Now in pre-production for an extensive European tour starting in early September with shows in Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, and the Netherlands, hard rockers Little Caesar’s founder and frontman Ron Young, bassist Pharoah Barrett and drummer Tom Morris have standardized their personal monitors with ASI Audio x Sensaphonics 3DME Gen2 Active Ambient Monitoring System.
Ron Young has been traveling with his own wireless in-ear system since the components first became commercially available decades ago. He began his relationship with ASI Audio parent company Sensaphonics over 10 years ago. “They were the only manufacturer that was doing soft silicone molded earbuds. I found that the isolation and the seal, combined with their armatures and drivers, gave me the best product. I learned very quickly, especially when you play in a hard rock band, that earbuds serve two functions. Besides monitoring, they also provide ear protection by isolation.” The 3DME Music Enhancement system from ASI Audio does all that and more, enabling users to also blend stage ambience with their personalized IEM mix while offering DSP control via the ASI Audio 3DME BT app, which runs on any current Bluetooth-enabled iOS or Android device.
[ASI Audio Unveils 3DME Gen2 Monitoring System—Facts and Features] (opens in new tab)
At the urging of Young, bassist Pharoah Barrett started using the ASI 3DME system. “Ron turned me on to the 3DME system and I loved the fact that I could dial in my own mix including adding ambience. I just run vocals through it—his vocal and mine. My vocals are slightly louder than his. And with the 3DME setup, I can add the ambience wherever I want it,” stated Barrett. “For a smaller room, obviously, I wouldn’t need quite as much ambient sound because it’ll just be too much. But the ability to adjust the ambience really works great on large stages where I’ll actually turn them up a little bit. With other systems I’ve tried, if I couldn’t hear the ambient sounds on stage, I would basically pop out one of my in-ears, which honestly was not great, but it did the job. But now with the 3DME, it’s totally cool. I have the ambience all around me whenever I want it. So it’s easier to deal with, and I don’t have my left in-ear flopping around over my shoulder the whole show.”
Drummer Tom Morris, who has been with Little Caesar since its inception in 1987, recalls the wake-up call he had regarding protecting his hearing and what he did about it. “Back before drummers were using plugs, I went to an ear doctor and had my hearing checked in my twenties and he scared me so much about what could happen, that at that point, because I was still really young without damage, I started wearing earplugs. I used the little foamy plugs that they sell at pharmacies. I didn’t mind that there was a sound compromise, I just wanted the maximum amount of protection. And I got used to hearing music like that,” stated Morris. “I personally believe that drummers suffer more hearing damage than anyone else in the band. Particularly on whatever side your snare and hi-hats are set up on, you’re going to get more hearing damage. Ron had started using in-ears a while back before we got to the Sensaphonics stuff. And I did that for a couple of tours and I enjoyed it—it was different. But I found since we were all running our signal/mix though a central place, if things got glitchy if would affect all our feeds, even though our sends were all different to a degree. That lack of independence wasn’t ideal, and if something happens with the rig live, we’re all going to be in trouble. Now, with the 3DME, it’s completely independent. I have my own control. It’s super-easy to set up. Very user-friendly.
[AV Network's top stories, product news, and expert insights] (opens in new tab)
“I admit that since I was so used to hearing everything muffled (from using the ear plugs for many years), the ambience setting just doesn’t feel right for me. So, I have that completely dialed out. I have it set super flat, a dry mix, to where I’m able to hear everything. Guitars, left and right, bass, and particularly vocals, because I cue off the vocals a lot. It’s important for me to be able to hear the vocals on top of everything. I run them the same live as I would in rehearsal. The real beauty of the unit is it allows you the freedom and flexibility to change all your settings. You can have multiple settings, in fact—you could have different settings for different songs. The 3DME is so user-friendly that even a drummer can use it.”
The 3DME Music Enhancement IEM System Gen2 consists of Active Ambient earphones with embedded binaural MEMS ambient microphones, a bodypack mixer/controller/DSP processor/headphone amplifier and the Bluetooth-enabled ASI Audio App for control. The free ASI Audio App allows untethered adjustment of the system’s 7-band stereo EQ and limiter threshold. The App also offers an Audio Seal Test to confirm perfect IEM fit and allows the saving and recall of User Presets to ensure repeat access to preferred sound signatures. In operation, after locking in the preferred EQ and limiter settings, up/down switches on the bodypack make it easy to add the perfect amount of ambience to the monitor mix, so the performer can hear exactly what they want, no matter the style of music or type of venue. When used without a monitor mix, 3DME functions as variable-level, high fidelity earplugs. The universal-fit earphones supplied with 3DME can be converted to custom fit with silicone sleeves from Sensaphonics or upgraded to Custom Pro earpieces.