Here's what we do (this is our setup at our church):
We use a Yamaha M7CL 48 channel digital console. There is an OEM Aviom slot card in the mixer that runs 16 channels (our drums are sent out on an Aux send) via CAT 5 down to our stage and hits a pair of hubs, which then distributes the signal to 11 different Aviom II A16 personal mixers. The band uses headphones plugged directly into the personal mixers, but the singers' mixers' signal run to a Sennheiser wireless in-ear system, and that's what they use. We have a pair of floor monitors running a general mix in the event that someone's system fails. There are pros and cons for us: Pros- Each player/singer has their own customizable mix, independent of anyone else, and this has GREATLY cut down on all the griping we used to get from 6 people sharing the same monitor mix. Cons- It took a while for everyone to get used to not having a 12" woofer blaring at them, and everyone had to learn the fine art of mixing versus just turning things up. Also for some reason Aviom stuff does not work easily with Sennheiser in-ear systems, so we had to have all of our cables custom made with a special capacitor wired into them to keep the noise floor down. But overall, I'd spend twice the money that we did on it, our worship team is much happier and thusly more "into" things and our quality and stage volume has improved amazingly well.
I think you've hit the biggest con here - the fact that everyone has to learn how to mix. I have a weekly gig with the Avioms and have a lot of new artists each week. I can't count how many times I've had the "turn the master gain up and everything else down" lesson when they've turned themselves all the way up and still can't hear themselves.
Pros- lower stage noise for small venues and us sound guys can focus on having one good mix rather than dealing with the musician's mixes.
Overall, I do think that the Aviom system is great, but wouldn't take it over having a dedicated monitor engineer/console.
I do a pretty regular gig in Southern IL for a friend of mine, whose a great sound engineer, however, the monitors always seem to be fly-by-night. it's for a new church in a very large, but MacGuyver'd room (they don't have their own building yet), but they always keep things top notch as far as lights/video/sound goes. Somehow I'm the ONLY musician who seems to get a mono mix through the avioms, or at least the only one who can tell a difference (scary). it's not my headphones, not adapters, not everything panned to center...but literally a mono mix. If I pan stereo drums hard left/hard right, they just get a bit softer. Lucky for me, I prefer to have one ear wet/one ear dry. but it's definitely something in the monitor sends....I say that to say this :
That's my ONLY complaint with the Avioms. I see this setup about 2-3 times a month, and as long as I have the same unit, I can save and recall my settings from earlier. LOVE that feature. I wish there were more inputs, but it's definitely on the wishlist for the studio, even. Just wish I could get the crew to do two things for me :
1) Fix the darn mono send (believe me, It's a regular discussion with them)
2) set up a stereo send for room mics (from the stage, facing the audience). if I could get this ambience in my mix (and it was stereo), I'd use both ears wet.
I've used E2s and E5s with them, as well as my Sony 7509 cans. I want to try out some Ultimate Ears. Anyone have any comments on these?
Thanks for your insight. I do sound on Sunday's for a large church here in Nashville. For two years now, the stage volume has been a problem (only on choir numbers). We have installed an Aviom system (months ago) and only now are some of the musicians starting to use them. I share your concern about the stereo effect but it is very challenging to give them everything. It seems each player, few exceptions, wants to hear themselves stereo. You would think 16 channels would be sufficient, but that is only the case for a five piece rock band, maybe...
I've considered just giving them a stereo house mix, but even that tears into the available channels. I think the Yates (above) had a good point about training everyone to get used to the system and deal will the trade offs.
I totally agree. I don't even mind mono mixes, but now that you mention that, it might be something wrong with the unit, because that wouldn't make sense for the sends to be stereo. it's 16 mono sends (from the brain). basically what happens is everything comes up like a need it (for musicians, the vox are submixed, which is fine for me), but everything just sounds hollow. I'm heading back there this week, I'll try to study the brain a bit more and see...Thanks...
Any other thoughts on why this would happen? It's more like the panning from the unit itself is just lowering the volume a bit...not really panning...could be the headphone output or something...I'm an idiot...lol...it's just ironic that I would get the same unit EVERYTIME for 3 years...he has like 6 or 7 satellites
I too have used E2s, 3s and some other off the wall peices. I recently got a custom pair from a group called Livewires. For the price you would spend on E5s, you can get a custom molded set that sound great. Check them out www.livewiresforyou.com. Ive used them for several different applications from mixing, drumming...pretty much any slot on the stage and they seem to be pretty diverse! Hope this helps.
Avioms are great, both live and in the studio. The only problem I've seen (other than the typical technical snafus that just happen) is that inexperienced musicians get, shall we say, very excited about having their own mix. So, they don't know what to turn up and what to turn down. Almost invariably, what happens is that each individual player is so happy to be able to hear himself (for a change) that he turns himself up to the point where he can't really hear much else. Obviously, this has a negative impact on the team aspect of the worship band (or whatever context this might apply to).
So, I always advocate that churches bring in someone to help them implement proper usage of this kind of techology.
I'm not directly involved with our sound personell at our church, but I do know that we use Aviom's in a fairly complicated way. As far as I can tell, we have multiple brains so that our Rhythm section has its own lineup of channels, of which we do make the drums, keys, and guitars as stereo sends...and believe me, when I finally convinced the techs to make the stereo thing happen, we were all MUCH happier. We use a full orchestra each Sunday, and we basically have two leaders, one for the strings/woodwinds, and one for the brasses that have an Aviom unit that controls the mix for all of the side musicians. Amen to what Scott had to offer, b/c I had to train my guys as to what they need to be dialing up. We heavily rely on click tracks/loops, and I found out after several weeks of working with our musicians that some of them didn't even have the click on at ALL!! The trouble with playing live is that it's, well, live. I've ended up trying to treat our situation as a studio environment, and training the players not to listen to every single thing on stage that has a microphone. For the rhythm players that generally means piano, bass, guitar, drums, click/loop and MAYBE a touch of vocals....nothing else. Once I got them to that point, their playing got much cleaner and tighter.
As for actual headsets, I have to recommend Sensaphonics, in particular the ProPhonic Soft 2X's. I used Ultimate Ears for several years, and found that the hard material becomes a tad painful in the ear after long periods. The soft silicone in the Sensaphonics is much more comfortable. Also, Sensaphonics has just developed a new headset that uses a beltpack to provide Ambience...you dial in how much you want via a knob on the beltback. Ultimate Ears ambient solution was silly...tiny little knobs on the earpieces themselves that you "screwed" in or out to provide more ambient noise....you just ended up looking like Frankenstein.