Hi all - I normally run 8 auxes for my headphone/IEM monitors but often have difficulty getting a decent level before distortion sets in. Have tried Behringer and Trantec belt packs and had similar outcomes and now using Senheisser HD380 phones i.e not ridiculously expensive but not low budget either. It works out in the end but sometimes a fine line fiddling between preamp and channel send levels and eq. Anyway, those aux are mono and it occurred to me that I may get a better result running them as stereo - more signal, less push. No problem with the belt packs - they take stereo OK.
I work with CS18, RM323 and UC Surface and as far as I can remember, all I have to do is to create 8 linked mixes, double up on the cables, rematch and then point and shoot each channel input to the paired mixes. However, I'm 50km from the studio so first opportunity to try this all out will be as prep for the next live show.
Does anyone have any tips that might be useful before I start replumbing? There are some elements of integration between CS18, RM32 and UC Surface that don't exactly work as described in the manuals so just looking for a heads up in case linked aux mixes is one of them.
Thanks - Phil
The HD 380 has an impedance of 54 Ohms, less would be better. The PreSonus products HD7 and HD9 have 32 respectively 40 Ohms. The less, the better! Otherwise anything like the HP60, HP4 or HP2 (to name some PreSonus products) and similar should work. A "StudioLive-AR8-USB" or any small mixer is also a perfect headphone amplifier.
You need to have enough input gain, because you will definitely need more "energy" when making the move to stereo auxes. Mono seems to be louder, but of course stereo sounds much better. Setting up stereo IEMs is really easy. Just link two auxes (1+2. 3+4. 5+6...) - and that's it... But: you will not notice at first sight, that stereo inputs are not automatically panned. They remain being "mono". You need to do the panning manually, but once set up and stored, the settings can always be recalled. And remember that all connections are balanced. Unbalanced cables can cause problems.
One very important thing is to be able to hear/check what the musicians hear. And you need to have a picture of what a musician needs or wants to hear. There are quite some differences between what a drummer and a guitar player want to hear...
There’s no reason whatsoever for getting a distorted signal from your RM32 auxes. Key question: are you using headphone amplifiers suited for the ear buds you’re using, both for power and impedance? I see in your signature that you own an HP4. Any issues getting a loud enough mix from that one?
Note: Lower impedance is only good as long as you headphone amp has an output impedance low enough to drive it!
Thanks for the steers. Good points about output impedance. The Behringer Powerplay P1 belt packs are 10 ohms output whilst the Trantec is 14 ohms
The HP4s (I have 2) are not used for delivering monitoring to the bands, but typically when I listen to the mix via the HP4 I don't hear any of the issues that the bands may have - it's clean and loud, and I'm using the same headphones. Admittedly, I'm not in a room with a noisy drummer or guitarist !! But the spec of the HP4 for output is between 32 and 600 ohms.
I also have Shure SE215 IEMs but most of the bands won't use them - mainly I think because they are not used to them and worry about physical things - buds falling out for example. However the 215s are 17 ohms.
As far as cabling - no unbalanced cabling, all XLR balanced running from the mix outs to the belt packs or wireless transmitters.
So, in summary, I probably need to consider changing to phones with the lowest impedance I can afford. Going stereo will help in creating 'space'.
I have found out that very often a small mixer of the "StudioLive-AR8-USB" category can make things easier. It needs not more than two input channels. You can see which signals come in, where they go and how you can adjust the levels you hear. You don't necessarily need to use the line inputs, the XLRs are also ok, if you can control the gains. Easy, fast, not too complicated for musicians - how it should be...
May I add two thoughts?
1) What I have always liked in the PreSonus mixers is the easy multitrack recording and the "virtual soundcheck" feature. You seem to work in a studio, so you will have a lot of recordings at hand. Use them! Play the tracks back to the mixer and rehearse IEM! There is no better way to learn the "how to"! All you need to do is to say "today I'm a drummer" and mix the sound a drummer would like to hear. Next day you're a bass player, the other day a keyboarder - and so on. Try to find out, what the musicians and singers need to hear and feel to become creative. Besides the mix itself, consider the shaping of sound in the master section. Be careful with compressor and limiter, but use the equalizers (especially the PEQ). A bass player needs a lot of deeper frequencies to feel comfortable, so usually he is trying to treat the sound of his instrument to get that sound, which is totally wrong! It's much better to add deeper frequencies to his stereo aux to make him feel comfortable with his "full" bass sound. As a side-effect the other musicians will be happy to not need to suffer under too much low frequencies...
2) Usually the sound in a studio is not very transparent or "open". IEM makes this even more obvious. You need to create some "room" or "space" to make the music sound inspiring. Stereo is not enough. Basically, what you need to do is to add reflections. Another word for this is reverb, but I don't mean a reverb you can hear. It must be a short reverb, which adds some "space" to the music. Simply try, what fits best and brings the transparancy that makes making music enjoyable. The reverb should be mixed prefader in order to prevent sound changes in the ears of the musicians. The RM mixers have two stereo reverbs. In a live environment I always reserve one reverb for IEM.
If you can use the DAW button on your CS18, there are even more ways to make IEM sound phantastic, because you can use plugins - like the Fat Channel XT of Studio One 3.5.6 with the new modeled equalizers and compressors.
I just bought the Series III 24R last month and I am having the same problem. We play live and I have AUX 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, and 7&8 linked together. I went and had them panned left and right, but they are still coming out mono. My in ear system is set to stereo and they worked fine in our previous QSC Touchmix 16 mixer. We are all using Shure PSM300 in ear monitor systems, bought brand new dual 1/4 cables when we got the new mixer. Not sure why this is so difficult to get a stereo mix. Tried hard panning things and there is no change.
This is a description for input channels, but it works the same for flex mix outputs. You can see the Pan Controls only in the "Mix Masters" mode of UC Surface.
"Pan Controls. The Pan control sets the channel’s relative position in the left/right stereo mix. When a pair of channels is stereo linked, the Pan control sets the spread of the channels in the left/right stereo mix." (quote from UC Surface manual)
Go to "Mix Masters" in UC Surface, select stereo aux 1&2 (it doesn't matter if you select 1 or 2), grab the pan "cursor" and move it to the right. Both aux channels will now display "double stereo", which can be irritating. By default linked auxes remain mono mixes. You need to set the pan to make them work in Stereo. "Stereo" can have anything between 0 and 100 %, which is a very nice feature. Not everybody likes to hear a full stereo image. Keyboaders like 100 &, bass players 30 %... The Pan Controls allow individual adjustments.
Hope this helps.
To add to that. Each input channel has a separate pan for the mains and all AUXes. It's not enough to spread the AUX 1+2 pan out, you also have to pan each channel while mixing that AUX 1+2, they do not follow the Main mix panning.
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