main out for recording. This way I could monitor the recording from my IEM’s.
Advantages to having an IEM
The stage sound is much improved. Each person who has an IEM is able to get a mix that can be similar to a CD quality mix. There is no longer a struggle against other instrumentalists or vocalists to hear each other.
The house sound is immensely better. Without monitor wedges the stage no longer bleeds into the house and the FOH engineer is able to mix without hindrance. Also, I removed the amps from the guitars, bass and keyboard because they were able to hear through their IEM’s and didn’t need the extra reinforcement. The drums received additional acoustic treatment and shielding to reduce stage noise.