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On stage monitors

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by theshadow2001, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    I dont know if this is quite the correct forum but....

    My band is going to need some monitors soon(well we've needed them for ages).In the near future we will be running through a HK projector PA thats about 3.6kW of pure PA power. Now I've never used monitors before in a band no one had money for them and they werent especially needed which means I dont have a clue when it comes to these. We will be running 4 seperate mixes. Well some could be the same depends on the venue. On my own mix some bass might need to go through maybe a touch of kick drum as well as some guitar and mostly vocals. So my questions to you...

    -What kind of monitors should I use?

    -What kind of wattage do you need when running monitors on a rig this size?

    -What size speakers would I need to use especially if theres kick and bass going through?

    -Would a speaker smaller than 12" be too small?

    -Does the quality of monitor make much of a difference since all you need it for is just hearing whats going on not for audiophile enjoyment.

    -Will the quality of monitor affect feed back

    -Do you need to eq monitors to the same extent as FOH?

    -Would you need a sperate eq for a monitor or would whatever tone control/graphic that comes with it do?

    -Is there any key things Im overlooking?

    Any advice people can pass on would be great.Any links to articles or more info on the topic would also be great. Cheers
  2. be carefull of putting bass through your monitor, as it can cause phasing problems with your rig.
  3. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Adding to this point, i'm assuming that you will still be using your bass rig for stage volume, so i'd agree with SoB and not put much bass through your monitor. I've always preferred 12" and over, as they tend to produce the kick drum better than most 10" monitors. generally eq'ing is done at the mixing desk, and if its a powered monitor you can set your volume on stage.

    just make sure that you stand infront of the monitor, since vocals and guitar are incredibly directional and can be lost if you stray from the direct aim of the monitor.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes. :)
  4. Oh and REALLY try to test them in a bandsituation before you buy them. I've played in a big place and they had sucky monitors. No clarity at all and I could hear everything just a little bit. Even more known bands have played there, but that didn't seem to matter for the monitor quality. I played in a übersmall place and they had the best monitors ever.

    Loud, clean and full of clarity. They did also project their sound a bit wider, so you didn't have to stand right in front of them.
  5. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    4 mixes is a lot, can your mixing board really do that?

    IMO all that really needs to be in monitors is the vocals, and if you are not singing you don't really need a monitor. Point your amps at each other for stage monitoring. If you are a very large band (9 pieces plus?) on a very large stage then yes you do need kick and bass in some of the mixes and should use 15" monitors for those mixes.

    My band (rock covers mid-loud) uses 10" JBL Eons as monitors - they are very simple to use because the power amp is built in.

    In situations where the stage volume is very loud, stage monitors may need a *lot* of eqing to minimize feedback, so yes each monitor mix gets its own external 31 band eq.
  6. I know a guy who plays in a band which always has FOH, so he doesn't have a stage rig, just a BDDI which he links to a powered monitor and front of house - thats his whole stage setup...
  7. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    (theres a lot of B/S here if you just want to skip to 3rd paragraph)

    Yeah we're getting an allen and heath 2200 mixing desk so that can handle 6 mixes in monitor mode and 4 in some other mode I think. Stage volume wouldn't be overly loud but there are times when I play and I wouldn't be able to hear our guitarist very well. He's using a peavey full tube ultra something or other and a 5150 4x12 which I find very directional. I tell him to point his cab across the stage but he doesnt listen. It took him ages for me to get him to tone down the whole smiley face eq that he was using (which after doing so he finds it much better live although his "tone" isn't quite the same:rollno: ). Our singer for now is borrowing the guitarists mesa boogie mark III which again is quite a directional amp. His amp is a bit closer usually so I dont have trouble hearing him but that could also change at certain venues.

    There's a certain venue we play where the PA speakers are on a floor below where we play and nowehere near us. We can acutally hear very little that comes out of the FOH so it would be nice to stick in a bit of kick and bass as well as guitar for a little extra stage sound reinforcement. The bass would only be put in temporarily until I have enough money to buy a second cabinet to really maximize the volume from my head. With my current setup I find it sometimes lacking a bit in volume. On the other hand if its going to cause phasing problems then I wont bother it would probably just make things worse

    I think individually Eq'ing the monitors might be a bit overkill in our situation. I wont really know until we start using them

    Ok so what about the wattage. What sort of power would you need to get the monitors heard above stage volume?

    I dont sing just yet in the band. That might change further down the road. It might not be usual to put anything but vocals through a monitor but having the option there is a good thing. You never know what your going to come across when your out and about gigging or what situation is going to call for what so its always nice to have the option to expand. That goes for anything in terms of band equipment really.

    If I were to place the monitor beside me or behind me(next to my amp) would that solve any phasing problems would that have any other implications(since I dont have a mike yet).Would the fact that the desk has a phase inverter improve any phasing problems?
  8. SUBass


    Oct 21, 2005
    I'd strongly suggest an IEM system with molded ear-pieces or at least the molded adapters for the universal ear-pieces.

    I'm firmly in the belief that your audience will have a better experience with lower stage volume in a club with full PA support than if you were crankin' with amps and monitors wide open. Plus with IEM's you'll hear yourself no matter where you go onstage. Every spot is a sweet spot.

    I've played several gigs where the only source of bass onstage was my IEM system and it works out fine. You just have to have good ear-pieces.

    People instantly think IEM's are too pricey. However, weighing the cost of powered monitors versus IEM's is really not a one-sided equation. I'd recommend the Sennheiser 300 G2 systems. These boxes can be had for around $700 a pop. They run on AA batteries, sound great, last long and come with a pretty good sounding set of ear-pieces. You'll want to get a molded adapter for them like the Westone UM-56. Considering a decent wedge speaker will run about $500 (my personal fave so far being an EAW LA212 at $1200 a pop) and a usable power amp at around $700 for a pair of channels, the associated EQ per wedge for feedback control and you've well surpassed the cost of an IEM system.

    As for a mixer...The Crest XRM is built for doing IEM mixes. It's capable of doing 6 stereo mixes and has (I think) 16 mic channel/splits on the back as well as 4 stereo line channels. This board is around $2100 new and fits in a rack.

    Just some stuff to think about before you put alot of money into wedges.

  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Arguably monitors require MORE EQ than the FOH because feedback elimination is key. They are pointing right at the back of your mic's, and need to be EQ'd (usually seperately) to eliminate feedback.

    My band uses 4 monitor mixes: everyone has their own vocal, perhaps just a splash of the other vocals for harmonization. Lead singer also adds his acoustic guitar DI send into his monitor as well (not ours). Drummer likes some of his kick drum in his monitor, along with a little splash of bass for presence. When we are spread out on a large stage or outdoor show, and we aren't right near the mains for some backwash effect, the guitarist on the far side of me has to add a splash of bass to his monitor as well or else he can't hear me at all.

    You will quickly find that you NEED to EQ each separately if you are going to do it this way. Our soundman has two dual channel graphic EQ's in his FOH rack that he adjusts for clarity and feedback prevention for each monitor mix.
  10. +1
    I had this problem with my band. We had to bite the bullet and add ANOTHER mix for the monitors. I was getting that weird out of tune sound. Very hard to play with.

    I'd go with "good" 12" monitors. They sound much better and tighter than a cheaper 15". IMO

    Our band uses no eq on the monitor mixes. On my monitor though, I put a small towel over the tweeter. The highs are way too harsh. It looks kind of Ghetto, but it's alot cheaper that buying a eq just to lower one freq. :D
  11. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    What is your budget?

    I recommend going to see other bands w/ similar lineups at the same venues you play. See what they are using for monitors and ask them if it's working for them.

    IMO you're looking at an overkill monitor setup, which is fine if you've got a van, a fat wallet, and a strong back.

    Many bands rent the sound engineer and his system when they need a lot of monitors. If the other bands at the same venues you are playing at have 4 monitors and 4 mixes, I think it is likely they have hired the gear instead of buying it. Ask them how much the fee is and decide if that is more cost effective than buying 4 monitors, 4 eqs, and 2 amps.
  12. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    +1 on IEMs. Cleaner sound for the audience, eliminates feedback and mud from stage. Set up a stereo mix with each instrument and vocal in its own spot in the stereo arc (don't need alot of separation, but don't put similar things like guitars right next to each other), and you can protect your hearing!

  13. Simply put, you get what you pay for.

    More, rather then less. I find that it is easy to have the monitors bottoming out if you run kick or bass through them. If you have more power, you will likely use it at some point. I use to run PLX1602s on my monitors, but have been using PLX3002s in the last few years and it's much better... and tighter.

    If you plan on running kick through them, I would say nothing smaller then a 12", but would tend on using a 15". I prefer the sound of 12s for vocals.


    Definitely. I find that with cheap monitors, it takes forever to get them sounding half decent, then you still can't turn them up. There's either too much mids, or feedback, or not enough bottom end. A good monitor (EAW, some JBL, I really like Yorkville Elite stuff), will usually sound good and clear uneq'd. A band I fill in with uses Yorkville NX250 (powered) for monitors and they sound pretty good, and they are LIGHT! You can usually get them pretty cheap from rental companies.

    Most of the time.

    Much more so. I run 31 band on all my mixes.

    You will need an EQ per mix. Preferably 31-band.

    Probably the most important one.... In-Ear-Monitors!!! I had been using them for approx. 1 year when I left my band last spring. I loved them!!! Since then, I have been filling in with various bands and went back to the rig. This weekend, I filled in with the old band and used my IEM again. WOW! I could hear everything so clearly and the volume was much more manageable.

    Any advice people can pass on would be great.Any links to articles or more info on the topic would also be great. Cheers[/QUOTE]
    As someone else suggested, the cost of decent IEM is not much different than a conventional monitor setup. If you eliminate 4 good wedges and 2 good stereo power amps, you have just about recouped your cost. I have the Shure PSM600, but my old band-mates used the PSM200 which is about half the price. They upgraded the ear-pieces though. You can save even more if you go wired (drummer, keyboard player). A guitar player I know made himself a double cable with a 1/4" end for this guitar and the other other for his IEM. It makes for a think cable, but there is only one. You would need a 31-band EQ per wedge also which is not necessary for IEM. However, since I had them, I EQ my IEM mix and really like it that way. I thought I would miss the fat bottom end, but I can still hear most of it (properly EQ'd), but I can also hear everything else MUCH clearer. Nice thing is that after you used the setup a few times, if you use the same equipment for every show (same band, with same instruments in same channels), it takes no time at all setting the monitors. This can be a huge time saving and clubs usually love you for it. If you play a bigger show where sound is supplied, just take your Mixing Board (and EQs if applicable) and hook up to the split snake. Again, you'll be sure you have exactly what you want and what you are use to.

    Ask away if you have any more questions. (sorry for the long-winded answer)

  14. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Ok well thanks to everyone for replying so far! (again alot of B/S on my behalf so Ill bold all the highlights)

    Yes I imagine that in ear monitors are probably the best way to go(its what most big stadium bands are doing and they would surley have the best methods open to them) however I'm just after spending a fortune on a new head to use with the band and I'd hate to see it go to waste when I could use a preamp with IEM.

    Another problem with IEM is communication both with the band and the audience. Or management telling you to play longer, finish up, asking why the hell we just played that crap in their venue etc.

    Also the range of venues that we play is quite varied. From night clubs that requires the full PA support and all the bells and whistles. To small pubs where you would probably only need a set of tops and a desk in terms of PA support with only a single monitor for our singer. Having in ear monitors in that situation would seem a bit over kill.

    Ok budget isnt too much of a problem. The gigs that we get are relatively high paying. The band has 28 dates booked for next year already. Mid christmas should see the PA payed for so it will mean its going to be a big earner there after. However I have bunch of equipent I need to buy first so ill probably be the last one of us to get a monitor. Im doing the research as part of the band. Its the usual story though. I want to get good quality for the cheapest price. (never heard that one before!) I dont really want to go boutique or anything. I guess I want something like gallien krueger of the monitor world great value for money with all the bang you need. Im only 21 and I dont get much excercise so I really think the lugging of crap around is good for me!

    Transport is not an issue. We got a toyota Hiace coming this week as well as a citroen berlingo so we got loads of space.

    I've never seen a band use in ear monitoring. Not any of the bands on the same covers circuit as my own band. They all use wedges. Although its something I've never talked about to any other musicians simply because it never really seemed relevant until now.

    Just thought about the whole battery thing on IEM that would really wreck my head. I'm thinking of getting a power supply for my Q-tron TU2 tuner and metal zone. Even those three batteries that I dont change often annoy me.

    Rocky when using the 3002's with your monitors are you putting out 900-1500 per monitor for the whole band or are you using it for your own single monitor (obviously you got loads of head room with it either way)
  15. I would use 2 PLX3002 to power 4 wedges. With 8ohms cabs, that means approx. 550w per wedge.

    If you plan on using boxes, I would suggest you try renting a few different setups. You could get the EQs right away, and then rent amp/wedges, and powered boxes too. Like I said earlier, I find the little powered NX250 from Yorkville to push a lot of clear sound. The boxes are made of composite and they are extremely light to move around.

  16. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Yes I was thinking that betwen 300 or 400 watts would be about right for our needs well maybe my needs or the drummers more so than the singer or guitarists. If you know of any other brands or models worth checking out it would be cool as well. Renting out a systems is deffinitely the best way to go. No better test than in the field!

    And if anyone else has anything to add fire away!
  17. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    There's lot of good advice here, I'll only add that your engineer should be in on this decision. If you don't have your own engineer, then make hiring one your top priority. 4 monitor mixes plus foh is a lot to handle, your sound and one guy's playing will certainly suffer if you make him run everything from the stage. I've found that hiring random engineers works only if you use normal/standard(average?) PA gear. Nobody around here is familiar w/ digital mixers, so we just had to retire our Roland VM and buy a simple analog Yamaha so that we could work without re-training everyone who mixed.
  18. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    The drummer currently subbing with us is a fantastic sound engineer and amazing drummer hes knows the rig inside and out since we bought it off his colleague. Unfortunately he wont be around forever. But we will have him do sound when we are in his end of the country

    Its definitley something I've talked about. After seeing him working a big rig it really reaffirmed how badly we need a sound engineer that knows what they are doing(Theres loads of sound engineers but one that knows what they are doing is rarer than golden chickens teeth).

    I'd like to take him on full time but He lives too far away and we dont quite make enough yet to pay an extra member. The sooner that day comes the better.
  19. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Have him train someone before he leaves. Without an engineer mixing for/from the audience perspective you're just guessing at how you sound, and IMO if you've got money for gear then you've got enough to hire this crucial extra member. Buy only 2 monitors, and use the leftover $ to pay the engineer, and he'll make you sound so good you'll get 28 more gigs and be able to afford the 2nd two monitors!
  20. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Everyone is watching carefully what he does. Our singer is wireless and only plays guitar for bout a 1/4 of the set so he wanders out to the crowd and can monitor the front of house sound while doing a bit of crowd interaction as well. He's buying the desk so I guess its going to fall onto him to monitor the sound after the sound check.

    Even so our engineer drummer giving us a run down on how things should be done isnt really going to be enough. He spent three years training and has seven years experience as well (and hes only 20! :eek: ) you cant really learn that in few hours. Your right a sound engineer is essential. The lads reckon we can do sound ourselves I'm not so conifdent. But I reckon given a few gigs on our own and I think they will realise how much trouble its all going to be. I guess what this is going to come down to is us becoming really really familiar with the rig and the equalizer playing with it loads on our own time training our ear to pick out specific frequencies and so on and also coming to gigs really really early

    All our money is going on gear. We just pay our manager and whoever is drumming with us the rest is gone on gear. Thats the way its going to be for another while as well. After the PA everyone still has odds and ends to get which all add up. I havent got paid in months :crying:
    When things settle down and our price goes up a bit more a sound engineer is next on the shopping list.