Wireless Audio via Radio or WiFi

  • Hello All,

    For the piece I'm working on now, I need four performers to wear small headphones and receive audio from the computer. I see a couple of possible solutions:
    1) Wireless "in ear monitors" as used by music performers -- similar to a selection shown here: http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/live-sound/in-ear-monitors/
    2) Mobile device (iPod Touch, Android Phone, etc.) that can receive audio via WiFi. This would require a means to broadcast the audio from the computer. And I  would need four independent channels.
    The argument for #1 is that it's simple to set up, and has it is designed to do specifically what I intend. However, you can see that it's actually cheaper to get a mobile device.
    The argument for #2 is that it's cheaper. The argument against is the complexity of setting up the broadcasting.
    In any case, if you have any ideas, I'd be very pleased to hear them.
    Best Wishes,

  • IEMs are going to be foolproof. a lot of theatrical hire places will have them for hire much cheaper than buying a 4-channel system, then your only other expense during the run will be batteries and micropore tape.

    a lot of mobile speakers these days have bluetooth built in, so it should be easy enough to get hold of modules designed to receive wireless audio, but setting up 4 channels might be an issue.

  • I would strongly suggest #1, as they are far more robust. If audio quality is not an issue, you could look into IFB's, which are the systems that broadcasters use.  You can also look into wireless drive-through headset technology; I have seen that for sale online for quite cheap.

  • There are quite a few very simple systems for ipad/iphone monitoring. A lot of new sound cards come with this capability (it is used for headphone mixes for band members) I think Irig mix is one but there are many others

    These are attached to hardware and work very well (my brother uses the presonus in a project studio for recording bands).
    If you want to roll your own I have some experience streaming with ffmpeg and it is IOS friendly and not super complicated.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. The suggestions to go with IEM are very reasonable. But just trying to keep the cost down.

    I did quickly set up a test with QuickTime Broadcaster (free) and then playing the stream on my iPad as a test. This works, but the latency is about 3 seconds -- which is too much for my needs. I need to keep it down to .5 seconds or less. I think that's going to rule out most of the typical encoders, etc.
    Anyway, I look forward to any further suggestions.
    Best Wishes,

  • I believe that the presonus and behringer apps linked to above do not actually pass wireless audio, they just allow for band members to wirelessly mix their own (wired) monitor mix.

  • Isn't audio via bluetooth a good solution ?
    I found really cheap ear monitors with bluetooth receivers :

    Hope it helps..

  • Do the IEM's work via FM?

    You could maybe get some cheap Ipod FM transmitters, set them to different channels and some FM earphones.
    Could be cheap. Possibly rubbish.And you'd need a soundcard with 4 outs.
    I looked into audio over ip a while back. There are low latency solutions but they are expensive.
    This kind of set up might be better than airplay type solutions:  http://blog.joshdzielak.com/blog/2012/11/21/live-stream-audio-from-osx-mountain-lion-with-icecast-and-darkice/
    Not sure if you could do 4 streams at once but I reckon so (via Soundflower).