In Ear Monitors To Go – Rolls PM351

Automating things to happen in time with a live band depends on a few things to be in place. Chiefly among them is a way to hear the reference track. This is usually a primary loop or click. Since the reference track is often something a little more repetitive and less musical, it often goes to the in-ear monitors (IEMs) of the musicians who need to hear it and not to the floor wedges where the audience could hear it.

Recently we took a band to Europe for a week and I wanted the option to use my loop rig. I knew the venue might not have a permanent IEM system (I was right) so I needed a portable, reliable solution that wouldn’t break the bank.

Fortunately, Rolls makes a pretty affordable “more me” product called the PM351 Personal Monitor Station that also allows for auxiliary input — perfect for a click or reference track. It’s not built to be a full-blown mixer, so you’ll have to be a little creative if you want to monitor everything (your voice, your instrument, and your band plus the click track). But all in all, you have to admit it’s a pretty flexible system for about $85 USD per unit (especially considering it also functions as a direct box for your keyboard or guitar). Personally, I have two of these and they have saved my bacon many times over. As long as the drummer and I can hear the click, live tracks are doable.

Dedicated headphone amps are another way to do cheap IEMs for tracks in a pinch.

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