Who are you and what do you do?
What do you use?
Being a slave to melody I usually start mapping song ideas on my smartphone using a simple, usually free sound recorder app. It drives my song writing partners mad, but it usually gets the job done. I’m technically proficient with sound recording software and digital DAWs to create simple drumloops to which I add my “vowel movements” (thank you Rolling Stones).
For live shows and overall vocal health, I use Vocalzone which is a throat pastille and they work great. I’m also endorsed by them so that’s a major plus for the supply and demand equation.
I play in a classic British heavy metal band, and on stage there is so much stage wash that I can barely hear myself most of the time. No matter what type of venue I play at, chances are that the floor monitors will be insufficient against the blaring speakers and cymbal crashes. Hearing protection is a given but combining that with the ability to accurately hear your own vocals is the reason I now use in ear monitors exclusively. I have tried ear plugs, like Bruce Dickinson uses, but found that my pitch wasn’t as accurate as I would like and had to try to compensate for the difference. I did some research and settled on a very inexpensive in ear monitoring system just to see what it would feel like. I tried the LD Systems MEI 1000, and have been using the same wireless system for about 4 years now. The OEM earphones that came with the system weren’t fit for purpose so I quickly swapped those out for a set of clear Shure sound-isolating SCL2 earphones. Of course the ear buds that come with those were not fit for purpose (my purposes) so I swapped those out for a set of ACS custom made silicon sleeves. I had a guy come to my house to make an impression of my ear and a few weeks later they were delivered. The custom sleeves worked well for a while, but headbanging was somewhat restricted. I have since tried many, single and dual driver in ear monitors of varying quality but I have stuck with the Shure and now use a high density memory foam ear buds and they work perfectly.
Mic gear wise I am a fan of the ubiquitous SM58s but I much prefer the warmth of my AKG P5. It has incredible gain before feedback, and the warmth is felt front of house and is delivered to my in ear monitors as well. Neuronspoiler is a very active live band, so in order to free myself of cables, I also occasionally use the Alesis wireless mic link. It’s a very cheap, rugged and versatile bit of kit that turns ANY dynamic mic into a wireless mic by plugging straight into the rechargeable, lightweight receiver. The sender can also work with batteries or with a mains cable, and this is a great option when you are touring in Europe and forget to bring your Euro adapter.
What would be your dream set up?
I would go for the Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G3 which costs just under a grand in Her Majesty’s Dosh. I would also get the Quintuple driver ACS Encore Live! Custom because it has a pair of built-in, wideband, natural response microphones! Also it has the largest bass driver of any of their earphones, a superb crossover for blended sound and of course ambient mics built right in to help stay connected with the crowd. They have custom moulds and ultra thin cables which will help it stay put through the odd mid-stage collision (you should see the aerial acrobatics my guitar player is capable of).
I wouldn’t trade in my AKG P5s, ok maybe for the P7s. I would also like to have a go at the TC Helicon compressors and reverb effects foot pedals, the R1, T1 and X1. This is because we have played at a range of massive and tiny venues and some of the PAs don’t even have a compressor, which is ghastly!
Finally for recording demos, I’ve got the Focusrite 2i2 which is a rugged little beast and simple enough so that even I can use it.