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house mix in the monitors

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by funnyfingers, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    At a recent gig with a really nice sound setup, I asked the sound guy to make the monitor mix the same as the front but we don't need the drums or bass in the monitors. He reiterated that he would go around one by one to make sure we are happy. I tried to reword what I wanted, but he still didn't get it. The sound was very good still, but we want to hear what the crowd hears. It has worked very well for us when we do our own sound. How else can I explain this? We'll be playing there again on out the dock this time.
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    What the FOH guy *probably* understands you to be saying is something like this: "Send a copy of the main mix, minus the bass and drum stems, to my stage wedge."

    On some boards, that's easy. But he probably has an objection:

    1. If he sends your wedge the main FOH mix (minus bass and drums), where you stand on stage won't sound anything like what the punters are hearing in the middle of the room.

    2. Even if he wanted to simply oblige the letter of your request, perhaps he's on an older analog board and feeding stage wedges from aux outputs, not mains. The way many analog boards are rigged for duty, you can't simply assign the main mix back to an aux, and it would be even more of a problem to tap the main mix minus certain instruments for an aux mix. (That is, almost any decent board is capable of what you were asking, but on the gig the capabilities to route the whole mix or a sub mix are already spoken for.)

    3. He might have been unwilling to add more than was necessary to the stage sound. Many FOH engineers work to minimize the stage volume and spill. If the bassist's wedge is between the guitarist's Fender Twin and the lead vocalist's wedge, I'd be reluctant to send even more guitar to the bassist's area of the stage just b/c I have the Twin's amp mic in the FOH mix. I'd also hesitate to feed vocal effects to a hot stage wedge, and I'd want to keep the low-end content on stage minimized to reduce the most noticeable comb filtering. Rather then just clone the main mix, I'd rather build you a monitor mix minus elements that are likely to distract from stage monitoring or hurt the likelihood that the PA mix and stage spill will play nicely.

    Of course, maybe he just didn't understand you. But maybe he had non-crazy reasons for wanting to dial you up a what-you-need monitor mix from scratch.
  3. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    maybe there's quite some difference between the 12"+1" wedge on stage and the twin 18" woofers and 15"+2" sattelites that go out to the crowd.
  4. stonewall


    Jun 14, 2010
    Wouldnt want to be the bass player or drummer in your band LOL....
  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    There are a number of reasons why this is more difficult than it sounds. First and foremost, the main mix isn't built until after the monitors are set and the band starts playing. Second, the main mix is constantly changing during every song whereas monitor adjustments are relatively few and far between. Additionally, monitor eq is very different from FOH eq for obvious reasons. And if that weren't enough, the FOH mixes are often in stereo whereas the vast majority of monitor mixes aren't.

    BUT if you accept all the inherent limitations and additional potential for feedback, there are two ways to accomplish this:
    1. Use a post-fader auxiliary for the monitor mix and set the monitor aux level for all channels to 0 dBU/unity gain (you can use the Aux Master to reduce the overall volume of the monitors if necessary). Then as the engineer dials in the FOH mix using the channel faders, the monitors will adjust because the aux level now follows the fader position.
    2. Use the master Mono Output bus from the console and route that signal back to an input channel (you can also use a matrix output if the console has it but it is very important that the signal is summed to mono). Do NOT assign that channel to the L/R main mix, but instead just assign it to the monitor auxes.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You guys need to learn how to do a pro level monitor check. When the soundman says it's time to start getting sounds, everyone stop playing. Go through every instrument and every vocal one at a time and get a good sound. As you do them, tell the soundman if you want them in your monitor and let him know when you have enough. If you have separate monitor mixes, do each person in the band separately. If not, then have one person talk to the soundman and say what you want. Tell the soundman what you DO want and not what you don't. If the sound is not what you want, ask him to work on it a bit. And always try to be nice...they're not mindreaders ;)

    These are the basics, and you can work out the rest. But it goes by much quicker and much better sounding if you do that. The key is making sure everyone pipes down and pays attention and is ready to go when asked to play or talk.
  7. ^^^ +1 to what Jimmy said above.

    It doesn't work the same in larger venues - IE: they need everything, including bass and drums in the house.
  8. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    What everyone said.

    I've done the main mix in monitor thing before - in smaller venues, when I was mixing from the stage. It's never the same as out front, but it has worked well for adjusting vocal levels etc. on the fly.

    However, if you do have a sound man, you don't have to hear what the crowd hears. Just tell the sound man what you _need_ to hear to do your job. Get a monitor mix that sounds good to you.
  9. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    If you want to hear what the crowd hears, then hire a good, professional videographer to record the performance for later playback. Or, get a radio for your instrument and go out into the house occasionally.
  10. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    C'mon, guys. If that's the mix the band wants (and is accustomed to having) in their monitors, it's really simple to give it to them. Even the simplest analogue boards these days have master L/R faders and outputs. Use the Left to feed the monitors and the Right for the FOH and the Pan knobs to cut the unwanted instruments out of the monitor send. (Contrary to what was posted above, live sound systems are almost never run in stereo.)

    How is EQ/feedback a problem? Even the smallest of today's systems have seperate graphics (at a minimum) in the montitor/main or L/R chains.

    Having the monitor mix somewhat mirror the FOH makes it easier for the band to self-mix, which then makes the sound operator's job a lot easier. Especially if the operator isn't familiar with when/who is taking a solo or which of the 3-part vocals is the lead.
  11. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Yeah, but what do you do when the room is a straight rectangle and fits maybe 50 to 60 people comfortably and the FOH only runs vocals and only mics the guitar and bass drum? ....... What then? Its a hard show to play when you cant hear a damn thing out of the two crappy wedges on stage and the only thing coming through them is vocals, barely, anyway. We just played a show this past Wed like that. I cant stand playing that place. Great sound guy and other guys to work with there, very friendly and cool, but the sound on stage sucks. How do you get around that???
  12. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Actually, that's the kind of gig I enjoy.
    Small room usually means the band and amps are clustered tightly together, so it's easy to hear each other.
    Also small room and few bodies means volume is low, making it easy to hear even the crappiest of monitors.
  13. FWIW: floor wages/side fills and line arrays/subs don't usually sound alike or have the same mix.
  14. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL

    I find it horrid. It's just a huge mish mash of sound. Ewwaaa
  15. +1 Yup - have it professionally recorded form the crowds perspective.
  16. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    If I heard a bandmember telling the soundguy to put the foh mix into the monitors for the band I'd pull him aside and explain that levels need to be different for each member depending on what they can and can't hear. That's the point of having a monitor mix as well as a foh mix. Seems like a waste of valuable time before a show because it's not going to sound the same seeing as the mix is going through a completely different speaker configuration. Kind of like doing a live recording with a live feed from the mixing board and thinking you're getting an idea of what the show actually sounded like. It doesn't work.

  17. You are correct. But assuming the sound system is already set up for multiple monitor mixes (which most “nice” one are, quoting what the OP said about the system in question), what you’re suggesting would require re-wiring the entire monitor system between the console and the amplifiers. I doubt the system provider, be it a house system or something provided by a sound contractor, would be willing to go through that much trouble.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  18. dlmaston


    Mar 1, 2007
    Denton, TX
    +1 to what Wayne said. Getting the same "mix" from the monitor feed to match the "FOH" is not as easy as it sounds. While it is totally possible with solid modern gear, it is not "normal" and does require a great deal of extra work for the FOH crew to achieve.....unless they are already set up to run that way. If you are one of three or four acts on the bill that night, you can forget about it.

    The best/easiest solution is to do what Jimmy suggested earlier. During sound check, stop noodling, stop chatting, and listen closely. Get your monitor mix right during sound check and the rest will take care of itself.
  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    not sure it was the soundguy who didn't get it...:p
  20. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    The biggest issue I'd think would be vocals. Things like compression in mains, but NOT monitors. Eq'd for feedback...