Los Angeles based recording artist and session musician Adrienne “AeB” Byrne has performed with Robby Krieger, Alex Lifeson, Jack Black, Haley Reinhart, Chicago, and Sebastian Bach to name a few.
AeB photo by Ciro Hurtado
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Amazing studio quality sound.
These knock your stock headphones out of the park, it’s hardly the same game. Onstage, I can hear with the same clarity I have in the studio when I create the music
Saves my hearing.
I still have to be conscientious about how long and how loud I expose my ears to headphone volume, but with clarity a much lower volume is plenty. I keep a personal mixer onstage so when I want to be more buried in sound to emulate the feeling of traditional monitors I can adjust the mix accordingly, but when I really need to hear the details of my vocals or flute or the like I can turn them up and the rest down.
Custom fit is comfortable and easier to use than regular ear plugs or head phones.
The custom fit not only protects your hearing but it makes them easy to put in and take out. This means I can hear exactly what is coming through the m. This is critical when it comes to looping, because if there is any excess noise that gets picked up it can end up being repeated every 4 bars in your loop. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this is a cool effect – like the time I got the ice cream truck driving by and it just so happened to be in key and became a haunting circusy background element… But in general having control of what I do and don’t hear is key, and especially in live contexts without in ears it’s not always easy to discern until I find myself wondering why the mix sounds muddy.
Hear the room if I want to.
I can adjust the noise reduction to the setting. For example, if I am in an intimate setting and want to hear clearly what is getting picked up by the mic but don’t want to feel disconnected from my audience and the sound of the room, you can take the filters out. When I’m in a big club I can leave the filters in for maximum noise reduction.
When looping onstage, it takes the issue of feedback loops out of the equation. This allows me to perform successfully on any size stage. I can set up my mics purely according to how I want the instruments to sound, without having to worry about the monitors feeding back or becoming doubled in the loops.
Wireless or wired, what’s best for you?
They work wireless or wired. If I’m in a smaller setting I tend to do wired because it’s one less piece of equipment in the set up. I’ve got friends who use them wired simply because it suits their purposes and it’s one less piece of equipment they need to invest in. However, on a big stage or when looping is only one piece of the overall show it’s great to not have to be tethered. I am often dancing or walking out into the audience and I can hear with clarity every step of the way.
Click in my ears but not in the mic.
Sometimes I need to start a song with a live loop and have it sync up with other electronic parts that will be brought in next, and I use a click to do this. Ultimate Ears are the way to go for using a click track, no bleed whatsoever to the audience or mics.
I can create a mix in my studio that only needs minor adjustments when I get to the gig.
The interaction of the stage volume with the mics is a hugely time-consuming thing for musicians and sound engineers alike. When each person on stage has the choice to hear exactly what they want to without having it affect everyone else’s mix it makes soundcheck far simpler.
I can use them to preview sounds DJ style.
I love to improvise and I love to collage with sound. Sometimes live I will have a spontaneous idea to throw something into the mix that I need to tweak for it to work. With perfect isolation and control of my monitor mix, much like a DJ beat matching I can preview a sample and adjust it to fit the space before I drop it into the main mix. Naturally this is great for DJ-ing as well.
They are discreet.
It’s often hard for the audience to tell I’m wearing in ear monitors, giving the performance a natural and transparent vibe. They are small enough that they don’t get in the way of wearing a headset, a hat or whatever crazy hairdo I come up with that day 🙂