- Citizen of Nowhere
As much as I loved my first sax, a Trevor James Classic II, and as well as it performed for the first four years of my playing life (so much so that I still have it and take it to every gig as a reliable back-up horn), I found it would struggle in hot venues as it's intonation would change as the temperature changed. I rarely noticed it when playing at home, but on a stage with less than ideal monitoring, where you have to rely as much on the instrument as on your own playing ability, it could be a real struggle to stay in tune.
The Keilwerth I managed to get my hands on a few months ago has made such a huge difference. The confidence boost you get knowing your horn isn't going to try to get in the way of your performance can't be ignored, either. I've just heard a recording from last night's gig and I actually sound like a real sax player - the tone through the PA is full and clear. Just like you hear on the records.
Oh, and I think the last time I wrote a post moaning that I'd just done another gig where I couldn't hear anything will be the final one.
Yep, I've finally - FINALLY - bought In Ear Monitors. The difference it makes is almost indescribable. My experience of playing on stage has always been that I'd be lucky if I could hear anything that remotely resembled what the band sounded like. Usually it would be almost exclusively drums, or a mix of deafening drums and guitar (playing indistinguishable chords). Even with the Floyd band it would be drums and keyboards or keyboards and bass, but never the whole band with me (whether playing sax or singing) just above it all so I could hear what I was doing.
Even using ear plugs didn't help. Yes, they dropped the volume a lot but they also muffled the sound.
With IEM it's like playing at home in your practise room. You can hear absolutely everything with pure clarity. If anything, it takes a while to get used to such perfection and you find yourself playing too softly because you're not having to push yourself to be heard. It's a little strange, to say the least, It's also bliss. The other advantage that I wasn't expecting is how well the earphones, or buds as they now seemed to be called, work as ear plugs. It's not just how much they reduce the volume, though, it's how they do it without affecting the different frequencies in any real way. When I first used them at a rehearsal I thought the entire band was playing at a third of their normal volume for some reason. In fact, this coupled with being able to hear yourself perfectly is why it can be hard to judge if you're playing at the correct volume.
Having finally bought IEM I now use them on stage and in the rehearsal room, whether I'm playing with a loud rock band or a much quieter jazz outfit. In fact, I can't imagine ever playing without them nor can I recommend them highly enough to anyone who plays with other musicians.