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Monitor for guitars and bass not going through PA

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by dancrocker, May 10, 2010.

  1. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    I play in a church band that has a very anemic PA. For the most part, we use it only for vocals. The two electric guitarists and bassist (me) play through our own amps. Due to placement restrictions, it's very hard for us to get in front of or to the side of our amps. So, it's difficult for us to hear ourselves. I'm not having too much trouble as I am almost directly to the side of my cabinet, but the guitarists are not comfortable.
    One obvious solution to this problem is a monitor. Not having much sound experience (we have no real sound guy), I'm not sure what the best approach would be. I guess I need to end up with a monitor and a little mixer that takes several inputs (4 would be nice). If these two things were integrated into one box, that would be very convenient. In other words, a monitor with 4 inputs that allows levels to be set for all 4. Of course, it would have to be powered.
    If this is the right general direction, then the next question is how to get the signals to the monitor. I use a carvin bx1200 which has an effects look and a DI output so I assume one of these could be used. I need to check if the guitar amps have anything like this. If they don't, I'm wondering if I can just split signal that goes to the amp. One guitarist plugs directly in and the other uses a stompbox modeler (line6 M9).
    I'd appreciate suggestions. And, I apologize in advance if this has all been covered. I did some searching but didn't find anything that addressed my need.
  2. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    do you want to hear yourself of all guitars? if its just yourself everyone can get a cheap behringer 200 watt powered monitor for $130 and Di right into it. atleast thats the cheapest option i can think of, no mixer, no 2nd PA design
  3. I agree, simplest way is a decent powered monitor then a small mixer - take sends from a DI or tuner outs, effects out, etc of their amps.
  4. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    I'm actually intending to provide a monitor for both guitarists and for myself. In fact, it's more important to monitor the guitars than to monitor bass.

    I did some more searching and while I didn't find my ideal solution (monitor with multiple inputs), I did find some relatively cheap mixers that would work (~$100). I also found powered monitors. If this is my best option, I can go with this. I still don't know how to connect things to the mixer inputs (the signal splitting question I had in my original post).

    Also, I have a followup question:
    We have an output from the main board that's used for hotspot monitors. We use these only for voice. I believe the hotspots are not powered which means the output from the board is delivering the power. I wouldn't mind being able to connect this output (daisy-chained from the hotspots) to the mixer so that we could mix some voice into the guitar/bass monitor. But, it seems to me that I can only connect line level signals to the mixer. Do I have this right? If so, is there a simple solution?
  5. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    Thanks. I need to check to see what outputs their amps have. I assume using one of these outputs would be better than trying to split the input signal, right?
  6. Yes, trying to passively split the signal can degrade the signal and might interfere with their "tone" don't want that now ;)
  7. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    OK, makes sense. I know a passive split would reduce the signal level by 1/2. I'm guessing that turning up the amp would compensate for this. But, this might create a noise problem due to the lower signal level. And, as you suggest, this might have unpredictable impact on tone.

    If I needed to do this, what's the best way to split the signal? I noticed that (some) DI boxes have a 1/4" output which I assume could be connected to the amp while the XLR output connects to the mixer. If this is true, then is it correct to assume that the 1/4" output would be attenuated by 50%? Are there amplified DI boxes?
  8. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    It would help to know what model of mixer is being used for the main PA.
  9. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
  10. Any properly designed DI box specifically avoids this effect, even passive ones.
  11. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    OK, so I experimented this weekend. I found an old Boss 4 channel mixer I bought at least 20 years ago (I had forgotten I had it). And, I used a small practice amp I had for a monitor. One of the guitarist's amps has a tuner output so I used that to get the signal to the mixer. It actually worked very well. The issue is that the amp the other guitarist is using doesn't have any outputs that I can connect to the mixer. So, I guess I need a way to split the signal. Based on what's been said here, it sounds like I would need to do this actively. Any suggestions? Note that a DI box doesn't help me as the mixer I'm using only has 1/4" inputs.

  12. Does the amp have dual inputs? Often those are internally paralleled. Run a cable from the second input to the mixer and see if you get a signal.

    Also, the “Send” of an EFX loop can be used...

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Pedulla Club #45

  13. dancrocker


    May 18, 2009
    The amp is extremely basic. I'll check if it has dual inputs. But, it definitely has no EFX send. All it has is a headphone output which, when used, turns off the speaker (not what I want obviously).
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    If the amps have dual outputs, buy a couple of extension speaker boxes, stack them and turn them towards the guitar players. Or maybe buy a couple of unpowered monitor wedges and use them.

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