ACS T1 Live!
I have been using IEMs since 1997 and have found that despite enjoying clarity of sound, there were musical situations in which they had failings: ones where there was little time to make a comfortable monitor mix or setups that didn’t allow me to mix my own sound. With great insulation from the outside world, sonics were good but for jazz playing, quiet gigs and critical situations where quick communication is required such as live TV shows, I felt cut off from the acoustic sound of my drums and the stage. That affected my touch when playing quietly and limited my ability to play sensitively and quickly respond to the musicians around me.
So it was back to acoustic monitoring, pushing up the volume of what I was hearing and giving me no protection against hours of high-volume drums. The temporary solution was plugs but that was a very blunt instrument and I still found it difficult to hear some instruments in detail. For me, the sonics on stage are pivotal to a great performance and I love to hear beautiful sound to be inspired (who doesn’t?).
When I heard about the T1 Live IEMs, I knew this had to be the way forward. The sound of these IEMs is very musical. I love the natural balance of the sound; no frequencies are overly boosted or cut, so simply listening to music on them is extremely pleasurable and detailed. The bass response is natural; strong enough for a powerful kick and bass sound but musically balanced. Mids are perfect too, giving a fat snare drum sound and the high end response is sweet, lovely and bright but not harsh. I have played two years of gigs with The Waterboys on the T1s and it has been a joy. I have never had such great-sounding monitoring and there is definitely no going back for me. We toured Australia picking up local monitor engineers and I had no trouble getting a great sound quickly every night.
Then Andy let me have a live box and this was the big game changer. The quality of ambient sound through the built-in mics was the first thing that struck me. Now I am dialling in varying degrees of ambience according to what I need and changing from song to song if necessary. This allows me the freedom to have what I need when I need it, particularly on acoustic songs where I’m playing brushes, rods or quiet sticks. Communication is now so easy when rehearsing or sound checking, as I’m not having to pull one monitor out to talk to the MD, band or engineer. I feel so happy with these that after a while I forget they are even in! Finally I can have the best of all worlds: Great sounding IEMs, ability to hear everything acoustically and hearing protection.