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Crappy monitors and loud band

Hi guys,

I'm after some advice on the best way to deal with not being able to hear myself very well and wrecking my voice. Been looking at in ear monitors but just can't afford them, someone mentioned ear plugs. Has anyone played with ear plugs (or just one plug) and how was it?

Getting the band to turn down is like asking the sun to stop shining haha. It's not a problem during practise but when we're using a house PA with crappy monitors my voice is really struggling. Any suggestions welcome.

Comments

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  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 10,676Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro
    Actually there are some threads here in the forums about having "the talk" with the band members about playing as a unit, working as a team, where everybody in the band is interested in having the vocals be the dominant feature in the sound.

    If you try to sing louder in order to be heard in a contest with Marshall stacks, your voice will lose every time they turn the volume to 11.

    Oversinging will destroy your voice in no time flat.

    Bad monitors are more common than great monitor mixes. In-ear devices can put your voice at more "hearable" levels than any speaker, because speakers feed back more than ear buds.

    I'm presently using some $120 Bose earbuds until I fork over some more cash for real in-ear monitors. I can get my voice about 6dB louder in earbuds than I can get great monitors to be, because the monitors feed back before the ear buds do.

    Even with great earbuds, if the band sounds like an atom bomb going off in the room, you may not be able to hear your voice, unless they take those Marshalls down to a more reasonable mix.

    "Mix". It's something you can strive for together, or it's every man for himself. That's not a sustainable situation when it comes to your voice.
  • Sorry about the situation you're in, I've been there and it's no fun! It's sort of a helpless feeling not being able to hear yourself well during a performance.

    I know that in-ear monitors can be very expensive, but have you done any research into affordable, decent-quality stage monitors? I know a few websites like Musician's Friend and EBay often have pretty good equipment for decent prices. With EBay in particular, though, you want to make sure and read lots of customer reviews, as well as reviews on the seller, making sure you're buying from a reputable source.

    I've never performed with an earplug, so I can't offer any advice on that.

    As stubborn as your band mates may be, and as hard as it is to ask, it may be worth pushing a little harder and seeing if you can get them to dial it down a bit. Some musicians take it personally when they're asked to turn down, but in this case, they should understand that a band functions as a unit, and when the singer is ruining his voice each gig trying to hear himself through the monitor, that's negatively affecting the entire show. Getting them to turn down a bit would be one of the easiest fixes.

    The other really easy fix would be turning yourself up in the monitor, if that's possible. You mentioned they were pretty crappy, and I don't know what kind of PA and board you're using, but if this is an option, you should definitely take advantage of it.

    If all else fails, constantly remind yourself not to oversing. When we can't hear ourselves, we panic. This is not good during a performance! Let the mic do it's work. If you can't hear yourself at all and you're concerned you're off key or pitch, you can quickly put your hand over your ear just to make sure you're on the right track. I understand that this isn't ideal. Hopefully one of the other methods ends up working out for you. Whether they do or don't, over-singing is not a good solution.

    I wish I could give you some insight on the ear plug, but I've never used them. They are cheap though, so maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a couple and try one for a song or two. If it helps, great, if not, you can ditch it.

    Keep rocking! I hope this helps!
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