How do I make a simple feedback monitor that lets me hear myself when I sing during acoustic sets without an amp?

I am looking for a way to make a feedback monitor that basically feeds sound back from a microphone that is worn on either my shirt or hooked onto an ear piece like you see some musicians wear and feeds directly back into my ear.  I do acoustic sets and often we use no sound equipment or often only one mic. Sometimes I am unable to hear myself. I have a hearing problem like I have a constant cold so my breathing is louder than my voice or my instrument sometimes.  I prefer some kind of clip on mic so I can clip it on either my shirt or my instrument and some kind of earpiece and some kind of self contained pack I can clip on the back of me. Any ideas? I found this product on the  web but it seems way over priced to me. http://www.hearinglosshelp.com/products/pocketalker.htm

sort by: active | newest | oldest
orksecurity6 years ago
The commercially available product for this purpose would be a "hotspot monitor", fed either via a return from the board or from whatever mike(s)/pickup(s) you prefer and its own internal amplifier. Those mostly use a small speaker rather than an earpiece, mounted on a tripod so it's pointing back at you at a convenient height.

Yes, that generally means the mike, and the monitor, are visible. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with saying "It helps me hear myself and helps me give you a better performance", without having to get into the details of your hearing loss -- gods know, many rooms *do* suck the sound away and a monitor can make up for that. In many situations, I've considered monitors more important than mains!

Of course you could also use a standard monitor wedge on the floor. As long as it's pointed back toward the stage and not turned up to an unreasonable volume, the audience really won't notice it. Hotspot's a bit better in that regard, since closer to you and more directional means it can be turned down, but the tradeoff is that the hotspot is a lot more visible.

As far as clip-on mikes for voice go: Speaking as a sound tech, UGH. Headset mikes may look dorky (though less so now that half the world is using them for their cell phones) but they can do a MUCH better job of picking up your voice and only your voice. Clip-ons, being pointed up from underneath, don't get your sound as it should be and are entirely too likely to pick up HVAC noise from the ceiling.

Clip-on instrument pickups -- if made for that purpose -- are fine. They're generally contact mikes, so they really don't hear much other than the instrument.

Suggestion: Headset mike, with decent earpiece, is a fairly standard item -- I have one in my kit. I equipped it with a simple belt-mounted control box so I had local control over earpiece volume and could throw a switch to mute the mike. (Headset plugs into box, XLR and monitor-return cables plug into other side of box.). That combined with an amplifier -- preferably one which has a second input for the instrument pickup -- would seem to mostly address your needs.

ONE CAVEAT: Using a monitor can mislead you about the balance between voice and instrument, unless the two amp inputs are set correctly. You may need to practice with this a bit, with a friend listening, until you find the input levels which sound right to you when you sound right to the audience.
fiddleshe (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
Ok I found a couple of commercial products on ebay that are pretty much what I am looking for.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110570699554&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_2957wt_752


Which one looks good to you? One has volume and tone controls the other also has a gain control. I am not sure what gain is for. Thanks.
Gain is another term for amount of amplification (that is, volume), so I'm not entirely sure why the widget has both. It may be a matter of preamplification (bringing the signal from the guitar up to a level the other circuitry can handle) versus power amplification (what's going out to the speaker or headphone), but in that case I would expect it to be labelled "trim".
fiddleshe (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
Thanks. I guess I need to make a decision. Probably worth it since it will be a lot of time and headache to build something with little knowledge when I can pretty much buy it for relatively cheap.
rickharris6 years ago
There are lots of circuits out there using TBA820 or LM386 audio IC this should solve you problems provided you can build the circuit.
fiddleshe (author)  rickharris6 years ago
I would need pretty much step by step help building something like this if I have to build a circuit board. I have very basic understanding of circuits. Something I have always been interested in learning though.