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Stage Sound and Monitors

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by GrooveSlave, Feb 4, 2004.


  1. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Hi all,

    My band is moving to the Furman headphone system for practice. I'm fine with this as I'm not buying any gear to support this decision and I think that the sound and overall quality of the experience will be better - for practice.

    I really like having independent control over what I hear when I practice.

    There is some talk of using this system to provide separate monitor mixes on stage and using in ear monitors. The main issues are revolving around having 2 guitar amps on stage. 2 of the guys have a lot of gig experience and are claiming that stage sound always sucks and in ear monitors will fix everything.

    While I'm aware of the trend towards this in the super high end world of top performers, I'd like to hear your opinions on in ear vs. floor monitors. What do you think? Issues?

    I'll admit to being sceptical about how bass tone will sound with in ears. I've flat out told them to find another bass player if they think I won't be using an amp on stage though.

    I didn't spend half of my anual salary (not really) on a rig to use a direct box and turn over control of my sound to someone else! :meh: :crying:

    Anyway, I'd love to hear what everyone thinks about this.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    While I'm aware of the trend towards this in the super high end world of top performers, I'd like to hear your opinions on in ear vs. floor monitors. What do you think? Issues?

    First off, do you put bass in the wedges right now? Do you have your own monitor mix, and control over the bass EQ in your mix? With in-ears, you can easily have that level of control, and you won't be compromising anyone else's mix. This can be a really good thing. However, the ideal monitor mix is one that reflects exactly how the whole band sounds in the house. Wedges virtually never get you there, except on big stages, in my experience. In-ears, done properly, will do it quite nicely.

    You'll have to adjust to the lack of pant-fluttering air on stage, but haven't you dealt with that when recording? "More me" makes playing a bit easier, I think, but it's worth trying another paradigm.

    Try it, you might like it. You're not really in control of your sound right now anyway, the room is. You might be happily amazed at what a difference the lack of back wall bounce and feedback issue driven EQ from wedges can do for your band's sound. And you'll have an excuse to buy some really nice recording quality gear, and only have to carry one small rack at most to your gigs.

    OTOH, you might still hate it, and run away going boo-hoo. The feel of the strings is a lot different, and I know bands that use something like a Hartke Kickback as the only amp on stage.

    As a sound deWd, I love in-ears, even though it actually can make more work for me. As a bass player, I've never used 'em on a gig. If someone else were ponying up, I'd at least give it a fair try, eh?
     
  3. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Well, we use nothing on stage now, since we are newly formed and trying to work this out.

    I agree with what you said about hearing what the audience hears, that seems to me to be the best way to gauge how you are doing and where you fit in the mix.

    Yeah, I'm open to the whole experience of trying them, because, basically, it's about the music and how it sounds to the people who are paying to hear it. Secondarily, I want a *bit* of pant flappin' happening.

    I guess I just wanted to open a discussion on the subject and how others do it. I want to be prepared for the debate as it develops.
     
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    I guess I just wanted to open a discussion on the subject and how others do it. I want to be prepared for the debate as it develops.

    I'll see if I can talk my nephew into joining Talkbass and posting here. He was using in-ears exclusively for a few years, but went back to cabs recently for some of his gigs.

    Secondarily, I want a *bit* of pant flappin' happening.

    You know about bass shakers, like drummers sometimes use? I've heard bassists talk about using them, but nobody I know actually has. I'm not sure how it would work if you can't play sitting down.

    BTW, what style is this band? I looked at your profile, but it's pretty varied.
     
  5. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    The band is Classic Rock / Blues covers. We have played together in some other forms for about a year, but could never quite hold it together. I think we have a lineup that will work this time. I also think that people (myself included) have gotten their heads in the right place to have some fun and gig a bit while still putting out a good selection of "deeper cuts" that we enjoy playing and the audience can still remember and get into.

    It's cool that you mention those shaker thingies. I've been looking into building a Rumble Seat for the practice situation, and it occurs to me that you could probably build some kind of board to stand on and play. Paint it black and nobody would be the wiser. I'll look into that.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  6. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Wierd... the only thing we have through our wedges is vocals. My cab, both guitar cabs and drums are not in the monitors and don't need to be. Our cabs give us the stage mix for instruments and the monitors for vocals(we each have a floor monitor right in front of us). The levels are perfect so we can hear the instruments and vocals easily in the mix and it sounds great. We kind of point our cabs towards the middle of the stage and sidewash the drummer from both sides so we all get a good mix and I can hear the guitar cabs from the other side of the stage and they can hear my bass. We mic the guitar cabs and drums, DI my bass and the PA pushes the sound to the audiance. There is no reason to have anything else in the monitors unless your playing some huge venue and they will have a sound guy and crazy equipment and will do that for you.
     
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Ric, the point is that with in-ears you can't hear anything from the backline unless it's in the monitor mix. In many cases, there are no guitar or bass amps.

    I'm one of those crazy sound dewDs your talking about, and I'm fine with doing things the way you're talking about. However, a full band monitor mix is even better, when it makes sense. A big room is one such situation, certainly. A jazz combo in a small room could easily be another one.

    If the audience is hearing your backline amps, and you are all hearing the same mix as the FOH, great. It's a lot rarer than you might think, and how sure are you that what you hear is what the audience hears? Small bands very seldom have wedges that will deal up bass and drums gracefully. Once you pass that threshold, you'd be amzed how quiet your stage volume can be. Lots of people don't like or want that, which means guys like me have to work that much harder. No worries, just planting a seed or two here...
     
  8. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Passinwind,


    We got one of you guys with us at all times. In ears would be cool and I can see why! In Detroit I guess we do things the old fashoned way. I never seen anyone use in ears on stage. They all do it how I mentioned everywhere around here it seems that I have seen. But i can see the advantages to that. I guess I'm a kiss guy, keep it simple stupid. We get a stage tone we like, mic it and push it to the audiance. The sound guy tweaks it, if we dont have a sound guy its easy since we know our tone to just turn up this or that and fine tune it that way because the overall and stage mix are basically the same. To me it's a lot cheaper and easier to controll this way.
     
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Ric,

    I am an old dog, and I dig where you're coming from. No need to change what works. But I sometimes mix bands like Canned Heat and Tony Furtado in a 100 seater (at 3X capacity...shhh!), and a lot of jam bands with ethnic percussion and so on. Way too much gear, and many challenges and solutions. GrooveSlave wanted a little feedback on in-ears, and I've done some small club shows where they have been used. Usually, just by one or two guys, making it even more challenging.

    I can "only" do four monitor mixes, unless I kludge it a bit. Believe it or not, some bands in that 100 seater have a problem with that. Lots of bands want kick in the monitors, but not all the monitors. OTOH, lots of guys just want vocals on top of the stage mix, and call it good. No worries either way.

    --Charlie Escher
     
  10. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Sweet, I know who to bug if I get any PA q's...I'd say to Grooveslave since he and I are not as knowledgable as a guy like you to keep it simple as possible, it sounds to me the EM's would require a ton of tweakin because the mix in the ears are totally different than whats comming out of the PA, the old fashioned way the stage mix and overall are almost the same so a novice could more easily controll that, is that of the mark?
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    it sounds to me the EM's would require a ton of tweakin because the mix in the ears are totally different than whats comming out of the PA, the old fashioned way the stage mix and overall are almost the same so a novice could more easily controll that, is that of the mark?

    Depends a lot on the situation, but for blues and classic raWk with amps on stage, yeah. One thing that helps a lot (it's almost mandatory) is to hang a room mike or two out over the audience or maybe the band, and put those mikes in the monitor mixes. I like Crown PZMs for this, theyre unobtrusive and sound great. If you don't do a stereo monitor mix, it gets confusing to the perfomers too, since they lose spatial cues on who's playing what. The shows I've done with in-ears, the guys using them did their own monitor mixes, and passed everything through to the PA. So for me, it just meant less people asking for conflicting mixes.

    For a bigger show, or one with electronic drums and no backline amps, the IEM mixes could, and maybe should, be exactly like the FOH mix. Sounds like GrooveSlave might be approaching that situation. Usually everyone wants at least a little "more me" though. I know that as a fretless player, I'd struggle for intonation if I weren't a little bit on top of the mix I'm hearing. But that's not too different from playing low key jazz, where you may not be miking anything at all. You put your ear to your URB, or hang near your amp, just to cheat things a bit, eh?

    I'll be interested to hear how this works out, in any case. If the guys providing the system are really experienced, I'll bet it'll be pretty cool.
     
  12. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Cool discussion guys.

    I can add that over the weekend, we got the Furman 16 channel headphone monitoring system installed and played a practice through them. For those not familiar, they provide each player with a mixer that has 8 mono channels with pan, and 4 stereo channels. To put it mildly, these things ROCK. I put one guitar favored to my left ear, one to the right. I'm dead center with the drums and vocals. Our keys guy had to work, so there is still tweaking to do there.

    Overall, I would have no problem using this on stage - assuming there was a sound guy doing the FOH mix. I could hear everything. The best part about headphones (and by extension, in ears) is that my technique does not suffer to be heard. Meaning, I don't have to dig in just to get through. The individual mixes ELIMINATE the volume creep we experienced before. We grooved our butts off since everyone was digging the sound. And finally, my ears were not ringing after a four hour practice. :p :D :bassist: :hyper:

    So now, time will tell about weather I buy expensive in ear monitors and just go wired out of the Furman.

    I have to admit that I will almost INSIST on some amp on stage, just for a bit of air movement.

    Another comment, is that the bass sounds good, but sterile going direct. I'm going direct post EQ from my Demeter HBP-1. The thing sounds killer, but it's just a bit too clean in the headphones. I'm now committed to building my own design of a Rumble seat for psycho acoustice reasons and also to put a mic in for speaker tone.

    Anyway, it looks promising.
     
  13. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Sweet! I need my cab and head for my tone though, that's just me but sounds like a plan. What I like too is no ear plugs!
     
  14. xush

    xush

    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    We rely on IEM's for our gigs. V-drums, direct bass, and a small miked guitar cab make this pretty workable. There's no rumble on stage, that's true, but I've heard all the songs before. As long as it gets out to the audience OK...

    I like 'em! Our bassist likes 'em. The audience likes them because it allows us to play at volumes that don't deafen them. I might not have liked them 15 years ago when I was punk-rockin', but they work for what I need now.
     
  15. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    can anybody recommend a good in ear system?
     
  16. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Bump. What kind of ear buds/headphones are folks using?
     
  17. DB5

    DB5

    Jul 3, 2001
    Austin Texas
    I use the Shure E5's and have the E1's in my gig bag for backup.


    Hope this helps,
     
  18. GrooveSlave

    GrooveSlave

    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
  19. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    The Ultimate Ears are indeed the most sought after IEM's for professional use. With that being said I myself use the Shure E5's with the custom made molds. While the specs themselves may not stack up to the UE7's, ther is a HUGE difference in price. The E5's $350+ and the molds$ 110 will save you around 5 to 6 hundred dollars. To put it mildly the E5's sound incredible! The secret to getting great low end is to have a very tight seal, hence the custom molds. Anothe plus is if you ever decide to sell the E5's no big deal. You keep the molds and sell the rest. The UE's unfortunately have the mold as part of the earpiece. (not detachable) Once it is made, you own it for life, since it will not fit anyone else. I also carry the Shure E1's for spare. There is no comparison to the E5's IMHO.They lack both in the high and low dept.
     
  20. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    How do the E1's do with custom molds? I have played with the E1's and a cheap set of Koss earbuds and found that the $20 Koss set has better bass response but don't stay in as well. The sound of the Shure E1's were pretty dissappointing in my tests.