The Singer’s Survival Guide: How to hear & sing in tune with a wired in ear monitor

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I am about to go on tour with a very large salsa orchestra, Pacific Mambo Orchestra. I’ve worked with many bands and controlling on-stage volume is always an issue, no matter the size. As a singer, you must protect your hearing and your voice. But it’s so hard to figure out the ideal solution. I’m sharing my evolving solution for in-ear monitoring. At this point, it’s quite inexpensive and definitely working better than wedges. I’ll also share what mics I’m using (and jonesing for). I’ve learned a lot from forums such as, as well as many sound engineers and monitor mix engineers. Please share your solutions! Who knows where I’ll go next: Should I buy the Sennheiser ew 300 IEM G3 In-Ear Wireless Monitor System?

Hearing alert!

*IF YOU RUN a monitor mix into the box, you will need to also have a limiter. With your own mic, you cannot create feedback and are unlikely to make a sound loud enough to damage your hearing. But if you run a monitor mix line back from the mixing board, you need to make sure there is a limiter that would shut off the sound if feedback were to occur, or you could permanently damage your hearing. The solution is to run a second mic of your own onstage (some monitor mix engineers also put a presence mic out facing the audience so that the singer can hear the audience). Lots to consider!

Buyer beware!

*You cannot return microphones and in-ear systems. The way I worked out testing the Shure PSM 200 in ear system (which did not work for me) was an agreement made with Guitar Center that I would not break the seal on the Shure SE215 earphones included (I already had a pair). If you don’t work out such a deal in advance, you’ll be SOL if you want to return the unit.

*Beware that the law around available wireless spectrum changed in 2010. There are many used units for sale on Craigslist and eBay that CANNOT be used legally. Plus, you may get unwanted cellphone interference. I nearly bought a unit until I discovered that the manufacturers have had to change what frequency they use. Do not buy any used wireless unit that uses the 700 MHz band.

Also, for the question of pitch reference and hearing the audience while wearing in ear monitors, watch this video by …. argh now I can’t find it. Famous musician who talked about his theory of why in-ears make pitch perception difficult even among masters such as Stevie Wonder… I’ll update this if I find it.

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How to Sing Through Your Break and Connect to Your Audience

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Warning: by watching this video, it may take the mystery and fun out of why you like some singers. I demonstrate this by singing some popular songs that use this method.

Have you ever heard about the “break” or “bridge” in your voice? No? You’re not alone. There is so much to be said about using this to your advantage, but not many teachers are talking about it.

In this video, I explain, what the break is, how to get it, and why it is such a powerful technique to use to connect with your fans.

There’s the subtle break and the not-so-subtle break. The subtle break almost everyone loves and they are not even aware it’s being used. The not-so-subtle break is obvious to all listeners, but listeners either love or hate it. The choice of which to use is up to you.

Questions? Comments? Please leave them below for me to respond to. Thanks for watching!


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