Open speaker wedge monitors are generally thought of as being older, less-desirable technology. In-ear monitoring a newer technology with far greater levels of controllability can seem to be the best way to go. As a result, many churches have made the switch from open speaker systems to in-ear monitors, often with the inclusion of personal digital mixing consoles.
But at what cost?
It's true that open speaker monitor systems when used poorly create huge sonic problems, especially in a church service setting. The monitor "volume wars" and the "more me" syndrome that seems common among musicians has meant that in-ear systems are much preferred.
Many churches have made the switch from open speaker systems to in-ear monitors.
But are in-ear monitors just a Band-Aid to the real problem of musicians making selfish choices? And how can the musicians on the platform accurately assess whether or not the congregation is singing - and how well - while using plugs that block the congregation's "voice"?
In this instructional video for church musicians, Grant Norsworthy speaks with audio engineer David Lim about monitoring and, in particular, the pros and cons with in-ear systems and traditional open-speaker wedges.