Personal Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System

As a live performer, a common problem that I encounter is that fact that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish your own voice/instrument from the other sounds onstage.  I find that hearing your own vocals onstage is especially problematic.

Amplified instrumentalist and drummers play inherently loud instruments, so they usually have do not have issues with their own stage volume.  Vocalists rely on stage monitors to hear what they’re singing.  The onstage monitor mix is often less than suitable for the vocalist.  The vocalist is at the mercy of the sound engineer, and if the mix is not perfect, then the singer will have trouble doing their job.

A perfect solution would be a personal vocal/instrument wireless monitoring system.  The design would have a small device/adapter (wireless transmitter/splitter) that you could attach to a microphone.  The contraption would spit the signal from the microphone.  One signal would be sent to your wireless receiver and the other signal would go out of the device and into the microphone cable.

Click the Diagram Below to Enlarge

I searched extensively, and could not find this product.  In ear wireless monitors are available with a less than ideal design.  The least expensive of which is a Nady product, which sells for at least $150.  I decided not to use the Nady item after hearing complaints of inherent noise, required modifications, and the fact that transmitter that needs AC power.  Every other comparable product has a starting price of $400.  I also looked into bluetooth, common stereo, karaoke, and even infrared wireless products to see if I could configure something similar to what I imagined, but I decided against them for various reasons.

I ended up purchasing an Azden WM-Pro Wireless System, which included a wireless transmitter and receiver, both of which are battery operated.  With the WM-Pro, an ART Xdirect DI box, and a few adapters, I managed to create an adequate item to serve my purpose.  The wireless transmitter can receive its signal directly from my onstage microphone or thru the insert link of my mixing board.  In both cases, the signal is sent thru my DI box to the wireless transmitter and then to my bodypack wireless receiver.  The earpiece output of the WM-Pro receiver is a mono signal, so I use an adapter to make it stereo.  The signal is then sent thru a volume control device and finally into my Phillips Noise Canceling Earbuds, which uses a built in amplifier (powered by a AAA battery).  The amplifier ensures that my headphone/earbud levels will be high enough to compete with typical onstage volume levels.  Velcro holds all pieces of hardware together when need be.

The cost of all necessary items are as follows:
Azden WM-Pro Wireless System = $150
ART Xdirect DI Box = $40
Phillips Noise Cancelling Earbuds = $30
Various Adapters/Cables = $20

The total cost for me was $240.  The Nady system would have ultimately cost about the same, but it would not have functioned as well because of the background noise that it creates and its lack of battery operation.  High-end wireless monitors start at a cost of $400, but their transmitters cannot function on batteries.  I like the idea of transmitters that operate on batteries because you often do not have the time to find electrical outlets and extension chords when you are performing, especially when you are sharing the stage with other bands/performers.  The only complaint I have with the current system that I’m using is that distortion is heard when VERY high volumes are applied to the microphone.

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