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skullsessions.lucasmicrophone

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Sep 9 16 7:24 AM

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Not sure where else to start this discussion...live forum seems to make sense.

I recently bought my first custom IEM Westones.  I've always used traditional wedges, so this is new to me.  I'm having some serious issues with occlusion when I sing.  And after reading online, I find that this is actually a very common problem with fitted IEMs.  I had no idea.  So, over the last few days I've read everything I can find on the topic that would apply - which isn't really much to be honest.  There are a couple of small discussions on this topic her at PRW...and I found an article written by Jay Kadis which was interesting.  http://audioundone.com/in-ear-monitors-why-do-they-sound-like-that-jay-kadis-and-stephen-ambrose

I also found a post somewhere where a guy suggested that some folks get relief by flipping polarity on the mic...which, to my surprise, did actually help a lot but it didn't take it all away.  Other than that, the general concensus has been to TURN UP the volume until the occlusion effect is overcome.  Yes...that works...but it kind of defeats one of the main reasons for IEMs. I value my hearing and I'm not really happy with the level I need to overcome the occlusion.

Interestingly, I did find that if I generously applied a very drastic low cut and aggressively dialed out 400 Hz it seemed to stop even more of the problem.  The 400 Hz actually was the most drastic improvement.  Which makes me wonder what exactly is going on.  Is it even possible that there was a standing wave developing inside my ear canal??  Or perhaps the soft tissues in there want to resonate at that frequency?

Any suggestions or experiences anyone could share or links to articles on this topic would be very helpful. 

James Hook Houston, TX

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jaykadis

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Sep 9 16 10:29 AM

Unfortunately turning up the volume works against you if you're trying to eliminate the occlusion effect. The ideal solution is Stephen Ambrose's technology but there's not currently a commercial implementation that can be added to your existing ear pieces. Stephen had partnered with an IEM manufacturer but that relationship is over. He's working on licensing the device to other manufacturers but it's a somewhat complicated issue with patents and all. You can currently pre-order his ear pieces through the Asius technologies web site, but since you already have the Westones that's not ideal either.

There are ways of doing something similar electronically but you need feedback from the driver to sense its position in order to perfectly counterbalance the occlusion effect and there isn't a commercial application of this yet. Getting used to IEMs takes some practice - I don't use them but I do use Etymotic ear plugs which have the same issues while singing. So far I just live with it - it beats ringing in my head for hours after a gig.

By filtering below 400 Hz, you are limiting the excursion of the driver and reducing the part of the occlusion effect due to the pneumatic compression from the active element but the coupling through movement of the ear canal is still there.

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fenris

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Sep 11 16 11:20 AM

Stop the presses! Is your voice going through a digital console with latency? A tiny amount of latency can lead to weird frequency/phase issues like you're describing.

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skullsessions.lucasmicrophone

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Sep 13 16 11:29 AM

jaykadis wrote:
Unfortunately turning up the volume works against you if you're trying to eliminate the occlusion effect. The ideal solution is Stephen Ambrose's technology but there's not currently a commercial implementation that can be added to your existing ear pieces. Stephen had partnered with an IEM manufacturer but that relationship is over. He's working on licensing the device to other manufacturers but it's a somewhat complicated issue with patents and all. You can currently pre-order his ear pieces through the Asius technologies web site, but since you already have the Westones that's not ideal either.

There are ways of doing something similar electronically but you need feedback from the driver to sense its position in order to perfectly counterbalance the occlusion effect and there isn't a commercial application of this yet. Getting used to IEMs takes some practice - I don't use them but I do use Etymotic ear plugs which have the same issues while singing. So far I just live with it - it beats ringing in my head for hours after a gig.

By filtering below 400 Hz, you are limiting the excursion of the driver and reducing the part of the occlusion effect due to the pneumatic compression from the active element but the coupling through movement of the ear canal is still there.

Thanks, Jay.  I don't have a problem getting different ear pieces but I have a very serious problem with universal fit ear buds.  My audiologist would attest to the fact that my ears move *way more* than the average person's ears do. So universal fit buds usually just fall out of my ears in very short order.  All I have to do is sing an AHHHH and my ears move back and my ear canals open up so much that it's near impossible to keep even a properly fit custom mold from unsealing.

I'm pretty excited about the work that Steven Ambrose is doing.  This whole move to IEMs came from initially getting fit for the Westone Tru ear plugs, with the changeable filters.  This never worked because of my ear movement.  I could actually hear the filter's membrane flexing (like a tiny mylar drum head or something?)  as my ears moved.  At least that's how I explained it to the audiologist at the time.  But your mention of pneumatic pressure probably describes it exactly.  My ears would flex, canals would move, and I believe there was a pressure differential between what was inside my ear and outside the filter.  I also suffered from the occlusion effect with those...and they'd pop out of my ears as soon as I turned my head or sang.  So I decied to move to IEMs...not realizing that occlusion effect was still going to be a problem.

It's very frustrating.  The other two singers in the band say they don't have any of these problems.  The audiologist also says that I'm having more problems with this than anyone she's ever worked with.  Lucky me.

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skullsessions.lucasmicrophone

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Sep 13 16 11:30 AM

fenris wrote:
Stop the presses! Is your voice going through a digital console with latency? A tiny amount of latency can lead to weird frequency/phase issues like you're describing.

Yes.  The whole system is through a digital mixer.

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weedywet

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Nov 26 16 5:39 PM

if you're hearing some digital latency, the only real answer, in my experience, is to have your vocal in your EARS, louder than th vocal you hear through bone conduction by enough of a margin to not feel the 'effect'.

also - did you take the impression with mouth open? very important.

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