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headphones for audience?

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headphones for audience?

Postby phil123 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:16 pm

Went to my first live concert for years and came away disappointed with the sound (Aberdeen Music Hall - very reverberant).
This got me thinking afterwards that I'd have payed extra for hire of wireless headphones fed straight from the desk if they were available.
Has anyone come across this kind of set up - sorry if it's old hat.
Induction loop system would do the trick though I'm guessing existing ones for hard of hearing will only be mono
thanks
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby phil123 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:18 pm

sorry this should have been in live sound forum
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby ef37a » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:47 pm

phil123 wrote:sorry this should have been in live sound forum

^ Don't think anyone is muchly bothered these days Phil!

Great idea, logistcal and administrative nightmare! Decent cans start at what, 50quid? (could have "bring your own" I suppose?) Then, as you say the feed would be mono so we are into some pretty clever multiplexing RF technology at a pretty high level, at least inside the loop. Keeping that out of everything else could be tricky. Ok, modern stuff SHOULD be fine but I know for a fact that a "classic" all valve amp will go nuts.

The decoder box if is to be of audiophile quality will be expensive so you would have to ask for a hefty deposit (and driving license, pport, pint of blood?)...THEN you have to get this all exchanged back at the melee at site strike!

Then, disease! Those headphone could come back with all sorts on them! I would want an decent sized alcohol wipe with mine!

Remember too that DEAF peeps (I am registered deaf so I can be a bit un PC)don't get much of the band, more a sort of "whump whump" but people with healthy ears will get both, PA and cans. Could prove weird if not downright dangerous.
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby phil123 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:02 pm

yep good points about the difficulties of getting an audiophile sound.

Thinking back, a set of cheap in ear phones, like the ones folk use for mp3 players, would have been an improvement worth paying for, even in mono. (we were at one side and only seemed to be hearing mono from the PA).
The gig was a music hall and it had a full on music hall reverb to match. The music was 3 accoustic guitars, accordion and double bass and vocals. Each instrument sounded great on its own when played slowly but as the pace picked up or the band played together just about all the detail was gone.
Maybe avoid music halls in the future.
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby Tony Raven » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:10 am

Back around 1998, after a few rounds, I floated an idea past my friends -- "Let's start the World's Quietest Heavy Metal Band!!" As their minds reeled at the oxymoron, I laid out details: Roland drums, no open speakers, all leads direct to the board, & out to a central low-wattage FM rig. The loudest part would be the singer. Anyone who wanted to listen would have to bring their own Walkman, & we could sell cheap (like $2.99) receiver/earbud sets.

They laughed, then they looked thoughtful. The idea of being able to set up a "loud" act at virtually any venue, without worrying about what the neighbors would say!! The bartenders & waitrons wouldn't need to shout!! Those who want to blow their eardrums out could happily crank up!! The "perfect mix" at every square foot!!

Alas, never happened. But you're welcome to swipe it.
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby Bossman » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:57 pm

have you heard of silent disco. Its a music event that uses wireless headphones instead of a PA system. I've only seen them doing DJs, not bands. The first one I saw was in 2007 at a festival.. and it had been going for a few years before that.
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Re: headphones for audience?

Postby Dave Rowles » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:11 pm

As bossman says, it's been done for discos for ages. The actual problem is not with the tech, but with the fact that, unless you're in a large venue, the board mix may not be brilliantly balanced as far as a headphone mix is concerned. Live sound is mostly about getting a great sound in the room, and not about a great mix off the board, so sometimes instruments are not fully balanced as you only need a little of them for feel/presence (I'm talking about you guitarists!)
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