monitor mix

Ambient Noise Isn''t So Bad After All

There''s a new approach to making in-ear monitoring systems. Often viewed as the ultimate solution for performers who are concerned about stage monitor volume that can lead to hearing loss or feedback from open mics, in-ear monitoring systems are an expensive yet effective way to eliminate ambient stage sound. Originally, the idea was to give performers a clean, ambient-free monitor mix. This eliminated many a wedge on large and small stages around the world but not without a downside: many performers found themselves out of touch with the crowd or unable to converse with bandmates on stage. A well-designed system can cut out so much ambient sound that it can be disconcerting, making you feel like you''re in some kind of vacuum.

Some monitoring system manufacturers are beginning to address this problem. For example, Ultimate Ears has introduced monitoring systems with filtered holes in the earpieces that allow a bit of ambient noise to reach your eardrum. They come with small plugs designed to block the holes should you want to block a maximum amount of ambient sound. Of course, some performers have had holes drilled into one or both of their custom-made earpieces or wear just one at a time.

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