What is a Personal Monitoring Device?

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Personal Monitoring Systems

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Personal monitoring systems take an individual’s monitor mix and send it directly to the ears or musicians.

There are some problems with high ceilings or hard surfaces designed for acoustic music, sermons, and choirs. Some churches have acoustically challenging venues, such as those that meet in an office or school gym.

A personal monitoring system offers quieter stages, feedback, and greater control over individual mixes. The entry-level wireless IEM (wireless in-ear monitoring) system, which includes a transmitter, bodypack, and receiver, is far cheaper than the equipment introduced in mega-churches almost 20 years ago.

Let’s discuss your needs, those of your musicians, and the type and brand of mixing console you have to determine which system is best for you/your church.

personal monitoring device

Who is most likely to benefit from a personal monitoring device?

  • It will benefit vocalists but also make drummers quieter and more controlled using IEMs.
  • Even if they’re located at the opposite end, organists can also benefit. If choir monitors can be fed into an organist’s monitor, it will eliminate time delays.
  • Teachers and pastors can benefit from the IEMs preventing feedback from lavaliers or gooseneck microphones.
  • Choir directors use it to help them hear the pastor.
  • It removes the “volume of war offenders!”
  • Audio engineers use IEMs for microphone placement in loud environments. This allows the engineer to position the microphone optimally without being exposed to excessive sound pressure.

Are you wired or wireless?

Hardwired systems require that musicians and singers be tethered via a cable. Hardwired systems allow musicians, keyboard players, backup singers, and drummers to be tethered. This allows them to take advantage of hardwired systems’ low cost and simplicity.

Hardwired systems can also be used without looking for specific frequencies. Hardwired systems can be linked together if multiple performers use the same mix without any signal loss.

Wireless is more expensive and sophisticated than traditional wired connections. It requires greater attention to detail. The benefits are many: musicians and worship leaders can hear the same mix anywhere on the stage. It is easy to connect multiple performers using the same mix. Wireless receivers can be used to monitor the same mix as many performers as you wish. There are no cables that can trip over counts.

Can individual artists have their own monitoring system, or can they share the monitor mixes with other musicians?

It all depends on how many members you have and who requires a personal monitor. It is essential that the band collaborates and decides what they want to hear in the mixes. These are some of the ways you can go:

One combination:

Everybody wants to listen to the same mix. However, this defeats the purpose of individual monitoring that allows each performer to hear.

Two combinations:

One for vocals and one for instruments would make a great setup. Each performer can choose how much each mix they wish to hear. Band members must agree to the configuration. This is an economical way to move to personal monitors.

You can also have separate mixes for drummers if you work with two mixers. Drummers prefer to hear drums on their monitors more than singers or other musicians. Drums can also be played acoustically in small venues.

Three combinations:

You can get a great vocal blend if the vocalists agree to use the same mix of vocal microphones. A lead singer could have a different mix.

It is possible to add backup mics to the “instruments” mix and then adjust the vocal mix to suit the lead singer. You can create a mix for the lead singer and a mix for the keyboard and guitar that includes their vocals. Finally, you can have a drum mix that includes the bass player.

What number of mixes does your console have

Mixes are created by an auxiliary (AUX), sent from a mixer. This can be either a FOH console or a dedicated monitor console. A small console should usually have at least four AUX transmits that can also be used for effects. The number of available sends on your console will determine the number of monitor mixes you can have.

Do you prefer mono or stereo?

Personal monitoring systems can be set up in either direction. Stereo requires two audio channels, so you will need two sends to make a stereo mix. Stereo mixes require twice the amount of sends than mono mixes and will quickly drain your AUX sends. You can only make two stereo mixes if your mixer has four sends. Mono can help you save a lot of money.

What is your budget?

A good wireless system can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand. It’s a good idea for each member of the band to be introduced slowly. After years of being in front of a microphone, it may take time for everyone to get used to IEM.


personal monitoring system

Before you can determine which system is best for your church/church, you need to assess your needs and those of the singers and the type and brand of mixing console you currently have. Consider:

  • Who will it benefit?
  • Are you wired or wireless?
  • Can individuals share a monitoring system, or do they need their own?
  • What number of mixes does your console have
  • Are you looking for stereo or mono?
  • What is your budget?

These things will help you make an informed decision as you venture into the exciting world of personal monitoring systems.

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