We’re looking for portable gear for independent mixing of 4-5 wireless IEM’s. Do most pro bands split their mic signal from the stage mics, and run it to a mixer on stage, so that they can adjust their mix without having to ask the sound man for nuances?
If so, what does that require? We’d love to skip soundcheck.
So I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad. You can’t skip soundcheck.
But with a portable IEM set-up, soundchecks will be much less painful because you’ll have way more consistency night to night. It doesn’t mean everything will magically sound the same every night. Room acoustics still affect you – you’ll have microphones on everything. But with your own monitor setup, we’re talking a few minor level and EQ tweaks, as opposed to starting from scratch every night.
You also asked about making your own adjustments on stage as opposed to relying on a sound guy. You can do that but it’s far from industry standard. The best option would be to have the monitor engineer make your adjustments. If that’s not possible, have the front of house help you. The best case scenario is to have a splitter on stage. You then have one output going to your monitor console and one going out to the FOH console.
The monitor console will need to have enough channels to accommodate your input list, and enough outputs to give each member their own mix. So if you have a five piece drum kit and you mic it with a kick drum mic, two snare mics (top + bottom), high hat, toms and overheads, plus a bass mic, bass DI, a guitar cab with a mic or two on it and three vocals, you’d be looking at 15-16-ish inputs, so you’d want a minimum of a 16 channel monitor board (they basically sell them in banks of 8).
Then if you have say, 5 band members, you’d want at least 5 outputs, if everyone is cool with mono mixes; 10 outputs if everyone prefers stereo. Once you’ve figured out your optimal set-up, you simply plug your board into your 6U rack, which will house your wireless transmitters. From there, you beam your mix to the receivers and right in to your ears. Simple.