The most common In Ear Monitor system employs the use of a wireless system to send the mix to the monitors. This system contains a transmitter and a receiver pack that is worn by the performer. There is generally a transmitter for each monitor mix and always a receiver for each monitor. The transmitters usually output either one stereo mix or two mono mixes. When the transmitters are set up for two mono mixes, one transmitter can be used for two different mixes. As stated before, there is always a receiver for each monitor being used, though more than one receiver can receive a single mix, two monitors almost never share a receiver. The output from a receiver is generally too weak to power two monitors at the same time.
The Transmitters and Receivers transfer audio wirelessly via a VHF or UHF radio frequency. Generally speaking, UHF systems sound much better than VHF systems and are therefore more expensive to purchase. UHF systems usually are less susceptible to frequency interference which adds to their level of quality.
The In Ear Monitor is the last stage of the signal path in an In Ear Monitor system. It is made up of a wire and a bud that connects to the Receiver pack worn by the performer. The bud end of the monitor is often custom molded by an audiologist and therefore is more comfortable to wear and provides a higher level of noise reduction (usually between 25 and 40 dB SPL). If a mold is not made, lower end monitors include a variety of universal foam and rubber tips that will fit into most people's ears (pictured at left). The monitors come in a variety of colors but usually are clear or a color that closely matches the skin color of the performer. The wire of the monitor runs down the back of the performer and plugs into the receiver pack that is clipped onto the belt or clothing of the performer. When seen casually, the monitors look like a pair of hearing aids with wires running out of them.
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