You know, it never occurred to me either that artists were listening to things differently. It wasn't until I went to my first concert with Jerry and went side stage to the monitor desk that I "got it." It was mind blowing really. It was a completely different experience than watching a show from the audience.
Actually, the show was really weird to watch and hard to get used to. It was The Cult and the only band member on ears was the lead singer. That meant that I could hear from the stage wedges everything EXCEPT for the vocals — he was getting his mix pumped directly into his ear and no one else had vocals in their mix that I was hearing through the wedges. I could see him singing but I couldn't hear anything. It was like watching an opposite lip-synch. I could see his mouth moving and the audience could hear him and so could the engineer who was listening to the vocal mix through his own set of ears. It was just me who was in the dark. That was a totally revolutionary experience for me and from that point on, I really understood why CIEMS exist. And here's something even cooler. When a full band is on ears, the stage is quiet. There are no wedges so there is no stage noise. All the mix is in the ears.
There's more. So each artist is on a wireless pack. That's how they get the signal from the monitor engineer. It's like they each have their own independent radio station that is playing a version of the song. Their version. And the Monitor engineer can scroll through each radio station to hear what each artist is hearing. That's how they fine tune the mix and make changes on the fly. One of these days when we cross paths in person, let's go see a show together so I can take you side stage and you can witness this for yourself. You can plug your IEMS into an extra wireless pack and you can cycle through the "stations" and hear each mix. You can conceptualize it in the meantime but you have to really hear it and see it for the light bulb to really go off. It's pretty cool stuff to think about.
MD, we appreciate all the good work you do! I've long been aware of artists listening to themselves and having a different mix and such. BUT never had the opportunity to adopt my own ears into their mix. That would be fascinating!
Hope I too, could bump in to you around LA or New York and "Tap-in." Enjoyed your thorough response to bowei006, by the way...