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Buying I monitor: What should I know?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by MicRidley, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Hey forum-lurkers,

    I've only been in a band, my first, for about 8 months or so. We do occasional shows locally, but never anything over medium sized.

    Most of the local venues have monitors on stage already. I've always used the ones at venues or none at all. However, it's likely we'll be setting up in obscure halls and places not generally used for 'bands' this summer.

    Also, I've been asked to join another group as a singer/bassist; so I suppose I need one of my own for sure. Thankfully I have time before I'll need to collect my nickles and times to afford vocal equipment.

    I'm all about budget, so what kind of monitor should I get? (brand,size,etc)

    What should I know about monitors that you've found useful knowledge through your experiences?

    Thanks in advance. Your superior expertise and experience are always appreciated.

  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    First question...
    WHAT do you plan to monitor thru your monitor - at small venues, and what do you plan to use to mix what you want in that monitor?
    Active (powered) or passive? Powered is easier setup, but more $$
    What kind of venues and music style..?? Club, wine bars, coffee shops or Stadiums!??
    MicRidley and carl h. like this.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Have you thought about an IEM monitor? A good set of buds, and a little interface fits in a gig bag and ready for any venue.
    MicRidley likes this.
  4. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    why do you need your own monitor? If the venue doesn't have a PA, you better bring a whole PA, not just a monitor. If the venue has a PA, they should have their own monitors, too.
    I've only ever played one place that had a PA, but their monitors were so bad as to be useless. Even then, I don't think they would have taken kindly to me asking them to unplug and rearrange things so I could use my own monitor.
    MicRidley likes this.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I wouldn't say a monitor is in the list of things a gigging bassist should own. If you have to take your own P.A. have that guy bring enough monitors (or rent enough monitors.)
    MicRidley likes this.
  6. Ah had no idea monitors aren't really a necessity.

    Most venues around here that normally host bands have monitors on stage. However we will be playing at places like schools and large outdoor gatherings this summer.

    My main concern for the monitor was for my own vocals. Im using a sm58 and will be using it more soon. I am going to be singing regularly come summer,when I'm performing with the other group, for sure though.

    We also have access to a PA whenever we want, but the only monitor among the 5 of us in the existed band belongs to vocalist.
  7. BluesOnBass

    BluesOnBass Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2010
    By the Big Lake
    IMHO If you are going to be doing vocals, no matter who provides it, you are going to be wanting your own monitor. What you get depends on what kind of PA setup you will be using (powered mixer/amp or passive).
    MicRidley likes this.
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Qsc K10 makes for a nice compact monitor. Often $500 or a little less in the used market. In my band, the guitarist and I use them He has a full mix less bass, kick and snare. My mix drops those plus keys as I am near the keyboard monitor and my amp. I will occasionally add a little kick but thst is usually on small stages where I am alongside the kick rather than in front of it.

    Needs a line out from the mixer to operate.
    s0c9 likes this.
  9. Whoever provides the PA is usually the one to provide the monitors because the type of monitor depends on what's feeding it up the chain. So if you're looking to have what you need then you might consider being the one who provides the whole PA. In that case, I recommend you use an un-powered mixer with powered monitors. You want your monitors to go on the floor so they stay out of your way (don't get the ones that mount on mic stands). Get the biggest you can afford but there really are better things to spend your money on, so don't go crazy. IEM's are definitely superior.
  10. I have access to a large PA that belongs to my family but I've never had need to use it at the local venues.

    I don't even know what it is ha-ha. I just remember my sister telling me they have to use a flatbed to haul it.

    I'm honestly kind of surprised by the suggestions. Normally people recommend cheap solutions.

    I figured a monitor would be one of those things that people could just buy a cheap anything and be okay.

    Like a seismic audio 10-15" cheapie. Or any old used Peavey monitor.

    Is it common for people who do small venues and bars to do IEMs? I thought they were something only people who did large venues used ha-ha. Never seen anyone use them locally.

    Man am I Inexperienced.
  11. No, IEM's are not "common" but they are a superior way to go. If you're going to spend some money, why not spend it on the best? The only reason others don't use them is because they can't afford them or haven't taken the time to get used to them.

    If you are dying to buy a wedge, I like using a 2x12". Just be aware that powered ones can only be used from an unpowered feed, and the un-powered ones need a separate amplifier.
    MicRidley likes this.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    We need to know a little bit more to be able to help.

    Passive monitors require a power amp. If that is what you are going to buy, then you need to know what kind of power you will be using to power it

    Active, or powered, monitors already have ever a power amplifier built in and only require a monitor mix line (mic cable) from the mixing board.

    By the way, will you be using the same mixing get board every show?

    The point that is, there are more things to consider other than budget when buying a monitor. You can't just walk into any venue, with any PA, and just any mixing board a plop a wedge down and assume it will work in every situation. A little bit of continuity of planning is required.

    Short version: If you are going passive get your own power amplifier or make sure there is one with you at all times. If you are going active then make sure you at least take your board so you know how it works with regard to monitor mixes.
    MicRidley likes this.
  13. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    In case you didn't know.. I'm a HUGE proponent of IEM systems.
    Save your hearing.. lose the wedges!

    It's becoming FAR more common these days, especially if you are in a local/regional band that plays often and is an "A" room band. If you join one, you'll [more than likely] be expected to have an IEM rig. Wireless is a simple setup. Less cr*p to carry (no wedges, amps or powered wedges to carry/hookup), wireless transmitters sit in the rack. Pop in your ear, turn on your bodypak and off you go. With digital mixers you can even mix your IEM's.
    This is something I frequently encounter.. . but going IEM is not something one should CHEAP OUT on.
    There's the hearing impaired pant-flapping old school, who want that 1000w 8x10 in a wine bar!

    If you go IEM, get a decent wired/wireless system, then buy the BEST MULTIPLE-DRIVER buds you can afford. Why?
    You wouldn't run your bass rig into a junky cab, so why put junk in your ears to listen to!
    It's one reason more folks don't go that route.. they put cheap-crappy buds in their ears, but play thru expensive amps/cabs and wonder why it doesn't sound good (or even close) then they blame the IEM system.
    Like good amps, cabs and basses, good IEM's are not cheap.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
    MicRidley and LowNloud1 like this.
  14. LowNloud1

    LowNloud1 Commercial User

    Jun 11, 2012
    Wilmington NC
    I am a hobbyist making stone picks that I occasionally sell but mostly give away. They made me do this anyways.
    One thing I learned about using a venue's monitors at a gig is that they are mostly beat to hell. They may have busted connectors, torn cones or their built-in amps are burned out. Some venues are slow to repair them. Bring your own as back up, or......

    IEMs are the future. They eliminate feedback from stage monitors. Are indispensable if you play in a loud band and want to hear yourself and other singers clearly as well as protect your hearing. Save your nickels and dimes and, like s0c9 advises, get the best you can afford.

    A lot of the monitors that are starting to pop up on the CL now are from bands that have started to migrate to them as they gain in popularity. Go with a self powered wedge if you must.

    I show up with my basses, my amp head, my pedals, my mic, my IEM and that's about all I transport to a gig now.
    s0c9 and MicRidley like this.
  15. What are some common examples of IEMs that people might invest into as their first set ?
  16. Cuzzie

    Cuzzie Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Musician’s In-Ear Monitors Buyer’s Guide - The Headphone List

    In-Ear Monitoring And What You Need To Know - Pro Sound Web

    10 Reasons Why In-Ear Monitors Are Better Than Wedges | Shure Blog

    Review: Aphex HeadPod 4 Four-Channel Headphone Amplifier

    There is some light reading on IEM's

    The set up I have just bought for our band is:

    Peavey XR 600E Powered Mixer, a pair of Peavey Eurosys 3 15" 150W speakers and speaker stands, Mic Stands. Also Stageline MAK-12P 100WRMS Monitor/Foldback Powered Speaker.

    I got this locally all for £150/$210.

    All we will be doing is running the vocals through this as we are just a small 3 piece and have our own amps. Thisbis for rehearsing and small venues, if anything gets bigger we will have to rethink, but I doubt it, we are not that good and are just having fun, not sure my vocals should be too loud, I'm no Billy Ocean!

    What the guys are saying is correct though, you need to work out what you need for what you are playing, only than can a decision be made, but without doubt IEM is the way to go whether it is custom mounded buds or not.
    Shop around and you can piece together a good system.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    MicRidley likes this.
  18. Cuzzie

    Cuzzie Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Remember earbuds are one thing, system is another and you can work out if you need wired or wireless
    MicRidley likes this.
  19. blastbass

    blastbass Banned

    Mar 8, 2016
    Is Tapco still around?
    MicRidley likes this.
  20. blastbass

    blastbass Banned

    Mar 8, 2016
    Anything from skull candy to shures, I'd look at the shure 215's.
    LowNloud1 likes this.

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