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FOH Speaker Placement...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by JJP_1984_LB50, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. JJP_1984_LB50

    JJP_1984_LB50 Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    North Canton, OH
    I have a bandmate telling me it's better to have the FOH speakers placed behind the band so they act as additional monitors. This seems completely counter intuitive to me, since it will be "aiming" the mics right at the speakers, and will just cause feedback problems. Does anybody do this?
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    IME, FOH should sit well ahead of the vocal mics and backline. Why would you need addt'l monitors?

  3. rdcowan


    Aug 13, 2009
    Central Texas
    We have done this in low volume settings. You won't need any monitors then. It will feed back if you get very loud though. Might be all right for acoustic jazz type gigs or small lounge clubs. Not for rock!
  4. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Speakers that are at the side are called 'side fill'. FOH go in front of, or to the side of the stage, but their dispersion doesn't cover the stage, by design- the sound arrives after that of the source being mic'd, which means phase cancellations will be a huge problem. Also, anything coming from the monitors of FOH speakers is called 'leakage' and is a problem for the same reasons. If FOH sound gets into the mics, the sound guy will have major problems trying to get a decent sound.
  5. Hi.

    Grateful Dead did with their Wall Of Sound :).

    In all fairness though, WOS is taking the approach the full 9 yards with all sorts of equipment to fight the feedback, but the basic principle remains the same even if the goal necessarily does not.

    I'm a huge fan of WOS type arrangement in small venues with any music style, especially if a band-member is mixing from the stage as well.
    I've done it with loud rock as well as with "acoustic" performance, and rarely there's been a problem.
    Whisper-quiet vocalists are the main reason for the problems I do have encountered ;).

    Without at least some pre-planning and trial and error type adjustment, IME WOS can create more problems than it solves.
    The same goes for any SR though, so it isn't just a WOS problem.

    WOS(like) arrangement IMO a superb way to handle small venues with limited gear and on limited stage areas.

    I encourage everyone at least to try it before writing it off as a disaster.

  6. JJP_1984_LB50

    JJP_1984_LB50 Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    North Canton, OH
    Thanks for the responses. A couple thoughts...

    This is a four piece blues band with live drums, bass, two electric guitars (one of them doubling on guitar synth) and all four of us singing.

    We've struggled with the powered monitors we currently have with feedback and volume issues. I'm pushing to try a Mackie DL1608, which I recently purchased, that will have individual Aux Sends for each monitor. I've been getting other suggestions about speaker placement, and wanted to see what people thought...

    I have heard/seen "coffee shop" level systems set up to act as FOH and monitors, but anything with any volume to it (drums, electric guitar) I'd think would push that over the edge...
  7. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You're on the right track. Taming the monitor system is a priority, one which I would pursue before ditching in favor of the suggested alternative mains placement.

  8. gzarate85

    gzarate85 Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Pardon my ignorance and my off topic question but I've seen it multiple times and can't seem to figure it out. What is FOH? I'm sure it's something obvious. If I'm not mistaken, I believe FOH is referring to the house speaker or mains.
  9. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    Front Of (the) House, meaning the main speakers from which the audience should be receiving ideally all of the entertainment program audio.
  10. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I do many restaurant gigs with the mains behind us plus an additional speaker mid 'stage' on a stick behind us as well. But the volume level is quite reasonable. Mostly well ahead of the front line...
  11. That's very common in smaller venues. So long as the speakers aren't too close in they don't feed back. Don't aim the back of an open mic at a speaker though! If nobody is on the mic it'll feed back real well.

    That goes for regular monitors too. Cardoid mics are quite sensitive to the immediate rear.

    Grateful Dead had paired mic's with one wired reverse phase, sing into the top one and the bottom one cancels out the feedback. Go for gold.
  12. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    If you are having stage monitor feedback problems, adding more speakers up there isn't going to help. Any EQ's on the monitors? You really need to ring them out quite well to get a lot of gain before feedback. This way you can dial them back and still have plenty of steam for when the room fills up and you need it. Go ahead and try it though.
  13. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I've played a lot of Palm Springs area golf clubs and they like to place the tables right in front of the band. If we have the mains out front we always get complaints about volume. It's sort of "the Palm Springs way" to put your mains behind you, spread out a little if you can, so that you get some separation from your mics.

    Maybe you can see from this photo of a NYE gig a couple years ago.


    We've got the JBL's on sticks behind the band. We're not super loud, small rigs, small drum kit, etc, so it works well. This crowd loves "Proud Mary", "Sweet Caroline", "Bad Bad Leroy Brown", and "Moon River". :D

    It never ceases to amaze me how someone can sit right in front of a speaker and then complain about the volume. But they do. :rolleyes:

    Thank you for your indulgence,