Can't afford a nice IEM system? Me neither!
When recording with my band awhile ago, I realized how much I loved being able to hear myself clearly through the headphones. I went off to purchase an In-ear monitor system for live shows, and was awe-struck when I saw the prices. I gave up on it immediately: maybe to revisit when we get some more money. I can't remember how or when this idea came to me. but I think it's pretty innovative for the resources we had around.
Step 1: "Parts"!
Here's your list of "parts":
1. An FM transmitter (I went with BELKIN because it got really good reviews)
An FM transmitter is a little device which(simply) let's you listen to your audio source(Personal CD player, MP3 player, etc.) Over a stereo. These are low powered and don't have the greatest range. I would suggest the Belkin Tunecast II FM Transmitter Mod to boost your output power.
2. a personal FM receiver(With headphones!)
Basically, a small FM radio with a headphone jack people used to use before CDs and iPods were invented.
This doesn't need to be brand new. Just functional, and have a headphone output.
(TIP: If you want to seem really cool and professional; get a rectangle one that you can put in your back pocket. This way people won't know you don't have a professional IEM system!)
3. Headphones, 1/8 to 1/4 adapter(optional, depends on conditions)
Step 2: What Do You Want to Hear?
Once you have all your components, it's time to figure out how you want it to be setup.
How you're going to set your system up depends on what you want to hear in your monitors.
If you're a drummer, maybe you want a click-track, and the bass and/or rhythm guitar.
If you're a guitarist, maybe you want to hear the drummer and bassist. It's all up to you.
I'm a singer, so I like to hear the entire mix, and especially myself.
It all depends on what you want, and what your live setup looks like.
In my band, all our instruments get routed through one mixer, so I just plug into the headphone output in our mixer.
Step 3: Setup!
Once you know what you want to hear and how you need to route everything, setup is simple:
Plug your FM transmitter into the output of what you need to monitor(Mixer output, Metronome, etc.)
You may need a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter for this step.
Once you turn on both devices you're going to need to tune them.
I suggest putting on something steady (a song on your MP3 player, a click-track, anything continuous) and scrolling through frequencies. Every place will have it's own "best" frequency, the one that has no interference and minimal static.
Once you find your frequency, you're good to go!
If your transmitter has a memory function, I suggest using it. It helps when you travel to a place you've already been to to just hit a few buttons instead of scrolling through channels again.
Well, that's it!
I hope this helps you!