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In-Ear vs. Loudspeaker Monitoring for Live Sound and the Effect on Audio Quality Attributes and Musical Performance

A successful performance of live music is dependent on how well musicians can hear themselves and the other members of the ensemble. Sound reinforcement systems can offer monitoring either by on-stage loudspeakers or in-ear headphones. These two monitoring conditions were compared to search for perceived auditory differences that affect parts of musical performance. Four jazz/pop/rock bands made live performances where monitor sound was provided to the musicians. Each band repeated their performance, changing from one monitoring condition to the other. After every performance, the musicians responded to questionnaires covering musical performance and audio quality. Experts also assessed recordings of the performances. Results show that perceived differences exist in audio quality and musical performance between loudspeaker monitors and in-ear headphone monitors.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society