October 22, 2019
Like most performers who haven't yet tried in-ear monitors, you're probably wondering about the learning curve and about how long it will take to get used to hearing yourself through a personal monitoring system.
Rest assured. It’s not as hard as you would think.
We spoke with Jason Batuyong, Monitor Mixer for America's Got Talent, to learn about how he helps all of his contestants get comfortable with in-ears before performing in front of tens of millions of people. In-ear monitors make the performances possible.
"If someone is reluctant, it usually only takes one performance with a full audience to get them to convert," said Batuyong.
The contestants of most of the shows typically rehearse without the in ears until they’re on stage. The rehearsal room is usually a small dead space with a very small PA system for reinforcement. When the contestants get to the main stage the first time —even the youngest and most inexperienced performers hear the vast and hollow nature of the Dolby theater. They literally get lost in the room. But when they put the in-ears in, they immediately go back to the comfort they experienced in the rehearsal room allowing them to relax, to hear everything, and to nail their performance.
"In ears are an essential tool on every show I do," said Batuyong. "With audience levels reaching over 100 decibels, the contestants rely on the sound isolation to hear not only their voice and music but also the pitch, the clicks, and the cues vital to their performance starting and ending as polished as possible."
In case anyone was wondering what in-ear gear is being used on America's Got Talent, they use Shure in-ears for the look on camera, for the wide range of sizing options, and for the excellent sound quality.
This post is a guest collaboration with founding IEMITO member Jason Batuyong.